Are You There Blog? It's Me Caragh

The State of My Purse, the State of My Soul

I wish I could be the type of woman who grabs her clutch and goes on her way. I wish I could be the type of woman who, when asked for a lighter, can immediately and effortlessly pull one from my purse. But I’m not. I’m the type of woman who has a purse inside of a purse and I’m still not sure why. I’m the type of woman who will tell you that yes, I probably do have a lighter you could use, just give me a minute to fish around and – no, that’s chapstick. I swear it’s in here somewhere, it – okay, no, that’s the same chapstick. If you would just – here it is! – Oh. That’s a curler. From the curler set I have never used on my hair.

The way you store your items can say a lot about you. The clutter in your room points to the clutter in your life and the state of your car is a window to your mind. Me? I have an entire closet worth of clothes in my back seat. A shocking number of Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee cups obscure the floor of my ‘94 Buick Regal.

In high school, it was popular for girls to dig through other girls’ pocketbooks. I’m not sure why, but I recall the intense anxiety that I felt whenever someone asked to snoop through my purse. I would say yes and then pray I got rid of that half of a pop tart I threw in there two Sundays ago.

It’s been awhile since my purse has been snooped through, which is why I dumped my purse out for you, Internet. We can parse my life together.

Tweezers: Every 5 weeks I would drive to a mall 30 minutes away because I liked the eyebrow threading place better than the one housed at the mall 15 minutes closer. The former brow beauticians were kind, quick and offered to rub lotion on the places on your body that just had hair torn out by the root. The latter ladies often left their kiosk abandoned for 10 minutes at a time, gave me a month long “OH MY GOD, I AM VERY SURPRISED AT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING RIGHT NOW” look and did not even offer to gently and lovingly rub baby lotion on my mutilated eyebrows. If I’m paying you $12 and giving you a $3 to $5 tip, the least you can do is offer to massage my freakin’ eyebrow region. And yes, I realize exactly how suburban, spoiled and disgusting that complaint is.

Now that I’ve matured and realized how poor I am, I only get my eyebrows threaded every 10 or 12 weeks. I maintain my eyebrows intermittently with tweezers. A lady tip you learn yourself is that you always need to keep a pair of tweezers with you wherever you go in case you find an errant hair. God forbid we let others know we’re mammals.

Revlon Colorstay: I was a Clinique junkie for years and thought it was well worth it to drop a cool $65 on concealer, foundation and powder about 7 times a year. Two weeks ago I bought the exact same formula in the exact same shade from the exact same Clinique counter and it was several shades too dark. Since it is biologically impossible for me to get any paler than my nearly transluscent Irish skin already is, it must have been either an old or mislabeled bottle. Running low on time before work and refusing to be the type of person who walks outside with an orange face and a white neck, I made my way to my personal Mecca, CVS. Which is how I rediscovered drugstore make up. Revlon Colorstay is, unarguably, a BOMB purchase for its price. The staying power isn’t revolutionary, but it works well enough for me to continue buying it to save hundreds of dollars a year.

Make up brush: A make up tip that was kept secret from me for years is that you should never use that white pad that comes with powder compacts. I recently traded in that little, white pad for an actual make up brush and it makes a world of difference. The make up is applied more evenly, it feels more airy on my face, and my make up doesn’t get caked down with the oil from my t-zone that transfers from the pad to the powder. Gross — I know. Oily ladies, holla at me, I know you have the same problem.

Fish antibiotics: I don’t want to talk about it, but I swear I’m carrying it around for a reason.

Loose gum: I am a disgusting individual. I can’t tell you the number of times gum has gotten lost in my black abyss of a purse, only to be found bound to 37 cents worth of change and some strands of hair.

A pad of paper: I’m a blogger, of course I carry around a pad of paper. What happens if I have a very important thought and forget to blog about it? Carrying around a  pad of paper ensures that all of my important thoughts will make their way to the Internet where they belong. God forbid I have a thought and don’t share it with thousands. I blog, therefore I am.

Pictured is the first page. I wrote it in a parking lot of a grocery store, scribbled it out and wrote the F-word in giant letters. Believe me, that one word was more intelligent than everything else penned on that page.

Nail polish: You never know when you can give yourself a manicure. I’m a little disappointed in myself with this display of purse polish; normally I carry around a base, at least one color and a top. Pictured here is Essie’s Eternal Optimist, which is a nice neutral for fair skin, and Hard Candy’s Matte-ly in Love.  Dudes. Dudes. DUDES. Get on the matte train. One quick drying coat over your nails turns any common, shiny manicure into a cool, modern, flat look.

My dog’s rabies tag: 3 months ago, with two dogs in the backseat and my cat on my 8 year old brother’s lap, I made my way to the rabies clinic to get my animals up-to-date with their shots. On the way back, my cat pooped all over my brother. All. Over. My. Brother. It was hard not to laugh between the gags, but I suspect in a moment of feces-induced panic to find paper towels, I threw this rabies tag into my purse.

Not highlighted: the numerous bobby pins and hair clips, the loose change and dollar bills (why waste all of that time using the wallet that is already inside your purse?), a second purse within my purse (INCEPTION), a bottle of water, a copy of Mary Roach’s Stiff, several different kinds of cosmetics that either get used daily or not at all, sunglasses, a busted eyelash curler and a piece of one earring.

What’s in your purse, Gigglers? How accurate do you think it represents your life?

  • Christine Cantera

    My problem is that I switch purses often. As in, every day. But far be it from me to take this daily opportunity to clean anything out because I’m always running out the door and so just dump it all into today’s purse. Speaking of which, in today’s purse: tiny Tiger Balm; Chanel lip gloss; 35mm camera & digital camera, Flip; cell; iPod Touch; headphones with one ear busted and headphones that work; tweezers (I FEEL YOU GURL); 1,036 ATM receipts because I’m always afraid the one time I don’t ask for one is the day the machine eats my card and I won’t have a magic piece of paper to show at the bank; cigs & lighter; two notebooks; three pens (only one of which works but I’m never around a trash can when I use it so it just goes back into my purse); porcupine quill (yes, a real one; seriously the most useful item in my bag); USB key; tampons. I think it pretty accurately represents me, if by “me” I mean Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club.

    • Dallas Meadows

      I also switch daily! But the best thing that has ever happened to me is my Miche bag! You just change the shell! So instead of dumping everything out all the time i jsut pull the base ( the purse part) out and put it into a new shell! I am in love! Plus it helps that they are incredibly affordable! I would advise any other purse switchers to look into it :)

  • Jenn Kriscunas

    Right now, I believe I’m carrying around beef jerky and a copy of “Busted” magazine, amongst other things that somehow go missing INSIDE THE PURSE ITSELF. It’s is a gargantuan, mustard-colored, unstructured son of a bitch, and I often make a joke about my “Mary Poppins purse” when I’m stuck digging for something. And then I judge people based on whether they get that reference or not.

  • Leslie Marienda Varney

    I love this article!! Your unabashed honesty really enticed me to open my closet (gargantuan knock-off D&G bag in an unGodly animal print) and reveal my own skeletons. I grabbed my bag from my bedside and started rummaging around and nearly stopped myself from posting. But here goes! From my magical junk yard on a strap I pulled a 5 Hr Energy, two sticks of deodorant, Excedrin, Camel Snus (boyfriend’s), Marlboro Snus (boyfriend’s), small tub of orangey scented lotion that reminds me of a public bathroom’s hand soap(need to trash that), perfume bottle with ONE squirt left in it (just in case!), Zippo lighter, travel size toothpaste, 4 pens, electronic cigarette, e-cig cartridges (YES I love nicotine), hand sanitizer, hair elastics, usb drive, toe ring I’ve never seen or worn before(?), pearl earrings, lots o’ pennies, and for the grand finale I’ve got six .32 caliber bullets in my bag that go with my .32 caliber 7 shooter revolver. Which stays in my nightstand, so why is the ammo in my purse?! Again, loved this article! Great job!

    • Caragh Poh

      That’s the most gangster comment up in this post.

  • Dana Boone

    Gum wrappers, half eaten snacks that shouldn’t be touched again (but let’s be honest I’m going to finish in a moment of starvation), a trashy romance novel, tons of ticket stubs and receipts I don’t really need to keep, lip gloss, notepad. I’m pretty sure this is the purse of a packrat… and that’s me.

  • Dani Lerma

    I don’t have one single item that could be called make-up. I have my inhaler, midol, excedrin, eye drops, nasal spray, chapstick, band-aids, a mini flashlight (just in case!), and my electronic devices of course. I feel like I’m walking around with my grandmother’s medicine bag!

    • Ana Marie

      Girl! You and me both! I’m a walking medicine cabinet complete with some chewed gum in ripped paper and a zillion receipts and random crumpled notes..and i just counted 6 lip glosses, pepper spray and hand sanitizer. and a portable grocery bag. lol ugh

  • Dana DeRuyck

    Wow, I’m so glad I’m not the only one with earring shrapnel floating around in my purse. (My purse has long been where my earrings go to die, or at least be forever separated from their partner.)

  • Darlene Dobkowski

    I just know that I’m guilty of carrying around so many chapsticks, lip balms, lipsticks and other lip products that it’s quite embarrassing.

    • Michelle Maestas

      Me too!

  • Elina Tanaka

    i have a collection of purses that i’m always switching out with each other, so i have the “basics” that I am always exchanging like the makeup/pencil bag, phone, iPod, water bottle, planner, boschia wipes, compact mirror, chapstick, sunglasses, wallet, and book/knitting project that just float around at the bottom. then god forbid i use the same purse for more than a few days and all the little things start building up like gum, wrappers of various things, safety pins (i never know how)… it just builds up forever. sometimes i even throw in a small sewing kit. just in case.

  • Becky Hermann

    The post blesses my heart. My luggage currently contains a mini-binder (for notes, coupons, pictures and coupons), point and shoot camera, a stationary store’s supply of Sharpies and pens, an apple, a make-up bag with the essentials, a compass (Just in case!), my business card holder, about 4 things for lip gloss/chapstick, a rosary, inhaler, 2 different kinds of gum, and the schedule for my 2011/2012 curling season (yep. curling). But really, the back of my car is worse! I need all this stuff with me!

  • Hilary Collins

    My purse is usually neat and clean but just contains far too many chapsticks and gum packages.

    “INCEPTION” = lol

  • Michelle Maestas

    I have a ton of junk in my purse also, including 12 lipglosses! Who knows what color I’ll want to wear when I leave the house?! A girl needs options!

  • Cristina Moreno

    My bag…

    • iPad (You might appreciate this, fellow Inception fan. My iPad’s name is Arthur.)
    • Pen (I usually have a Sharpie in there, too.)
    • Camera (um…not pictured)
    • Two AA batteries (extras)
    • Notepad
    • Makeup purse (blush, two tubes of lip gloss, compact mirror, brush, hair clip [that is usually clipped on a pocket inside of my bag for easy access], hair tie, and a little peace-sign medallion thing that my folks bought for me)
    • Cell phone
    • Keys
    • Wallet
    • Driver’s License

    I have, at many times throughout my life, carried huge bags. I’m talking Mary Poppins bags. But I was so sick of losing things, I started to go with medium-sized bags, with pockets. I usually try to keep the things I always need in specific compartments, that way I don’t have to go nuts looking for them.

    • Riana Oppegard

      Arthur is a wonderful name for any electronic device! That’s what I call my laptop.

  • Sarah Elizabeth Hawkins

    I have a purse inside my purse as well! It basically goes back to me needing a slightly larger purse for an occasion, so I dropped my cute, small crossover into the larger tote-like bag. Three months later and I still keep the (relatively empty) purse inside the purse, as well as more junk than I ever thought I needed. But I can’t downsize! WHAT IF I NEED THIS AT A LATER TIME? I even had a t-shirt in my bag for about a month (I went to a baseball game where they were giving away tee’s, so I stuffed mine in the bag… and didn’t take it out for about a month). I would say that the contents of my purse do represent my life, especially my laziness.

  • Jill Marie Heavyweather

    i change my purse often, but not as often as i used to, and i have proudly managed to keep all of my little neccesities in one small zip bag inside my purse… in other words, the purse within the purse! the neccesities bag has everything i could ever need, well almost: a lighter, wine opener, lip gloss, carmex, nail file, a migrastick, more chapstick, a pen, one wrapped toothpick, bobby pins, safety pins, two hair ties, one halls cough drop (fairly old) half a pack of ricola (fairly new) saline nasal spray, a pack of plaque removers (given to me by a friend who after seeing my neccesities bag thought i needed them) an old pin that says “i heart unicorns”, a cheap fold up handfan given to me on fremont street in las vegas, two barretts and last but not least a rock given to me by my dad, he said its an “apache tear” which you are supposed to carry with you always for protection. my dad passed away in january, so all the more reason to keep it. sometimes i also keep a needle and thread, but i always end up taking it out b/c the needle always ends up poking thru the bag and sticks me when im digging for other items. the rest of the purse contains my wallet, last nights grocery list, business cards for my husband (he’s a tattooer), work keys and a 1976 little twinstars mirror compact with tiny unusable comb :)

  • Colleen McPhee Pinto

    OK… I’ll have to take an inventory of my purse, because we may be the same person based solely on our purses. Except you’ll find Maybelline’s FitMe foundation rather than revlon. The new line from Maybelline is AMAZING!!! And I have an alarming number of lip glosses and computer/camera/phone cords.

  • Cheena Bauhan

    omg you’re like my purse soulmate. i love you.

  • Trudy Holtz

    wow. i love all the purse description! and the tweezers? definitely. i even have a pair tucked into a compartment in my dashboard for the hairs you only find when you are on your way someplace. even after you have scoured your face with a 5x mirror at home.

    i am only carrying a small purse right now. all the makeup had to come out, it’s too hot. i did keep my mirror, tweezers and a chapstick. i also have a bandana, 2scrunchies and a hairbrush. this is followed by a mini deororant. don’t judge me. you know you’ve forgotten sometimes too. i have a little spiral notebook, 2 plain mini notebooks, a full sized composition book and a date planner. round that out with the wallet, misc recipts and bandaides and a few pens. then top it off with not one, but two novels(in case i finish the first one) and thats that.

  • Nora Vileikis

    I think a bag says ALOT about a persons organization & well life in general. In my 20’s (not in my 20’s now Thank GOD) my bag sounded like most of yours but with more matches. I didn’t smoke but collected match books. Now my bag has become a ginormous Coach & virtually empty compared to it’s size. Maybe it’s time to downsize. See my sons 13 so I don’t carry nor want to touch any of his toys these days. God knows where those grubby fast food eating dirty handed kid have been. My hubs has pockets so I’ve never needed nor wanted to carry his things. So now it’s just me in my bag. Here it goes…
    Advil, cherry chapstick, 2 Chanel glosses night/day, gum-watermelon, 3 pens (all from resorts I’ve stayed recently on summer vacas), sharpie, sm hand sani that smells like red velvet cupcakes but sadly doesn’t taste like them, store receipts in case something doesn’t work, iPod for gym tonight, my fave Oakley shades, Android, coin purse I have over stuffed with all of those pesky debit, cc’s, frequent shopper cards to stores I’ve been to once and yup that’s it. See the bag doesn’t warrant the size of it’s contents.

  • Rebecca Doris

    gee whiz these girls have quite a lot of BAGGAGE

    • Kaitlyn Shore


  • Kristine Songco

    Loose gum runs rampant in my purse. The sad part is I’ve resorted to eating a piece…and it was grainy for some reason.

    Also, let it be known that my boyfriend teases me for my ginormous purse, but he never complains when the ginormous purse provides him with Advil, hand sanitizer, or a One A Day multivitamin.

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