TRAVEL THERE: MY KIND OF SHOPPING AND MORE
I love shopping. Actually, it would be more correct to say I love buying. I’m perfectly capable of wandering through a bazaar or market in a faraway place, just to get a feel for the place, but for me, it’s a lot more fun if there’s buying involved.
My husband has finally cured me of that – at least when he’s around. I used to come home from trips with a souvenir from every stop. I collected trinket boxes and Christmas ornaments. I loved to find handmade clothing and jewelry. I gathered up souvenir booklets like some people collect baseball cards. In the early years of our marriage, this practice created great discomfort for Bill. He followed me around with his eyes full of pain and flinched at every purchase. I didn’t pay close enough attention, so he started helping me understand his point of view.
Collecting just doesn’t make any sense to him. To Bill, all my gorgeous trinket boxes seemed like clutter. He’s suggested I store most of them and only put out a few at a time. What once held pride of place, on the fireplace mantle of my apartment, is now hidden away upstairs on a shelf in my office – along with all my framed family photos, my large collection of books and … well you get the picture. I don’t have to allow much room for souvenirs in my return luggage, anymore.
From time to time, I’ll have a lapse of judgement. We’ll be traveling and I’ll pick up an item with that look in my eye. Bill goes into panic mode. Trinket boxes and Christmas ornaments are strictly taboo. If I’ve picked up an item for the house, Bill wants to know exactly where I plan to display it and of course, he really loves what’s there and doesn’t want to replace it. Whatever it is, it won’t be coming home with me. Clothing and jewelry? Forget about it. He asks what I’m going to throw away or donate to make space for the new item. My only hope of making a purchase is when I find a gift for someone else. It takes some of the fun out of it.
The Exceptions to the Rule
While he can’t see the value in that cute straw purse on the beach or an embroidered sweater in the Alps, Bill does understand I know my way around an outlet mall. He fully endorses my outlet shopping. Mind you, he rarely goes with me, but he also doesn’t need resuscitation when I come home with armloads of shopping bags. See, he knows that cute straw purse on the beach has a mark-up somewhere in the range of 100%, but if I buy a top at an outlet mall, they’ve almost had to pay me to get me to carry it out.
I’m also allowed to buy shoes at DSW. I never look at anything unless it’s on the clearance rack and even then, I’ll only look at things that are 50% or more off. What I love is the yellow stickers, because that means they are marked down 80% or more.
San Marcos Premium Outlet
For some reason I cannot fathom, I never shopped at the San Marcos Premium Outlet – at least not in the last 20-30 years. It seems as if long ago I might have gone with Mom and Aunt Edie, but I think the stores may have been on the other side of the road – and none of the stores I loved this time were there.
You know I love San Antonio and get there every time I can, but for some reason, we’d just drive right past this outlet mall or stop in Salado. It pains me to think of all the bargains I’ve missed.
Deb and I started at Off 5th, the Saks outlet. I’d been looking at white pique dresses all summer long, but could not tolerate spending $150-200 for one dress. At Saks, I took several reasonably priced options to the dressing room and found one for about$20 that I loved. (I didn’t even know I was headed to Egypt on my next trip. Imagine how cute I will be, going out to dinner in Sharm!) Then off to the shoe department. Score!! Ellen Tracy brown crocodile pumps with a leather stack heel for $16.99! $16.99!!
After that auspicious beginning, my purchasing slowed down, but I did pick up a few items here and there. Then we wandered in to Dream Land. I pride myself on looking designer without paying designer prices, but I confess, there are designers I love and if money were no object, as my spouse if fond of saying, I’d load my closet up with them. My new favorite is Carolina Herrera. To my utter delight, she has an outlet store in San Marcos. The prices are still a little out of my reach, but they are closer than the ones at Northpark. Armani, Brahmin, Coach, Ferragamo – all these and more grace the sidewalks of the San Marcos outlet mall.
But let me tell you my favorite. I love St. John. I can pick out someone wearing it a mile away. There’s a sleek elegance I aspire to that exudes from each St. John creation. Their store is not exactly on the main drag, so we had to wander a bit to find it, but I adored the few moments I spent there. No reason to spend any more, because nothing was in my price range.
At a final stop, we found a handbag for my bestie. She’d been willing to pay $100 for something adequate at the Saks outlet, but we agreed to keep looking. She got a Brahmin for about $120. I was giddy. She hoped I was spending her money wisely and now I think she agrees I did.
Then it was time to head back to join the women who had spend the day in Gruene, because we were headed out to dinner. See you next week!