Although the primary purpose of my trip was business, there was ample time for networking and levity. I flew in near the end of the Republican National Convention, so there were some rather interesting political paraphernalia and decorations. You don't see an elephant topiary on a hotel lobby table on just any day.
After all the business parts were over, I went to a 1970's themed birthday party. I never buy a costume for costume parties, and this time was no exception. Thanks to clothes that I already have in my closet plus a pair of sunglasses from Forever 21, I looked like I walked right out of the 70's. The top was something I got from the Goodwill some time ago; it probably really was from the 70's era. Having to pack an extra outfit in my luggage added quite a bit of extra weight, particularly because one component was a pair of wooden platforms, but it was well worth it in the end.
I also managed to sneak in a little bit of shopping. Although my shopping buddy and I didn't hit Mall of America, as it was too far away in too little time, we did score at the nearby Nicollet Mall. We got good deals at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet, and on top of that, no sales tax was charged. I picked up a Theory blazer for 30-something bucks, along with this short-sleeved cashmere-blend Saks private label sweater for $26. Short-sleeved sweaters are great transitional pieces, especially for California climates.
The Macy's we went to next was a ginormous one. I spent quite a bit of time looking at accessories when I came across this beautiful and simple cuff for just $5. When I went to pay for it, I made some comment about the lower sales tax. The saleswoman informed us that Macy's offered a 11% discount to out of state shoppers. While I didn't take advantage of the discount, since I was done with shopping at that point, it is definitely something I will keep in mind the next time I shop while I travel.
Part of the outfit that goes with the cuff above came from the very last stop for that day. Right before we had to leave for the airport, we made one last stop at the Gap. Although this ubiquitous chain store is literally everywhere, I was curious to see if different regions stocked different merchandise, or emphasized one thing over the other. Sure enough, there was a lot of outerwear that I would not usually see when I'm back home. The sales racks were full of summery items that were significantly marked down. I picked up an ordinary t-shirt with pretty, fluttery sleeves--something easy to wear for work or play, but not at all bland. I also bought a canvas purse that I had my eye on for some time. Because I had a couple of $10 certificates in my wallet, I ended up paying less than $15 for both items.
An efficient shopping trip was definitely a great way to round out an equally-successful business trip. No money was wasted on frivolous things. I like that.