Getting Purse-onal: The Perfume Blogger’s Purse

Since the contents of my purse are always changing, I have decided to make this a monthly feature! Please feel free to share the beauty products, reading materials, and random chotchkes lurking in your purse, too!


I have been blessed with an absolute plethora of perfume fairy godparents this month. When a wonderful friend of my mother’s heard that I had started a perfume blog, she sent me about 50 vintage men’s fragrance samples, including the pictured Yves Saint Laurent Live Jazz and Opium Pour Homme. I’ve been interested in Rochas Tocade ever since learning that my boyfriend’s mother wears it,  so the lovely Thomas of The Candy Perfume Boy sent me a sample. I finally have the opportunity to try the Ormande Jayne and Sonoma Scent Studio lines, thanks to the samples graciously provided to me by Natalie of Another Perfume Blog and reader Sharon. Kathleen of No Disassemble Charlie No. 5 picked up this sample of Diptyque Eau Rose on her recent New York City trip. Finally, I picked up this tiny size of Kate Walsh Boyfriend at Sephora this week in an effort to forget about the existence of her horrid new Billionaire Boyfriend.

Reading Materials

As you can see from the tail, my kitteh Zelda was quite determined to participate in this photo shoot. Just look at the impudent little thing!

Look, I'm sorry, but I'm still not giving you a modeling fee.

Anyway, here we have a copy of the newest Lush Times (which promises a “bigger, better, and sexier” website for their fragrances this February), a brochure for Tel Aviv University study abroad programs that was handed out during Hebrew class, and some virology comics! As regular readers know, one of my favorite study methods is making crudely-drawn comics to help me absorb the material. Here’s a closer view of the virology comics:

For anyone wondering, these adorable spider-like guys are bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria). Fight the economic oppression, little bacteriophages!


This past week was sorority recruitment at Hopkins! Unfortunately for my sorority, Pi Phi, my pitiful social skills did not disqualify me from participating. This delightfully sparkly name tag helped identify me as one of the Pi Phi Angels to the potential new members. While we’re on the subject of sparkly things, the pictured ring is one of my many, many pieces of jewelry by Israeli jeweler Michal Negrin. Her stuff is of surprisingly poor quality (those damn crystals are always falling out), but I can never resist her twee, retro aesthetic. The precious mini packages of coffee are part of a Starbucks sampler set. I’m particularly excited to try the darker Sumatra.

Getting Purse-onal: The Perfume Blogger’s Purse

I recently received an email from a reader who was curious about the contents of my purse. I am totally game to answer, because now I get to make that terrible purse pun in the title and I freaking love terrible puns, y’all. Please feel free to share the beauty products, reading materials, and random chotchkes lurking in your purses, too!


The perfumes in my purse are not necessarily my favorites, because I tend not to wear my more challenging or unusual perfumes out of the house. Instead, these are the perfumes that I am almost positive would not offend anyone. Lush Vanillary, a tasty caramelized vanilla fragrance, has little sillage in its solid perfume form. The lovely lily Cartier Baiser Vole is “clean” enough to appeal to modern mainstream preferences. Anné Pliska, a seductive orange-and-amber scent, is one that I often reach for when going out with friends. Finally, Stella McCartney Stella is a streamlined, somewhat severe rose fragrance. I like to wear it on days when I’m wearing all black.

(The adorable baby in the background is my wonderful little brother, Buzz!)


I very rarely wear makeup. Not out of any political statement or aesthetic preference, but because I am extremely averse to the feeling of anything touching my face. I have a super bizarre system for washing my hair that is intended to minimize the exposure of my face to water. I know how incredibly dumb this sounds, and it totally is! I need to be wearing makeup to help me look more mature. I look much further below the age of consent than I actually am.

When I do wear makeup, I tend to go for the 50’s look: liquid liner and red lipstick. The lipsticks in this picture are Givenchy Fruity Orange, Lipstick Queen Medieval, M.A.C. Brave Red, and M.A.C. Viva Glam Cyndi Lauper. I wholeheartedly recommend the Viva Glam line. The colors are beautiful, and 100% of the selling price of each product goes to the M.A.C. AIDS Fund. A beloved biology teacher of mine died in his forties four years ago, and I try to honor him by supporting this truly worthy cause.

Reading Materials

Zelda Fitzgerald’s one and only novel, “Save Me The Waltz”, is assigned reading for my current class on the Fitzgeralds. Zelda wrote it in six weeks while being treated for schizophrenia at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It was extremely poorly received, and sold barely over a thousand copies. Despite all that, “Save Me The Waltz” is actually beautifully written, full of lush, languid language. It is the strongest piece of proof for my belief that Zelda was not actually particularly mentally ill at the beginning of her treatment, and it was the use of then-poorly understood electroshock therapy that caused the decline of her mental health.

“The Lush Times” is the most enjoyable catalogue I have ever had the pleasure of reading. In addition to providing many silly descriptions of Lush’s fun, quirky products, it also includes a board game, a delicious-sounding cocktail recipe for a Jilted Elf (6 ounces chilled Earl Grey tea, 9 ounces fresh tangerine juice, 2 tbsp orange blossom honey, fresh fig wedges), directions for making your own Santa origami, and delightfully groan-worthy puns (“What did Adam say the day before Christmas? It’s Christmas, Eve!”).

I have also been carrying around 2 copies of this “How to Eat Shabu-Shabu” guide from a delicious Japanese restaurant in L.A. Just in case I should be suddenly called upon to eat Shabu-Shabu. You never know.


I don’t even care how much of a dork this Pikachu hat makes me. The prospect of wearing the world’s most adorable hat is often the only thing that can make me leave the apartment on freezing winter days.

I have been knitting this damn mini ninja for 5 months now. “Ages 8+” my ass.

These $3 “Hopkins State” sunglasses are perhaps the most meaningful item in my purse. In the second semester of my freshman year, I had a very bad case of mononucleosis. I had failing grades in three out of four classes, and eventually had to take a medical withdrawal for the semester. I literally could not have felt like more of a failure. A day before I left campus, a “friend” directed me to a post on a highly-read Hopkins gossip site, JHU Confessions. In a post using my full name, an anonymous charmer had left a comment declaring “There ought to be a Hopkins State for retards like her”. (For non-Americans and/or non-assholes, the joke is that state/public schools are considered less academically rigorous than private schools like Hopkins.)

As you can imagine, this is exactly what I needed to read at the time. But if there is one thing I pride myself on, it is my strength. A big part of that strength is my gallows humor. Being able to laugh at myself and at awful situations helps me to make the best of things. So when I saw these “Hopkins State” sunglasses being sold at a homecoming game, I grabbed myself a pair. I have hardcore ADHD Inattentive Type. Only 22% of students with ADHD attend college at all, and only 5% end up graduating*. “Retard” or not, I have lasted three years at the 13th best college in America. I am defying the statistics. I am going to be one of the 5%. Hopkins State class of 2013, bitches.