Twenty-two lipsticks. Eleven bottlecaps. Seven black pens. Five magnets. Three tins of Altoids. Hello Kitty bandaids. A Mucha compact mirror from Paris, and a coin from House on the Rock.
These are a few of things I found this week when I emptied my purse out onto the floor.
In my defense, it is a very large purse. I have a few you might call “sensible” purses, brightly colored leather with understated embellishments and clever pockets, but the one I keep returning to is an oversized, flimsy thing I got at World Market for I think $8. It’s grey and it has crows on it. Size aside, it’s fairly nondescript, and goes well with my worn out jeans and band t-shirt aesthetic, plus I can fit half a library (and a hoodie!) into it should the occasion call for it. All of the things you see here were in it on a day that it was fairly empty, apart from my cat there, but he could have fit into it, too.
So what’s inside? It’s a kind of survival kit, plus a few extra bits and pieces I picked up along the way. Let’s take a closer look.
Seven black pens and two packs of post-its: I usually also carry a notebook full of graph paper with me for story ideas, but post-its and pens will do in a pinch. If I get story ideas--anything from bits of dialogue to major plot points--I write them on post its and stick them to the cards in my coin purse if I don’t have a notebook handy. Apparently I can also write notes on my phone, but this still feels too futuristic for me most days, and I usually forget.
Makeup: I don’t intentionally have twenty-two lipsticks on me at all times, it’s just that they gather in my purse. I don’t have any anywhere else in my house. I have them in my purse, in the coin purse inside, and more inside the Union Jack makeup bag. This makeup bag also contains hair pins, more ponytail holders than I have anywhere else, two eyeliners (one black, one purple), face powder, blush, mascara, orange scented roll on perfume, and a souvenir Mucha makeup mirror I got in Paris ten years ago. Because you never. fucking. know. Some days you just need eyeliner, and lots of it. I once loaned one of my friends a fire engine red Stila lipstick to write down her number for a random guy, and a couple years later, loaned the same lipstick to another friend when he was hosting punk rock karaoke as a kinky sailor. Who wore it better? My vote’s on Dave.
Coin purse: I haven’t carried a wallet in many years. In Britain, coins are far more common than paper bills, so carrying a coin purse was far more practical. I’ve been back in the states for a couple of years now, but I still carry the same coin purse I bought at New Look for a pound almost ten years ago. Today it’s full of all of my cards, some random change, a spare set of earbuds, post-its covered in story ideas, a customs declaration, a list of Edith Piaf songs (really), a guitar pick, some fortunes from cookies (“Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be enjoyed today…” in bed (snicker), hair pins, and more lipstick. Could you fit all of that into a wallet? Didn’t think so.
A coin from The House on Rock: How else will I make the crazy music play?
Bottlecaps and magnets: Okay, there’s a reason for this, I promise. My friend Lily gave these to me a couple of weeks ago so I could make some bottlecap magnets for my fridge. She made some and they look awesome, so I’m going to give it a shot.
Three tins of altoids: Why have three when one should be curiously strong enough? None of these are actually mine. My husband keeps buying them and asking me to hold them, so I put them in my purse. He forgets they’re there and buys more, asks me to hold them, and voila. Three tins. Can I offer you a mint?
Not pictured: The phone I use to obsessively ignore my email and ogle pictures of macarons on Instagram, my work badge, and my keys.
This might seem like a lot, but if you need to be minty or photo-ready, I’ve got your back. You know, just in case.
About Jessica Cale
Jessica Cale is a recovering journalist writing historical romances out of a grey bedroom in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com.