keeping it together, part II: my work bag


Remember my first Keeping It Together post back in March? Several of you asked for more details about my daily organization and favorite tools, so here I am — just a short nine months later — spilling the contents of my work bag!


If you were to catch me traveling to or from work on a typical day, you may expect that I’m headed to the airport or somewhere similarly exciting by the sheer magnitude of luggage I tote back and forth. Handbag, camera bag, and workbag – always. Sometimes a lunchbox, when I’m on one of those “eating healthy and saving money” kicks. Maybe a jacket, or on rare occasions a bag or two from some errand pitstop I made on the way.

Let me paint you a picture: Tiny 5’4″ lady with lotsa hair struggling across the parking lot with up to six bags balanced precariously on her shoulders and elbows as she’s pulled by an excited 75-lb Goldendoodle that is literally as big as she is, dropping things and muttering expletives along the way while trying to steer said dog toward the front door. This is why I can’t wear heels or wedges to work; I wouldn’t even make it inside.

Why subject myself to such graceless schlepping day after day? Because without all that gear, I’d be a mess. Let’s delve into the depths of the Billabong tote bag that currently serves as my mobile office. {We’ll go through the camera bag and handbag some other time.}


Finding the perfect carry-all can be tough, and I’ve gone through several in the last year. A few candidates couldn’t handle the weight of so much responsibility and their straps eventually succumbed to the pressure (once in the parking lot on the way to my car, when in an uncharacteristically coordinated act of valor I managed to catch the bag before my Macbook shattered on the concrete). The ideal bag has sturdy construction, isn’t too heavy — I love a studded leather situation as much as the next girl, but if it weighs 5 ell-bees empty, she’s out — and be cute {duh}. The current iteration is by Billabong, and I scooped it up at m.marie back in November. You can find new spring styles on Billabong’s site.


My work bag carries all the stuff I need to well, work from anywhere — for both the flower shop and the blog. My daily essentials are a mix of old-school office supplies and modern techie tools, and just about everything is printed and colorful because work is more fun with cute provisions.

If I don’t write things down, I’m doomed to forget them. Even if I never look at the note again, just the simple act of writing it out helps commit it to memory. So I keep lots of notebooks around for jotting down to-do lists and scribbling out important details. I love Martha Stewart’s notebooks from Staples; they come in great colors and prints, and they’re college-ruled. And because everything is better color-coded, I keep a stash of bright pens and highlighters in a cosmetic bag. For me, it doesn’t get better than a big pack of assorted Paper Mates! {Letting my nerd flag fly in this post, ya’ll.}

Fortunately, I don’t have to handle a lot of paperwork — I leave all that fun stuff to the hubs — but I try to keep the small amount I am responsible for organized in pretty little file folders. Notes from bridal consultations, price sheets from suppliers, wedding orders, and other important docs all have a place in folders from Martha and M by Staples. Are you getting the impression that I can’t be controlled in an office supply store? Because it’s a problem.


Now let’s talk about my technology dependence.

My Macbook Pro is my sister from another mister, and without her I’d be a stone cold disaster. My in-laws bought her for me when I started working at the flower shop a few years ago, and we’ve built a beautiful bond over hours of photo-editing, writing, inbox wrangling, and web surfing. I haven’t named her or anything, but I’m pretty crazy about her.

I’ve had my eye on a Wacom Bamboo Connect Pen Tablet for a while. Elsie uses hers to add handwriting to her blog, A Beautiful Mess, and Linda creates all of her adorable Little Tin Soldier illustrations on one! When my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas back in the fall, I told her about it. I was so excited to open it on Christmas Eve, because I’d honestly kind of forgotten I asked for it! {Thanks for remembering, Mom!} It’s lightweight and portable, and now it goes with me everywhere.


My final favorite gadget — and a recent addition to my work bag — is my new HTC One X+. I’m partnering with HTC as part of #TroopOneX to capture all my crazy moments on the new Android smartphone and share them with all of you over the next six weeks. More to come on that later (including a big major perk for you, dear readers!) but for now let me just say that I’m in love with this smartphone. It’s the perfect pocket-sized partner in crime for someone who loves pursuing creative interests but has to handle business, too. Like moi.

So there you have it! The only thing missing is a little stack of floral trade magazines that I tote around in the hopes that I’ll catch a spare minute or two to leaf through them for ideas.

What are your favorite organizational tools of the trade?


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  1. 1.15.13

    My MacBook Pro and my iPhone keep me sane and crazy and store all my info… and yes my very stylish bag from, which I love, helps me cart around more than I need! Getting smarter everyday, aren’t we!?!

  2. 1.13.13
    Jupe said:

    I love seeing inside other people’s purses :)

    <3 Cambria

  3. 1.11.13

    Nice post!!! You are very creative!!! :)

    I have my fashion blog:

    I hope you like it!!


  4. 1.11.13

    I always carry my iPhone, Journal, and day calender/organizer. Also have a cash log for all my financial purchases. :)

    • 1.11.13

      Love the idea of a cash log! What a great way to keep track of your spending. I’ve heard that Mint is a great app for this, too.

      • 1.12.13

        Mint is a great app actually lol. :) I use it and it will send me messages to let me know if anything is out of the ordinary.

  5. 1.10.13

    Very cool post! Love the content and the way it is written! XO

  6. 1.10.13
    Iris said:

    I always carry tons of stuff with me, maybe it’s a girl thing… all that stuff doesn’t fit in pants pockets or maybe guys would be that way too.

  7. 1.10.13
    Jasmine said:

    I love this post! :) I’m exactly like you, when I leave in the morning I feel like I’m forgetting something if I don’t have more than 2 bags with me. I also tote around way to many notebooks for to-do lists, and a pencil case full of colourful pens.
    I can’t wait for your other bag posts!

  8. 1.10.13

    Where did you get your bag?!?

  9. 1.10.13

    The image of you struggling with all those bags is hilarious and…. familiar :P great tips anyway!


  10. 1.9.13
    Maggie said:

    Is that agenda by Martha? I love it!

  11. 1.9.13

    I’m a sucker for cute folders and planners, too! My husband tries to get me to use the calendar on my phone but I get a kick out of writing it down in different colors. I

  12. 1.9.13
    kairix770 said:

    Old things and modern ones in a sleek bag, is awesome! :)

  13. 1.9.13

    Great post. I was one of those dweebs inquiring about what you used exactly. I also geek out in office suffly stores and office supply aisles at Target, Homegoods, etc.
    Long live paper products!

  14. 1.9.13

    I adore all the colors and patterns! I thought I was the only one with a day planner and that many pens in bag. ;)
    I have always gone with solid colors and how boring is that?? I’m inspired by you. Time to craft some book covers from fabric or something to jazz up my life a lil.
    Can’t wait to hear about the HTC deal.
    Take care of you.

  15. 1.9.13

    Felt tips!!!!!