Outlet Shopping

My friend/business partner P. and I went to a medical conference last week in San Antonio, TX.

I lived there from 2005-2008, so this was a Homecoming of sorts for me.

I introduced her to the prickly pear margarita.

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And we saw Dolly.

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Yes, that was The Real Dolly. She was gracious and gorgeous in person.

I also had dinner with my dear friend J. and we had some of the most beautifully presented sushi I’ve ever had.

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Yes, two of those plates are on fire.

On our last day, P. and I also hit up the San Marcos Premium Outlets, which are about halfway between San Antonio and Austin, and all the way to Awesome. 

The last time I went to the outlets was two years ago, on a trip to Austin with my friend A. She and I both had extremely good luck with our finds and I was hoping that P. and I would have a similar fate.

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We did.

Here were the best deals of the day:

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At the start of our trip, P. and I both said that we wished we had a backpack for travel. The Tumi store did not disappoint. There were at least ten different styles, most for about half off retail. P. selected a more business-y version than the one above, which was my choice. It’s roomy and the chunky zippers make it casual enough for leisure travel.

Kate Spade had some witty finds, including this cute bunny coin purse:

And this tee:

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Yes, Glitter *is* my favorite color.

And how about that scarf?

It has a sibling:

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These Burberry scarves were an ok deal. I was disappointed because they had a lot of coats for about 75% off, but I didn’t quite find one that worked. I had to pump the brakes because I was finding all kinds of ways to justify buying an ill-fitting Burberry coat simply because it was a deal. Luckily P. said – nicely – to walk away, and I did. Sigh. No coat.

We also had a family photo last weekend and I also had the pressure to find something coordinating for us to wear. For Spouse and MGM (10), I found shirts at the Vineyard Vines outlet. This was my first time shopping there and I will be back. Trixie (8) got a sweater from J. Crew in a color that picked up the plaid pattern in Spouse’s shirt. I decided to repurpose a blouse I already had but added a sparkly necklace from the J. Crew outlet.

Overall, P. had similar luck. We had to stagger back to our hotel room and then comically cram our bags with our outlet finds to make it home.

The last bit of our trip found us having breakfast with my terrific friend L, who was kind enough to meet us in the A.M. even though she’d been up delivering babies all night.

Successful trip. I miss you, San Antonio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s End

Lately, I haven’t had much to say.

Not that things weren’t happening; they were. 

We’ve been trying to get settled into our new place, which has been interesting. 

The location is great and being in a rental house means overall less worry about things like home maintenance/improvement. But the small size has been a huge adjustment, and I felt self-conscious introducing myself to our neighbors as the New Family in the Tiny Rental House in the Middle of a Neighborhood with Otherwise Extremely Expensive Tear Downs.

That’s the thing to do here: buy an older house in a prime location, knock it down and start from scratch. The tab for all of this is typically $1.5-2 million, which leaves me scratching my head as to how this is so widespread or possible.

The kids also started their new school yesterday. It’s only a 5 minute walk away, which is terrific, and MGM (10) has finally agreed to hot lunch, so there’s one less task to do each day.

I remain cautiously optimistic.

More to come.

Cold and Colder

If you’ve been keeping up with me, you’ll know that I’m in a career transition that involves relocating to a (bigger, better) new city.

Specifically, that city is Minneapolis, MN.

Even though it’s only 100 miles due north from where I’ve been living, it still manages to routinely be 10-15 degrees colder.

And that’s saying something.

This week the temps dipped into the negative single digits, and that’s not counting the windchill.

After shivering in my light down Patagonia coat and repeatedly asking myself why I live in the Northern Hemisphere for several days, I finally realized I would not survive without a warmer coat, especially when I now have to park my car outside.

Getting into a freezing car and waiting for it to warm up is a particular kind of torture.

After a bit of research I settled on this Fjallraven Nuuk parka:

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It’s waterproof, windproof and has synthetic fill and faux fur. I still haven’t even explored all of the pockets and features, but there is a phone pocket with earphone cord cut-out in addition to several interior and exterior pockets. The waist can be cinched and overall, this coat is flattering, as far as winter coats go.

Did I mention it’s incredibly warm?

Before I purchased the coat my friend P. and I were discussing different outerwear brands, specifically Moncler and Canada Goose.

Moncler parkas start at about $1400 and go up to – wait for it! – nearly $6k. 

Those prices make the Canada Goose parkas seem like relative bargains in the $750-1200 range (although most are reliably $900).

My two cents:

  • I need a warm coat.
  • I like stylish things.
  • I still can’t justify buying one of those super pricey parkas.

Here’s why: if you’ve ever lived somewhere brutally cold, you’ll know it’s a common phenomenon to have to either check your coat at restaurant or event (this is the preferred option, especially with a receipt and people to actually guard the coats), hang it yourself in a rack that is usually in an unsupervised location, or throw it randomly on a pile in someone’s bedroom if you are at a house party.

All of these choices leave you, on some level, hoping your coat is still there when you’re ready to leave.

And it would absolutely stink to have someone steal your $1400 coat and then have to freeze your way home.

Moral of the story: Never buy the most expensive coat in the pile.

So I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong: the Fjallraven Nuuk is still a really nice coat. If you decide to invest in one, know that they run big.

To top off the coat, I also decided I needed a hat like this:

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This Ted Baker beanie is fun to wear, and warm. Perfect combo.