Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Ghosts of Handbags Past

Every year, around this time when things start getting good and messy outside, I remember a particular handbag of mine that has passed on.  It really was a tragic ending for such a beloved and necessary accessory...

I had this beautiful, red Kenneth Cole purse.  It was soft, smooth, and the perfect splash of color next to my black wool pea coat.  We were living in our apartment when we got hit with a blizzard that left our cars completely buried under snow.  The apartment complex always cleared the snow, so we didn't have a shovel.  With this amount of snow, though, it was really necessary to dig out our own cars.  So, after helping a neighbor clear her SUV, we ventured out in the insane snow to purchase shovels and salt.  We pulled into home depot, got out of the car, and that's when it happened.  My beautiful bag slipped out of my gloved hand and fell into the dirty slush of the parking lot.  The leather immediately soaked it up, and slush even got into the inside, soaking everything I was carrying in there.  It was a goner.  It was especially bad because it was so young!  Tragic, as I said. 

It took me 3 years to find a new handbag that I loved as much as the red one.  My sapphire blue handbag, that I always carry with me when I don't have to lug around the diaper bag, came to me in Paris.  We were shopping on the Champs Elysees, and I ducked into Lancel.  There she was.  She was beautiful, and we've been together ever since.  She has her own little protective bag, and a special shampoo to keep her looking so lovely.  I hope this relationship doesn't have a similar fate as the first, as I feel this purse is irreplaceable.  Not only is it from Paris (and I don't get there all that often!), not only is it beautiful & unique, but it comes with all the memories of our delayed European honeymoon.  Irreplaceable. 

I remember bags and purses from as far back as my early childhood.  I remember this little, colorful, art deco (kind of an abstract floral) number that had lots of red, blue, green, pink and white on it.  I used to carry around my strawberry chapstick in it.  I had to be about 4-5 years old.  I also fondly remember my first denim purse.  Hey, don't judge.  They were all the rage!  And, of course, I remember my fanny pack from that strange little craze.  I also remember many of the shoes I had as a child, where they were purchased, and what was going on at the time.  Like my first pair of velcro shoes from Hills, when I had to get stitches in my noggin.  Or the gray mary jane type shoes with soles that would glow in the dark.  I got them from a shoe store where they gave me a piggy shaped eraser.  Or what about my ballet slippers we'd get from the mall?  I remember how that store was set up, and the arches in the back where the ballet slippers were.  I remember my first pair of heels.  They were tiny heels, but they made me feel all grown up.  I wore them for Miss M's wedding.  They were black. 

I guess I've always loved shoes and bags.  If I was making these vivid memories so young, I'd have to say it must just be something I've always liked.  It wasn't fashion magazines or fashion programming that made me that way at that age.  I don't think shoes and purses were featured in "Highlights" magazine, and I certainly wasn't a "Vogue" subscriber at age four.  I also noticed my son really loves shoes.  Ever since he started wearing them, he's loved them.  I'm suspecting this must be genetic somehow, but I'm not sure who passed it down to me.  No one in my family ever seemed too caught up in their accessories. 

Anyone else have a favorite pair of shoes or purse that they fondly remember?  Is there anything that sticks out from your childhood that maybe you wouldn't expect to remember now as an adult?  Is that memory something related to you now as an adult?  I'm just curious!  :)

Bonus: Hair tip!
I have naturally wavy/curly hair. Not nice little tight curls, but big wavy curls that go straight to frizz if I just let my hair dry naturally.  So, for years, I've tried out different products to see if I can ever just wash and wear my hair on days I'm pressed for time.  I do not like how mousse leaves my hair so crunchy and stiff.  I've used Biolage curl creme off and on for a few years.  I'd put it on my wet hair, and still the curls would be undefined, messy, and frizzy, though just a tad less than if I used nothing.  Today, I washed & conditioned my hair with Pantene's Beautiful Lengths frizz control, and was lucky to even do that so I just let my hair dry on it's own.  Well, this shampoo was helping somewhat, so I could tell I had curls going on (though still undefined & a little frizzy), and I tried the biolage on my DRY hair.  Voila!  Success!  It always said wet or dry hair on the bottle, but I never tried it on dry hair.  So, that worked so well I figured I'd share it with everyone in case someone else has been trying for years to get their waves or curls under control, yet soft and movable so they could wear their hair naturally.  I know I've had a few conversations with other curly haired ladies in the past about this problem, so I'm putting it out there!

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