New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

What’s in our bags?

WSN’s culture editors go through the abyss that is each of their bags.

Every day, we walk on campus lugging around the usuals — our wallet, NYU ID, laptop — but they’re rarely the reason our bags are so heavy. From perfume bottles to journals, there’s plenty of gadgets and trinkets that find their way into our bags, some more useful than others. Though we aren’t influencers, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably nosy, too. So, watch us live out our 2015 YouTube dreams as we bare the sometimes practical, often unusual contents of our bags. 

Perfume, lip cream and On-the-Glow blush

— Andrea Lui, Dining Editor

A brown bag lays flat on a white surface. Around it are a small blue hairbrush, a blush stick, a perfume rollerball, a perfume bottle, a wallet and a small jar of lip mask.
(Matt Petres for WSN)

From the looks of my spread, you can probably tell that I’m a high-maintenance kind of girl. As we’re nearing hot girl summer, some items are just absolutely necessary, like two bottles of perfume. My most prized scent is Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose Eau de Parfum — just douse some on and people will immediately ask you where you got it. My NEST New York South Pacific Sandalwood Perfume Oil rollerball is also a staple for the times I need some on-the-go self-care.

Above all in the hierarchy of bag essentials is my small but mighty assortment of makeup products. All I need is one lip product and one multi-use face tint. I’ve seen all the rave online about the Laneige Lip Sleeping Masks, but real makeup fanatics will know that Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Petal-Soft Lip Balm is hard to beat. It’s floral, airy and goes perfectly with my Penhaligon’s perfume — and when paired with the Pixi Beauty On-the-Glow blush, you get the prettiest pink lip combo you could ever ask for. 

My miniature bathroom, a Hello Kitty pencil pouch and a giant pack of gum

— Elena Portnoy, Beauty & Style Editor

A black-and-white checkered bag lays flat on a white surface. On the bag are four assorted pins. Beside the bag are a pencil pouch with small cartoon symbols, a pink pouch with red symbols and a pack of gum.
(Julia Smerling for WSN)

Mary Poppins is jealous of my ability to stuff my bag with anything and everything that I may need. My most prized possession, besides my wallet and keys, is a pink pouch which I refer to as my mini bathroom. Tide pens, Band Aids, tampons — I’ve packed everything but my bathroom sink in that pouch. Being too prepared is not a possibility in my mind.

In the same vein, my Hello Kitty pencil pouch is an essential when I’m in need of a writing utensil. Colorful, black or blue — miss Hello Kitty has got it all. For the days when I’m feeling particularly unfocused or I’m worried about hot and stinky breath, my giant pack of 5 Gum is there to save the day. Don’t be afraid to stuff your bag — it could be the difference between a disastrous day and a delightful one.

A flute, a Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar and an array of lip products

— Shiphrah Moses, Identity and Equity Editor

A black-and-white checkered bag lays flat on a white surface. On the bag are four assorted pins. Beside the bag are a pencil pouch with small cartoon symbols, a pink pouch with red symbols and a pack of gum.
(Julia Smerling for WSN)

Inside my tote bag painted with the image of my favorite bookstore is a plethora of daily essentials, along with some guest stars. Varying day to day, I always try to have a fun colored lip gloss or lip balm to accompany my trusty tube of Aquaphor. While tinted lip products are all the rage these days, nothing is quite as moisturizing as a simple petroleum salve. 

While not a daily staple, my flute — named Cynthia — is a common presence in my tote. Whether I’m headed to a rehearsal or just need a musical break after a hard day, Cynthia is always waiting for me. The real problem is finding an open practice room to actually play in.

Finally, to save me on the days when I can’t indulge myself in a proper breakfast or need a pick-me-up between classes, I like to carry an energy or protein bar. My favorite definitely has to be the Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar. With 10 grams of protein and 49 milligrams of caffeine, it’s the perfect snack to energize your day. 

Lip oil, earphones, a flash drive and a protein shake to-go. 

— Sara Sharma, Deputy Culture Editor

A black tote bag lays flat on a white surface. On top of it are a gray claw clip, a flash drive, a lip oil, a pair of wired earbuds and a protein shake.
(Julia Smerling for WSN)

I’m fairly simple in the sense that I like keeping only the bare essentials in my bag. My wired headphones will always find their way into my tote, usually ending up tangled from my day-to-day running around. Because my laptop is constantly low on storage, and after losing my footage, illustrations and writing drafts a few too many times, I’ve started carrying a flash drive everywhere I go. 

The quintessential lip oil is also a must for me. I’ve recently been loving the NYX Professional Makeup Fat Oil Lip Drip Lip Oil in the shade Status Update — its smooth consistency and deep rouge color make it perfect for a touch up on the go. Lastly, I’m devoted to my favorite brand of protein shakes — Fairlife Core Power Chocolate — and I always carry around a bottle to make sure I get my protein intake for the day.

Chapstick, my bullet journal and a loch ness monster plushie

— Juliana Guarracino, Culture Editor

A tote bag lays flat on a white surface. On top of it are a small metal tin, a lip balm, a green notebook with stickers on it and a monster plushie.
(Julia Smerling for WSN)

Despite their impracticality, I am devoted to totes, meaning I inevitably have a bunch of things in my bag that are simply there to prevent me from finding my ID at the dorm turnstile. While chapstick is a very common tote bag or purse staple, I always carry mine in a personalized Altoids tin that has since been ravaged by the other items in my bag. To this day, I still find rogue stickers in my bag.

My bullet journal is another must-have. Five years ago, I started writing every event, list and task in a journal, and now I just can’t go digital. My journal is a calendar, a diary and everything in between. For better or worse, I can’t make any important decisions without consulting it, so it always comes with.

As for the Loch Ness Monster plushie, it’s technically on my bag and not in my bag, but I think he deserves an exception — yes, I said “he,” and his name is Ed. I bought him in Scotland when I was studying abroad, and have brought him on every trip I went on thereafter. Now, he accompanies me pretty much everywhere. No functionality or practicality to it, but it makes me smile.

Contact Juliana Guarracino, Sara Sharma, Andrea Lui, Elena Portnoy and Shiphrah Moses at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Juliana Guarracino
Juliana Guarracino, Culture Editor
Juliana Guarracino is a senior majoring in Global Media, Culture, and Communication and Romance Languages. Aside from writing, she has a passion for cooking, travel and art history. When she's not working, she enjoys reading, playing cozy video games and journaling at cafes. She will take any book recommendations, but cannot promise you that she will read them. You can find her @juliana.guarracino on Instagram.
Sara Sharma
Sara Sharma, Deputy Culture Editor
Sara Sharma is a junior from New Delhi, India, studying Digital Media and Visual Design. She adores writing, sketching, and making short films about her friends and the nooks and crannies of New York City; essentially, she is constantly chasing her passion for storytelling. She is a '70s music aficionado and spends her free time hunting for vintage vinyl records and collecting unique postcards. You can find her film account @sarasfriendsonfilm on Instagram.
Andrea Lui
Andrea Lui, Dining Editor
Andrea Lui is a sophomore at Stern studying Business with concentrations in Finance and Computing & Data Science and a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology. She developed a profound love for writing while performing poetry, prose and dramatic monologues for over 10 years as a competitive public speaker. At NYU, she's also an Admissions Ambassador and serves as the External Relations Co-Director of the Board of Undergraduate Stern Women in Business. Andrea is on a mission to try every single restaurant in New York City … Check out @lui.andrea on Instagram to see if she succeeds.
Elena Portnoy
Elena Portnoy, Beauty & Style Editor
Elena Portnoy is a junior studying Dramatic Writing and Art History. As a Beauty and Style editor, she's combining her passion for fashion and her love of the written word. When she's not sifting through racks of vintage clothing or burying herself in a good book, she's telling people about her fabulous vintage finds and good books.
Shiphrah Moses
Shiphrah Moses, Identity & Equity Editor
Shiphrah Moses is a sophomore studying Dramatic Writing at Tisch. She lives in the Bay Area in California, but is originally from Bangalore, India. She loves writing, acting, music and pretty much anything that involves storytelling. When she’s not doing any of the above, she’s either napping or doing her nails. You can find her at @shiphrahmoses on Instagram or contact her at [email protected].
Matt Petres
Matt Petres, Photo Editor
Matt Petres is a first-year studying Economics. He is from Chicago, Illinois and likes to bike and kayak. You can contact him on Instagram @matt.petres
Julia Smerling
Julia Smerling, Photo Editor
Julia Smerling is a first-year studying photography and imaging, and is one of WSN’s Photo Editors. She is from West Palm Beach, Florida, and you can find her writing poetry, overly obsessing about films, painting art on jeans and always having her headphones on. Also, she’s secretly Peter Parker. You can reach her on Instagram @juliasmerling or her art account @jul3sarchive (where mostly her mom hypes her up and likes her posts so please give it a look — it's becoming embarrassing at this point.)

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