The inside of a woman’s handbag is actually a very personal thing. We are carrying around all the things we need throughout the day that keep us together—from feminine hygiene products to entertainment for the kids while you wait at the restaurant. Sometimes I feel certain I could diffuse a bomb using only the contents of my purse.

Side note: You should know that before I could conduct the "research" for this post, I cleaned out 6 receipts, 4 used tissues, a test strip used to check my daughter’s blood sugar, a few business cards, and three old name tags from church.

Here’s what was left: 

Le Phone 

Obviously my phone is in my bag. It holds my actual life, schedule, Bible, reminders, 557 lists, and 5,069 photos. I do a lot of work on my phone, so in reality it is probably in my lap or hand more often than in my actual bag.

Master Planner

Like most of you, I wear many hats so I carry two things with me throughout the day: a leatherbound paper calendar (check out my pick here) and a tiny notebook. To be honest, the paper calendar goes mostly unused because I use my phone most of the time, but it makes me feel like an adult to have it and it’s cute so it stays.

Everything Notebook 

My little notebook is probably my organizational MVP. It has clear dividers each holding its own tiny notebook where I make notes for each side gig I’m running. This notebook makes me so happy because it’s mint green and leather and on the front it says “Hello, I am organizer”. I stuff its tiny pockets and scribble notes on all its tiny lines, and we have a newly productive understanding. It also snaps together at the front, and the stylist in my appreciates this detailed closure.  

Clutch Wallet

My other MVP is my wallet that is actually both a wallet AND a clutch with a removable strap. This is my most favorite advice to give: invest in a wallet clutch that can live in your giant “everything bag” or diaper bag.  My wallet clutch holds all the cards and IDs, cash if I happen upon some, my go-to lipstick, my kids’ school pictures, and a random ultrasound picture of my middle child. The wallet clutch gets to come out of the big bag when it goes to lunch with friends, on a date night, shopping (grocery or otherwise), or really any other situation when I only need the essentials. I can hold it as an actual clutch or wear it with the strap as a crossbody bag. You can find a wallet clutch almost anywhere. I like to buy a nice one that will go with me through all seasons. My current one is red. I’ve carried it for nearly two years, and it magically goes with almost everything. Here's another option at a lower price point that I love, too.

Lip Color

Next on the list is my lipstick. I have too many to choose from at home, but two get to go with me out and about because they pack an instant punch when I’m feeling a little bleh. They are both by Bobbi Brown, and they are both the Crushed Lip Color style. I love this product because it’s easy to apply and feels like a lip balm thanks to its moisturizing blend. The two colors I carry at almost all times are “Bitten” (for when I just need a little pop of pink) and “Regal” (for when I’m a little more dressed up and feeling fancy). On that note, let’s all please remember that “a pop of pink” or “feeling fancy” can also happen while wearing sweats. See more of Amy's favorite lipsticks here

Entertainment & Sustenance

Down at the bottom of the bag is where the entertainment floats. I have three kids. One is diabetic and requires food at random times; one is in constant motion and needs constructive distractions; and the third is a preschool-aged boy who is absolutely unpredictable at almost all times. All that to say, I’m ready for whatever they throw at me. I carry protein bars, raisins, jolly ranchers, suckers, and fruit rope. I also have tiny Play-Doh, a deck of cards that say “Don’t Mess with Texas,” and a few Hot Wheels—heaven forbid I’m only packing one Hot Wheel because then there can be no racing!

Behind Zipped Pockets

The zipper pocket on the side of the bag holds my unmentionables, reserved for a friend in need or for that certain time of the month. That same pocket also holds a few pens that I hide from my kids. I like to use Micron Pigma pens. They write like magic and are available in a million colors. They come in handy when I pretend to be organized and decide to color code that tiny notebook.

Must-Have Miscellany

Some other essentials I carry are my sunglasses, my  Thieves hand sanitizer, which smells better than the alternatives, Burt’s Bees Hand Cream, earbuds (so I can introvert in public places), a highlighter stick for later in the afternoon when my makeup from 6 a.m. feels tired, travel tissues, and gum.

What About the Bag?

Last, but most definitely not least is the bag itself. My current bag (shown above) is from Anthropologie. It was a Christmas gift from my sister, and I love it. I knew I would love it when I sent her a picture of it in the store with the text “this would be a great gift to get me for Christmas.” It’s the perfect amount of style and function, plus it feels slightly like a briefcase when I carry it—which adds to that aforementioned illusion of me feeling like an adult. Unfortunately, it is not currently for sale but here a few similar ones. I love this smaller woven crossbody, which is also from Anthro. This pretty-in-pale-pink, roomy option from J. Crew can go sophisticated tote or woman-on-move crossbody. This  so I am linking a few that are similar in style and price point. And, this ABLE bag is equally cute and functional, plus it can work with a range of styles.

Now that you’ve gone through my bag it feels a little bit like we have just been swimsuit shopping together. You know a smidge more about me, including that I’m just a 37-year-old merely pretending to be an adult with the help of color-coded pens and empty leather planners. I’ve never claimed to have it all together, although I might—at the very least—be able to carry it all in the same bag!

- by Amy // @apeeples