So we went on a wonderful beach vacation last week, 4 days of ocean waves and family fun. It was wonderful! And unfortunately an education in vacation packing for me.
I stayed up till 3am the night before the trip. Of course I had to take care of everything for my 10-year-old and my 6 month old first. Then I started packing my clothes. I had visions of packing that amazing mix and match plans, where you take 4 pieces and get 8 fabulous outfits out of it. I did manage to create a few outfits like that. I also made sure I was packing clothes that actually fit, even though I hate what size I am right now. I folded and rolled everything carefully to make sure nothing got wrinkled. I had even packed one daring white sundress which I planned to wear every evening. I set the bag by the door with the other bags, and dropped asleep for about 2 hours.
Morning came, we got ready, and the cab came. I took my baby girl out and put her in the cab, assuming that my son and the cab driver were putting all of our bags in the cab. When we made it to the train station, the first thing I said was, “where is the other bag?” As you must have guessed, the other bag, the one with all my clothes and my daughters clothes, as well as all my toiletries, was sitting at home beside the front door. We live an hour from the train station so there was no chance of going to get the bag.
I wasn’t going to waste any of my son’s first beach vacation worrying about that bag. So that evening, after swimming at the beach, we went walking along the strip looking in the beach shops. There are always plenty of beach stores where you can get swimsuits, tee shirts, sundresses, and everything you need for the beach. I bought 2 sundresses and 2 tops to wear with the denim shorts I had worn on the way there. I had packed our bathing suits in another bag so we didn’t need to buy those. I also bought my daughter 2 littler beach sundresses and a onesie with dolphins on it. I had all of her sun hats so we were safe with those too. I spent approximately $200.00.
On the one hand, the shopping trip was a success. I had clothes to wear at the beach, and I had clothes for my daughter as well. My son had packed his clothes in his backpack so he didn’t need anything, a fact I pointed out to him when he complained about going shopping:). Of course it wasn’t his fault! I had just assumed that he and the cab driver had picked up all the bags.
But on the other hand, I spent way too much money. And I really hadn’t thought my purchases through. I had picked great clothes for my baby, but she could have done with one less dress. For myself, I had bought one sundress with a small strap that tied around the neck, with a very pretty blue and turquoise on white pattern, and a round accent brooch. I had also bought a one shoulder black sundress that looked very flattering. But I forgot that I did not bring a strapless bra with me, so I had to come back the next day and spend $20.00 on a strapless bikini top, of which I bought a medium when I needed a large. I will definitely wear the sundresses here, once I do find a strapless bra that fits me. But it must be fairly obvious that I did not think my purchases through.
I did better on the tops. We went to Walgreens, which was amazingly located right on the strip. I got the toothpaste, shampoo, etc. that I needed, once again not noticing that I could have asked at the front desk of our hotel for complimentary toiletries of every kind. But I found some “popcorn tops”, so-called because the shimmery satin-like fabric is ruched in such a way that it looks like popcorn. They were one size fits all and cost $10.00 for 2 of them. I ended up wearing these almost everywhere we went.
One good thing is that jewelry is really cheap at the beach. I found earrings for $6.00 and cocktail rings-one of my new favorite accessories-for $3.99. Of course these are costume pieces but that is what I would have bought at home anyway. And I bought a few clips and combs for my hair while we were at Walgreens.
I did learn a lesson about overspending, something I am almost always guilty of. But I learned something else as well. When you have fewer choices, you spend less time choosing your clothes. In vacation mode, I wore my new things without questioning how I looked. I liked the pieces I had, and they blended together into a casual beach look without being cutesy or matchy-matchy. We didn’t have much time to do all the things we wanted to do there, so I didn’t waste time getting ready. The result was that I wore things I liked, in outfits I felt good in, without worrying what others would think. One teenager who rang us up when we were buying souvenirs said, “You’re a pretty hip mom.” I took that as a great compliment.