Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ode to the Tote

I am a not really a purse girl. I am more of a tote bag aficionado. In fact, I have so many tote bags that both Jeffrey and Sloane just grab my hand and pull me away whenever I stop to look at more. And, I always stop to look at more. (I also love smalls. You know, the smallish bags for sorting and organizing all the stuff in my enormous bag.) I am the kind of girl who carries nearly everything with me and then leaves it in the car. I grab only what I really need at the moment and haul that inside.

At this moment my cornflower blue tote bag sits by the door, like a faithful dog, ready to accompany me anywhere. Here's a peek inside:
  • a magazine or two
  • usually just one of the books I am currently reading
  • my journal (I never go anywhere without it. I even take it to concerts and antiquing.)
  • a hot pink, rubber pencil case full of: pens with brightly colored inks, a highlighter, a pencil, a good eraser, a pair of very cool folding scissors, paperclips, rubber bands, and sometimes whiteout...
  • a raspberry colored beauty bag with: 2 lipsticks, lip gloss, face powder, blotting paper, a few band aids, emergency nail care items, Advil, sugar free peppermint gum, and Walgreen's cucumber and aloe vera hand lotion
  • an adorable light blue mesh bag for my techy toys: digital camera, iPod, Sloane's Shuffle
  • a similar, but larger mesh bag full of letter-writing paraphernalia: note cards, book of stamps, letters I need to respond to, list of thank you notes to write, pile of post cards pre-addressed to my new students, copies of pictures and Sloane's art to include in the letters, and good pen, just in case my pink bag doesn't have the right color
  • a folder full of papers to grade whenever school is in session
  • whatever random things I think Sloane might like to do in the car
  • datebook
  • wallet
  • sunglasses
  • sunglasses cleaning cloth
  • cell phone
  • keys
I guess you could say I believe in being prepared. Some day I'll have to tell you about my Car Bag and what I always have on hand in my car's glove compartment. Anyway...

Totes are just so handy! Not only do I use the smaller ones as my grab-it-and-go purse, I stock them (depending on random whims and current activities) and use them as sort of kits. I have a brightly colored orange floral tote that is bulging with things for summer swimming jaunts. It holds all our suits, beach towels, water rings and other diving toys, cheap sunglasses, swim goggles, and a ziplock full of sunscreen, combs, shampoo for the pool shower, lip balm, etc. My gorgeous Dash and Albert rug bag makes a cram-it-all-in carry all for days when we are going to town and doing many errands. I have an absolutely enormous black canvas Coach tote that works beautifully for weekend trips. I have a plain, sturdy, bulging, little tote that we use for library jaunts. (Eventually, I will replace that one with a cuter version if I can ever find one both sturdy and attractive.) I've found some adorable versions on Etsy that I would like to add to my collection. A bag similar to this one might make a great library bag.

In spite of all this tote bag love, every summer I like to switch to a large straw purse. I am fairly finicky about said purse. The straw needs to be straw colored and the design simple. Straps are preferable to handles and the whole thing needs to be capacious.

I got out my summer purse a few days ago and the strap promptly broke. (As I read the list above, I thought, "No wonder my purse strap broke.") Sadness abounded. I mean, I spent hours last May and June trudging from store to store searching for the perfect straw tote-cum-purse. And, hours the previous summer, but I did not succeed then and had to be purselesss. There are always many, many straw purses. Inevitably, they were too small or too expensive. Finally, I found the pictured purse, which was nearly perfect for me. Then it broke! I've checked already and the strap can't be repaired. It wasn't real leather, which explains the fact that it also wasn't hugely expensive.

So, here's where you come in. HELP!! Do any of you know of a source for a bag like I've described? If you do, please tell me as soon as you can. I am a desperate woman! I am having to carry a non-straw tote, and it just doesn't feel like summer.

And, I'm curious. What's in your bag? Are you a schlepper, like me? Or, are you a basics only kind of woman? What's in your purse?

Sursum corda. Happy Sunday.


Laura said...

Totally cool and highly interesting post! I don't have an answer for you on the straw bag, but I will keep my eyes peeled.

Somehow, I did not realize that you are a teacher. What do you teach?

In my purse right now: wallet, pen, mini-notepad for writing down books I want to read, tampons (yeech), lipstick, Aleve (which came in handy today)......I was trying to travel light.....very boring.

Jessica said...

I schlep all sorts of things in my bag. I made a lemon tote the other day and I keep it nice and full. When my bag starts to get raggity I make another one. Humm...lets see in my bag I have: my camera, extra batteries (you never know when the batteries will die!), my giant wallet, cell phone, gum, mints, burts bee chapstick, sunglasses, driving glasses, a book I am reading, bills to pay, keys, work keys, id badge, sunscreen, pens (lots of pens!), water bottle, a granola bar, envelope of coupons, and a whole bunch of notes I wrote --to do, addresses, etc.
Oh boy- I had more in there then I thought! Happy weekend!

The Feathered Nest said...

Hi Relyn!!! You're my 1st prize winner on my 500th post giveaway!!! Please email me your address sweetie and I will package the bird box right up. My email is, Dawn

Jaime said...

I am such a basics kind of girl. I try not to carry anything with me! Which is ironic because when I do have to carry things, they are usually very heavy things in the shape of fully loaded camera bags and tripods, etc.
But I love being around wonderful women like you, so organised and ready for anything. I can ask, "Um, would you happen to have ______?" (fill in the blank with almost anything useful) and you most always, most definitely will say, "Yes!"
Lovely post...I hope you find a wonderful new tote in time for summer.

Ragamuffin Gal said...

If I could I would wave my magic wand around or twinkle my nose and fix it perfectly for you! I know about tote bags, especially those found treasures that you are not ready to part with just yet. I hope you are able to repair it dear heart. Love, LOVE you, Katie
And hey ~ congrats on winning!!!

dianeinjapan said...

A few things that are in my purse at pretty much any time (I'm definitely a schlepper): something to read, my Moleskine notebook, ipod, Excedrin, my wallet with at least two currencies inside, and a little bag with things like hand cream, lipstick/gloss, and herbal first-aid salve.

I wish I could carry a straw purse during the summer, but I have to have something that can fit under an airplane seat or squash flat in a suitcase, since we travel to and from the States each summer. I know I've seen purses like what you're wanting, but of course I can't think of *where.* I'll let you know if I remember!

TheElementary said...

Delightful. I carry always a book, and sunglasses, (year round- never know when the sun will pop out!) and a pen and paper. Those are the certainties.
I love a little peek inside people's homes and bags.
Thanks for this!

maddie said...

I have a book ~ a notebook (or
two or even three i believe)
i have a little container of
almonds and dark chocolate and
cranberries and a little handmade
make up bag with 4 pens and
one lipstick...

and a clear bouncy rubber ball with
sparkles in it:)

tangobaby said...

I am a schlepper but a wanna-be dainty purse lady. You can't have it both ways.

Right now I have a free tote from Neiman's Beauty Week because my old tote died and I can't find a decent replacement.

Today, it contains:

A Canon PowerShot S5 IS and extra batteries;
The full-size bottle of Excedrin Migraine, which is a wonder drug;
Two little vials of my two special secret perfume oil blends. (The little vials have those roller balls in them, like the lipglosses from the 70s);
A cheap pair of sunglasses (because I destroyed my really expensive ones, scratched on the camera lens and now I am not allowed to buy luxury goods I won't take care of properly);
A book (A Writer's Guide to San Francisco, a gift from Ms. Wellspring);
A little pouch with three (I thought there were only two) YSL Rouge Pur lipsticks (#3, #16, #20), 2 YSL lipglosses (the glittery ones), an NYC lipstick in Sheer Red (my cheap thrill), a stub of Laura Mercier's Black Violet kohl pencil, some fuzzy q-tips and some No-Doze (for tango nights);
My wallet and keys;
Some crumpled up receipts;
Some loose change including a few euro coins;
An untoasted English muffin wrapped in a paper towel that I was going to eat for breakfast and did not get around to. Normally I would also have some Junior Mints, too, but I'm fresh out of those.

Relyn said...

Oh, friends! What fun these comments are. I love having a peek into your bag. I think it really reveals something of us, don't you?

Laura, I have taught fourth grade for seven years. Next year I will begin my second grade journey.

Jaime, I will always loan you whatever you need. ;^)

Maddie, the contents of your purse are so perfectly you. I want you to know that I added a ball from Sloane's bouncy collection to my tote after I read your comment.

Love to you all! ~R

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