Work from Home: 8 ACTUAL Must-Haves

I’ve been a work from home creative, freelancer, and full-time employee for over 10 years. I’ve got WFH life down to a science. That’s why I’m telling you these no-fuss, no-muss absolute MUST HAVE items for your home office vibe. These aren’t pretty pen containers and adorable tiny unicorn USB essential oil diffusers. These are get-it-done more-productive-at-home helpers.

Me in my home office!

Even if you’ve been working from home since the pandemic started, do you have all of these creature comforts and necessary products? Aside from a desk-height surface (I’m not picky, it doesn’t even have to be a proper desk) and a chair that can keep your elbows in alignment with your keyboard, and your eyes in alignment with your screen (more info here!), here are the other 8 things you absolutely need to work from home.

Work From Home Tips

Please note some of these are affiliate links where I earn a tiny percentage of the sale at no cost to you!

8 Actual Work from Home Must-Have Items

Eye Drops

1) EYE DROPS: The computer screen gets all of your attention when you work from home. With fewer noises and movements to attract your eyes away from the screen, you tend to forget to blink. Eye drops to the rescue. This also helps prevent headaches. Similasan Computer Eye Relief drops are my favorite.

Desk Chair Butt Pillow

2) DESK CHAIR BUTT PILLOW: Oh so glamorous, isn’t it! When you work from home, you tend to sit a lot longer than you might in an office environment. There you’d get up to chat with coworkers, look at someone’s new project, go out for a lunch meeting, etc. Even the cushiest chair pillow goes flat with a butt sitting on it for 8 hours a day. A butt pillow may not be sexy, but it sure is helpful.

Unlimited Amazon Prime Music Streaming

3) UNLIMITED AMAZON PRIME MUSIC STREAMING: I’ve tried the other services. I have. They’re just not as good, so go ahead and fork over the additional $7.99 and let Amazon rule even more of your life. My music-snob husband dug deep into his catalog to see if he could find a song that wasn’t available. He tried dozens, and only one came back as unavailable, because it had been banned in the US. So trust us and get Unlimited Amazon Prime Music now.

Sturdy Slippers or Indoor Shoes

4) STURDY SLIPPERS: My feet get cold sitting at my desk all day PLUS wearing ‘shoes’, even if they are technically just sturdy-soled slippers, makes me feel much more productive. I know they’re a bit pricey, but Ugg slippers are my favorite for winter, and good old Birkenstocks or Adidas or Lacoste slides (my current favorite!) are perfect for summer! All of these will last for years.

Desk Fan/Space Heater

5) DESK FAN/SPACE HEATER: Depending on the time of the year, don’t forget a sturdy desk fan or space heater. Sitting still for a long period of time means you’ll be colder than if you were up and about, or warmer if you’re just sitting in a hot room. Vornado makes my favorite space heaters because they have a vintage-retro style and really do the job. I just added a Vornado desk fan to my desk and it has been a great help this summer too!

Mug Warmer

6) MUG WARMER: I honestly don’t know how I ever allowed myself to drink lukewarm or cold coffee. My plug-in (to the wall, not USB) coffee warmer was a gift from my brother-in-law and I’ve become totally addicted to it for keeping my coffee perfectly toasty. I highly recommend this to avoid cold-coffee-grumpiness. It might seem silly, but it’s not! This is the exact one I have (mine is white).

Laser Printer

7) LASER PRINTER: You absolutely must have a LASER (not inkjet) printer if you print more than 1 page a year at home, in my opinion. I make do with a black and white laser printer, but color laser printers come down in price every year. They print hundreds of pages on one toner cartridge (yes, it’s semi-expensive, but not compared to inkjet cartridges) and prints without fail for those hundreds of pages. Inkjet printers are not reliable nor cost-effective if you’ll be printing anything.

Here is the exact Brother version I have and it has been a faithful companion through 5 books now. You can also get one with scanner/copier capabilities if you need that (but you can scan documents with the Notes app in your iPhone!).

A Bra!

8) A BRA: Ladies, listen to me. You will not be nearly as productive without a bra as you will be with one. Not to mention in winter, you’ll be COLD without a bra. Trust me. If you don’t have any meetings or feel comfortable, go ahead and wear a sports bra or wire-free comfy bra. Just don’t go without some kind of support.

Bonus Items

Nice to have, but not necessary.

-Great coasters to protect your desk

-A wrist gel pad

-A desk candle

-A stash of dry shampoo, hairbrush, and quick makeup or a facial mist for last-minute meetings

Yes, it might be tempting to think you NEED a kitty-shaped lamp for your desk, or a great wall tapestry for your backdrop. You might think you absolutely need Airpods or a standing desk or a fancy gadget that reminds you about your posture. Those things might be nice additions, but the above items will get you working, at home. Which is, of course, the purpose of working from home…right?

Will Work for Coffee Image by Emma Matthews

All Married Up

Your Good Girl Style guide, Natalie, is now all married up! And I do mean married UP, since my new husband (!!!!!!) is quite the catch, and I could not be happier or more blessed to be his WIFE! The wedding was everything I wanted it to be and more…it was such a FUN day! No one told me how fun it is to get married 🙂 I’ll share our wedding photos just as soon as we get them back; in the meantime, here’s one of my favorites from our engagement shoot. We are walking perfectly in step. And this was a genuine moment…it was the end of the shoot and we were walking back to the car, and I was freezing, so he put his arma round me to keep me warm!

End of Year Review

Merry Christmas, darlings! 

{studio pretties}

Hi friends!

I am thinking over 2016 and what a wonderful, busy, marvelous year it has been…and I hope you can say the same. Here are a few of the things I’ve been working on.

{gifts in jars in barnes + noble!!!!!}
{making gifts in jars in the studio!}

Gifts in Jars was released on October 18, 2016. It is so much fun to see my book on shelves across the country, to sign copies at Barnes & Noble, to read your reviews on Amazon (keep ’em coming!) and to host Gifts in Jars workshops in my studio. It’s been a fun ride!

{FIRST LOOK! She’s so pretttttty!}

I got the first copies of Happy, Pretty, Messy IN MY HANDS! This is my first book, my heart book (even though it’s releasing second) and it comes out on February 7, 2017. It’s available for pre-order NOW!

{making pretty food even prettier in the studio in my favorite apron and socks!}

So yes, I wrote 2 books this year. I also food styled another cookbook, which was awesome and I loved being able to do it in my own studio space this time.

On top of that, I signed contracts for TWO more NEW books due next year! I’ve got lots of writing to do 🙂 And I’ll be teaching poetry this semester at a local college.

It has been a good year for my heart. Poetry, food styling, writing books…my heart is full and grateful for it all.

Much love,

Grove Collaborative

It is VERY hard to find glass spray bottles, and hard to find good spray bottles in general. I absolutely love my high-quality Grove Collaborative  (affiliate link) one, and can’t wait to get a few more. I use this one for ironing, but also want one for homemade cleaning products and such. They’re just too handy, beautiful, and lasting. 
Do you about Grove Collaborative (affiliate link) if you haven’t heard of them. They deliver the best in natural cleaning and home products to your door, stress-free, and with all sorts of perks! Every order plants trees, offsets carbon, and does so much good. I’ve placed many orders from them and their customer service is top-notch, too. Not to mention you get the same goodness brought into your house…natural cleaning products, luscious candles and lip balms made by them, THE best glass spray bottles EVER, and, of course, my favorite Mrs. Meyer’s hand soaps. 

They even carry the hard-to-find Limited Edition scents. I am DYING over the Lilac scent this spring. It is SO good. The Apple and Rhubarb are perennial favorites as well.

Check them out, here’s $10 through this link 🙂 Enough to nab one of these gorgeous glass spray bottles fo’ FREE! OR a soap…your choice, tough call though.
(affiliate link) 

Book Review: How to Live in Fear

book provided by booklook bloggers

How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out
by Lance Hahn
3.5 stars ***

I was very intrigued by this book based on the title and subtitle. They say so much and speak to my heart right now. However, after reading the book, I am left with conflicting feelings about it. On the one hand, it is very inspirational to see a leading Christian figure struggle with panic disorder and still keep going, still keep making progress for the Kingdom. On the other hand, the book is full of anxiety triggers and I could hardly read more than a few pages at a time without feeling anxious because of his in-depth descriptions of his own panic. I also still wrestle with the whole idea of being chained to living in fear. I guess perhaps I still want a “way out.” But maybe Hahn is bucking the system by NOT saying we have to have “enough faith” or enough medication, to dissipate our feelings and lose anxiety along with any other emotions. Perhaps he IS right in saying we should freak out, and live with the freaking out, as best we can. Hmmm….this is a thinker for me 😉

Reading Lately

{courtesy booklook bloggers}

The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way
by Dr. John Townsend
3 stars **

I thought the title of this book really drove home a point I’m passionate about: things are pretty darn easy these days, and we get lazy. You know what laziness translates into? Entitlement. Chances are we’ll have an entire generation of entitled adults, if we don’t already. Not I! So I was excited to review this book based on the title and subtitle. Unfortunately, it takes a pretty hard-edge view of things that was rather disparaging. It was not the hopeful, encouraging or even enlightening book I was expecting. I do not need to be barraged with the negativity. I want to know how we FIX this. How can I avoid it in my own life? How can we teach the next generation to dig in and do the hard work? This book was a disappointment for me. It might speak to some, but it didn’t for me. Plus, I’m not sure anyone who actually IS entitled would pick up this book, giving it a “preach to the choir” angle that didn’t suit me. Even the cover speaks of an axe to grind…and edge, instead of a hopeful point of view.

Praise and Coffee

Ladies, I am so excited to share something totally new to me (but probably old-hat to you and I’m just showing you how out of the loop I am. Oops. I mean, “This has been out there forever, haven’t you seen it before? Sheesh.”). This magazine is chock-full of inspiration and is really a joy to read. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in this morning to read the latest issue.

Random Interlude

Ok, so I’m obviously way late to the game with this one, but I just realized Bethany Dillon (who was one of my favorites back when I was 15) wed Shane Bernard of Shane & Shane a couple years back. How did I not know this?!

And then I stumbled across this wedding video of theirs, and it is just seriously the sweetest and happiest thing and it made me tear up (I’m such a mush pie). And if you already knew this, just reminisce, remark on how darn cute it is, and then laugh at how I just realized this.

Update: They also have a kid. I’m super-way behind.