I was grumpy on Thanksgiving. We had been quarantined for almost three solid weeks at this point (the first two a result of a potential COVID exposure, the last one because we’re heading home to see my mom), and our house was a mess.
Correction: our house was a dirty mess. The cleaners haven’t come in three weeks, and Mike and I are long out of the habit of cleaning anything. Apparently, we’ll sit in filth before we’ll attempt to locate the vacuum cleaner.
I was also trying to pack for our trip aaaaand work. (Black Friday is kind of a big deal when your job involves shopping for a living.)
The boys — Mike included — had been given a list and were told to lay out their items for approval before packing their suitcases. I’m not typically this controlling, but have learned over the years that my husband, while good at other things, is a terrible packer. Like so epically bad…that it almost seems…willful? And yet he appears genuinely surprised, every time, when we reach our destination and his gaff is revealed. Like the time he packed for a Michigan winter and only brought t-shirts (no sweaters, no coat). Or the time he just completely omitted socks and underwear so we spent our first day — in France, no less — trying to figure out where/how to buy boring basics while jet-lagged. Or he’ll decide to randomly change it up and bring fancy dress shoes on a ski trip. (him, clad in athletic pants and shiny black shoes: “Does this look stupid?” me: “Yes.”)
A buddy of ours snapped a pic of Mike on a ski trip a couple of years ago. Mike had forgotten to pack shirts — like zero shirts — other than the sweaty base layers he wore skiing all day. So as we’re all lounging around the hotel fireplace having a few drinks, Mike is reclining as far from the fire as he can, clad only in sweatpants and an unzipped ski jacket.
We all make choices, bare-chested Mike. WE ALL MAKE CHOICES.
Anyway, I am eyeing Mike’s current choices to the sound of shenanigans coming from the boys’ room. This is nothing new — our boys seem to mess with each other like it’s their full-time job — but this time I Am In No Mood. I stomp downstairs and find their room draped with clothing (they must have been throwing things around) and see them whipping each other with shirts. “Guys!” I say. They ignore me. Pax whips his shirt at his brother’s head, then launches himself on the bed, clothing exploding up around him. Raines leaps—
“GUYS!” I say, louder. Raines ignores me and tackles Pax, pinning him down while pummeling him with — here his hand scrabbles around on the bed and finds, yes — a pair of pants, which he promptly stuffs into his brother’s face. Pax wriggles out, sucker-punches him in th—-
“AUGH!!” I yell, loudly (words are meaningless at this point, only volume is required), and both boys immediately freeze.
“Mom, did you want something?” Pax asks. They blink at me, patiently, their expressions blank and innocent.
I breathe in — deeply — through the nose.
Several minutes later — under strict supervision — they’ve re-grouped their clothes into piles for approval. I reject Pax’s too-small button-down (not even sure where he found that old thing) and the huge stack of jeans. “Pick one” I tell him. He informs me that it would be a “waste of time” to figure out which pair still fits, so instead, he’ll just pack them all.
So yeah — by the time Thanksgiving dinner rolled around (just re-heated Whole Foods, thankyouverymuch), I was done.
Mike, amused that he was no longer my biggest packing problem, shooed me upstairs with a glass of champagne, promising that when I came back down, the kitchen would be…well…better. I heard him giving the boys tasks…his voice getting louder and louder as the boys continued wrestling.
I went upstairs and washed my face. Peering critically into the mirror, I prodded at my skin. Cupping my face in my hands, I gently pulled up. A younger, but slightly-surprised-looking me stared back. Was this how I used to look? I turned my head from side-to-side, inspecting my temporary face lift. Would I look 5 years younger? 10? I could still hear sounds of scuffle (and the occasional boom of Mike’s voice) from two floors below.
Stalling, I turned on my curling iron. Why not? I carefully applied a dark, smokey eye and bright lipstick. Too much. I wiped the lipstick off, and added a few bends to my hair. Better.
Moodily, I stared outside. God, I hate being cooped up. I looked out at the darkening sky and envisioned myself as some sort of tragic figure. Lady Jane Grey, staring out of the bloody tower. Marie Antoinette. Feeling properly dramatic, I walked over to my closet. A gossamer gown, perhaps? Social Threads had just sent over a pair of sequin joggers, and while they didn’t match my chosen narrative, they did seem….sufficiently extra. So I pulled them on and — after discarding a handful of tops as ‘too pedestrian’ — I descended the stairs in head-to-toe sequins.
The boys — now wisely clad in suits (god my husband gets me) ooo’d and ahhh’d as I descended down the companionway to the kitchen. We quaffed champagne and root beer, partook of our reheatad repast, and excitement was had by all on this enviable evening.
We finished our night by curling up on the couch and watching a few episodes of Schitt’s Creek. There’s something about that Moira Rose, though…something about her seems vaguely familiar. Hmmm. I can’t quite place it.
High-fives, us. Gang, I’m pretty proud of our small business coverage this year. Not only did we include a bunch of small businesses in our Black Friday/Cyber Monday cheat sheet, but I’m especially excited about the gift guide I put together (it can hang with any gift guide I’ve ever published, small business or no), and Abby pulled together a directory of TME-approved small businesses. You can find all of our small business coverage (including some recent try-ons for Social Threads and NINOBrand) under the Shopping dropdown menu. Look for Shop Small.
What have I actually bought this Black Friday? I always get this question and, as a blogger, I’m never sure how helpful my answer will be. The Absolute Best Stuff I typically buy before Black Friday (ie — not on sale), so by the time Black Friday rolls around, I’ve already worn and tested out key pieces, and am better able to let you guys know which pieces are worth snapping up. I constantly joke about doing “research” but it’s actually true. (That faux-leather Abercrombie puffer is a perfect example.) That said…I have splurged on a few fun items. So, FWIW:
From Nordstrom: My black JSlides (seen here, in Detroit) were such a hit last year that I snapped them up in taupe (at 47% off). I also bought these understated-yet-edgy earrings in the gray and gold, and this romantic-punk top by my longtime fav French brand, Maje.
A word of warning: I also bought and returned a bunch of rag & bone skinny jeans from Nordstrom. Nothing was wrong, I just realized my closet is already well stocked with rag & bone skinny jeans. If interested, this wash looks NOTHING like the photo (it’s a dark blue), but is actually sweatpants-jean comfortable (highly recommend), this wash is by far the coolest, and this ‘clear foil’ wash is actually denim covered by some weird holographic coating — steer clear.
From Bloomies: That faux-leather Abercrombie puffer I love so much is almost sold out…but I saw this oversized faux-leather puffer on a blogger somewhere and was blown away by how good it looked. So I ordered it to try — it’s currently 25% off.
From NAADAM: I have all of the Naadam a girl could ever need, but I did get two blue sweaters for Mike (he can pick one): This waffle-knit cashmere sweater in navy, or this blue marled knit cashmere sweater. SO GOOD (and 40% off).
From Abercrombie: I am wearing their high-rise denim leggings as I type this from Day 1 of our 17-hour car ride…and they’re the perfect travel jeans. Also, if you can get your hands on a pair of their classic sweatpants OH MY GOD I love the fit. I’ve been wearing mine at night with a silk cami.
From CAMI NYC: I always go right to the source on Black Friday, and, sure enough, not only is their sale the highest (30% off everything), but they have the best size and color selection of my most-worn top year-round: Cami NYC’s racerback 100% silk cami. I picked up another black one, a buffalo plaid one, and a pecan-colored one with matching sweatpants (for ‘research’— we’ll see).
Parachute Home: Someone is getting new linen sheets for Christmas this year. That’s all I can say (I don’t want to give it away).
Debating the Always Pan: Em can basically get me to buy anything with her gorgeous food photos and her annoyingly spot-on, persuasive writing…but this article was one of her best. Dammit.
Feedback on our Black Friday coverage….There are two times per year that our coverage starts to border on obnoxious: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and…Black Friday. I KNOW. We’re constantly trying to find that balance of being helpful, without overwhelming everyone. How did we do? I’d love some feedback for next year. Personally, I’m a fan of our cheat sheet — basically just a big list of the sales we care about. But beyond that…what’s helpful? Do you like the contributor-based roundups — Em’s Picks for Black Friday, Laura’s Picks For Black Friday (we did this last year — here’s my old one as a sample)? Or did you prefer what we did this year: Best sweaters on sale, the best boots on sale, etc. Another option? A post for each brand/retailer (best of Abercrombie, best of Nordstrom, etc)? Were our daily sales reports leading up to Black Friday helpful…or annoying? Trying to organize all of this information is the toughest part — so please, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Does BST mean anything to you? I couldn’t be more thankful for this little community, and yet another example of why is our new BST group. A few enterprising readers reached out and asked if we would start a buy-sell-trade group on Facebook, open only to readers of The Mom Edit. My response? Sure…but…HELP. And they did. Thanks to them, we now have a thriving Facebook BST group where you can sell used clothes to sartorially like-minded folks. One rule is that you must be a newsletter subscriber, so if you haven’t yet done so, sign up here.
Whew!! Gold star to anyone who made it this freaking far. And despite this tough year (and my Thanksgiving grumpiness), one thing I’ve been consistently thankful for is this amazing community. You guys continue to blow us away with your passion, your thoughtful comments, and your willingness to spend a few minutes of your weeks with us. We know how busy everyone is, and feel so honored by your time.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.