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Bibbidi, bobbiti, boo

July 9, 2010

AJ and I had a field trip today to the Ginormous Mall about a half an hour away. One of my nieces, the youngest of the three who live nearby, has a summer job at a law firm near there. Since I’ve been wracking my brain to find AJ things to do this week with no camps, we made plans to take my niece to lunch. She suggested Rainforest Cafe, for which I was grateful, because AJ had an excellent time. Actually, we all had an excellent time. As kid-focused establishments go, RC is one of the more tolerable. Sure, it’s campy. The ceilings are covered in vines and there are jungle sound effects and the occasional thunderstorm. The waiters are called “Safari Guides” and they dress in khaki. But the food is not too terrible and in case of emergencies, they have a bar. And they have truly impressive fish tanks, enormous and full of huge tropical fish, the likes of which I’ve not seen anywhere but at large city aquariums. We were seated underneath a rainbow and next to a waterfall with a good view of the fish. I enjoyed having a chance to visit with my niece by herself, without her sisters — we seldom see our nieces one-on-one. She’s getting so grown up. We really had a lovely time. And I didn’t mention her college search once. Aren’t I a good aunt?

Since I had to go to the mall, which I hate, Mr. Spy told me I should buy some clothes. I’ve been complaining a lot because I’ve been trying not to buy clothes for so long, that most of my things are ancient. And to make matters worse, I’ve gained enough weight in the last 6 months that many things no longer fit properly. I’ve been scrounging to put together outfits to teach in. AJ was a trouper. Before lunch, I parked him on a sofa in Anthropologie with my iTouch and proceded to try on everything in the store. I’ve learned that in Anthropologie, most of the clothes that look cute on the hanger look awful on and vice versa, so I try not to get too judgmental until I get in the fitting room.

This fit very nicely, but was a little boring.

This was cute and got bonus points for being cut well for the well-endowed — slightly stretchy fabric and some extra attention to the way the buttons were sewn on. But its shoulders were rather aggressive.

Still, I’d consider either of them if they get marked down.

I fell in love with this:

It looks totally shapeless on the hanger (and in the picture), but I loved the color and it was incredibly flattering on. I can imagine several things I could wear it with, but it was more than I wanted to spend. Still, I’ll be looking to see if it goes on sale.

I ended up buying two well-cut T-shirts that were marked down to Old Navy prices. I also got this:

which I never would have picked up if it weren’t for the color (exactly the same fabric as a favorite garment that met a sad demise on a letterboxing expedition a couple of years ago) and the fact that nearly every employee of the store was wearing it in some color or another and it looked good on all of them.

I also bought this:

It’s elegant and drapy and so soft and I love it. I kind of want to sleep in it.

After lunch, AJ and I went to the Lego store, because he had $19 in saved-up allowance burning a hole in his pocket. He discovered a table where you could pick out body parts for little Lego people and we had a great time putting together all kinds of characters. He came home with three of them and also a kit for a Lego game, the name of which I’ve forgotten but which is clearly inspired by Harry Potter.

After the Lego store, I dragged AJ to H&M. This time there were no comfy couches for AJ to sit on. I told him he’d have to stay with me. “And besides,” I said. “I could use your help finding things to wear.”

AJ took his job very seriously. He really has amazingly good taste, especially for a 9-year-old boy who sometimes forgets to put on underwear. He shook his head at a few things I picked up and picked out a few things I never would have tried, one of which, a tunicky top, I ended up buying. I found a pair of linen pants for a mere $20. But the best find of the day was a gorgeous grey long Eileen Fisher-like cardigan, the kind of thing I could throw on to go to yoga or use in lieu of a jacket when working in an office for a mere $20. Nothing makes me happy like clothes I can afford. AJ went over to check out the kids clothes. He liked a pair of grey plaid shorts with a perfectly clashing turquoise checked belt. But even he had to admit he didn’t need another pair of plaid shorts (his aunt keeps buying them for him). But he did pick out a simple black sleeveless t-shirt for himself. So everyone went home happy.

When we got home, Mr. Spy was still at the hospital visiting his mother, so AJ and I grabbed a snack and then jumped on our bikes to ride down to the baseball fields. We each had our own ulterior motive. AJ wanted to watch The Boy Across the Street play in his All-Star tournament. I wanted to log some baby time with The Boy Across the Street’s 8-month-old brother who is 8 months old and suddenly getting really fun. Both of our wishes came true.

Happy Friday.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2010 10:59 pm

    You have good taste in clothes. I especially like the navy tee and drapey shirt, probably because they look so comfortable. What are you doing for pants/shorts/skirts?

  2. freshhell permalink
    July 10, 2010 8:13 am

    I like those tops! You know my feelings about shopping. Esp when shopping for the next size up. Sigh. Looks like you did well.

  3. July 10, 2010 12:58 pm

    I know one other mother who can go shopping with a son. That’s not an experience I’ve ever had, nor is it very common, from what I’ve seen…

  4. July 10, 2010 1:16 pm

    Julia, pants/shorts/skirts are a perennial problem. The new linen pants will help, and they can be worn full length, or cropped with a button tab cuff, which gives them flexibility. But otherwise, I’m working with things that I’ve already got. The skirts are in particularly dire shape, although after looking at my options, I’m thinking that I will either a) figure out how to sew one or b) hit the thrift stores for vintage. Freshhell, shopping is gradually getting less excruciating as I get better at it. I’ve given myself a few rules over the years to help me be successful. Nothing is worse than dragging myself to a mall and wasting my time coming home with nothing. I have, at most, a 2 hour attention span. My rules include: 1. Preshop. The night before a planned trip, I check out the websites of stores I will visit. 2. Start with the place that takes the longest. For me, this is Anthropologie, because I have trouble imagining their clothes on and try on anything that looks vaguely interesting. 3. Shop for signature items first. This is another reason why I like to start with Anthropologie, because I tend to find pieces there that I’ll build an outfit around.. 3. When possible, avoid department stores. I find them too overwhelming. 4. Buy only what you love or enables you to wear things you love (like T-shirts and bras). 5. Know your limits. I always set a budget before I go. I also know that I can really take no more than 2 hours of shopping time without my head exploding. Jeanne, it does help that I try to make sure there are a few fun things for him to do to, but he also enjoys going. He told me how much fun he had on the way home. I think it’s also that we went and did something together and he got treated like a big kid.

  5. July 10, 2010 4:33 pm

    I recently had good luck with the tall sizes on sale at Talbots and Ann Taylor, although I was looking for work clothes and you are probably not. But they might be worth a try anyway. I find Ann Taylor Loft to be more casual (too casual for work) so I rarely find pants there – but I think they also carry talls online and frequently they are on deep discount.

    AJ seems like a good sport. It is nice to have the nod or shake guy opinion, too. I tend to use Kid B that way.

  6. readersguide permalink
    July 12, 2010 10:29 pm

    Gosh, what a day!

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