0days0hours0minutes0seconds

We've all seen the cute girl, Starbucks in hand, with the perfectly-positioned crossbody that's just big enough for a breath mint and some lip balm. Heck, you may be that girl and, if you are, I've got mad love for you. I tried — and failed — at being that girl, but I'm just a suitcase-sized purse gal at heart. I need ALL the room for five different glosses, an oversized cosmetics bag, my filled-to-stuffed wallet and even a tablet (no, seriously!).

And, while women are mostly protective over the contents of their handbags, from scented lotions to flavored gums, I'm letting you inside the world of the "big bag" girl by exposing my top 12 favorite items that I carry daily — and that end up at the bottom of my purse. Sneak a peek inside my bag — with my permission — and see what you think.

We hope you find these handy products as awesome as we do. Just an FYI: we participate in affiliate programs, and may receive a share of sales from links on this page.

An AirPods Pro Case That Turns Up the Tunes ... and the Sass

Music is life, amirite? I'm also a huge fan of podcasts, particularly those of the true-crime variety. So, I don't like to stray too far away from my AirPods Pro. This AirPods Pro case, which comes with a carabiner and metal ring, allows me to attach my earbuds to my keyring so I never leave home without them. I love it so much I've bought it three gifts ... once for myself and twice as gifts.

The Key Ring I Swear You'll Never Lose

Key rings are a necessary evil, but they're also super inconvenient when you have your hands full schlepping groceries into the house or loading shopping bags into the trunk. (They're also pretty easy to lock in said trunk, but I digress.) This key ring mimics a bracelet or bangle and slides easily over your hand, keeping your keys close, but not too close. With almost 30 colors and designs to choose from, this one is a key-per in my bag.

A Protein Bar That Can Take a Licking

I think most of us eat protein bars out of necessity or convenience, rather than because we find them particularly yummy. Quest bars are a favorite for me (and a staple in my bag) for two reasons: 1. They taste good and 2. They're hearty enough to withstand the jungle that is the bottom of a purse and still come out mostly unscathed. Once you get home, try cutting one into pieces and baking for a few minutes. You can thank me later.

A Clear (Bag) Winner

We've already discussed how I go straight to the largest handbag in the store, right? Then, you can probably guess what happens next. (Hint: It's in the title of this article.) Everything goes straight. to. the. bottom. This clear cosmetics bag is plenty roomy for all of my toiletries and, bonus!, it's also TSA-approved. If you grab more than one, I promise you'll find myriad uses for them.

The Little Voice Recorder That Could

Call me old-school. As a recovering journalist, a voice recorder used to be an absolute necessity. Now, with smartphones that are equipped with recording apps, they are a relic of days gone by. But, not so fast, my friend! As a marketing manager with a heavy focus on content creation, I've found myself back in the interviewer seat ... and returning to my trusted recorder to capture all the details. For me, the sound quality is better and transferring files to a PC or MAC is a zip.

Cuticle Oil You'll Want to Slather Everywhere

Even in the heat and humidity of a Florida summer, my cuticles like — and deserve — a bit of attention. I stopped going to nail salons about four years ago, but still indulge my girly side with manis at home. I love a good cuticle oil and I keep several of these stashed everywhere: My bathroom, my vanity, my bed-side table and my purse. The pen shape of this gadget helps soothe my cuticles without leaving a mess behind.

I'm a Hard Case

We've already discussed the perils of being a "big bag" lady and never is it more of an issue than with something as fragile as glasses. I rely on a hard sunglasses case to help my sunglasses navigate the treacherous terrain at the bottom of my bag, muscling its way in alongside my supersized wallet and gigantic clean cosmetics bag. I usually won't spend more than $10 on a pair of shades, but I'm toting a pair of Ray-Bans these days and I need to protect my investment.

Lip Treatment All The Way from Japan

My worldliness extends beyond the stamps in my passport all the way to this Japanese-born lip treatment. It's paraben-, talc- and fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and never tested on animals. I know you're probably asking yourself, "Is that black lip gloss?" The answer is "Yes." This particular shade is a transparent noir with coppery flecks that you can wear alone or on top of other lipsticks. This lip treatment also comes in more traditional shades like coral, red and pink.

Power to This Battery Tube

Sometimes the days are long and the cell phone juice is short. But, who wants to lug around a heavy battery pack (even if you are carrying an enormous purse)? This lipstick-sized charger gives me just enough power to add some life to my phone when I can't get to a wall charger or computer. I looked long and hard for a charger that was neat and compact and was particularly impressed with this one's built-in cable adapter that hides inside the lid when not in use. 'Cause if there's one thing I need in my "big bag" life, it's simplicity and organization at the bottom.

Just a Quick Note

When COVID-19 wrecked life as we know it back in March, I started to re-evaluate some of my daily practices. As someone who has worked professionally in communications for 20 years, that was a topic of particular interest to me. How do you maintain strong communications with friends and family when everything is text-, email- and Zoom-based? Enter these notecards. With just a first-class stamp between me and my recipient, I found a more mindful way to reach out  — whether to wish someone "happy birthday," tell them to "get well soon" or simply say "hello." You won't believe how psyched people get over receiving real, honest-to-goodness mail in the mailbox and it'll make you feel good, too.

Pen It All On Me

Notecards are only as good as the rest of the supplies you have at your disposal, right? Without an ink pen to carry the load, you've just got a purse full of blank notes. This four-color pen takes me back to my school days when I thought only the coolest kids could write in different colors with just the click of a button. You've got "get serious" black and blue, "I'm correcting your grammar" red, and "look how fun I am" green all at your fingertips in one device. That's some serious ink!

Fire(d) Up Over a Good Book

When I'm not writing, I'm reading. And, sure, you can download the Kindle app onto your smartphone, but why do that and run your battery down when you can throw a small tablet into your bag? I've had numerous Kindles through the years, including a Paperwhite, which is especially nice when you're trying to read in the blinding sunlight at the beach. The Kindle Fire is handy for other reasons. Not only does it allow you to stay on track with your reading goals, but it gives you another option for numerous entertainment portals including Netflix, Spotify, Prime Video, Audible and more. With a 7-in. display and a 7-hour battery life, it'll get you through that next road trip in ease. Anyway, speaking of bags...

Fire(d) Up Over a Good Book

When I'm not writing, I'm reading. And, sure, you can download the Kindle app onto your smartphone, but why do that and run your battery down when you can throw a small tablet into your bag? I've had numerous Kindles through the years, including a Paperwhite, which is especially nice when you're trying to read in the blinding sunlight at the beach. The Kindle Fire is handy for other reasons. Not only does it allow you to stay on track with your reading goals, but it gives you another option for numerous entertainment portals including Netflix, Spotify, Prime Video, Audible and more. With a 7-in. display and a 7-hour battery life, it'll get you through that next road trip in ease.