Friday, February 24, 2012


Chiara Atik, What's in Your Handbag Right Now?

If you're curious about participating in or even imagining participating in that Bloomsday Dublin-trip-and-reading-club mentioned yesterday, here's what one of its organizers carried around with her [several weeks ago]. Chiara "Ulysses" Atik, what's actually in your bag right now?

Left to right, top to bottom:

1. Large Moleskine Notebook using for a project (soft cover, unlined).

2. La solitudine dei numeri primi, by Paolo Giordano.*

3.  Sex and the Single Girl, by Helen Gurley Brown.

4. The 158-Pound Marriage, by John Irving.

5. A warm Cherry Coke Zero from yesterday.

6.  Noise-canceling headphones.

7. A smaller Moleskine (hard cover, lined).

8. A crumpled check that I keep forgetting to cash.

9.  A dollar!

10. A packet of hairbands.

11. My wallet.

12.  A card some club promoter handed me on 10th Ave when I was on the phone and too distracted to avoid him. ($3 Bud Light Drafts at PJ Bricks!)

13. An iPhone Charger. (The thing about iPhones is that you actually have to take your charger everywhere. When I pack a small purse for nights out, it's pretty much entirely taken up by my iPhone charger and I stuff everything else into my coat pockets.)

14. A Duane Reade receipt.

15.  My keys.

16. A ticket to "Belleville" at Yale Rep from three weeks ago.

17. Three pens (including my trusty "LA Opera" one).

18.  Benefit "Boi-ing" concealer.

19. Benefit "Bad Gal" Lash, which is sort of an embarrassing name to type out.

20. 2 Clinique Lipsticks ("Red-y To Wear" and "Creamy Nude," also embarrassing to type out).

21. Some unidentifiable Essie nail polish.

22. Clinique gel eyeliner in Black Honey.

23. A piece of paper with "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" written on it.

24. Those nylon sock things from when I was trying on shoes last weekend. (Should I keep these? No, right?)

25.  A bracelet that I'm just now noticing exactly matches my purse, so, mental note, don't wear both.

26.  A cheesy "NYU Alumni" chapstick that's probably expired and sort of burns my lips at this point, but I kind of love the looks I get when I nonchalantly whip out an "NYU Alumni" chapstick and, you know, actually use it.

27. A crumpled up tissue!

28. A quarter!

*Let me explain the excessive amount of books. One of them is research for a project I'm working on for HowAboutWe, but too embarrassing to openly read on the subway (guess which one!). So I needed another book fit for public consumption, but I'm only a chapter away from finishing the Giordano, and as it sucks to sit down on the subway and finish your book, I have the John Irving ready to go.

84 Comments / Post A Comment


Which noise-canceling headphones do you recommend?

The Lady of Shalott

I am always so impressed when other people have like, a packet of hair bands in their purses. Unlike me, when I have to fish around in my bottomless purse endlessly to find three stretched-out hairbands rolling around in the dirt that collects there.

Also, Benefit Badgal mascara is the BOMB and I love it. Good choice.


@The Lady of Shalott I carry an octopus clip, two scrunchies, and a bunch of clips at all times. I have giant hair, obviously.


@camanda I also have a lot of hair, but I only use bobby pins to put it up so they are seriously everrrryyyywherreee. I often wake up with them stuck to an arm or leg and a fun imprint!


This is more or less exactly what my bag has in it on any given day! Books, always books. Forever.


Why, my dear, aren't you carrying the regular plug for your phone charger?! That computer charger is monstrous!

Also, who else applied chapstick before they even finished reading #26?

Chiara Atik@twitter

@sox wait, what?? I think that IS a regular plug? No?


@Chiara Atik@twitter This is what came with my iPhone: http://store.apple.com/ca/product/MB352LL/C?fnode=MTY1NDA4NA Life-changing!


@crookedlegs Yes, thank you! Chiara, this little teeny thing is what I have too. If you don't have it/lost it, go chat casually with some nice person at the apple store about needing one before you buy a new one. Sometimes they're super nice and just hand you one, other times it doesn't work but it's worth a try!


@Chiara Atik@twitter I think that's an iPad charger.


@totallyunoriginal nope, those come with iPhones now. The iPad wall charger is a smaller version of the brick that comes with Apple laptops, it even has a duckhead (the bit with the flip-out wall prongs, here http://www.approachchina.com/pic/plug/pgcdt3.jpg) that pops off. Why, I don't know.


@sox Yes, get the tiny iPhone charger! I somehow have three (well, one big fat old one and two tiny ones) but only one charging cord thing that was on the fritz. Then last week, I decided that I just needed to get a new cord, and they were $3.39 on amazon. I bought three. My quality of life has gone up so far.

christina tesoro

This is the most organized what's in your bag I've ever seen!


@She Saved The World, Alot Everythiiiiing. in its riiiight plaaace.


@She Saved The World, Alot Okay, the awesomeness that is a) your Buffy handle/name/whatever you want to call it combined with b) Allie Brosh just exploded my brain.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@catsuperhero I had this same reaction when I saw her name. Except my excitement was expressed only as "OMG your username!!!!!1111!!!!1!"

sugar cubism

Throw out the socks! That's my advice. Also, your shoulders must hurt but it's worth it. Finishing a book when there's still subwaytime left is the WORST.


@sugar cubism this is a large fraction of the reason i got a kindle. my fear of being stranded somewhere terrible without a book has been vanquished by the knowledge that i can summon a book out of thin air whenever i want, like a wizard.


@sugar cubism Accio Wild Cards (what I'm reading right now...)!


@plonk Yup. This. I don't know how many times I've finished a book on the bus only to download the sequel to it RIGHT THERE. It is truly like having magic book-summoning powers.


Books! I like carrying books so that people will ask me what I am reading and I can talk to them about books, but since I read non-fiction, most people just give me weird looks and say, "Why would you read that?" So I carry my Kindle and lie about it. (edit: Not to mention the ever-looming danger of running out of things to read! I could only carry like one book at a time because they're all monstrously long and my big bag is only so big. The horror!)

I have an Android phone that takes a standard micro USB cable, which my GPS and Kindle also take, so I usually carry one cable and one wall adapter for my pile of electronics. I sympathize. I also have a USB adapter in my car's cigarette lighter, so I try to charge while I drive, then leave the cables in my car. One of the perks of living somewhere with shoddy public transit!


I condone your carrying of backup books. There's nothing worse than getting stuck on the subway with nothing to read. It's a catastrophe.

I do not condone being ashamed of your reading choices, though. As a guy who re-read "Flowers in the Attic" on the T a couple months ago...shame is for people with pride.

Chapstick expires?!

@camanda: I also am constantly wishing someone would ask me about what I'm reading. (Seriously, NO ONE wanted to talk about Flowers in the Attic?) ...anyway, but on the few occasions people actually have done it they're always freaks. Bad freaks.


@Al Cracka I will always, always be available to discuss "Flowers in the Attic."


Here is V.C. Andrew's pitch letter, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

sugar cubism

@Al Cracka I don't really wish people would ask me what I'm reading more than they do, but I DO love it when someone sees what I'm reading and approves/relates. I recently shared a moment with a stranger on the subway when he saw I was reading The Year of Magical Thinking.


@melis @Al Cracka ME TOO! I'd love it so much!

Emma Peel

@Hellcat oh man, I read on public transit every day and I HATE being asked what I'm reading. Maybe we should wear different colored pins to indicate whether we want to be asked or not?

Though I tend to read mysteries on transit, and if other people who love Mary Russell or Maisie Dobbs or whoever wanted to speak up, that would be awesome. I just feel so awkward when people ask what I'm reading and then they haven't heard of it and then the conversation fizzles weirdly.


@Emma Peel Oh, I was referring to the Flowers in the Attic discussion, but I think I agree with you about hating to be asked what I'm reading... though I am not sure. Maybe it depends who's doing the asking. I was once reading a book about the life of Charles Manson -- can't remember which one, but it was your standard red-and-black cover (this seems to be a thing with true-crime books). I enjoyed aggressively showing the cover to any guy who was obviously attempting to use my book as a pick-up opportunity.


@Emma Peel Speaking up! SPEAKING UP RIGHT NOW!


@melis you lie! Because if you were always available, you would have been available.

Okay but seriously, that book is pretty creepy huh? Spoiler (for your life), and also rape, ahoy: "I didn't mean to rape you, I swear to God." "I don't hate you, Chris...it was my fault, too." So...

On the plus side, it brought "floundering in a maelstrom of uncertainty" into heavy rotation in my conversations. That phrase is useful! I flounder in maelstroms of uncertainty all the time!

Thanks for the pitch letter link. That's good stuff.

oh, disaster

I carry multiple books too, just in case I finish one or it bores me so I can switch it out. I like to think the added weight is making shoulder stronger (probably not).


@andrea disaster One of my shoulders is lower (not in a crazy obvious way. I hope.) than the other because I have always carried my bookbag and then purse with multiple books, on the same side. I really hope that shoulder has become stronger.


you should use an e-reader for two reasons!


Never apologize for having too many books in your purse!

New Hoarder

We attempted to play this game at our 'Pinup last night. I recommend good lighting and steady tables, which were not really readily available.


I usually have two books in my bag. But today I am only bringing one with me for a weekend trip. Am I going to die?

New Hoarder

@carrieohno Magic 8 Ball says MOST DEFINITELY.

Cat named Virtute

THIS is my kind of bag! Multiple books AND notebooks! Crumpled papers! Tissue! A random forgotten beverage! Everything all lined up in lovely rows!


@Marika Pea@twitter I forgot to comment on the beverage! My work bag (giant clear bag I bought in the cosmetics department at Wal-Mart) almost always has at least one half-drunk warm flat Coke in it. That I keep forgetting to remove. Oops.

Cat named Virtute

@camanda Yes, what is with that? It seems like a sign that beverage makers should make smaller bottles. And yet it would probably still happen. Why does this happen?!


Creamy Nude is totally my go-to lipstick. Less embarrassing to type than the "Blushing Nude" I got as a bonus.


Uh huh. And what is the black mystery object between the receipt and keys?
What are you trying to hide?!


@NeverOddOrEven I'm pretty sure that's a keychain. And I'm going to guess that's a wedding portrait of that prince and that girl he married, because why not?


@Al Cracka I know what a keychain looks like! To the left of the keys...

Chiara Atik@twitter

@NeverOddOrEven oh, my camera


@Chiara Atik@twitter

Which headphones.


Chiara Atik@twitter

@atipofthehat SONY MDR-NC7 i think??


@Chiara Atik@twitter

Thank you!


Is it bad that I really want to do one of these "What's in Your Handbag" things just to have people validate how many lip glosses I carry?


Black Honey is an eyeliner too?! ::dead::


@thisisunclear I think they recently expanded the color to a bunch of different products, since the 90's are so hot right now.

oh, disaster

@thisisunclear I know, I was eying that up too.


@NeverOddOrEven @andrea disaster ok, chicas, gotta run to touch up my black honey lippy with a touch of my black honey lip gloss and then GO FIND THIS PRODUCT, which is not a Friday Bargain Bin item, but since those size 10 Frye heels are sold out...

oh, disaster

@thisisunclear Oh, those shoes, I fell in love with them too fast. :(

Jane Marie

is your wallet from Rebecca Minkoff because I might have THE SAME WALLET OMG.

Chiara Atik@twitter

@Jane Marie Ha, i feel super cool informing you that, no, my wallet is not Rebecca Minkoff, but rather Ann Taylor Loft.

sugar cubism

ALSO. Having "Hit me with your best shot" on hand at all times feels important.

Chiara Atik@twitter

AHHHH not that anyone's thinking this but. #26. Because it's LAME to whip out a lipstick that says NYU Alumni on it, not because I think that's cool??


@Chiara Atik@twitter Most of my lip glosses are free promotional give aways from conferences and they are THE BEST.


Nothing against carrying around multiple books, but Stanza on the iPhone + Project Gutenberg also helps avoid the catastrophe of being caught without a book.


That Paolo Giordano book was the most depressing thing I have ever read. I guess I would say it was good, but it made me feel like everything was terrible and everyone was a horrible person. It did not help that I live in Italy and am thinking about having children.
I read it last winter and I hadn't felt that depressed in ten years. Luckily spring came and I sort of forced the memory of it out of my mind.

Chiara Atik@twitter

@ormaisonogrande yeah I really hated it.


All the neat lines of objects has made me incredibly happy.


Sweet, I think I have fewer makeup products in my bag. Wait, no, maybe not...


How can people not carry around floss?!? Where is the advil and other pain relievers?!? I basically carry around a mini pharmacy because I want to be comfortable at all times, and food stuck between my teeth and headaches are NOT comfortable.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@stalkingcat I've got a pharmacy, but no floss, which at first sounded crazy but I'm starting to change my mind about that.

Lynn Marie@twitter

How come no one ever has birth control in their bags? Not calling out this woman in particular, but I skim this column each time one's posted and I never see any BC. I'm left to think A) no one's carrying any, or B) the Hairpin is omitting it. Both strike me as strange.
Oh, or C, the interviewees are self-editing. I guess that's most likely.


@Lynn Marie@twitter Or D) No one is getting any. I find that hard to believe, though. :-)

Tuna Surprise

@Lynn Marie@twitter

Love your pic! I used to amuse myself looking at the pic of that wee baby lamb jumping.


@Lynn Marie@twitter I don't carry mine around with me unless I'm out of town (although I have decided to take a break as of this week). I'm pretty sure temperature fluctuations are bad for it?


@Lynn Marie@twitter Not everybody's has to be carried around, either. I'm on the ring, so I always have mine on me, but not so as you can see. Just sayin'.


@Lynn Marie@twitter I always wonder where the condoms are! (and then think yes, self-edting)


@Lynn Marie@twitter That's the beauty of the ring. Nothing to carry.


Yay for multiple books. I once ran out of reading material on a plane above the Atlantic and almost had a fit. This was pre iPod/iPhone so I had nothing else to do, I had to reread a book that I'd already read on that trip. Thank God for the ereader.


Wait. Cherry Coke Zero? CHERRY COKE ZERO? *frantically Googles availability in Australia*

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