I've never blogged and I'm a little winded on my first attempt but I had a lot to say and I hope you laugh with us as you read.
I hadn't been on a buying trip to Los Angeles in almost a year and one would think that because I grew up in California (Northern), I would be genetically primed to get around in a big city but even SIRI couldn't help me. It was Shannons first buying trip and I wanted to make it a super fun, stress free trip. I thought we could go to the apparel show, grab some lunch, head over to our hotel in time for dinner and drinks and hit the hay early so we could wake up the next morning bright eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to shop at the San Pedro Market. Wish full thinking.
I prepared my new i phone a couple days before by putting in all the address of the locations we would be going so we could just zip around effortlessly. The easiest part of the trip was taking the shuttle (because we were passengers) from the airport to and from the car rental facility. When we arrived at the car rental location, 1 hour behind due to delayed flight and misplaced baggage, there was a line of 45 people ALL WAITING in line for their rental. I'm smart, so I look around and notice there is a tiny line with 5 people in it waiting at another rental counter so I leave Shannon to hold our spot in the massive line and I jog over to the teeny weeny line to wait with the 'smart' people. 1 hour later....Shannon is next to be helped and so am I. So, I run back over to her ducking and dogging people to get back to the front of the line we began in. I don't have a license because my purse was stolen a few weeks ago so Shannon gives them hers to rent the car, I hand my credit card over and they look at me and look at the card and the license, everything is in order and they ask me to sign on the dotted line. We are off on our adventure, only a couple hours behind. I plug in my location and with great anticipation I wait for SIRI to tell me where to go....she is napping or something because she totally blows me off. I download another Navigation App quickly and put in my location. Ta-Da! We are Off. We don't get to the Apparel Show without a few wrong turns but we do make it, get registered and start finding our way around this 13 story building. We had 4 hours to shop, not much when this is a 3 day show and we come on the last day (note to self, "need more time") We go to the 'shoe' level and start looking for boots. YAY! We want boots! Find some we love right off the elevator and have the rep write us up within 15 minutes, on a roll! As we are leaving the booth, Shannon asks, "how much was that second pair?" I assumed the same as the first pair but I go back and ask. Nope, out of my price range but I don't ask him to remove them from the order right then and there because I'm embarrassed. So, instead I go back a third time 2 hours later to correct my mistake. He was a little annoyed. (note to self "ask prices before buying the ranch") We scurry to make a 1:30 appt with a new vendor that I connected with while still in the Springs. We make our appt and a few minutes into our meeting, we realize there is a huge minimum order and we aren't super thrilled with the clothes....awkward. We are polite and leave after 30 minutes. Moving on.....we are surprised to notice that the showrooms are spread out far and few between. It's like a giant rat maze and we can't find the cheese! The last show I went to was in NYC and I dressed casual with comfortable shoes and EVERYONE was dressed like me. So, I told Shannon, "dress casual with comfortable shoes." It was like the Miley Cyrus song, Party in the USA; "all I see is stilettos, I guess I never got the memo!" We felt a little like rednecks but fortunately we both have a sense of humor so we just went with it. We find a room with pretty scarves and we are super excited to buy them. Kids in a candy store. We have 2 hours left and we have been running all over but not making alot of progress, hence the maze. We are tired now, hungry because we havent eaten since 6:30 am, dehydrated and our feet hurt. We see some free granola bars so we cram a few into our purses and a free espresso! Just what we need, caffeine. We hit the Motherload with the next show room. LOVE these clothes. We have carried this line in the past, in fact just last month we had a piece from this vendor. When we walk in we are giddy and friendly and ok, maybe our hair is a little frizzy and our makeup not as fresh as it was 6 hours ago but we are eager shoppers and we are ready to buy buy buy. The reps look us over like we are from another planet. Seriously, I wondered if I accidentally put on my old yoga pants with the hole on the butt cheek, because they seemed less than thrilled to be helping us. We start picking out immediates and pre-orders that we are interested in and chat back and forth, having a grand time. The gentleman is snooty and he makes me uncomfortable, I feel like I'm being assessed. The gal begins to help us and after almost 2 hours, our last bit of time we have, we write up a big order. One would think they'd be happy and warm up to these fun-loving ladies spending a buttload of money but really, they never did. We left confused but got over it because we bought the best clothes ever and we couldn't wait to get them back to the shop! Live and let live. We were pooped and hungry. We found our car, made our way downtown and drove around looking for somewhere fun to eat. After driving for 30 minutes around and around and around the same neighborhood, we stopped and ate at the same restaurant I ate at the first time I came on a buying trip with my daughter Megan, who is a Fashionista & a navigational genius by the way. We were seated inside and because our phones needed to be charged, we hunted for an outlet. Unable to find one, we decided to sit outside and enjoy the Cali weather. Our waiter was 'Cray-cray' (This is for you Cat), In the 90 minutes we sat at our table, he checked in on us ONE time; our water cups were bone dry, our beer needed refilling and we were still hungry because we had only gotten an appetizer to start with. However in that 90 minutes, Shannon and I got to decompress, get to know each other a little better AND give all our small bills to the many homeless who asked for money across the hedge, as we dined on the patio. With the exception of one woman who said she was hungry and I was out of money so I offered our brochette to her and she turned her nose up and walked down a bit to ask the next patron for money because she was "hungry"; Sobering. A waiter from another section noticed we looked parched and ended up taking good care of us in the end. I ended up tipping him and not our waiter. Ok, long day and we want to get to our hotel which is a mere 8 miles away and catch some Z's. I have NEVER gotten so lost in my whole life. Shannon prides herself on her inner compass and normally she says she NEVER gets lost. I'm convinced that we were in the Bermuda triangle, or twilight zone or just being punked because at one point I while driving on the freeway, I looked over and said, "look, Shannon, that must be the pretty part of LA. There must be 2 downtowns.." It had gotten dark and we had circled on and off the freeway 3 times, painfully looping through skid-row each time. Eventually, we called the hotel and they talked us through how to get there. We got to the hotel so late, 10pm, the door to underground parking was locked. The buzzer on the door was broken and the wall phone just rang and rang. An employee just arriving for work finally let us in and took us up the employee elevator to get to the lobby. When Shannon and I stepped into the lobby, we were delirious. We felt drunk from fatigue and the silliness of our day. There before us, were atleast 50 French speaking people waiting to get checked in. Another line. I can't see the end of the line so I walk up to a couple and say slowly, "Are you waiting in line?" The woman replies, "No English". So, what do I do? I speak LOUDER AND SLOWER WITH HAND MOTIONS. Yup. I did. Shannon watched from a distance and was laughing so hard she couldn't breathe. We make it to our room, collapse into bed and dream of "Day 2" .
Shannon doesn't snore and is a perfect room mate. We wake up at 6 and out the door for hotel breakfast at 6:45. Once again, not one of my 3 Navigation Apps gives me accurate directions and we get lost. We arrive in San Pedro an hour late. We are machines and we shop shop shop for the next 5 hours, not even taking time to eat off the taco truck. Shannon says, "we can eat later" now we shop. I like her dedication. At 1pm, we get watery coffee with just enough caffeine to keep us going. At 2:30, Right on schedule we have 2 (50lb) bags filled with amazing clothes and we are headed back to the car rental shop to drop the car and scadaddle to the airport. We get to the airport, through security and on the plane. We are ROCKSTARS. We fly in to DIA without delay. The funny part was watching us find our car in long term parking. We circled around the inside of the parking garage with our HEAVY 100 lb bags and couldnt find a way out without hiking up a hill and jumping a cement barrier. Hilarious. So, we ran as fast as we could dragging our bags behind, toward the shuttle, which took us directly to our spot. We drove home, laughing and recalling what a fun time we had in spite of our obstacles. So, now you know that every piece is picked with loving care (and a lot of sweat and laughter). We go to great lengths to bring our Barracuda Babes the best of the best because we love you.