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!                

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