The “What’s in my bag” post.

My first bag came from Aeropostale. And I didn’t call it a “bag”, I called it a purse. Because I was ten, and believed everything my mom told me – bags are used to carry groceries, purses are used to carry all of your little trinkets and treasures that you can’t leave home without.

I mean, she didn’t put it EXACTLY like that. My mom wouldn’t call her used Kleenex and traveling pill case a “treasure” per say, but you know what I mean. It’s a purse. She kept her wallet and her tissues and her breath mints and her receipts and her tiny, little traveling pharmacy of Advil and allergy pills in a “purse”. 

So – my first PURSE came from Aeropostale. It was – hands down – the smallest purse I’ve ever owned. It may have actually been the smallest purse, ever. To exist. This would have been around the year 2001 when “the small purse trend” was in… I think? I don’t know, I was ten. Maybe it was just “in” for ten year olds, because ten years old didn’t have a bunch of stuff to lug around in 2001. All I needed was a place to keep my twelve dollars in cash and… like, that’s it. What else do you need when you’re ten? A pager?

It’s not like I had keys to worry about, because I was always with an adult who had to carry around the keys. I didn’t need a cell phone, because I was ten and it was 2001. I am now part of the generation that sees a ten year old with an iPhone 8 and says, “Well back in MY day, we didn’t have cell phones when we were ten” – as if we grew up Little House on the Prairie style and were all forced to churn our own butter and read by candlelight. We might as well have grown up on the Oregon Trail (which most of us did, as a computer game).

I don’t know why I remember this purse. Maybe because I carried it around for so long. In hindsight, it looked like a children’s purse (which is fine, because I was a child – even though I thought I was a lady. A little ten year old lady). It was tan colored with an embroidered butterfly in the center and a skinny brown strap that was – PROBABLY? – supposed to go over your shoulder? I mean, I don’t know. This tiny, little “purse” went over my shoulder and was so small it basically just hung out right there under my armpit. So it was basically a wristlet that wasn’t a wristlet. It was an armpit-let.

But up until that moment, I had always thought to myself, “Why would anyone carry a PURSE? That’s so dumb. Then you have to CARRY IT AROUND. Why don’t women just carry their money in their pockets like men do? What is so hard about that?” 

Because then we don’t have any place to keep our trinkets and our treasures and our used Kleenex, Little Jenn. That’s why.

Fashion bloggers always do a post about “What’s in my bag” – and it is usually called “What’s in my bag”. Like we’re expecting them to say they’ve been carrying around a sword in there.

I don’t know what the fascination is with these posts, but I fall for it every time. When my favorite beauty blogger does a “What’s in my bag” post, I read it. And I mean, I read it with the expectation that they’re going to say something other than “my phone”, “my keys”, maybe some some headache medicine? I instantly assume – before even reading it – that there will be SOMETHING in there that is going to change my life. Something that’s going to make me say, “That’s such a good idea! Why didn’t I think of that?!”

Fall fashion trends (that you probably already have in your closet!)

I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said, “Do not fall in love with a man who doesn’t make you feel like the most awesome, incredible, baddest bitch on the block.”… those of course weren’t his exact words, but the sentiment was the same. You know what else can make you feel that way? A leather jacket. 

Seriously. I can be wearing sweatpants, and still feel like a stylish badass biker babe if I’ve got a leather jacket on. (I have never been on a bike – and by “bike”, I  of course mean motorcycle – so I don’t know what that really feels like, but this is the only way I can know how to describe it.) It’s like magic. While sweatpants in public say, “I can’t get my life together”, a leather jacket says, “This is OBVIOUSLY a style choice. And if you don’t get it, then you’re not as cool as I am.” 

I mean, don’t go out there wearing a leather jacket and sweatpants, you’ll look ridiculous. I’m just saying. If you want to feel like a badass, buy a leather jacket. I have five. Because I feel the frequent urge to badass it up in my everyday life. 

The problem is that I can’t wear ANY of them while it’s still 85 degrees outside. I’ve considered it – because, in my mind September = Fall, and Fall = Leather jacket time – but I’d rather not sweat off all my make-up and die of heatstroke. It sounds like a terrible way to go. 

But it’s almost OCTOBER. I mean, come on. While everyone else is hanging on to these last few *surprise* weeks of summer, I can’t wait to bundle up in scarves and the three new pairs of boots that I just bought. (Pro tip: if you really want to feel like a badass, put on a pair of boots with a leather jacket. Something about it makes me feel like I could really kick some bad guy booty. I mean, it would probably actually be harder – since I wouldn’t be able to run as fast in the boots, and the jacket would give me less range of motion – but you know what I mean.) 

This is when I get excited for Fall. It’s not the Pumpkin Spice whatever’s, or the football games every weekend, or the bonfires, or Halloween – it’s the clothes. Honestly. When I see the mannequins in Macy’s wearing scarves and plaid shirts and fuzzy sweaters and cardigans, it makes me feel relieved. My wardrobe options are about to triple. Everything’s going to be okay. My fashion identity is really coming together.

Department stores and fashion designers will try to trick you into believing they’re designing these hot new things. You have to keep up with the trends. You have to buy the sweaters with the holes cut out of the shoulders (I have yet to purchase one of these). You have to buy the sweaters with only ONE shoulder. (No thanks, I have yet to find some place where I could actually wear this.) You have to buy the hot new color for FALL. (The hot new color is purple. It’s the same every year. I read this once in a magazine years ago – “PURPLE is THE color for Fall this year!”and legitimately believed that I needed to buy a bunch of purple things. Ya know, so that people would think I was “in”. It took me a few years to realize this is the same every year. They probably use the same article every year. Purple is just a Fall color.) 

The majority of Fall fashion is the same every year. The basics don’t change much. And heavy duty clothes like sweaters and jeans usually hold up longer than those light-weight t-shirts you bought at the beginning of summer. So when you’re putting together your Fall outfits in a few weeks, remember the basics and you shouldn’t need to run out and go shopping.

How to take photos like a fashion blogger.

One of my biggest worries is that my boyfriend will one day see my Google Search history. It’s not that I have a bunch of dirty Google secrets – I’m not hiding things from him, but I fear the day when I’ll have to explain to him why I’m looking up weird stuff on the Internet like, “What kind of salads do the Kardashians eat?” or “How to get more followers on Instagram”. You know. Personal things. Things between me and Google.

This almost happened last week when I was showing him a picture of a nature preserve where I thought we should go hiking. “Oh!” He said, “I should show you” (some forest preserve that had mountains and stuff) “Hang on, let me Google it”, he said, still holding my phone.

Panic set in. “I’ll do it!” I said, yanking the phone out of his hand. Like – straight up, grabbed it. Ninja style. Like he said he was about to scroll through my photo album and see all of my selfies and screenshots of inspirational quotes (this is my second biggest worry, by the way).

“Geeez.” He seemed a little confused. I have no idea why, especially since I was being TOTALLY NOT SUSPICIOUS AT ALL. “What don’t you want me to see?” He asked.

“Nothing!” I realized by this point – you know, after the fact – that I was being super weird.Like, DEFINITELY-hiding-something weird. Great. He probably thinks I’ve been looking up porn. “I’m just excited to see the place you’re talking about! What was it called?” 

“I was going to look it up.”

“I know! I just…” *Cricket* *Cricket* “What was it called?”

The thing is, my boyfriend is the kind of boyfriend who would probably let me use Google on his phone. He wouldn’t yank said phone out of my hand. Because he’s not looking up weird things like “What really happened with Corinne and DeMario on Bachelor in Paradise?” and “Is Corinne coming back?”

But, really. What happened?

We bypassed the awkward moment – he knows me well enough by now to know that I was probably just looking up dumb stuff about the Kardashians and not ‘how to smother your boyfriend in his sleep’ – and gave me the name of the forest preserve to search. As soon as I typed the letter ‘H’ – sure enough, another embarrassing Google search came up: “How to take photos like a fashion blogger”. 

It could have been worse. It could have been that time I asked Google “How to vote for America’s Got Talent” (asking for a friend). 

But, like, seriously. Taking pictures of my outfit? How do I stand? Where do I stand? Where should I look? Should I look away? What should I do with my hands? How can I make myself look thinner? These are important questions. You have to figure this stuff out if you want your picture to look like a #FashionBlogger picture, and not like something that belongs on your Myspace page from 2007.

Here are the tips that I found for “fashion blogger photography”  so that you don’t have to add another embarrassing search to your Google history. I’ve been Googling tips like these ever since I started this blog over a year ago, because I was looking for a way to stop feeling ridiculous every time I asked someone to take a picture of my #OOTD. “Do people really DO that?”, I thought. “Like, they ask their boyfriends or their friends or whomever to take a picture of them while they’re posing like a model? No one thinks that’s weird?” 

I live in Chicago. People do that all the time. No one thinks it’s weird. Promise.