Timbuk2 Hyde Tote Review

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( March 30th, 2015 )

A little while ago, Timbuk2 sent me their Hyde tote in Mojave. I took it with me on my two Montana trips and on a couple coffee shop outings. My Hyde tote and I had a great time together, and I am sure we will have many more good times.

Firstly, Timbuk2 gives their bags a little personality. I enjoy their playful spirit.

Timbuk2 Hyde Tote story

When I bought a custom vinyl messenger bag from Timbuk2 a few years ago, it came with a tag telling me about its birthplace. This time, it’s stitched right in, so I’ll never forget that my bag is excited to go on adventures with me. Doesn’t it make you want to show it the world? If you weren’t inspired to travel before, listen to your Hyde tote. Don’t let it down!

Hyde Tote fabric

The fabric is a nice heavy weave that’s soft to the touch. It’s the kind of bag that will obviously last for many years. My other Timbuk2 bag has withstood heavy use for 5 years now and is still going strong. I’d bet this one will do the same.

Hyde tote closeup

The leather trims added a touch of class. I appreciated, though, that the straps were not leather. It shows that durability is a priority, as leather can stretch and tear along the stitches over time. Also, the leather grips on the handles feel amazing, comfortable (luxurious, too) on your hand even when the tote is full and heavy.

Hyde tote handles

I explored the details, too. Like the little leash inside the outer pocket. You could clip it to your keys—or passport case—things you want at your fingertips but can’t afford to lose.

Hyde tote leash

And look at this lined pocket—great for jewelry, perhaps, about 3 by 4 inches.

Hyde tote lined pocket

This bag will be a great carry-on for your personal items, with room to bring all your entertainment devices, documents, a jacket. If you’re a really light packer, you could even use it as your main travel bag for a weekend getaway. On the way back, the expanding feature will help you make souvenirs fit. All you have to do is zip down the zippers. It changes the shape of the bag a bit, but it really does expand the capacity substantially—I tested it for you.

Hyde tote full

The Hyde tote reminds me of the days when I used to pack up supplies for everything I loved to do, walk around Portland, and see where the day took me. It’s just large enough to keep a few books, a literary journal, a notebook, a sketch pad, my drawing supplies. It makes me want to grab all these things and head to the arboretum for many hours. As things dry out here in Spokane, I am sure that is exactly what will happen.

Hyde tote shoulder strap

Besides lasting forever and looking classy, the neutral color and sophisticated design will definitely class up any of your travel looks.
Buy the Timbuk2 Hyde Tote here!


Go in style,



I received this item for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are my own.


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TUMI Eyewear Review: Bolte and Rialto Sunglasses

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( March 23rd, 2015 )

TUMI sent me a couple pairs of sunglasses a while back. You may have seen the purple Rialtos make it into a few of my other posts. I figured it’s about time I tell you what I think of my TUMI eyewear.


First let’s take a look at the TUMI Bolte.

Bolte sunglasses with trenchcoat

These were the ones I was sure I would like. I loved the classic brown tortoise combined with the metal. It was a classic design with a fresh take that added sophistication—and branding, as the ballistic weave pattern on the metal is a TUMI signature.

I am also a sucker for words. I was sold when I read TUMI’s description of these sunglasses, saying that they were inspired by the beauty and strength of the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne, intended to be “a grown-up wayfarer for the ageless traveler.” For the ageless traveler… so Romantic. I can’t help but think that I am wearing a piece of the Melbourne skyline on my face when I wear them around. It’s not just good copywriting, though, it’s evidence of a thoughtful design.

In the past, I have been more of a ten-dollar sunglasses girl, but you really can’t beat these exclusive Carl Zeiss Vision polarized lenses. It reduces eyestrain that isn’t addressed by your average pair of sunglasses.

Bolte Closeup

Also unique to these glasses is the pads for the nose, not common on other plastic-framed glasses and a bit of a surprise to me when I first put them on. I like it because they stay in place nicely. However, I dislike how the nose pads made them sit further off of my face (and a tiny bit higher), letting some light in behind the lenses—a problem I didn’t have in the car or while wearing a hat (they do look cute with my woven fedora), but one I noticed the second time I took them on a hike. It might just be the shape of my nose.


The Rialto first appealed to me, because it is one of the few pairs I saw in the Spring ‘15 collection designed specifically for women. Plus, they come in purple, so I couldn’t pass them up. Check out the “unique acid-etched top bar that accentuates the subtle cat-eye shape, giving it a thoroughly modern silhouette unlike any other.”  The top bar was something I hardly noticed when browsing the collection, but it is a detail I’ve grown to love. It adds a lot of flair.

TUMI Rialto

The Bolte sunglasses are classic and sophisticated. These Rialtos, by comparison, are more playful. Like me?

These ones do have polarized lenses as well‚ so worth it. I had some concerns about the gray-tone of the lenses when I picked them out—brown tends to make the world look bright, and gray can make it look kind of dreary (in my previous experience). This was not my experience with TUMI. A high-quality lens can really avoid turning a sunny day into a gray one, no matter what the color of the lenses. I’m glad I took the risk.

TUMI Rialto in the car

These are the most comfortable sunglasses I’ve ever worn. I can keep them on for hours with no pressure behind the ears, no marks on my nose. You’ll forget you’re wearing them.

Funny story: I wore them in the car when I drove to Bozeman last week (to shop for wedding dresses with my little sister—yay!). As the sun set, I thought, “Man, driving at night is so much harder than I remember!” I squinted and focused hard on the reflectors, I slowed my speed by about 20 mph… until I realized… I was still wearing my sunglasses. Whew! So glad I didn’t have to finish the trip like that!

Back to the point: These sunglasses are that comfortable. While the Bolte sunglasses were also very comfortable, I did notice the nosepads just a bit.


The most annoying thing about keeping your sunglasses in a case is that it takes up just as much space when you have them on as when you have them stowed—not with TUMI. The sunglasses case that comes with your purchase folds flat, and includes a cleaning cloth. You have to love a smartly designed product. I do.

TUMI case before and after


I definitely recommend TUMI sunglasses to anyone looking to make an investment in high-quality eyewear. Their spring ‘15 collection contains so many sophisticated and functional styles sure to help you wander chic.

If you’re interested, buy TUMI Bolte Polarized Sunglasses here, or
buy TUMI Rialto Polarized Sunglasses here.


Go in style,


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Why Fashion is Important When You’re Traveling

by Jacquelyn Barnes
( March 12th, 2015 )

Sometimes fashion may seem a little frivolous. If it’s not a way you naturally express your creativity, why bother? Even I, writing for this blog, sometimes have to ask myself if travel fashion is worth my investment. I think it is. Here are some reasons why fashion is important.

Ann Taylor Travel OutfitFirst Impressions

We all know that putting a little effort into our appearance can help us make a good first impression. What you wear and how you carry yourself is the first thing someone will see. When you’re traveling, you’ll be surrounded by people who don’t know how awesome you are on this inside. Help them see it!


If you feel like your clothes are saying good things about you, you will interact more confidently with others. Think of it as a flattering introduction and you’re the keynote speaker. Your clothes just told everyone you’ll meet that you’re worth listening to. Now you can spend less time trying to prove yourself and more time having fun all over the world.

You’ll act better

When you feel confident, you perform better. Confidence is related to such things as poise, mental toughness, grit, belief, courage, and heart. These inner realities actually affect the way you relate to the world. When you feel like you can conquer the world, you’re more likely to do so with boldness and success.

Better treatment

For a lot of people out there, if you are smartly dressed, it means they will interact with you as if you are smart. I call this the Nordstrom rule. If you go to Nordstrom in your sweats, you won’t get the service you would in a blazer and heels. Same thing when you walk into a restaurant in Paris looking like a disheveled tourist. If you look important, people will treat you that way.

Help people know youBike fashion

While we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, sometimes appearance is the only information we have about a person. There are people out there who genuinely want to understand you and learn who you are. Fashion can help you express yourself to those people. It’s a service you can provide, to make yourself more knowable.

Represent yourself—and your people

The stakes for presenting yourself are higher when you’re traveling. In your culture, you represent yourself (and maybe your family or peer group); in another culture, you represent the place and people you come from. If you’re traveling internationally, you represent your country. It’s a responsibility you shouldn’t take lightly.

Fancy hotelShowing respect

When you dress well, it’s a way of communicating that the situation you are in matters to you. You don’t want to wear jeans to a fancy dinner—or a wedding. Nor do you want your husband to wear a backwards baseball cap to your anniversary dinner (unless you’re into that). Learn what kinds of occasions you’ll be stepping into and dress even better than expected. Not only will you look important, you will show others that they—and their culture matter to you.

Conversation starter

That scarf you love or those new—and oh so comfortable—Ahnu Oxfords just might yield a few compliments. While self-esteem is great and all (you already know you’re fabulous anyway), the important thing is that you’re in a conversation with someone you might not otherwise have spoken to.


It’s not a shallow thing to try to present yourself well. It’s as practical as learning a few words in French before visiting France. Make an effort to communicate who you are to people in a way that they will understand. It’s a way you can care for yourself and for them.

Go in style,


Photo Credit:

AnnTaylor Travel Outfit: Frank Kovalcheck via Flickr

Expressive Fashion: Pascal Maramis via Flicker

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