Black Friday Finale

This year was my last year of driving into Grove City for Black Friday shopping.  The dollar just doesn’t make it worth it anymore and I have zero desire to spend all my hard earned money in a Trump-run America! This year was very different then past years.  I started this tradition going with my boyfriend at the time.  Alvin and I would shop for hours on end until he was literally dragging me back to the car – me a little delirious.  After we broke up, I went with my sister-in-law Tammy and my best friend Kristi.  We also shopped until we literally dropped, laughing the whole time and having a great time!  After that Tammy and I went, just the two of us together having sister bonding time for the past 4 years.  This year, Tammy could not make it and I had the option of not going or going alone.  I am independent, I like my own company, so I packed the car and headed south to border!  I did the 48 hour trip (Thursday-Saturday) with just me, my camera and my wallet and I had an amazing time!  I did all the usual things in the usual order, just alone and I was completely okay with that!  This being my last year, I feel like I have perfected the art of the successful Black Friday trip and now that it is over, I am going to share all my tips with you!


Hotels book up really quick for Black Friday, especially the ones within walking distance of the outlet.  I have always started looking around the end of February/beginning of March and I usually spend around $100-$120/night (remember this is America’s Thanksgiving, prices are inflated) at the Best Western that is right across the street from the outlet. I also always request a room close to an entrance.  You don’t want to be dragging all those bags and luggage’s up stairs or down long hallways. Save your strength, you will be exhausted by the time you finish shopping and will not want to carry all those bags any further than you already have.   You can risk booking later, but I have tried again in July/August to find nothing available.  The earlier you book the better – trust me!


Because I know I am going to the outlet, I print off a directory and start highlighting stores I need to hit and stores I wouldn’t mind hitting up if I have time.  I also write out my Christmas list and start thinking about stores that will have what I need.  I go to the bank and get my American money (which is the heart breaking part) and put it in a separate wallet with my passport and shopping list.  I pack very lightly with layers because I don’t want to wear a heavy coat when the weather has never been THAT bad that I regretted not having that coat with me.  I check and double check everything because I would hate to be in the States missing something. I also make sure to get the addresses for everywhere I plan on going and writing them down.  I have a GPS and my phone GPS as back up – getting lost is NOT an option.


Thankfully my sister-in-law is a good follower.  She kind of lets me lead and goes where I go and does what I want to do.  I drive which makes it easy for me!   I can’t imagine if I went with someone who wanted to go somewhere totally off plan that I did not want to go to and did not want to drive to.  There isn’t that much around Grove City, so adding on the cost of gas to go somewhere off plan would drive me (personally) nuts.  The more flexible you are, the better!


I always leave the city by 9:30 at the latest.  I get gas the night before and head out on the planned route.  I always stop by Tim Hortons and grab a tea by my house and I stop in Niagara (usually around 11:30 at this point) to grab lunch (Wendy’s- junior cheeseburger) and a bathroom break.  I make it to the border around noon and I have never had more than 5 cars in front of me thanks to leaving at the right time!  I stop again in Angola NY on the hwy I-90 for another bathroom break and usually buy a bottle of water (yes this doesn’t help my bathroom breaks, but I get so dehydrated from driving so long). My next stop is my hotel in Grove City!  I arrive between 2:30-3:00 with enough time to prepare, nap and watch some TV!  The outlets opened at 6:00 pm this year – I went at 5:30 and sat in my car because I wanted a good parking spot so I would be able to dump my bags (see next bullet) without walking so far.


Who wants to be stuck carrying bags (especially me who buys a lot)?  I bring a large empty suitcase that has wheels and when I buy something I put the bag in the suitcase – VOILA! No bags to carry.  I just roll my suitcase around, making sure to not run into anyone.  After I have a full suitcase I go to my car and empty the bags into the trunk and start all over again.  Once I have finished half the outlet, I drive to a different spot and continue my routine.


I always start off at the food court.  I eat an Arbys roast beef sandwich with a pop to drink to give me a sugar/carb boost.  I also buy a bottle of water to carry around because Lord knows I will get thirsty shopping.


Don’t rush.  I don’t go to the box stores because the idea of rushing and pushing and fighting isn’t appealing.  I have never seen this happen at the outlets.  People stroll.  They walk in and out of stores, they are polite even, holding doors, stepping aside for people to pass, and I try and lead by example.  I am patient.  This is not a time to be inpatient.  If you are, you will work yourself up and be stressed.  You have planned and prepared, don’t ruin it now.


I shop from 6:00 until about 10:00-10:30.  I am back to my hotel by 11:00 and asleep shortly afterwards.  You have another full day of driving and shopping ahead of you – why stay up when you really don’t need to.


When I get back to my hotel, I empty my bags, collect all the receipts and put everything I have bought into piles, one pile for each person I have shopped for and one pile of things I have bought myself.  The things I have bought myself I pack into my suitcase and everything else I write down.  I check off that list I packed and see if there is anything else I NEED to buy.  My goal is to always my needs completed the first night so the next day can be the fun stuff, the one-offs.

The next day you are going to start all over again, but by following the above points, you should have an ideal second day of shopping.  Take your time, have a plan, make sure to eat and drink enough to keep your energy up.  Black Friday shopping can be an adventure – it can be fun!  You can find some great deals IF you are prepared and take your time.

Anything else you want to know?  Send me your questions, I will answer each one!

It was a great decade of Christmas shopping, now I will have to do it in Canada – most likely online – I hate malls!

Enjoy my dears!

Love Nicole




Hello? Is this thing on?

Don’t you hate when you are following someone’s blog and they disappear for a week?  On Sunday, I went to the walk-in clinic…STREP THROAT.  Because I haven’t been through enough in the past 2 months, lets throw a contagious disease on top of it.  Needless to say, I was unimpressed about the idea of being completely isolated for three days until I was no longer contagious and even less impressed with the fact that I couldn’t go to work.  So no blogging for me – I’m sorry

I missed a very important job fair that I was leading from my office 😦

Now I am back though so here is what has happened while I was gone:

I have had a few more ultrasounds – everything still looks good!  I have one more to confirm ovulation is happening this weekend and then after my next period I prepare for insemination!  HOLY CRAP!  Ya, I am so excited I could cry.  I have wanted this, my dad had wanted this, for so long now I just don’t know how to contain my enthusiasm. 

I have narrowed my donor choices down to three and will be confirming by the end of day today which one I will be using.  Did you know how many choices there are??  I mean seriously hundreds of options.  I’m almost relieved I am CMV negative because that narrows my choices.  The fact I want tall, caucasian with dark features narrows it down to about thirty and then taking things out like a cleft chin, not having only male offspring, not being an OPEN ID donor, and not someone with a history of diabetes (my father and paternal grandfather died of diabetes related issues) makes my choices even slimmer!  So now I will look at my few choices left and look at other things (hobbies?) to determine which donor I will choose.  I’ll let you know all about this amazing man as soon has I have details!

I have decided to only go with OPEN ID donors.  That way when my child turns 18 they have the choice of trying to find out more information and even possibly meeting the donor.  I am pro-choice in everything I do.  I want my child to have choices.  If they want to meet the man who made their mother happier then she ever dreamed possible – then he/she will have that CHOICE. 

I also saw a social worker yesterday – all part of this process.  She wasn’t there to judge or decide if I would be a good mom or not, but I am pretty sure after our 90 minute conversation she has realized what my friends and some members of my family have realized – I am a mom, I was born to be a mom.  I will give everything and do everything for this child, my child to be happy and successful in their own way! 

Having gone through ultrasounds and blood tests and a sono and all the other small things that need to be done in this process has been exhausting, but if/when the doctor tells me I am pregnant, every second, every cramp, every dollar will have been more than worth it.  It’s so close now.  I am so close.  Doing it alone wasn’t the way I had planned, at the very least I had hoped my dad would be available to tell every detail to, but I will settle for you, my readers, I enjoy each and every one of your comments, words of support and “likes”.  Thank you so much, truly, for sharing in this journey with me.