Coffee Break: Convertible Backpack

Jetsetter Mini Convertible BackpackEven if you’re on board with the backpack trend, it’s hard to make it work in your professional life (although they are great for a long walking commute).  This gorgeous, convertible tote looks super ladylike when carried by its handles, but it has a shoulder strap to make it more of a crossbody style — and it also converts to a backpack.  I think it looks great in all of its iterations, as well as all four of the colors (taupe, black, blue, and yell0w).  It’s $228 at Bendel’s. Jetsetter Mini Convertible Backpack


  1. anonymous :

    Is green concealer useful for covering up brownish acne scars in addition to more reddish spots? I have dark-ish skin if that matters.

    • The green tint is specific for countering redness (being opposite on the color wheel), so I don’t think it would do much for brown spots. Those are probably better off with a concealer/foundation combination.

    • Anonymous :

      Green is only useful if something is redder than it should be. I would think it would not be overly helpful, especially considering how finicky correctors are to work with. I would try a green all over powder first. NYX makes a decent one to try out.

    • Anonymous :

      Is there a trick to using green corrector? I bought it once, used it and recall it just being green on my skin. I probably topped it with concealer but never used again being afraid the concealer would wear off, leaving a green mark.

      • lawsuited :

        The best way to use green corrector is when it comes in a colour corrector wheel with other skin-tone correctors, then you can apply the skin-tone corrector over the green corrector and it adheres because it’s the same formulation. If you’re in Canada, I recommend the Lise Watier colour corrector wheel – it’s the best one I’ve ever tried, but I’m not sure if it’s available in the U.S.

    • If you have dark scars, you need a peach to orange color corrector depending on how fair to dark your complexion is.

  2. espresso bean :

    Do you keep a journal? How long have you kept one? Any thoughts on the process? If you blog, do you consider your blog a kind of journal?

    I’ve kept journals on and off since my teens. It’s fun (and sometimes cringe-worthy) to look back at past entries. Sometimes I relate so much to the younger version of me… sometimes, not so much.

    Some random journaling thoughts: I can’t decide if I want mine destroyed when I die or if I should just let whoever finds them read them (I’ll be dead, so it won’t matter, right?).

    I like to wait until a few years pass so revisiting old entries feels like I’m reading something someone else wrote. It’s more fresh when I’m not as close to what I’ve written.

    I MUST have the perfect notebook and pen. I can’t write unless I have the right pen. Notebooks have been all over the place, from Moleskine to Mara Hoffman. As long as looking at it makes me happy, I’ll write in it.

    Sometimes people think that a journal is just a record of what a person did on a particular day. It can be that, but for me it’s so much more. I like to keep track of what I’m listening to, what I’m reading, what’s inspiring me…

    I’d be interested to hear what everyone else does!

    • I kept a journal in elementary school through high school. I used one of those diaries with a lock in elementary school and my entries are pretty funny. I started writing a journal because my English tutor encouraged me to write about things I knew and things I did to improve my writing.

      Starting in middle school, I used those standard 70-page notebooks back in the day, with a RSVP ballpoint pen (blue or purple or black, fine point only). I wrote them Princess-Diaries-style: Day of the week, date, time, location. I wrote in it probably whenever I had a chance. Sometimes my entries were written more like novel prose with dialogue to recap things that happened.

      I kept a journal on a private blog in college. I wrote in it mostly to vent. I go back and read my old entries sometimes. I keep a journal now, but write in it less. I use a comp notebook nowadays but like using nicer notebooks too. I include my novel writing in the notebook and notes about other stuff as well. I haven’t thought about what to do with them later on..

      I think keeping a journal is fun, and a relaxing type of writing. It’s a place you can talk about things you feel like you can’t talk about with other people, and also a place to come up with ideas and mull over situations in your life. I use it sometimes to warm up my writing before I write for other things (like nanowrimo, etc.). I tend to like writing by hand but typing is much faster so it all just depends.

      • Late response, but I could have written the first paragraph myself! Same timeline, same pen, same style. I went through them last year and laughed quite a lot… and then put it page by page in the shredder because it was too embarrassing to risk anyone reading them in the future ;)

  3. Hey everyone, hoping to collect some anecdata on closet size. I currently have a closet that is 10 feet long, about 6 feet high, 2.5 feet deep (150 sq feet by volume). ALL of my clothes, shoes, scarves, other accessories, are stored inside. I have hanging clothes as well as shelves and drawers inside the closet. Even a fair amount of cosmetics are stored in there in the drawers (our bathroom is tiny). My SO still thinks my closet is unnecessarily “huge.” We are talking about putting on an addition and he thinks the two of us could share a closet of that size. I suppose we could if I had a separate dresser/bureau. But I am curious, since I don’t think of myself as having a ton of clothes – how much closet storage by volume do other people have? And how much of your clothing/accessories/cosmetics do you keep in there?

    (BTW I realize 150 sq feet sounds like a lot, but keep in mind there is some empty space btw hanging clothes, plus the drawers and shelves take up room, empty space inside of shoes and between shelves etc. In other words it is not literally packed to the gills. )

    • Anonymous :

      IDK, but I am always short on hanging space and have too much dresser space (DH and I each have a dresser, but I use mine for a good bit of household / lost sock / light bulb storage). I would always vote for more closet space — you can always move in drawers.

    • You can never have too much closet space. I don’t have enough. We have 3 total: 2 small (one for each of us to store mostly work clothes), 1 medium hallway that’s a combination coat closet and utility closet where we keep everything from coats to shoes to luggage to the vacuum, and 1 stand alone large wardrobe closet that has everything from shelves and drawers to hanging clothes. For 2 people with distinct work and non-work clothing, it is not enough. Even with bathroom storage for linens/towels, a dresser, and a tall “lingerie chest,” as well as a storage trunk for out of season items, we are always running out of space. Not only that, but it is so much easier to keep things organized/neat if there’s room between clothes/items so it’s all easy to hang up/see/pull out. And it’s also much better for your clothes not to be squished. I can’t tell you how often I have to steam clothes because they’ve been smushed by other items in my too-tiny closet. Tell your SO, there is no such thing as too much closet space and sharing a closet can be hazardous for happy relationships.

    • Meg Murry :

      I think you probably could share a closet that size, especially if it was only for hanging items and you had separate drawers elsewhere, but in the name of harmony I highly suggest you each get your own closet so you aren’t tripping over each other or grumpy about how much space the other person is taking. Or if you don’t each get your own closet, each having a section that is your own at a minimum (so you get everything on the left side, he gets the right, or whatever).

      The other bonus to having a large closet that you can walk into with your dresser and everything in it is that if one of you has to get dressed when the other is sleeping, you can go in, shut the door and turn off the light and then get dressed. If the dresser is in the room you have to turn on the light or try to hold your phone as a flashlight with one hand while rummaging through the drawer with the other trying to tell if that sock is black or brown (been there, done that).

      IMO, you can never have too big a closet. Honestly, as long as my bedroom is big enough to hold my bed and a small nightstand for my alarm clock, I would be perfectly happy to have the rest as closet space.

      • Meg Murry :

        Oh, and as to the size question – my husband and I currently share a closet that is maybe 5 x 5 in our bedroom? And the ceiling slopes in it, so it’s even a little smaller than that. There is a clothes bar on either side, and it’s not quite big enough for that – I wind up crushing my husband’s clothes to flip through mine if the item I want is not in front and vice versa.

        Luckily, we have a completely empty room that we don’t use at all (and that doesn’t have heat in it – long story). It has a small closet where we keep our dressiest clothes like suits (since we each need them only a few times a year) and formal dresses, and then I built giant hanging racks out of PVC pipe. Since it doesn’t have heat I don’t use it for my everyday clothes, but I can cycle my out of season stuff in there from the bedroom closet. Love having all the hanging space, I hang up just about every single item other than socks, underwear, pjs and workout clothes.

    • I have a 3-4 foot clothes closet, with a shelf at the top on which I store sweaters. (Closet is 4 feet, but one foot is taken up by an insulated AC pipe.) I store work clothes, dresses, and sweaters in the closet. Closet is only about 1.5 ft deep, so not much room underneath (laundry basket, baskets for socks and hosiery). I also have an Ikea Malm lingerie chest (the 15 in wide one) I use as a dresser for tshirts, pjs, jeans, and workout clothes, and my spouse and I share another 3-foot closet for suits and formal dresses, meaning I get about 1.5 feet of space there. (Coats are stored with rainboots in another location.) I keep my underwear and bras in the drawers of my night table.

    • lawsuited :

      My closet is 2′ high, 2′ deep and 6′ high, so your closet does sound huge to me! Full disclosure: I do have one 30″ wide 4-drawer dresser outside the closet, but that also holds all my make-up/skincare/haircare products.

      • lawsuited :

        I meant my closet is 2′ wide, 2′ deep and 6′ high. Thankfully I don’t have a crawlspace as a closet!

        (And I miss the edit function.)

    • Anonymous :

      My closet is about 5’D x 5’W x 8.5’H, space fully maximized with Elfa from Container Store. I also have an armoire and fairly large chest of drawers in my bedroom, and a “shoe cabinet” in my entryway. Between those, I keep all of my clothes and outerwear, all shoes but running shoes (which are just scattered in the entryway), purses, jewelry, and extra sheets/duvet covers. Towels and all laundry products and cosmetics are kept in the bathroom/outside the bathroom, luggage just sits in a nook in my bedroom b/c there’s no other place for it.

      Personally, I think your husband needs to consider larger closet space for resale value alone.

      • Anonymous :

        Sorry, I hit submit before going up to confirm if you’d said SO or husband!

      • +1 to considering resale value.

        If you are planning to add on, definitely think about getting two large closets. If your neighbors are remodeling, two master closets could become the norm for your neighborhood. It is even better if they aren’t and you have the only house on the market with separate closets.

        “This house has too much closet space” said no one ever.

    • This fairly close to my closet size-
      walk through about 5 feet long with a rod on each side. Mine is taller than 6 ft, but I have some sporting gear and luggage stored up top, plus a vacuum.
      Mine is probably 3 feet at taken up by jackets and coats of various warmth levels, 2.5 feet of dresses, 4 feet of shirts/skirts/pants, 2 hanging organizers for folded items like sweaters, jeans, workout clothes, sheets. A small dresser for undergarments and t shirts, plus a laundry basket and boots are underneath.

      I *could* squeeze a minimalist significant other in there if I had better out-of season clothing storage and did a good purge, but if I had the choice for more space I would take it.

      If you have the option for more vertical space it could work, depending on how much seasonal clothing you have. Can you add another bar across half of the closet for shirts and pants?

    • I feel your pain. We’re looking at selling our current house and buying a new one and my biggest pushback is that I can’t match my current closet size. My closet is 12 x 8 (so basically the size of a bedroom) and then SO’s closet is off mine and is 6 x 3. I have dressers in there, with shoe cubbies/shelves built in for the bottom of the closet almost all the way around, and an ottoman in the middle for putting on shoes, pantyhose, etc. (I have zero balance and inevitably fall otherwise). I could obviously live with a smaller closet, but that doesn’t mean I want to.

    • We have a really large closet with built ins. Like, could fit a twin bed in there kind of closet. There are three different “areas” of high/low racks to hang, plus shelves, plus drawers, plus two built-in hampers. Our cabinets go all the way up to ’10 foot ceilings. Surprisingly, my husband uses more of the closet space than I do because he hangs all of his shirts (including tee-shirts). He uses the drawers in there as a dresser, while I have an actual dresser in the bedroom. Anyways…I love having a large closet. I say the bigger the better. Normally I subscribe to “the more space you have, the more you buy to fill it up” philosophy, but we don’t fill up our closet.

    • We have the same size closet that you have and share it. However, all of our off-season, super fancy things etc are in a guest room closet. And my DH asks me to purge the closet whenever I buy new things. It helps declutter, so that is not terrible and it keeps the clothing count down. We also have shelves in the closet that are mine (mostly) and he has a dresser in the room. But yeah, I crush his clothes whenever I am looking for a particular shirt or something so he will not put his best work suits in the closet. He has hooks in the room for that.

      So yes, we share this same size closet, but there is overflow. I would recommend a larger closet for sure, even if it means not smashing each other’s clothes every time you want to find a skirt.

  4. Anonymous :

    I posted a question that I think got caught in moderation- so here goes again.

    I had to tell a good friend that I might not be able to go to her bachelorette, because it will cost me a lot- I live in a different city, and it will cost me $700 for the flight, plus at least $600 for the weekend hotel/activities. I’m also going to the wedding, which is a month after the bachelorette. This means that I’ll spend close to $1400 for the bachelorette, and at least another 1000 on the wedding flight plus gift.

    I can swing it, but it’s expensive and I feel bad, but spending over $2000 on a wedding, when it’s not a destination wedding and I’m not in the bridal party seems excessive. Or am I being cheap? I feel bad, and she’s a good friend and I love her, but $1400 for one weekend is a lot, I think.

    For perspective, I have 4 weddings this year, 2 out of town, and at this point, I’m getting close to $4000 all in if I go to the bachelorette for weddings/activities this year, and it seems ridiculous.

    • Moonstone :

      Don’t go to the bachelorette party. You are a good friend to travel to the wedding. But I recommend presenting these things as a firm decision, not a “might not go.” It rips the Band-aid off quicker and usually cuts short the trying-to-change-your-mind part.

    • I don’t think you’re being cheap at ALL – that is an ENORMOUS cost, even for just the one wedding. A bride with some amount of perspective is likely to understand both the cost of her wedding and the multiple wedding obligations you have this year. She is also likely to understand that the main event – the wedding! – is far more important than the bachelorette. I don’t think you need to get into the nitty gritty total dollar commitment of her wedding/all weddings, but simply say you just can’t swing it given your collective obligations for the year but you *reallyREALLYreally* look forward to her wedding day!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would not go to the bachelore*t*t*e weekend. I think one plane trip per not-in-the-wedding-party wedding is plenty. Just tell her you can’t swing another trip but you are looking forward to the wedding.

    • As an anonymous internet stranger, I give you permission not to go and spend $1300 on getting drunk with a friend you will see the next month at her wedding.

    • I know a lot of people who invite out-of-town friends to things on the chance that they can swing it (Hey, it’s the same weekend as a conference in the city! They were going to visit Mom for her birthday anyway! Extra vacation that isn’t going to roll over and way too many frequent flyer miles!), not because they are going to be hugely upset if you don’t show up.

      Just a low-key, “Hey, I just can’t make it” is fine.

      • Anonymous :

        Well, I had the phone conversation with her, and she was upset that I couldn’t make it, which is why I now feel bad.

        • Unless she was a real jerk (and maybe even then), give her some time–her initial reaction may have been more dramatic than she’ll eventually feel when she’s thought about it a little more. It’s totally fine for you not to go, and if she truly is a good friend to you, she’ll realize that. I think that’s true in lots of cases, and particularly around weddings; we don’t always take disappointing news as well as we could, and that’s just gets amplified when you have a bunch of stress in your life too. That doesn’t excuse meanness, of course, and she should have been more gracious in any case, but part of friendship is that we don’t always manage to be our best selves to each other.

    • I’ll offer a different perspective – of course you can decline it, of course it’s not cheap, but it’s also the phase of your life where you’ll be able to do this kind of event and it’s great bonding time with your friends. I found that after my early to mid 30s, most of my friends started having kids and the b*tchl*r*tte weekends away just didn’t happen anymore as people moved on to different life phases. I used to gripe about the expense of other people’s life events a lot and now I just wish there were more of these fun/girls-getaway weekends in my life. Of course I’d consider how much I liked the group that’s going and how close the friendship is, but if it’s a good friend I intend to stay in touch with and a group of girls I liked, I’d go if I could afford it (which from your post it sounds like you can).

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t know anyone else going, except the bride. We are close, but spending over $2,000 on one wedding and the associated events feels like too much. That amount of money isn’t inconsequential to me. And while I can afford it, I will have to dip into savings (savings that haven’t grown much this year, due to all the other weddings).

        But, I feel so bad.

        • I think you need to accept the fact that you made this decision for good reasons and, yeah, the bride is disappointed, but wouldn’t you be more upset if you spent the money and went and it turned out that it either wasn’t your thing or the others knew each other or whatever. Just make the decision and stick with it!

        • You should never feel bad about not spending money that is out of your budget or that makes you uncomfortable. We are adults and that means we get to pick what we do and what we don’t do. It doesn’t mean that we won’t sometimes need (or should) to do things that we don’t like, but it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have the money to do something, you get to say no to that something. I would consider having to dip into savings a no go for me when it comes to something like a bachelorette party. My good friends would be disappointed, but they would absolutely understand. None of us are made of money and $1400 is already a lot to spend on an event.

        • anon a mouse :

          You absolutely are justified in not going. But if you know your friend will miss your presence, you can arrange to do something for the weekend, like send champagne to her room or send flowers to her the day before expressing how sad you are that you could not join her.

  5. I’m coming up on my last day in my current position after two years. I work for a small division with several support staff members a few offices away and several recurring guest stars, i.e., people who work in other offices in the same building. I’m on a “hi, how are you” level with them and know their children’s names, etc., but neither end goes out of its way to chat with the other. What’s typical practice for the last day goodbyeing? Is an office email sufficient? Bring bagels that morning?

  6. Hi all – I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded to my question the other day about how to work with a boss who verbally tells you to do one thing and then throws you under the bus later. I am starting to recap our verbal discussions afterwards and I’m hoping it helps!

  7. Wow- I really like this backpack! My commute now includes about 2 miles of walking each day and a shoulder bag isn’t really working but I don’t find most backpacks very “grown-up” looking. Has anyone found any other options like this out there:?

    • There seem to be quite a few. Marc by Marc Jacobs makes some cute ones. Or try searching for “convertible backpack.” Also, NM Last Call has a bunch.

    • Anonymous :

      Levenger has some good ones. I was looking for the most briefcase-like backpack possible and have been very happy with this one: (Not sure what’s up with the current colors; it normally comes in black too.)

    • I just bought this backpack for my sister from Nordstrom. It’s convertible:

  8. SoCal Vacation :

    I’m going to a wedding in LA in April and I live on the East Coast, so I’m thinking of extending my trip a bit to make it into more of a vacation. The husband and I try to do one low-key vacation each year and one that’s more active. This would be our low-key trip, so I think we’re looking for something resort-esque. Things to do nearby are necessary, though, as we will both go nuts if we don’t have plans other than sitting by the pool. Any suggestions? We will be renting a car, so anywhere within a couple hours drive of LAX is on the table.

    • Stay in Santa Monica and visit the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. Both are breathtaking.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. Also, for evening fun, there are some great comedy clubs in Hollywood.

    • Stay in Pasadena at the Huntington Hotel. Go to the museums (Huntington, Pacific Asia, Norton Simon), eat, shop. Pasadena in April can be lovely.

    • Anonymous :

      Try Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach – they are just south of LAX and you will get that chill beach town vibe, without the tourist-iness of Santa Monica.

      If you are willing to drive to Santa Barbara, that would really give you the resort-vibe.

  9. San Diego or La Jolla or Newport Beach

  10. I have been coveting this bag for months! I get bad back pain from carrying shoulder bags so no matter how weird they look, I really need to carry a backpack… especially since I will almost certainly have to carry my laptop during my commute most days at my new job! I’m just waiting to see what size laptop my new job gives me, because this bag can only hold up to a 13″.

  11. I am surprised you are so anti-walking to work! I walk to work and use a large soft tote. I wear more comfortable shoes too. I think you have covered commuting shoes at length but it’s a constant struggle!

  12. Thank you for doing a post on this bag! I’ve been looking for a new black purse for every day use for work for a few months now as my current one is dying a slow and painful death. This one looks perfect and I was even able to find a store near me. Pretty sure this’ll be making its way into my closet soon…

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