Skip to main content

What’s in your bag, Loren Grush?

A few electronics and some space paraphernalia

Photography by James Bareham

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

What’s in your bag? is a recurring feature where we ask people to tell us a bit more about their everyday gadgets by opening their bags and hearts to us. This week, we’re featuring Verge science reporter, Loren Grush.

I ’m not one to switch bags often, so I have just one that serves as many functions as a bag can have. In its essence, it’s my purse, but it’s also my laptop bag, my backpack, and even my gym bag when I’m in a pinch. This is ultimately a defense mechanism so that I don’t leave anything necessary behind. If I were to transfer my bag’s contents to another, I’d invariably forget a wallet or some headphones during the swap.

No, this bag goes with me wherever I go, whether that’s to work or to the club. (You’re right, I don’t go to the club.) Its contents are essential items I use multiple times a day — except for a few job-related paraphernalia I picked up along the way.

Etsy Shoulder Backpack bag

I splurged on this leather bag in March that I found while perusing Etsy. Before I did, I was limping along with a small purse that barely contained all of my stuff and was starting to fall apart. So when I went looking for an upgrade, I knew I wanted something that was a bit larger but also wasn’t a monster bag that would seduce me into carrying too many items every day. I loved this bag because of its versatility: it’s got a single strap on top that allows it to be worn as a purse and then two straps on the back that turn it into a backpack. Perfect for an indecisive person like myself!

13-inch Apple MacBook Air

I’ve had this laptop for over two years now, since my first day at The Verge. I’ve always had Apple computers, even in the dark days before the first iMac came out, so I’m pretty comfortable with them. However, I do have a larger MacBook Pro at home, and using the smaller MacBook Air has made me realize how much I don’t need a larger, bulkier laptop to do my job (aka typing words). Also, the smaller computer fits more easily in my bag and doesn’t unhinge my shoulder when I’m carrying it.

iPhone 6 with Kate Spade cover

Unlike my colleagues who get new phones every few months, I’m clearly overdue for an upgrade. My iPhone 6 is getting pretty slow and loves to just turn off randomly in the middle of text conversations. But it more or less gets the job done and makes sure I have all my up-to-date Slack notifications. I bought a Kate Spade cover for it because it’s pretty. Oh, and apologies for my unread emails; I’m too lazy to do much about it.

Infinitive Power Bank

I used to have a Mophie, but I, uh, can’t find it. And after my boyfriend got annoyed that I kept stealing his Mophie, he gave me this random power bank he had in his pocket. I don’t know where he got it, but hey, it gives me an extra charge when I need it!

If it’s not clear by now, The Verge obviously didn’t hire me for my tech savvy.

Amazon Kindle

I used to be a book snob and refused to read books electronically. But then I became a A Song of Ice and Fire fan, and needed a less cumbersome way to get my medieval fantasy fix on the subway. Now I basically read all my books on the Kindle, and I don’t know why I ever scoffed at it. I’m a fairly impatient person, too, so getting books as soon as I want them is pretty fantastic.

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

Oh, here’s a tech purchase I made recently that I’m proud of! I was using a pair of Bose headphones that worked great, but the wiring wrap was eroding away. (I may have misplaced the headphone case, sorry!) I had no idea what headphones to buy next, so I turned to a trusted source: Vlad Savov of The Verge dot com. Thanks to his exhaustive research, I was able to choose a great pair of wired headphones that didn’t cost me a fortune. And they come with a sturdy case that I won’t lose this time. Thanks Vlad, for mastering the headphone beat!

Makeup and beauty supplies

Now that we’ve got all that tech nonsense out of the way, here are the most important items in my bag: toiletries! I always have my Sephora makeup bag with me, because my face can’t be trusted to stay normal-looking throughout the day. Also it’s good to have on hand in case we need to shoot a video at work. I have a lot of hair, hence the hairbrush. And sorry, but we all need a deodorant touch up every now and then.

Oh, what’s that? You noticed those Tom Ford sunglasses just hanging out up there? Why yes, they are mine. I will forever brag about them, because they are probably my biggest impulse buy of the last decade. I’m such a free spirit!

Water bottle and lock

This is the part where I tell you that I workout. Sorry. I have a dedicated water bottle to avoid buying throwaway plastic bottles. And I have a lock for the gym locker to keep all the stuff you just read about safe. Now how often do I make it out to the gym? Wow, that’s a very personal question.

Mission patches

I’ve tried to consolidate most of the stuff in my bag, so that means getting rid of random knickknacks. But I refuse to part with my mission patches. Whenever I cover an aerospace mission, I’m usually lucky enough to snag an official patch that’s been designed specifically for the flight. You’ll notice a few patches for Orion, one for a SpaceX resupply mission, and another for a LightSail test flight from a couple years ago.

I also snagged a really awesome patch for the launch of the NROL-37 satellite. It was a secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office that went up last June on the world’s most powerful rocket, the Delta IV Heavy. The NRO doesn’t actually make physical patches, though. This one was given to me by my friend Robin Seemangal at Wired, who I met at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center press site last year. His friend had a couple made, and he says I’m one of a lucky few who has a patch.

Fidget spinner

My neighborhood in Long Island City still lacks a pharmacy, but we at least have a smoke shop next door to my apartment! And boy, do they have an abundance of fidget spinners. After weeks of hearing about these silly toys, I finally caved one night and went inside the shop to get one. I pick at my nails a lot, so I figured having one might save my cuticles. I certainly play with it a lot, but my cuticles are still a disaster.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

More from this stream What's in your bag?

See all 67 stories