What's In My Bag: The Everyday Arsenal
I've been asked several times over the years what my everyday must-haves are. You know, the collection of never-leave-home-without-its you throw in your tote. Especially in a city like New York where no one has a car in which to store essentials, a little "life" bag is always in order.
This post is dedicated to ID-ing my own mini arsenal and its contents. I toss this bag in whatever handbag I'm carrying that day and know that whether my casual daytime errands turn into a night out, I start feeling not so great, or the bar I'm sat at has no hooks underneath it (major peeve!)—I'm prepared.
Though this doesn't come close to covering my whole makeup collection, these five items are what I personally know I need to look good in a pinch...
1 - MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer: I have been using this concealer FOREVER. Seriously. It was probably one of the first concealers I've ever owned and I haven't been without it since high school. It covers well, blends well, lasts forever, the color match is fantastic (for me, anyway), and the SPF is an added bonus, especially for the eye area. Plus they're so tiny, I have at least three floating around between my handbags and bathroom. An oldie but a goodie. I wear NW30.
2 - Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Foundation: I first discovered this powder via Caila Quinn who saved me during last Fall's Fashion Week by letting me use hers. It's been in my travel bag ever since. It really perfects and evens out my skin with a creamy-ness to it (while still falling squarely in the powder category) and I love that comes with both a sponge and brush so I can use whichever better suits my needs (I usually opt for the brush as it has a light, more natural finish). At home with my primer and foundation routine I actually use a different (looser) powder, but when I'm on the go, this perfects in a very one-stop-shop kind of way. Color-wise, I use "Champagne" in the Winter and "Beige" in the Summer when I'm more tan.
3 - Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel: This stuff clings to, colors, and beefs up your brow hairs while (pretty amazingly) not coloring your skin at all. This is as good as on-the-go brow touchups get. I wear #3.
4 - Maybelline Define-A-Line Eyeliner: If my day unexpectedly turns into a night on the town and I want to feel hot, I'll amp up my eyes with this. I have three requirements with eyeliners: I like them to be retractable so I don't have to worry about sharpening, a smudge tip on the opposite end (it bewilders me how anyone could live without a smudge tip), and the eyeliner itself has to glide on smoothly (the thought of eyeliner tugging at my fragile eyelid skin gives me shivers). This one ticks off all the boxes while being a total steal, plus it has a cute little sharpener built in if I want a really fine tip. I've used fancier/pricier eyeliners and this one's every bit as good at less than half the price. I use Ebony Black.
5 - Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in "Pink Lady": Ah, Pink Lady, where would I be without you? I've worn Pink Lady for years now (including every day while filming The Bachelor) and have gotten countless girlfriends hooked as well. I'm not going to lie: it's overpriced for lip gloss. But the color is universally flattering, it plumps without looking cheap or silly, and I swear my whole face transforms when I put a bit of this on. The key is to be patient and wait a few minutes after applying; it needs a second to sort of "rest" and fade to a natural-looking shine. (Eg: if you're on a date, apply like 5 minutes before meeting, not 5 seconds!) I do like some of the other Lip Cream colors ("White Russian" for a nude look and "Rose Julep" for more color are faves) but Pink Lady is my soul sister and I'm never without her.
What I need to feel good while on the run...
6 - Aetos Peppermint Essential Oil: If you don't know by now, I'm a pretty big essential oil lover. I use a bunch at home but for on the go, there is none more useful than Peppermint. I'll put a drop or two in a glass of water after a meal to help with digestion, or do a single drop right on my tongue for a natural breath-freshener. I also swear by putting one dab on each temple for a headache (just wait a few minutes). Because I ingest it and put it (sparingly!) directly on my skin, I'm a fanatic about using organic (which is harder to find than you'd think). Aetos is a steal for the amount and for being both organic and non-GMO, and is my absolute favorite.
*** UPDATE 04.29.17: Since publishing this post the lovely folks at Aetos reached out with a promo code for my readers! Use code "ATPP2017" at checkout for 10% off one essential oil, and 20% off two. Yay!
7 - Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean Floss: My father famously declared once on a family vacation (where no one had remembered floss): "My kingdom for a piece of floss." What can I say? I'm a dentist's daughter and I love flossing, and carrying around floss has been a lifesaver on many a potential-spinach-in-your-teeth occasion. If you don't like flossing it's only because you don't do it enough and you need to get over the hump. I swear it's addictive and SO SO SO good for you. (It's consistently named one of the top things you should be doing to increase your life expectancy!) This particular kind is nice and ribbon-y and not waxy, which I love.
8 - Peapod Pill Pod: I've always got a few Advils, allergy pills, and zinc supplements on me (as a paranoid-about-getting-sick singer, I swear by zinc it for fending off colds). Also, this peapod holder was too adorable to resist...
9 - L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream: If there's one thing I've learned fairly recently, it's that not all hand creams are created equal. I've spent many years buying random creams at Whole Foods, Kiehl's, and Marshall's, but in my opinion nothing moisturizes better (while still remaining non-greasy and overall just so luxurious) than this. This is my travel size that I'll use just about anywhere (including around my eyes and on my lips), but at home next to the bed I keep the more industrial strength "balm" formula.
10 - Tweezerman Mini Tweezers: It's not that tweezers are such a desperate everyday necessity, but when you DO need tweezers—for a splinter or unsightly hairs—you REALLY need them. These take up so little real estate in my bag that for the few times I have and will ever need them, I'm more than happy to keep them on me 24/7.
The little things that make life easier...
11 - Sonix Portable Battery: The other day I laughed out loud at a meme that read, "I have to charge my phone so often that I pretty much have a landline again." This is definitely (and unfortunately) true for me, so for on-the-go I carry Sonix's external battery which I am over the moon in love with. I've carried various batteries over the years but this one is simply the best. It's not so much that it charges any more than my old batteries (I would say it has about the same capacity and has about a full charge plus some in it), but rather its convenient shape (flat = VERY GOOD, especially for small bags and clutches), the fact that it houses its own cord (this is huge as I just have to worry about one piece now), and it's just so gosh darn cute. I get compliments every time I whip this out and many girlfriends have followed suit with this one.
12 - Purse Ring: There's something gloriously old school about carrying around a purse hanger and I totally own that. Granted, old school purse hangers weren't quite as slick as this one, and this ring is actually way more versatile than the traditional models (you could feasibly hang groceries in your car with this one, for example). When I'm at a restaurant where the chair backs are rounded, or at a pub where there are no hooks under the bar (peeve!), this baby comes to the rescue. Because cradling your handbag in your lap is annoying, and sitting it on the floor is most likely gross.
13 - Cosmetic Pouch: I love how I can see where my items are yet how this bag is so flexible (a lot of transparent makeup bags are made of stiff plastic), how feather-light (yet durable) it is, and if and when it gets dirty I can just toss it in the wash. These come three in a set (small, medium, and large) and I literally do use every size. This is the medium.
That's what's on me! I'm always open to further add-ons if there's a life-changing item you swear by—in which case, stop reading and share below!
Thanks for stopping by!