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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

my life, in purses

I was laughing with a mommy friend the other day about all the purses we used to carry and how we just don't anymore.

I have had this conversation a few times now.

Upon having a child we leave behind our "purse/handbag/clutch identity" for the diaper bag identity. I can't even remember the last time I actually carried a real purse.

Can you?

So here is a tour, plus my latest hand clutch wallet type thing (which of course gets carried IN the diaper bag!) made by my lovely talented sister (and who has an ETSY SHOP and who you should TOTALLY buy something from. HA. How is that for a plug?)

This is like the very first bag (I can't find the real one, alas) I carried in late high school, and on my international adventures in the two years after high school, and in my first year or so of college, except mine was a knock off version. You know, the SAK. Worn slung over the shoulder, across the chest. It contained things like lip gloss, drivers license (so proud!) and two keys on a jumble of like 40 key chains. When traveling it was the perfect size for passport and such. I later managed to fit in a pack of Malboro Ultra Lights and a lighter (can you believe I just admited to that???? SO BAD. SO not JUNE.) It was also a great size to tuck into my leather backpack that I carried all through college.

In year two of college I upgraded for a larger size. This was procured in Mexico. It is scratchy and, frankly, rather ugly. It still holds remants from those years. A card dada sent me when I was hospitalized after my junior year. The flyer of the Louisa May Alcott House I visited with my roomate one year. A ticket stub from Shakespeare in Love. Licorice wrappers.

In my junior year I studied abroad and spent six weeks touring Europe with some friends and obsessing over finding the right purse. This is the one I found, from a little stall on the only remaining bridge in Florence, Italy that dates before WWII. I carried it mostly when dada and I were first married. Until one day the shoulder strap snapped off, in the rain, and the contents went spilling all over the sidewalk. It still holds my business card from my first "real" post-college job, ticket stubs from my annual trip home to visit the fam, scraps of paper with frantic scribbles about graduate school admissions, and, er, a pack of matches.

After the broken strap incident I carried a variety of Nine West purses, the whole trying-to-look -professional-but-totally-broke bags. Eventually dada purchased for me my most glorious treasure, a Coach purse, with matching wallet. This is what I carried for years, along with the green leather book bag I used during grad school years. Starbucks cards (hmm, wonder if this has anything left on it?) one of those in-between-the-toe inserts after you get a pedicure (ask me the last time I got a pedicure, go ahead, ask me), honest-to-God-lipstick, eye drops, an old gym membership card (no matches or lighters in here, HA HA) and business cards from my last "real" job in both English and Arabic.

 For about a year I carried this one, reclaiming my international adventuring self. Purchased in Vietnam along with a cute little red silk coin purse. This one still has more bilingual business cards, a carrying case for a fold up knife, coins from random countries, and an Elvis lighter. (Oops.)

Then babies came. I went back to the Coach purse. It felt grown up. My first pediatrician once laughed at me as I heaved our Pottery Barn diaper bag, Coach purse, and baby carrier in for a check up. "You are still trying to carry a purse too! Oh you are so cute!" Bite me lady, I grumbled inside. But she was right. Ridiculous.

I soon transitioned to this little zipper clutch, created by my sister in her early years of sewing. It carries chapstick, under-eye concealer and bandaids. As well as of course cards and a few pennies.

It gets toted around in this monstrosity. THE DIAPER BAG. Much more utilitarian than the Pottery Barn version. Pockets. Washable. Pockets.

And now, I get a clutch upgrade, arriving in the mail today from my cute California dwelling sister.

Isn't it great?? Maybe I am sliding back in to the purse carrying world?? For a few months anyway.

Her online shop is HERE if you are interested in one too. She also makes super cute clothes (for super cute skinny girls, not so much big old pregnant mamas, sigh....) You should check it out!  (Love it sister, thanks!)

So that is my life, in purses. Perhaps next a small leather embroidered bag? Hmmm. Who knows what the future holds...


  1. Love. This. Post. And I love hearing about your life and all the adventures sealed within it. :-)

    Unfortunately, I've never been a good purse-carrying kind of gal. I tend to leave them in random yogurt shops and such. Or lock them in the car all safe and sound just to arrive in the grocery store checkout line and discover that, "Oh wait, my purse is in the car." Argh.

    However, I do own one bag. It's an ammunition bag from the army surplus store that I got in place of a diaper bag years ago. Pockets? Check. Over-the-shoulder-sling-easy? Check. Nothing can ruin it ever because it's made for battle? Check.


  2. This is awesome! I totally totally remember that leather purse, in fact if I saw one like it I would immediately think of you.

  3. This is so true!! It's neat how purses are a reflection of our lives. And I LOVE the leather saddle-bag one--it would definitely be worth getting the strap repaired.

    I remember oh-so-proudly toting half the nursery around in the diaper bag when my little ones were very little. Then the smaller diaper bag for toddler needs (a single friend said it was like a clown car when I packed for the zoo!). Then finally purchasing a Coach purse (OK, several--we lived near an outlet!!) when my youngest was reliably potty trained and I was working. I think the final transition was selling the diaper bag at a garage sale--a bittersweet moment, but I felt so unencumbered!

    Now, admittedly, a small notebook, crayons, and a few dinosaurs live in the bottom of my purse in case of Boredom Emergency, but that's a concession to Mommyhood that I dearly love. ;-)


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