What's in my bag?

I’m a hardworking lady, and I need all my stuff to work just as long and hard as I do. I’ve compiled here a list of the tried-and-true products I carry around with me every day, plus notes on how I make it all work together.

Some days, I leave my house at 6:00am and I’m not home until 10:00pm or later. My appointments for the day can range from meeting with clients to teaching yoga classes to attending (or starring in!) opening night for the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival. With that range of events, I’ve got a wide variety of criteria for the stuff that supports my work. 

I often commute on public transportation and on foot, so I carry a backpack instead of a purse or gym bag. My work takes me from my home in Hawaii to India, Australia, Japan and Europe, which means my gear needs to function in all weather and emergency purchases can be extra challenging. 

I need both essentials and contingency supplies to make it through the day; however, anything that I can leave at home, I WILL leave at home. Carrying unnecessary dead weight for sweaty miles and long hours is not my idea of an efficient lifestyle habit. If it doesn’t fit in my backpack, it’s not coming with me.

Through years of trial, error and regretful purchases, I’ve crafted this list of 10 favorite things that have stood the tests of schedule, weather, comfort and physical durability. Oh, and cuteness. Because obviously.

  1. My favorite backpack is the RooTote, small size, available in Tokyo and online. My friend and mentor Anandra George was rocking one everywhere in India, so when we were last in Japan together, I knew I needed my own. I stash my personal items in the sneaky side compartment.
  2. My laptop is the rose gold MacBook. It’s small, fast, a little bit glam and a workhorse – just like me. Also, it weighs two pounds and fits easily in my RooTote backpack – not like me.
  3. Aloha splash-proof zipper pouches are my quintessential wet-dry separators. I have the mini, small and medium sizes and I don’t leave home without them. These coated Tyvek bags keep my MacBook super safe from everything, including soaked gym clothes and, once, an adopted SCOBY in a jar. And check out this beautiful example of “bag inception”: on a hike, I used a mini one to hold my cell phone and car fob inside a medium one, so my wet swimming stuff stayed away from the electronics and the electronics had a bit of padding and everything was in one little easy-to-carry package. Boom, life hack.
  4. Cream deodorant by Natural Aloha is a combo of coconut oil, arrowroot powder and magic. I stay un-stinky for hours and hours, and my skin loves it. I apply some in the morning and I carry an almost-empty tin of it in my RooTote for reapplication when my schedule goes 10+ hours.
  5. I carry Cottonelle wipes for freshening up on the go. I use these on all my body parts, no shame in my game. I figure, if they’re sensitive enough for “down there,” then I can totally use them on my face, hands, feet and everywhere in between. You’re welcome.
  6. Active lifestyle apparel by local Hawaii companies Lily Lotus and Fighting Eel give me life. When I’m wearing this stuff, I feel comfortable, cool, supercute and socially conscious. I regularly get complements on how “yoga professional” I look, and I think, “Yeah, but it feels like I’m wearing pajamas,” and then I mentally high-five myself. Five favorite pieces: Lily Lotus kimono, Lily Lotus long legging, Lily Lotus kia bra, Fighting Eel shorts om, Fighting Eel tank swoon. BONUS: All my favorite pieces can be machine-washed and dried, easy squeezy. 
  7. Chelsea Abril is my LipSense dealer. (She’s also one of my favorite photographers in the whole world.) This stuff doesn’t rub off or transfer onto anything, which means I can have flawless, pretty color on my lips that looks fresh hours and hours after I applied it. Five favorite colors: Bombshell, Berry, Fly Girl, Nude (for layering), Purple Reign.
  8. Uni Style Fit multi pens and Zebra MildLiner highlighters are my favorite writing tools of all time. If you’ve ever seen me working, you know I take notes almost constantly, diagramming and color-coding as I go. The Style Fit inks come in a rainbow of colors (which I’ve totally collected), they don’t run or fade, and the tips come in widths from 0.5mm to 0.28mm. I’ve had the same pen bodies for over five years, and I get my refills at Fisher Hawaii or on Amazon. I get the 5-color body and the 0.28mm refills. My favorite journal (I’m a bullet journaler) is the Leuchtturm1917 with dot-grid pages.
  9. I hydrate way more with my Zojirushi flip-top bottle than I would without it. I’ve had the same small black one for several years and its cost per use is down to pennies. Double-walled construction means cold stuff stays cold and hot stuff stays hot, be careful! The best feature is the locking flip-top button, which lets me keep the bottle secure even when I’m playing the harmonium and can only sneak out one hand.
  10. My portable battery pack is the best emergency purchase I’ve ever made. The one I have is a brand called “myCharge” from a random airport kiosk in Europe. Nowadays, I always carry the battery pack, a lightning cable and a mini-USB cable – neatly tucked into a mini Aloha Collection pouch in the side compartment of my RooTote. This little pack has saved the day too many times to count, and I’ve even helped out friends that needed a power-up!

These ten products have stood the test of Stephanie life, which is pretty rigorous if I do say so myself. If you try any of these items, I would love to know how they work for you.

Do you have your own daily must-haves? Tips to share? Favorite products? Let me know in the comments below.

Love and lifestyle optimization, babes!