Friday, May 7, 2010

Three Outlets & A Baby

Actually this story is about more than three outlets. And there is no baby. But baby, can you have fun if you follow in my footsteps...or simply sign up online to get the info for the next EO Warehouse Sale in San Rafael, California.

Sarah Lahey (Editorial Director of Born to Shop) and I made a renegade run to Paso Robles in order to see the house I rented online with just a quick glimpse at four photos. (It's adorable!) While the drive is just shy of four hours; we took a few more hours and did it our way-- with some outlets on the going and the coming home.

First stop was the Gilroy Factory Outlets -- there are seemingly millions of these, spread over a series of city blocks and addressed with letters of the alphabet so you know where you are. This is one of the four Premium Outlets malls in the California Wine Country...and I think, it's their best.

We had time only for one section -- so we went to Saks Off Fifth, J.Crew, Hugo Boss and whatever was in that portion of the strip. At Saks, we were asked to provide our email addresses in order to recieve a onetime 30% discount on one item. Most merchandise was already marked down 40-65% off the lowest ticketed price. I got carried away and bought a cobalt blue, tiered ruffled Calvin Klein, knit and spandex frock that I didn't try on (big mistake) and a few other items for my new life in hot-weather Paso Robles. I had a mental vision of myself being invited to numerous vineyard events and floating around like a hot-blue cloud. Ha.

Most of my hot-weather clothes are in I am re-booting the wardrobe.

I popped into Hugo Boss to look for a sports jacket for my son (42L), but they began at $449, which was not my idea of a bargain.

On our return to the Bay Area the next day, we stopped in Gilroy again -- this time for the garlic stores. We tried Garlic World, a giant storefront that was most impressive. We bought orange/honey almosts and garlic/ jalapeno pistachios (which when we began to eat we discovered were stale!).

Eventually, we left Highway 280 near San Jose and went onto 880 (we were going north, but this works in either direction) and took the Marina Blvd. exit to get to Marina Square, an oddball outlet and off-price strip.

Here's the Eileen Fisher outlet, where they were selling Spring 2009 at marked down prices and were preparing for one of their 'blowout sample sales'...these feature clothes in a size S, which is of no interest to Sarah or me. I spent a fortune on my summer stock and then moved across the parking lot to Marshall's. This was one of the best Marshall's I have ever visited-- possibly because it's almost Mother's Day or possibly because being near other outlets puts the pressure on them.

I only bought two sleeveless tops, but I was drooling over all the Carole Little merchandise, especially some really cute 60's style, retro cardigans with big bold bright floral prints -- a little bit Lilly in style and perfect for summer air conditioning. I did Carole Little's People Magazine story about 30 years ago and she is still going strong -- now with exclusive designs for Marshall's.

We finished up the day at the EO Warehouse Sale in San Rafael, a mile or two up the highway (or down the highway, it's all perspective) from Sarah's home. Held twice a year in the shipping bay of the EO Warehouse, this sale is mostly to those who get the flyer or the notification (sign up on their web site). EO makes natural bath and body products in a distinctive coblat blue plastic container. I bought bags of bath salts ($2 or $7 depending on size) as well as half a dozen pimp bottles of liquid soap ($3 each) in cinnamon spice, which I must imagine is being discontinued. I would have loaded up on holiday gifts, but I just couldnt get that organized.

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