Back to Work Basics

As a non-mom, back to school makes me nostalgic for the days when shiny new binders and crisp bright sneakers where the most important part of my summer. Trust me, I was was weird even when I was a kid. You may be wondering why on earth someone without kids is writing a back to school post, but I promise it’ll make sense eventually.

The end of the summer marks new beginnings, without the stress that comes surrounding the actual start of the year with the holiday season. Now years out from being enrolled any kind of actual school, I am still drawn to participate in activities that start their season with the school year. From volunteer activities to refreshing my office style, back to school is the time of year I focus on getting back to work with some basic updates.

Getting Out the Door


Combining working full time, volunteering for the Junior League and my sorority, and picking up writing projects on the side, it becomes for me to hard to get out the door in the morning and even harder to leave the office at the end of the day. I need to be able to pack all of my notes and the tools I need throughout the day so that I don’t have to run back home in between work and volunteering just because I forgot the projector cable for that evening’s presentation.

Having a work bag that helps me stay organized is the key to keeping all the plates I’m juggling up in the air. I’ve been toting around a boat tote full with my laptop, notebooks and water bottle for years, but with age it’s become far from the professional look I want to portray.

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Back to school is ideal time to pick a new work bag that is classy enough to go from a client meeting in the afternoon to a volunteer training in the evening. Dagne Dover has your favorite tote bag, all grown up.

Since I regularly have a laptop and a few folders that need to travel with me throughout the day, I picked the Classic Tote for it’s compact size and easy to organize compartments. The tech pockets allows me to reach in and quickly grab my phone to look up directions without needing to dig through whatever bundle of receipts I’ve been carrying around for weeks.

Each item I need throughout my daily routine has it’s own perfect compartment. A long pocket for sunglasses keeps them safe from scratches and the detachable key leash allows me to unlock the office door without spending 15 minutes shuffling through to find the small keys underneath all of the larger items I need to haul around.

The coated canvas trim and pyramid hardware feet keep all of my personal items secure from the elements, all while looking fashionable and polished throughout the day. With the Classic Tote’s elegant style, I can easily go from work to happy hour with the girls without feeling like I need to swap out bags in the middle of the day.

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Classic Tote

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Take advantage of Tax Free Holidays


Fall is best time to catch great deals and find the best variety for office supplies, fall fashion and technology updates. There’s no reason to leave all the fun to the kiddos! A fresh notebook and new clothing can bring a whole new pep to my step when I sit down to go through my work for the day.

With tax free shopping days including office supplies, back to school is a logical time to check off must-buy items like computers and printers. Tax free days can save $10-$50 on every top dollar purchase.

Be sure to check if your state is hosting a tax free shopping day this fall.
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Fall is the time of year when I try to update my wardrobe staples. Belts, shoes and accessories are worn with a variety of outfits and can help make last season’s colors, this fall’s closet staple.

For my husband, I am loving how the Mission Belt adds a whole new look to dress shirts he’s been wearing for the last year. Made entirely without holes, these unique belts provide a touch of color and class for what might otherwise be a good standby outfit.

Each buckle is universal, enabling my husband to go from a brushed metal look with one outfit, to a dark black buckle with another – all while keeping the same belt base. The Canvas collection comes in a wide variety of colors, providing options for every outfit throughout the week.

The canvas strap is easy to size, and can be adjusted with just a quick snip before placing the end back into the buckle. When sizing up, the buckle snaps into place securely every ¼”, always ensuring a comfortable fit without leaving telltale wear marks by cracking the surface of the belt with each notch.

Working in a cubicle, the surrounding grey can make it hard to have fun at the office. Adding a pop of color to the items I use most frequently helps keep my creativity inspired throughout the day.

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You can’t control what tech your office issues you, but you can make it a bit more suited to your style. The NewerTech NuGuard snap-on laptop cover and keyboard cover is a low effort way to jazz up your office decor. The snap-on cover installs in minutes, keeping your precious Mac safe from any scratches and the keyboard cover keeps dust, grime and crumbs out of the keys.

One of my volunteer roles has a big event that I’ve been working on for the last two years. We’re decorating tables at the event with historical photos and providing a photo booth where attendees can swing by and snap a photo with their besties before heading off to the rest of the festivities. I’ve been waiting for the right time to snag a portable printer for the event, and with a tax free shopping weekend coming up, the time couldn’t have been better.

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The less I need to do to print photos, the better. Having the take time out of my already busy schedule to stop by a one hour photo studio sometimes is just one hour too many. When I learned that Kodak has a one-touch photo printer, I was hooked.

All I needed to do was snap in my phone and all of the images I had been emailed for the event can be printed off right there. Using D2T2 Printing Technology ensured that each print dried quickly and could go right from the printer into a frame for display. This little tech wizard has already saved me hours for planning my event.


During the event, I can set-up shop right next to the photo booth and snap and print images on the spot. There’s no need to hunt guests down to make sure that they receive their photo because it’ll be done printing before they can finish setting their props down.

Throughout the evening, it’s easy to change out ink cartridges without a mess that would ruin my manicure. Just flip open the printer and remove the cartridge in one step. If the night is really busy, the dock even doubles as a charging port, ensuring my phone stays charged for the entire evening!

Healthy Fall Commitments


After swimsuit season has passed, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy routines and then try to make up for it during the time immediately following the holidays in a few months. With less outdoor activities to keep me busy, I find myself spending a lot of my day sitting, both at work and home.

They say sitting is the new smoking and I can completely understand how that health correlation has come to light. With my busy fall calendar, it’s hard to carve out dedicated workouts, but I do want to make small improvements that will mean I won’t be crying over the scale come January.

Making a commitment to move move throughout the day is hard, but I’ve set my fitness tracker to remind me when I need to stand and am bringing some new items into my office to help facilitate this healthy change.

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Standing alone isn’t going to mean that I can skip my afternoon workout. Staying in motion will, however, help make up for time when a volunteer task keeps me away from the gym.

Standing at my desk, I’ve found that I put too much stress on my joints and neck, leaving me feeling sore by the end of a few hours of standing. The FluidStance Plane helps me to stay in natural motion while working on tasks at my desk. Increased heart rate and ergonomic support means I don’t feel tired and hunched over from sitting all day. The Plane fits conveniently under my desk when not in use, enabling me to quickly transition from seated to in motion without needing to leave my work space.

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The Plane

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I work in an open office space and am lucky to be able to move around and use one of the communal standing desks whenever I’d like. Unfortunately, that means I need to pick up all the notes and projects I’m currently using and drag it halfway across the office.

Being able to easily transition from sitting to standing without relocating is something I want to do to get in more time standing each day, without losing productivity shuffling back and forth.

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While standing desk converters are becoming more common place, finding one that suited my workspace was a bit of a challenge. I need a standing desk solution that does not take up a ton of space and is easy to use with a duel monitor setup. I’m also on the shorter side, so adjustable height options is necessary for me to find an ergonomic solution. Enter the Cooper Standing Desk Converter by Fully.

With flexible height options and a one handed hydraulic lift, it’s now easy for me to spend an hour or more standing while I accomplish projects at my desk.

The keyboard placement is ideal for ergonomics, lowering the stress and tension on my shoulders created by sitting stationary most of the day. I didn’t even realize how hunched over I was at my desk before making the switch to the Cooper!

We’ve already talked a bit about my need for adding color to my work space, so the bamboo finish really helps take my cube decor up to the next level.

As we head into the busy months, I feel prepared and ready to take on any challenge that comes from work, volunteering or even at home. Isn’t that what back to school is really about?

Looking to find a better way to manage the balance between work and family? Read our article on how to find the Golden Mean in work life balance.

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Anne Murlowski

Annie is a lifestyle blogger from the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. She lives just outside Denver with her husband Drew and their Corgi Rogue. Offline she works as a marketing manager specializing in digital marketing and social media. You can find Annie, and her passion for all things Colorado, DIY, Cooking and Decor at RockyMtnBliss. or on Twitter at @RockyMtnBliss.

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