The Red Barrel Bag, Shoes, And A Stink Bug

Close up photo of me holding the red barrel bag by the handles in my right hand while letting the adjustable strap hang. My white cane is in my left hand.

Crushing On A Red Barrel Bag

2016 10 05 22 36 40 e1518805953324I’ve wanted a barrel bag for the longest time but after an extensive search I’d all but given up hopes of finding one. That is until the day I received a sign.

Actually, if I were being totally honest it was more like the stars, planets, and galaxies even, aligned. Angels were signing and everything went black except for this ray of light on the prettiest bag I’ve ever seen.

The late TV pitchman of all times, Billy Mays, confirmed my buying decision with a whispered “but wait, there’s more.” The original $200 price tag was slashed to a bargain-stealing cost of $30. Geez, was I gullible or what?

A Birthday Celebration

Two weeks after I ordered (in the voice of Gollum) “my precious,” it arrived and just in time for a birthday celebration with my cousin. When she picked me up because, you know, I can’t drive, I mean, I can drive, but I can’t see, well you catch my drift. Anyways she was like “WOW look at you” as she took in my bag and color-coordinated shoes.

“I love your bag,” my cousin says as I hopped in the vehicle. I tell her it’s made by brand X (code for I never heard of it). Going forward whenever anyone asks who X is my response will be “you don’t know who X is?” Why everyone’s wearing X. To sell it, even more, I’d throw in a Kardashian or two.

Blowing The Lid Off The Instagram Life

Standing profile pose with white cane.

Okay, so here’s the thing, you know those picture-perfect photographs of all the beautiful people on social media? Well, let tell you the pictures in this post are NOT as they appear.

For starters, I felt like a stuffed sausage in my Spanx. Even though I know I was born in heels, because my mother never lets me forget how much pain she was in when she had me, (I’d remember the pain too if I had a baby who came out in heels) but I digress. My feet hurt which was odd because typically the chunkier the heel, the more comfortable the shoe, but these are going in the giveaway pile.

If being uncomfortable weren’t enough, I have to take at least a gazillion pictures just for the money shot. Even then, the money shot really isn’t a money shot at all because I’m not being paid for this gig. This photo shoot was extraordinary because of a loud buzzing noise and what looked like a flying monster insect. I screamed, knocked over the tripod, phone, and tripped as I ran, then eerie silence.

While it’s against my nature to use my investigative skills to seek out the cause of unexplained noise I looked high and low. Then, I saw it—a stink bug had landed on my wall. I felt a bit relieved when I realized the cause of my panic but was still creeped out by the disgusting bug.

Standing pose rear view

Where was I? Oh, yeah, in today’s pictures I was very uncomfortable and I don’t give a hoot about the whole “beauty is pain” thing I’m too old for that nonsense. The photos are simply my attempt to put my best foot forward and to inspire styling ideas. It’s taken me a lifetime to become comfortable being not perfect and it feels good.

Barrel Bag Outfit Description:

  • Black midi dress with black hose
  • Cuffed chambray shirt tied at the waist
  • Red chunky heels with ankle straps
  • Accessories: red barrel handbag, silver bracelet, thumb ring, drop earrings

Have a very nice weekend everyone!


  1. Steph,
    What a bargain on the purse. Like the post.


  2. I hear you. I’m gonna have to look up the individual who said “beauty is pain,” what malarkey. It is true though that wisdom comes with age.

  3. I need to give away some shoes, too. I’m also too old (and wise?) for that “beauty is pain” nonsense. Now that I’m 60, I have my pair or cushiony crocs that look like nice sandals (to me anyway.) I wear them all summer and part of the spring and fall, til it gets too cold. Some one else will hopefully enjoy our give-a-ways.

  4. Thanks Caroline. I’m so bummed that I have to give the shoes away but I refuse to keep something I can no longer use. 😥

  5. Thank you! 😋 Yeah you can’t squash those nasty bugs. When I was in my apartment I was constantly catching them then flushing them down the toilet. It got so bad at one point I hand to buy a hand vac just for the purpose of collecting & flushing. The mgt co. (yeah, I called them b/c I honestly felt like the situation was serious enough for me to move), at any rate they suggested I use my regular vacuum. Thankfully all the equipment survived.

  6. I tore a lovely thigh high once – two minutes after putting it on and decided to rip the other one and wear them as ripped tights, using nail polish to seal the edges. It’s amazing how well preserved they have after being deliberately ripped. I can’t get rid of them. xoxoxo

  7. I think you look very stylish. I don’t do heels at all at this point in my life, so I admire you for that. Sorry the stink bug scared you. They certainly live up to their name if you smash them and can look really big when they are flying. Hope all of your equipment survived the attack.

  8. Goodness, that would scare me too. I’ve been stung before and it wasn’t much fun. 🙂

  9. Thank you Bun!! The stink bug really caught me unawares because I could swear it looked like a gigantic wasp. 😁

  10. Thank you SB! 😊Funny story about the tights. The ones I wanted to wear were opaque but as I struggled to get myself in them, they tore😅.

  11. Thank you Khaya!! Yeah I was a little irritated to find the discomfort of these shoes was one that would not go away. But on high note they are one more pair I can give away because I’ve made a personal commitment to discarding items that I am not using the majority of time and I can hardly wait to to the post on this topic. 😃

  12. That’s a very stylish look and I like the bag too. I admire your professionalism in getting the shots despite the sneak attack by a stink bug. 😀

  13. I have a thing for red shoes, black tights and denim tops. I have never seen all of my favourites in one outfit. You rock! I love the height on the sandals and that texture is awesome.

  14. Gorgeous outfit, Steph and especially the shoes. And your wise words on beauty and pain are more precious. I absolutely agree – comfort comes first.

  15. Haha oh I have a repertoire of stink bug stories along with video that would make your skin crawl. I’m just so thankful I only see an occasional one where I live at now. They really are the most awful bugs. At one point I was convinced they were a terrorist ploy because they’re practically indestructible. I couldn’t even convince my dog to help me get rid of them when I was living in my apartment but between you and me I think my dog thinks I’m off my rocker at times.😆 Thank you for the compliment and I’m just thrilled at acquiring my bucket bag.

  16. Thanks David. They are such horrid pests. When they first came to Pennsylvania a few years ago I had nightmares about them. The apartment I lived in before buying my condo faced the sun and those creepy critters would gather by the thousands on my balcony’ patio door. I could be exaggerating about the numbers slightly but I managed to shoot video that had my coworkers laughing because I was narrating in the background.

  17. You had me chuckling about the stink bug. Awful things they are! Love the look though Steph. Glad you finally got your barrel bag.

  18. Hahaha sadly it’s too true, I look all kinds of crazy😵when I’m at home or even walking my dog but hey, it’s comfy. 😁

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