confession fashion shopping

guess how much I just saved at the mall …

$663! My husband was a little scared when I told him the good news, but he sometimes forgets that I am a world-class bargain shopper. (For real. I have trophies.)

And just how much did I have to spend to save so much money? Half as much as I saved. (Ok, ok, half as much as I saved plus $10.) That’s right, by waiting 2 months to buy my leather jacket, I was able to get 3 turtlenecks, 4 sweaters, a pair of slacks, a pair of jeans, 3 pairs of khaki-jeans, a hoodie, a bathrobe, a tote bag, AND that leather jacket, for the original price of the jacket.

I love 75% off January! Mostly because I like a good bargain, but also because I love jackets, sweaters, and boots. And I would be broke if I paid full price for everything in my jacket-sweater-boot closet. Which, consequently, now has more room in it since I moved those pesky trophies to my new trophy room …

confession food shopping

tartar sauce

The other night, at Dairy Queen, I stole 4 packets of tartar sauce.

Now, it’s not about the money. I can afford tartar sauce. I just never seem to be able to remember to buy it when I’m at the grocery store. And when I eat my fish-sticks-frozen-dinners, it really makes me sad when I don’t have any tartar sauce. You might wonder how I can remember to buy fish sticks, but not tartar sauce – it’s because the condiments aisle comes way before the frozen foods aisle.

So, anyway, the other night, I found myself at Dairy Queen, waiting for a fish sandwich, a basket of chicken strips, and 2 blizzards – and I saw a bin of tartar sauce packets. I was ordering a fish sandwich, so I figured I had good cover – even though the sandwich comes with plenty of tartar sauce already. I donated a quarter to the leukemia kid, and then I pocketed me some tartar sauce.

As we speak, I’ve got a fish-sticks-frozen-dinner cooking in the oven. And I am looking forward to enjoying the first of my stolen goods.

fashion shopping

cowgirl pants

Thanks to a generous gift from my husband’s grandfather, I am now the proud owner of my very own cowgirl pants. The generous gift being cash, not the actual garment.

I grew up in Washington state (NOT cowgirl country), so I was unaware until very recently that there was such a thing as cowgirl pants. When I pressed the issue with my husband (born and raised in Texas, very much cowgirl country), all he could come up with was, ‘Tight. Real tight.’

When we got married a few years back, I bought myself a cowgirl hat. A shapeable, black-and-gray mottled number, accented with turquoise bits. It’s perhaps a little flashy, but it tickled me, so it joined my collection of hats I never wear.

A few months ago, I found a cowboy store in Frederick, MD, because my husband decided he needed a new cowboy hat. He didn’t find anything he liked, but I sure did. I found my very first cowgirl shirt! It’s a completely impractical rhinestoned-handwash-only piece, but it really is quite becoming. And since my husband didn’t find anything he liked, I had to buy something to make the trip worthwhile. I’m pretty sure that’s the law.

And that’s when I found out about cowgirl pants. My husband informed me that none of my jeans cut the mustard as cowgirl pants. When he couldn’t explain what, exactly that meant, I gave up all hope of ever finding any.

Until I found myself in Texas with $100 (thanks Danny!) burning a hole in my pocket, and in close proximity to all kinds of western wear stores.

And so I tried on all kinds of jeans, all the while with my husband saying, ‘No …. tighter …’ I finally found the perfectly tight pair (I’m pretty sure I can only wear them on skinny days). And then, of course, I needed some authentic boots. And also, I was informed, a rhinestone belt. The first belt I fell in love with was $85, so I quickly fell out of love, and found a … cheaper option.

Now, my outfit is complete. Someone find me a rodeo!

life shopping

merry christmas to me

Thanks to the magic of, I made out like a bandit this Christmas. As you get older, Christmas becomes less about the stuff you get, and more about spending time with family and friends, and with finding the perfect gifts for others. So, imagine my surprise when I came home from my visit with the inlaws with a suitcase full of stuff that I love. And I owe it all to amazon!

Amazon has this wondrous invention called the wishlist. You can add anything amazon sells to your wishlist – and amazon sells EVERYTHING. Books, cds, dvds, jewelry, clothing, kitchen gadgets, appliances, toys, electronics, food – you name it, and they probably sell it. (After a quick check, amazon does not sell automobiles or livestock. So, I guess they don’t have quite everything …)

After you’ve made your wishlist, you can prioritize and comment on the items. This, of course, so others know what’s really important to you, and what’s just mildly intriguing.

And the best thing: you can mass email your wishlist out. So then everyone knows what you want! And then – you get stuff you want. And you can’t quite help feeling like you’re 6 years old and Santa brought you everything you asked for.

(Just a quick shout-out to my folks – I love the gift cards! Any time I can enjoy my favorite pasttime guilt-free is a happy day for me. Or should I say, was a happy day for me …)

life shopping

rediscovering an old love

I recently rediscovered something I had once loved so much: the Tysons Corner mall.

I had forgotten about my favorite mall. It happened slowly, over a matter of years, as I moved from Fairfax, to Reston, to Herndon, to Ashburn. Each move took me further west, and further from the best mall ever.

I had to go to Tysons Corner on Monday this week because it’s the only place I know of in the area with an Apple Store. And, well, I needed to go to an Apple Store because my mac mini was going to be available for pick up at my local FedEx after 8 pm that evening, and it had dawned on me early that morning that I had neglected to buy speakers for my mac mini.

On Apple’s website, I found speakers that rivaled the mac mini in adorability. I checked Best Buy and Circuit City’s websites for the tiny Sony speakers, but to no avail. It seemed that if I wanted the speakers of my dreams, then I would need to go to an Apple Store.

Usually, my husband hates malls. Even more, he hates going to malls with me, because I am capable of spending hours and hours in a mall. And, well, that’s just torturous. But – the prospect of going to the Apple Store was enough to pique his interest, and so we headed to Tysons Corner after work.

The Apple Store was a bit of a disappointment, as they did not have my tiny Sony speakers. But – while looking at the Directory to figure out where, exactly, the Apple Store was, I happened to notice that there was also a Sony store. And so we went to the Sony store.

On the way to the Sony store, it dawned on me that they seem to have added new stores to the mall. I don’t know if they added a wing or a floor, or what, but there are definitely more stores there than I remember. And also a theater! And an upstairs food court. With a Five Guys. So after I found my tiny Sony speakers (yay!) we got dinner, and caught a movie.

Most people might say that a food court is not the ideal place for dinner, but I disagree. My husband eats cheeseburgers. And when he wants to mix things up, he eats a bacon cheeseburger. I happen to like mexican, italian, chinese or bbq every now and again – and so a food court allows us both to be happy. Especially a food court with a Five Guys. (Best burgers in the world. Just ask my husband. He knows burgers.)

As we walked through the mall, I remembered all the good times . . . my roommates who worked for the Victoria’s Secret . . . the dilly bars from the Dairy Queen . . . checking my email at the Apple Store when I didn’t have internet at home . . . the dinner party I arranged with a big group of acquaintances at the Rain Forest Cafe just to avoid a date, and the guy I wanted to not date didn’t even come (mission accomplished!) . . . the dress I bought that I wore the night my husband proposed . . . Christmas shopping . . . and, well, shopping.

The great thing about Tyson’s Corner is the atmosphere. Everything is fancy and expensive looking. But they’ve got all the normal mall stores. There’s GAP and Old Navy, Payless Shoes and Claire’s. And there are plenty of not-quite-Sak’s-expensive stores. You can pretend like you’re really a part of the whole “I’m so rich” fantasy that everyone in Northern Virginia is caught up in, without having to actually really buy anything from Nordstrom or Banana Republic. You can go to Sephora and sniff coffee beans between whiffs of every perfume known to man, browse the Bombay Company as if anything there actually matches the decor in your home (if, uh, you’re talented enough to have ‘decor’) and get a makeover at one of the Hecht’s makeup counters. AND you can play with Discovery Channel Store gadgets, buy $5 shirts from Old Navy’s clearance rack, check out the displays in the Lego Store (they have Batman legos now – I think my embarrassingly large lego collection may soon get even larger), and buy gum at the CVS. In short, it’s the best place in the world. There’s a reason I have so many fond memories of the Tysons Corner mall. I have a feeling I will soon be going back – sans husband – to make even more.