OMG–I’m A Maxinista!

My younger daughter has been asking me to take her dress shopping, so the other day I took her to the mall to look for a graduation dress…she’s soon to leave middle school behind. She tried on a lovely, green, lace dress that fit her perfectly. She didn’t like the neckline. She didn’t like any of the other dresses either.  She ended up trying on shorts and tops. Meanwhile, to kill the time, I tried on a few things. I ended up with a navy dress and a green top that I could wear with a suit or with jeans.

I’ve previously mentioned how dangerous it is for me to take my daughter shopping, but on the other hand, I do need some new things. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that somewhere along the way I lost my clothes-shopping gene. I mostly rely on my closet, the internet, Target, and more recently CAbi home shopping parties. With my older daughter home for Easter, the girls corralled me into taking them shopping. At first it was just a trip to Target for deodorant (“it’s all gone, Mom!”), but soon a side trip to TJ Maxx was innocently tacked on in the guise of dress shopping.

I got out of Target spending under $20. I mention that only because it is unprecedented. by anyone. ever. We got back in the car and headed down to TJ Maxx. I’d been there once before to buy my daughter a Royal blue peacoat for her birthday…a very specific request, and one that didn’t require me to spend much time in the store.

I trailed my daughters to the dresses and my younger daughter eagerly showed me a dress but then moved on. I took a look at the dress, which was a bit sophisticated for a 13-almost-14-year-old. Her size wasn’t on the rack, so I looked through another rack and found it. When I showed it to her, she said, “oh, not for me, Mom…for you!” Huh. It was lovely.

As my daughters shopped, I went through the active wear rack. Hmmm…I found a pair of long running shorts. They’ll be nice in warm weather rather than wearing knee-length tights. Then I found a windbreaker with a hood…nice for running in a light summer rain. Eventually I tried on the dress. Wow. A winner! Then I needed shoes. There wasn’t much of a selection, but I found a pair of nude pumps, the new classic, in my size.

CandlesAs my kids continued to shop, I found some candles that were just perfect for a pair of clearance candle holders I’d recently purchased from Target. My daughters caught up with me with their own finds and, tearing ourselves away from the rest of the merchandise, we headed for the check-out.

A little shopping goes a long way with me, but I’m happy to have not one, but two, dresses to choose from for Easter.

Find the Joy in the Journey and the Joy in spending time with your children as they grow up.


The Dangers (To Mom) Of Teen Shopping

It’s been decades since I was a “shopper”. Once I had kids, I had no money for shopping-as-recreation, so I stopped. That explains why I have so many clothes and all of them are appropriate office attire…if it were still 1990. I didn’t really eliminate my shopping habit, I just turned it from buying stuff for myself at high-end department stores to buying stuff at Target for incredibly practical purposes.

On Sunday, I shopped…and I bought myself some things. I never would have even been at the mall except for my younger daughter. She’d been bugging me to take her and her friend to the mall and I used the old, someone-has-to-shovel-the-driveway-first stall. Then she (and her friend) actually helped me shovel the driveway and I was on the hook.

I asked if this were a “drop you off and come back for you” event, or a “bored mom waiting for you to shop” event. She informed me it was the latter. I thought about whether or not there was anything I needed at the mall and realized I need new black flats. I have several very old pairs…which for some reason no longer fit me. Sometime, between having my last child and now, my feet have grown half a size. So, I dug up a 20% savings pass for the main department store and took the kids to the mall.

They took off for Hot Topic and a photo booth, and other attractions only known to young teens. I shopped. I bought black flats…and the same shoe in brown. At one point, she came back for more money because she’d forgotten about the sales tax. Hmm. I shopped some more. I bought some warmer gloves…it’s -30 degrees Fahrenheit lately and my running gloves no longer cut it. I bought a purse…I buy a new one about every 2 or 3 years…I still haven’t found the perfect one.

I called my daughter and she was supposed to meet me in another 15 minutes, so I shopped some more. I paused at the Franco Sarto exhibit…I’d somehow missed it when buying shoes the first time around. I held a pair of boots in my hand and contemplated the sales price less my 20% discount. I put them down again. I looked at a pair of black heels…I was sure they would be perfect for almost any of my work outfits. The boots, they were calling me, but I could only wear them with one pair of pants that I own.

With a terrible wrench, I put the boots and shoes back and turned away from them. Memories flooded back of the fun of shopping with no care in the world…buying the latest fashion and returning again and again for a shopping fix. That was my life as a twenty-something, childless, working  woman.Shopping

These days, I am about clearing out the closet, replacing old, worn-out or out-of-date items with new items. So, one in, one or more out! I’m working on that. This unplanned shopping spree has helped me move this cause along…but I stopped short of an all-out buying spree. Out with several pairs of flats, both black and brown. As for the purse, maybe I’ll put it up on eBay…but definitely taking it out of circulation.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the pleasure of making a change.

Clothes Shopping…What a Difference 25 Pounds Makes

Several years ago, I needed a dress for a special occasion. I’d gained a lot of weight since the last time I’d bought a dress and I ventured out to the mall. I’m not much of a shopper, preferring to buy online for whatever I can’t get at the grocery store or Target. My journey to buy a dress included an episode of me in tears on the floor of the dressing room. It wasn’t pretty! I did find a dress that was just perfect for me, but it’s a dress that is now two to three sizes too large for the new, fit me.

This season, I have many occasions to wear a dress…something quite uncommon for me. I am not averse to wearing the same dress many times…I’m a frugal person and cost-per-wear has real meaning for me. Even so, I can’t wear one dress to four or five occasions where I’ll run into many of the same people.

I have a lovely, albeit a bit too large, floral dress that I’ve already worn to a wedding of a close friend and to a bridal shower for my future niece-in-law. That dress is now retired for the season, if not permanently. I have the same dress in black in a smaller size which I’ll wear to my daughter’s graduation. Looking forward, however, I still needed a dress for my nephew’s wedding. I’d worn the floral to the bridal shower and the black isn’t appropriate for a wedding. This left me with the need for a new dress.Maxi Dress

Meanwhile, I needed a pair of shorts to wear to a golf outing I’m going on today. I tried on the shorts I wore last summer, but they were at least two sizes too large and were really ridiculously falling off of my hips. I did, finally, find some shorts in my new size from years ago…but they were a tiny bit too tight in the waist. So, off to the mall I went…

This trip was a lot less depressing (no tears) but still frustrating. I hadn’t dressed properly for clothes shopping and at first I would bring one item at a time into the dressing room. I found the dress right away, but picked the wrong size. I had to get dressed again, including lacing up my shoes. Then I looked all over for shorts and found nothing but Capri’s and Daisy Dukes. I did find more dresses, so I tried on several more, one at a time. I found a couple I liked, but in the end decided to stick with the one I’d found first.

I finally found the shorts, just one style that was appropriate for golf. I grabbed my size and found them way too big. There is no consistency in women’s clothing sizes! The shorts I bought are a size smaller than the shorts at home that were too small. The dress, which fits perfectly, is the same size as the too-big dress at home. No wonder I hate clothes shopping. By chance, I found a sweater to go with my dress as I was waiting to pay for the shorts. Now I’m ready for the wedding!

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes you have to dress for the occasion!

IKEA in Ten Minutes

I don’t go to IKEA often because it’s not nearby and I’m generally too busy to go shopping unless it involves feeding my family and keeping us all clean and entertained…in other words, Target is my store of choice and there are three in a four-mile radius from my house. But when it came to stocking up on significant numbers of wine glasses for an upcoming party, IKEA had the best pricing.

Last week I picked my daughter up from latchkey and dropped her off at basketball. This left me an hour and a half to get to IKEA and buy the glasses. I thought I could do it. Fortunately I had a back-up plan for my older daughter to pick-up the younger. Rush hour traffic made the trip take longer than going on a weekend, but eventually I pulled up to the enormous store and parked by the entrance. This was probably my fifth trip in as many years, and fortunately it was nowhere near as busy as the weekend and/or holiday shopping I’d previously experienced.

Still, I thought I had a map of the floor plan in my head and could whip in, grab the glasses, and check-out all in half an hour. I snuck in through the checkout and back through the warehouse to the “marketplace”. Then I rushed through the entire first floor, weaving back and forth as designed by the IKEA folks so that I went past every item. I was going through the store backwards, and I got quite a few confused stares from those people following along in the “proper” direction. I knew there were short-cuts, but I also kept thinking I was “almost” there. No, the glassware is all the way in the front of the store, probably feet from where I entered but with no direct route from the Entrance.

I had printed out a shopping list from the IKEA website, which was really handy. I found all the things I needed except for red wine glasses. Whereas there were hundreds upon hundreds of the other sizes, no reds to be found. I got some advice and a phone number from an associate and retraced my steps to the checkout.  From entering the store to exiting, I was there for an hour. I had walked quickly all the way, a one-hour “quick” dash.

This week, having ascertained that the red wine glasses, four pallets of them, had just arrived, I left work during my lunch break. Even though the traffic was lighter, I still only had about 10 minutes once I arrived to get the glasses. This time I did what I should have done the first time…I looked at the map. Aha! If you go up the escalator to the “showroom”, you are only 20 feet from the stairs down to the glassware department! Time to get to the wine glasses? About one minute.

Sure enough, the glasses were there and I grabbed what I needed. Now, using the map a second time, I found that you can basically hug the wall that backs-up to the warehouse to the back of the store, then back through the warehouse to the front. (I was tempted to just go back up the stairs and down the elevator, the escalator being one-way, but I was concerned I’d be accosted by security for shop lifting!) I did notice quite a few people with only one or two items following the same path…obviously they are veterans of IKEA! I was out the door and in my car in ten-minutes flat despite taking a leisurely pace. A personal best!

Sometimes it’s enjoyable to stroll through an entire store, but sometimes the joy is in efficiency! Find the Joy in the Journey!