5 tips from an expert shopper


I love to shop.

Sometimes, I go to Nordstrom just to inhale the comforting scent of retail.

This is both a blessing and a curse, as my credit card bill reveals.

On the positive side, I’m so experienced at not just the act of shopping, but also the act of placing virtual items into my shopping cart and the act of obsessing over things I want to buy that I’ve become an expert at shopping — the same way Stephen Hawking is an expert at quantum mechanics.

Here are five of my tips for shopping for a middle-aged woman.

Over 50, women need more sentiment than stuff. I realize that I seem to be contradicting myself here, but I would rather buy my own pair of boots than have a friend or boyfriend choose them. If the friend wants to give me money to buy them, that’s fabulous — but what I really crave is a loving note or card.

A written card with heartfelt sentiment is just about the most beautiful thing a woman can receive — and it costs nothing.

Very few material things are going to make me squeal with glee at this point in my life — since if I want something bad enough, I buy it for myself.

However … if my boyfriend writes a note that says, “You are the sunshine of my life, and I know this will make you happy,” and he encloses a gift card for my favorite store — that is a fabulous gift.

Because he knows I love to shop.

One of my dearest friends gave me the gift of a painting of a dozen delicate dragonflies, because we both like dragonflies and what they represent — transition and rebirth. Thus, she gave me sentiment in addition to a lovely piece of art.

Pay attention. If a woman doesn’t shop for herself much — and is, therefore, the opposite of me — the rule still applies.

Pay attention to what this woman wears and what she does for fun — and give her more of that. This is no time to give Dolphins tickets to a woman who’s a ballet fan.

I’d like to say I’m all for new experiences, but at age 61, if I don’t like it already, I’m probably not going to like it. Especially when it comes to Dolphins games.

I knew my marriage was over when my ex-husband asked our daughter if she thought I’d want a gift card from Brooks Brothers. No offense to Brooks Brothers, but I have never — nor will I ever — wear anything from Brooks Brothers. That’s not me.

Either he wasn’t paying attention, or this was a passive-aggressive fashion attack on his part.

Hmmmm. Come to think of it, my ex-husband likes Brooks Brothers. Maybe he was simply projecting his fashion style onto me.

Either way, this ho-ho-ho faux pas was about as well-received as the “purse desk” he once gave his first wife.

It was a purse that folded out into a lap desk. I’m not kidding. He thought it was cool.

Trust me, men — a purse that transforms into another object is no woman’s idea of a romantic gift. Unless there’s a ticket to Paris inside.

Give what you know your friend already likes.

My friend, Ellen, knows I like the “Falling in Love” fragrance by Philosophy, so she gifted me with a bottle of a lotion in that scent. Every time I wear it, which is almost every day, I have a loving thought about my wonderful childhood friend. She paid attention to what she knows I like.

Buy experiences, not stuff. I’m taking my five daughters and my two grandsons to Disney World in a couple of weeks. Their Disney passes and that trip are what they’re getting for Christmas. We go to Disney a few times a year, and we all value that experience of being together and having fun more than stuff.

If you’re staying home, make your holiday a fun and memorable experience by doing a theme.

One year, my family did “I’ll Be Gnome for Christmas,” with — you guessed it — gnome-themed gifts. I hid gnomes all over the house, and my adult children had to find the gnome that was chosen especially for them.

Another year, we did “Merry Kris-mas” — a Kardashian theme. I have grown daughters, what can I say, they like the Kardashians.

One of them was in on the joke ahead of time and dressed as Kim, and I dressed as Kris Jenner, since Kris and I are the ultimate Mom-agers.

If you buy stuff, make it creative. For example, Anthony’s sells a practical, lightweight, one-size-fits-all sweater by Avalin for $49.95. A sweater is about the most basic gift imaginable — but this sweater can become a fantastic, special gift if you throw in a fun note.

Here’s what you do: Wrap up the Avalin sweater (get it in turquoise) and enclose a note that says: “You’ll look as cool as the Inlet Breeze cocktail (Tito’s vodka with cranberry and grapefruit juices) in this sweater. Put it on, and let’s set a date for cocktail night at Square Grouper in Jupiter.”

Sentiment over stuff — it will touch her heart every time.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community

What is Earth Day? 5 things to know
What is Earth Day? 5 things to know

Sunday is Earth Day 2018, and more than one billion people across the globe are expected to celebrate with environmentally friendly events. But what exactly is Earth Day? Here's what you need to know: >> Read more trending news  The first Earth Day celebration took place 48 years ago, in 1970, after a devastating oil spill in America brought...
Record Store Day: Why are so many vinyl record stores opening in Palm Beach County?
Record Store Day: Why are so many vinyl record stores opening in Palm Beach County?

Analogopolis Records, Films, Games & Things is a mouthful of a title for a record store. Let owner Tom Procyk explain. “There are all these record stores with crazy names,” he said. “I was looking for something hard to say and hard to pronounce, but once you hear it you won’t forget it.” The 36-year-old music enthusiast...
‘Moderate’ drinking guidelines are too loose, study says
‘Moderate’ drinking guidelines are too loose, study says

A sweeping international study of alcohol consumption has found no overall health benefits from moderate drinking and calls into question the U.S. guidelines that say men can safely drink twice as much as women. The threshold for low-risk drinking, the researchers found, is about seven beers a week for men and women alike. The new report, published...
How a fringe idea to solve the opioid crisis turned mainstream
How a fringe idea to solve the opioid crisis turned mainstream

The idea that a someone who’s not a medical professional could reverse deadly drug overdoses by injecting victims with an antidote was once fringe. Now it’s widely accepted - and got even stronger backing this month with a rare announcement from the U.S. surgeon general. Jerome Adams urged Americans to consider getting trained to administer...
Dietary Supplements: What we need to know
Dietary Supplements: What we need to know

I was at a national conference in 1994 (yes, I’m that old) when a speaker from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told us big changes were on the way in the field of dietary supplements. How right she was. The 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA) removed dietary supplements from the strict scrutiny of the FDA, the agency...
More Stories