Just the bag: Codie & Joey from Boulevard

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I am always on the lookout for the perfect handbag, the perfect laptop bag, the perfect mini bag, the perfect tote, or book bag. You name it and I have looked at it.

A few weeks ago, I came across a tote from Boulevard that seemed to be the perfect one. He is called Codie. He has two side pockets for a water bottle and an umbrella so no wetness leaks into the main compartment. It has a mobile phone pocket underneath the handle.

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The main compartment has a zipper and with the shoulder straps’ buckles you can close off the sides. Last, there is a zipper compartment at the front and another inside the bag.

What attracted me to this bag is the weight. The Codie version measures 12W x 5 1/2D x 15H and weighs just 1 pound. And that makes it perfect.

I love lightweight bags. There are days that I just need to bring my keys, a wallet, and my phone. However, I often wish to bring a book, my journal, and my pencil case. It is for those days that a lightweight tote is ideal.

So, I got the Codie in navy blue. It is exactly as advertised except that I miscalculated something: the tote’s height. I am 5 feet tall/short and a tote with a height of 15 inches, it too big for under my arm or to hang crossbody. Lucky for me, Codie has a little brother called Joey.

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Joey measures 10W x 4D x 10.5H and is a much better fit. It is exactly like the Codie just smaller. In case you wish to see them side-by-side, I took some pictures.

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As you can see, Codie is a tad more mat blue than Joey. They both come with leather shoulder straps but I am tempted to exchange them for some brightly coloured crossbody straps. If I do, I will add a picture here.

UPDATE: my straps have arrived (see above) so let me know which one is your favourite. I ordered them separately online.

So far, I am happy with these bags from Boulevard. They arrived on time, were perfectly wrapped, and I know they will last. I just might wish to have one more but in a different colour!

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In my series ‘Just the bag’ I explore various (hand)bags and tell you why I love them. If you have a favourite messenger bag, book bag, etc., let me know in the comment section below!

What I can do again

Photo by Miriam Alonso on Pexels.com

Before we left for vacation, my chest and shoulders were very tight. I did do daily stretches but the repetitive movements with the mouse and being hunched over my desk reading and writing, did a number on my body.

During our vacation, I stayed away from the desktop and the mouse. I did not bring a laptop. Just books, journals, and my mobile phone. We walked a lot, were outside every day, and I didn’t do any fitness classes.

We are back home now so after a few days of unpacking and settling in, I picked up my fitness routine again. Honestly, I feared the worst because I had not done any traditional exercises. We just walked.

However, if you have even been in the Old Town in Prague you know that all the streets go up and down. Guess what, staying away from the desktop has done wonders for my shoulders. The photograph at the top of this post? That was an exercise I absolutely could NOT do before we left for Europe. This morning, I did it. The tightness across my clavicles and shoulders is gone too.

And now I am going to try and keep it this way!

Book review: Blink

Stevie Winkler and his friends Chris and Lashaun love superheros. Imagine if one of them actually was one. What would they do if one of them does something heroic and somebody else claims victory?

Stevie and his mom live a modest life. Mom tries to make ends meet and that isn’t easy. Stevie helps where he can but doesn’t always go about it the right way. You see, he is a superhero and his power is teleporting. He ends up needing the help of retired superhero, Captain Heroic.

Larry Kollar wrote a great book explaining the superhero types.

Type One is born with superpowers that usually manifests around the age of twenty. The youngest Type One was seventeen. Stevie a.k.a. Blink is thirteen.

Type Two gains their superpowers after an external event which usually comes down to lab accidents.

Then there’s Type Three like Captain Heroic. Ordinary people with extremely good reflexes and insight.

The book follows Stevie as he attends superhero summer camp where he learns to control his powers. The pace is good and the chapters are well placed.

Kollar wrote a book about young people making a difference in their world and how hard it is to use power wisely. There is a thin line between doing something for good and doing it for evil. The intentions behind your actions are what matters, and that is a tough lesson for anyone.

We read about the conflicting feelings Stevie has for his father, how badly he wants to help his mom, how he wishes there was a course on how to talk to girls, and most importantly, how this young superhero must control himself in order to not become a bully.

Great for young readers. Alas, only available as an eBook.

You can follow Kollar on his personal blog, or on Twitter, or on his writing site. An overview of all his books is here.

The comfort of old friends

Screenshots of the movie Angels & Demons by AdS

The first overseas trip and I don’t mind telling you that I was nervous. Would people wear masks, would there be any issue with passengers, and if it wasn’t Covid related, how about the cancelled flights, lost luggage, and the overall stress that comes with traveling overseas.

So, when we were seated I checked the selection of TV series and movies available. I found myself looking for the old familiar ones. The flight was on time, there were no unruly passengers, yet the first time sitting in a plane for nine hours, it needed something comforting.

I decided to watch Angels & Demons. The book I had read years ago and yes, I also saw the movie. So this time, I could pay attention to the art, the city, the chapels, the statutes, and anything I might have missed the first time when I was too busy following the plot and dialogue.

In the beginning, before Conclave, you see all the priests making their last phone calls before being locked in. Some are filming the Sistine Chapel, some are smoking, and before they head in, they hand over all their electronics and cigarettes. It reminded me of occasions were we are asked to silence our phones. It is rare when I have had to hand over my phone. Even for court, I just lock the phone in my car.

As for the movie, it reminded me of the beauty of Italy, the majestic scenes of Rome, the richness of Vatican (yes, conflicted feelings), and the magnificent art of so many talented people. Right now, I am home. But next time we travel to Europe, I am going to try to swing by Rome and the Vatican.

I don’t know where but I write it anyway

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There are days that the blog posts write themselves. They pop up somewhere in between waking up, singing in the shower, and savoring that first cup of coffee. And then there are days that I just sit here.

I know the topic for the post or what the tone should be but, what medium to use? Is this something as short as a tweet, or is it something that cannot be seen publicly regardless of length, or is this a post that deserves space, headers, and photography?

I am frequently stuck.

Do I have enough to say to type around 300-500 words for a post or are we done in a sentence or two? These days, my writing happens either in a journal, in a few tweets, on my website, or here. But here’s the fun part, I start to either blog or tweet and then regret te choice of medium.

Why?

Anxiety or stress.

Depending on what is going on, I just cannot sit still long enough to type or write. I need the quick release of a sentence or two with the flexibility to tweet that from just about anywhere to anyone, even nobody I know. From the car (when safe, of course) or the waiting room at whatever facility, Twitter allows for that writing release in the absence of a desk with a computer or a journal and a fountain pen.

Writing is breathing

When I do find myself sitting down, I make the conscious decision to breathe and write. I have a subject in mind and depending on that subject it either goes on the website, the blog here, or in my journal. I find that making the decision to combine writing with consciously slowing down and deepening my breath, as we do in yoga, takes the edges off the anxiety that popped up.

Shape shifters

Depending on what I write and how e.g. venting, the stress may go away entirely. In other cases, especially when it is work related, the stress remains but changes shape.

It is not anymore in a powerful position to make me anxious, no. It has changed. I now have the determination to dig, research, and get answers. From there, the words flow and even if what I then produce is just a draft, I have laid the foundation for more writing.

Road maps

If I sat down with my journal, I find that I jot down thoughts and feelings that were simmering underneath the surface, eating away at my sense of self, and therefore giving me feelings of anxiety. The ink on the pages is not always in the best penmanship but they reflect what has been going on in my mind, my heart, and my soul.

I don’t immediately have answers or solutions however, I have a roadmap to get me out. I have turned on my GPS or Google Maps, and I can now actively see what is around me, in my street, and what is coming around the corner.

There are days that I sit here and don’t know where to write what I think. But, even if I have to cross things out, or delete tweets, or rewrite drafts, I write anyway.

Sundays are for reading

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Mild rain is trying to stain the gray driveway black. The overcast is heavy. It makes you want to crawl back into bed or curl up on the sofa with the good company of a book and coffee. So of course, that’s what I did.

The weather always has an affect on my energy levels. Start the day with sunshine and I feel like jumping out of bed and doing something. Start the day with so much overcast that you cannot see anything but gray clouds, and I’m like ‘meh, I’ll exercise tomorrow.’ Today, I’ll read.

Hope Sunday is good wherever you are, enjoy!