First post of the New Year and it’s about all the stuff I bought New Year’s Eve.
To clarify, I work in a mall. And I work a lot, like 30-40 hours per week. I have no car, and I work way too far away from where I live for walking or biking. I could move closer, but I work in the suburbs and live in the city because frankly it’s cheaper to live in the city and there’s more stuff to do. So my only real form of transportation is the public sort. I walk about 10-15 minutes to my closest train station, I take the train (about 5-20 minutes depending on the wait) one stop up to it’s end where I catch the (literally) only bus that goes out to my mall. The ride is 30-45 minutes long, beginning to end, and the bus leaves approximately every hour. My travel time between work and home is at least an hour on a good day, two on a bad one.
Recently, I’ve been working more due to the holiday season. And the holidays mean that the buses run reduced Saturday or Sunday schedules rather than slightly more active weekday schedules. Even a shift that starts at like 10 in the morning and goes til like 4 pm can be a hassle. That means I’m up at 7am, out the door at 8, catching that bus I need at 8:45 and am at the mall by about 9:20 so I can work at 10. If I actually leave at 4 (and not more than 2 minutes later or I miss this bus and have to wait 45 minutes for the next one) I can catch the 4:12 and I’m home between 5:08 and 5:23pm. The only computer (out of 6 in my house) is my boyfriend’s. If he’s home, I have no internet access. So online shopping can be difficult for me (especially since I’m trying to get a new computer ordered and shipped to my house so we don’t have this problem.) I also tend to leave for work before most local stores are open and arrive home as they are closing or decidedly after. So area shopping is ridiculously difficult. Especially because my days off are either on weekends when the stores aren’t open or have limited hours or I’m so busy trying to catch up with housecleaning and grocery shopping that I never do get to actually go pleasure shopping.
Or in this case, holiday shopping. I had my dad covered. I went to Target after yoga one day and they had a HUGE DVD sale. I got the fourth season of SNL (one of the old ones from the 70’s with the Blues Brothers sketch and Frank Zappa hosting. Who my dad loves.) for like $15. I’d be lucky to find it for $30-$40 regularly, even online. My boyfriend needs to get dragged with me to the store because his gifts are practical. One, he needs slippers for his feet because this computer is situated in a very drafty part of the house (right next to the collapsed part of the ceiling. I mentioned the house needed some work right?) and it get’s REALLY cold over here. Like wearing layers plus a coat and mittens at the computer cold. So slippers are really useful here. Also he’s getting new boots. Like good, expensive, long-lasting Timberland work boots or something. Something he’ll destroy in a year rather than in 2 months. But I need to take him to get those things fitted.
Christmas for my family came late, as my sister and her boyfriend work during the holiday for time and a half pay. So we had our Christmas dinner and presents on Friday the 30th of December. That was when we exchanged most of our gifts. I got a whole bunch of Hello Kitty stuff directly from Japan from my sister who apparently found it all at a local Goodwill. And I’m supposed to be getting my box of Christmas stuff from my mom in the mail sometime soon. My sister’s box came before mine did for some odd reason. So as it was, I had no gifts to give my sister, her boyfriend, or my best friend (with the exception of the concert tickets she knows I’m buying for her as a Christma-Birthday present.)
My sister’s birthday is right around this time as well. The 31st, actually. Yeah, my sister is a New Year’s Eve baby. So I knew a couple things I was doing for her, which was going out to dinner/bar hopping along Hertal with her and baking her a cake (which I did yesterday when I went over there for dinner and cards. It’s a Yin Yang cake. Pics to come on my Facebook.) So I had no gifts for her for Christmas or her birthday. And I was working on both Friday and Saturday the 31st. But on Saturday, I had at least a 40 minute wait for my bus so I spent that time doing a little shopping. And not just shopping for her; I picked up a few things for me too. See the awesome part about working in a mall is that I can leave my coat and backpack and stuff at work and just shop.
So I started at the opposite end of the mall, at JCPenny’s. I went there specifically for their sale on graphic t-shirts. Mostly because I wanted to get my best friend a new one. She now has a red Mario t-shirt with the red mushroom and the caption below it reads “Oh grow up!” I managed to snag myself a Peanuts t-shirt, one of Charlie Brown in his shades “dancing” and the caption says “Everyday I’m shuffling.” It’s cute. I manage to restrain my urge to go into Sephora’s and buy tons of awesome makeup.
I pass by other shops (stopping to wave to my kitties that the animal shelter keeps out and looking cute so you can adopt them) and land at the dollar store because surprisingly they are carrying booster packs of Pokemon cards. My best friend is still a Pokemon card collector and you can’t beat the price (a little less than $2 a piece, whereas at stores like Target you’re paying like $7 for 2 packs.) so she now has a couple of packs of Black & White waiting for her.
My next stop is a toy store called Raff & Friends because I know they have stuffed animals and I’m looking for a cute sheep one to give my sister. She adores sheep, they’re her absolute favorite and she can never have enough sheep stuff. I figure if sheep aren’t available, then they should have squirrels and that’s almost as good. I find a Ty beenie thing that’s a sheep with these giant eyes, kind of like the squirrel thing from Madagascar.
When Meg saw it, she freaked and squealed. She now calls it her “cracked-out sheep.”
I bypass most department stores and high-end stores like NY&Co, Aero, American Eagle, Macy’s, Bon-Ton, and Express. They never carry what I like and/or their prices are too ridiculous to even consider. I can get AE jeans at Amvet’s for about 90% cheaper than buying them new.
So the next place I hit up is Spencer’s. They have a whole bunch of stuff in there that’s right up my friends/family’s alley. For instance, they’re carrying a whole bunch of hats shaped like the heads of either well-known characters (like the Ninja Turtles or Cookie Monster) or animals. So my sister gets this black kitty hat with the ear flaps and puff-ball ties that’s got the kitty with green eyes and a snarl and one eye is “missing” (it’s all x-ed out.) I think she might’ve liked that more than the sheep. But Spencer’s also has stuff like body jewelry (and since my naval is pierced and so is my best friend’s lip, that’s useful) wallets, jewelry and pint glasses and shot glasses and stuff. (They also have more….ahem….adult oriented stuff, but I only buy that with my boy around.) This time around, they had a lovely sale on all their glasses. Buy 1 get 1 50% off. And they’re relatively reasonably priced to begin with. For instance, their pint glasses are made of some heavy duty glass, so it’ll take a bit of a banging and isn’t so fragile. I don’t mind spending $10 on it if it’s going to last a good long time. Their shot glasses are fairly sturdy too. And they have stuff on them, like said well-known characters or funny quips like “I need a shot to wash down this shot.” My sister’s boyfriend really likes shot glasses and pint glasses so this is a perfect opportunity to find something for him, so I end up getting him a black pint glass with Marilyn Monroe’s photo on it. It’s quite a sexy glass. But I want to take advantage of the deal so I get my best friend an adult sippy cup (made of the thickest plastic I think I’ve ever seen, so it’s nicely insulated to keep things either cold or hot depending on your drink) with the Ninja Turtles on them. I have an urge to buy the fingerless gloves with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on them from Ghostbusters but I resist that one.
And right near Spencer’s is Bath & Body Works. Now this store is pretty amazing. Firstly, most of their products (including the CoBigalow cosmetic line they carry) are made in the USA. Secondly, their products don’t tend to irritate my sensitive skin. And right now they have their Hello Yellow clearance sale going on. So the first thing I pick up are their seasonal scents they’re trying to get rid of. I tried both the Strawberry Sparkler and the Jingle Bellini lotions in the travel size. The full size lotions usually go for about $15 a piece. Thanks to the sale, I got both those scents, full size, for only $3 a piece. Major score. Meg got the Strawberry one (which she likes despite it smelling a little sweeter than she likes) and I took the Jingle Bellini because I love love love how it smells. Then I found a few of the travel size sprays for half off ($2.50 instead of $5 a piece.) So I grabbed a Japanese Cherry Blossom for Meg (because I own a big size one of that) and I grabbed a Moonlit Path and a Country Chic for myself. I’ve liked Moonlit Path for a long time and I really wanted to try that Country Chic so it was a good fit for me. I also got two of their seasonal scents of anti-bac (a hand sanitizer) for $.50 a piece. They’re kinda tiny, but $.50 is a good price for the size and I’ve been thinking I need some and I know the Bath & Body Works brand dries my hands out less than the more alcohol like drugstore ones. Also, they smell prettier. I got a Winter Cranberry scent and a Thanksgiving scent that literally smells like cranberry sauce. As if you had just opened up a can of it. Yum.
After that, I ran down to Sears to grab a t-shirt for myself that I’ve had my eye on for a while. It’s from the movie Despicable Me and it’s all in purple with one of the yellow minions disco dancing on it and it says “One in a minion.” So adorable. I also caught a Mariah Carey fragrance gift set for a way reduced price. It’s got roller ball applicators of her three lollipop bling scents: Honey, Ribbon and Mine Again. And they look like little lollipops. I swear that woman makes the best fragrances. I already wear her Luscious Pink one on a regular basis. The only one I don’t like is the original M by Mariah Carey scent because it’s a shade too musky to smell good on me. Heavy scents (like musk and vanilla) just don’t work with my body chemistry. They smell too heavy, like I’m wearing too much. Sweet flowers and fruit scents smell better, as long as they’re not too sugary (cotton candy and sweet pea smells better on people that are a little younger or whose body chemistry works well with the sweetness.) The only flower I tend to avoid wearing is lavender because it puts me to sleep.
Oh, and I grabbed a calender from the kiosk. I got a Thomas Kinkade Disney Dreams calender for my kitchen for Christmas but I wanted one for my bedroom and since they were all half off I grabbed a Yoga Cats calender. So cute!
Which concludes my shopping spree. As you can see, I got a lot and I’m pretty sure I didn’t spend more than $100. It’s not really about how much you spend, it’s what you actually come away with when you spend that money. By hunting out deals and avoiding stores that overprice their merchandise (more so that the other stores in the mall) you can come away with a lot for relatively little.