Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Girl Boss Series - How to Make Work-Wear Fun (The Blazer Edit)

The Girl Boss Series - How to Make Work-Wear Fun (The Blazer Edit)
I am one of those people, who gets chilly in office even when it is burning hot outside. When I am in a hotel, the room temperature is set to nothing less than 27-28 degrees. I would put off the AC in my room after 10 minutes (why cannot they put a timer for anything less than an hour?) Needless to say, I am a loner; my close ones prefer to leave me alone to occupy a better and colder room. Please tell me I am not alone in this?

Anyway, the point being, my work-wardrobe is full of shrugs, cardigans and blazers, basically anything I can throw over my outfit to keep me warm, and still look chic. But in addition to keeping me warm, they are wonderful to give a slightly more formal touch to the otherwise business-casual attire.

You know what else they come handy for? To cover up a not-perfectly ironed shirt. To give a formal feel when worn over a casual top (we all have our days when we don’t want to dress up for work)! AND, they can be worn with absolutely anything – pants, skirts, dresses. I also wear these to informal lunches with denim for a semi-formal look – a quick tip for the minimalist wardrobe.

Over the years, I have collected a good number of blazers in my wardrobe – you name a color and I would probably have it. But I feel for the starters, we should definitely have 2 colors in our collection – a classic black (duh!) and a light colored one – probably blush or a dusty pink one. That way we can ensure we have a contrasting color blazer for all outfits.

After my previous post on how to style ‘Indian Wear for Work’, in this one, I plan to talk about my second work-wardrobe essential – Blazers! (as if you haven't guessed already). Personally, I feel short ones go exceptionally well with the dresses, while the slightly longer ones are apt for skirts and pants. I was never able to get onto the below-the-hip long length blazer trend, though. May be because I am just 5’4’’? But allow me to talk you through the below two of my go-to work wear styles involving blazers.


Blazer with Pants

Red Blazer for Officewear

The Pants – For me, work-style is all about the comfort. And I am most comfortable in pants. Needless to say, you would see me wearing these 7/10 times when I decide to wear western business casuals. It is extremely difficult for me to find the perfect pair of fitted, narrow-legged, Ankle pants. So, when I find one, I pick it up – whichever color and how much ever expensive it is. The ones in this picture are from The Limited, are super stretchy, fit perfectly, and the hems end just at my ankle. These are dream; I don’t know what I would do when it wears out.

Pair a Red Blazer with Light Color Blouse to Work

The Blouse – I prefer to wear a light color blouse since they work so well with both dark and light color blazers. In fact, my mantra is to always go for the dark color pants, and light color blouses – so I am spoilt for option in that department. Most of my blouses are from Forever 21Zara and H&M. Occasionally, I would also find some nice pieces at Lifestyle Stores from brands such as CODE and Bossini.

Platforms are My Go-to Not just with This Style, But Every Other

The shoes – Heels are not really my thing; hence when I have to add that extra height, I always go for platforms. Good thing, they are in trend these days! This particular pair is from Forever 21. And a tan + black combination is my all-time favorite. These add so much height, and still is comfortable enough to enable me take the bus to work – A definite bonus!

Red Blazer from Nine West

The Blazer – As you might have noticed, I don’t shy away from wearing bright colors to work. Red, specifically, looks great with both black and lighter color trousers. I believe, if one has to experiment with colors at work, there are a few pieces you can play around with – blazer topping the list for me. I have seen folks wearing Red pants to work and blending right in as well, but that is probably too much for me – I could never pull it off!

This particular blazer of mine is from Nine West and I love the fact that it is not too short, yet not too long – perfect with pants that touch just my ankles.


Blazer with Dresses


These days, I am more into fit and flare dresses, rather than Skater ones, as I find them so much more comfortable. Plus, they complement my heavy bottom body type well. Since, the fit and flare dresses are technically more casual, I would put on a blazer to make it more work-appropriate.

Mint Color Blazer

The dress – To balance it off, when I go for a monochrome dress, I would experiment with the blazer. An example, the mint color short blazer with the black dress. However, when I wear printed dresses, I lean towards the customary plain black blazer.

Booties with Dress for Work Style

The shoes – I love how Booties look with dresses at work. Since I am not a heel-friendly person, I stick to these short block heeled ones.

My Favorite Givenchy Earrings for Office

Accessories – Nothing like a dainty earring to accentuate the confident feminine office look.

Isn't the Mint Green Color Amazing!

The Blazer – well, I prefer not-so-long blazers with dresses. I got this cool mint green blazer from Splash Fashions. Absolutely cannot get over this color!


To summarize, I would say my love for blazers started to grow the day I realized I could use them to instantly turn my casuals to business casuals, and even if I experimented with colors and prints, I would not be ogled at suspiciously at work!


Stay tuned for some more on this work-fashion issue. Meanwhile, if you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, please put your email ID in the top right section and follow to stay posted about all future posts.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

The Girl Boss Series - How to Make Work-Wear Fun (Indian Wear Edition)


I still remember the first time I went shopping for formal clothes, just before joining my first job – it was traumatic to say the least!! A small bit of information about me might help in getting some context here – a part of me loves fashion and experimenting with styles, and the other part loves to stay indoors in Pajamas. So, while I end up buying lots of trendy stuff, I find very few occasions to flaunt my style to the world. After all, what is the point of dressing up if there is no one around to throw a few compliments?

As a result, shopping for college was something I always looked forward to – thankfully we did not have too many restrictions where I went for my undergraduation! But then it got over, and it was officially time to grow up. By that I mean buy proper formal clothes – striped shirts and blazers, along with non-body hugging trousers. Yes, if I was experimental, I could think of buying an office dress, or a black skater skirt. But that was pretty much where my mind would tell me to pause. Partly because I preferred to stick to the safer options when in doubt, but also because I was unaware of the various experiments I could be doing with some of the simple pieces from my wardrobe.

This was till I started traveling for work, and I started noticing others – there are so many fun styles to make your work wear fun, yet not over-the-top to grab unnecessary eyeballs. Has especially become easier now, that so many international brands such as H&M and Forever21 have made work-style affordable for all of us. And let us face it, when it comes to work-style, we ladies DO have a little more leeway compared to men.

In this part of the Girl Boss series, I talk about my journey from unexciting black, blue and striped office clothes to some unconventional and fun work styles! Dressing up for work has never been more fun! The best part is, there is so much of mixing and matching that can be done with a few key pieces. And you thought, that is only for Indian wears?

Needless to say, all work styles cannot be combined into a single post. I doubt anyone will be able to go through the entire long post in a day. Hence, I will divide it by wardrobe essentials. The first part is going to be about my favorite kind of attire to wear to office – the Indian Wear!

Indian Wear is my Favorite Type of Work Style


The Indian Wear


Fun Office Attire - Indian Outfit

Best part of working in India? We can wear Indian Suits to office. Wearing Indian attire is not just fun, but also so comfortable. You hardly have to worry when bending down to pick up the pen, or your skirt rising up too high when you sit in a meeting, or for that matter battling the crowd during your commute to office.

1.     No Need to think twice when playing with Colors – Who said we cannot flash some bright colors at work! And the safest bet is to opt for an Indian attire. From mustard to pink, from rainbow print to florals, nobody is likely to question you if it is on a Kurta. The other good thing? You can also re-cycle those Kurtas for a casual day, by wearing it as a dress with a belt over it – A tip for the minimalist wardrobes.

 
Bright Colors and Printed Pattern in Indian Outfits
2.     Accessorize doesn’t need to be subtle – If some time you get to visit the Colaba market in Mumbai to check out the rows after rows of accessories they have, please know that I own more than half of them already. So much so, that now I am waiting for a couple of months before paying that place another visit, so that I can buy some new stuff. Needless to say, I am always on a lookout for occasions to exhibit these. Can it get any better that I can wear most of these to work daily with my Indian outfits? Most times I go crazy experimenting with accessories, especially earrings – the only thing I keep in mind though, is that they don’t make too much of jingling noise.
An Indian Outfit Isn't Complete without a Chunky Pair of Earrings

3.     Make-up more than the no-make-up look – Again, being a make-up lover, Indian outfits give me so many options to play around with lip colors, and most importantly, Bindi! Bindi is by far my most favorite thing to wear – it instantly gives the face such an ethnic feel. I own Black bindi of various sizes, and stick to that color for office. Not that one cannot wear a red or stone based one to work, but it is just personal preference for me.

A Bindi for the Extra Ethnic Touch 


4.    One classic sandal that can go with all Indian Outfits – When it comes to shoes, I am slightly picky about the quality and comfort. Most times, I would own just one or two classic high quality sandals to go with Indian outfits, wear them till they are completely torn apart, and wear them a little more, before going and buying a new one. My current favorite is the one in the picture. These are from the brand ‘Catwalk’ and I got them from Lifestyle Stores. I prefer to own the slip-on sandals, because who likes spending that extra 2-3 minutes sitting down and buckling the shoes when you are already running late!

Flat Slip-ons Work Wonders for Me Along with an Indian Outfit


And you were wondering why Indian outfits are my absolute go-to for work? Just to summarize – they are comfortable, and you get a lot of options to play with – prints, colors, accessories. Need I say more?

However, I know some of us are always traveling for work outside the country. Also, in the services industry where you have to sit with clients every day, for instance Consulting, it is natural for most of us to opt for Western formals instead. That is what I intend to talk on my next few posts in work-style. So stay tuned.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My (Love) Hate Relationship With Driving - Post by Akhil Mittal


Okay I have a confession to make. I am a man but I do not like cars. I always knew I was different from other boys while growing up. I had absolutely no interest in checking out the new Mercedes models and unlike other pubescent teens, did not get aroused when I spotted an exotic car with both horsepower and mileage.

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Healthy Lifestyle Despite Long Working Hours

The Girl Boss Series - Healthy Lifestyle with Long Working Hours

I work as a consultant, and my work hours vary by the project I am working on. Sometimes it is 10 hours a day, and other times it is 15. That said, it is never less enough for a lazy person like me to be able to include a regular 1 hour workout routine to my lifestyle. Hence, I have to live with a mix of good food and some heart-pumping, amidst the innumerable client dinners and weekend outings to maintain a balance.

Part 4 of the Girl Boss Series on my blog is all about how I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, while working long hours. I am NOT the most healthy or the most health-freak person out there, and I DO have to make that extra effort to stay (somewhat) fit. Especially with today’s fast lifestyle, where even if we want, we cannot keep ourselves surrounded by greenery and eat pesticide-free fruits and veggies, I feel nothing is worth NOT being able to invest in yourself.

For the purpose of this post, I will break it into 3 parts – eating well, working out, and de-stressing. All these three go hand-in-hand and my skin and weight does the talking when I am able to stick to this routine.

Eating Well


Eating Well is the First Step to Staying Fit

I am a Bengali - Rice and sweets are a part of my staple. As I grew up and realized that my metabolism is slowing and these 2 things are doing more harm to my body than any good to my taste buds, it took me a lot of disciplining myself to eating rice once or twice a week, and giving up sweets after every meal! Even today, when I cheat, I would usually cheat on desserts and Biryani, rather than pizza and fries.

1.   Ghar ka Khana – The most essential thing I try to do is take home-food to office for breakfast/lunch. The fact that I cannot eat outside food continuously for few days definitely helps my case. When I was stuck in a hotel room for 5 months on my last project, with no access to kitchen, I easily gained 4 Kgs in no time. Hence, I cannot emphasize this step enough. I know it is not easy for everyone to do it, but we can always try to cook one big batch and use it for the next 3-4 days. In India of course, help is available easily, and that is what I leverage.

      I also try to keep some healthy snacks, like a box of cut fruits, or dry-fruits to munch on between the meals. That way, I don’t have to rely on unhealthy snacks when I feel bored or hungry. Can you tell I carry my entire day in a hand-bag?
      
      Check out here what some of my other must-haves are.

2.    Drink lots of Water – They say, drinking sufficient amount of water helps in detoxifying the body, thereby keeping you away from dry skin, bloated stomach, breakouts, etc. What I have noticed is, when I am well-hydrated, I also feel less hungry. Some calories saved right there!

I usually carry an empty bottle with me (isn’t water too heavy? Well, my shoulders aren’t that strong), and fill it up and keep on my desk. If I don’t have it in front of me, then I would probably end up going to get myself a glass of water ONLY when I am thirsty, and hence end up drinking less. On a busy day, when I am working at a stretch, drinking some water also helps break the monotony. Too many positives to give up on this one!

3.    Avoid liquid calories – We don’t realize, but coffee and other drinks accompaniments with food result in piling up the calories pretty effortlessly. The lemonade, the cold coffee, the coke with a slice of pizza – I know we are much more aware of the health hazards of these today than we were 5 years ago, but just in case you do this, now is the time to stop.

Especially in the western countries, I feel since Water costs as much as many of these other sucrose-added drinks, people would go ahead and buy these instead. Rarely, have I seen them not ordering a coke along with a sandwich!

Well, coming from India and the spicy food we serve, I have always been used to having water with my meal. That said, evidently, having water WITH a meal dilutes the enzymes and reduces metabolism. So I try (more often than not I fail) to hydrate myself 30 minutes before or after a meal.

4.    Avoid processed food – If you have ever tried to count calories in food mindlessly you would have noticed processed food have fewer calories. For example, Oats has more calories than corn flakes, brown rice has more calories than white rice, so on and so forth. And THAT is why we should go for healthy food, than just count the calories. Processed food is stripped off of fibre, and end up giving you a bloated stomach when consumed too much. Pretty much empty calories they are.

Simple things like baking an Atta cake, or going for the Atta noodle if you HAVE to, can go a long way in making for a healthy living.

5.     Fix a schedule for eating out – Let’s face it – we love to eat out once in a while. And healthy living doesn’t have to be about giving up on that Chhole Bhature or trying out new restaurants in town altogether! What works best for me, is making a schedule of how many times a week I am allowed to eat out. I have restricted it to once a week. That just helps break the dullness of home food, and also helps keep a check. Otherwise, I would never have a count of the random calories piled on.

6.     Don’t skip breakfast – I am sure we have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is also the easiest to skip with today’s lifestyle – we wake up late, we don’t have time for breakfast, and coffee seems to be an easy option to keep us full till an early lunch.

However, ever since I have been having a little something in the mornings, I have realized that it helps keep me full throughout the rest of the day. I don’t mean I can skip lunch or dinner altogether, but I feel full with much lesser amount of food during my other meals. I am guessing that saves me some calories in the long run?

Some easy breakfast options I swear by:

a.    Chilled Oats – I recently discovered this, and here is a detailed recipe of this super easy and delicious option. You can also make this once, and store for the next 3-4 days. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it!

b.     Spinach Banana Oats Smoothie – Just blend them all in a blender with some ice, and the perfectly healthy and filling smoothie is ready. The green color of this smoothie makes me feel good (and pretentious?) as well. Are you weird like me?

c.    Boiled Egg/Potato Sandwich – For days when I crave for a savory breakfast instead of sweet, I just put in some boiled potato or boiled egg slices in a whole wheat wrap or 2 slices of whole wheat bread, with some chopped onions and tomatoes. Yogurt or Guacamole can serve as excellent dressing/spread, and salt and pepper for added flavor. Sometimes I would use Avocado, but more often than not, it is not easily available in India. At least not around me.


Work-out


Working Out is as much about the Clean Air as About the Heart-Pumping

Getting the heart rate soaring is very tricky business for me. As much as I can, I try to avoid it. But I am not getting any younger, and putting on weight has never been easier.  Although, even THAT is not adequate to get me to the gym every day. I mean, is it just me who detests the sight of driven young people running on the tread mill?

Let us just say, listening to music and running on a machine is just not inspiring enough for me. So I am on a constant lookout for innovative and fun ways to keep myself fit. Hence, things I do in this section, might not be for every one of you out there, but if you are lazy and easily bored like me, keep on reading – some of this might come handy.

1.    Cardio isn’t a synonym for treadmill – There are so many other ways to get some cardio in life. I feel it is important that we all choose something that we enjoy doing. Personally I find it more fun to take a walk in a park than running in an enclosed room we love to call Gym.

Swimming, Cycling, Zumba, Dance classes – these are some of my favorite things to do. Many of them aren’t probably as efficient as hitting the treadmill but these are some activities I can continue to do without it getting monotonous and then me quitting. THAT to me is more important than being super-effective one day and snoozing the rest of the week.

I would usually go for a 30 minute swim 5 days a week and since I am in Mumbai, I can keep doing that across all seasons! Many days, especially when I am on taxing projects, I feel like giving up, but I enjoy swimming so much, that it is like a welcome break for me. More like some me-time away from the world.

2.   The elevator is for the lazy – Even if you aren’t able to get to working out 4-5 times a week, there are always other ways. And the easiest of them is to take the stairs at work whenever you can, take a short walk when you are taking a break, etc. This is no rocket science, but a reminder once in a while helps!

3.   Monitor footsteps – Setting targets and tracking them is probably one of the easiest ways to keep yourself motivated. I learnt this when there was a walking challenge introduced in my workplace last year. When I had a set target and was meticulously tracking my footsteps to reach there, I was inadvertently pushing myself to walk around and take the stairs at times when I would otherwise be sitting.

For instance I was walking around when on an office call. I was forcing myself to take the stairs so increase the count on my tracker by 50 rather than taking the elevator or escalator. The challenge is now over, but I am still tracking my steps. The feeling of accomplishment when you have exceeded your target, is inexplicable!

De-stress


De-stressing is As Important As a Heavy Work Out to Complete the Healthy Lifestyle
De-stressing is probably as vital as working out for a healthy lifestyle. This is something we easily tend to forget these days, in our rush to achieve the world in a much lesser time!

1.     Sleep – Easier said than done but 7 hours of continuous sleep is what I aim for in a day. Gone are the days when I would spend a night out and survive the next full day on a Red Bull!

2.  Pamper yourself – After a busy week, unwinding is again a key step I don’t like to miss on. Weekends for me are meant to be for hair spas, and facials, and a visit to a massage parlor whenever my time and wallet allows.

3.   Lemongrass – Lately, I have started believing on Aromatherapy. Ever since I got a Lemongrass essential oil from Muji, I have been using it non-step in my diffuser. The room smells like a spa and falling asleep at night with a relaxed mind has never been easier!

Hope this lazy girl’s guide to a somewhat healthier life comes in handy for you. For all the super-active healthy people who have accidentally found my blog, sorry to disappoint :P This was not by any means a health lecture, just some things I do to make my sedentary lifestyle a little more hale and hearty.

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Keep a lookout for my next post on Apr 29!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When Healthy Breakfast Gets Delicious - Chilled Swiss Oats


Chilled Swiss Oats - Easy No-Cook Recipe
Having come back home after a 5 month long stay in a hotel, my hands were itching to do some random experiment with food. But I hadn’t even gotten time to go shopping to get some grocery yet! So I just had to do with whatever I had in my kitchen.

There was this chilled oats I had once had in one of the breakfast places back in DC, so I thought might as well try to replicate that. Turns out, the Swiss like to serve their oats chilled. Mind you, I had no recipe from Google, or from the coffee shop for that matter, but had a gut feeling about the ingredients from how it tasted. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised, when the taste turned out to be very similar to what I had had. Am I becoming a pro already? :P But then, it is chilled oats, had some dairy, some nuts, some fruits – how different could it really taste!

A little bit about the recipe – it is no-cook, with easy ingredients (like I said, I did not have to go shopping before this), nutritious, and oh-so-tasty. Don’t shirk from this post at the sound of Oats! I know it is not everyone’s favorite. But the chilled version is more like a healthy dessert than actual oats. AND, since it is chilled, and it is sweet, should I call it a perfect summer breakfast yet?

It is my favorite already, and I am planning to make a huge batch for the rest of the week. But before that, couldn’t stop myself from penning it down for the world.


Ingredients for 2 servings

Ingredients - Chilled Swiss Oats

1.      5 table spoon full of regular Quaker Oats
2.    2 table spoon honey – you can add according to your taste. The fruits which I add in the next steps also add some sweetness to the deal
3.      4 table spoon plain yogurt – adds a creamy texture to the oats
4.    1 tea spoon Vanilla Essence (this is the only ingredient which you might have to go out and buy; I usually have one in my kitchen always, since I bake a lot. It also comes in handy to put some in coffee/tea to give it a different flavor – try it out J)
5.     Cut fruits (I feel we can experiment with what fruit to use – I used banana, apple and pear)
6.     Some milk to dilute the mixture
7.     Dry fruits to garnish and for some extra crunch

Recipe  


I feel funny penning the recipe, because it is literally just mixing all the ingredients (yes it is THAT easy), but I will give a shot at it anyway.
1.     First I put the yogurt in a container and beat it to make a smooth consistency.
2.   Added some honey in it – now one could use Sugar-free to reduce the calories, but I prefer to stay away from them. You could also add sugar, if you are out of honey, but honey is just more nutritious compared to sugar, which is simply empty calories. And morning is the best time to put some sugar in the body, to give you some energy, and also burn it by the end of the day, so it is not stored as fat. I’m no expert, but so I have heard.
3.     Then I added the vanilla essence and the cut fruits into the mixture, and mixed it well, such that all of the oats were coated with yogurt.
4.   Alongside, added some milk to make the consistency a little thin. The oats soak up the moisture anyway.
5.      Covered this with a lid and put in the refrigerator for 4 hours
6.     When I took it out, the oats had soaked up a lot of moisture, and I felt as if I should have added a little more milk. But it looked awesome nevertheless!
7.     Finally, served it chill with some crushed almonds for the crunch, and some more cut fruits to garnish it

Serve with Almonds and / or Cut Fruits

Everyone in my home loved it! This is an ideal recipe for all those working men/women as well, who, like me, have crazy mornings, and the last thing they want to do is prepare breakfast. Such times, I mostly end up eating some junk from the office cafeteria, only to feel guilty later. But, that is now a story of the past! This recipe can be stored easily for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, and I am planning to store it in batches, grab one box each morning, and probably have it on my commute! Easy and hassle-free. Isn’t it?


Please check out the latest post on the Girl Boss Series on my blog if you haven’t already! As always, thanks for taking time to go through this post.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Girl Boss Series - Must Haves for Office Handbag



When I had just started working fresh out of college, my friends would joke about my purse being a Santa Bag – if you put your hand inside and really prayed for something, you will never come out with your prayers unanswered. The fact that it was red/maroon in color, did not help my case at all. As much fun as they made of the bag, they would always have to come to me if they needed a sanitizer, or some Vaseline, or for that matter an aspirin.

Welcome to Part III of the Girl Boss Series. In this post, I talk about all the things a working woman should have in her hand-bag, according to me. After all, we spend 30-40% of our weekdays in office! Not that I had a comprehensive list from day 1 at work, but over the years I have learnt more from my mistakes than anything else. The list might seem long, but you don’t have to keep EVERYTHING. You can pick and choose what suits your day and work. Additionally, with so many travel sizes available these days, it has become easier to carry the entire day in your hand bag. Santa bag indeed, eh?

1.     Essentials


Let us talk about the no-brainers first, and set them aside for the rest of the blog
What is in my Office Handbag - Essentials

a.      Battery Pack – When I am traveling to or from work is when I am most active on social media. And my biggest nightmare is to have a low battery. With a battery pack in my bag, the only bottleneck is Mobile Data. Even for that, you now have Reliance JIO :P Forget social media, for someone as bad as me with roads and directions, I always have to be on Google Maps as well, to instruct my cabbie where to drop me off.

b.      Sunglass – More often than not, each of my hand bags have a pair of sunglasses. However, I keep the expensive ones safe in my closet for times when I know I will have maximum sun exposure.

c.      Umbrella – Very important for my fellow Mumbai-kars; you never know when the clouds will leak. One moment it is sunny, and the next moment you might have to reach out for your umbrella. I suggest getting your hands on a light 4 fold one, so that it doesn’t add to the weight of your bag.

d.      Scarf – Don’t we all hate it when the wind dishevels our hair when we are in public transport? I always cover my head when I am out in the roads. A bonus – it can also save the skin from all the pollution and dirt in Indian roads.

 2.       Snacks


“Never say sorry for what you said when you were hungry.” I am sure you have the ‘Snickers’ ad on TV. Cure those hunger pangs with some healthy snacks from your bag, before they start talking in front of your boss or client!
What is in my Office Handbag - Healthy Snacks

a.      Apple – Did you know Apple is a negative calorie fruit? Which means, it uses up more energy to digest than it offers to the body. Such a healthy and non-messy item to carry around too.

b.      Granola Bar – Sometimes I miss my lunch (not a good thing, but what can you do when you are running from one meeting to another). Best to have a granola bar than to stay hungry in such dire times.

c.      Sprouts – Such a healthy option, but it is definitely for the non-lazies. Some days when I am able to plan ahead, I get sprouts to work. Nothing like popping some into your mouth when you need distraction from the monotony of work. You will not even know and will end up having something healthy J

d.     Dry fruits – Another healthy option for between meals. Don’t overdo this though. It is easy to put on weight with too much dry fruits in a day.


3.       From the Pharmacy

What is in my Office Handbag - From the Pharmacy

a.      Sunscreen – Most days, I would put sunscreen under my makeup, and don’t want to reapply in fear of spoiling it and re-doing the entire face again. But I keep one in my bag anyways.

b.     Female hygiene products – It is sad that most corporates in India don’t keep a Pad/tampon dispensing machine in the women’s restroom. And you never know when Aunt Flo would feel like saying Hi! Hence, I usually carry one or two pads/tampons with me always. An extra one just in case someone needs to borrow.

c.      Medicines – Head ache, stomach cramps, cold. May be the pollution in Indian metro-cities is killing my immunity. But I have to pop in some of these pills from time to time. Although, I would say don’t be like me (too many medicines hasn’t done anyone any good), but sometimes, in emergencies, you cannot just help. I just feel a lot more secure when I have these in my bag.

d.     Band Aid – Do you love shoes and heels as much as I do? Then I am sure you are not unaware of shoe bites with new shoes. It is super annoying when you get them while hard at work and all you can think of is how you will get back home at the end of the day. For times like this, throw in 2-3 band aids in your bag!

e.      Sanitizer – Ok I admit, I am super lazy. I don’t feel like going to the rest room every time I want to get my hands clean. I also have this weird habit of using some Sanitizer every time I sneeze. TMI?

f.       Tissues/Wipes – Just, you know, good to have. Especially if the place you order food from, ALWAYS forget to send across napkins. Also, if you are an oily skin girl like me, you would know that the struggle is real. I try to keep some blotting paper to dab my face every now and then, but when I run out of it, some dry napkins/tissue papers work just as well.


4.       Make-up & Beauty

It takes some hard work to not look like a hot mess by the time you are ending your day! Also, my colleagues are too bad at pre-planning after-office gatherings. Some make-up stuff definitely comes in handy to freshen up your look after every few hours. If you haven’t checked out my easy work-appropriate make-up look yet, click here.

What is in my Office Handbag - Make-up

a.      Compact Powder – I have very oily skin, and while I mostly use blotting papers/tissues to soak the oil up, it is good to have a compact handy, if need be.

b.     Lipstick – I think each of my purse has a few lipsticks. Sometimes I forget I own a lipstick, until I find it in one of my bags! When I am feeling like it, or may be have a lot of free time, I would re-do my lips after a meal. But most times I just slather on some tinted lip balm to get some color back. Have you guys ever tried the Maybelline Baby Lips Candy Wow yet? It has a very good pigmentation for a lip balm and leaves the lips smooth and supple at the same time.

c.      Eye liner – With an oily skin person like me, especially if you live in a humid place like Mumbai, make up is always melting. And I hate looking like a raccoon. Who doesn’t? Hence I keep a liner in my bag always.

d.     Hand cream – You know, how there are folks who always remember to moisturize their body after a bath, follow the three step day time and night time routines? Well, let us just say I am a unique. Some days when I am typing on my laptop, I would notice how dry my hands really are, and how I AGAIN forgot to moisturize them before getting out of the house! For times like those, I keep a hand cream in my bag always. And you don’t need to buy a separate product, you could just put in a travel size body moisturizer, or small case of body butter instead.

e.     Face mist – Sitting 8 hours in a day in AC, can make the skin feel very dry. Nothing as refreshing as spraying some mist on the face.  Helps in waking me up quicker than coffee, AND helps extending the make-up wear time. Talk about killing 2 birds with one arrow!

f.       Perfume – Not smelling your best after the long travel to work? Spilled coffee over yourself? Just take out the goddamn travel size perfume and spritz some on you. I have heard, aromatherapy improves concentration as well!


5.       Miscellaneous

What is in my Office Handbag - Water & Miscellaneous Items

a.      Water – I feel, I drink more water when I have it in front of me. And since water adds a lot of weight to the bag, I would usually carry an empty one, and fill it up when I am sitting at my desk. When I see that bottle sitting by the laptop, my hands would automatically reach out to hydrate myself. Also comes in super handy when you are traveling. You can fill the bottle after the security check at the airport, and save yourself the hassle of pressing the button to get an air-hostess’ attention, waiting for what seems like a year, and then eventually giving up. The struggle is real!

b.      Gum/Mint – Aren’t there times when you feel too bored / tired while working continuously for a long time, and you have already had 3 cups of coffee since morning? A mint at such times really helps me break the monotony. And if I am feeling sleepy after lunch, chewing on a gum helps me focus. Not to mention, the fresh breath it gives you!

c.      A Small Note Pad – I like to keep my work notepad at my workplace, but always do keep a small notebook and pen handy in my bag, in case I need to write something down – may be groceries I need to buy on my way home; errands I have to run after work; a new blog idea that just struck me – the list in unending. I am very traditional that way; cannot take notes on my cell phone. So much for being active on digital platforms. But I am trying to improve! :D

d.      Stain eraser – True story: one day during my first year of working, just about 30 minutes before a client meeting, I spilled some tea on my pastel blue blouse. Needless to say, I freaked out! Tried removing it with some water, and then dry out the water patch, finally ended up trying my best to cover it with a Blazer. To save myself from similar embarrassment in future, I did a quick google search on stain erasers to-go. That is when I was introduced to this beautiful world of Tide To-Go Instant Stain Remover Pen. It wasn’t available in India then, so I happened to pick a few up when I was traveling to US, but I see now that it is available on Amazon. At a much higher price than in US though L But nevertheless, I try to keep one in my bag all times.

Well, this was a long list. But if there is anything not in this list that are YOUR absolute must haves, I would love to know about them in the comments below.

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Check out the previous posts on this series:


Keep a lookout for my next post on Apr 15!                

The Girl Boss Series - How to Make Work-Wear Fun (The Blazer Edit)

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