Coffee Break: “Keep it Together” Stapler

kate spade staplerThis ghost stapler from Kate Spade is so, so cool, but it’s going to look horrible on your screen. It is a slightly blinged out ghost stapler: it has a gold plate on it that says “keep it together.” Lovely. The stapler is $28; the brand has a whole suite of ghost accessories. Strike Gold Stapler

Ladies, which are your favorite fun stores and brands for desk accessories? 



  1. Three related questions, all related to the fact that I got sun spots while at the beach this week.

    1. Does this mean I’m not wearing enough sunscreen? I put it on a lot, and use a high SPF, but maybe not enough.

    2. Has anyone had success getting rid of these with chemical peels, serums, or anything else?

    3. Where do you get honest reviews for stuff like this? Bloggers and even articles seem like they’re sponsored. And all of the products say you need to use them for a few weeks before seeing results, so that obviously limits the experimentation I can do.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Sunspots are evil, and I’ve found most over the counter stuff doesn’t work. I had some luck with very minor spots using Procelana day cream and night cream (I used both)–it’s cheap and available at most drug stores. Make sure you glob on the sunscreen-Porcelana does make you more sensitive to burning.

      For darker sun spots, the only thing that has worked for me is Retin-A which I got prescribed by my doctor.

    • Get a prescription from your derm for Tri-Luma. It’s a combo of Retin-A and hydroquinone (the Porcelana ingredient).

      It does work.

    • Anonymous Associate :

      I’ll second Retin-A. It can be drying at first, so it can take some getting used to.

      I wear a Shiseido sun lotion that works great, with its high percentages of zinc oxide/titanium dioxide. Worth the price. Seems to keep sunspots from coming, and if you reapply it a lot, prevents most tanning. (And I tan very easily.)

    • Sunscreen keeps you from getting burnt, but it doesn’t prevent all sun damage. You need to wear a hat or stay in the shade in addition to the sunscreen.

      I’ve used the Bliss peeling groovy serum and it seemed moderately effective, even though I was not very consistent in applying it.

    • SkinObsessed Anon :

      I’m tempted to try the Obaji system for my sun spots and hyperpigmentation from acne. Apparently the trick is to use 3-4 month treatments of hydroquinone alternating with things like azelaic acid. Obaji uses hydroquinone and tretinoin (Retin-A) together. I haven’t tried it myself (and it might be too full-on a regimen for just a few spots), but the Obaji system has had amazing reviews. Here is what seems to be an unbiased review:

    • Japanese sunscreens ftw :

      This is gonna sound weird, but this is one place where I’ve had more luck ordering from overseas. The FDA drags their feet so badly on approving sunscreen filters, and there’s a bunch of very effective ones that are approved in Asia/the EU but not over here. I like Nivea SUN Protect Water Gel for body, and Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence for face – and you can find them both eligible for Amazon Prime IIRC.

      As far as fading goes, if your skin doesn’t react badly to niacinamide, I like the Olay Quench line of lotions. It’s a slow thing, but it’s helped to fade the tee-shirt tan I’ve picked up through too many years of not using SPF below the neck on a daily basis.

  2. "nude" flats recommendations :

    Recommendations for best nude flats? Patent or not are OK. I loved a pair they have on M Gemi but they are out of my size (euro 40). I definitely prefer leather or something somewhat breathable (nothing synthetic). My feet err a bit on the wide side, so I like almond toes. I don’t love the look of ballet flats on me. Any thoughts on brands/styles you love? “Nude” for me is a general sand color, I guess…sort of the typical nude shade.

    • Cole Haan has several options.

    • I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Choo’s flats – Alina or Atilla. I’m at the opposite side of the spectrum, but my feet are on the wide side, and these are my workhorse flats.

      • I was eyeing the Alina in patent. I’m going to have to weigh if I can afford that right now or should wait until next year…but I’m glad to hear a review since they had caught my eye!

        For some reason Cole Haan has just never fit me well. I don’t know what it is. I can’t find the right size.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      AGL makes some great ones.

    • Seychelles! Affordable, last a long time, and the pairs I have (including a nude pair that I have now purchased as a gift for my sister) are so soft they required no breaking in and — unlike most other cute ballet flats I’ve owned — did not give me any chafing or blisters on my heel the first few times I wore them.

  3. Life Coaching? :

    Has anyone used a life coach and found them helpful? I have been seeing a therapist for the past few months to work out some anxiety / light depression issues and it has helped immensely. I am feeling so much better, and realize that some of the things that would help me to stay in a happier place would be to have someone help me work through things like how to keep my house organized, how to avoid feeling behind at work, etc. A large part of my anxiety stemmed from feeling like I was always barely keeping my head above water with keeping up with work, family, home, etc. I’ve largely worked through the underlying issues of why that caused undue / excess anxiety (and why I was being so hard on myself about always being perfectly on top of things), but I think that it may be good to transition to working with a life coach, or maybe alternate weeks with therapy. Has anyone used a life coach along these lines?

    • I’ve had experience with life coaches, but I don’t know if that’s right for your situation–they are normally to help you find and get what you want in life–a new job, a spouse, finding your passion, etc

      What you’re looking for is how to make your current life more manageable/together/stress-free.

      If you were willing to spend on a life coach, could you spend on other professional services instead? I struggle with anxiety/depression, and when I was working a super-stressful job, keeping a clean house, cooking nutritious meals, etc was just too much for me. Hiring a cleaning service and a food delivery service was a godsend and let me take care of myself and my family without feeling like I was drowning. I kept seeing a doctor, but coming home to a clean house with a good dinner waiting for me did wonders for me.

      • Life Coaching? :

        That’s a good point – I have tried some of these in the past and found they caused me more stress than they saved. I tried two different cleaning services but never felt like they did a good job, one of them accidentally let my cat out and just left her outside, stuff like that, but it might be worth pursuing further and trying to find someone I’m happy with, because on the occasions that they DID send someone good, you’re right that it felt like a breath of fresh air to come home to a clean house. (I have heard good things about food delivery services as well, but cooking is relaxing for me, so that doesn’t apply as much.)

        Maybe someone to come in and clean 1x/week along with a few sessions with a career counselor might be more what I’m looking for. I’m not by nature a very organized person, and I realize it would help me a lot of someone could guide me through some tools I can implement to help me feel like I have a plan to cover what the stuff need to do – similar to how my therapist has worked with me to develop tools I can use to address the anxiety and depression.

        • So maybe something like Blue Apron–where all the ingredients are delivered to you but you still cook. It would eliminate shopping and the “what’s for dinner” stress.

          There are also professional organizers who could come show you some easy to use systems, help you streamline trouble areas (mine’s the entryway) etc.

    • I just happened to be reading today’s Dear Prudence, and you might like to read the very last reply to on the second page – a recommendation from someone regarding occupational therapist, life coach, etc.

      • Life Coaching? :

        Funny you should link to this! I had been thinking the past few weeks about how much therapy has helped me feel less overwhelmed by my thoughts and feelings, and how much I wished I had a parallel to give me tools for sorting through chores / commitments / workload etc. When I read that Dear Prudence, I was like “Ohhh how interesting!” I don’t have some of the same challenges as that situation so someone like an OT might not be helpful, but maybe a few meetings with a professional organizer who can help me with strategies for both work and home would be great. I guess I’m not even sure what title to look for – I thought it was “life coach” but I guess that’s slightly different.

  4. New to DC :

    I’m just moving to DC. Can anyone recommend some accounts I should follow on Twitter (or other resources) to get an idea of things to do on the weekend/new restaurants, etc? I plan to make this my home and want to get to know the city.

    • The Washingtonian has a list of stuff going on every weekend and restaurant recommendations, etc.

    • I’m not on Twitter but here’s a few websites for things to do/see in DC

      – Washington Post Going Out Guide (paywall but worth it)
      – Washington Post Express (free paper version handed out at Metro stops)
      – Washingtonian Magazine
      – Brightest Young Things DC
      – Thrillist DC

      The latter two skew towards a millennial audience, but the Washington Post and Washingtonian aim towards a larger age range

    • DCist and POPville (otherwise known as Prince of petworth) may help.

      • +1 to Popville. There are also a ton of neighborhood blogs, I’m not sure which neighborhood you will be in, but The Hill Is Home is nice for Capitol Hill. Popville might have a sidebar where you can find links to other neighborhood blogs too. Also, Washington City Paper has theater and restaurant reviews.

    • Kelly Andthen :

      Unsuck metro dc on twitter is a MUST. Seriously.

      • Kelly Andthen :

        …not for fun things but for how to not get stuck on a hot car/offloading at Metro Center when you’re late for fun things/work.

        • WHAT IS WITH THE HOT CARS THIS SUMMER?? Usually the first day or so that the weather changes (to hot in summer and to cold in winter) Metro hasn’t quite caught up and so you get a hot car or a cold car, but seriously this summer it’s insane. It feel like half the time there’s just no a/c.

  5. I have this stapler, pencil cup, tape dispenser, and paper tray. They are SO CUTE!

    … that is all.

  6. I’ll be in Chicago for work this week, staying in River North area (I think). I’ll have two free nights for dinner on my own – any suggestions on where to go (especially places where it wouldn’t be weird to eat alone)?

    • I don’t know how far it is from River North, but my absolute favorite restaurant in the entire world is the Frontera Grill. I eat there whenever I am in Chicago, usually alone. There is a counter where it is not at all weird to eat alone.

      • chicagoan :

        xoco, the more casual stop next door, is very 1 diner friendly.

        • Chicago Bean Accounter :

          I second Xoco – it’s yummy. Check out Firecakes for dessert – delicious donuts and actually open late! Eataly could be fun too, also since you can carry a drink around with you while you browse the goods (second floor).

    • Au Cheval!! There’s a bar you can sit at and many people dine alone there.

      • chicagoan :

        au cheval is awesome, yes, but prepare for a 3 hr wait for dinner, as they do not take reservations. a single spot at the bar may open up more quickly, though. they just opened up ‘small cheval’ further north, though I don’t know the wait times.

        • Small Cheval is just as bad wait-wise … lines around the block

          Xoco is a great suggestion, I also love Gilt Bar

      • Chicago Bean Accounter :

        There’s a better chance you can get in if you’re alone – same with Little Goat and a lot of places in the city, if you’re ok with sitting at the bar. I like watching the kitchen staff so sometimes I sit there even when I’m with someone.

  7. When I went to Chicago to get new busness, I ate at the Chop House, and also at Michael Jordan’s, and also at Morton’s. If you love steak, they have a lot of it b/c they have Cattel stockyards with fresh meat nearby. I have a new cleint who’s head office is in OAK BROOK, which is not to far away, so we went there from a hotel in Downtown b/c the manageing partner did NOT want to stay in the suburb’s. The cleint realy liked my presentation, and now we are doieng over $60,000 of busness with that cleint alone. YAY! The onley funny thing about Chicago is that the men seem to treat women like Chattel. FOOEY on men who think we are just there to serve them. We are independent and smart, and deserve to be treated as equals. YAY!!!!

    • There’s a reason why some men treat us like chattels. Because we let them. They barge into our apartments, demand and receive sex, then fart and walk out on us without explanations. Do not let them. Do not give sex to ingrates who do not respect us. Once we learn to stand up and not give of ourselves, we will have gained back the self respect we had growing up.

  8. Sydney Bristow :

    I have some photos that I want to get printed physical copies of for some family members. I figured I’d just use Snapfish, but I was wondering if anyone had great experiences with a different company. There are probably 20 shots that I want to get 5x7s of.

    • I really like Artifact Uprising’s prints and products.

    • I am also interested in this, and wanted to add that I used Snapfish about a year ago with the “pick up at a Walgreens” option. The print quality was AWFUL, really dark and oddly blurry. And some of these were photos I had gotten printed a local photo store before, so I know it wasn’t the files themselves.

      I’d love to find another online option, but since then, I always go print in person so I can see the first few prints and judge the quality.

    • Shutterfly has good deals all the time. I’ve been pretty happy with what I get. Some pics though look good on my phone and not so good printed but that is about resolution and focus and not Shutterfly’s printing capabilities. They are doing 200 free print deals all the time.

      • Second Shutterfly. Good prints and their other products like greeting cards, birth announcements, and gift items have been great. They are always having some kind of sale, so make sure you google a coupon code first.

    • I recently used MPix to print some of our wedding and honeymoon photos and was really happy with the results.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Thanks for the suggestions!

  9. domestic traveller going international :

    I’m traveling to Mexico City next month, and I haven’t traveled internationally as an adult. Any tips, suggestions or things that I should be concerned with. My hotel and flight are being booked through a reliable source. Tips?

    • Call your bank and credit card company to let them know where you’ll be traveling so that they don’t issue a fraud freeze on your card.
      I usually find that the best way to change money is just by using a local bank ATM, pref. one with my own bank (some banks have more international branches than others). You may also want to check to see which of your credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Most are around 3% so it’s not terribly high, but Capital One charges nothing (or at least mine doesn’t) so I always use that card when traveling.
      Your phone should work in Mexico, but check with your phone company how data and roaming charges apply.
      If you’ll be gone a while, you can have the post office hold your mail till you get back. I always try to remember to do that so that I don’t come back to an overstuffed mailbox (also good if you live in a house so no one sees mail piled up and deduces you’re away).
      I think it’s always a good idea to fwd. your travel itinerary to a friend or loved one, just in case. Esp. if you’re traveling alone.
      Have fun!

    • I would be well-prepared for how you will get from the airport to your hotel – do a little research on this ahead of time. Some places, public transportation is best, other places you can take a taxi, sometimes it is best to request that your hotel send a car. I would make sure you have a specific plan in mind because getting off a long flight and feeling immediately overwhelmed is a bad intro to a new place. I like to read up on customs / immigration so I know what to expect, have a plan for how I will get money (ATMs often offer much better exchange rates than actual exchange places), and then transport to the hotel. I don’t usually plan much ahead of time when I travel internationally but I always like to have those details sorted out in my head.

      • If you’re going to take a cab from the Mexico City airport, you can’t just hail one- you buy a ticket at one of several taxi stands (the rate depends on what zone you’re going to) and then you get in the taxi line and hand your receipt to the driver you’re assigned to. It’s totally safe and doesn’t take long to get a cab.

        I like to keep my passport and all other travel docs in a zippered pouch or compartment somewhere in my bag. When you arrive in Mexico City, you will get a piece of paper that is the proof of your tourist visa- you must keep this because on your way out of the country they’ll ask you for it. If you lose it, I think there’s like a $40 fine.

    • Anonymous :

      You often need to fill out a form on arrival with your address in country, so I always make sure that’s printed and in an easy to find spot.

    • One of the easiest things you can do is to take some (maybe a couple hundred dollars worth) of local currency, in smaller denominations, with you (i.e. no 50 peso bills). Sometimes cabs and other transport methods don’t take credit cards right away. Sometimes the ATM eats your card on the first try, or will only give you a small amount of the currency. If you have this money on you, you have about a day that you don’t necessarily have to think “OMG, I need to find my bank or a bank that will take my card because I need to eat, and I don’t speak the language, and I don’t know where anything is, and it’s getting dark, and I can’t find my map, and I just remembered I’m gluten free so how do you say “corn tortilla” again, and why is my bank 2 miles away…”

      The banks I use all keep the major foreign currencies in their vaults (including Pesos), and will sell it to you at the prevailing rate of the day (no commission), no problem. The only time I had any sort of an issue was when I needed random currency that they didn’t have, so I had to wait a couple days.

      • Anonymous :

        Just as a counterpoint, I think several hundred in currency before you go is overkill. I’ve had trips where I didn’t need that much the entire time! I’d take out $100 when we arrived at the airport and by the end of 10 days we were struggling to find places to spend it off. Besides, IME traveling anywhere in Mexico/Central America, you can use U.S. dollars pretty much anywhere (they actually seem to want them more than their own currency, though that doesn’t stop retailers from trying to get the best exchange rate on their end. Despite it not being the best rate, it’s certainly a backup option that I find better than taking out more money than I could possibly use in the foreign currency “just in case”).

        • Bewitched :

          My bank will also accept foreign currency in exchange-paper only, no coins. I no longer try to spend all my foreign currency before returning stateside.

          • Yeah, the problem is that most other currencies use coins for 1 and 2 euros/pounds/their-dollars/etc., so I always end up with about 20 in 1 and 2 coins that the bank at home won’t accept.

    • Mexico City is not a tourist hot-spot, which is good because you’ll get to see what the place is really like, but there is much less help for visitors. If you don’t speak Spanish, some things will be hard. Even the menus in downtown are not dual-language – try finding the places with pictures! And be prepared to stand your ground about prices for anything you buy, taxis, tour guides etc.As a rough guide, they are probably selling to locals for half the amount they first quote you, so be firm when you think something is too expensive. Have cash on you – cards are not accepted everywhere.

      General international thing: buy a global data package for your phone that month, or switch off data roaming and rely on wireless instead. Use paper maps when you’re out and keep your phone safely in your bag.

      It’s going to be a massive culture shock – it’s loud, all the cars look like they’ve been in a dozen accidents, and there’s no concept of health and safety protection so you have to look out for yourself. But people are friendly, the food is great (and cheap) and the city is really alive. Just go with the flow and enjoy it!

      • Another thing – if you are a planner, don’t panic that you can’t find bus timetables before you go, or book museum tickets. Lots of things are simply not on-line in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist – believe your friends / the guide book when they recommend places which Google can’t track down.

      • domestic traveller going international :

        Thanks!! I traveled as a kid with family to India, so maybe not so much culture shock ;) but sounds like home.

    • Coach Laura :

      Scan your passport, drivers license, credit cards, itinerary and email the pdf to yourself. I always keep one credit/debit card separate and hidden somewhere in my luggage so if I lose my wallet, I haven’t lost everything.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      One more credit card tip. If someplace offers to run your credit in dollars, decline and ask that they run it for local currency. Hotels in particular seem to like to do this. It sounds like a good idea but really your credit card will give you a much better exchange rate and you’re still likely to get hit with a foreign transaction fee (if your card has one) even if they run it in dollars.

      Have fun!

      • Second this. Always avoid the offer to have them convert it to dollars for you (I believe this is called “dynamic currency conversion”). They also tend it offer it condescendingly, like “you silly American, you need us to convert for you because you’re too dumb to know how much you’re paying if we show it to you in Euros”…er, maybe that’s just the French.

    • hitherandthither just did a travelogue!

      I went last year and loved it. A little spanish helps and even though I forgot most of mine, I could get by with some spanglish. I had no problems with the taxicab method described above.

      My friend warned me that I get to press a button at customs and if it’s green, I pass through, if it’s red, I have to talk to someone and then I pass through. Highly amusing.

      Also, cabs are pretty inexpensive.

    • Double check that your passport has long enough left on it. Some countries want you to have at least 6 months of passport validity left. (Ahem, US)

      • domestic traveller going international :

        just got my US passport for the first time, but this is great advice

    • domestic traveller going international :

      thank you!! this is really helpful for someone who hasn’t found it all on google and/or doesn’t quite knwo what to worry about. I really appreciate the money, cell phone, ID/Visa/Passport tips. I am going to look into those issues before I go, and figure out which credit card to use.

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