The MSA team has been WFH since the end of March, and while some of the team already had pretty awesome setups at home, others have been working from the couch or their dining room tables. Sure, you can probably get work done at most any desk or chair (or couch, beanbag, futon, the list goes on) but there are some things that enhance any new/alternative workspace and just make it more comfortable and enjoyable to be in. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the items that are making our current WFH lives feel more productive, happy, and cozy.
The MSA Team's WFH Essentials:
The Item: Look Blue-Light Abbey Glasses in Grey
The Cost: $78.00
Why I Love It: Right now I am not only working from home, but I'm also doing four hours of evening Esthetics classes, four nights a week. That's at least 12 hours of screentime a day, not to mention my "leisure" time where I may be watching television or staring at my phone. Ugh. These blue-light blocking glasses are incredibly lightweight so that they don't feel heavy at all on my face. The arms also bend both ways to prevent any stress that over time could break them while taking off or general wear. The lenses come in low-level prescriptions as well, but I chose to get the neutral 0 since I don't need readers quite yet. After a couple of weeks of wearing these, my eyes honestly feel less stressed and I've noticed that they feel a lot less dry (I wear daily contacts too). I think I need to get better at wearing these during my bed/phone screen time to see an impact on my sleep (or just stop late-night phone use altogether).
The Cost: $38.00 for full-size
Why I Love It: Please don't roll your eyes. I know this lipstick is expensive and I honestly only have the mini that I got with my Sephora Favorites Luxe Kit BUT I've recently discovered that red lipstick gives me a real boost of endorphins when I'm feeling blah. Let me be clear- I'm not WFH in full makeup every day and I'm not one of those people telling you to be productive/creative/etc. It's ok to be in sweats, not shower, have crying fits, and eat crap food IF THAT'S WHAT YOU FEEL LIKE DOIN' (I am projecting). I'm all over the place and my emotions are a dang rollercoaster these days. But once a week (maybe) I try to force myself to do a full face of makeup or JUST lipstick and mascara. Seeing that bright pop of color on our daily Zoom calls for work really makes me happy for a bit and it usually gets a compliment too, which makes me feel nice. Any red lip will do, but this one feels extra fancy when I need a little kick.
The Cost: $60.00
Why I Love It: This is the ideal WFH shirt (that isn't an old sweatshirt). Soft enough to sleep in but polished enough to make you look at least mostly competent over a Zoom meeting (I cherish versatility AND items I can wear straight out of bed for my daily calls!), this soft top works beautifully alone or under a favorite tank, sweater, or slip dress. It is also light enough to wear all spring but layer in the winter! It has only gotten softer the more I wash it and I am 100% sure I need one in every color offered. Pro tip: The US Foundation line is more fitted but super stretchy. Size up if you prefer a more relaxed fit!
The Item: Pantenger Genmaicha Tea
The Cost: $18.90
Why I Love It: My routine used to be wandering to the MSA fridge every morning for some bubbly water, but now I have a cup of this tea every day. Sometimes two! Occasionally three. I have long loved Genmaicha tea because it combines green tea with toasted rice pieces which make it feel so earthy and comforting. It also gives a very gentle caffeine kick that doesn't have me crashing by noon. This brand is one of my favorites and the tea bags arrive in a gorgeous tin that is perfect for stashing jewelry, pens, art supplies, whatever, after you drink your tea.
The Cost: $2.59
Why I Love It: The friend I'm sheltering with got me on the tea wagon; normally I'd save it for sore throats or chilly days when I'd rather not crawl out of my skin after coffee, but the ritual of getting up, turning on the kettle, and sipping this herbal beauty has proven peaceful. I'll take all the peace I can get.
The Cost: $39.95 (on sale for $23.97 in remaining sizes)
Why I Love It: If you know me even a little bit, you know my penchant for black clothing. I bought these muted purple leggings on a whim with a matching bra top and the combo has become my snazziest WFH get-up. The high-waisted cut was a must for me and the option of lengths made my non-existent torso and very long legs really happy. I feel comfortable, supported, and best of all, put together thanks to the slight sheen. They look just as good with an oversized sweater as they do with a leather jacket, and once they're out of the wash, they're one of the first things I wear again.
The Item: Simple Habit
The Cost: Free basic membership. Premium membership costs $11.99/month, $95.99/year, or $299 for lifetime access.
Why I Love It: I purchased the yearly membership a few months ago and have found it so helpful when I need to take a short pause. They have a variety of mediations, soundscapes, and even (bedtime) stories to listen to!
The Item: LapGear Home Office Lap Desk
The Cost: $39.99 (at time of purchase)
Why I Love It: Sometimes I just feel like sitting on the couch while working! This desk is comfortable sitting on my lap and keeps my laptop stable. There are even a mousepad and phone holder compartment, which also come in handy.
The Item: Our Place Always Pan
The Cost: $145
Why I Love It: Like many of us, I've been cooking lunches at home between Zoom calls and dinners at home A LOT these days. I got tired of struggling with our no-longer-so-non-stick Teflon pans very quickly and wanted to try one of the shiny new ceramic pans popping up in my Instagram feed. I got the Always Pan in Spice to cheer up my kitchen and it is a breeze to cook with and clean up. Every second I don't spend scraping food out of a pan is a minute gained. It handles both my solo lunches and dinners for two really well. I'm working on an in-depth review to share my full take on the Always Pan, so stay tuned!
The Cost: $56
Why I Love It: I never thought I'd be a candle person, but since I started working at MSA and was exposed to all different sorts of candles and scented products, I guess I've become one. This candle smells SO GOOD. Eucalyptus, but not like the chemical scent of eucalyptus essential oil - like fresh eucalyptus. The freshest of fresh basil smell mixed with a hint of fennel. A little bit of lavender (which I'm told is overpowering if you dislike lavender). All of these come together in such a bright, clean, invigorating scent that somehow also puts me at ease. While I'm working from the studio (solo!) I burn this once a week or so when I really need it and it's an instant mood booster for me.
The Item: Beats Wireless Headphones
The Cost: $199.95
Why I Love It: My Beats headphones are about 4 years old, so they're an older model compared to the one I'm linking to. I won't pretend to be a huge headphones expert, but these were my first pair of truly wireless headphones and they are a real game-changer for working at a desk all day. The connectivity is good, so I can also take breaks and walk around the house a bit without my Bluetooth dropping off -- and when I do need to charge them up, the included cable is long enough that I can do so without feeling restricted. If you want something smaller, I also highly recommend these Jabra in-ear headphones. I scooped them up for a deal on Black Friday, and they are my go-to for listening to music at the gym. Now that I'm doing yoga at home, I must say these make a huge difference for following along with YouTube instructors, and if I close my eyes I can totally pretend that I'm in a studio getting private instruction instead of trying to follow along with a video on my phone.
The Item: Yeti Rambler Mug
The Cost: $24.99
Why I Love It: I'm used to doing the coffee shop shuffle as my ever-changing "office," which means I'm used to nursing amazing coffee throughout the day from my travel mug. It works out great because I truly am a slow coffee drinker and this way it doesn't get cold immediately. Now that I'm working at home I use my travel mug to help set the vibe, and I like that this one has a handle and some weight to it. I fill it with high-quality coffee either from my Trade subscription or that I've picked up from my few favorite local spots!
The Item: Juniper Ridge Cedar Incense
The Cost: $12.00
Why I Love It: Simply put, for pretending you're outside when you're stuck inside. I also strongly suggest bathing yourself in pine needle scent before sitting down to work, for the same reason, using their body wash (here).
The Cost: $65
Why I Love It: My typical skincare routine - if I can really call it that - includes a drugstore cleanser and moisturizer. Every once in a while I try out a new product but I mostly stick to those two products. I recently realized my minimal skincare routine was slipping because I rarely wear makeup when I work from home. Of course, you should wash your face whether or not you wear makeup but it's so easy to forget when your normal life routine has shifted. I decided to splurge on a new product and settled on the Resurfacing Moisture Mask from True Botanicals. This pretty orange mask has a very fresh scent with the slightest hint of citrus and floral notes. I leave this on for a few minutes and then my skin feels refreshed and slightly smoother. I use this a couple times a week, specifically as a pick-me-up when I’m having a sluggish day. It’s been really nice to have a simple and quick moment of self-care during the work day.
The Item: Stitcher Premium
The Cost: $4.99 per month
Why I Love It: I've always been a casual podcast listener but now that I work from home all the time, I find myself very dedicated to a few shows. While I enjoy all kinds of podcasts, comedy podcasts have really been improving my work from home situation. I decided to switch to Stitcher Premium because they have the full backlog of podcasts, ad-free streaming, and comedy albums. Listening to the backlog of shows I love has been a great way to brighten my day. I spent the first couple weeks of my subscription listening to my favorite episodes of How Did This Get Made? and Comedy Bang Bang. Now I'm starting to venture out into the world of new (to me) podcasts and there's a wide variety to keep me busy for quite a while!
Are you working from home right now? What are your favorite essentials to stay productive and comfortable?