Happy February, friends! (Whoa, where did January go?!?!) In this month’s blog break, I’m chatting about my recent budget-friendly “glam” look, how I organize my purse, and a schedule “shift” here on the blog. So grab your favorite cup o’ whatever and catch up with me!

Megan sitting at kitchen counter with coffee cup

My $100 Ball Look

Every November, the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday in a big way: there is often a ball and always cake (seriously…cake is an important part of the tradition!) We haven’t attended a ball in many years (hello, COVID); but a few months ago, we got all dressed up and partied with Greg’s unit.

Fashion blogger I am not, but I really wanted to share “my look” with you because both this dress and these shoes are ah-mazing! It’s been a very long time since I’ve found two items that look good, make me feel great, and are totally budget-friendly! Let me share!

Megan and Greg at USMC Ball

The Dress

I originally purchased this dress for a “Monte Carlo”-themed event. The style was classic, the reviews were amazing, and the price was (more than) right!

The event was later canceled, and I was about to return the dress when I decided to quickly try it on. It fit so amazingly well and was so flattering, that I couldn’t imagine returning it…clearly, I could wear it somewhere!

Fast forward to the USMC Birthday Ball, to which I was planning on wearing a different (fancier) dress I already had. When I was looking back through old ball photos though, I realized I had worn the dress to 3 different balls already (whoops)! Not a huge deal necessarily, but I figured I was overdue for something new.

So (kind of in a panic) I tried on the dress again, assuming it was a too casual for the ball. But I quickly realized that with the right shoes and jewelry, it sure would work…and boy, did it!!?

The Shoes

In true Megan fashion (ah – punny!), I forgot about shoes. So I headed off (the day before the ball) to Rack Room Shoes (thank goodness there are still brick-and-mortar shoe stores!)

Originally, I planned to buy nude shoes; but when they didn’t have any in my size, I opted for these.

Friends – these shoes are the whole reason I’m even chatting about my ball “look” in the first place – they are AWESOME! They are the perfect height for heels (you feel powerful and confident but can still dance in them all night!) and they have an incredibly flattering silhouette (the ankle strap is juuuuuust right!)

I got so many complements on them and LOVED wearing them, that I’ve since added BOTH the black and nude versions to my shoe collection (replacing other heels I don’t like as much). I’m super pumped (ha, another pun!) to now have the “perfect heel” to wear with pretty much any dress!

TIP! I bought the silver ones on sale at Rack Room for $30. The price fluctuates at both RRS and Amazon, so keep an eye out for when they go on sale! 

A Look Inside My Purse

A few readers have asked how I organize my purse, so I thought I’d share a quick glimpse at my current “system”!

Navy Vera Bradley Small Backpack

As a lover of all patterns, I’ve been a long-time user of Vera Bradley bags (there’s an outlet back in Virginia where I always stock up on different patterns). Over the years, I’ve shifted away from the busy patterns on the outside, and prefer the solid bags with the fun pattern on the inside.

Navy Vera Bradley Zipper Pouch

Up until about a year ago, I was still using a “diaper backpack.” But as our 3 YO transitioned out of diapers, I realized it was (finally) time to ditch the diaper bag (woo hoo)! As a Mom with younger kids though, I still needed something to carry a change of clothes, snacks, entertainment, etc.

I found (and LOVE) this smaller Vera Bradley backpack. It’s small enough that just a wallet and single pouch don’t get lost. But big enough to also carry coloring books, water bottles, snacks, jackets, etc. The “performance” fabric is weather proof, so it handles the NC weather great (and of course, I LOVE the pink flowers on the inside!)

NOTE: Since I buy my Vera bags at the Outlet, the colors/patterns aren’t usually available online or at “regular” Vera retailers. This one is a “Factory Exclusive” pattern.

Navy Vera Bradley Small Backpack

For my wallet, I use this Vera Bradley crossbody wallet. It holds all my cards, money, etc, but it also has a spot for my phone. With an attached wristlet (and optional longer strap), it’s perfect for running out to do quick errands when I don’t have the kids (and therefor, don’t need their stuff in a backpack)!

Navy Vera Bradley Crossbody Wallet

Although my instincts are to over-pouch-ify my purse, I’ve actually landed on a system that’s working beautifully.

I have two larger pouches (similar). They both measure ~9×11″. One holds absolute necessities I must have with me at all times (e.g., change of underpants and Epipen for the little guy, bandaids, hand sanitizer, etc). The other pouch holds crayons, notebooks, stickers etc.

Navy Vera Bradley Zipper Pouches

Although my backpack comfortably holds both pouches, I only grab the “coloring” one when needed (e.g., church, restaurants, etc). So on a daily basis, my backpack only holds my wallet, one large pouch, and snacks (usually in the front pocket).

Navy Vera Bradley Zipper Pouch

When I’m home, my purse (and the large pouch I don’t use all the time) get tossed into one of the baskets under our foyer console table. This (initially temporary) solution has actually been working brilliantly. I love that my purse isn’t hanging on the banister, but is still easy to find and grab whenever needed!

Basket holding purse

On the Struggle Bus

I know you don’t necessarily read these Coffee Breaks to hear about my “work struggles,” but these posts are one of the only ways for me to communicate with you (my very regular readers and super fans)! So I want to quickly update you on a slight schedule shift and the “why” behind it.

You may (or may not!) have noticed that my once very-predictable-regular posting schedule has been a little less-than-predictable in recent months. And the reason? To put it bluntly: I’m tired, friends!

Years and years of producing robust creative content amidst an ever-evolving life backdrop (e.g., a move, a new baby, COVID, and another move all in ~3 years) has quite simply caught up with me. And I think tackling a TON of ambitious home projects right on the heels of a very stressful move this past summer was the “camel’s straw” so to speak. For a little while now, I just haven’t been able to muster my usual motivation to keep up with the posting schedule that…ironically…I get to set!

I felt this burnout creeping in around the holidays, which is why I decided to take 3 straight weeks off. So imagine my surprise (and panic!) when I came back in the New Year not quite as refreshed and ready to go as I thought I’d be. I guess constantly scrambling to pull posts together and feeling “behind” all the time has taken a toll that a few weeks off just couldn’t resolve.

So I’ve finally, stubbornly, unwittingly, frustratingly accepted that I can’t keep up with 3 posts/week…every week…right now. As such, I’m going to shift back to two posts per week for a little while (Tuesdays and Fridays). 

Don’t you worry – this isn’t forever. Quite the contrary. I’m hoping that by crying “mercy” and down-shifting a bit, I’ll reduce my overwhelm, improve my burnout, and ultimately get back to the productivity level I’m used to. Allll the fingers crossed!

Megan sitting on couch with laptop

Ask Megan

You guys always ask the greatest questions, and I love learning what you all want to read more about. If you have any topics or questions you’d love to see me cover, submit them via the (anonymous) form below. Then keep an eye out for answers in upcoming Coffee Breaks!

Thanks for catching up with me this month!

See You Soon!