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DESIGN
Back to School Essentials
by Karen Day
on 28 August 2009

Easing into new schedules come fall—whether that means juggling classes or just getting back to the grind after some time off—the back-to-school season often inspires contempt when suddenly work hours take the place of poolside hours. To help alleviate the sentiment, we put together a list that makes desk life a little more fun.

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Herman Miller Embody Chair
After recently putting this three-layer flexible chair to the test, we found its supportive structure extremely comfortable but also appreciate its myriad customization features hidden in a minimalist appearance. The Embody chair sells online from Design Within Reach for $1400.

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Clementine Art Supplies
Clementine art supplies allow kids to be as messy as they want during craft hour without sacrificing their safety. Committed to sustainability and the environment, their all-natural products—including glue, markers, paints, dough and crayons—come packaged in recycled material printed with soy-based inks. Available from Whole Foods (above left). Kits run $38.

Custom Sigg Bottles
Show who's the boss at school with a custom-designed, environmentally-friendly Sigg bottle. Choose from six revisable templates or add an image and text to a blank bottle. The one-liter bottles cost $28 from Cafe Press (above right).

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Poketo Notefolio
An attractive way to be prepared, Poketo's Notefolio combines the functions of a folder with a notebook to keep thoughts and important papers in one place, held together with a super strong rubber band. It's available from Poketo for $16.

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Musical Ruler
Created by Dan Wieden (of Wieden-Kennedy) for Suck UK, this plastic ruler will drive teachers crazy while providing unlimited fun for students with its musical capabilities. Finger markings and note positions make learning songs a snap. Available for £7 from Gadgets UK. (Click on image for enlarged view.)

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Talk To The Hand Sticky Notes
Recalling those days spent scribbling homework assignments on our hands, this quirky take on the post-it note keeps yours ink-free, eliminating the possibility of washing off the details of an upcoming exam. They're available for $7 from the Perpetual Kid (above left).

AshiDashi Socks
Meaning "stick out your feet!" in Japanese, AshiDashi limited-edition socks provide a little fun for feet, attracting attention for their zany concepts and colorful patterns. Each pair runs $12 or pick up the "Back to School" three-pack, which includes the above socks plus an old-school composition notebook pattern, for $32 from AshiDashi (above right).

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Why Does E=mc2? (And Why Do We Care?)
Written by professors Jeff Forshaw and Brian Cox, "Why Does E=mc2? (And Why Do We Care)" takes a riveting look at how Einsteins’s famous theory of relativity relates to our modern world. Clear and concise, the entertaining book sheds light on the world of physics for the layman, effectively allowing even the most science-challenged audience to understand the complexities of the subject. Available from Powell's Books for $24 (above left).

Goods For Good
As we gear up for heading back to school, it's important to remember those less fortunate. Goods for Good does just that, providing school supplies, clothing and hygiene products for children in Africa. Donate time, money or goods or participate in the school connect program, linking your school with one in need (above right).

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Electrical Man Multi-Outlet
Since there's still no ingenious solution for cord management, this power outlet man at least adds some levity to the clutter. His legs and arms turn one three-prong outlet into three and we especially like the power indicator heart. It runs $25 from Get Organized.

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