Coffee Break: Voyageur Halle Nylon Backpack

Holiday travel is coming up — buckle up for cancellations, annoyances, and more. A backpack can make travel that much easier if you’re schlepping with a lot of other stuff — it’s certainly ergonomically better. This simple, chic bag from Tumi is $295 at Nordstrom, but do note, there are a lot of colorful floral Tumi backpacks on sale for as low as $145. (Amazon also has a ton!)  Tumi ‘Voyageur Halle’ Nylon Backpack

Psst: looking for a backpack for work? Check out our recent roundup.



  1. Menu ideas? :

    I’m hosting a meal at noon and also dinner on Christmas. I have a ham, prime rib, and would consider buying beef tenderloin if “need” be (can freeze the prime).

    What can I serve around these things? The crowd is a mix of the same and news people.

    • Mac and cheese (assemble in advance, heat up that day), or maybe a make-ahead soup that you can keep warm (or cook) in the Crock Pot.

    • For the ham meal, serve rolls and toppings so people can make sliders? I’d do the beef dish as a more formal meal with bigger sides like potatoes and veggies.

    • Mr. Dells Cheesy potatoes are a big hit at our gatherings. I make them in a crock pot when oven space is at a premium. Smitten Kitchen’s Green Bean Casserole is also a great side dish.

    • Anonymous :


      Mashed Potato

  2. Anonymous :

    That’s a lot of meat in one day.

    For lunch, I’d serve the ham for lunch with little rolls or biscuits and mustard to make sandwiches, and appetizer-type sides such as a crudite platter. For dinner, the prime rib or beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes or horseradish mashed potatoes, a green salad, and a vegetable side.

  3. Family non-fun :

    I have one kid (8) with ADHD on-meds and one non-ADHD kid (a bit younger). Our doctor advised lots of outdoors and exercise for the ADHD kid (which is good for the other one and the grownups, too); she also advised us that screen time on gadgets or games was like crack and to limit it (which we’ve done — limits (not abstinence)).

    We will be visiting with in-laws and 12-year-old nephew in a condo at the beach (so we will both travel there). Also with ADHD. Who gets about 10-hours of gadget screen time a day (probably less during the week).

    SIL gets annoyed that our kids will follow the nephew around as long as he has his gadget. They don’t try to take it but they hover and watch over his shoulder. This irritates him and SIL tells them to leave him alone. [My husband is super irritated with her — she snapped at one kid really badly over Thanksgiving.]

    Any advice for dealing with people moving at two very different speeds on kids and tech?

    [I am of the opinion that if you bring out a known attractive nuisance, you can’t complain that it is attracting attention. But these are all kids and not really good decision-makers. And it’s not my family. If the nephew got only a tiny bit of screen time, I’d get my kids to stay away during that, but when it’s ever waking minute, that’s not realistic. I may just have to pray for good weather and that we’re at the pool/beach most of the time.]

    • Can you bring something fun for them to open right when they get there to distract them a bit? Exploding Kittens? Monopoly Deal?

      Can the cousin teach your kids a game on his device for their bit of screen time and once they use their time up they have to do something else? But at least they aren’t just hanging over his shoulder during that time, its more of a bonding thing.

    • Can you encourage the kids to do some non-tech activity? It’s going to have to be pretty spectacular to compete with an ipad but maybe there is something. Also, there may be an age thing at play. At 12, your nephew may feel like he is too old to play with little kids and sounds like he doesn’t have the constant interaction of younger siblings. So even if he was doing a non-gadget activity, he may not be in the mood to hang out with them. Ideally he would have the ability to be polite about but these are kids…

    • Forget tech time, you need your own space! Do you have to share the condo?

    • Bring a game or something for the kids to do. If they have nothing better to do than follow your sadly tech-addicted nephew around, they’re going to keep following him around. Better yet, get them outside. Bring rain gear or whatever you need to make this happen.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I think this is your best bet.

      • Family non-fun :

        We bring a ton of stuff — art supplies, books, toys, games. But these are nothing compared to the electronic crack of games. So, over a day, they are good for many, many hours. Then the nephew (an only child) gets annoyed at some point. [My kids annoy each other all.the.time, but they are used to it and don’t explode and it doesn’t bother us that they bother each other unless it is mean / hurtful.] I guess he has a room he could go to, but I feel like he needs to direct himself there or it’s not the sort of thing I’d tell him to do (but that his parent should do) with his parents present. Maybe I can gently suggest that the other kids wouldn’t bother him (but suspect I’d catch some heat for “punishing” him). Ugh.

        • Anonymous :

          Why can’t you parent you own children and tell them to quit bugging him?

        • Anonymous :

          Nope, you need to tell your kids to stop bugging him. Four years is a big difference at that age and they are being pests. Your nephew is not obligated to play with them all day.

          • Anonymous :

            No 12 year old wants a couple of little kids hovering around him, regardless of what he’s doing. No wonder he is annoyed! Find your kids something else to do and make them leave their cousin alone.

    • I really hate to suggest this because I know it is probably the opposite of what you want to do on your family vacation, but would you consider loosening your screen-time restrictions for your kids?

      My parents put lots of limits on our screen time AND we didn’t have cable so we didn’t get any of the “cool” channels. It was a really big deal to us when we went on vacation and got to watch Nickelodeon or other stuff that all our friends at home watched. We always talked about it as one of the “special” things about going on vacation, which drove my parents nuts (understandably), saying things like “Ohh I can’t wait until we go to Florida! I’m just going to watch TV ALL DAY LONG!”

      We still did lots of other stuff but it was fun. And the 51 other weeks per year we were on a mostly PBS diet.

      • Family non-fun :

        I’ve thought about that. TV is fine. Things like the dancing games are fine (I forget the name, but they are the ones you dance to the dancing on screen). But we don’t actually own any gadgets and I have a blackberry still, so my husband can let them play a few games on his phone, but he’s not going to let them have it for the whole day (and they’d have to share with each other, but it’s still not as cool as nephew’s stuff (ipad, other stuff)).

        I did buy a Simon, which my kids like and will play together, but it’s not cool enough to compete for long.

        Can you rent stuff like this?

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      So I definitely disagree with your SIL about screen time, but I agree with her that it’s rude to hover over somebody when they ask for space. This is a good lesson for your kids about personal space and boundaries. I also remember being the older kid being trailed by younger kids, and it can get tiring. Let him have space.

      • Anonymous :

        Sort of agree. If you’re in a place where you can get space, you can’t hover by a person who wants space. But if you’re somewhere like a living room, I think you can’t really expect to be left alone there. I agree with not invading your personal space, but curious young onlookers are going to happen in spaces. If they aren’t encoaching, I think the older kid has to deal or move somewhere else (like a bedroom).

    • Anonymous :

      I assume part of the problem is the 12 year old is going to be annoyed no matter what, due to the age difference. I vote for getting the two younger kids outside with a scavenger hunt or something cool (I have no idea, not a mom) just for them and then maybe ther 12 year old will get jealous and the shoe will be on the other foot. Haha.

    • Anonymous :

      Your kids are plenty old enough to be told “stop following your cousin around and looking over his shoulder, that’s annoying. Go find something to do.” And you need to keep them busy not make her kid be bored too. Team SIL on this one all the way. She’s doing literally nothing wrong.

      • Anonymous :

        I disagree.

        We don’t bring fun things around unless we share them. If you want to play with something exclusively by yourself when around others, you keep it at home/in your room/put away.

        Like if you bring wine to a BYOB party, you don’t assume it’s just for you. You offer to share. Same with a 6-pack. Or candy. Or a new doll. Or the remote on a shared TV (ex-brother-in-law, I’m looking at you). Or a gameboy.

        I don’t think you get to play with something unless you share and if you don’t share, you can’t expect the world to revolve around your feelings. You aren’t obligated to endure perpetual annoyance, but you can deal with it when it pops up.

        If you bring out a Barbie with others, you can’t demand that they ignore it and not offer to share.

        • Really? You are cool with another adult demanding that they can play with your phone, borrow your car or read your Kindle whenever they want? We ask kids to put up with an awful lot in the name of sharing that doesn’t really work as they get older. They should get some domain over their stuff at some point.
          Now, I think it is hard to have an attractive nuisance around younger kids who have a greater expectation of community property and desire for flickering screens. Ideally the nephew will share and ideally the younger kids won’t pester him to death. If that doesn’t work, then he can go to another room.

        • If you sit and read a book, and someone hovers reading over your shoulder, their mom should tell them to quit it. Same thing.

      • Anonymous :


  4. Just need to vent – I’m the mid-level associate on a big file with two senior guys. One is the partner, the other is not but has more experience. They’re irritated at each other but refuse to talk to each other so they constantly talk to me about it/take it out on me. And then the other gets annoyed with me for not being “on their side”.

    I feel like screaming… so glad I won’t have to see either of them after tomorrow for a week and a half…

    • I had this exact situation at my last job. I’m pretty senior myself, and I don’t mean to brag but I am well liked and respected. Two senior men (both c-suite) decided they wanted me on their side of their feud with each other. Basically because they thought the rest of the office would support whomever I supported. It was RIDICULOUS. I had to interact with both of them in order to do my job – I basically reported to both of them – and each would complain about the other and ask if I agreed every time we met. I was really upset about it.

      I ended up having lunch with my older female friend who I always think has been through it all – she’s semi retired now, but has run her own company, has been in charge of a department at a fortune 500 company, has been both promoted and demoted and dealt with lots of politics in her life. I said what should I do, which side should I choose? She said, do your job and rise above. She’s from the south, so her rise above is “raaaahhs above” to my ear. And that became my mantra – “Rahhhs Above”. It works well in so many situations. Just calm yourself and rise above. DO an excellent job, listen to when they moan and complain but don’t take a side. They just look stupid, not you.

    • Hug’s to you. I am often in the same place between the manageing partner and Madeline, a senior female associate who is very annoyed at the manageing partner that she was NOT made partner when I was. She will not talk to the manageing partner unless he calls her into his OFFICE, and that means that she tells me to tell him thing’s b/c I am ALWAYS in the office with the manageing partner goeing over thing’s.

      The good news, in your case is that you have a coupel of week’s off. I must stay in the office over the holiday’s b/c we need PARTNER coverage, and I am the youngest PARTNER, so I must sacrafice my free time for the good of the firm.

      So while all of the HIVE is out at parties and haveing fun, I will be in the office, catching up on Marie Claire and my Billeings, and available to answer all late Queries from Cleint’s who want to make sure we have everything under control on their cases for the new Year.

      So on behalf of our Firm, I, Ellen Barshevsky, want to wish the entire HIVE a very happy holiday and a peaceful and sucessful new Year (2017)!!!! YAY!!!!!

  5. I want a nice oversized sweater that’s machine-washable, ideally natural fabric, and good for lounging around the house. Any ideas? I’d like to spend $50 or less for a nice crewneck or V-neck style, but would maybe go higher for the perfect one.

    • Anonymous :

      I really like J Jill for lounging (I’m 35 and probably their youngest customer).

    • anonypotamus :

      I’m late catching up on these and not sure if you are still reading, but I just got this sweater in the winter white color
      and am obsessed. It’s a bit over your price range, but it’s 100% wool, but is soft, not scratchy, and super cozy. The weave is a bit open so I have been layering either a long sleeved shirt or tank top underneath. I ordered my regular size (I’m 5’9″ and about 155ish and typically wear mediums/8-10 in things) and its not oversized but it would be easy to size up. I think it’s easy to dress up or down.

  6. I am not a backpack person but I really like this one. I’d consider it if I were taking a family trip with little ones. Mine are teens now.

  7. AppleShapedLawyer :

    Looking for some suggestions for work-appropriate (law office) pair of pull on pants. I really loved the look and fit of the “Emer Pant” by Margaret M that I received from Stitch Fix but the quality is pretty lousy for $98 a pair. I am tall (5’10”) and carry my weight in the middle so pull on pants tend to fit me better than traditional zippered or button closure pants.

    Thanks in Advance!

    • JuniorMinion :

      Charter club (Macy’s) has something called a Cambridge pant which is pull on – I really like them and have found they look professional appropriate for business casual atmospheres at least on my frame… they have been on sale recently for ~$30/ pair.

      I also got those Margaret m ones in my stitch fix and found the fit / quality terrible

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.