Black Friday Thanksgivings

I had fully expected to write a big Thanksgiving blog listing all the things I am thankful for. But I got caught up in a whole bunch of nothing and wasn't able to (i.e., I got lazy). But needless to say, I'm thankful for my family, my friends, and the things I've been blessed with that allow me to lead the life that I am able to. I am also thankful for the 5 days off that I have to enjoy this holiday!

I had a very nice Thanksgiving Day. I got up at my usual time of 5 am (by habit) so I headed to Golds at 6 am for a pre-Thanksgiving workout. I figured if I burned some calories then I could pigout, but the darn place was closed! Can you believe it?!? On the biggest pigout day of the year, it was closed. Auwe! So I came home and made my dish assignments - mashed potatoes and baked homemade mac and cheese - very first time I've ever made either dish. I made my candied pecans too. They all turned out pretty good - at least to me. I got ambitious and packed a workout bag to take to Shari's with the anticipation that I could get in some cardio in between servings, but that never happened.

For the first time in a long time, it was just the six of us - no other guests this year. We ate the traditional feast, followed by the traditional food coma. It turned out to be a pretty quiet but really nice evening. I called it an early night in preparation of Black Friday.

So you know what Black Friday is, right? The big shopping day after Thanksgiving. Its tradition for us to be out in the thick of it. I got up at 5 am (on purpose) to get ready and was at Shari's by 6:30 am. We picked up Aunty and was in the city by 7:30 am. It turned out to be a great day, with so much to be thankful for:

1. I am thankful for valet parking at Nordstrom. We just pull right up to the curb on 5th St. and the valet was right there waiting for us. No parking hassles!

2. I am thankful for the new Mexican Hot Chocolate at the Nordstrom Espresso Cafe. It was early and I needed something hot in my stomach to sustain me through the morning. Perfect!

We decided to start at Macy's at Union Square, work our way around the Square and then finish off back at San Francisco Center.

3. I am thankful for Macy's early bird discounts. I'm normally not a Macy's shopper. I've learned that unless you're a guy, there are way better places to shop than Macy's. However, the downtown Macy's is the best one in the Bay (7 stories!) and they have really good Black Friday savings. Plus, I had an 11% off coupon that the downtown hotels give to hotel guests (another thing I'm thankful for!). So can you say...cha-ching?! Lots of good deals and I was able to mark a few people on my shopping list as being DONE!

At this point, it was smooth sailing - not crowded, we had the attention of the salespeople and we had room to shop! The day was going great!

After Macy's, we made our way around Union Square into Saks 5th Avenue. One thing I am NOT grateful for are pushy girls who think they can boss me around. Yeah, NO! They learned I will not be pushed around and will get in their way if they try! Luckily, my spirits were still high as we continued around the Square.

4. I am thankful to discover that Williams Sonoma sells the Sprinkles Cupcake Mix! Yay! Now I can make them at any time. And if you're wondering - Red Velvet is the best flavor. By far.

We continued down to Burberry, H&M (more great finds), Gumps, etc. We ended up near Post and Kearney which is almost to the Financial District (my old work stomping grounds) so we decided to head back towards Union Square. We cut across this one street (I can't remember the name, but its the one that Chanel is on) and ended up in Marc Jacobs.

5. I am SO thankful for the little treasures I discovered at the Marc Jacobs store. He's my favorite younger designer and I was tickled to find things that I could actually afford! And it wasn't all for me! I did get some gifts for a lucky few too!

6. I am thankful for the "No Reservation" section at Neiman Marcus' Rotunda Restaurant. By now it was 11 am and I was starving. A few weeks ago, I had called Neiman's to make a brunch reservation but was told they were booked. Not being one to take "No" for an answer, we decided to show up anyway and was lucky enough to get a table in the "No Reservation" section. In this section, it was like we were shunned to the side, peering into the "I Made A Reservations Section," but we didn't care - same menu and same service! Neiman's is known for its popovers and chicken consumme which was so good. The rest of the meal was super ono too!

Now that we were well-nourished, we got our second wind! We shopped in Neiman's for a while, then headed to Barneys. Barneys just opened in the old FAO Schwartz building. You'd think I'd love it, but I hated it. I really did. It is obscenely expensive and yeah, I know so is Neiman's and Saks, but at least they have elegance. Barneys had none. It was small, crowded, no elevator, pushy crowd - I couldn't stand it. I think I lasted all of 10 minutes in that place. Not going back there again either.

All of a sudden, after lunch, the streets suddenly got PACKED. I mean CROWDED! And being so late, it meant that now the casual shoppers were out. The ones who weren't dedicated enough to be out at the crack of dawn. Amateurs who don't know proper Black Friday etiquette. Slow walkers and gawkers. They took a lot of energy out of me and so I skipped a few stores I wanted to visit. Instead, we headed back to San Francisco Center, where there were way too many people there too.

First we stopped off to get snacks and drinks. We rested and got our third wind to continue on!Then we went to Bloomingdales. You know, Bloomie's is rapidly becoming my most favorite of all department stores. Coast-to-coast. The New York store has unbelievable deals to be found and now the West Coast flagship, my Bloomingdales in the City, has, by far, the best handbag collection in all of the Bay! Seriously. The rest store is clean with lots of room to manuever around and a good variety of merchandise selection. Unfortunately, I accidentally got sprayed by some mens cologne by some casual shopper (any type of scented spray or lotion gives me a migraine). It made me feel off for the rest of the day. You know how it is when a guy drowns himself in cologne? Thats all I could smell now. Ugh.

We finally headed back to Nordstrom's to finish our day. I could tell we were reaching our limit when we couldn't find anything interesting in Nordstrom. Nordstrom!

However, I am thankful for 3 things in Nordstrom:

7. I was in angst because I couldn't decide whether to get the Black Ugg Boots or the Chocolate Ugg Boots (my early birthday present to myself). I am thankful for Shari, Aunty and the random lady sitting in the Shoe Dept, who helped me decide which one to get. Chocolate won. Love 'em.

8. I am thankful for the EXCELLENT customer service by the Nordstrom staff. This is one of the major reasons why I don't shop at Macy's - poor customer service. The service at Nordstrom's is superb. Today, in particular, Michelle in the Handbag Department went above and beyond to help us. This is why we call Nordstrom, "homebase" - with Bloomingdales a c-l-o-s-e second.

9. I am thankful for the Concierge Service that Nordstrom offers. We are able to check-in our shopping bags - complimentary- and they will hold it for us so we can shop hands-free throughout the day. Even shopping bags from other stores. How cool is that?! How BRILLIANT is that?!?

So the 2007 Black Friday came to a close. All together, it was a 14 hour day for me and I am spent but I'm pretty proud of ourselves; we did good today. I am still not at the "Black Belt Shopping" status that my Aunty is at, but every year brings me a step closer.

10. I can't write about Black Friday and not mention my most favorite Black Friday memory. I started spending Thanksgiving in San Francisco in 1992, my first year of college. I've spent almost every Thanksgiving here since. After every Black Friday, after being out for at least 12 hours, we'd come home and my Uncle Jerry would have all of the Thanksgiving leftovers heated up and dinner waiting for us. And you know how good Thanksgiving leftovers are! It was so great! Unfortunately, we lost Uncle Jerry in 2001 and haven't had that treat since. But I am grateful for 10 Thanksgivings and 3 years that I was able to spend with him before he passed and will always have fond memories of all the ways that he spoiled us, not just on Black Friday, but throughout the whole year!

I am grateful that tomorrow is Recovery Saturday. I have 3 more days off and I'm looking forward to spending it with old friends who are back home visiting for the holiday weekend. And only 7 more days till payday, when I can go out and do it all over again! :)