We came. We saw. We shopped.
|From left: Aileen, Arcelie, Jess, Sara. I'm the one with the glasses and the cart full of practical towels... what can I say? I know how to party.|
Not pictured: Beth and Laura.
When we got there, the sky was overcast but the store was bright and buzzing with bloggers--and bagels! After a brief but warm welcome, the HomeGoods staff handed out our gift cards and set us loose.
I'd never been in a HomeGoods before. Turns out it's kind of like a Crate & Barrel but folksier, and with merchandise you're not as afraid to touch. The upper level had dishes, cutlery, and kitchenware--including prepared foods, which I was incredibly tempted to buy but which I knew would sound ridiculous when I explained it to my husband: "Honey, you'll never believe what I scored: five cases of root beer and a three-month supply of biscotti. No, no, listen... almond and espresso"--while the lower level housed more substantial furnishings like lamps, rugs, and tables, bedding, towels, and linens, and various decor and gifts. I had imagined myself tearing through the store throwing items into my cart with targeted precision as a price tally dinged above my head, but instead I wandered, kind of awestruck, unsure of what to buy. Why is it that when we're broke, we covet everything, and when we have cash to burn we can't make a commitment?
I think much of my hesitance had to do with my oh-so-practical spouse. I am convinced that we can use pretty much anything in our apartment--it is a fact that Jeff once had to physically restrain me from accepting an offer of a rolling wicker bar cart from a family friend that looked like something Blanche Devereaux might have designed for HSN while intoxicated. (If you are thinking, Wait, that sounds awesome!, you are totally right and I still regret not going back for it)--while Jeff takes into consideration things like floor space and whether things are actually, you know, useful.
My original plan was to buy things for our nursery, but the baby section was limited, so I ultimately decided to spend my time in the bedding, bath, and beyond. I knew we needed towels (our current motley bunch bore tears, stains, and an unmistakable air of sadness), so I picked out a set of eight by Ralph Lauren (four a shade of moss green, four the color of fresh-churned butter), and threw in a new bath mat (moss green) for good measure. My imaginary Supermarket Sweep overhead tally jumped to $70.91--more than 70% of my total spent in one aisle!--but it was cheap for what I was getting and I knew I'd be happier choosing things we actually needed rather than impulse buys like, say, a trio of patriotically-dressed mice:
|Kidding. I had no impulse to buy this. But I'm sure someone will love it very much.|
I paused to pose for a baby bump shot with my friend Arcelie...
|That may or may not be a plate of food in the top of my cart.|
I'm pregnant, so shut up.
... and then made my way back upstairs to spend my remaining $30.
(Meanwhile, while I was loading enough towels into my cart to soak up a monsoon, my friends were making out like bandits. Sara scored a rubber spatula, a set of bowls, a pretty picture frame, a lettuce knife, and an outdoor tablecloth; Aileen bought a ceramic pan, a low-fat cooking pan, a veggie slicer, and wine glasses; Beth found a Le Creuset pie dish, floral napkins, two sets of 10 Vera Wang notecards, a set of her favorite Crabtree & Evelyn products and--most importantly--candy; and Laura picked up sweet fig liquid hand soap, a Ralph Lauren fitted sheet, and a citronella candle in a stone pot. Jess, however, was so indecisive that she bought 20 felted hangers and spent the remaining $39 of her $50 gift card on another gift card. Hahaha.)
With time running out, I set about finding something else that Jeff would be proud of, and that we could actually use. As I passed the kitchen section, my mind drifted to all of the times we'd carve chickens or turkeys on the quaint $4 cutting board I'd purchased the year after I graduated from college (2003) and watch in helpless horror as the juices rained down upon the floor. I grabbed a sturdy wooden cutting board twice the size of our current one with skid-resistant legs and a well around the perimeter specifically designed for roasts. At only $16.99, it was a steal. And I still had cash left to burn! And then, as I was waiting in line to pay, I spotted it: an adorable lemon yellow package stuck in among the check-out tchotchkes. The brand was Mrs. Meyers, so I figured I'd like whatever it was, and at $5.99 it would bring me right up to my $100 limit (I really wanted to come as close as possible without going over, so that I would win on the imaginary Price is Right episode I was living). As luck would have it, it was a tube of lip and cheek balm... for babies! So I managed to get my little bun in the oven a gift after all.
Sure, it brought my total to $102.22 (I'm sorry, Bob! I failed you!), but it was worth it.
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