WHAT: DIYVA by Barbara K pillow purse
HOW IT WORKS: A slick microfiber handbag with a front zip pocket plus three larger zip compartments, the middle one of which unzips, reverses out and rezips to create a plush microsuede pillow for catnaps on the go.
HIGH POINTS: Everything. Even without the pillow feature, this is perhaps the most user-friendly purse I've carried. The small front zip pouch affords instant retrieval of phone, keys, floss, lipstick and other small goods that evade capture when swimming in larger ponds. The generous front zip compartment houses my wallet, tissue, etc. The back zip compartment stores my phone's power cord, granola bar and iPad, with bonus points for cushioning that device against environmental impacts.
As if that's not enough to love, the middle compartment is the handbag equivalent of an Oreo center -- heavenly. Rather than unzipping, reversing and rezipping it, I opened it like a book to cradle my head during a 12-hour car trip and napped without the inevitable head flop to startle me awake. Padding is sufficient to keep any princess from feeling so much as a pea protruding from another compartment. Yet it's not heavy or bulky. I like the modern shape, too. Wipes clean with damp cloth.
LOW POINTS: Just a quibble, but the double straps slip off my shoulder when I wear my similarly slick microfiber coat.
PRICE: $49, in black or pink,
-- Wendy Donahue, Chicago Tribune