Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday Recap & T-Day Eats

I love deals, but hate pushing / shoving crowds.  Ohio Black Friday shopping was pretty doable with a decent amount of people and personal space intact. Unfamiliar with local terrain, I consulted expert shopper Gigi on whether I should hit the outlets.  Her sage advice, "Don't do it."  I nearly listened to her, until I heard about the Kate Spade sale with 50% off the entire store plus an additional 20% off handbags.  So in the wee hours of the night, I dragged my husband out of bed and we headed to the outlet mall.

The crowds actually weren't that bad!  I went way after the midnight crowd and way before the morning one.  The trade-off?  Most of the hot items were already snapped up, but I did find some cute things:

The Loot:
2 x $29 Kate Spade Hinge Bangles (orig. $88)
$5 Banana Republic Cable Bracelet*
$11 Banana Republic Belt* (Jean-inspired)
*after using my $15 gift card
Total damage = $74

Gifts for the kids:

  • $9 life-sized (cardboard) color-able playhouse.  Great fun for them, recyclable when they get tired of it.
  • 2 x $12 toy tablet games
  • $50 toy tablet
  • $9 power cord for toy tablet (these manufacturers sure know how to make a buck)
  • 2 x $6 cargo pants
  • $17 shopping cart w/ toy food.  E LOVES pushing things around and at the moment pushes chairs from place to place.  We'll see how she likes something with wheels.
  •  $12 Minnie Mouse pajamas
  • 2 x $5 Hello Kitty tees
  • $1 doodle pad
Total for the kids: $144

I would elaborate on what I got my husband, but he'll occasionally browse the blog :P

I also stopped by J. Crew of course:

Printed Scoopneck Blouse, XS, $39, (buy here)
This shirt runs large, I'd recommend sizing down one or two sizes.  I can understand a blouse-y torso, but the arms seemed ridiculously wide especially given that J. Crew usually cuts such a slim sleeve.  Such a shame because I love the bright red against the navy.
Verdict: No, too big

Classic Crewneck Cardigan, XS, $25, (buy here)
Another pretty color and good fit...up until the chest gap at the button.  To be fair, I rarely button my cardigans all the way, but I still like having the option.  I would have tried one size up but the store was low on Smalls and Mediums.
Verdict: No, maybe size up if you want to button it

Lanvin Bag, orig. $2000+, marked down to $900
I have only ever seen Lanvin online so I was fascinated to investigate one IRL at Last Call.  It was gorgeous, crazy heavy, and still very expensive :)  
Verdict: No, for admiration purposes only, lol

Groggy comfort w/ boat shoes and my trusty crossbody bag

Score any good deals for Black Friday?  Do you have all your holiday shopping finished?

On to the food portion of the post!

Thanksgiving Day Eats
Hungry after a Thanksgiving day errand, we kept our fingers crossed that we'd find a place open for lunch.  Well have no fear, Asian restaurants to the rescue!  In one shopping center with predominantly Asian cuisine, every single eatery was open.  We decided on pho.  Though simple in concept, pho is tricky (I feel) to get right.  It seems like the simplest foods are the simplest to mess up (e.g. cooking the perfect egg).

Coconut milk with red beans and green jelly
I started out with a drink listed in the dessert section (you know it has to be good then).

I very often judge pho by the color of the broth.  Darker color, deeper flavor (most of the time) and this one was pretty good.

Beef Banh Mi
Um yeah, I ate both the pho AND the banh mi in entirety.  The beef had impeccable flavor, but the bread to filling ratio was off-kilter.

Speaking of beef, here are the cows in our "backyard"

Hiking and cow-watching after lunch

For Thanksgiving dinner, we had hot pot (no pictures unfortunately because I was busy gobbling it up) with the usual - fish, shrimp, chicken, tofu, beef, fish balls, udon, ramen, and romaine lettuce.  I used to LOVE drinking the hot pot broth after all the cooking was finished, but my Mom tells me this isn't healthy.  Not sure why - please enlighten me!


  1. C asked me if she can go shopping with me on Black Friday. I said if she gets up by herself at 3:00 am, I would let her go. I was thinking there is no way she can get up by herself at that time. Guess what? She did =) I had no choice but to bring her with me. We went shopping for 4 hours. Got a few things for the girls and a few Christmas presents for my family. Pho and banh mi look so good. Are they more “authentic”? Love the view from your back yard. What a treat!

  2. oooh good score on those kate spade bangles.

    I judge pho by its oil content.

    I love VNese dessert drinks.

  3. Great KS and BR bracelets!!!! Yay for no crowds. I hate crowds too. Did kids stay at home with relatives? And you are right, simple food is the easiest to mess up. It's hard to find a decent pho place, though since it's one my favorite foods, I haven't really found one I hate. Haha. That filling-to-bread ratio on the banh mi was off! Yum, hot pot! My favorite!!! As for not drinking the soup afterwards, it's probably because all of the fat and "dirty" from the meat is now in the soup. If you scooped it out, then it'd be ok, I think. Though it is oh so good. I had this type A friend in Taiwan who would do her hot pot in a specific order -- veggies first, then seafood, then meat, then rice noodles. The noodles would sop up the flavor from the soup. Can't remember if she drank the soup. That's not how I hot pot. It all goes in at once, and yes, I drink that soup during the entire meal.

  4. Did you do the Gilroy ones or the Vacaville ones? Both are awesome but the Vacaville one had this makeup outlet that had clinique and MAC. My friends said that the best time for shopping was around 3am, since that was the "down time" from insane folks standing in line and the rest of us lazy bones who'd get up by 7.
    I HATE crowds. Here in Texas there is a weekend of no sales tax before school starts and I made the mistake of going to the outlets here... yikes! It was like a hurricane had hit.
    Your finds are so cute! I LOVE Kate Spade and need to venture into that outlet store that we have here. I figured even with outlet, it's still too pricey.
    More food shots! My son loves dim sum and I was telling him about all the deliciousness that sweet red bean paste has to offer (I lived in Japan for a while and happily gained 10lbs there). He's still on the fence, thinking that beans can be sweet. Next time we're in the Bay Area, I'll have to have him try some of the dessert drinks.

    1. They opened up a new one in Livermore! It's huge (to me) but I think Gilroy and Vacaville have more stores? Oh Japan! I would love to visit one day and gorge on some sashimi - especially amaebi!!!!! I bet the dessert drink will push him into being a red bean fan :)

  5. Ooo I wish we had black friday here :) Though we did have a one day sale yest in the city and it was crazy so I know how you guys feel :) I love Pho :) We have an amazing one in the city! Great buys :)

  6. Your stay in a lovely place! Love the backyard scene and the cows and all.... Yay for the nice bracelets. and the pho looks yumm! Ive never tried Banh Mi but have heard of it on the Next Iron chef.. I love trying out new cuisine.

  7. I'm also in Ohio but there is no Kate Spade outlet near me at all, and I live in Cleveland! Where is there one in Ohio?

    1. There's one in between Columbus and Cincinnati in a town called Jeffersonville :)

  8. Great deals!! Love a good Pho too. :)

  9. Great finds and deals! I especially love the BR belt!

    I did most of my shopping online, but no crazy deals. Just took advantage of free shipping and whatever percentage off there happened to be.

    I am so in love with your "backyard"!!

  10. KS bracelets are so cute! Great to know you had really good time in outlet on Black Friday. I was afraid even to try to go to outlet!

  11. Great score on the bracelets. I wasn't planning on doing any black Friday shopping this year but at the last minute I decided to go and drag my poor husband out to the mall at midnight. I picked up a few clothes for the husband, kids and myself.

    My husband love pho and if he could he will eat pho every day.

  12. ahhh, i totally want to eat pho now! it's impossible to find pho where i live.

    you got some really good deals! :] love the kate spade bangles.

  13. What great deals on the KS bangles!

    That coconut milk drink looks amazing! YUM!


  14. love your scores!!! that banh mi needed more meat!! shakes fists. the pho looks awesome. xox P

  15. Glad to hear the outlets weren't that busy when you went. Black Friday crowds scare me :P I love the bracelets you scored....and love love love the colors!!
    hahaha I agree with Phiphi...the Banh Mi needs more meat. But it looks yummy!! xoxo, Phoebe

  16. Your backyard scene is surreal! Guess I'm so used to city/suburbia! I'm liking these food posts! Makes me hungry! I took advantage of shopping online and looks like I have to return most due to fit so no good deals overall :)

  17. Hello! Loving your blog. First time commenting. Your DIYs are so cute! Oh, some people say that hot pot soup that has ramen in it is bad for you because of some kind of mineral in the ramen noodles. We don't do ramen in hot pot soup here in the Pumpkin household, so we save the soup till breakfast the next day. We'll throw in some leftover rice and drop in a beaten egg, and salt to taste for some congee-esque stuff I love as much as the hot pot itself (maybe more!)


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