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Seeing inside the Unseen Censer’s purse

Ari at Scents of Self (and everywhere! She’s everywhere!) posted on what was Inside the Perfume Blogger’s Purse, and though I now suspect she meant for someone to submit an “inside the purse” article for HER blog, I’ma gonna do mine here.

I’ve done a voyeuristic “inside my purse” before at another blog, because it’s possible that before I had a perfume problem *cough* but after I had a bento box problem (don’t ask) I had a handbag problem. Some people would say I still have a handbag problem, but I would point to the declining rate of acquisition in handbags and tell those people to take a hike.

Usually I carry a huge bag into which I can throw clothes, books, food, and small children, but right now I’m carrying this (for me) teeny Tignanello, and I’m really happy with it. The neutral, too, is unusual for me, since I usually like color or florals or purple patent leather (ok, I only have one purple patent leather bag) or whatnot. (I am a big fan of Dooneys, Maxx, and this guy on etsy. I finally wised up and stopped buying B. Makowsky bags because they’re heavy as hell.) What’s your favorite handbag/tote?

My current little Tignanello love.


Here’s what’s in my purse right now. I subscribe to the pouch system, which means that I can transfer bags fairly easily, and also that I can find things without too much agita. Most of the time. Much of the time, anyway.

Pocket Stuff.

These are what’s in the pockets. My old iPhone in its stormtrooper battery case jacket (super-love the mophie juice pack, as when traveling I can honestly use the phone for ten hours in a day); a Discover card and a dollar bill that should be in my wallet; 100% Pure lip gloss in pink grapefruit; and my Edward Bess lip gloss in Passion, less than two months old, which I’m still carrying around in its box for some reason but which I use almost every day. I finally realized one perfect EB lip gloss is OK, I didn’t need to have four. Also my Muji pen/pencil, which I find to be the perfect writing instrument.


Here’s a hanky (I have allergies and I always have to swipe at my nose and a cloth handkerchief means that I don’t always have a red peeling nose); my Muji chino wallet omg I wish they hadn’t discontinued it, I love its external pockets; a Vera Bradley ID holder one of my graduating kids gave me this spring (she is so sweet), which also happens to have some perfume samples hidden in it (Love + Toast Grapefruit, which I liked well enough to buy a FB of; Krigler 209 Camelia; Jalaine Patchouli; Jalaine Amber (I had never heard of Jalaine, a swapping perfume buddy sent me these); and Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon). There’s also an energy drink water additive I got in a Birchbox, I think, and haven’t tried.

The Pouches.

The core of the storage system. Framelock makeup bag, I think from Bare Escentuals at some point? A Tokidoki cloth bag, which contains paper things like checks, a spare pink USB key, headphones, a backup ballpoint pen, and blotting paper. (There might be a perfume vial hiding in there; I’m not sure. Sometimes there is.) The Sephora change purse from which the proceeds went to girls’ empowerment (I also bought one for my stepdaughter and my niece), which actually holds most of my purse perfume. And my blue net bag, which holds Emergency Supplies. I will not empty that thing but I assure you I could probably restart civilization after the apocalypse from what’s in that bag, which ranges from *2* nail files (I am big on a one and a spare, can you tell?), to backup hair clip, backup handkerchief, painkillers, decongestants, hairpins, a panty liner, USB key, and an emergency vial of Back to Black.

Inside the makeup bag.

Inside the makeup bag, we have lots of hard candy (I have recently restocked, and recommend the Baskin-Robbins sugar-free hard candy), Muji hairclip, Muji hairbrush (I love how light and basic Muji things are), allergy eye drops, some shea butter, a mini lip gloss from Birchbox in fuschia, a hairpin, glasses cleaning cloth, a decant of my precious Hilde Soliani Bell’Antonio, a bottle of Ava Luxe No. 23, and what looks like one of the eight million Chanel samples I picked up in Miami, on its way here or there (as samples really shouldn’t be in this bag).

The Sample Bag.

And then we have The Motherload. This is a pouch I keep all the small bottles in, partly so I can pull it out if I need to immediately lighten the bag, but mostly so they aren’t floating around among all the other pouches and I have a fighting chance of finding things. As you may notice, some things are actual samples on their way to being tested, some things are actual bottles getting carried around in here.

For the record, here’s what’s in here:

DSH Divine Gardens in its wee bottle, which was really too expensive, but it is beautiful.
Ava Luxe Moroccan Mint Tea, also a bottle.
Parfums de Nicholai Le Temps d’un Fete.
Keiko Mecheri Oliban.
Faberge Imperial EDP. (No more testing here, I just love this stuff; I carry it to wear it till I use up this sample!)
Slumberhouse Baque.
DSH Vanille Botanique.
Huitieme Art Vohina.
Patou Joy Parfum.
Roja Dove Unspoken.
Parfums Zero Six Cent-Trente Yuzu Rouge.
MCMC Perfumes’ Garden.
Grossmith Betrothal.
Heeley Sel Marin.

If you’re curious, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to what’s in this case. I tend to put the samples I’m most excited about in here, then forget them. I’ve been vaguely wondering where my DSH Vanille Botanique sample got to for weeks, for instance; and I didn’t think I had any Sel Marin at all. Some things, like the Unspoken, the Faberge Imperial, or the Garden, are in here because I’ve tried them, like them, and want to wear them more; some things, like the Baque or the Vohina, I don’t even remember why I wanted. The Mint Tea, like the No. 23 in the makeup bag, is a never-leave-home-without-it for when I don’t know what I want but I want soothed, and the Divine Gardens is just so pretty and so tiny that I am carrying it instead of leaving it at home and forgetting to wear it. (Instead I’m carrying it around and forgetting to wear it.)

Usually when I try to put more things in here and it’s too full for more, I go through and take things out, which end up in the bowl in the living room or somewhere in the Great Circulation of Samples “System” somewhere in the house. It is extremely complicated.

So! You can see why I find it to be a fun game to play with my tiny budding-perfumista friend when I go to visit her mother, “Let’s play ‘How many perfumes do I have in my purse?'”

How many perfumes do YOU have in your purse?

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2 comments to Seeing inside the Unseen Censer’s purse

  • Fun game! I plan to participate at some point but for now I’ll just answer your questions.

    My favorite bags at the moment are from Cole Haan. Loved and used Tignanello bags for many years.

    In my purse I usually have one small decant of the perfume I’m wearing that day – changes every day and a back-up pefume (Chanel No.19), just in case I forget to put on a perfume before going to the office (never happened) or I do not have a smaller size with the SOTD to take with me but might want to apply a perfume if the first one is gone too soon.

    • Judith

      Ah, Cole Haan! I must try one. They always *look* so good – I get worried about a bag getting heavy when I fill it with all my Shtuff, and the Cole Haans looked like they might go that way. However, I’m happy to have an excuse to try one, thanks for the pointer. (My “Perfume Portrait” a la You is about to go up, as well! You have the best ideas…)

      You are, as always, much more organized than I! If I have a decant of a SOTD I’ll take it, but unless it’s something I’m currently going crazy over (like the Hilde Soliani above), I don’t usually bother to make a decant. I usually want something different later in the day but am not sure what, and it’s a good thing to test something new with my tea (I always try to eat something around 4ish). I always complain about my scents not lasting that long, but in this sticky summer they do last all day!

What do you think?