Sometimes you just have to escape the office. Or, in my case, the house since my office is here. Yesterday, I was invited to join friends for a conference shopping trip. I met Marilyn, Danniele, and Kim of the Writing Playground at Ross early in the morning. The madness started at the dress rack, then continued through the store. We piled up clothes on shopping carts and then headed for the dressing rooms. I think I had to go through 3 rounds of trying stuff on (the Ross limit is 8 at one time in the dressing room).

Now tell me why it is that stores don't understand women better? They have the most unflattering light in the dressing rooms. Harsh, stark, florescent. Heidi Klum would look bad under that light. And since I'm no Heidi, I definitely looked bad. All my flaws seemed amplified. I felt like a whale. A pale whale with limp hair.

Ahem. Anyway, I ended up putting back *most* of what I tried on, though I did find a few gems in the pile. Especially my dress for my publisher's party. OMG, it's gorgeous! And it looked awesome in spite of the lights. When that happens, it's a keeper.

After Ross, we moved on to lunch. Eagle-eyed Marilyn spotted a woman reading a Harlequin Presents and, after psyching myself up, I went over and introduced myself and gave her a bookmark. She seemed pleased to get the bookmark, and I was very happy to meet someone who loves reading HP.

When we finished lunch, the mall and shoe shopping was next. I was pretty good considering how I feel about shoes. I only bought one pair of flip flops.

By the end of the day, I was tired but happy. I had a lot of fun shopping with friends (though Kimberly Lang and I have a problem — we have the same taste. We kept picking up the same dresses, shoes, and jewelry. Perhaps it's no accident we both write for Harlequin Presents!) and I didn't spend too much. I picked up four nice dresses, one super fabulous, and a pair of pants that I've already decided to return (see, Marilyn, told you it'd happen quick!).

Next week, I'll head to the mall again. And probably DSW, just to see what sort of lovely shoes they may have. It's time to start making my list of what outfit to wear to which event. If there are any holes to be filled, then one more shopping trip ought to do it. I hope.

What was the last big shopping trip you went on? Do you have any favorite stores? I love stores like Chico's and White House – Black Market, but Ross is more budget friendly. I think my hubby appreciates that…. πŸ˜‰

Yesterday's winner: Aimee C! Aimee, email me your contact info and I'll get a signed book into the mail…..