What’s in my bag? — Barbara Dace
What's in my bag? issue #17
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Dr. Barbara Dace has been a compounding pharmacist for 35 years, creating custom medications, educating pharmacy students as well as the public, and improving health and quality of life for hundreds of patients. She loves to sing and play the autoharp, and has become an award-winning songwriter.
About the bag
Baggallini Wander Crossbody Bag ($53)
There is one basic truth of purses/EDC bags: it does not matter what size bag I get, I will fill it up completely; if I carry a large bag, it simply means I will end up carrying at least 10 pounds on my shoulder all day. My only defense: having a tiny bag — but a versatile one: only 8.25×6.5×2”, it boasts three zippered compartments, credit card pockets, 2 pen loops, two outer pockets, two more inner pockets, and can be worn cross-body, over the shoulder, around the waist, or on a belt. I’ve attached velcro strips to the inside to keep small items (such as lip balm, measuring tape, or tweezers) from descending to the stygian depths below.
ThinOptics Reading Glasses w/case ($20)
Ever so handy and always with me since they’re stuck to my phone case. I bought these 4 years ago and have used them countless times — and replaced them for free several times as well! The company will replace the glasses for any reason — broken, lost, whatever — at no charge. They also make versions that attach to your keychain.
The Wet Brush Squirt ($6)
This is the best brush I’ve found for detangling my very long, fine, tangle-prone hair without pain; it’s intended for use in the shower, but works fine dry as well. I’ve been squashing this one in my purse for 3 years and it’s withstood the abuse — but if you order one, give the bristles a firm tug when you get it; Amazon is rife with fakes … and you can tell which ones are fake when the bristles pop out! The black splotch on the handle is the velcro I use to keep things from descending into the bowels of my purse.
Very Minimalist To-Do List ($0)
I’ve tried a lot of to-do lists, apps, etc. over the years; I usually start out with a burst of enthusiasm that peters out in a week or so, and then I’m back to forgetting stuff. This one works best for me: I divided an 8.5×11” piece of paper evenly with 3 bold lines horizontally and vertically, making 9 segments; I printed that out on both sides of a page to be sure those folding lines were in the same place on both sides. Then each segment got a bunch of horizontal lines, and one vertical line on the left; fold it on the bold lines in thirds, then in thirds the other way: now you have 18 blank to-do lists that fit easily in pocket or purse. If you date them, you can plan up to 18 days at once, or keep running lists for shopping, etc. Easy-peasy, couldn’t be cheaper, and you won’t gnash your teeth if you lose it.
Surgical Mask ($5/50pk)
Sometimes, we know exactly when we caught a cold: that guy sneezing on the subway, the obviously-sick-but-still-traveling seat mate on the plane; if you carry one of these, you can at least protect yourself from airborne infectious matter — as well as preventing you from inadvertently contaminating your mucus membranes with whatever happens to be on your hands. Masks are cheap (often free at your doctor’s office) and easy to carry … and when you consider how much time and money a nasty cold costs you, it’s well worth the slight social embarrassment you might feel donning one. Besides — you’ll be protecting everybody else from your germs!
Bonus Item: the little bottle attached to the left side of the purse contains PocketBac hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works in one of their little holders, so I can access it easily; I find I’m more likely to use it if I don’t have to dig for it and it smells pleasant. Many scents of sanitizer and styles of holder available.