What’s In Your Bag?

By Hannah Kleinick

A look inside the lives and purses of three working women

Between families and careers, many women rely on their handbags to survive the surprises each day brings. We met with three professional women and took a peek inside their purses.


cbauer2Catherine Haynes Bauer
Coordinator for the LeadershipPlenty Institute for the Waco Foundation

WACOAN: What items do you never leave the house without?

Bauer: I have all my makeup with me all the time. I almost never put it on at home. I also carry static spray and hand sanitizer, along with activities for my kids, including markers, notebooks and games.

WACOAN: Do you carry multiple bags?

Bauer: I do. I have a briefcase or another bag where I keep my laptop and other things I need for the office.

WACOAN: Any tips on how to keep your bag organized?

Bauer: No! [Laughs.] I just try to make an effort to clean it out every once in a while. It gets overloaded with receipts and random things from the kids.

WACOAN: Do you keep an organizer with you?

Bauer: Yes, my planner is a written record of everything I have entered in my iPhone. I have to have a backup just in case.

WACOAN: Do you have your eye on a new handbag?

Bauer: I always have my eye on a new handbag. I love handbags. I am really enjoying this bag right now because it is big and has a lot of pockets, which lets me stash things in different places.

WACOAN: What beauty product do you always keep in your bag?

Bauer: I always have lip gloss and an AmorePacific compact.

WACOAN: What is the weirdest thing we could find in your bag?

Bauer: Random toys, hair bows for my daughter, shin guards. It’s kind of a catchall for everything.


lbrown2LaVeda Brown
President and CEO of the Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce

WACOAN: How does your bag accommodate your busy schedule?

Brown: Being a professional woman, you have to have a little bit of everything, including the kitchen sink! It varies. Women need to be prepared for a bad hair day, a bad makeup day.

WACOAN: Any tips on how to keep your bag organized?

Brown: I would be lying if I told you I kept my bag organized. You keep it organized by having everything you need in it. I try to always carry a purse with pockets.

WACOAN: What beauty product do you always keep in your bag?

Brown: My mother, from the time I was 16, would have a fit if I left house without lipstick. I keep lipstick, powder and mascara for touch-ups.

WACOAN: What is the weirdest thing we could find in your bag?

Brown: Candy for my grandchildren. It’s a required item in my purse. They expect Nana to have candy.

WACOAN: What can someone always find at the bottom of your bag?

Brown: Peppermints. If you’re out in the public and you get a tickle in your throat, or if you’re sick from a cough, it can soothe your throat. If you’re hungry, it can suppress your appetite. It truly has a lot of benefits.


nrhea2Nikki Rhea
Marketing director for Alan Rhea Insurance
Board member for the Advocacy Center

WACOAN: What is one emergency item in your purse?

Rhea: I’m really into homeopathic remedies. I keep Emergen-C packets in my bag, as well as my rescue remedy for stress relief.

WACOAN: What do you always have in your bag?

Rhea: Extra earrings. I can go out of the house not wearing makeup, but if I don’t have earrings, I feel like something is missing.

WACOAN: How many bags do you carry besides your purse?

Rhea: I have three other bags besides my purse. I have my computer bag, gym bag and diaper bag.

WACOAN: Any tips on how to keep your bag organized?

Rhea: I carry a medium to small purse because this bag gets thrown into multiple other bags. I like bags that are self-organizing with pockets. I just try to keep the trash out.

WACOAN: Do you have your eye on a new handbag?

Rhea: I don’t in this season of my life. My bag accommodates my life and is so easy to move around from one bag to another.

WACOAN: What beauty product do you keep in your bag?

Rhea: I always have two different kinds of lipstick because I like to mix things up.

WACOAN: What can we always find at the bottom of your bag?

Rhea: A pacifier and coins.

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