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John and I have found the best way to shop for Christmas presents. With snow beginning (1-2 inches forecast) and sleet coming later in the day, we decided to brave the biggest mall in the metro area less than 3 weeks before Christmas. It was great. I’ve never seen Tysons so empty (maybe not a good sign for retailers, but wonderful for us). No huge crowds of people, no crazed shoppers, no long lines – heavenly. We got there as the mall opened (10am), parked right next to the Barnes & Noble entrance, got some Starbucks, and got it done. I think the weather and the threat of bad roads kept a lot of people away (something that wouldn’t have been a factor closer to Christmas). The roads certainly weren’t great on our way home, but with fewer people out and most of those driving slowly, we got home incident-free, shoveled the driveway, put the flannel sheets on the bed (it is seriously cold out there), and now we’re relaxing and lamenting having to go to work tomorrow (like usual). And we’re done! We have a couple of things to order, but the plan is to do that tonight, so we’ll really be done.
Want to shop like John and Zannah and actually enjoy a trip to mall with the decorations and the Christmas music?
Go early in the shopping season.
Go early in the day.
Bring bad weather. This is the hard part. It can’t be too bad or you’ll get stuck.
I am now the proud owner of a pair of jazz shoes and a pair of tap shoes because I have signed up for a contemporary jazz class and a tap class (both for beginners because, well, I’m a beginner). I’m very excited. The first class is a week from tomorrow.
While I was out shopping for these shoes, John spent the afternoon upstairs with Riley, who still isn’t allowed on the furniture. The last time we allowed him to sleep on a piece of furniture on a regular basis (a wicker loveseat we kept on the sun porch in our last house almost TEN years ago), he ate it. Chewed it all to bits ATE it. So now, Riley isn’t allowed on the furniture, and he knows it. We know he knows because he never tries to get on the couch or the bed when we’re at home (only when we’re away and he thinks he can get away with it). Usually. He’s getting bolder. Today, with John just across the hall in the office, Riley got on the bed twice. I guess his dog bed with an old cushy comforter on it isn’t soft enough anymore. I’ll know he’s made the next logical leap when he tries to get on the bed while we’re still in it.
This makes so much sense. You know what doesn’t make sense? Radio stations. And holidays. The DC area’s easy listening station is ALREADY PLAYING CHRISTMAS MUSIC. What is wrong with people? Everyone knows Christmas music season doesn’t start until the day after Thanksgiving.
I found my boots! And I’m never shopping again. Seriously, I am all shopped out. So back to yesterday’s trip to the Waterford Fair:
Pop quiz, Jess: What kind of chickens are these?
All I know is they were cute and fluffy and not at all phased by the crowds of people streaming by. This sheep wasn’t particularly bothered by people or dogs, now that I think about it. I guess the people of Waterford socialize their livestock.
Frosty the Puppy was terrified of the big bad sheep. They eventually went nose to nose, but then the puppy ran away.
Oh my god, guys, the high for Sunday is only going to be 51 degrees. It’s 80 today. Is the world insane? (Yes, but for other reasons.) Are we all going to get sick now from the temperature ups and downs? (Again, yes.) Am I going to make sure I spend some time enjoying the warm air this evening? (Very much yes.) I may also stop by DSW on my way home. The weather may be nice for the last time this year, but I’ve got priorities.
My friend Stephanie and I spent FIVE HOURS outlet shopping today. We tried on all the clothes at the Ann Taylor and Banana Republic Factory Stores and bought half of them, and then we visited every single shoe outlet there. Struck out on shoes, though. I’ve lost track of what I’m looking for, except for a pair of black pumps that I can wear with anything for work and a pair of boots. I didn’t find anything remotely like the boots I want. I’ve been noticing people wearing them, but I don’t know where they’re from. I’ll be heading to DSW again soon. I checked Zappos and they’ve got what I’m looking for. I’d just like to try some styles on before I order.
I’m looking for something like these:
Type Z Mamie
Lucky Brand May
Romantic Soles Brooke (Wide Calf)
Gabriella Rocha Abbey
Enzo Angiolini Visco
They’re casual, something I wouldn’t be afraid to really wear (I don’t want to have to worry about scuffing them, so I want boots that can take it), looks good with jeans… I love boots. Before I buy anything else, though, I’m going to clean out my closet. For real. I wear the boots I have, so they can stay, but most of my other shoes will go. I mean it. Clothes, too. I’ll be ruthless.
I feel like a slacker when Derby Day comes up and I haven’t planned any sort of Derby party. Oops. But I’m watching (of course).
I had a very successful shoe-shopping day, and once the Derby is over and we’ve eaten, John and I are going to go to our local comic book store for Free Comic Book Day and then hit up the Haagen Dazs around the corner for a sundae.
I’ve read in lots of places (I can’t name a single one, but at this point, it’s probably in the public consciousness so I don’t have to) that to be successful at losing weight (or at anything), it helps to set up little rewards at certain milestones. I found my first little reward. But I can’t have it yet. I had the afternoon off work today (left early to take my data modeling exam (got an A), and had a couple of hours left over), so what did I do? I went to the mall. Horror of horrors. I wasn’t in a shopping mood, but John needs new brown work shoes and he has enormous feet so no one ever has his size in stock. I went to Nordstrom because I know they’ll order or transfer shoes from other stores so he can try them on before buying. Nice people there. And while I was at the mall, I decided to shop for skinny jeans. Not because I’m particularly skinny, but because it’s time. Sadly, I’m between sizes. So my reward for losing the next few pounds will be a pair of skinny jeans. Mostly so I can wear my boots over them. My shopping mood didn’t last long (it never does), and I escaped from the mall before it could ruin my day. Malls have a way of doing that.
Seriously, could today have been any better? Only if it had unicorns and sparkles. And it’s not over yet. There’s hope. Sure, we got up super early on a Saturday, but it was only so we could go to the giant used book sale that happens every six weeks in a warehouse in Annapolis. Worth it. AND I had a croissant and my favorite candy-coffee from Starbucks for breakfast on the way (tall, skim, no whip white mocha with two pumps of toffee nut – yes, I’m one of those now). Extra worth the early wake-up. AND we hung out with Jess while looking for books and then having bagels. Better than extra worth it. And THEN we went to IKEA and bought two more bookshelves, upper shelf extensions for those two plus the six at home that didn’t already have them, plus two wall shelves to go over the couch (and hold more books – maybe the graphic novels?). We’ve spent the afternoon since then putting the shelves and the extension together while watching Law & Order: SVU, and now we’re going to pick up dinner from somewhere and settle in and watch a movie.
A day like today makes me so very happy. Books, best friend, shelves, dinner, and a movie, a whole day hanging out with John, and sure, I didn’t do any calculus like originally planned, but John and I worked it out on the way home from IKEA. Today we get the furniture part out of the way and relax a little. Tomorrow, we’ll run, mow the lawn (it grew, like, two feet in 8 days), and do homework (my calculus, his thesis). Sunday is the responsible day.
Yesterday, I went to the mall. (Cue the screechy violins.) I had an Ann Taylor LOFT gift card (my mother who loves me sent it for my birthday), and they were having a 30% off everything sale, and I found an outfit. Went to the counter, asked about my gift card, and found I can’t use it in the store. It’s an e-gift card, and I can only use it while e-shopping. Not a big deal – I wrote down exactly what I planned to buy and continued my shopping (Target, Home Depot, other stores in the mall to find shoes for this new outfit I couldn’t buy, etc). When I got home, I hopped online, found the website (30% and free shipping on the website!), put the skirt in my shopping cart, found the top, and that’s where I got stuck. Turns out the top isn’t available online. In stores only. Really? REALLY? SO irritating. I ordered the skirt anyway. Today, I went back to the store. I was in and out of the mall in less than 10 minutes, maybe less than five.
But just because my return trip was relatively painless doesn’t excuse Ann Taylor’s behavior. Why would any retailer NOT sell everything online? Yes, I know malls are endangered, and yes, they got me to visit their physical location TWICE in two days, but they also made me a tad less likely to order from them again. A tad. A teeny tad. That was a good sale. And free shipping. Who am I kidding? I’m still irritated, though.
I heard something a little (a lot) ridiculous that made my mall visit more palatable. On my way out, I went through the shoe department in Nordstrom and listened to the pianist by the escalators. I heard the opening chords of something familiar, but I couldn’t place it for a minute. Then he got to the chorus and all of a sudden I recognized it. Why would anyone bother to arrange a piano-only version of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”?
Why do I still ask these questions? A quick search on YouTube found lots of piano versions of it.
I think I share that problem with many many many many other people. There’s so much cool stuff! I mean, check out these earrings. How cool is that? Geeky, yes, but there’s a whole category called Geekery, and I’m very tempted by those earrings. They might be a little too long for me – that’s the only reason I’m hesitating. And these owl magnets…I’ve been looking for magnets for my desk at work, and these are adorable.
Etsy is on my mind more than usual today because two of my favorite bloggers, Bridget and Spokeit, have Etsy shops for their photographs. I only found out about Bridget’s today, and so we have today’s post.