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Packing for a Semester Abroad Part 2: The Handbags

So…

This is the second blog post in the “Packing for a Semester Abroad” series, and will detail the two handbags I plan on bringing with me during my semester abroad in Europe. One is a large tote bag, and the other is a cross-body purse. I decided on bringing two mainly for convenience: I will be using my tote as my laptop bag, and I don’t feel like lugging around a tote when I decide to go out at night to paint the town with friends. 

The first bag is the New York by a company called GRACESHIP. The company was created by Emily Gimmel, a veteran TV journalist in search of the perfect “laptop purse…something that she could carry both to the office or to drinks and dinner”…and thus GRACESHIP was born.

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According to the website, the New York style laptop bag is designed specifically for the woman “who never sleeps or has time to plan her outfits”. I picked this bag mainly because of the crossbody/shoulder strap, but it being a black tote really cinched the deal. With two handles featuring an 11.5″ drop, the dimensions of 16″ x 11.5″ x 7″ (H x W x D), and weighing in at 2 pounds, the bag is both functional and fashionable.

Taken from the website, the full list of features include: 

  • Interior charger pocket that zips
  • Cell phone pocket
  • Multiple business card pockets
  • Two pen holders
  • Convenient key ring
  • Pouch for papers
  • Soft chocolate colored lining
zipper

Gold hardware made from the highest of quality

cross-body strap

Adjustable and removable cross-body shoulder strap

Comfortable and adjustable shoulder strap

Comfortable and adjustable shoulder strap

laptop compartment

A cushioned computer compartment that protects a laptop or tablet up to 15.6″

A sleek magnetic snap closure to secure the device

A sleek magnetic snap closure to secure your computer

metal studs

Metal “Feet” Studs at the bottom of the tote

name tag

Name Tag Holder

After testing the bag’s capacity, I was able to fit the following items inside the interior pockets:

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  • A 13″ MacBook Pro with a Speck Case in the computer compartment
  • Apple laptop charger
  • Two slim textbooks
  • An extra DSLR lens (pouch included)
  • My Giani Bernini Wallet
  • an iPhone 4s with the Mophie Juice Pack Plus battery case
  • a purple organizer

Inside my purple organizer, I was able to fit the following items:

Purple Organizer

Purple Organizer

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I am very pleased with the New York bag and look forward to using it as my school tote while in Europe!

Moving on to the next handbag, I will be using The Sak Iris Leather Demi Clutch in the color Black Onyx. I was able to purchase it for $39.99 on Black Friday in 2013 (Regular Price: $89.00, Sale Price: $65.99).

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According to the Macy’s website, the Sak handbag contains the following features:

  • Leather; trim: polyurethane
  • Adjustable detachable shoulder strap with 23″ drop
  • Top zip closure
  • Antique brass hardware; small signature detail at front
  • Interior features: zip pocket and 2 slip pockets

With the measurements of 10″ Width x 7-1/4″ Height x 2-1/2″ Depth, the handbag is quite spacious and large enough to fit the following items:

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  • My red Giani Bernini wallet (purchased on Black Friday 2012)
  • My iPhone 4s with the Mophie Juice Pack Plus battery case (also purchased on Black Friday 2012)
  • My point-and-shoot camera, the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX20V (again, purchased on Black Friday 2012)
  • My card wallet
  • In the zip pocket: medicine pouch, ballpoint pen, extra camera battery
  • In the 2 slip pockets: lip balm, chubby stick, eye drops, small pack of tissue
DSC_0021

Ballpoint Pen and Extra Camera Battery not featured

The bag also has a small slit on the back (around half the total width of the bag), wide enough to fit several cards for easy access (or to slip in business/discount cards if you’re in a hurry!). I apologize for the different lighting and background, by the time I remembered to take this photo the sun had already set!

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I have already been using The Sak crossbody bag during my Christmas break here in the Philippines, and it is quite conveniently-sized. I also used the New York bag during my trip from Colorado to the Philippines, and it held up well during the entire process. Overall, I am excited to test out the bags while in Europe – who says you can’t be both functional AND stylish?

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Stay tuned for part three of my “Packing for a Semester Abroad” series, where I figure out how to pack my large U-Lite suitcase, one outfit at a time! 

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