Tool of the Trade: What Small Purchase Has Made Your Life Better?

Small purchases that make your life betterI saw an article on Lifehacker (I think?) a few weeks ago about small purchases that make your life markedly better. One of the things listed was a 6-foot-long lightning charger which, as soon as I saw it, I said, ACK, I have that, and it HAS made my life so much better. I primarily use mine to plug in on my bedside table while I’m sleeping so I can use the SleepCycle app, but I always grab it when I travel and it just makes everything better in hotel rooms, at the airport, or at other random “have outlet, will charge” kind of places. (Another good thing to throw in your bag: a three-sided wall tap.) So I thought we’d have a fun little “Tool of the Trade” feature: What small purchase has made your life markedly better? What small thing brings you joy, makes your life easier or more efficient, and otherwise makes you grateful for buying? I’ve got a few purchases that I’ll share…

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Your Favorite Colors for Your Working Wardrobe

the best colors to wear to workHere’s a fun question for today: which colors do you usually buy for clothes for work? Do you buy different colors for the weekend you? What colors do you think you don’t look good in/do look good in? What color combinations do you find yourself wearing a lot? Do you think there are best colors to wear to work? (For example, here’s a whole Business Insider article about color psychology, suggesting that gray is unacceptable because it’s “too passive,” which kind of makes me laugh when I think about all the fabulous gray suits and trousers we’ve featured over the years!)

I was thinking about the my own color preferences for workwear while shopping at the Carlisle outlet last week — the brand was new to me until I saw that a reader had mentioned the outlet in our NYC shopping post. While perusing the store, I sort of felt like I was in Texas or somewhere, well, not New York — there were lots of light colors, floral patterns, and numerous colorful dresses and pants that I kept thinking, ah, that would be so cute if only it were black or navy. (I was also thinking a lot about our older discussion on whether colorful suits are primarily for older women!)

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The Best Girl Power Songs for Women

girl power songsHere’s a random open thread for today: do you enjoy listening to female empowerment anthems — aka girl power songs? Which are your favorites? I rounded up a few of the ones that I’m thinking of here, but they’re all very dancey…

For my $.02 – a political commentator I follow on Facebook just posted a link to the new Kesha song Woman (link goes to YouTube; NB that the lyrics NSFW!). Sample lyrics:

I buy my own things
I pay my own bills
these diamond rings
my automobiles
Everything I got I bought it
boys can’t buy my love…
I do what I want
say what you say
I work real hard every day

I was listening to it for the first time this morning and thought, oh, I like this genre of song! It’s like a two-second decision for me to buy this kind of song on iTunes. Other songs I’d put in this “self-empowered woman” genre (links go to YouTube and are probably NSFW for the most part):

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How to End Your Emails (And: Do You Think It Matters?)

How to End Your Emails (Fun with Business Etiquette!)Here’s a fun business etiquette question: Reader S wonders about the best way to end your emails in a professional setting. Do you vary your email sign-off by situation, or do you just use one across the board?

I am a long time reader — your website was incredibly helpful while I was in law school and now as an attorney. I have a question about “closing a letter.” I personally use “Regards,” and a more friendly/warm “Best regards,” when I’m closing a letter or email. I’ve always thought it was odd to see “Sincerely yours,” in a professional email as that closing seems overly familiar — but I just saw a letter from a judge, and he closed it “Sincerely yours.”

Wow, interesting question — but one that I admit I’ve pondered also, especially since I seem to recall seeing that my own preferred closing (“best,”) was deemed “cold and antiquated.” (Sadly, I don’t remember where I saw that — maybe in this Slate article?) I remember years ago getting an email from a fellow lawyer at work who signed her email “xoxo.” This struck me as super odd at the time because she had always seemed like such a cool chick and this seemed to be the email equivalent of dotting her letter i with a heart — but I just brushed it off and assumed she was either being ironic or she was just cool enough to get away with such things.

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The Best Laptop Bags for Work

the best laptop bags for workSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Which are the best laptop bags for work, ladies — which ones have the pockets you need, the weight (or lack thereof) that you like, and generally looks great on your commute? Do you prefer to have a laptop sleeve within a larger tote bag, or a laptop bag by itself? How big is your computer — and how important is padding to you? We haven’t rounded up stylish laptop totes and sleeves in a while, so I thought we’d take a look!

Pictured at top.

Some of our Hall of Famers styles, mentioned below:

the best laptop totes for work

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Guest Post: Is Microblading Worth It to Enhance Your Brows?

Is Microblading Worth It? Guest Post from Blue Collar Red LipstickAdina J. of Blue Collar Red Lipstick is one of my favorite work style bloggers and Instagrammers (and she’s a lawyer!) so I was excited to see that a) she’d written about her experience with microblading on her blog and then b) agreed to share it with us since I knew a lot of people were curious about whether microblading was worth it after our post on beauty treatments to save time.  Readers, have you tried microblading, or are you considering it? Have you used other things to enhance your brows, like growth serums or brow tinting (either salon or DIY methods)? HUGE thanks to Adina for sharing her microblading experience with us — and a warm welcome to Corporette! — Kat  

If you have more than a passing acquaintance with Instagram, then you have probably seen something about #microblading. And if you are anything like me — 30-something, with enough disposable income to satisfy my social media–driven curiosity about strange beauty trends — then you’ve probably considered trying it. If that’s the case, you probably have questions. I know I did. Having now gone through the experience, I can tell you that the answers I found online in my initial searches contained some glaring omissions. I’m going to try to address some of them.

Just in case you have not seen one of the bazillion Instagram videos floating around, let’s start with the basics. Microblading is the newest version of tattoo makeup. Unlike the regular tattoo process, which uses a needle (or needles), microblading uses tiny blades to create cuts in the skin, into which pigment is deposited. Each cut is intended to look like an individual eyebrow hair. The result is semi-permanent, lasting anywhere from one to three years. It is not an inexpensive procedure; at my spa, the cost was $375 for the original appointment plus the necessary follow-up, and this is on the lower end of the cost scale based on quotes I’ve seen online (for example, Piret Aava, the “Eyebrow Doctor,” charges $1,500 in NYC).

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