The bag: a Roots satchel that I bought to take abroad because it has a special padded pocket for an iPad and looked like something I could imagine Kate Moss wearing with skinny jeans. Technically I think it’s a ‘murse’ (I found it on the mens’ side of the local Roots store) but I love the Italian-dyed leather and that it’s made in Canada. It’s super comfortable to carry too, even after hours of walking – and it does look wicked with skinny jeans.

Clinique Long Last Lipstick #16 (pink chocolate) for day and # 18 (vintage red) for evenings – or days when I’m bold enough to go for the ‘Mad Men’ look.

Maybelline ‘The Falsies’ Volume Express mascara. I have tried more expensive brands but this one coats fast (in one swipe) and makes my eyes pop immediately.

Revlon PhotoReady concealer and Powder in fair / light. Both provide great and natural-looking coverage and the powder has an SPF of 14 which makes me feel better about the fact that I do not pack sunscreen in my purse, even though my fair skin means I absolutely should.

A list of things to do (from three days ago) on lovely Thomas Paul mouse-pad paper I bought at Indigo. They have great sticky notes too,

A folded up section of the National Post I wrote directions on to last night’s beach BBQ. This is the section (from June 16th) that shows, among other things, that we Vancouverites pay more for a cup of coffee than they do in Rome, Buenos Aires, and Amsterdam, but less than they do in New York, Tokyo, London and Paris.

Library cards to 5 libraries (including The British Library in London). You never know when you might find yourself in a cafe and want to pull out your iPad and wirelessly log-in to one of the best libraries in the world to look-up a book or a scholarly article!

Moleskin notepad. Invaluable. This is where I jot down ideas, epiphanies, corrections, and quick character sketches based on say, seeing someone interesting-looking on a bus.

VW Jetta key and house key. That’s how simple my life is for most of the year.

Crushed up receipts for a grapevine and patio ‘tropicals’. Also two bento chopstick wrappers and an unopened soy sauce from a spontaneous outdoor sushi lunch. Why do husbands treat the wife’s purse as a carrier for garbage? Because their mothers taught them to do it as children. Have your boys carry their own garbage and you’ll make some future woman’s purse all the better for it.

My Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival membership card. Because it’s a great way to support the arts and to make sure I get advanced ticket-buying options on all the hot writers coming to the Festival in October. Carrying the card around reminds me to check out the website for special one-off events they have during the year and reminds me of the kinds of organizations and discourses I value.


Aislinn Hunter is the author of six books: two books of poetry, three books of fiction and a book of lyric essays. She is a contributing editor at Arc Magazine and has contributed to numerous anthologies. She has a BFA in The History of Art and in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria, an MFA from The University of British Columbia, an MSc in Writing and Cultural Politics from The University of Edinburgh where she has just completed a PhD in English Literature.

You can support Aislinn by buying her book from Amazon!

What's In My Bag - The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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