I was compensated with a $50 gift card to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Full disclosure: I hate malls. Well, I like malls in theory, but in practice the experience is generally disappointing and/or aggravating. I didn’t always feel this way, but when you’re a mom of two, pushing a double stroller through a crowded mall in December is a bit like playing Mario Kart (if Mario had two very vocal and constantly hungry toddlers on the back of his bike). Needless to say, in the interest of my sanity I tend to do most of my Christmas
This year, however, the holidays and the resulting parties crept up on me, and even Amazon Prime wasn’t going to save me. I needed Secret Santa gifts, and I needed them like yesterday. I had no choice. I loaded up the kiddos and drove to the Montgomery Mall.
It turns out that my mall dread was unnecessary, because the kids and I had the most glorious shopping experience! I crossed every single gift off my list, did our grocery shopping for the week, enjoyed some playtime at the mall’s new kids area, ate a yummy lunch with the kids AND even hung out with Santa for a bit. Talk about productivity!
After our afternoon at the mall, all of the feelings from years ago came rushing back. It was as if the mall and I had never taken a break at all. We were back where we were meant to be, together. I mean…the mall has EVERYTHING. All the things I love (aside from my family, of course) are housed right there under one roof right on 309…Yankee Candle, Chick-fil-a, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Crazy 8, Gymboree, Francesca’s, The Body Shop, The Disney Store, Express…not to mention three yummy new restaurants (Grub Burger Bar, Zoe’s Kitchen and Smokey Bones) AND a Wegman’s. Hallelujah!
Three of the mall’s newest stores particularly wowed me with their holiday gift offerings. I scored big at UNIQLO, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic, and managed to cross items off my list for my siblings, husband, kids, nieces, nephews and friends. Ok, fine. I bought a few gifts for myself, too! The well-organized and brightly colored clothing at UNIQLO reminded me a little of American Apparel, without all the scandal and inflated price tags. From a huge selection of super warm and affordable puffer coats to fleeces, scarves, sweaters, shirts, underwear, socks and kidswear, there’s something for every member of the family at UNIQLO. I picked up some great shirts and sweaters for my husband, as well as some amazing seamless boxer briefs. I also picked out darling outfits for the kids, and scored some super adorable stuffed Mickey Mouse dolls for all the kiddos. My first visit to UNIQLO was a massive success, and I’m definitely going to be a regular customer from here on out.
I headed to Ann Taylor next, where I instantly started texting ‘inspiration photos’ to my husband (hello, amazing red suede clutch and black peep toe booties). Once I reminded myself that I wasn’t shopping for myself, the kids and I picked out some fabulous gloves for my sisters, some super sparkly accessories and baubles for my older nieces and friends, and some amazing sunglasses and a gorgeous scarf for my mom. The new store is beautiful and it’s no surprise that every article of clothing was absolutely stunning. Everything at Ann Taylor is modern, classy and beautifully made, and if I could just live there forever, I would.
Banana Republic also turned out to be a gift-giving gold mine. I found
the absolute BEST Secret Santa gifts and finished the last of my shopping for all the guys in my life. I had to quickly breeze past the women’s clothing section so as not to be distracted, and found my way to the gifts and accessories. From beautifully scented candles and stunning statement necklaces to shaving kits and bike flasks, Banana Republic houses a surprising amount of awesome gift options. I picked up the most ADORABLE coaster sets for the various Secret Santa / Dirty Santa gifts I needed to buy, and got some for my cocktail loving girlfriends as well. Who knew Banana Republic had such fantastic gifts?!
With ALL of the Christmas shopping done, the kids and I headed to the mall’s awesome new play area and then stopped for a quick visit with Santa. We grabbed lunch at the new Smokey Bones restaurant (yummmmm) and hopped next door to Wegman’s to finish the day with some grocery shopping.
Needless to say, after our fun-filled and stress-free day at the
Montgomery Mall, my perception of malls has completely changed. I’m a new, mall-loving woman who has said goodbye to the days of online shopping.
Well, let’s be real…that Amazon app is like crack.