This Saturday started out innocently enough.
“Let’s go get breakfast,” my mom said. “Let’s go shopping and spend the day together.”
“Good enough for me,” I thought as I sipped on the most perfect vanilla latte from Eat Chow. With Kaitlin across the table, I devoured half of the eggs benedict that I intended to split with my mom, but after taking a few bites of their Breakfast Carnitas Tacos Special, I made the yucky face and pressured my mom to gimme back my eggs benny! I hadn’t gotten to go on my usual Black Friday excursion this year due to a lack of wingman (Rule #1: NEVER go to Black Friday without a wingman– or too many wingmen, for that matter) so I was looking forward to the hustle and bustle of shopping between Thanksgiving and New Years. Rushed madness.
The goals were set out and easily achievable. Our shopping list included, but was not limited to:
1. Boots for Kaitlin
2. Formal Dresses for a ball (yes, a ball as in Cinderella) for Kaitlin and Mom. And sort of me too– I already had a strong option, but hey- did looking ever hurt anyone?
3. Jeans for Kaitlin
1. Style Compass
2. Moral Support (which I was running low on thanks to a sudden wave of nausea that hit me fast and hard– I blame the Breakfast Carnitas Taco Special)
3. BUY NOTHING.
So when we drove to the mall (South Coast Plaza, to be exact) our positive spirits were immediately uplifted by the fact that we got the pole position and that the mall was virtually empty at 10:30. We walked around Loehman’s searching for the perfect gowns (yes, gowns as in Cinderella), but didn’t find much.
I found cool knit gloves and a sweater with a wolf on it. Sold.
Next we hit DSW for boots and Nordstrom Rack for gowns leaving with no luck for Kaitlin and Mom in regards to the list.
I found comfy pajamas. Sold.
By the way, let me just mention that at this point, the mall had filled up to it’s normal yet completely overcrowded post Thanksgiving capacity and between the three of us, there had been close to 50 failed ball gowns. Emotions were already running high and blood sugar levels getting dangerously low.
We convinced mom to keep the faith and Kaitlin suggested that we try Macy’s. From my perspective, this had “Bad Idea” written all over it. I knew Macy’s was going to have amazing sales therefore bringing in large crowds. And for our group of 2/3 non shoppers and 1/3 grumpy nauseous Julia, I didn’t think it would be such a good idea. But, we went anyway thanks to me wielding my main bargaining chip of knowing that Madewell was on the same side of the mall as Macy’s. And I just really like Madewell.
This is really when we got to see the differences in Kaitlin and my shopping style. Kaitlin is of the school of “grab everything– something is bound to work” (a strong and valid strategy) while, I prefer a more focused approach of “in order to maintain a healthy amount of morale and self confidence let’s just choose things that we actually think have a fighting chance.”
Kaitlin won. So we tried on about 20 more dresses. One of which turned out to be absolutely gorgeous on Kaitlin. Sold.
Still nothing for mom, though. And after sitting quietly in the corner as she tried on dress after dress after dress that I knew were not going to work even before they were off the hanger, I had to stand my ground on the red dress. The red dress was a monstrosity that Kaitlin felt strongly would look great on mom. I felt strongly that it would not. After trying to convince them that it wasn’t even worth our time to even try it on, Linda pulled it on and zipped it up. This is when I start sounding crazy. The fatigue and hunger and nausea of the day culminated in that smelly dressing room with the sticky floors and I couldn’t take it anymore. I burst into tears and laughter. Simultaneously. And then separately. And then in a weird sort of pulsing crying, laughing, crying, laughing pattern. Every fiber of my fashion major being wanted to scream and I had visions of every single professor in Eckburg screaming “YOU FAIL!” at me. Yes. The dress was that ugly. Mom and Kaitlin agreed, but looked at me like I was crazy as I just sat there underneath a mountain of dresses that I was supposed to be hanging back up and let my freak flag fly. No shame. Tears and laughter. Laughter and tears. So, while mom consoled me and tried to figure out what in the world was wrong, Kaitlin made one more sweep of the gowns that we had yet to try. She came back with one. Mom tried it on. Gold. Pure gold. Sold.
I found nothing at Macy’s. Because I hate Macy’s.
While Kaitlin checked out their boots, mom tried to console me and what can really only be described as a tantrum with makeup products. Trying to channel the J.Crew ads of late, I had impulse bought some orange lipstick earlier this week at CVS that I was pretty pumped about later discovering that I was the only one who thought it flattered my alabaster complexion. So she gently suggested that we try out some more colors. We went to Mac. We found the perfect red lipstick. With a brazen lip and my second wind, I put my now terrifying hair into a top knot and my mood was immediately changed.
The rest of the day kind of blends together in a storm of people and purchases. Somehow I ended up with a pair of booties from Aldo, a skirt and sweater on sale from J. Crew a dress (also on sale) from Madewell and two identical pairs of wide legged jeans also from Madewell (hey– if you find jeans that work, work them hard).
As we left the mall, I looked at my phone and saw that it was literally 5:00.
As in 7 hours after we got there.
And 7 hours since breakfast.
And 8 shopping bags later.
By the way, Kaitlin found boots and they are amazing. And also three pairs of jeans from Madewell that make her butt look like a million dollars.
As we drove home with the smell of Dorias pick-up infusing our car, I dramatically laid down in the back on the car and recounted the happenings of the day. As I did, I realized that we had in fact made all of the necessary purchases and then some. So was it worth it? Were the crowds and the mayhem and the mountains of failed clothes all worth the deals and the successes that we walked away with?