7 Home Office Essentials

My husband and I have been working from home for over a decade, our sanity saved by regular business travel. Before 2020, we had a lovely rhythm.

Both of us were home enough to coach softball teams and volunteer at school, but our frequent business dinners and need for pants with zippers helped us feel balanced and productive.

I was always grateful that while I didn’t have a traditional commute, when I did travel, it was to the airport.

No matter how many miles a logged in a year, no matter how redundant and exhausting it started to feel, there was always a sense of adventure to it, and there was often the added bonus of flying in early to see a friend for dinner. 

Those were the days. 

Now, we’re together ALL THE TIME. 

Don’t get me wrong, working-from-home has incredible benefits. Hopefully, as the world opens back up, employers will offer more remote options. As a modern family, it does make trying to balance “it all” more manageable.

Frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

But boy, are we ready for someone to have to go somewhere.

7 Home Office Essentials

 

7 Home Office Essentials

Pre-COVID, we turned our old, unused, detached garage into a bright office space. The idea being I would finally have a creative space to work.

Of course, once the world shut down, it quickly turned into a flex space, serving as two full-time offices, a gym, a classroom, and a training lane for our daughter’s pitching practice.

It was chaos.

After realizing I was the only one NOT using my office, I finally reclaimed it. The kids, thankfully, have been back to school since September, and I kicked the pitching practice out after discovering a dozen dents in the new walls.

I can’t do anything about my husband, but fingers crossed he goes on the road again soon 🙂

Recently, I set my desk up just how I want it. It’s not fancy, it’s not “Instagram-Worthy”, but it’s practical and functional.  So I thought I would share the items that have made me feel more efficient. These can easily work in any area of your home, helping you feel just a little more professional. 

Starting with my absolute favorite … 

Standing Desk Converter

 

 

 

Standing Desk Converter

 

Standing Desk Converter, $91.96 

I searched for a standing desk for almost a year but didn’t want to spend too much. Then I came across this under $100 option from Amazon and immediately ordered it. There is a ton of research about the benefits of standing instead of sitting all day.

I can tell you I notice a difference in my productivity, especially if I stand after lunch. You get a second wind.
This specific model is lightweight, requires ZERO assembly, and can be used on your desk, dining room table, or kitchen island. I HIGHLY recommend it.

It has all FIVE star reviews on Amazon. 

Blue Light Glasses

Warby Parker Glasses

Glasses, $95 

Before my recent admittance into the progressive glasses club, I wore blue light glasses during the day because I can be on the computer and my phone an unhealthy amount of time. Warby Parker makes chic frames that you can buy with our without a prescription so that you can get them with a blue-light filtering lens only.

Yeti Rambler

YETI Rambler

YETI Rambler, $23 

I talk about this mug all the time. You see it frequently in my Instagram feed because I am never without it. Coffee fuels my mornings and this perfect mug keeps it warm for hours, so I’m not getting up and down to reheat it. 

 

Water Bottle

Water Bottle, $21 

And since I drink too much coffee during the day, I fill this water bottle up first thing in the morning and keep it on my desk. Because I only have a few chunks of time to work during the day, the less I’m in and out of the kitchen the better. 

Ring Light

Ring Light

Ring Light, $34 

One of my first pandemic purchases (aside from hand sanitizer and toilet paper) was this inexpensive ring light. Maybe you’re still forced to participate in Zoom with your camera on, or you’re in a business like me where you do different social media videos. No matter, this little guy is super helpful in making us look awake and alert when we’re not.

Daily Planner

Daily Planner

Daily Planner, $11 

I love this daily planner pad, specifically designed to help you map out your day. Of course, I use Google Calendar, and I have a proper paper planner, but I use this the most to help break down the specific tasks I need to do each day to reach my goals.

Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth Headphones, $300 

I cannot wear AirPods. They don’t stay in and hurt my ears at the same time. Anyone else?

So I use my Bose Headphones all day long to listen to music and podcasts and to drown out my husband’s non-stop conference calls. I originally purchased these to wear on flights and, like all things Bose, have been worth every penny.

Tell me, what’s the one thing you can’t live without while working from home? 

 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

 

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How I’m (Trying) to Getting Out of My 2020 Rut

How I'm Getting Out of my 2020 Rut

I’m never one to think I’m doing a good job, with anything, so it’s unprecedented for me to say that, right now, I’m killing it as a mama. 

When the world turned on its head last March, and we started to realize we were in this for the long haul, my husband and I committed to making sure our girls lives remained as normal as possible. And by and large, we have done it. They are in school, they see their friends, they play sports, most important they are safe and happy kids.

Where I’m failing, quiet miserably is taking care of myself. 

Which is an odd feeling because, Pre-COVID, I was in a good routine. I hit the gym several times a week, planned a few  girls weekends, and made time for date nights and quiet time. Not all the time, just enough to help me feel like I was replenishing my soul a bit. 

But pandemic parenting has taken its toll, (did you ever think your house could be so loud??) and I’m feeling the strain in more ways than one. 

My stamina is at an all time low, I have a hard time focusing, and I feel overwhelmed and bored at the same time. 

So I decided, if I’m going to keep my promise to my family and get us to the finish line of this big mess in one piece, I have to pull it together and get out of this rut. 

Today, I’m sharing a few of the things that are starting to help me feel like my old self. I’m not 100% there (not even close) but I feel like I’m taking the right steps to put myself back together. 

We’re so close to this being over, that when life goes back to normal, I want to be able to jump right in, head first, feeling my best. 

How I’m (Trying) to Get Out of my 2020 Rut

A lot of what I’m focusing on is health and fitness related, but I want to be really clear that the most important thing for me is perspective. 

This year hasn’t been without its challenges for my family, but by and large, in the scope of this pandemic, we have been fortunate. The way I look at it is, I have no excuse not to get it together. 

When times get tough, or I feel my anxiety and depression start to to rise, my gratitude practice as been the single biggest factor in helping me navigate out of it.

And I know how much better I feel when I put into practice a few simple activities, like regular exercise, drinking lots of water, and using food as fuel. 

It been my experience that you can’t make physical changes unless you take care of your emotional health too. 

Getting Back on Track

 

How I'm Getting Out of my 2020 Rut

Journaling

Let That Shit Go Journal

Journal, $9

This journal is both cheeky and helpful. It’s filled with prompt to help you think about what you can let go of. Below are two that I love: 

What extra efforts do you make to feel virtuous? Are they worth it? 

What could you stop trying to fix and just enjoy? 

Right? Think about that. 

I like it so much I ordered a handful to send as a Valentine to girlfriends. 

* Don’t buy if you’re offended by cussing. 😉

Hydrate

Water Bottle

Water Bottle, $22 

A few months ago I featured the gallon size of this water bottle. I used it religiously, until my 2 year old broke it. When I went to replace it I accidentally ordered this 64 oz version, which turned out to be a happy mistake. It’s a lot more manageable. 

Fill it up in the morning and leave it on your kitchen counter.  Yes you’ll have to pee every hour, but you’ll get the benefits of proper hydration almost immediately. 

Productivity 

 

Daily Planner

Daily Planner, $11 

There isn’t a calendar/planner/organizing app I haven’t tried. Where I struggle is keeping on track during the day. I discovered these day planning tear sheets on Caitlin Covington’s Instagram and ordered them right away. I keep it on a clipboard and jot down what I need to do each day – so easy and uncomplicated. 

Workout Gear Upgrade

There is nothing more motivating than new work out gear. The next few items are from Old Navy. They are cute, well made and affordable because this girl just can’t get behind a $500 workout outfit. 

Leggings


Built In Sculpt Leggings from Old Navy

Built-In Sculpt Leggings, $38 

We’ve talked a lot about leggings here over the past few weeks. Remember there is a difference between the leggings you wear in an outfit and the ones you work out in. I LOVE these built-in sculpt leggings from Old Navy (a big thank you to my friend Sarah for recommending them!). 

They come in a ton of colors and all sizes for under $40. Sold. 

Sports Bra

Old Navy Sports Bra

Sports Bra, $19 

I’ve never been one to wear coordinating workout gear. Instead, I’ve stuck with all black or grey pieces to mix and match. But one afternoon, while shopping with my 11-year-old, she convinced me otherwise. So I let her pick out a few fun, colorful “sets” for me. 

I wear a 36 C traditional bra and comfortably wear this in a medium. 

Tons of color and print options in a wide range of sizes. 

Fleece Zip

Old Navy Fleece Zip Hoodie

Fleece Zip Hoodie, $40 

I love this cozy fleece zip hoodie. I can throw it on before and after a workout, I’ve worn it with jeans, it will look cute over shorts in the summer. Sometimes a few fresh pieces are all you need to get your motivation back. 

Available in regular, petite and tall sizes up to an XXL in cream and black. 

10,000 Steps 


Fitbit Charge 4

Fitbit Charge, $132

I dug out my Fitbit and started tracking my steps again. For the past year I’ve pretty much stayed in my neighborhood, and now with the snow there are even less places to go. My Fitbit basically guilts me into walking around the block a few more times until I feel the fireworks on my wrist.  Whatever works. 

Sculpt Society 

The Sculpt Society

The Sculpt Society 

In the Pre-COVID world I loved my group fitness classes. From cycling to strength training, if it had a killer 90’s hip-hop playlist, I was there. All that obviously came to halt this time last year. I’ve searched everywhere for something to recreate the bouncy, peppy cardio I’m missing. The kind that makes you feel joyful when you’re done. 

I’ve only recently discovered The Sculpt Society, by Megan Roup and I LOVE IT!!! It’s easier than Tracey Anderson but still a challenge. She’s a delight, super motivating and accessible.  Highly recommend if you’re looking for something to do at home while we wait for spring. 

Food as Fuel

Body Love Every Day book

Body Love Every Day, $56 

I’m a huge fan of Kelly LeVeque. Here signature Fab Four Smoothies have been a game changer for me, and really started my journey to better health. I enjoy her straight forward approach to food, how she clear explains why something is good or bad for you, and her use of science. 

Her second book, Body Love Every Day will walk you through a 21 day reset and generally help motivate you to make small yet impactful choices ever day. 

Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

Merry Everything and a Heartfelt Thank You

Merry Everything

Hi Friends,

We all experienced 2020 in different ways, but it’s safe to say it’s been a long and arduous year for everyone.

If you’re feeling tired and worn out, I’m right there with you. I have about a million things to do for work, but I’m hitting the breaks this week, so I can pull Christmas together for my family and give myself a chance to enjoy it too.

Fourteen years ago, I started my journey as an entrepreneur. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did know I wanted to balance my career with motherhood.

There were so many years when that balance was way off. For the longest time, my time leaned more toward work than my kids, and I hated it.

Yet, somehow, amidst all the chaos of the past ten months, I feel like I might have gotten it right. And I realize I don’t need to strive for balance as much as I need flexibility.

It was messy. I hit the pillow hard every night. There were plenty of nights I fell asleep wearing the same thing I woke up in. But I was able to be the mother I always wanted to be.

Merry Everything
My girls: Madeline, Ava Grace, and Vivian
 
I have much to be grateful for this year, and so much of that comes from this incredible community of women.
Thank you for your support, your kindness to me and each other, your grace and sense of fun.
 
You’ve helped me build a business and family I’m proud of.

We might focus on frivolous topics here, but it’s been through those very conversations that we’ve created a community of supportive women, which has been a shining light in a year filled with stress and sadness.

It’s crazy to think that so much of my joy this year came from a group of women I never met in person. But it did, and I’m so grateful for it and to you. 

I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays. I hope this time, however spent, sets the table for a peaceful, health-filled 2021. And I pray that the New Year brings about the healing, change, and normalcy we are all craving. 

With lots of love, 

Meg

P.S. For the rest of the month, we’ll feature our best, popular posts of 2020 along with share some behind the scenes content on Instagram. I’ll be back with fresh, daily content on Monday, January 4th. 

And don’t forget, our 2021 Wardrobe Challenge Starts on Friday, January 8th!


Our Style Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 

Welcome December

All year long, I look forward to December. It is my most favorite season.  In the best of times, it’s a welcomed break from the hustle of daily life. For a few wonderful days, emails stop, deadlines move to the New Year, and the collective takes a breath.

But 2020 came in and steamrolled us all. Many of us have been treading water for nine months now, myself included. So this December, I’m planning on taking a break at the end of the month. I want to spend quiet time with my kids, clear my head, get organized, maybe bake something … we’ll see 😉 

Most of all, I want to take a minute to appreciate what I have and celebrate how we, as a family, navigated this year. 

Welcome December

This was the photo I was going to use today, me in my bright white kitchen, well manicured, sipping bubbly … but then I thought … 

Under $20 Holiday Ready Sweater

… let’s get real. Here’s what my morning really looks like:

You don’t get more 2020 then this. We’re back to virtual learning, our office is a mess, we’re all in sweats.  I’m pretty sure that’s my oldest texting her friends while she’s in class.

We are limping to the finish line. 

Today I’m finalizing our content for the month. As I start to wrap up 2020 on the blog, here’s what you can expect for the next few weeks on The Well Dressed Life:

  • Lots of holiday outfit ideas that combine comfort with a little glamour. 
  • One Comprehensive Gift Guide. 
  • Our Annual Reader Favorites of 2020 with new ways to wear them. 
  • From December 21st – December 30th, we’ll share “The Best of 2020,” a round up of the top posts of the year every morning.
  • Finally, our New Year 2021 Wardrobe Challenge will begin on Friday, January 8th. More details will be shared in the coming weeks. 

And, of course, if you have questions or requests, pop them in the comments below.

This has been one wild year, thanks for being a bright spot in it. I can’t wait for 2021, when we can get dressed up to go to work, see friends again and generally return to normal. 

 

 

How to Support Small Business This Holiday

Gift Guide 2019: Favorite Hostess Gifts

I’ve happily lived the life of a small business owner since I was 27 years old: hustling, failing, learning hard lessons, and picking myself up and starting again. One of the best parts of this journey has been the great friends I made along the way, other small business owners, entrepreneurs, restaurant, bar and gym owners.

When you go down this kind of career path, you quickly get used to the idea of uncertainty. But 2020 turned that concept on its head. Over the years we have seen and heard it all, and yet, nothing could have prepared anyone for the scenario millions of businesses find themselves in right now.

I don’t need to tell you how bad it is, specifically for all the businesses that depend on their fourth-quarter revenue. Unfortunately, with increased restriction, many of our most beloved established are buckling under the pressure.

Today, I thought I would do two things. First, share my favorite, most reliable resources I turn to this time every year. Some are local to me (so if you are also local, be sure to check them out!); others are small businesses from around the country that I’ve discovered over the years.

And then, I’m opening the comments for you to list where you live and the small businesses you love in hopes that it will help generate some extra attention for them. Feel free to add their website in the comments, too, and what makes them special.

I’ll then take them and feature them across my social platforms to help build their reach.

It hasn’t been easy, but, by the grace of God, I’ve been fortunate this year. Had I kept to my original business plan of working 1:1 with clients face-to-face, in stores, I’d be out of business within the first few weeks of this disaster.

I believe just as much in economic health as I do personal health. The two are not mutually exclusive, so any way we can help support our local communities, especially this time of year, will make a tremendous, lasting, difference.

How to Help Small Business this Holiday Season

Gift Guide 2019: Favorite Hostess Gifts

 

This post is not sponsored, and there are no affiliate links in it. 

Local to Me

I have many local readers, so please allow me to indulge for a minute and highlight some local to me businesses I adore. No matter where you live in the country, think about how you can support local first. 

I live in a town called Lafayette Hill, about 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. We sit next to Chestnut Hill and Conshohocken (where we lived for nearly ten years). One of the many things I love about living here is the small business community. They are the backbone of the neighborhood. They support all of our youth sports leagues and school fundraisers. Their owners are our friends; their kids go to school with our kids; it’s a very interconnected place.

These are the resources I use all year long, especially this time of year when life is extra busy. I use to think I had to do everything myself. Happily, I realized a few years ago, outsourcing many of the tasks that bogged me down during the holidays was freeing.

We host all the time, this year will be smaller and different, but we’re still celebrating. As much as I love to cook, I have most gatherings catered. I find there is almost no difference between the cost of doing it myself and having it brought in, and having it catered lets me take a shower, get dressed, and have fun at my own party.

There are four local restaurants that I turn to regularly:

  • Conshy Girls Restaurant Group – Owns Gypsy Saloon and Southern Cross Kitchen in Conshohocken. Gypsy is my go-to and when I’m not eating there, I’m ordering their take out. The Lobster Mac and Cheese is next level – but everything is fantastic. Plus, they pack their delivery and catered food in such a thoughtful way; everything is in place and piping hot when it arrives. During the early phases of lockdowns, they catered my Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday Dinner; both were exceptional. 
  • Pepperoncini Restaurant and Bar – I have our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day catered by this long-standing Conshocken neighborhood restaurant and bar. The food is just what we all want on a cozy holiday, from crab cakes to filet and incredible pasta, we’ve never had anything less than a wonderful meal. 
  • Pieri Restaurant Group – Owns Stone Rose, Bar Sera, and Bar Lucca, also in Conshohocken. They are all perfect date night spots, with (in normal times) a bustling bar scene with cool beers and good wine. They are always in our night out rotation, but recently I’ve been ordering cheese boards and burrata for drinks outside on the patio with friends.
  • From the Boot – a family owned, BYO Italian restaurant a few blocks from my house. They are probably to blame from most of my COVID weight gain. Perfect take out for when you want a home cooked dinner but no interest in cooking it yourself.

Need some baked good? Go to Brendenbecks in Chestnut Hill. Every time I walk through their old heavy front door and hear the chimes ring, I go back to my childhood. The place smells like heaven. We order all of our cakes for birthdays and special occasions. Every Christmas Eve morning I grab a coffee and head over to pick up my order, which always includes their melt in your mouth Petite Fours. 

For fun sweets to fill stockings or give as gifts I go to Edwards Freeman. They have amazing chocolates and candies and the best assortment of retro candy I’ve ever seen. My kids go crazy there. 

To send flowers to someone you love, or for your holiday table, I use Robertsons Flowers, also in Chestnut Hill

There are places like these in your hometown. Now is the time to support them as much as possible. 

Gifts

It’s so easy to support local business when sending gifts this year. Before you do, remember: we can’t expect these independent stores to compete with Amazon. It’s why so many of them are going out of business. So, if you are going to support local, go all in. Please don’t complain about shipping fees and, for god sake, give them enough time to ship them out. 

The first place I look for almost anything gift related is Etsy especially this year, when you might want to give something handmade, personalized and extra thoughtful. I’ve used this shop to have a custom watercolor made for a friend’s birthday, for candles I love Basic Bee Candle Co, and I think custom stationary is such a simple yet thoughtful gift, mine is made by JulieBee Design Studio

If you’re like me and love giving books as a gift, use Indiebound a website designed to support local independent bookstores. You can search by title and shop online or enter your zip code and be connected to a bookstore near you.

For unique and gorgeous gifts I like Chateau Sonoma (located in Sonoma California). They have a beautiful selection of affordable gifts like these French Cooking Salts, or this cheese knife set

Finally, I order quiet a bit from Jenny Steffens Hobick of JSH Home in Lexington, Mo. She designs her own stunning wrapping paper, and linens. I like buying her napkins for my own use and to use as part of a hostess gift. 

Now it’s Your Turn

So now it’s your turn, in the comments below share some of your favorite small business in your local area, why you love them and if they have website, you can put that in there too. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome November!

Gift Guide 2019: Favorite Hostess Gifts

With the election dragging on for a few days as predicted, last week felt like a distraction-filled wash. But now that the political texts, ads, and commercials are finally over, I feel like today is a fresh start and a good time to Welcome November.

I’ve always loved the holidays. In 2018, they were made even sweeter when we brought Vivian home from the hospital on Christmas Eve. Before she was born, I was sort of mourning the end of that chapter of our lives, when the holidays revolved around little kids. 

So I couldn’t be more thrilled or grateful to restart holiday traditions with Vivi, and seeing our big girls leading the way in celebrating with her is just the icing on the cake.

In a year filled with so much heaviness, we’re diving headfirst into the holidays. We’re decorating a little bit earlier, escaping in a few more Hallmark movies, and trying to stay present in all these little moments because we know how precious and fleeting they are. 

Here on The Well Dressed Life, there is a lot of seasonal content to cover that I can’t wait to share with you. Our  Holiday Gift Guides will begin this Friday because of increased online shopping and potential delays in shipping. These are some of our most popular posts, and I love putting them together, so if there is anything you would like to see or are looking for, let me know in the comments. 

Welcome November

 

Gift Guide 2019: Favorite Hostess Gifts

And a few quick reminders:

 

 

  • We are about to hit 4,000 members in our Well Dressed Life Private Group. If you’d like to join just follow this link. If your status is pending it’s likely because you didn’t answer the membership questions. This is required so I know I’m not allowing in SPAM accounts. 

 

 

This year has been unbelievably challenging. In so many ways, we’ve really seen the worst of people. The internet has become such a cesspool for vitriol. Even some of my favorite sites, the ones I turn to for a moment of distraction or inspiration, have become grounds for so much hate.

But this community has been a shining light in all the darkness. Thank you for keeping this space safe and kind. Thank you for giving me grace when I needed it, for supporting my mission, for sharing with friends, for countless kind notes and messages. You have no idea what that all means to me. I appreciate you all so very much. 

 

 

Join me for a LIVE Facebook Q&A!

We are in the final week of our Fall 2020 Wardrobe Challenge

It’s been fun to see everyone post before and after pictures of their closets and share their takeaways. 

If you are still working through the previous weeks – you are in great company! Many readers are just starting the challenge. There is no need to rush. The beauty of this challenge is that you can go at your own pace, be sure to complete each week before starting the next. 

When I started The Well Dressed Life, my goal was to take my expertise as a personal stylist and recreate the client experience for our readership. By building a community of busy, real-life women, who appreciate classic and modern style, I’m able to provide advice and recommendations at scale. 

But we all still interpret our style sensibility differently, so having an opportunity to chat LIVE makes all the difference. 

The Wardrobe Challenge Q&A 

 

Tons of questions come up during the Wardrobe Challenge  so I’m hosting a LIVE Q&A in our Private Facebook group on Sunday, October 18th, at 7 PM EST to answer them all.

And this is what really sets our site apart from the others. It’s the direct relationship I have with our readers, and that they have with each other. Our Facebook Group now has close to 4,000 members, and yet I feel like I know everyone. 

The more you participate in it, the more value you will receive. 

In the comments below, take a moment to ask your questions (it can be about anything!), and I’ll use them to organize our time together. You can also ask questions during our chat too, and if you can’t make it, our conversation will be saved on the page for you to watch at your convenience. 

If you haven’t already joined our Facebook Private group, you can do so here. Please answer all of the membership questions. This helps me quickly approve members and ensure that I keep spam accounts out.