***Hello Friends! Beside-U has partnered with Jessie on a Journey for this latest adventure. Follow her on a journey through SoHo as you spend an afternoon sipping the finest brew, discovering memorable street art, and getting lost in bookshops in this hip, laid-back neighborhood. To view this original post in its entirety, you can find it here.***
I’ve been trying to make a habit of exploring NYC outside of my own neighborhood of Bushwick. As I hadn’t seen my friend Hillary in Park Slope in awhile, we decided to spend a day wandering SoHo, equally easy for us to access via subway. Being that SoHo is the style and design hub for the city, this was also the perfect excursion for trying out my new backpack and crossbody bag from Beside-U Handbags.
Beside-U Handbags is a company I recently partnered with, as I’m in love with their concept. Many brands claim to mix style with functionality, but I’ve found most rarely live up to their promise. For the last two years I’ve been using an Osprey backpack, extremely comfortable and with decent space, but far from attractive.
After receiving their Arroyo Leather Trimmed City Backpack and the Hemet Leather Trimmed Travel Crossbody Bag I was pretty shocked to find that Beside-U actually had more room and more pockets than the dedicated Osprey travel brand, complete with bold and bright colors and features even the most rugged travelers can appreciate, like:
- RFID-blocking pockets large enough to fit an entire wallet. These pockets keep thieves from using electronic card readers and capturing your credit card and identification information.
- A lightweight, water resistant design (each bag is roughly 1 pound or less)
- A 100% Ripstop Nylon fabric (select areas with leather trim) to keep the bags from tearing.
- Custom hardware details like a clip-on whistle dangle with a pretty double layer Beside-U logo — perfect for my fellow solo female travelers wanting to stay safe.
Each Beside-U bag also comes with its own unique features. For instance, the Arroyo Backpack offered two extra large external pockets for my 24-ounce water bottle, as well as two interior water bottle pockets if needed, though you can use them for other gadgets, as well. Inside I fit my DSLR, a huge stack of promotional postcards for my tour company, a deodorant stick, my MacBook Pro (there’s a 13″ padded laptop pocket), an extra camera lens, an external camera flash and my three lipsticks (hey, this was SoHo in style).
The smaller Hemet Crossbody Bag, which I stored inside the backpack, held my cash, coins, ID, credit cards, a wallet, keys, MetroCard, iPhone 6s, pen, notepad and full-sized paperback copy of Orange is the New Black. And that was just on the inside. There was also two large external pockets and one small external pocket I didn’t even use.
So Much Organized Space!
Basically, these bags offered way more space than one would need for a day, or even a long weekend, with style and identity protection to boot. As a photographer, I loved the padded external pockets that made it easy to switch lenses. As a sugar and coffee addict, I loved all the hidden pockets for hiding cash and coins within easy reach whenever a craving struck.
To complement my bags, I decided on an equally fashionable yet practical outfit: dark skinny jeans, a white and navy blue striped shirt, light tan Timberland boots (I wear my Timbs everywhere and with anything), and loose hair. For my face I chose a smokey eye with no bottom liner and no lipstick since it was day time and windy, and I knew my hair would stick in my lipstick.
A spritz of vanilla perfume and I was ready to explore.