CLOSE
iStock
iStock

15 Back-to-School Products for Grownups

iStock
iStock

There’s no reason for kids to have a monopoly on the joy of “back to school shopping.” Whether or not you’ll be continuing your education this fall, share in the spoils by stocking up on some of the season’s coolest, handiest, and most fun office supplies. (Your coworkers will be jealous.)

1. POST-IT SUPER STICKY NOTES; $4.88

Post-it

The dull yellow sticky notes available in your office’s supply closet are due for an upgrade. The super sticky notes in Post-it Brand’s World of Color Collection—which includes colors inspired by Morocco, Miami, Bali, New York, and more—come in bold, saturated hues that will liven up your desk.

Find it: Amazon

2. POST-IT POP UP CAMERA NOTE DISPENSER; $24.89

Post-it

Keep your Post-it Notes within easy reach with this whimsical dispenser, which doubles as a paperweight.

Find it: Amazon

3. SCOTCH EXPRESSIONS WASHI TAPE; $10.98

Scotch

This colorful tape has a texture similar to masking tape, so you can write on it with pen, pencil, or marker. Use it to label your folders and drawers, or get creative and decorate your cubicle or office’s walls and furniture.

Find it: Amazon

4. SCOTCH MAGIC TAPE DISPENSER, GLOBE; $10.39

Scotch

Travel the world without using any of your vacation time by keeping this globe-shaped tape dispenser on your desk.

Find it: Office Depot

5. MOLESKINE 18-MONTH PETIT PRINCE WEEKLY PLANNER; $20.95

Moleskine

If you can’t remember a date without writing it down—and your calendar app just doesn’t cut it—this weekly planner from Moleskine will be a lifesaver. The charming diary features plenty of room to annotate your appointments (a lined page faces each weekly calendar page) and evocative illustrations from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic.

Find it: Moleskine

6. LIFEFACTORY 16 OZ ACTIVE FLIP CAP WATER BOTTLE; $29.99

Lifefactory

Staying hydrated helps keep you alert and focused at work or in class. Sip in style with this glass water bottle from Lifefactory: It’s dishwasher-safe, made from FDA-approved materials, and has a pivoting handle and handy flip cap design.

Find it: Lifefactory

7. MIIR 18L TOTE; $79

MiiR

When you purchase a bag from MiiR, you help support students around the world—MiiR gives 5 percent of its top-line revenue to nonprofit partners, including education resources and clean water initiatives. The water resistant18L tote is just as useful on your commute—it has a padded sleeve for your laptop—as it is at the farmers market or on a hike.

Find it: MiiR

8. PREPD LUNCH BOX SET; $55

Prepd

We’ve had our eye on the Prepd Pack lunch box since it was a glimmer of an idea. Now fully funded, the Kickstarter project will begin shipping in October. The Prepd Pack has a sleek bamboo-covered case and comes with removable modular containers that will make you excited to pack your lunch.

Find it: Prepd

9. HERSCHEL SIXTEEN HIP PACK; $29.99

Herschel Supply Co.

Give your back a break this fall with Herschel’s hip spin on a ‘90s favorite. The adjustable Sixteen hip pack is big enough to fit your wallet, cell phone, keys, and more, and can be worn around your waist (like a fanny pack) or over your shoulder.

Find it: Herschel

10. HERSCHEL SETTLEMENT CASE; $19.99 - $29.99

Herschel Supply Co.

Grownups need a place to put their pencils, too. Herschel’s Settlement Case, which comes in an array of colorful geometric patterns, would also work well as a makeup case or toiletry kit when you travel.

Find it: Herschel

11. FREE FORM BULLETIN BOARD; $75

Uncommon Goods

This magnetic wooden bulletin board has moveable parts—including a shelf, pins, pegs, and box—so you can arrange it (and rearrange it) to best suit your needs.

Find it: UncommonGoods

12. BUBBLE WRAP CALENDAR; $27

Uncommon Goods

Scientific studies have proven that popping Bubble Wrap really does help the popper feel more calm and alert. Stave off stress by starting each workday with a deep cleansing breath and the pop of one bubble on this calendar.

Find it: UncommonGoods

13. BANNED BOOKS TOTE BAG; $18

Uncommon Goods

Bibliophiles will love this canvas tote, printed with the names of once-banned books from Ulysses to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Find it: UncommonGoods

14. TRESTIQUE MAKEUP; PRODUCTS START AT $24

treStique

This line of crayons and colored pencils is made for adults. treStique’s makeup system comes in stick form, making it as easy to toss in your bag as it is to apply. Buy it a la carte or choose a custom set or bundle.

Find it: treStique

15. GRAZE; $11.99 PER BOX

Graze

It’s time you break up with the vending machine. For under $12 per box, Graze will send you a pack of eight delicious, nutritionist-approved snacks.

Find it: Graze

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
technology
Design Firm Envisions the Driverless School Bus of the Future
iStock
iStock

Engineers have already designed vehicles capable of shuttling pizzas, packages, and public transit passengers without a driver present. But few have considered how this technology can be used to transport our most precious cargo: kids. Though most parents would be hesitant to send their children on a bus with no one in the driver's seat, one design firm believes autonomous vehicle technology can change their rides for the better. Their new conceptual project, called Hannah, illustrates their ideas for the future of school bus travel.

As Co.Design reports, Seattle-based design firm Teague tackled both the practical challenges and the social hurdles when designing their driverless school bus. Instead of large buses filled with dozens of kids, each Hannah vehicle is designed to hold a maximum of six passengers at a time. This offers two benefits: One, fewer kids on the route means the bus can afford to pick up each student at his or her doorstep rather than a designated bus stop. Facial recognition software would ensure every child is accounted for and that no unwanted passengers can gain access.

The second benefit is that a smaller number of passengers could help prevent bullying onboard. Karin Frey, a University of Washington sociologist who consulted with the team, says that larger groups of students are more likely to form toxic social hierarchies on a school bus. The six seats inside Hannah, which face each other cafeteria table-style, would theoretically place kids on equal footing.

Another way Hannah can foster a friendlier school bus atmosphere is inclusive design. Instead of assigning students with disabilities to separate cars, everyone can board Hannah regardless of their abilities. The vehicle drives low to the ground and extends a ramp to the road when dropping off passengers. This makes the boarding and drop-off process the same for everyone.

While the autonomous vehicles lack human supervisors, the buses can make up for this in other ways. Hannah can drive both backwards and forwards and let out children on either side of the car (hence the palindromic name). And when the bus isn’t ferrying kids to school, it can earn money for the district by acting as a delivery truck.

Still, it may be a while before you see Hannah zipping down your road: Devin Liddel, the project’s head designer, says it could take at least five years after driverless cars go mainstream for autonomous school buses to start appearing. All the regulations that come with anything involving public schools would likely prevent them from showing up any sooner. And when they do arrive, Teague suspects that major tech corporations could be the ones to finally clear the path.

"Could Amazon or Lyft—while deploying a future of roving, community-centric delivery vehicles—take over the largest form of mass transit in the United States as a sort of side gig?" the firm's website reads. "Hannah is an initial answer, a prototype from the future, to these questions."

[h/t Co.Design]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
school
New Pop-Up Museum in Maryland Looks at What It's Like Being a Teen Today
iStock
iStock

Museums across America explore everything from break-ups to the human urinary tract system. Now, The Washington Post reports that a group of Maryland high school students have launched a pop-up museum dedicated to the modern teenage experience—selfies, schoolwork, and social pressures included.

Located in a vacant restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, the Museum of Contemporary American Teenagers (MoCAT)—which is set to run from December 6 to December 9, and again from December 14 to December 16—is primarily organized by students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Organizers believe it’s the first project of its kind to explore teen identity and culture.

Displays at MoCAT, which received funding through donations and crowdsourcing, will include murals, 30 exhibits, live performances, and 150 “selfie” sculptures molded from clay. Exhibition themes are slated to change daily, and cover topics that run the gamut from unrealistic body image expectations to smartphone addiction and college application stress. Others are more political in nature, examining everything from fear of gun violence to shifting gender norms.

The MoCAT isn’t intended to be permanent, as it’s located inside the future sight of Marriott’s new headquarters. But according to The Washington Post, the students say they’d love to see the initiative eventually gain new life as a traveling exhibition featuring contributions from teens around America.

[h/t The Washington Post]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios