What's in your purse today?

By: Helen Racanelli

© Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©


What's in your purse today?

By: Helen Racanelli

Ah, the secret lives of handbags! From offbeat contents ("one chopstick") to the everyday ("one Chapstick"), we convinced a bunch of Canadian women across the country to divulge what's in their handbags right now. No cheating!

Some contents we loved (and laughed at). Sound familiar?
• "…Souvenir of my solo trip to San Francisco and Sonoma, California, two years ago (big event in my life as a mom/Siamese twin to my five-year-old)"
• "One pair of red shoes, one with broken strap…."
• "Two loser lottery picks"
• "'George [Seinfeld] Costanza' wallet"

Handbags from Montreal
Who: Oorbee Roy, textile designer, OM home
Bag: Black Oakine Shoulder Bag
In my bag:
1 28-day-old dry-cleaning receipt (oops!)
Pair of sunglasses
• Pair of eyeglasses
• Small change purse
• Wallet
• Two packs of Dentyne Fire
• Small mirror
• Lotion
• Hand sanitizer
• Lip balm
• One energy bar
• One lip gloss
• One piece mail from real estate agent
Paper clip
• Hairband
• Cellphone

Who: Shanna Gervais, interior design student
Bag: Gucci summer collection fannypack light beige logo with blue flaps and belt
In my bag:
• Keys
• Gift certificates to Bleu Marine
• Cash, maybe $70 and change
• USB Key
• Tide-to-go
• Driver's license, other ID and Point cards (Shoppers Drug Mart,
Hallmark, Costco)
• Some business cards
• Pen
Two loser lottery picks
• One extrathin pad for emergencies
• Unpaid parking ticket..oops!

Who: Rachna Vohra, writer, editor, artist (,
In my bag:
• Card wallet
• Collection of small inspirational cards by paramahansa yogananda
Badge from aikido school I have never been to
• Keychains with keys (including two LED lights!)
• ID card for work
• Loose cash
• Loose change
• Two matchbooks
• Old receipts
• Business cards (mine and other people's)
• Nail cutter
Voice recorder
• Change purse
• USB key
• Pen
• Chapstick
Second change purse to hold various good luck charms/spiritual symbols
• Tiny hair clippy
• Rubber band for hair
• Scraps of paper with notes/reminders
• Pill box (odd for someone who doesn't take any pills!)
• Bus ticket
• Subway tickets
• Nail file
Note: I have a surprisingly small purse for the amount of stuff I have in it!

Handbags from Halifax
Who: Deanna Wilmshurst, communications manager with Destination Halifax
Handbag: Red backpack knockoff from Canal Street in NYC
In my bag:
• Sunglasses holder with a pair of sunglasses and clip-ons for my glasses
• Cellphone & headset
• Wallet
• Small bottle of hand cream
• Half a package of Ricola cough drops
• Half a package of Kleenex
• Two pens
A Valentine from my four-year-old
• Office keys
A half-used Chapters gift card
• A multitude of papers, including a flight itinerary, tax information, Dr. appointment notice, bus schedule, cheque stub receipts and coupons for the casino
• Small cosmetics bag for making the transition from day at work to evening on the town containing: small bottle of body spray; hair spray; mirror; solid Mirage perfume stick; Berry Bold Lancôme Juicy Tube; hair brush; folding toothbrush; toothpaste; Tylenol; safety pins; dental floss; nail clippers; 2 barrettes; 5 lipsticks (I had no idea there were five in there!) and a button.
• Lip balm
• A maple leaf pin
• Business card holder with business cards
• A pass for the Museum of Natural History and a bunch of frequent buyer punch/stamp cards

Who: Kristi Wenaus, director, sales & partnerships, Tourism Nova Scotia
Bag: Black Coach handbag (birthday present to me when I was in NYC)
In my bag:
• 10 LifeSavers in wrappers stolen from the restaurant last night
• Burgundy leather wallet -- Birthday present from my mom :)
• BlackBerry (life line...)
• Sunglasses case (no sunglasses)
• One chopstick (my three-year-old thinks it's a drum stick)
• Teether toy for my 10-month-old son
• Ziploc bag of Cheerios for the kids (who knows how old the cereal is...)
• Fruit to go fruit stick (also for the kids)
• Half a package of Jolly Ranchers (for me!)
Four different lip glosses -- I'm addicted
• Three pens
• Two hair clips
• Spa gift certificate that expires in three weeks (I know , I know)
• Various loose business cards, including my own
• Parking ticket (Thanks for making me look -- I need to pay this)
• Keys
An uncashed cheque from my mom (I never cash them...)

Handbag from Hamilton, Ont.
Who: Yuki Hayashi, freelance writer/editor
Bag: Purple leather Marc by Marc Jacobs bag from Saks Fifth Ave., souvenir of my solo trip to San Francisco and Sonoma, California two years ago (big event in my life as a mom/Siamese twin to my five-year-old)
In my bag:
• Crappy three-year-old Nokia cellphone
• Six Hamilton cab receipts, four Toronto cab receipts
• Three Go Transit receipts
• Restaurant receipt from local pho restaurant
• Business card from store I bought sofa from last week
• Plastic straw sleeves from juice boxes
• Empty Extra bubblemint gum double pack
• Gum wrappers
• Bulldog clip
• Empty baggie
• House and car keys
• Isaac Mizrahi for Target black leather wallet with hot pink lining (no money
in it)
• PC Mini Chefs Smooshies apple and fruit sauce tube
• Three black pens
• Ray-Ban aviators, brown lens with gold frame, in eyeglass case
• Junior kindergarten progress report
• Three crayons
• A couple of my old business cards, none of my new ones
• Video iPod
• Old hard candy
• Two Kleenex packs (one empty, one half-full)
• Kiehl's lip balm (no colour)
• Quo face blotting tissues in aluminum case
• Vincent Longo lip stain
• Lola lip gloss mini
• Black Goody hair elastic
ª Post-its with numbers written on them
• Hot pink Post-it mini pad
Empty hand wipes packet
• Yarn and straw necklace made by my daughter
• Piece of paper where she wrote: TOBIKO (her favorite sushi)

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Handbag from Ottawa
Who: Desirée Brown
Handbag: brown leather Alliere bag
In my bag:
• Jump drive
• DCT lip balm
• Pink Indulge lip gloss
One crumpled tissue
• Motorola cellphone
• Cellphone charger
• Four boarding passes
• Passport
• Travel itinerary
• Large Tommy wallet
• Life Brand moisturizer/sanitizer
• One tube of Airborne
• Sunglasses
• Pair of reading glasses
• Address book
• Binder
• Motrin
• Opticom eye drops
• Grey sweater
• Pen

Handbag from Vancouver
Who: Lesley Ord, photographer
Handbag: Karen Wilson Classic Frame Purse (from La Bonne Vie in Kelowna, B.C.)
In my bag:
• Wallet
Loose bank cards and change (which should be in the wallet)
• iPod Shuffle
• Voluspa "Linden Blond Tabac" purse perfume (from La Bonne Vie)
• Small Jar of Open Sundaes "Lilac Shortcake" Body Frosting (from La Bonne
• Lancôme "Hotness" fever lip gloss
• Jaqua "pink buttercream frosting" lip gloss (from La Bonne Vie...again!)
• Two half packs of gum
• Loose business cards
• Business Card holder (where the business card should be!)
• Two pens
• Hairband
• Super 7 Lotto ticket (not a winner of course!)
• Keys
• Empty gum wrappers
• Motorola Pink Razr cellphone

Handbag from Kelowna, B.C.
Who: Tracey Wikenheiser, owner of La Bonne Vie (Ed.'s note: And the sister of Vancouver handbag owner Lesley Ord)
Handbag: Karen Wilson Classic
In my bag:
"George Costanza" wallet
• L'Oréal Revitalift (I have a preoccupation with wrinkles!!!)
• Bottle of Extra Strength Advil (some days desperately warranted)
• Motorola Razr cellphone
• Cargo lip gloss
• Credit card and bank card roaming around aimlessly causing me to have a heart attack every time I need to pay for something because I can't find them!!!
• Endless receipts also floating around
• Jaqua Pink Buttercreme hand lotion
• One Hot Wheels car (my darling son's)
• Common beauty -- l love nude -- lip-gloss compact
• One pink M&M …huh!!!?????
• Set of keys
• Loose business cards

Handbags from Toronto and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area)
Who: Natalie Bahadur, writer and editor
Handbag: Black leather Jones New York bag with red interior
In my bag:
Red leather wallet from The Loft
• Palm Pilot
• Canon SD30 digital camera
• Body Shop face powder
• Maybelline lip polish
• Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and case
• Travel pack of Life Brand tissues
• Motorola Razr cellphone
• Car/home keys

Who: Kat Tancock, assistant editor
Handbag: Felted wool purse by Én Gry & Sif
In my bag:
• Makeup bag
• Matt & Nat wallet
• Keys
• Pack of tissues
• Cellphone
Novel, en français (for studying up on the subway)
• Pen
• Nail file
• Aveda hand lotion
• Glasses
Cherry-pie-flavoured Larabar energy bar
• Mints

Who: Helen Catellier, managing editor, Canadian Gardening magazine
Handbag: Brown leather Cole Haan convertible satchel
In my bag:
• Cellphone
One pair of red shoes, one with broken strap (on my way to cobbler)
• Bus tokens in small coin purse
Pair of mittens
• Umbrella
• Loose business cards
• My lunch in a mini black tote bag with the following: One Lean Cuisine mango curry chicken entrée, small Rubbermaid container of cottage cheese, small Rubbermaid container of cherry tomatoes, one Granny Smith apple, one low-fat yogurt
• Smaller black leather purse with the following:
• Building pass
• Red leather business card holder with business cards
• Cheque book
• Package of tissues
• Black leather Furla wallet
• Sunglasses
• Extra bubblemint gum
• Pen
• N.Y.C. watermelon-flavoured roll-on lip gloss
• Blistex tropical-flavoured lip balm
• Didn't even know I had this in the separate zippered compartment (two tampons, two panty liners, two maxi pads)

Who: Jennifer Melo, editor
Handbag: Black leather Club Monaco purse
In my bag:
• Black leather wallet from Guess (a present from my friend Jen)
• A small bottle of Purell hand sanitizer
• Cellphone
• Car keys
• Two pens
• Four lip glosses: N.Y.C.'s chocolate scented, Rimell's strawberry flavoured (yum!), Maybelline's lip polish and a peachy Chanel gloss
• A jewelled compact mirror
• An Asian-style mini makeup bag (a present from my friend Aileen) filled with three lipsticks, another two lip glosses, lip balm and three lip liners. Best of all, I rarely wear lipstick!
• Listerine Oral Care Mist
• A bottle of painkilling Pamprin
• Maxi pads (to accompany the Pamprin, of course:))
• Home keys

Who: Jane Nieuwendyk, designer, colour consultant and instructor
Handbag: Black leather Kathy bag, by Kathy Van Zeeland
In my bag:
• Sunglasses
• Mints from Victoria's Secret
• Wallet by Ralph Lauren (with ID, cash and photos of my kids)
• Cheque book
• iPod Nano (I don't go anywhere without it, ha,ha!)
• Calculator
• Tape measure
• Four pens
• Two pencils
• Business card holder
• Day-Timer
• Travel perfume: Chanel
• Hand cream by Victoria's Secret
Breathe Right Strips
• Halls
• Lip Balm by Caryl Baker
• One tampon
• Makeup Bag: lipstick, foundation, blush, mascara, eye pencil, lip pencil/gloss
• Black leather gloves
Pill box of vitamins
• Antibacterial soap
• Rose Water Hydrating Mist by Caryl Baker
• My business cards
• Small notepad
• Body Shop blotting paper
• BlackBerry
• Tissues
• Reading glasses (my extra pair)
Note: After making this list I realize why I have a sore shoulder!

Who: Colleen Tully, assistant editor
Handbag: Black suede and fun fur Lollipops
In my bag:
• One Clorets
• Sunglasses
Rapidly degrading wallet
• Package of business cards
• Compact mirror
• Dying pink Samsung cellphone
• One bottle Advil LiquiGels
• One sheet of Gravol
• Two identical key cards (one for apt. garage, one for work)
• Brush with my name on it -- dog-chewed on corner
• Two sets of keys
• Hand cream
Raspberry deodorant
• Lip liner
• Lip colour/gloss duo
• Three lipsticks
• Pen
• Loose dime
• Melted restaurant mint

Who: Helen Racanelli, writer and editor
Handbag: Silver leather Michael Kors
In my bag:
• Black wallet
• Three crumpled tissues
Empty packet Chiclets Sours gum
Small tube moisturizer
• Three Wet Naps
• Headband
• Loose business cards
• Silver iPod
• Ancient Nokia cellphone
• Pink Beauty lip gloss
• Pen

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What's in your purse today?