I think the dilemma of the purse is a timeless one. I don't forsee a solution. It'll always be problematic, like clogged toilets or the socks that get lost in the dryer. I mean, it needs to be big enough so you can carry everything, but not so big so that you're not lugging a suitcase. It needs to allow you to have easy access to things without being so big that you have to dig around to get a hold of your keys. So it needs lots of compartments, but need not look like a briefcase. The strap needs to be long enough so that you can access your wallet at the cashier without taking the purse off your shoulder, but not so long that the purse is hanging by your knees.
And living in the frickin desert makes it worse. Gotta have your water bottle and lotion cuz it's so ridiculously dry and hot. In which case, to fit everything, you pretty much need to carry a backpack around with you. I have a backpack purse, but that doesn't solve the problem of having to take it off your shoulders at the cashier.
I got a new purse as a gift from a friend last weekend which seems to be workin' so far, or so it would seem (side note: the nice thing about being Asian is you get gifts from other Asians all the time for no reason :) ). I can fit in it my palm pilot, phone, wallet, chapstick, kleenex, pen, grocery list, small tube of lotion, sunglasses, and I can hook my keys on the side. cool huh? It is deep and has a lot of volume but doesn't look huge.
But like I said, so it would *seem.* It can't hold a water bottle. Or a book (at least not such that I don't have to take the book out to get to other things). And of course to be green I combine all my errands into one trip, hence the water and book are really needed. (And of course I won't come back home after each errand to sip some water and read and grab something I need for the next errand). So what do I do? Leave my book at one of my appointments. Thankfully it's not due back at the library soon.
I can't believe it's 2010 and we don't yet have a way to shrink all these things so that they fit in our pockets, and then when we need them we somehow, you know, UNshrink them. Like some sorta laser beam-thingy built into our forefingers. I mean we have nanotechnologies don't we? And we can put a man on the moon but still have to deal with traffic, plumbing problems, a 28-hour journey to India, and cats vomiting on the carpet. How have we progressed? But we can break up with someone over texting cuz we're too chicken to talk to them directly. *That* we can do.