want it now: laptop shade

I love taking my laptop outside to work, but it’s difficult to do so when the sun is so bright I can’t see my screen. (Yes, I know — it sounds like a terrible problem to have!) I heard about laptop shades when I first started working from home, and yet here I am, two years later, and I still haven’t gotten around to purchasing one. This one from CompuShade is about $30. Here’s another from Your Mobile Desk that has a slightly different shape. Here’s yet another, but no word on where it can be purchased. Have you used a laptop shade? Any reviews on how they work? –Mary T.

From our partners

hot laptop? cool feet!

My laptop gets hot. Really hot. I don’t know if it’s due to the voracity of my web surfing (I kid, I kid), or just standard happenings, but I like the idea of cooling it off. These suction cup “cool feet” over at Charles & Marie would do the trick. According to the writeup, they will also increase the efficiency of my machine: “when laptops release their excess heat, they become faster!” Sounds good to me. Pick up a set for just $13 and start chillin’. –Erica P.

From our partners

a chair that mixes old and new

It’s been six months since I told you all about my desire for a new office chair. I’d love to use this post to show off a new purchase, but I’ve yet to find a replacement. Part of the problem is deciding if I want to go with a classic wooden seat or a more modern plastic/lucite number. The Prince Charles side chair from Modernica would solve this problem. It’s a perfect mix of old (classic walnut legs) and new (fiberglass seat and wire frame). I’d love it in terracota or red. If only it were cheaper! –Erica P.

From our partners

the surprising upside of being downsized

A few weeks ago, I was laid off from my day job. I’m sure that there are plenty of readers in a similar situation; that’s simply the unfortunate reality these days. It hasn’t been an awesome experience. But to my surprise, it hasn’t been completely dire, either. My layoff shocked my husband and me into suspending all costs that aren’t absolutely necessary — no eating out, no buying twice-as-expensive prepared meals at the deli, and no impulse buying for the house. (We did call a plumber when a drain backed up — that’s a necessary expense!) Along the way, we’ve discovered a few things:

We’re actually decent cooks — and it’s fun.
My mom was right: all it takes to be a cook is a recipe. And a stocked fridge. We’ve taken to buying a lot of frozen staples in bulk — fish and spinach are big ones — so we can whip up easy meals. We’ve dusted off our cookbooks, and who knew — it’s not that hard, it doesn’t take that much time, and even though we’re eating a ton, because we’re not eating out, we’re losing weight!

Not spending forces you to be creative.
We’re getting movies and books we’ve always wanted to try at the library. We’re going to parks or to free gallery walks. And we’re finally getting started on a few inexpensive house projects (think paint and doorknobs).

It was possible for us to save money all along.
Are you one of those people who wonders all the time, “How does the money go so fast?” So was I. It’s just amazing to me that, now that we’re actually thinking hard before every purchase, our money is lasting and lasting. I never realized just how much we were spending on small daily items like coffee drinks and muffins.

Would I rather have a job? Of course; and I’m working on it. But these are all lessons that I have to say I’m grateful I learned. –Mary T.

Image by Marek Wojtal.

From our partners

“excuse me, i believe you have my stapler”

Ever since I first saw the movie Office Space, I’ve wanted a red Swingline stapler for my desk. According to the trusted (Yeah, right!) Wikipedia site, the company received so many requests for the red stapler from fans of the movie, they added it to their product line. Well, folks, for the first time in years, my stapler allegiance has shifted. I now covet this solid wood version I first spotted at Mighty Goods. I love the clean lines and simple design, and the use of wood, of course — unexpected and a tad whimsical. –Erica P.

From our partners