Ah, to be prepared. Stocked desk drawer, thoughtfully packed bag, pen at the ready...there's nothing like having everything you'd possibly need within reach. Beyond the essential essentials (e.g., keys, cell phone, cash or plastic), there's a second tier of items that help out in many a pinch. Sure, you can survive if you don't have them on you, but keep 'em handy and you'll realize how often you reach that way.
Whether you have a steady, 30-minute morning makeup routine at home or you get it all done on the go, you ought to keep a multi-use foundation stick in your bag. The sponge applicator tip of Maybelline's Super Stay Stick makes it easy to use anywhere, and the formulation is great for touch-ups and contouring (or all-over coverage if the master plan was always to get ready in the office bathroom).
Maybelline Super Stay Multi-Use Foundation Stick, $12;
In a world so thoroughly digital, some analog pieces can't be beat. A fun-sized notebook takes up minimal space in your bag and can prove to be handier than you know (for jotting down brilliant ideas, shopping lists, or need-to-follow Instagram handles should your cell be out of juice).
Smythson Panama Notebook, $75;
Pentel EnerGel Pens, $10 for 12;
Last-minute plans with friends? Work event that you spaced on? Turn an average-Tuesday outfit into something cocktail-appropriate with the addition of bold earrings. Pick a pair in a neutral hue and keep the soft bag they come in so it's easy to slip them into an interior pocket of your purse, ready to be ignored until needed.
J.Crew Chandelier Earrings, $40;
Definitely punching above its weight class, a bronze illuminator is a cinch to apply and instantly makes the makeup you put on bleary-eyed at 6 a.m. look fresh from the professional's chair. Count on it if you have after-work plans or just want a pretty pick-me-up.
Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter in Molten Topaz by FaceStudio, $10;
Carrying a toothbrush around with you at all times isn't really practical, but you can MacGyver your way to a just-brushed feeling with gum that kicks your ass. Menthol makes these tablets wow-ee.
Airwaves Menthol & Eucalyptus Gum, $8 for 10;
Ask any pro manicurist how to get clean, non-raggedy nails and they'll extol the virtues of simple cuticle oil. Using on the regular is a good habit, and it's easy to implement when you're bored standing in lines or stuck in a barely moving Uber.
French Girl Nail & Cuticle Oil, $20;