True Story: I Used to Have a Confederate Flag in My Bedroom

There's a lot of stuff going on in America right now about racism and "alt right" and apparently the new hill to die on is Confederate flags & statues of Confederate generals.

I'm not sure I truly have anything to add to this conversation.

Racism is not new. White supremacy is not new. We've had these wars before. Look in a history book.

 I think over the past year especially I've at least hinted at the fact that I'm pretty liberal.

But I want to talk about my journey to this place, and why I feel the way I feel even though in a lot of ways I probably look like easy prey to the "alt right" (apparently the PC term for Neo-Nazis).

When I was a teenager, I had a Confederate flag in my bedroom. 

To me, it represented my Southern heritage. People made fun of Southerners all the time. We were dumb, dirty, bad people. It was a form of "reclaiming" a symbol of where I was from and trying to find the positives about my heritage. It meant that I came from determined people willing to stand up for what was right- or at least, what they thought was right. It was a joke to tell the people who thought less of me that they couldn't hurt me. I would take what they scorned and use it to make me stronger.

I could justify this in a few ways. 

First, it was HISTORY Y'ALL. You can't fight the truth. It's just a fact, that's what happened.

Secondly, there were black kids at my school who said it was okay! They didn't care. If a black person said it wasn't offensive, surely no one else could be upset. And if there was another black person who got upset, well they needed to go talk to that first guy. As long as I was nice to people who cared?

But something happened- I grew up. 

I realized several things that changed my attitude towards the flag and the Confederacy in general.

I realized there are much less controversial ways to represent my Southern heritage. Monogramming stuff might cost a little more but it's cuter and not tied to racism in any way. Same for flip-flops and fried okra and sweet tea and Duke's mayonnaise.

I realized that people could feel differently about something even if they have something in common. So, yeah...some black people may have told me they didn't care- but others (of all races) were hurt deeply by this symbol. One person's pain does not diminish just because it isn't shared by all.

I realized that I was only strengthening the negative Southern stereotype by clinging to a symbol of the (failed) past. I could take those qualities I originally saw and shift them to something that valued the qualities of everyone.

I realized that in no other situation would I agree with this type of situation- America separated from England- successfully- and England doesn't fly American flags to celebrate that. If they did, I'd think they were idiots. 

Most importantly, I realized that I don't live in the Confederacy. I live in America. 

Those people who laugh at me and make fun of me and make assumptions due to where I grew up? They are doing exactly what they assume I do.

They are not better people because of where they grew up. I am not a worse person because of where I grew up. We all live in one country- the United States of America.

And I want our country to be united. I want us to look to the future, not the past.

I realized that patriotism to my country meant agreeing that its ideals of freedom and equality as a basic human right should be extended to every human.

Yes, the Confederate flag is part of our history. That doesn't make it good. That doesn't make it honorable. 

We can all be better than that, y'all.  

It's fine to be proud of being white- I like knowing that I have a Scottish background and where I come from.

The difference is- I don't believe that it makes me better than anyone else. And I am not so ignorant as to think that it makes me perfect.

I don't believe that skin color or ancestry should make me like one person more than the other, or make me more scared of one person than the other.

I hope that people don't judge me by the fact that I used to be proud of the Confederate flag. 

I hope that people who feel that way now realize that you can acknowledge the past and learn from it, without clinging to it. 

I hope we learn to live up to our name and truly be a united nation.

Mid-Month Update: August 2017

Trying something new- this will be a little mid-month update on my life and a way to ensure I actually post something here on this blog, since I enjoy blogging but do better with directions and plans at this point in my life. Categories may change depending on my moods.

So. Much. Rain. So damn muggy. I am not one to complain about humidity usually, but dang y'all.  My hair is continually limp and gross looking, my makeup (already minimal) is melting...blah. We're averaging one partly sunny day a week at the moment.

 My office is crazy with people leaving and new people coming in and the temporary workers that have been on break, whom I work directly with/slightly above, will be back soon soo...yay? Yay for progress, boo for constant human interaction again (says the introvert who actually likes being alone in the corner doing mountains of paperwork).

Picked up my textbook yesterday! Paid more than I wanted- the edition my professor wanted was just published last year so no used copies. Oh well. Still getting 90% of all school needs covered by work so shouldn't complain too much.

Hubby & Family
Tank & I are almost halfway through the classes required to become foster parents in NC! It's a lot of information and we have tons of stuff to do/print...I totally get it. But it is weird to think we just had a baby before and no one cared at all about this stuff. Our families are being very supportive, which I'm happy about. I was worried, but as a friend pointed out, most rude or offensive questions really do stem from a place of ignorance and simple explanations can shift a lot of perspective. While it's been a little stressful to find a sitter since the class is ALL DAY every Saturday for over a month, it's also nice that we have had lots of time alone and we've been trying a few local restaurants that we probably wouldn't with the kid (although one was totally delicious and cute and had a kid's corner that I found brilliant, although Tank said it was only a good idea not an amazing one).

Babycakes is at such a fun age! We are officially into toddler stage...and y'all, so much easier for me than babyhood. She is getting a little more independent, which makes things easier for me. We're definitely seeing some tantrums, but she tends to just walk off when upset so I'm OK with that (much better than laying down and throwing a fit for me). The other day she got mad, ran away, and came back in a minute with only one shoe...the other one turned out to be under the kitchen cabinet. No clue. But I figure taking a minute to herself and coming back calm is not the worst calming strategy there is. She's also giving hugs & kisses now...totes adorbs. There's even been some comments that she's starting to look like me! Petty, but since she came out looking exactly like Tank it's nice to hear an acknowledgement that I had something to do with her too.

Have I posted about my meal planning lately? I think it was around December that I started doing monthly meal plans. We don't always follow it to the letter, but it helps ensure we have something to cook and cuts down on the times we eat out. I only do the weekdays, because our church group meets on Sundays so we don't have to cook then and also we have leftovers. We also try to keep frozen lasagna and pizzas on hand just in case. The healthiest? Probably not...but better financially. Some of these recipes are simple, some are written down in my, others go on a Monthly Menu Pinterest board to make sure Hubs always has access to the recipe without me having to email him every day :) 

The Little Things
Since Babycakes has been spending so much time at her grandparents due to the FC classes, I've had time to paint my nails three weeks in a row. For some reason, this has been a really nice pick-me-up. I've also been starting a very small workout plan, and ran two miles the other day! Simple enough I can do it quickly but gets me moving, because I can tell my body is suffering when I don't. 

What's new with you?

Trying My Hand at Bullet Journaling

I don't really want to go into the details of the Bullet Journal...because it's a LOT. Be careful googling though- I'd recommend going straight to the source at If you look at Pinterest or some of the Facebook groups dedicated to Bullet Journaling, you will see beautiful hand lettering and adorable doodles from people who use it half as a sketch book. Mine is more like the original idea, which is basically a DIY planner.

The fast idea behind BuJo is to make really short, fast notes that have tiny symbols to assign categories: tasks, events, notes. You can have "signifiers" to assign priority or indicate more research is needed.

This appealed to me because I really like traditional planners but I always want more "blank" space to write notes- grocery lists, blog post ideas, etc- which aren't tied to a specific day. 

In a traditional planner I would be keeping all those notes on separate days and flipping back and just doesn't work.

A bullet journal is something that you can customize incredibly easily. The reason I say not to Google at the beginning is because people have really run with this idea. There are hundreds if not thousands of ideas and "layouts" online. Y'all...I don't have the time or talent.

So far, everything in my bullet journal is either a list or a calendar. That's it. That's what I need right now.

There's also lots of discussion about the best notebook and pens and blah blah blah to use. You could use anything. Since it involves making lines- and is what the creator uses- a lot of people use dotted notebooks or graphed notebooks. But you can totally use a cheap lined one- my current one came from AC Moore & cost 5$.

Anatomy of my BuJo:

  • Index
    • There really isn't an order to the BuJo-  you just use a page for whatever you want to. Lists next to calendar next to picture. Whatever. In order to find things, you number pages and put them here in the index so you can find stuff easily (more notes about further down). The idea of indexing is super simple, but for some reason never occured to me before. You can use pre-numbered notebooks or do it yourself as you go along (that's what I do).

  •  Key
    • There are recommended icons/whatever you call the things to signify your categories on the BuJo site, but there are tons of ways to do this (notes v. appointment v. task). I'll be honest, I don't always use this...more often than not I just cross stuff off. But there's the idea.

  • Future Log
    • aka 6 month calendar (next time I will probably do a full year, but since I'm starting halfway through 2017 I decided to just do the rest of the year).

  • A monthly log
    • If you just want to see the details of this month (this is just the outline, before I had added the details).

  • A weekly log
    • Some people do "dailies." This is a huge aspect of it. The way I have mine laid out, I have a weekly spread but blank space underneath, so I can make notes for individual days without worrying about space- I may have nothing one day and 5 things the next. I want flexibility. 
  •  Short Notes Page
    • This is where I keep a general list of items to buy- if I need to pick up milk, or a birthday card, etc. It's easier to add these to a general list over a week or two versus listing one item every two or three days and flipping through. This way once I have a list big enough to warrant going to the store, I look at one page and get everything I need.
  • Memorable Dates
    • For random things like when I change my contacts & when we replaced the batteries in my car- they aren't constant events that would make it in my standing yearly calendar but are worth noting
  • Date Night Ideas
    • So we don't get stuck in a rut
  • Reading Challenge List
    • I like being able to cross off books as I read them & see my progress.

Really the only things I use besides a pen and the notebook is a little ruler ($.50, to help with straight lines) and washi tape. I use the tape for headers, and as kind of a bookmark. I can use different colors to make "tabs" and flip straight to my monthly calendar or this week. Not required, but I like it.

My bujo is not particularly pretty. But it works. 

And I'm sharing it because I go so dang on intimidated when I tried this the first time.

You don't have to do cute headers or tons of colors or artistic doodles (if you want to, go for it) but I wanted to show that it's possible to keep it simple and really helpful to get organized.

Yes, you can use apps and phones for all this now. 

And I do still use those (especially things that concern the husband, thanks shared calendars)...but there's something about the act of writing something down. It just helps it stick and makes me feel for more accomplished when I cross it out.

I am slightly concerned about having time to write layouts once I start classes, especially since we will be starting classes for the foster/adoption process around the same time. It's going to be a busy fall, y'all. But it's oddly enjoyable for me, and I think if I create my monthly/weekly layouts once a month I can manage it. That's what I did for August, anyway. So we'll see how it goes...maybe I'll update in a month or so.

Do you have a planner or system that you enjoy? 
Anyone else like analog versus just digital?

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: August 2017

You guys, this month totally crept up on me. Didn't we JUST do July's SUYB?

Anyway. Pretty good reading month here. Officially hit my yearly goal, which is great because between the FtA* classes/paperwork and school starting later this month, I have no clue how my reading will look for the rest of the year.


This book was good. I've seen some  reviews that it was too easy to guess the plot. I actually didn't guess and had a different idea in mind (although, I really don't like to try to guess the plot, I want the story to just unfold). It was good but kind of solidified the idea that crime/thriller isn't really my genre anymore (it used to be my favorite).

 This book was so good! Noah just has such a good conversational style. I really appreciated the way he framed the story- he talked about apartheid and racism and poverty in a logical way that was insightful without being self-pitying. Even when talking about very difficult situations, it was all presented very matter-of-factly. It wasn't dry or impersonal- riveting, in fact- but subtle. He just has a great way with words. Probably my favorite read of the month.

This book is Albertalli's long-awaited follow-up to Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It's not really a second of a series, although Simon and another character are slightly involved in this story. It's more like they exist in the same world versus following the same characters. Personally, I thought Simon was okay but it didn't live up to the hype. This story was more my style, and I enjoyed the main character a lot more. Plus, Reid is the cutest. YA is not my favorite genre, and this one did have a few moments where the teen...not even drama, but exaggeration of everything, was a little much but a lot of topics were handled well and felt authentic.

This book is actually a combination of 5 stories. Rivers wrote fictional accounts of the 5 women in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew X). I had actually never realized that these women were all tied to Christ or each other, and that was really interesting to think about. The stories of Rahab & Ruth were my favorites. While this definitely has a Christian theme, it's five stories of historical women that I think anyone could enjoy. Also, while I know that the Bible is full of "messed up" people, it was really interesting to realize that nearly every woman listed in the lineage of Christ had a tie to prostitution or a questionable background...for some reason the idea of all that scandal leading to the one sinless person is wonderfully ironic to me and I can't help imagine how some super conservatives would try to explain that away...

This book. So darn adorable. Made me yearn for rainy fall nights and blankets and a hot toddy. Also to live in a country that prioritizes health and a work/life balance. Since I can't move to Europe, must buy more tea. 

Overall,  a pretty great reading month. I enjoyed everything and would recommend all!

What have you been reading? Link-up & share!
Life According to Steph

Add It To My List: July 2017

 Link-up creators are Lauren from Eat, Drink, & Be Lauren and Bre from Bre Writes. Basically, they are always recommending things to each other- podcasts, television shows, music, blah blah blah. And they figured- why not share even further?

  • This video by Cat & Nat. I was going to write a how blog about how adults to to hold themselves to the same standards they expect their kids to meet. But they already did this video, so here you go.

  • On the same day I saw this video, I also listened to this episode of the One Bad Mother podcast where they talk about how they are similar to their toddlers. Yep.
  • The TV show Reign on Netflix
    • I never think I'm going to enjoy period dramas- and I have no clue how historical this is (probably not at all), but it's sucked me in! I will say, the first two seasons are the best and after that some parts get...weird. But overall still good, and made me want to look into the history of Mary Queen of Scots & Elizabeth I more.
  • Also the show iZombie.
    • Surprisingly funny and I like the "passable" zombie thing. 
  • This post from Tim which is so true and also so hard: The Truth Resists Simplicity. 
  • Bullet Journaling
    • basically a DIY simple planner
    • I tried this once before, but got overwhelmed by the artistic types who turned this from a simple note-taking system into half-planner/half-sketch book. I've went back to the minimalist original idea and it seems to be working.
  • I've had issues with the buttons for multiple link-ups lately...have y'all noticed this? Apparently Photobucket is requiring payment now to share your our buttons are effectively dead :( So dissapointed and unsure of what to do...moderators- ideas? 
    • although now it seems to be working. Dude, so confused. 

Two small announcements & 
things to add to your prayer list, please, if you have one...

1) We are hoping to grow our family through foster/adoption and just getting started on the process! I'm terrified and nervous and so hopeful and excited.

2) Also...finally starting grad school. Because...that seems totally reasonable at this point in my life, right? I can't even.

I'll talk more about both of these later, but right now they are still super new and I'm processing.

What's in My {Diaper} Bag: JuJuBe BFF

 This picture came from the previous owner on the BST page

My JuJuBe love affair started with a BFF in the Seaglass print. I got it completely randomly for 20$, because at that price why not try it?

And I really liked it. Problem stroller is black & red. And it did not look good with that bright blue & green print. So because I am me, I sold it and bought another one in a print that matches my stroller.

There are tons of packing videos on YouTube for the BFF. But- so many people use a lot of smaller JJB items to organize it. I'm not really a bags inside of bags kind of person, and I want really easy access to everything when I'm out with the kid. Plus, the best thing about the BFF to me is all the pockets and organization that is built into the bag itself.

I talked about a few of the common benefits of the JJB bags, but here's the fast run down again just in case:

  • Teflon treated, so stays pretty clean
  • Machine-washable, so if there are any stains you just wash it
  • Agion treated lining (supposed to prevent bacterial growth- kids are gross)
  • Mommy pocket 
  • Thinsulate bottle pockets to help keep things warm/cold
  • For this bag in particular- you can wear it as a backpack (how I use it) or with a messenger strap (for off the shoulder/across the body)...also has a handle so you can just pick it up which is oddly how hubs usually carries it 
  • Memory foam on changing pad & shoulder straps to make it more comfy for you & the baby

Some notes before we get started- this is packed for a typical day where I'm leaving the house with the kid for several hours. It's not for an overnight trip or anything where I'm more than an 30 minutes from my house or a store. Also my kid is a year old, so she is still in diapers- we use cloth diapers 95% of the time- but doesn't need bottles or baby food.

Total rundown of what's in my diaper bag:

  • Diaper Case with wipes (gray)
  • Diaper Case with snacks (clear)
    • 2 squeeze pouches (basically baby smoothies), 2 Nutra-Grain bars, 1 baby spoon
    • Also includes medical emergency numbers
  • 3 cloth diapers
  • 3 disposables diapers (emergency)
  • Wetbag (for dirty diapers/clothes/anything mess & wet)
  • Sun hat
  • 2 sticks of sunscreen
  • Baby sunglasses (which she will not wear for longer than 30 seconds, but enjoys playing with)
  • 2 bibs
  • Spare pacifier & paci clip
  • Baby hair brush
  • My sunglasses
  • Burp cloth & hankerchief
  • My keys
  • Baby book & 2 baby toys
  • Romper for emergency change of clothes
  • My Wallet
  • Pouch with my face powder, chapstick, & flossers
  • Sippy cup for baby
  • Water bottle for me/the hubby 
  • Hand Sanitizer

From the outside I can easily access my water bottle & the baby's sippy cup due to the outside bottle pockets. I have fit my 24 oz Camelbak in here...also a Tumblr. Haven't tried hubby's gigantic Yeti, but it fit in my HBB pocket so I bet it would fit here. Oh, I've started keeping one of these cup straps in the her bottle pocket- they are great for restaurants, the stroller, and can also hold toys as well as a cup. I keep my hand sanitizer clipped to the outside (because if you need hand sanitizer, you probably don't need to be digging through a diaper bag to reach it). Also keep my keys clipped to the outside, because then I can beep open the car easily while carrying the kid & the diaper bag. The change pad slides down a big pocket in the back. Oh, and the hardware (called D-rings, apparently) that my keys & hand sanitizer are hooked on are also what I use to hang this from my stroller with these stroller hooks. This makes it super easy to reach everything in the diaper bag, plus it leaves the bottom of the stroller open for storage (my stroller is a lightweight model, so the storage area is pretty small anyway).

Mommy Pocket (not pictured, sorry)
Since I keep my keys on the outside of the bag, I keep my wallet here and hooked onto the key fob. That way it would be at least slightly harder for anyone to just reach in & grab it. I keep face powder, chapstick, flossers, & gum in the small pocket on the right. Left pocket has emergency feminine hygiene products just in case. My sunglasses don't lay flat, so the "sunglasses pocket (really soft felt lined) is usually empty- I can fit lotion in there but actually want to get some bug spray (NC has lots of bugs). The glasses go in the "tech pocket" on top of the mommy pocket, and my phone stays flat in this main compartment. It's nice to have all these things easily accessible without digging through all the baby stuff.

The bag is gusseted- I had never really heard this term before JJB. Basically instead of laying flat, that front flap has some fabric that helps it open so you can reach in without everything spilling out. I like this feature.

Instead of laying all the way out, this front portion kind of halfway folds down.
There are two plastic "picture pockets" on the front flap. I have two prints from French Press Mornings in these. In the zippered pocket directly below them, I have three disposable diapers & a hair brush. My LO has a good bit of hair for her age but she plays with it and it gets messy in the car sometimes I pretend to fix it even though I know it will be messy again in five minutes.

I start off by packing the perimeter. In the gray wipes case on the left are baby wipes (this would be my one complaint about the bag, I like having the wipes on the outside...but part of the JJB appeal is that it isn't a "typical" diaper bag...I have also thrown in the back with the change pad at times). The clear case on the right holds her snacks. This is also where one of the bibs are tucked.  Stuffing these pockets does make it a little bit harder to get my water bottle in the outside pocket, but that also means it's really secure once it's in there.

Not gonna lie- felt like a friggin' genius when I came up with this. No more smushed or punctured snacks!

The handkerchief & burp cloth go on the bottom.

The back pocket on the left that is zippered shut holds her spare romper & bib (not sure how well this will work in winter when clothes are bigger). In front of that is the case with the spare pacifier, sunglasses, sunscreen, & that's also where the white sunhat goes.

The back pockets hold toys & a "med kit" (not pictured). LO got her first cut while we were out the other day (after I wrote this post), so I decided to add a little pouch with band-aids, first aid cream, Tylenol, med dispenser...and I think Orajel? Can't remember. Anyway, I thought I would have to take out some toys but actually managed to make it fit (the pockets are deeper than I remembered).

Lastly the cloth diapers and wetbag go into the main compartment. Normally I would take a smaller wetbag than the one in the picture, but the small ones were in the wash. Also I sometimes only carry 2 cloth diapers...I'm learning I was a bit of an over-packer in the beginning. Hey, it's my first kid. Figuring it out. With a smaller wetbag I might also put my daughter's taggie, as she loves blankets.

Oh, and see the little silver fabric on the sides...looks like a triangle? That's the gusset that keeps it from laying down flat in the front.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it all I want to carry and where. I hadn't planned on keeping a med kit, since as I said this is a quick daily bag, or the bug spray, since we keep that stuff in the car normally (along with spare wipes & diapers). BUT, some friends baby-sat her the other day and those things would have been nice for them too. Thinking about leaving the spare clothes in the car..she's really not that messy (and cloth diapers traditionally get less blowouts than disposables, so...just not super needed).

I really like this bag overall. 

It definitely wouldn't work for me if I had two in cloth diapers. But if I used disposables only, it would probably still work fine. I like that everything has it's place, and how comfy it is to wear as a backpack.

Even after we stop needing a diaper bag, it could be a really good overnight bag for her or even work bag, etc. It will definitely stick around for a while.

If you have (or had) a diaper bag, 
is there anything you think I'm missing?

What's In My Bag: Ju-Ju-Be Hobobe for Work

I told y'all in the last Add It To My List Link-Up that I had fallen for JuJuBe bags. Here's a review of how I pack it & why I think it's so awesome.

For my birthday, I purchased* a Hobobe and Be Quick off of the Buy/Sell/Trade page. I was only looking for a Hobobe, but the seller listed them both together for 40$ so I snatched it up. It's an older print, oh well. But the bag is still in really good condition and I bet I can use for a while.
*technically it's my present from the hubby, but this year we both said "Hey this is what I want" and we both got stuff we loved. Easier this way.

This is the picture from the BST page that caught my interest

Number one thing I loooooove about this bag? Two. Bottle. Pockets. Now, why does a grown woman need bottle pockets on a work purse? Because I like coffee in the morning, and water the rest of the time. Yes, I could carry these in my lunchbox. However. On the chance I don't finish either of these, they fall over in my lunchbox and leak. And I hate cleaning my lunch box. They stay perfectly upright in the bottle pockets of the Hobobe though. Perfectly. And even if they did spill, JJB bags are treated with Teflon so you just wipe them off.

Somehow this bag was treated with the Mary Poppins spell. I literally don't know how I fit so much in there.

Remember how I mentioned that I hadn't planned on getting the Be Quick? Well, I'm really glad to have one now. I haven't been carrying a big purse since I've started carrying a diaper bag. It was too much. So I had a small crossbody purse that I would carry with it (which I tossed into a canvas bag to carry to work with more crap). Then I got tired of that and would just throw my wallet, phone, keys, and chapstick into the diaper bag. The Quick is now perfect for holding these essentials. Plus, you can change the strap so it can be worn over the shoulder or as a wristlet or you can strap it to your diaper bag or on the stroller. So it can go in my work purse, be carried on it's own, or thrown into/strapped onto the diaper bag.

So in the Quick (small red bag), I have:
  • Vera Wang wallet
  • Hairbrush
  • pocket knife
  • face powder
  • coin purse with eye drops, chapstick, and flossers
  • folded up canvas bag (in case I run to the store & don't want to use plastic) 
  • hand sanitizer
  • sometimes my phone
  • Sunglasses or case for clip-on sunglasses, depending on what I'm wearing that day

The bag is divided into a few compartments.

 In the two bottle pockets I have:
  • Coffee cup
  • Water bottle
  • Or umbrella if it's raining & I want easy access

Back pocket:
(where the change pad would go if used for a diaper bag):
  • Moleskin notebook
  • Other notebook
  • Random papers as needed 

Front "mommy" pocket:
  • Work ID & keys on key fob
    • This is the other big reason I wanted the bag. JuJuBe is the first line I have seen with a stretchy key fob built in. This is perfect for my work ID and office keys, which I always need at work but don't want to carry around on my normal key-ring
      • I can swipe my timecard & unlock my office with my keys still in my purse- WIN
  • pack of Papermate Flair Pens
  • extra pens from church
  • gum
  • sometimes phone
  • Earbuds 

Tech Pocket (not pictured):
  • Sunglasses (my phone will fit in here, but because I have so much other stuff in it it's pretty tight & requires some wiggling-I prefer to keep it in the mommy pocket and have my sunglasses here- it's felt-lined so super soft to prevent scratches). It's tight but works. 

Main compartment:
  • Umbrella (laying on the bottom)
  • Be Quick (sits on top of umbrella)
  • Book (current one is about 1.5 inches thick- will probably switch between this & iPad for e-reading)
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Eyeglass case (with the clip-on sunglasses for my eyeglasses)

This bag can be worn over the shoulder or cross-body, so it's cool to have options. Also the hardware is really sturdy so I keep my car keys on a carabiner and clip them there (or to my diaper bag or to the Quick). I started doing this with my keys a few years ago and it's the freakin' smartest thing I've ever done- no more searching for my keys constantly. It does require that any bags I use regularly have sturdy hardware (I've chipped a LOT and worn out bags that only have fabric handles).

Another note- if needed I can also pull out the Quick so I can fit more stuff in the HBB and carry both on my shoulder. But that's pretty rare, since this bag is specific to work. 

Anyway. This is in no way sponsored, I have nothing to do with Ju-Ju-Be, I didn't even buy these bags new. I just really like the functionality of everything I have tried so far.

Diaper bag review later this week! Also JuJuBe...

Anyone else this picky about bags? 
Have you found a system that really works for you?