Marketplace: Timbuk2

Okay – so we all know I love school. I have been a student for all of my life (yes, it’s true), and when I have actually taken a pause from¬†wearing a student hat, I have¬†been a teacher and professor. Education is my thing (in addition to design, of course) and back-to-school season¬†is one of my favourite seasons. Yes, I’m that kind of person.

When I started MBA classes in September, I soon realized that I needed a backpack. While carrying a¬†cute canvas tote was okay, I realized that it wasn’t so great for my back¬†once it was stuffed with my text, notebook, laptop, lunch,¬†etc. On top of that, I also carried a separate purse. Anyway, I started my search¬†for a¬†good quality backpack in the fall. I looked at backpacks in a variety of stores, but nothing really caught my attention. Maybe I was too used to purse shopping! These were my backpack requirements:¬†comfortable, sleek, roomy, not bulky, reliable, well-made, lightweight, affordable, and¬†a bit out of the ordinary. When Jeff told me about his positive experience with San Francisco-based Timbuk2¬†bags, I¬†added this company to my research list (thanks, Jeff).

Timbuk2¬†specializes in bags that are put to major tests (i.e., cycling and hiking) and its collection include¬†messenger bags, backpacks, and computer-safe bags. I¬†liked the¬†selection of sizes,¬†styles, and colours, but what I especially appreciated from the Timbuk2 website was the demonstration videos¬†of each bag.¬†Since I¬†couldn’t¬†see a bag in person, watching these videos helped me¬†better¬†understand each backpack’s size and features.

I was set to order theEl Rio Laptop backpack in black because¬†I like that it’s simple, has a lot of¬†pockets, and has a sweet interior lining. That’s good design, I tell you! Here it is in white:

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El Rio laptop backpack, $99

I have used my El Rio for a week now, and it has served me very well! It is¬†very comfortable, very lightweight, well-made, and well-designed. This backpack¬†has several useful good-sized pockets¬†on its¬†exterior and interior, and I have managed to make use of them all (chapstick pocket, phone pocket, paperwork¬†pocket, notebook pocket, etc.). The large interior compartment easily fits my laptop, textbook, notebook, other notebook, lunch, water bottle, and a pair of shoes. It has changed how I walk to work – I’m sure I’m faster now!

The size of the El Rio is a good one for someone like me, but there were other ones that could serve more active purposes:

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Especial Medio Cycling laptop backpack, $179

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Especial Raider backpack, $79

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Especial Tres Cycling backpack, $209

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Terracycle showdown laptop backpack, $99

Timbuk2’s collection¬†includes more than backpacks, and there’s even a custom option that allows you to design a bag with your choice of colours and patterns.

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Scrunchie yoga mat tote bag, $89

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Express shoulder bag, $59

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custom swig laptop backpack, $129

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custom envelope tablet sleeve, $39

I also like that there’s a size guide as easy to follow as the one below.¬†These kinds of details in online shops really help to visualize the product in real life, don’t you think?

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I¬†have had “buy backpack” on my to do list for months now, and I’m thrilled to say that¬†I have now crossed this item off! Yay!

Many thanks to Defne and Timbuk2 for generously offering to send me the El Rio. So far, so good!

Marketplace: Back to School Essentials

I have spent more time in school than out of school, so please believe me when I tell you that these are some of the¬†most essential back-to-school items. Pretty much any age group would make good use of these items, I’d say.

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1. Water bottle. I have a¬†few reusable water bottles that I bring to school/work¬†every day. A lot of¬†university campuses now have good drinking fountains and water-filling stations, so there’s no excuse not to drink water all day long to stay hydrated.

2. Reusable lunch box/bag. I always pack a lunch because I get bored of university cafeterias and the quick grab-and-go meals at Starbucks or elsewhere are too expensive and high in calories.

3. A pencil case.¬†I carry my pens and pencils in¬†a small case so that they’re easy to find and won’t make a mess in my purse/tote/backpack.

4. Backpack. Speaking of backpacks, I don’t actually have one yet. I’m still looking for one that is lightweight and comfortable. I’m going to start this school year with my lightweight and washable¬†HBC¬†striped tote.

5. Pens and pencils. Although I love my computer, I take a lot of my notes by hand. Pens and pencils are a must. I always have a Sharpie or two nearby as well. Highlighters, on the other hand, I rarely use. Last year, I was given some Palomino pencils and I still make good use of them, They look so darn good!

6. Notebooks. Did you notice the plural? Yes, I¬†stay organized by using a variety of notebooks. Each¬†notebook has a job – work, home renos, school, etc. Most of my notebooks are Jordi Labanda¬†or¬†Moleskine, but I’m open to using basically anything that is cute and has nice paper (they are often black or white, but not always). I prefer lined notebooks, but¬†I¬†think unlined notebooks are great for¬†people who want to really spread out over the pages. My writing is nowhere near neat, so¬†I need the lines to help keep me steady.

7. An apple. Okay, the CB2 apple above is just for decor. But, still. It’s traditional. Eat one. Draw one. Take an Instagram picture of one. Bring one to a teacher.

8. Laptop and protective sleeve. I think I would be lost without my laptop. I keep mine protected in a basic MEC sleeve, but I really have my eye on this one from Ban.do.

These are the basic back-to-school necessities. A computer, phone, coffee mug, earplugs, library card, file folders, binders, etc. are additional items that come in handy and help me stay organized and focused.

Who is ready to learn something new this school year?

Details of items available at Polyvore.

 

Marketplace: Back to School!

I love the feeling of back to school – minus the cold weather. Not only is it time (at least for me) to get back to some routines, I always use it as an excuse to buy new stationery and school supplies. Is anyone else with me?

Although I have already stocked up on leopard print pens (wild!), Sharpie markers (colourful) and some new notebooks (thanks Daniela!), and while I am still working through this collection, I can’t help but keep school supplies on my shopping list. Here are a few new items I’d love to tote around this fall:

Russell & Hazel leather pencil case, $30

Russell & Hazel three ring binder, $24

Poppin file folders, $9 for 100

Poppin paper clips, $9 for 1000

Poppin staple remover, $2

Whether you’re going back to school or buying supplies just for the fun of it, I wish you all a wonderful and successful fall!