Friday, December 9, 2011


Carolita, What's Actually in Your Handbag Right Now?

Like those magazines that ask celebrities to reveal the shiny, enviable essentials they supposedly carry with them at all times, we ask one another: what's actually in your bag right now? So, Carolita "Allows Strangers to Drool on Her" Johnson, what's actually in your bag right now?

1. One print out of my friend Emily Gordon's poem for the Corduroy Appeciation Club's 11/11/11 gala.

2. Three shortie pencils nicked from the Corduroy Appreciation Club's box of complimentary (but not THAT complimentary) pencils, all saying "I was there 11/11/11."

3.  One shortie pencil nicked from somewhere else (they're irresistible!).

4. Handy Sharpie for defacing subway platform advertisements when I get the urge.

5. Brush pen for drawing at restaurants.

6. Japanese mini brush pen, to try out, maybe keep in my pocket if I like it.

7. Spry cinnamon gum for dental health.

8. Hand-disinfecting wipes.

9. Metal and rhinestone memo & pen case.

10. Steel mirror from MoMA for applying makeup in the subway.

11. Muji silver polishing cloth for the silver brooch I wear on my coat sometimes.

12. A complimentary Ikea paper measuring tape (love those things).

13. iPhone charger.

14. Rubber bands removed from the toast my BF makes and wraps in paper towels for me to eat on the subway to work.

15. Several used napkins, one with a map my little brother drew for me of our old neighborhood, showing me where the meat market and cobbler were back in the day.

16. Kindle.

17. Money purse.

18. $20 bill and a quarter I just found at the bottom of my bag (yay!).

19. Several swatches of fabric from the fabric store (as if!).

20. One colorful Sybilla print cotton hankie.

21. Lip balm and two lipsticks which when blended together make me look half decent between meals when my lips start turning blue.

22. Several hair holding options (clips, barrette, bobby pin, silicon hairband).

23. Emery board.

24. iPhone.

25. MetroCard in holder.

26. Hairspray (for getting my neck hair to stay up along with the rest of my hair when I pull it back).

27. Keys with flashdrive attachment and gym pass.

28. Tube of Aquaphor I don't use anymore because it's petroleum and I could swear I get a whiff of gas station from it.

29. Visine for when I need to look like I actually got enough sleep last night.

30. Breath tonic for spraying surreptitiously into my mouth when I feel insecure.

31. Hand cream.

32. Prescription sunglasses.

33. A cheap chromium ring I found at Penn Station in the ladies' room two years ago, that I disinfected and keep meaning to bring to the Lost & Found in case it had sentimental value and the preson might check in for it some day.

34. A lot of dust, some toast crumbs, and cinnamon powder (there's usually a mini cinnamon shaker in my bag but I put it in another bag yesterday).

Notice that everything I really need is red: purse, mirror, metrocard holder, iPhone, Kindle, pencil, key holder, lip balm (well, the top is red). Everything else is extra.

Carolita Johnson's cartoons appear in The New Yorker and at Oscarinaland.

50 Comments / Post A Comment


I want a boyfriend who makes and then wraps my toast up for me, please.


@hairspin took me 45 years to find him! ;)


Is the mini cinnamon shaker for the toast?
Also, this feature inspired me to clean out my purse last weekend. So much purse sand.


@Maria Same here! Except sub "used tissues" for "sand." It's a disease. I also leave them in my pants or skirt pockets and they get all shredded and stuck to everything through the washer and dryer. My boyfriend gives me the evil eye everytime this happens, but I don't think it's ever going to stop.


@figwiggin Get religion about checking pockets both before you put the clothes in the hamper and before doing laundry. I do the same thing and am proud (so proud!) of myself for only doing this once every couple of months. It also decreases the degree to which random objects (loose change, receipts, my phone) accidentally wind up in the wash.


@Maria The mini cinnamOn shaker is for tea. I like it in my tea. :)


Not enough lintiness to convice me that these things came from a real purse, the amount of times I had to clean gum off my keys to open my front door.


@elsbels I regularly use sanitizing wipes on the contents of my purse-- they were transferred to my weekend purse at the time of the shot, or they'd be in the list.


@elsbels Oh wait! The wiped are there! Voila!


I have both of the same chapsticks as Carolita! I feel so cool.


@Ophelia Do Chapsticks still smell like, well, Chapsticks?


@laurel The Burt's Bees ones smell like whatever they're made with. I think the one pictured is pomegranate (my favorite). They also make mango, which is nice, and acai berry, which I haven't tried.


One thing I've been noticing from this series is that none of you ladies have nearly enough crumpled ancient receipts or crumpled half-used tissues in your bags. I mean, there are SOME, but boyyyyyy, if you were to turn my bag upside down right now, 50% of the contents would probably be receipts and tissues. And about 12 different lip products (buy one of those new Clinique chubby stick lip balm things - they're soooooper dooper!).

Lily Rowan

@werewolfbarmitzvah And gum wrappers! My purse is full of gum wrappers.

The Lady of Shalott

@Lily Rowan Good Lord, mine too. Ancient gum wrappers and crumpled shredded receipts and other bits of paper detritus. I swear I think people on the bus throw their receipts into my bag because HOW????


@werewolfbarmitzvah OMG my bag is also mostly lip products and receipts. I just got the Revlon tinted lip balm in Cherry AND IT IS GREAT. Did I get it partly because Emma Stone is shilling for them? ...Maybe.

Lily Rowan

@The Lady of Shalott That's totally the answer! I hadn't thought of it, but you must be right.


@werewolfbarmitzvah Maybe they use it as a good opportunity to toss said receipts and gum wrappers? I would, before showing it to anyone. Also, where are the dozens of bobby pins?
'Scuse me, hairpins. :)


@werewolfbarmitzvah I too am disappointed about the lack of Reciept
/gum/Bobby pin/penny rat kings present in these handbags.


@werewolfbarmitzvah My rumpled receipts are in the middle section of that big red wallet.


@remargaret Hairpins are also in the big red wallet. (so is aspirin in case someone has a heart attack, a spare pantiliner, all sorts of other stuff...

Porn Peddler

Based on the contents of your purse, oh my god I love you.

Katie Scarlett

Aw, toasts wrapped in paper towels and rubber bands!!!!!!!!!!!

When I was five-ish, I was put in charge of packing snacks for my dad and I to take to the playground. The result? Powdered donuts each wrapped in its own napkin fastened with a safety pin! Carolita, your boyfriend and I are kindred spirits!


@Katie Scarlett were they the mini ones? that is the cutest.

Katie Scarlett

@ginalouise They were donut holes!


@Katie Scarlett even cuter!




@aproprose I believe I mentioned there was some in the purse, no? Along with cinnamon powder? See #34!


Never leave the house without a Sharpie.

Tuna Surprise

Liberty of London swatch!!!


I love you could lead a completely full and rich life with just the contents of this handbag.

Sunny Schomaker

We have the same friend! I feel so fancy!


@Sunny Schomaker Emily? Yes!

Dirty Hands

I covet that handkerchief SO SO BAD.

Besides a few I have from the old country, all my new hankies are boring white ones or blue-striped ones from men's departments. On seeing this one I looked for the same kind online and only found a Japanese website selling what looked like a handkerchief, but was advertised as a "loincloth" (???), for $32.75. WANT...


@Dirty Hands This site has made me rethink my stance on handkerchiefs.


@Dirty Hands Found it on eBay! They appear every now and then.


prescription sunglasses? Oh you are fancy.


@whizz_dumb I wish! Just near-sighted! :)


Oooh! We have the SAME wallet! I love my Hobo Lauren!


@TheSkyGirl Isn't it great? It's a world unto itself, too.


Someone else has a litter of fabric swatches lurking in their bag? I'm not alone!


Where did that awesome red Kindle cover come from?! Want!


@underthefrog They make the prettiest skins for Kindles now!


@underthefrog This is exactly what I came in here to ask.

And also why the contents of her purse are on an operating room tray.


@underthefrog got it on amazon! just do a search on silicon kindle case!


@sit That's my kitchen table! Some designer thing a guy I was working for once was throwing out that I had messengered to my place on his dime.


Carolita has a loose $20 bill??? Just floating around in there, full of non-chalance, like it's on a vacation cruise or something? I'm so jealous!

sarah girl

Oh girl, your exposed Kindle screen makes me nervous!! It's so delicate :(


@Sarah H. I think maybe it has its own purse pocket? That outside pocket looks just the right size for the Kindle and a few soft things like the wipes-packet.


What I really really want is to know what's on your Kindle!!!!!

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