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Bits & Bobs ~ Summer Pleasures

Let's Talk ... Pocketbooks!

Aka - purse, handbag, bag, tote, and/or satchel! Whatever you might call it (and what do you call it? I'm curious!) let's talk about the thing you use to lug around all your STUFF when you leave the house. (I was surprised at how many readers didn't recognize the term "pocketbook!" I guess it must be a "Yankee" thing?)

Anyhoo ... here's a little tour of the bag(s) I'm using this Summer. With a toddler in tow these days I need something roomy and sturdy!

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 This is called a "Bean's Reversible Tote, Medium, Bandana Print" ... I can't link it because it appears it is out of stock. Which is a shame because it's a really excellent bag! (Scratch that - here it is - and it's on sale! I was torn between the green and orange ...) I am quite partial to LL Bean tote bags, as longtime readers know. They last FOREVER and are incredibly versatile.

For a wallet, I have been using this handy little thing for ages ...

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 It's a Vera Bradley "zip-around wallet" in Kensington print. It has a pouch for my cell phone which makes it indispensable. I can just grab this (and wrap the loop around my wrist) when I need to run in somewhere quick.

And here's how I pack up my bag ...

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This is the bottom layer if I'm taking Little Bear out with me for an extended period of time. In that case I pack diapers and wipes as well as a change of clothes and baby-safe sunscreen, board books ...

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And here's the rest of the stuff (it holds a lot!) ...

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  • wristlet wallet (phone, change, cards, money, i.d.)
  • tissues, tinted lip balm
  • aforementioned diapers and wipes, hand santizing wipes, board book, sunscreen
  • sippy cup with water (for LB)
  • bubbles
  • my current book
  • shopping notebook and coupons/receipts pouch
  • pocket-size appointment book
  •  blue zippered pouch holds: emergency kit, hand cream, dental floss, hand sanitizing spray, a feminine pad, emery board, antibiotic cream, band-aids, citrus drops, small tube of ibuprofen

 In the top picture you see the outside zip pocket. In here I have my keys and another lip balm. (I can never pack too many lip balms!) I also keep sunglasses *and* reading glasses in there because I need them to read labels, credit slips and such!


Now, this is a smaller - but still roomy - Summer tote I bought a few years ago at T.J. Maxx. I use this if I don't need the really big bag - or if it matches my outfit, lol. (I have several tops that coordinate with this bag!)

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And here is a very pretty little cross-body bag I bought several years ago, along with a matching wallet ...

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It reminds me of Cath Kidston, a British designer I love - but it's from Target! I use this if I'm out without kids - running a quick errand, at a hair appt. or some such. For example, this very morning I used it when I met a dear childhood friend for coffee. It held all I needed and nothing more!

So ... there are my Summer pocketbooks in a nutshell. And now let's hear from some friends who sent me thoughts and pictures to share ...


From Arlene:

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Dawn, I LOVE purses and I love organizing. I like this purse because it has a double zipper, hence the name the Dooney and Bourke Zip Zip Bag. I chose the bright green for spring. I do have to put things inside north south instead of east west to get them to fit. My Vera Wallet, my Dooney chevron stripe make up pouch and my Vera glasses holder which I keep my sunglasses in! I also carry a little paper notebook as I am not good at putting notes on my phone. And my phone fits in its own pocket in this purse but it was not there as I was using it to take the photos.  I have ordered a new Vera fall purse that should arrive this week. 

 Arlene, I love this pocketbook!! I love the vibrant color, the shape, and the way you fit everything in so neatly ... and I would love to see your fall purse sometime! I do love me some Vera! :)


From Amy:

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 Fun topic!  Here's a picture of my summer handbag - I do change it out for every season. I LOVE my summer handbag, just purchased this summer. I love the bold navy and white rugby stripes, the preppy red monogram and the fact that it holds a few file folders (work related) along with my travel makeup bag. The fabric is also coated so it can withstand a summer surprise rainstorm. I purchased it at Lands' End.

Amy, this bag is right up my alley! I love roomy totes, navy and white stripes are so summery, and that bright red monogram is wonderful! I have a soft spot for monograms!


From Shirley:

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What fun to be able to contribute to one of your blog posts again. I also love talking (and seeing) handbags and what's inside, planners etc. I have 5 handbags in rotation - depending on mood and season of course. Three of them are really good (but not designer) bags and the other two are what I would term as 'fashion handbags'. I love having 'fashion handbags' in my wardrobe as they are inexpensive and oh-so-pretty. 
I have just moved into one of my 'Fashion handbags' for the summer. It's a really cute black and white stripy bag. It has a stiff bottom section which is great as it doesn't flop about and fall over and then a fun stripy fabric top - as you can see in the picture.
Peeking inside you can see that I really only carry the essentials. This summer we have a few friends from South Africa visiting so there is going to be quite a bit of sightseeing. I don't want a handbag that is too heave to carry around. So I'm keeping it light and only carry around what I really need.
Taking a closer look you can see my gorgeous fluro pink Filofax (planner). This is my newest addition to my Filofax or ring- binder planner system. Like my handbags I like to swap my planner into season relevant binders. It's just fun ☺. The fluro pink definitely screams 'summer' to me. On top of my filofax planner is my Windows phone which I love - for the summer it has a cute little floral case.
  I have my purse with all my cards and cash (when I carry it), a little makeup bag which has my lip liner, various lipsticks, a touch-up set of make up (although I don't generally wear a huge amount of make up other than mascara and lipstick so I think that might have to come out) and and emery board inside. There is a little tin which has some headache tablets, band Aids and some womanly necessities. Sunglasses {natch} and happily I have had to use them quite a bit this summer already lol - not always the case in England! I have a small bottle of hand sanitizer and some aromatherapy headache gel which I prefer to use before popping a tablet. I also have a small notebook (the little floral one in the picture) which is my shopping list book. This one often lives on the kitchen counter so that I can jot things down as I need them. Then it gets slipped back into my handbag when I walk out the door. 
BTW I had to google what a 'pocketbook' was lol. Here in England a pocketbook is simply a little notebook, but in the U.S it seems to refer to a wallet, purse or handbag!
Shirley, your bag is gorgeous! And I also love the vivid pink planner as well as the floral phone case! I am still trying to find the "perfect" size planner to take out with me ... I will have to think on that a bit, but you have inspired me! :)


From Melissa:

"My Backpack Purse"

I have used the same purse (I call it my backpack) for about 10 years. I had a similar one for 2 years prior to that which I replaced when it fell apart. What happened in my life 12 years ago that caused me to move from years of using a purse like this? 

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You probably have guessed it, a baby.
I didn’t want to tote around a diaper bag all the time, I can’t stand to have a purse hanging off my shoulder (they don’t stay put and I was used to being hands-free!) and small backpacks were in stores everywhere. It was enough to fit a diaper or two and other “baby stuff”. So began my tiny backpack life.

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Here’s a tour of my backpack, right now, without cleaning out anything that may be embarrassing! 

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Zipper #1 – smallest on the front

I rarely use this zipper. I keep in it important things that I don’t need often. 
1. My son’s small brush for cleaning his braces. (from diaper to braces!!)
2. A key change thing that fell off a long time ago.
3. A note about a documentary I read about somewhere.
4. This GREAT macro lens for my phone camera!

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 Zipper #2 – larger zipper on front

I use this zipper a million times a day. This is the spot I have to clean every few days or it gets to be full of all sorts of things, mostly receipts.
1. Wallet. I always use tiny wallets, some cards and that’s all that fits.
2. Lip stuff.
3. Hotel room key (business trip!)
4. A coupon that needs to be moved to my coupon file in the car.
5. Cash. I usually don’t have cash but I got some cash back at a store a few days ago. I sometimes have coins it the bottom of this zipper area but I prefer not to so I try to empty it out often.

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Zipper #3 – front/top large compartment

This rarely gets used. Right now it has some stuff I got for a car trip.
1. Gum and tic tacs. I usually have a small pack of gum in here but the tic tacs are something new, I got hooked on them a few months ago.
2. Lollipop. Lollipop emergencies sometimes happen.
3. Tiny hair clip. For when my bangs end up a disaster and they need to be pulled back.
4. Hotel pen. 
5. Japanese wood pen. LOVE this pen. No one touches this pen but me! It was a Christmas gift from hubby. He always gets me cool stocking stuffers from
6. Martha Stewart sticky notes which I got from my local recycle store for about 5 cents a pack! I was using them when I was reading one of Ben Hewitt’s masterpieces.

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Middle compartment – closes with a snap

1. This is a huge open space. Right now it’s empty. It usually has a few tissues at the very bottom. I use this area to carry my beverage o’ the day, a book, stuff I need to get from in the house to the car. It’s my main carry area. My keys clasp around the top of the strap and hang securely in this section. I always keep them there so I can always grab my backpack and go without looking for keys or digging around inside a compartment. They hang securely into the compartment so that they don’t jingle when I walk.

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Zipper #4 – tiny zipper inside large middle compartment

This is another rarely used spot. I keep very important things in here.
1. Credit Card Flashlight
2. Finger Flashlight (hmm, there seems to be a trend here!)
3. 2 tampons
4. Ricola drop
5. Elastic (for a MacGyver moment!)
6. Tax exempt form for purchases for my homeschool group
7. A Sacagawea dollar
8. A round piece of fake ivory from a scrimshaw class

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Zipper #5 top/back large compartment

1.Cinq-o dice game that has been in there for years for when we need something to occupy us.
2. Kashi bar
3. Playing cards (box is in tatters. The elastic, item 5 above, belongs around this box to keep the cards in). We use these often.

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 And that’s the grand tour! My backpack usually weighs close to nothing, light as a feather on my back. It gets heavy when I have a drink and a book stuffed in there. About once a year I think about getting a new purse, but then I realize that this one still suits my needs 100% and is in great condition. Someday I will get back to using cute purses again!

Melissa, first of all - wow! Thank you so much for all these great details! I love that you outlined all the things you take with you in your bag. I appreciate these kinds of lists because they help me think about what I might want to take out myself! And you truly stick to that old "adage" - keep nothing you don't find to be beautiful or useful. I enjoyed the stories behind your stuff!



Well, my friends - I hope you've all had fun on our pocketbook tour! This is a favorite subject of mine! I am very grateful to Arlene, Amy, Shirley and Melissa for taking the time to share their bags with us ... and I am very happy to know I am not alone in my pocketbook obsession! I have many bags to choose from so it's hard to rationalize a new purchase, but with every season comes a "tug" to look for a new bag. Something that will reflect the mood and serve the needs of the season. For many of us, our bags stand in as a little "home away from home" while out and about ... and if you are a mom (or grandmom) you know that everyone will be looking to you when someone needs something ... a band-aid, a hand wipe, a distraction from a long drive or waiting room visit!

Always good to be prepared is my motto!


Enjoy your Tuesday evening, everyone! See you here again very soon ...