Clearly I was in the wrong part of Fort Lauderdale–or at least shopping in the wrong part of Fort Lauderdale.
So many people I know LOVE the city and I’m sure it’s great, but it just wasn’t what I needed the night we visited.
After meeting up with my mother-in-law and her mom, we decided to head to Fort Lauderdale so that my husband could dip his toes in the ocean since we were so close. I wanted to spend a little birthday money, but I was looking for some small mom-n-pop shops with fun and unique things you only find in those stores.
That’s not what we got.
We decided to go to Las Olas.
This was not the place to find t-shirts that said “My parents went to Fort Lauderdale and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” This was not the place to find snow globes or pens in the shape of alligators.
However, I could see them filming an season of MTVs The Real World there. If that show is even still on.
How old am I?
First we ended up at some seafood festival but it wasn’t our cup of tea. We had read about Las Olas in a book at my mother-in-law’s resort. It said there was food and shopping and it was near the water. This was what we were looking for. I just wish I had searched out a store directory before we left.
I immediately recognized it as too ritzy for my taste but decided to give it a shot anyway. We had just driven two hours to get there and I didn’t want to make the others drive around more looking for something that only existed in my mind. We parked and my grandma, my mother-in-law and I walked up and down the block while my husband and his grandma caught up over drinks an apps at Gran Frono Pronto restaurant.
There were definitely a lot of restaurants on this strip! Some looked and smelled really great. I could have sampled from just about every one. I would have come home 20 lbs heavier. Mmmmmm.
There were also quite a few shops that we enjoyed browsing. Some of our favorites included:
I tried on some clothes at American Soul. They were having some great sales. I really liked one of the dresses I tried on, but I’m not one that can wear empire-waisted dresses without looking pregnant. My grandma bought a sweater, she almost bought a purse that looks like a dress shirt, we all looked at the jewelry in Alex and Ani and Shop 603 was right up my alley. There was one store, however, where I just felt uncomfortable.
I get style isn’t my “thing” but at least I recognize it and I’m comfortable with who I am. I was wearing my mom’s jean shorts that she left in Florida for when she comes to visit with a non-named-brand top, but I liked it. I was comfortable. I was me. I’m 35 and there isn’t much that’s going to change this.
We went into a store called Celebrity. They had some cute clothes. I found a shirt I liked. It can be worn a few different ways…and they were relatively flattering. I have some that are similar, but this one was a little more versatile. The shop manager/owner/someone was very helpful and told me to try it on. She showed me how it would all work out, yada yada. She told me if I bought it that day, she would sell it to me for $29. It was a decent price for the shirt and my mother-in-law and grandma told me they liked it. In fact, my grandma liked it so much that she bought one in another color.
I felt sort of good about it.
Then we got to the register. The store manager/owner/someone was ringing me up and she said “Oh, do you live around here?” I said no and she said, “That’s too bad because I would really like to make you over with the clothes here.”
I wanted to crawl in a hole. Ugh. Was it my jean shorts or my top that gave away my inability to be fashionable? I wanted to scream out “I just don’t care. I like dressing like this.”
At the next store, Shop 603, I found a sweatshirt that said “Namaste in Bed.” That’s the shirt I should have purchased. Granted it was twice the price of the shirt I got at Celebrity, but at least the dude running the counter won’t have told me I needed a clothing make-over. Maybe he would have been silently judging my lifestyle, but at least he would have kept it to himself.
I guess I shouldn’t be so sensitive about it. I mean, my husband wore a plaid hat around the town that day and totally owned it. Plus, we got to spend our time there with my grandma, his grandma, his mom and each other. That’s really all that matters.
But next time, I’m going to need some shopping recommendations!