My Pre-Vacation Shopping Strategy: Like, Go to the Mall. Duh.


I’m leaving on a trip to London this weekend and exactly one thousand details are whirling around in my mind. Finish up tasks at work and for the blog, make to do lists, make to do lists for my to do lists – by the way, who’s taking us to the airport? – and, finally, pick up those last few items on my packing list.

As hectic as it is, the thing I love about fulfilling my packing lists is that it’s kind of like back to school shopping! Each summer I’d turn giddy as I’d arrive to the school supply section at the store and search for the supply list posted for my grade and class. Pens, binders, silly pencil cases… it was like mandatory retail therapy. The best part was the trip to the mall with my mom to get back to school outfits. Imagine as an adult that someone carves out a day devoted to buying you all new clothes… We had it made as kids didn’t we?

The nearest I can get to that feeling nowadays is putting together a packing list for vacation and frantically trying to fulfill it before departure. How am I going to find time to grab a strapless bra and a shirt and dry shampoo and blah blah blah? I’m leaving this week, so online shopping is out. My strategy comes from those back to school days… Go to the mall.

Like totally, duh.

The other day I packed up the kid and headed to the Tacoma Mall to take a crack at my carefully considered list. After putting together my wardrobe for the trip, I was convinced I needed a white off-the-shoulder cotton top to go with my jeans and blue-striped skort. I found a great one for $17 at H&M (not pictured), but the funny thing is, I would not have found that online. I have this thing with touching everything that I buy. I like to feel the fabric, try it on, and decide for myself if the $17 price tag is just a good price or indicative of cheapy construction. You know what I mean?

And to go with that white off-the-shoulder top, I needed a cute but practical light-colored strapless bra to go under it (my current nude strapless has so much padding that I feel like a milkmaid in it). Next in my list-making, I discovered I was dangerously low on my daily foundation. These are must-have items and I was running out of time. I can’t go to London feeling like a milkmaid in desperate need of a selfie filter!

I’m being dramatic, and everything was fine / is going to be fine. I found what I needed in an actually super quick trip to the Tacoma Mall. We rolled out of H&M and into the Gap, Old Navy, Sephora, and back to the place I always park, Nordstrom, in what felt like less than an hour with my shopping list considerably full of check marks. You could say it’s luck, but I chock it up to organization and focus. I found:

  • White off-the-shoulder cotton top (must be cotton), found at H&M
  • Cute, nude-ish strapless bra, found at Nordstrom (mine is Betsey Johnson)
  • Laura Mercier foundation, found at Sephora
  • Dry Bar Detox dry shampoo, found at Sephora
  • Mini travel containers for my moisturizer and cleanser, found at Sephora

My super zen shopping takeaway is this: always have a list and a strategy. And the mall is always handy when you have a big list and not a lot of time. #FoundAtSimon


Full disclosure: I was given a $100 gift card to shop at the Tacoma Mall (my go-to local mall) in exchange for this post, which is awesome because now I have all those things I needed for my packing list. How cool is that?

Flatlays co-styled by Kyle & Co

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