Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!
One thing you may not know about me is that sometimes, I travel. Honestly, I don’t do it very often, but once in a while, I get in a car or on a train or even — and this may sound crazy — on an airplane and go somewhere else for a few days. This is, I’ve noticed, something many adults (and even some children!) do quite often.
I left for one recent trip expecting to stay at Air BnBs so I, accordingly, threw all my toiletries in a big plastic ziplock bag. When we arrived at the first apartment to discover that I, a moron, had booked the place for the wrong dates, however, we ended up spending a night in a hotel, which means my toiletries, maxi pads and all, were paraded on full display through the hotel lobby (and it was a Hilton!).
Needless to say, it was an embarrassing experience, though I was admittedly less ashamed than I should have been, both because I’m very open about my menstrual cycle (yeah, I still wear maxi pads on occasion fuck off!) and because I have a theory that being an ill-equipped traveler makes me look young! Still, it was a wake up call from my dream of a life in which I’ve been using my sister’s (very pretty!) hand-me-down luggage and throwing my various serums and creams into a plastic bag for all the world to see. My mother would be horrified.
Lest you think I’m some kind of teenager (the horror!), the truth is I have a couple of toiletry kits, but I’ve assigned them other duties because they aren’t big enough to meet my travel needs, which include at least three different serums and a wide variety of face creams and hair products. I use one to house my good makeup, which I use about once every two months, and keep the other at my boyfriend’s apartment so that I don’t need to worry about taking anything with me when I sleep over and so that every time he looks in his closet, he’s reminded that it takes me approximately 45 minutes to get ready for bed. (No, I did not wake up like this — but I did go to sleep like this after completing a rigorous and time-consuming skincare regimen.) All of which to say, a few months(/ years) ago, I found myself without a travel kit.
So when I carted that plastic bag full of products through that hotel lobby (in a reusable grocery bag, making it all the more déclassée), I decided it was time to grow the fuck up and get myself a big ass toiletry kit. I’ve been trying (and failing) not to shop recently, which really just means I’ve been buying only fun things and putting off buying actual necessities. Since I’m trying to be more of an adult, however, I’ve been trying (and failing) to focus more on what I need vs. what I want, and I realized, leaving that hotel, I need a toiletry kit and I want a pretty one. (But not too pretty because I have a tendency to buy gorgeous little printed pouches then never use them because they’re too beautiful and I’m worried they’ll get damaged.)
Fortunately, I was on a comedy tour/shopping trip (the second part was unintentional, whoops), which meant I had full permission to buy anything I could even slightly justify. Finally, on our last (shopping) day, I found the perfect big ass pouch and I bought it (along with the perfect little set of four mugs to replace the big, mostly broken cheap ones I bought at the Pottery Barn outlet after college).
My favorite thing about the bag is that it’s huge. I could fit at least a forearm if not both in there, plus half an upper arm on a skinny day. My second favorite thing is that it’s soooo pretty! My third favorite thing is that, while it honestly is too pretty to use, it’s made of thick, tough canvas that can withstand some abuse.
Let’s talk (I realize this isn’t a conversation, but rather a long, pointless diatribe into the void) about how huge it is, because that’s the main reason I bought it, and in fact the reason I gave up and just started hauling my stuff in see-through gallon bags to begin with. In case I haven’t made it clear yet, I travel with a lot of shit. I slather a lot of shit on my hair, body and face every day, so though I try to downsize when I’m on the road, even 1 oz. bottles take up space when you have 85 of them. Plus, I like to keep all my bathroom stuff together, which means I want to be able to cram larger items like a toothbrush in there. Not only does my toothbrush lie down flat on the bottom of this bag with plenty of leg room to spare, I can fit my fucking hairbrush in there! Unprecedented. I can also fit a makeup bag, my nighttime mouthguard (lol) and a big ziplock bag full of products (you KNOW I’m leak-proofing my toner!).
Since I purchased my new travel kit, I have, in fact, traveled with it! Like a separate trip, to a different location. On an airplane! Here’s the thing about air travel: unless you’re at a really small airport, they don’t give a shit if you keep your liquids in your bag (as long as they’re all under 3.4 oz., of course). That’s right — no one wants to see your tiny fucking Colgate or your half-used Pantene crammed into a little plastic sandwich bag traveling through security. Keep that shit in your purse and stride confidently through the metal detector, girl, because this is 2019 and you’re not in Mobile, Alabama (the last airport where I was actually forced to pull my toiletries out of my bag, and even throw some away because I had it spread out into two little bags!).
Needless to say, I did not remove my new kit from my bag — though I’m sure I would have gotten some compliments! — until I arrived at my final destination (at 2 a.m.), at which point I pulled it out and was delighted to remember that everything was in one convenient place. Even though no one else actually saw my new toiletry bag on this vacation, I saw it, and I felt like a real adult each time I did. I’m no longer just a kid of…actually don’t worry about my age carting around a big ass see-through bag of maxi pads — now I’m a woman of the very same decidedly adult age carrying around a big ass totally not see-through bag of maxi pads. And that, my friends, is growth (and $40. Expensive, I know, but look how pretty it is! And I’ll have it forever — or at least until a bottle of charcoal face wash explodes all over it!).
As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares about my new toiletry kit. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, travel bag or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!