Friday, December 30, 2022

Weekend Window Shopping: Save Me From Myself.

 The sales are coming in hard and fast and I am bored and can't do anything but sit on my ass, so you can see how this is going. NOT GREAT. Instead of buying things I can't wear or use for...a while, I am going to tempt you with all my sale finds. I am a really good friend that way. Totally. But listen, Anthro has an extra 40% off sale styles and Madewell is offering up to 70% off. Help. Here are some things currently tempting me: 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Stuff I Like: Recent Reads.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately and here are a few that I finished, one that I'm currently reading and what I have on deck. First, what I've read recently:

The Cloisters by Katy Hays. I am so conflicted about this book. I loved the story overall and really loved the dark academia/NYC feel. It's really atmospheric and descriptive and I love learning about an esoteric subject about which I knew nothing. But, the main character feels like such a beige drip of a Mary Sue that it's hard to feel like she's a real person. This resolves itself later (sort of) but the other characters are so much more alive, cunning, and interesting that it really was kind of off-putting, but Marianne (who also read it) thinks that contrast is important to the story.) Despite my conflict, I would recommend this if you like a twisty dark academia type novel. 

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. I'm pretty sure one of you recommended this to me! Overall I loved this book - the PNW location and the beautiful weirdness that one of the main characters is a giant Pacific octopus named Marcellus really made this book work for me. I enjoyed Marcellus above all the other characters. My only complaint is that one of the main characters is so unlikeable that I couldn't really make myself care about that storyline, but the rest of the characters make up for it. Overall, definitely recommend. 

The Christmas Wish by Lindsey Kelk. This was delightful! It's pure British rom-com Christmas fun but has a fun Groundhogs Day setup that I enjoyed a lot. All of the characters feel like real people and it was a fun read. I'm definitely going to see what else she's written and add her to my Brit rom-com roster. 

Currently reading: 

Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss.  I am almost finished with this one and it's also delightful and fun in the most British rom-com Christmas kind of way. This is the third book by Jenny Bayliss and I really feel it's her best so far. Just a comfortable, cozy read with super likable (and a few deliciously hate-able) characters. 

On deck: 

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
I was saving this book to read on my flight to and from my hometown, but that trip obviously got canceled so it's been patiently waiting for me to be ready for it. 

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
How have I never read this? I love all of Nora Ephron's essay books but I've never read her novel. 

Finally, I was gifted the following books which are currently waiting in a tempting stack:

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell
An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. The New York Times bestselling author of Hamnet captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls “her breakout book.”

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
A triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope, and a book.

The Southern Book Club's Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this New York Times best-selling horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town.

MacBeth by Jo Nesbo
Shakespeare’s dark and tragic play retold in a heart-pounding New York Times bestselling thriller from the author of The Snowman and The Thirst.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

I'm Back! An Update, Some Gifts, Some Purchases.

Hi all! I had surgery on my foot last week and now I'm facing five more weeks of non-weight-bearing before I can graduate to the boot. So, no outfits for quite a while. A quick update on the J.Crew Cocoon coat - I returned the one I reviewed and ordered the next size up which was too big. So I'm giving up on that one. It's a very specific shape that didn't quite work for me. Now, a few things I was gifted and a few I've bought in the last few weeks:

If you follow my personal IG account, you might have seen that my amazing small gym chose me to be the recipient of an outfit from a local partnering Lululemon store. I'd just found out that week that I'd be needing surgery and was feeling pretty despondent, so this was an incredibly nice treat. I was allowed to chose a top, bottom and a pair of shoes to keep. (They have shoes now!) Here's what I got:

This is the perfectly oversized cropped crew sweatshirt and it's a delight. Weighty, soft as kittens, and the colors are beautiful. I bought it in my usual size and it's perfect - just the right amount of oversized and cropped without being extreme. The only issue with this fabric is that it shows moisture, so it's not for wearing in the rain or sweating! Great for everything else. 

I wanted another pair of lounge-y joggers so I immediately gravitated to this pair of Align joggers. I tried on both my usual size and a size up and they both fit but I went with the size up for extra comfort over a slim-cut look. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to wear them pre-surgery and now I have a huge splint on my leg, but they'll be waiting for me in February.

Lululemon has sneakers now! I got this pair, which I like quite a bit, though I have only been able to wear one so far. They're pretty minimalist in design which really appeals though I do wish they'd had the cassis colorway available in my size. If I end up loving this pair, I can always get another color, right? Right. 

So, a giant splint/cast on your leg really limits what you can wear. I am currently looking mad stylish in a pair of my guy's pajama pants but I had some Quince credits to spend so I bought two pairs of these cropped fleece sweatpants. They have good pockets and a really wide leg, so should be perfect. I am anxiously awaiting their arrival. 

Another recent Quince credits purchase! I was really curious about this Dagne Dover-esque neoprene backpack so I ordered it. It's good quality and looks/feels nearly identical to the medium DD version (minus a few pockets) and it'll fit a 13" laptop but not anything bigger. I am currently using it to transport things up and down stairs (crutches are the actual worst, y'all) but eventually will take it traveling and see how it performs. 

Finally, I've been stalking the parka-length version of the Athleta Whisper Featherless jacket (reviewed here) in this rustic beige color and it keeps popping in and out of stock. I finally was able to buy it in my size on sale and I got an even better deal with codes ATHSOCAL and  30OFF. (Note: I've been using Capital One Shopping which searches out codes for you! It's fantastic.) Anyway, I will review it when it arrives! Also, just FYI, if you like the jacket length but not the price, Quince just came out with a version in some good colors because of course they did.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Monday Mood: Holiday Break

Hello! So, I completely busted my foot and have to have surgery tomorrow to get it put back together. Merry Christmas to me. Ugh. I will be out for a few days but then will have ample time to be completely bored out of my mind, so I will definitely get blog-posty again soon. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy holidays and I will be back in touch soon.



Friday, December 16, 2022

Weekend Window Shopping: Stocking Stuffers.

 Hello! We're down to the wire with the gift thing but here is a collection of fun small gifts all under $25 that would make excellent stocking stuffers because who wants a stocking full of nuts. Okay:

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Gift Guide: Books, of course!

 I love getting books as gifts and love giving them as well. I've done quite a few book gift guides (here, here and here) but why not one more? 

Two Arty Books:

Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak. I suspect Maurice Sendak was a big part of a lot of your childhoods and now there's a book celebrating the art of his illustrations! I think this would be an amazing gift for the Gen-Xer in your life. 

Terry O'Neill: The A-Z of Rock ‘N' Roll. Okay, obviously I love that David Bowie is on the cover but Terry O'Neill's took amazing rock 'n roll photos of just about all the music legends. This book seems to cover a lot of ground and gets great reviews. This would be a great gift for anyone who's a rock music fan, especially a fan of 60's and 70's era music. 

Two Cook Books:

Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain. I've included this before but now I own it and it's amazing. Have I made any of the recipes? No, I have not, but I have taken his advice re. pigs in blankets, which is solid advice. It's a beautiful book and fun to read and I hear his voice in every page. 

Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food
. Marianne loves this cookbook and I buy what she tells me to because she's pretty much always right. The recipes aren't super complicated and they're really delicious. This is a good one. 

Two That I Read This Year and Loved:

Lesson in Chemistry. This one is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser! It's weird and funny and a fast read. My sort-of review is here, but if you're stuck on a gift for a fiction reader, this is probably a safe choice. 

This Time Tomorrow is such a delight. I am a big fan of time travel stories and this one was deeply satisfying and has such an excellent sense of place. My sort-of review is here. Highly recommend. 

Two To Get You In The Spirit:

In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash. Years ago I won a $5 off a guy when I was waxing poetic about A Christmas Story and he said he bet me I couldn't tell him the name of the book it was based on. What he didn't know is that my father was a huge Jean Shepard fan. There is a sucker born every minute and I took that guy's $5. Anyway, if you love the movie, read the book that inspired it and trust that it's amazing. (You can also buy just the Christmas story part but why? Get the whole book. It's funny as hell.) 

The Christmas Wish. I haven't read this but Marianne has, and she sent it to me because she's the best. She said it's the perfect light holiday read. A funny, holiday romance. I'm in! 

And, don't forget to check out my Christmas-y read list from last year! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Review: J.Crew New Cocoon Coat.

Hi, guess who fell down the (diabolical spiral) stairs from my office loft and possibly broke her foot? This gal. I won't be able to do my normal outfit photos for a little while but the J.Crew coat I cyber-Monday ordered showed up and the show must go on. The J.Crew New Cocoon Coat in Italian stadium-cloth wool is both really kind of great and also not that great. Oh, J.Crew. Why can't I quit you:

I got the camel color in a size 8 and assumed it would fit because a good portion of the reviews claim it runs big. Spoiler: It does not run big. But, this is a nice coat. Is it a $375 coat? Absolutely not. Maybe back in the day when J.Crew quality was really good, but this is definitely a $150-$175 coat (and right now it's $154.50.) It keeps popping in and out of stock so if you want it, keep an eye out while it's marked down! I do love the style of it -  the double pockets, hidden zipper, and high collar are all really chic. This is a fashionable coat and feels like it would also be reasonably warm. 

However, it has no double zipper and no rear vent so when you zip it up it has to fit correctly and if I was a bit narrower in the hips/booty area, it would be perfect. I can zip it up without struggle but the pockets pull a little and it's definitely snug in the rear. I have not tried to sit down with it zipped up, is what saying. 

Hmmph. The fit isn't terrible but not super great either. I can't stand it when a coat is even a hair too tight so I'm going to return it. I don't know that sizing up will help because it'll probably be too big in the shoulders BUT I'm a masochist and ordered it in a 10 in the pale grey color anyway. I like the overall style enough to try-try again. Plus, it looks pretty cool unzipped and with a nice red bag and a giant grey boot, right? 

Outfit details: My bag is a Rebecca Minkoff Phoebe which is hard to find but this adorable red Minkoff bag is on sale and this one is also a really good deal. My non-medical boot is one of my new Blundstones! That review can be found here. The coat is here and there's also a version over at J.Crew Factory but I haven't tried it. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Weekend Window Shopping: Personal Gift Guide

While looking for things to include in my various gift guides I keep finding things I want for myself. Is this a gift guide or a shopping list? Can it not be both? I am broken. Here you go:

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Gift Guide: Gifts For Menfolk.

Men are, to me, notoriously hard to shop for but this list includes some things that seem like they'd make good gifts for pretty much anyone, as well as some things I've actually given as gifts that were well-received. Here we go:

Do you have a dude in your life who buys all his clothes in bulk from Amazon? Just me? Okay, listen. I have it on good authority that Outdoor Voices makes excellent athleisure/comfy clothes for men and this lightweight hoodie made from their CloudKnit fabric looks like something nearly every guy would wear and appreciate. It comes in a bunch of colors and it's also on sale right now! 

This is a such normcore guy gift but it was one I gave to my dude when he was deeply into grilling but didn't have good tools. It was a hit! I am personally VERY into having the right cooking tools for the job and you can never have enough tongs, right? There's also this fancy set which looks good but I'm into those big flat skewers because they seem so much more stable than the usual skinny kind. 

For the music and/or vinyl buff, this would be a really cool gift. Hell, I kind of want it for myself even though my knowledge of punk music is medium-to-low. I just really love the art of album cover art and feel like it was a big loss when everything went digital. 

Is a toothbrush a good gift? It is when it's a Philips Sonicare. This thing is kind of amazing and life-changing and I would actually like a new one myself because I dropped mine and it broke and now I am SAD WITHOUT IT. So yeah, this might the be romantic gift equivalent of a vacuum cleaner but who cares. It's a nice gift, it comes in several levels of fancy (I mean, what) and it makes brushing your teeth a pleasure.

Okay, hear me out: LEGO for adults. Did you know this was a thing? There are also excellently cool art sets but I am quite taken with this freaking awesome pyramid of Giza set and want it for myself. This would be a really fun gift because who doesn't still want toys for Christmas? (Caveat: this might not a great gift for someone with young-ish kids because I guarantee they already have 800,000 tiny hard bits of Lego in their house and will probably murder you for introducing more.)

Honestly, socks are kind of a boring gift but hiking socks from Bombas? They are really good and kind of fun. I have a pair and I've definitely given a pair as a gift so there you have it. ALSO, Bombas x Cotopaxi Merino wool hiking socks are also a thing! They are really pretty nice looking and if you know someone who's a Cotopaxi fan that's a win-win, right? This is starting to feel desperate. 

A few honorable mentions: This Field Notes National Parks set of little notebooks, This elastic band wallet makes a great stocking stuffer, and if all else fails, Bacon of the Month club. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Gift Guide: Under $100 Gifts For Your Bestie.

First, my apologies for gendering these guides so hard - you know your people, so grain of salt, please! 

This is a list of under-$100 gifts geared towards your best friend, sister, mom, work wife, etc. Also, these would make great gifts for ME JUST SAYING. Okay:

Marianne keeps telling me about the NĂ©cessaire samples she's gotten and how good they are and I'm like, LALALAALAA I CAN'T HEAR YOU because I don't need another expensive bodycare brand in my life but I also kind of do? SO. This brand is supposed to be amazing and the body wash (which comes in some amazing scents and also unscented) seems like the kind of special thing that you might not buy for yourself, but it would be a great gift. Throw in one of my favorite shower scrubber thingies and you'll be a legend. Ooh, there's also a set with the body serum and lotion! That looks good too. 

I know I bang on about Quince a lot but do not sleep on Quince jewelry, y'all. They have such nice things at amazing price points! For an easy under-$50 gift, this gold vermeil eternity necklace gets rave reviews. For something in the 14K gold range, these cabochon opal studs are SO pretty and still under $100! Also, I now have two of these little 14K gold solo mini hoops and I love them. 

Okay, real talk. I want this Simplehuman travel mirror for myself but haven't pulled the trigger yet. My old light-up travel mirror just died and it was kind of a space hog anyway, so this seems like a good solution, right? And it's also just a nice thing to have when you want to inspect your pores at the molecular level. Just me? Anyway, if your bestie travels a lot, I'll bet this would make a great gift. 

I'm going to do a whole big gift guide of just books, but couldn't resist including this Andy Warhol Polaroids book for your modern art/pop culture lover because oh my God, I love everything about this. In general, I love getting art books as gifts because they seem like such a luxury purchase but I also love anything in the pop culture/art realm and this covers a lot of bases. 

A few years ago Marianne and I gave each other Stackers jewelry boxes (review here) and they were a hit. Starter sets are just under $100, but it's kind of a hard thing to buy for someone when you don't know what their jewelry box situation might be. Marianne also gave me a little travel jewelry box that isn't on the site anymore but the current version is more compact and zips around and seems like the perfect travel accessory! Buy your lady friend a piece of Quince jewelry and stick it in this travel box with a bow on it. Congrats, you are done. Yay. Oh, also, they have a very nifty tech cable organizer that would honestly be a great gift for anyone who travels. 

Okay, I'm just going to say it. If you give someone a pair of Vuori Performance Joggers and they don't like them? That person is a monster. I'm totally kidding, but listen, these are still my #1 favorite around-the-house-but-still-cute lounge pants and they are soft as kittens. (I do wish they had extended and tall sizing but they don't listen to me.) These would be an outstanding gift for a dude as well. Just saying. 

I talked about this amazing stuff last year but here it is again. Marianne gave me this Dior Creme Abricot nail cream which is definitely something I wouldn't have bought myself but I love it. I get very dry, brittle nails and terrible sad cuticles in the winter months and this weird, slightly sticky but very effective potion helps a ton! Plus, the packing is very fancy and rich-lady minimalist and looks very nice on my bedside table. 

I recently got a new phone and immediately ordered a new Burga phone case because they are not only very, very good cases, they are also freaking gorgeous. So many patterns and colors to choose from! I personally love the ones that look like slabs of stone (I went with this one) but they also have a new zodiac collection that's really cool. This would make a great gift (they come beautifully packaged) and I also suggest a matching ring holder. Bonus: you can get $20 off your first purchase through my link (full disclosure: I get credits with each purchase.)

Friday, December 2, 2022

Weekend Window Shopping: Anthropologie Holiday Sale!

Anthropologie has a decent sale going on right now with lots of gift-able things since I guess we need to start thinking about that. I mean, you could technically call this a gift guide, but you can also just buy yourself these things and I would never judge you because I do that ALL THE TIME. I am just saying. 

(Real quick: do you guys want gift guides? Y/N. Let me know in the comments. I can go either way.) 

Anyway! Here's what I like from the Anthro sale:

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Outfit of the Day: Completely Accidental.

I'm still feeling pretty crummy but managed to fully dressed myself yesterday to go run some errands and ended up liking my outfit enough to take a few quick pics. It wasn't an outfit meant for the blog but here we are:

Part of why it wasn't meant for the blog is because my new Madewell jeans are nearly sold out. That's right, The Worst Blogger Ever is again showing you something you can't actually buy. The WORST. But, I feel confident they'll restock soon! I'll keep you posted. 

These are a high-rise Perfect Vintage style in resin rinse which is a really good, dark denim with no distressing of any kind. They're so dark they almost look black, so you could just get these in black and call it done.  I am wearing my usual size and they fit perfectly. Despite my joy that mid-rise styles are back, I'm still kind of into the look of a higher rise because I think it makes me look taller. (I will change my mind about this the minute I sit down in them but whatever.) I just really love Madewell's Magic Pockets aka denim shapewear. 

Here's a weird side view with the jeans un-cuffed, which doesn't work with my new Blundstones but would look cute with flats or sneakers. My sweater is the Quince Mongolian Cashmere Fisherman and it continues to be a soft oversized cloud of warmth and joy. I can't recommend it enough. 

Here's a close-up of my sweater and also of my Dean Davidson necklace which is another thing you can't buy. However, I did find this absolutely beautiful labradorite tassel necklace that's similar. 

I completely forgot to get my bag for the photos but Y'ALL. I was browsing Quince's new arrivals section and look what I found. That's right, they just shamelessly knocked off the medium Hammitt VIP. It doesn't have the stud detailing or contrast zipper but it otherwise looks identical and is under $100. I truly love my Hammitt but they are expensive, so if you dig the style but not the price, get the Quince version! I would if I didn't already have one. (I'm the worst, but we already confirmed that.) 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tuesday Mood: Give It Up.

It's Giving Tuesday, so here are a few organizations that we like and support:

First, The Brigid Alliance supports people who must travel long distances across the U.S. for abortion care, especially later in pregnancy. They provide travel expenses, child care, meals, lodging, practical support, etc. 

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood are also great places to throw some money. And, consider supporting Equality Now. Their goal is to “Achieve legal and systemic change that addresses violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world.” 

Marianne suggests donating to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer and donor-powered charity committed to supporting the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers. She also suggests donating to your local children's hospital - specifically$10 gift cards for gas or food for the families of children with cancer. (Many families have to travel long distances to their regional hospital.) 

If you love animals, I've long been a supporter of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee which provides captive elephants a safe haven dedicated to their well-being.

I also love supporting the Richmond Animal League, the shelter back home where I adopted both my kitties. 


Now that you've given all your money to good causes, I'm going to be a total ass and tell you about a couple of lingering good sales:

R+Co has extended their 30% off sale with code CYBER30. I really love their Cactus shampoo, Television conditioner, Rodeo Star thickening style foam and most recently I've been digging the Park Ave blow out balm. Popular items tend to sell out fast but they do restock! 

Bombas, makers of my very favorite socks, are offering 20% off sitewide. I love the Performance Ankle for the gym and the Running Calf are my favorite boot socks.  Also, the compression socks are legit! 

LAFCO, makers of my favorite fancy candles, are offering 25% off sidewide with code CYBER2022. These candles come in gorgeous (and reusable) hand-blown glass containers and are beautifully boxed, so easy to give as gifts! My favorites are Amber, Rosemary Eucalyptus, and Woodland Spruce.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Monday Mood: It's Crummy.

I'm back! I'm also sick because when you fling yourself out into the world of people you risk the chance of catching something, so of course I did. it's just a head cold but I am feeling crummy. I will definitely post about my trip later in the week, as well as some updates about the travel stuff I bought. (Spoiler: The AirFly is THE BEST.) 

In the meantime, I basically missed most of the good Black Friday deals though they seem to be leaking well into Cyber Monday, right? Before I left for my trip I did buy these Madewell jeans 50% off:

They were waiting for me when I got back and I tried them on briefly and I think they might be really good? I love a really dark-dark denim and the cut seems good. They're completely sold out but I bet you anything they magically come back into stock when the sale is over. Hmph. Madewell also has 60% off some specific items today. My pick is this beautiful flap bag

I will also probably take advantage of the 25% off Tatcha sale to buy a full-sized container of this mineral sunscreen:

My friend Kate recommended it and it's basically magic. Very expensive magic. It's the best mineral formulation I've tried so far! It sinks in, has a slight tint, and doubles as a primer if you wear makeup on top of it. It's just very, very good. 

I was also considering buying this (56% off Cyber Monday deal) cocoon coat from J.Crew which is, rudely, final sale, but it's sold out in my size so I guess not:

It's damn cute though, and comes in a bunch of colors, so I'm going to keep an eye on it. I mean, if it's such a best seller, why is it final sale, J.Crew? You're a bad boyfriend and I'm grumpy. 

One last thing, the Vuori raincoat I covet is most definitely NOT on sale but my excellent jacket has been marked down again! Go get it. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Weekend Window Shopping: BR Factory Is Giving It Away.

I am going to be on vacation next week so you're on your own for the Black Friday deals (though I will say, now would be a really good time to buy an AllSaints leather jacket) but I feel that I should talk about Banana Republic Factory because they have an early deal going - 60% off everything (prices already adjusted) plus an extra 15% off with code BRREWARDS. In short, they are giving away clothes! Here's what I like: 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Review: Calpak Luka Belt Bag and Luka Duffel.

Last month I posted that I'd been influenced into buying (with my own money) the Calpak Luka Belt Bag and matching Luka Duffel bag. Marianne bought both for a trip and liked them so I felt the need to copy her like the total creeper I am. But y'all, Marianne has a great instinct for the good stuff and she's rarely led me wrong. Here is my review of both with the caveat that I haven't actually traveled with either item as yet*:

Hi! HERE IS THE LUKA BELT BAG IT IS A BIG BABY. I've only had tiny belt bags so this one has taken a little adjustment. It has interior pockets and a large external zippered pocket. I really love the idea of having everything I need strapped to my body where I can access it, both in the airport and on the plane. Here's what fits in the Luka Belt Bag:

"But Adrien, I can't seeeeeeee everything." Okay, fine. Here is literally all my crap spread out for your amusement: 

In my Luka Belt Bag I have my Kindle (sans case), my cell phone, my little Liberty pouch for chapstick, tissues, tiny hand lotion, bits of lint, etc, Liberty card case, my passport, AirPods, AirFly, Advil, Mentos, and a Purell wipe because you just never know. Now, here's my Luka Duffel, which will be my carry-on (I am checking my suitcase, which is also by Calpak):

Now, I could've been a reasonable person and gone with one of the neutral colors but I love this bag in merlot  (Marianne bought both in dijon yellow!) and the colors they have are great, so why not get a fun color? This duffel is a perfect medium-sized bag and surprisingly light. It fits a lot and you can still shove it under the airplane seat. I love that it has shoulder straps and a longer crossbody option, and it also has a million pockets and a suitcase sleeve. I also like the optional shoe compartment (you can strap up the inner pouch part to get it out of the way if you're not using it), and it has a good, deep water bottle pocket. I don't love that the interior is black because it makes it harder to find stuff, but that's a minor quibble. Here's what I have in my carry-on bag: 

A big scarf, sleep mask, lightweight sneakers, Trtl wrap thingy, large Liberty pouch for all my charge cords, earbud case, and a baggie of essentials (hand cream, Shout wipes, contact solution, etc). I also bring extra contacts, my glasses, medication, and a change of underwear in case something goes wrong with my checked bag. I still have a ton of room left in the tote so I can do a little shopping on my trip without worry.

Here I am wearing the belt bag in a more hangy purse-like manner and holding the duffel so you can see how big it is. This is an experiment for me because I usually carry a backpack (and was tempted by the Calpak backpack!) but wanted something a bit bigger for my carry-on. Both the belt bag and the duffel are on sale right now and if you're new to Calpak you can use my link for $25 off your first qualifying CALPAK order of $150+. (I'm not sure if this works on sale items or not? Give it a try.) Full disclosure, I will also get $25 credit.

*We're going back to Ireland! I've written about our travels to Ireland here and here and here if you're curious.