The 5 items I NEVER leave home without

The 5 items I NEVER leave home without

I live in a small city in Northern France, teaching English to the world's most adorable students! What do I keep in my bag with me no matter what?

The following items will literally turn me around and force me to run back up my building's spiral staircase, no matter how late I am, to make sure I have them with me. Remember: there's no CVS in this part of France, and the majority of the stores close at lunch time, which is during my only break for the day. Also, nowhere, and I mean nowhere, is open on Sundays after Noon. Sometimes, especially when you really, REALLY need something, places close for no reason. 24/hr shops and fast food simply does not exist here. Alors, one MUST be prepared for such closures and pack all necessities.

1. CHAPSTICK

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Specifically, the Burt Bees Mango or the Pomegranate one that tints your lips *just* a little. My horseback riding coach when I was younger called me "Chappy Kathy" because my lips were always chapped and I, like every other girl I know, always lost my chapstick causing a lovely red ring presented around my mouth. Not cute. Now, I actively combat "Chappy Kathyism" by ensuring I have at least two chapsticks in my bag- because we're bound to lose one of them by the end of the day, right?

2. FOLDING HAIRBRUSH

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I LOVE this little hair brush from WetBrush. It folds up so it doesn't take up too much space in my bag and I love that is has a mirror on the inside for touch ups. When I say touch ups, I mean one of my CP (kindergarten) students has "accidentally" spit on me and I need to do damage control OR singing "head-shoulders-knees-and-toes" got a little wild and my hair now looks like the aftermath of a tornado. This brush is made to easily pass through wet hair (it really does!) and is also strong enough to travel with you for a weekend so you can leave your big round-brushes at home.

3. PLANNER

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If I don't write something down, I WILL forget it. It doesn't matter if you text me, call me, or put a stick note on my forehead. I have to write it down. It's for this reason that I am infinitely grateful for the existence of the almighty planner. Some of y'all are already on the planner train, especially if you're in school or self-employed. It's the best way to stay organized for me, and I personally love using the stickers in them to decorate my month. I know it seems silly, but it's the little things that make monotonous or recurring events, like going grocery shopping or Zumba on Thursday nights, more exciting! I am a big, basic-girl fan of the Lilly Pulitzer planners, particularly JUMBO size but I recognize that smaller sizes are more practical.

4. POWER BANK

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Have you ever had an electronic train ticket and your phone died? No? WELL let me tell you folks it is not ideal. I never leave home without my power bank now, because my phone seems to die at 45% now (thanks Apple). I like to have a power bank on me especially when I am traveling so I don't end up with a dead phone in the middle of my GPS route to my Airb&b or to a museum. Belkin, in my opinion, makes the best one, but there are loads of options out there. P.S. The train stations always have them next to the magazines, in case you get stuck like I did.

5. A BOOK or NEWSPAPER

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This one should probably be at the top of my list, actually. I am a part-time elementary school English teacher. I have a LOT of free time on my hands and I spend at least an hour a day on or waiting for public transit. I see so many people on their phones and truthfully, I scroll through Twitter like I'm reading the news too. However, my 2019 resolution was to read more, so I always keep a book with me. Even if I only have the time (or attention span) to get through a few pages, I still feel better off. Recently, I have been scrounging the free magazines around town to read to really immerse myself in the language. If you're like me and have to carry a laptop in your bag everyday, a newspaper is a lighter alternative to stick in your bag. I know, I know, you can read the news on your phone but I like to support my local journalists and publishers!

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