What’s in my purse: travel edition

I’m kicking off the recap of the San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip posts with a “What’s in my purse” post after the “What’s in my clutch” post from last month had such positive reactions. Although I’ve only been home for less than 2 hours, I knew I wanted to post about my travel necessities. I’m one of those people who likes to travel with only a carry on-sized luggage (rolling clothes and playing Tetris in a suitcase is not as fun as it is on Gameboy), so I make sure that I pack strategically light. My purse is the other “personal item” allowed as a carry on, so I need to make sure that what I bring in there is going to be useful every day of the trip.

What's in my travel bag

1 // Betsey Johnson satchel (exact): This satchel was my purse of choice for this particular trip. The size of the bag was perfect for carrying all my necessities and the colour couldn’t be more perfect for the sunny days in California. I found this bag at Nordstrom Rack a few weeks back, but it’s also available online at Zappos (although for $20 more than what I had paid).

2 // Pond’s travel size face cream ($2 from Target): This cream is sold in a perfect 1.75oz size that has never given me any trouble through TSA. I always worry about lotions getting thrown out or confiscated at TSA for being oversized, so this one is perfect for any travels. Pond’s makes a few different types of these travel sized creams too. I bought the regular moisturizing face cream, but it also comes in anti-wrinkle and dark spot correction variations. I think the technical limit of cream size is actually 1oz at TSA, but for $2, I’m more willing to let this get confiscated vs my everyday bottle of cream which is 8oz.

3 // Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 (exact): I once made the mistake of traveling with a lip balm without any SPF and my lips ended up getting burnt really badly and hurt for days on end. Ever since trying a tube of this stuff from last year’s Sephora birthday gift, I have been hooked! Definitely recommend one of these for everyday wear, especially in sunnier weather.

4 // Canon Rebel XS (exact): I can’t go anywhere without my trusty DSLR! I’ve had this camera for almost 5 years now and still love it to death. I brought my EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens instead of the kit lens, as this is the one I shoot with regularly for the blog. I debated bringing along the 50mm f/1.8 lens as well, but with limited purse real estate, I passed on the extra lens.

5 // Flips Audio headphones (c/o, exact): I was really lucky to get a chance to try out these headphones during my trip! The smart design allows them to be folded compactly, which made carrying them around in my purse along with everything else a breeze. I usually have to stuff headphones into my carry on suitcase because I can’t fold them (and I don’t like ear buds for plane rides because they start to hurt my ears after a while).

What makes these headphones different from other ones in the market is the fact that you can transform them from a personal listening device to speakers for more than one person. This was especially handy for parts of our trip where there was zero radio reception and we didn’t have an aux cable to plug any of our phones or iPods into. These headphones were a huge life saver (gotta have the road tunes on those long 4 hour drives!) and did a great job in the car. Without being able to use the car stereo, the headphones provided an amazing alternative for allowing us to still play music during those strenuously long stretches of driving. To be honest, I was really impressed when we first used the Flips as speakers. On the plane when I used them for my own listening, I thought the sound quality was amazing. I didn’t know what to expect when trying these out as speakers because I thought that the cushioning would dampen the sound, but they didn’t! I would highly recommend these to anyone looking for a pair of compact, over the ear headphones! (There’s a coupon from now until July 16, 2013 for $10 off plus a free rush shipping upgrade: FA0010INT)

6 // You Smell Lemon Verbena Paper Soap (exact): I posted about these last month, but I seriously can’t even count how many bathrooms we encountered during this road trip where there was no soap. What the heck? Having these little sheets handy in the purse were awesome. Bonus: they made the bathroom smell better too. ;)

7 // Stewart/Stand RFID blocking wallet (c/o, exact): You know how technology is super awesome nowadays and you can easily make purchases by tapping your credit/debit card on a point of sales terminal? It’s so easy to complete a transaction without having to swipe a card to transfer the info and sometimes, if the amount is small enough, you don’t even have to sign a receipt to complete the purchase! So the downside to this convenience is that using the same data transfer technology, your personal data (name, credit card number, billing zip, etc) can be stolen without your knowledge. Pretty scary to think that the same technology that makes our purchasing flows so much more easy and convenient can also be used against us as consumers. (You can more about RFID blocking here.)

Stewart/Stand has come up with woven stainless steel fabric that will protect your personal data from being stolen. I was really lucky with timing to get a chance to take their red wallet clutch on vacation with me. Not only is the design of the wallet itself beautiful, but the functionality behind it helped me to travel with ease, not having to worry about my personal info getting stolen. I was personally able to hold 8 cards in the wallet (there are 6 card slots, but I was afraid to stretch the leather too much) and it is designed to be very thin, which was a perfect match for my space-conscious concerns.

As someone who loves seeing technology make our day-to-day lives easier, I think it’s also important to be aware of how these new technologies can be abused and what we can do as conscious consumers to protect ourselves. The last thing I’d want to have to deal with on vacation is having my credit card number stolen!

Whew! There you have it… the somewhat nerdy contents of my girly Betsey Johnson purse (not pictured: Ethernet cable which I kept in the zippered inside pocket because you never know when WiFi won’t be available)! Now I’m curious to know what you carry in your purse when traveling. Did I miss anything that you just can’t leave for vacation without?


Chocolate crinkle cookie heaven

I’m pretty sure I’m on the road to gaining an extra 5 pounds this week with the help of my cookie-baking roommate. She made a batch of ginger snaps (which I forgot to take photos of before they were all demolished!!) and most recently – my favorite holiday cookie – chocolate crinkles!

The recipe said that it would make 96 cookies, so we figured it would be best to cut the recipe in half. Sadly, we didn’t realize how tiny the cookies would be. I was just following the instructions that said to roll the dough into small 1″ diameter balls. I thought they would grow in the oven! I guess not…

ready for the oven

After they came out of the oven I had to try really hard not to eat them straight off the tray. The entire apartment smelled like chocolate! I was pretty much in heaven!!



If you didn’t believe me when I said these cookies were teeny-tiny, take a look for yourself:

tiniest cookies ever!

plate of monsters

The chocolate crinkle cookies looked so cute stacked on the plate of giant molasses cookies. Sadly, all the crinkles were gone by the next morning. We should’ve made 96!

P.S. I switched over to my 50mm f/1.8 for the cookie shots. It’s been a while since I’ve played around with this lens and I definitely miss shooting with it.