What's in the Bag?

Author: Ali 

Imagine you found a nondescript backpack that was left on the subway. How would you tell the gender of the owner? Besides the obvious fact that 9 times out of 10 a lost knapsack or purse is going to have some sort of photo identification inside, it’s the contents that really hint as to whether the owner is male or female. 

When I was little, I remember having a clear, plastic purse that had glitter all over it and a snap in the front. The notion of something like that now is terrifying, mainly because the inside of a woman’s purse says a lot about who she is on the inside as well. I ditched the clear purse long ago and now prefer something a bit more private. Not only that, but the contents have most certainly changed over the years. Here are my essentials that I carry in my bag at all times: 

  • Planner. The planner shown above is my portable planner (a.k.a. the one I never leave home without). When running a blog while working another job on the side, things can get a little hectic. On top of that, I still have a social life that I need to pencil in. Between my work schedule and making time for friends, I couldn’t picture going through a day without my planner. In order to do all of this without going crazy, planning is key.
  • Mint gum/breath mints. Spearmint or peppermint gum is something I try to always have lying around, because quite frankly, it’s better to expect the unexpected. You never know when you might need a burst of minty freshness. Maybe you just had luck with a few coworkers, went to a family dinner, or simply are in need of a refresher.
  • Notebook & pen/iPad. Before the iPad, I always carried around a little notebook and pen so I could write down things that I saw in my day-to-day life that inspired me. From story concepts to wardrobe sketches, having these items allows me to capture those ideas the minute they develop. I still opt for a notebook and pen at times, but with my iPad I have the Internet, current novel I’m reading, and notebook all in one.
  • Band-Aids. Much like hair ties and bobby pins, Band-Aids are always floating around in my bag. When you live in a city that has you walking to and from pretty much everywhere, it can be painful. Even when I’m wearing comfortable flats, there’s no stopping the inevitable blister or two after a long day on your feet. (Bonus tip: Band-Aid advanced healing blister cushions are highly recommended).
  • Concealer. If there’s one thing I never forget to bring with me wherever I go, it’s my bareMinerals concealer. Whether fighting bad under eye circles or a blemish, I keep it with me 24/7 and always have it on hand just in case I need a touch up during the day or while going out at night.
  • Lip Balm. At this point, I think it’s safe to assume I’m obsessed with lip balm. However, I won’t even consider purchasing a lip balm if it lacks SPF. Soft Lips in Pearl not only has SPF, but it’s a great product that does its job year-round. I also like the fact that the color is subtle enough that you can give yourself a little something for your lips without it being too over the top.

**Bonus Essentials**

  • Hairbands & bobby pins. Need I really explain myself ladies? Whenever it’s hot, humid or a rainy day that I didn’t plan for, there’s a 95% chance my hair is going up in a ponytail and these reinforcements always come in handy.
  • Hand sanitizer. When you take the same mode of transportation as another million or so people in this city, hand sanitizer is an absolute must. With me taking the subway every day, I couldn’t see myself not having this during cold and flu season, much less before going out to eat.

No matter day or night, you can count on me to always have the majority of these items on-hand. It doesn't matter if the size of the bag is big or small - safety, hygiene, and tools for touch-ups are things I can't go through my day without. So now that I've shared my handbag must-haves with you, what essentials do you carry in your bag?