When I started teaching, I used to lug around a Precalculus teacher’s edition, a calculator, a pencil case, cell phone, wallet, keys, and folders full of grading in a North Face backpack. I often added a lunch bag and a gym bag. No wonder I was cranky…I was hauling way too much! I also looked like a high school kid with that backpack, so I upgraded to a more professional look with a black Lo & Sons OMG back in December 2011. That bag lasted through numerous work commutes, domestic travel, and international travel. This purchase helped put me on a bag diet: cutting down to one work bag + one lunch bag (a pink Whole Foods Medford soft-sided insulated bag).
Over the course of the past two+ years, wear and tear took a toll on my poor bag. First the shoulder strap gave out, followed by the zipper to the passport/wallet compartment. Those two things I could deal with since the bag has two straps and the compartment is covered by another zipper. However, when the shoe compartment zipper broke, that interfered with my gym-going. Luckily, the kind folk at Lo & Sons sent me a replacement bag after I explained what had gone wrong with my old one. I really appreciated that level of customer service!
What I Love About the Bag
– The classic look. It’s sleek and simple. It looks at home on a business trip, on vacation, and at the gym.
– The durability. Boston weather does not play. Unexpected rain or snow can wreck all of one’s papers and books in a bag that is leather, canvas, or open-top (not to mention that it can wreck the bag). This bag can also stand up to being used as a gym bag.
– The sleeve for placing the bag on top of one’s rolly cart when traveling. It makes running through the airport much easier.
– The key holder. I like not having to dig around for my keys, especially when I’m hauling groceries or other things.
– The shoe compartment. This is a godsend for keeping gym shoes or sweaty gym clothes separate from everything else in your bag.
– The pockets. There’s a place for your phone, your pens, your wallet, your laptop, and your papers.
The Laptop Caveat
I have never understood how people can carry laptops in thin-strapped shoulder bags or totes such as the Longchamp Le Pliage or Louis Vuitton Neverfull. I thought that the Lo & Sons OMG might finally make the “easy breezy shoulder bag for laptop” functionality happen for me, but no such luck. I’ve carried my 13″ MacBook Pro or my 13″ work MacBook in my Lo & Sons OMG, and it’s so uncomfortable if I have to carry it on a T commute rather than driving somewhere. If using the OMG, I prefer to carry no electronics heavier than my iPad (sticking to my Wheelmen & Company Babylon backpack for laptops).
What’s in My Bag
This is what it looks like for a work day followed by a spin class.
– Truffle case with iPhone charger, pens, headphones, tic tacs, hand sanitizer, extra contact lenses, and lip balm. I adore these cases now. Though the OMG has many pockets, I like being able to see through the clear plastic of the Truffle cases and move my stuff from OMG to backpack if needed.
– wallet (with cell phone pocket)
– keys on a KeySmart and UVA lanyard. I keep just the KeySmart in my pants pocket (on lanyard if wearing a dress) so that I can keep my bag, wallet, and phone locked up in a cabinet when at school.
– card case with all my membership, loyalty, and punch cards
– *one* folder with school work (not pictured)
– iPad (if doing any lesson planning via Evernote after school)
– Moleskine (Squared Notebook) Bullet Journal + a Uni-ball Signo 207 gel pen (influence of Louis from Suits + my fiance) + a pink pen for grading
– bkr water bottle
– gym clothes (tank, sports bra, crops, socks) + extra change of clothes
– spin shoes
– Truffle case with shower stuff + makeup
Other Things for Non-Spin Days
Those spin shoes take up a lot of precious bag space. If I’m going to Btone, I only need a gym outfit and if going to Exhale or Pure Barre, I only need a pair of barre socks. That makes more room for my lunch bag, my various knitting projects, or books.
I would definitely recommend the OMG (or its slightly larger cousin the OG) for fellow T-commuting, gym-going teachers. It is pricey for a teacher budget, but that ends up being worth it when calculating cost per use, considering the quality of the bags, and considering their functionality/organization. These bags will last through the long haul, and Lo & Sons also provides impeccable customer service if your bag does happen to break. I’ll stand by my splurging philosophy on good teaching shoes and good teaching bags!