Tag Archives: Work

How To Survive the Summer Commute

Because I am a true California girl, summer is by far my most favorite season of the year. I love the long days, endless blue skies, and the super warm weather, not to mention the nights we are able to BBQ and dine al fresco at our local eateries.

However, one thing I do not love is my long commute in the blazing heat! Sure, I have a working air conditioner (thank goodness for that), but with a long drive and black interior in my car, it sometimes feels like I am heading to and from the office in my oven.

There are a few simple items that have really helped make my commute just a tad bit easier. The best part? Most of them are simple staples that you probably already have laying around!

Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

This type of water bottle is an absolute essential for me. When looking for a bottle, I found out that one of the most popular brands is S’well. I must admit I was a little surprised at their cost per bottle ($25-$35). What could be so fabulous about this type of water bottle? However, after a sip of surprisingly still cool water from my water bottle after it sat in 100+ heat for an hour, it became very clear that the money was well spent!

I keep this filled up for my drive to and from work, and I am happily refreshed with cool water whenever I need to take a sip.

Windshield Sun Shade

I have to admit this is a relatively new addition to my car’s accessories. Whenever I thought of windshield sunshades, I was immediately transported back to the 1990s with accordion-style cardboard shades (which were just plain awful!). However, I am excited to announce that the market carries a number of different options, which hopefully make them a bit easier to use. I chose a two-piece vinyl material option, which actually folds up into a very small bundle. While it takes an extra minute or so to put it up, I’m always so grateful to return to a car that hasn’t had the front seats baking in the sun for hours (hello shorts, skirts and dresses!).

Old Towel

Along the lines mentioned above, grabbing an old towel to throw in your trunk is such a great idea. I cannot explain how many times I have thrown it over my driver’s seat leather to provide a little extra coverage from sun coming from one of the side windows. It’s also a great accessory to have when you’re wearing your cute summer outfit and you cringe when your bare leg hits your car’s warm interior. Nothing genius about this idea, just a nice-to-have.

Lip Balm

I am a major lip balm queen and typically have a tube of this in just about everything I carry. However, I find that it’s not always super accessible. I leave a tube of my favorite balm (Burt’s Bees) in my drink holders for a quick moisturizing swipe through my commute. While I have found other brands tend to get mushy when they are left in a hot car, Burt’s Bees seems to hold up a bit better (though it definitely softens a bit).

Extra Sunglasses

Sunglasses are my other must-have during the summer. Like lip balm, I tend to have a few pairs in different work bags and purses, but always seem to find myself scrambling for a pair when I get into the car. I like to conveniently keep a back-up pair of sunglasses in my door compartment. That way, whether I have my purse within arm’s reach or not, I have something to get me through the drive.

For those of you that commute through the hot summer, I hope these tip help make your drive a bit more convenient! Happy Summer!

What’s in my work bag — Bri

For about 3 years, I carried the “Melrose” bag by Gunas in the peach color. If you haven’t heard of Gunas, they’re a sweatshop-free, animal-friendly, eco-conscious brand.

The “Melrose” tote was the perfect bag for my needs at the time, as I was traveling to-and-from headquarters in San Jose. It had metal detailing that gave it an edgy – dare I say, “hip” – look, while the shape and color made it work well for the Silicon Valley corporate world. I stopped carrying the bag when it started looking really worn out.

Alas, they no longer sell the Melrose style. I’d order another if they did! However, I encourage you to check out their other totes on the Gunas the Brand website. The “Melrose” pricing was north of $200, but they have several other great products as well; don’t miss their sale site for items <$100.

Back to the task at hand though: what am I carrying now and what goes inside of it? Currently, I’m using a $25 non-brand bag from Marshall’s. (It may have been $35 – I can’t remember the exact price.)

I chose it for the following reasons:

  • Size: It can fit my 14” laptop and charger comfortably, along with a notebook, and a scarf or thin sweater.
  • Zip-top closure: If it accidentally tips over in the car or at my desk, the closed top prevents contents from spilling out.
  • Zippered pockets inside and outside: I like to put my keys in the outside zippered pocket. On the inside zippered pocket, I tend to keep my wallet, feminine products and/or lip balm.
  • Open-top pockets on the inside: Perfect for my cell phone and sunglasses.
  • Animal Friendly: I’ve carried vegan bags for several years now. If Gunas isn’t really your style, I also encourage you to check out:
    • FreePeople: note, not all of their bags are vegan, but the link goes straight to their vegan offers.
    • Mat and Natt: I have a casual bag from M&N – love it! The link goes to their totes.
    • LuLu’s: note, not to be confused with LuLuLemon; not all of their bags are vegan, but the link goes to their vegan offers.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get preachy here. If you want to learn more about choosing animal-friendly products, there is a lot of info on the Interwebs, of course. And, I am also transitioning to vegan shoes, but we can save that content for a future post!

Here’s a look at the interior:

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If I need to carry more technology with me, I bring a Grid-It and just slot it next to my laptop. It’s perfect for corralling earbuds, a USB stick, a touch-screen cloth, an extra pen and more.

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The downside of my current choice: the $25 brandless bag quality isn’t great. The inner lining is thin and there are a few stray threads. However, as I recently transitioned to working from home more often, I am not using the bag very much and when I do, it suits just fine. After this bag wears out – which might take a while – I may pick up a bag from one of the sites hyperlinked above.

Do you have a great bag that you’d recommend for work? Any essentials for the inside you think everyone should know about? Tell us in the comments below!

What’s In My Work Bag – Kristi

Finding the perfect work bag has certainly been a bit of a journey for me. When I was first starting out in my career, I often just brought a purse to work as I didn’t have to carry a laptop or really any work to complete at home. As time went on, the amount of “stuff” that I found myself bringing to/from the office seemed to multiply—from laptops, to printed reports, extra electronic equipment and materials for events, my need for a major multipurpose bag increased rapidly.

Additionally, my current role has me operating out of two office locations and my home office, so every day I seem to pack the contents of my ‘desk for the day’ into my bag and on to the next location.

So what glorious carryall do I use?

Land’s End’s Large Natural and Gold Open Top Canvas Tote Bag ($42) – and boy have I been happy with it.

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This bag is huge and can be stuffed to the brim. It has a few pockets and storage partitions that allow you to tuck a few key items away from the bulk of your belongings.

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It also has a convenient keychain clasp, which is so helpful when you’re digging around in such a big bag for keys.

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Also, did I mention you can have it personalized with your monogram for just $6! WEEE!

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The bag easily accommodates my work essentials, including my work laptop and charger, lunch bag, multiple cell phones, wallet and sunglasses. The smaller items get tucked away in the pockets and partition areas for easy access, and my laptop fits nicely into the main compartment.

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I also utilize a full-size plastic file organizer that I got from the Target sales bins. I originally would stuff whatever printed paperwork I was carrying home in my bag, but found things would get crumpled or misplaced. As such, I picked up this inexpensive organizer which I use to organize my paperwork based on project.

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I also keep several zipper pouches in my work bag to keep smaller items that I need periodically. I found this to be especially important when you’re using a large tote bag, as the smaller pouches keep items together and easily organized.

This particular pouch (a Christmas gift from Meredith – yay Papersource!) houses a range of items including makeup, a mirror, lip balm and hand sanitizer.

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I have another zipper pouch that I keep my smaller electronic items in, such as earbuds and a power charger bank. The one I use is actually a recycled makeup bag that I received as a freebie with a makeup purchase.

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Even with all these items, I’m still able to throw a jacket and/or scarf over the top of the items, or a pair of flip flops to run errands in after work.

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So far this bag has been a major fit for my current work lifestyle. The only drawback that I have found is the weight of the bag, when it’s really full. Over the past year, I experienced some challenges with my lower back, so during that time period I reverted to a backpack to balance out the weight that I was carrying on a daily basis.

Now that my back is rehabilitated, I’ve returned to my trusty rusty tote, but I’ve become mindful about minimizing how far I carry the bag, and often leave it in the trunk of my car when I get home from work, only grabbing the essentials that I need to bring into the house.

We Triple Knotters have found that selecting a good work bag relates completely to matching your daily routine. Stay tuned for an upcoming post where Bri shares her work bag and daily essentials!

Signature 3 (Mar 2016)