Category Archives: Shopaholic Mama

Just Because

It took two attempts and a two hour wait on the second try to get a New Jersey driver’s license with a neutral facial expression required, eye glasses prohibited, and indents on both sides of my nose inevitable. Apparently, residents of New Jersey are obligated to look like serial killers, or at the very least, exhausted and unhappy in their driver’s license photos. Actually, I think the wait might have helped. By the time they called my number, I was on the edge of clinical depression.

After leaving the Motor Vehicle Commission, I went to Nordstrom because, well, just because.


Holy moly. Just. Because.

It so happens that Nordstrom is having their Anniversary Sale, which means as a store credit card holder, I can buy exclusive items behind exclusive curtains at exclusive prices. What I thought I might/maybe/possibly/perhaps buy was a pair of Birkenstock sandals I’ve had my eye on because I do a lot of walking in my new hood, but before I hit the shoe department, I took a quick peek upstairs in the women’s department because, well, just because.

I secretly hoped I might find a great deal on a bathing suit. There are a few weeks of summer left, you know. Sadly, the swimwear department – what was left of it, anyway – was a hot mess of random and too skimpy for me tops and bottoms. As I turned around to head back downstairs in search of sandals, my eye caught a frenzy of shoppers behind a curtain. I walked toward the commotion out of curiosity, and what I found was astonishing. There were racks upon racks upon racks of…winter coats! Winter coats, people! WINTER COATS! It’s JULY!

Now listen. I grew up in Massachusetts. I also lived in New York City for half a dozen years before moving to South Florida. I know what wicked cold feels like, and I know what’s required to get through a Northeast winter, but I’ve been living in the Sunshine State for over a decade. On my tropical planet, Uggs are for ice skating rinks and flip-flops are a 365-days-a-year, four-season, day or night fashion DO. Eleven years ago, I landed on a jet plane in Miami and promptly put my ribbed Gap turtlenecks and boxy, v-neck J. Crew sweaters in a plastic crate and forgot about them. A few weeks ago, I arrived in New Jersey knowing full well that there would be winter wardrobe shopping to do, but I had no idea it would happen so soon!

I’m no fool. I bought a three-quarter length, black North Face insulated parka for a great price, and I must thank Caroline, who was working in the dressing room, for helping me understand the timeline for purchasing such seasonal items as well as accommodating my “new girl” naïveté.

“Am I supposed to buy a winter coat now?” I asked Caroline.

“You’re funny,” she said. She mistook my stupidity for schtick.

“No, really,” I said. “Am I an idiot if I don’t leave here today with this coat?”

She paused for a moment and then said, “The prices will go back up.”

As the new kid on the block, I’m keen on listening to those in the know, and Caroline knew things. She helped me choose a coat style with the right length and thickness, and she assured me that with an appropriate scarf on top and strategic layering underneath, it might be the only coat I’ll need for the winter. We’ll see, Caroline, we’ll see.

With an extra-large shopping bag in tow, I headed back downstairs to the shoe department. Sadly, I didn’t find the sandals I was looking for, but I want you to know that I stopped short of buying boots, even though there were many winter-inspired footwear styles to consider. I’m not ready for boots any more than my toes are, so my new North Face friend will have to hang in the closet all by herself…for now.

I did, though, take a stroll over to Anthropologie, which, coincidentally, is located in the same mall. I won’t spare you the details of what happened there. Just know that I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately. And my driver’s license photo.

Just because.





*Proud Shopaholic since at least as far back as this caricature drawn at a bar mitzvah in 1988.



Filed under moving, Shopaholic Mama

On The Move


I suck at sharing big news. I blurt it out awkwardly, say nothing at all, or make a bigger deal than I should. A few years ago, I told you I had a big announcement, and then I teased you for a several weeks prior to revealing that I bought the domain name for The Runaway Mama and switched from a Blogspot to a WordPress blog. Voila!

The process of transitioning my blog platform and buying the rights to the URL were big leaps in my writing journey, but you thought I was pregnant, so when I finally let the cat out of the bag, you were like, “Um…okay.” The ordeal left all of us disappointed because (1) you hoped I was having a third baby, and (2) I felt fat.

I have big news again, and while some of my friends know about it, I’ve yet to write about it. Frankly, it scares the crap out of me, and every time I say it out loud, it feels more and more real and I get more and more anxious. I’m a nervous Nellie on an average day, so now I’m basically a raving lunatic.

Some of you might still dare to believe I’m having a baby, even though I’m on the doorstep of forty and geriatric in the obstetrics and gynecology community. Just like my BFF, Jen Garner, I do have a baby bump, but I’m not pregnant. Some of you might be wondering if I have some kind of cancer. It’s a sad reality for many, but that’s not the news either (thankfully), which reminds me that I need to make an appointment with my dermatologist. Still, some of you might be wondering if I’ve finally written a book. If only.

Here it is.

I’m moving. Out of state. Back to the New York City area. Soon. Like, in a month or so, or several weeks, or a big bunch of days. Holy crap. (See “raving lunatic” reference in paragraph three.)

I know what you’re thinking. No biggie. Whatevs. “Um…okay.” I could live in Maine or Miami and still be the same Anxious Crazy Shopaholic Mama you’ve come to know and follow (thanks, by the way). But it is a big deal, and it’s not just because I have to pack up a house full of hoarders. It’s because I’ve lived in Florida longer than I’ve lived anywhere since I left home for college. The Sunshine State has been the backdrop of more than a decade of my life and marriage and nearly all of my 30s. I have permanent flip-flop tan lines on my feet to prove it!

It’s also where I became a mother.

If this period of my life had a theme, it would definitely be motherhood (or poop). As I throw out, give away, pack up, and prepare to embark on a new journey with my brood, I’m caught between the adventures and opportunities that await in our new locale and the sadness I feel for the friendships and support (and babysitters!) we’re leaving behind. We’re starting anew, but we’re also starting over, and that’s all kinds of scary.

I’m not ready (at all!) to deal with the emotional toll of moving away from friends and family, but I’ve started a mental list of things I’ll miss about living in Florida, including 72 degree winter days, Publix (where shopping is a pleasure), flips flops as an eternal fashion “Do,” and witnessing rain in the front yard but not in the back yard. (That never gets old.) There are things I’m looking forward to in our new locale, too, like the first crisp fall day, shopping for a winter wardrobe (boots, Baby!), and watching in awe as my boys see snow for the first time in their lives.

Of course, I’ve thought about future blog ideas, including “How to Get Your Boys to Wear Pants in 53 Simple Steps” and “Shopaholic Mama Presents: Sweaters That Flatter Every Dog.” Since moving is number three and sandwiched just below divorce and right above major illness on the list of life’s most stressful situations (revisit “raving lunatic” reference in paragraph three), there’s plenty of inspiration for blog posts right now, like “Top Ten Ways to Distract Your Kids While You Throw Out Plastic Easter Eggs, Inflatable Carnival Prizes, Deflated Balloon Animals, Happy Meal Toys, and Other Crap That Will Go on the Moving Truck OVER MY DEAD BODY.” (That title might need some work.)

Stay tuned, my faithful readers, because The Runaway Mama is on the move. But not preggers. Seriously. Not knocked up. No bun in the oven. Are we clear?

Have you done (i.e. survived) a long distance move with your kids? Tell me about it.


Filed under anxiety, Anxious Mama, Crazy Mama, moving, Shopaholic Mama