When I was growing up, my mom was a flight attendant. If there is one thing she taught me from her experiences, it's how to pack a bag for any occasion. Always bring clean underwear if you are going on an overnight trip (because what if you die and they find you in dirty undies? ultimate shame.), always pack light and do not overstuff your bags.

I used to love when she would come home from trips. She would open her perfectly packed suitcase and give me all sorts of goodies she collected from her trips. Nothing fancy, mostly plane-sized packages of cookies, peanuts, those little airline wings they gives kids when they fly and soda from Canada (which I loved because the cans were smaller). Occasionally she would bring back dry ice from the plane in a little cooler and — under supervision — would let me run water over it in the sink to make steam. She was like Mary Poppins with her magical bag. I loved it.

I try apply these tips to my everyday life and bag. No, I don't carry clean undies with me everywhere I go, and yes, I am guilty of overstuffing my bag sometimes (I always seem to need the one thing I take out of my purse when I downsize.) But most of the time, I'm pretty good at just carrying the essentials.

Here is what's in my bag:

  • Ray-Ban Sunglasses (given to me by fellow lovelyish writer, Kackie, for my birthday a few years ago)
  • iPhone
  • Lip balms- Kiehls lip balm #1 (non tinted) & Maybelline Baby Lips in Cherry Me (tinted)
  • Favorite lipsticks - Revlon Fire & Ice (I swear to you the most universal red out there) & Lipstick Queen in Medieval (a glossy translucent red and my absolute favorite ever)
  • Roll-on perfume
  • Moleskine notebook/ pen
  • Mints (as a hair stylist I've become painfully aware of bad breath..not just from me but from others)
  • Wallet
  • Tweezers
  • Comb
  • Bobby pins (I always need bobby pins)
  • Glasses

Those things are usually just enough to carry me though life and leave space in my bag for whatever the day might bring. I have been known to keep wrapped up half-eaten croissants/ sandwiches/ snacks in there from time to time. It also allows me to avoid using plastic/paper bags when I make small purchases.

I often find myself wondering what's in other peoples purses and bags. Speculating what they might consider to be essential in every day life, how much loose change they have floating around in there or do they have anything just totally random and embarrassing they are hiding from the world just behind the walls of their bag (you never know!) Recently I came across a photoset on flickr by graphic designer/photographer Jason Travis that satisfies this curiosity (a curiostiy that clearly stems from my mother) I have with other people's bags. WHAT IS IN THERE?!

I just chose some of my favorites, but there are a ton more photos in the persona set by Jason Travis to cure all your nosy needs.

What's in your bag?

Image source

Editor's note: I still really love this post... I just took another look at all these photos and the sucked me in just like the did the first time. It's so interesting to see what people carry with them!