July 21, 2010

Souvenirs Galore


This wasn't the post I'd planned for today, but reading the comments yesterday about buying earrings while on trips sort of got me thinking about something. If you missed it, I said that I always try to buy a pair of earrings in each city that I visit so I'll have a little reminder of each trip. A few people said they did the same thing. This little discussion made me think about when and why I started doing this.


Born and raised in a small southern town, my only option for department store shopping was JC Penney or its more elegant cousin Peebles. I'm not saying I was podunky, but shopping options in my town were limited. My senior year of high school included a school trip to Chicago which was my big introduction to a metropolitan city (if you don't count a bus ride to Washington D.C. in the 6th grade...which I don't). I hit the big city in my Gap (outlet) trousers and pea coat feeling like a big shot. I wanted to exude sophistication and prove to native Chicagoans that I belonged there. I knew I wanted to visit all the glamorous department stores that I had heard so much about and I was determined to buy a little something at each, not only for a souvenir but also because I was dying to have shopping bags with the stores' logos (I was seventeen!). I quickly figured out that my travel budget wasn't going to get me very far at Bloomingdales so I settled for a tiny pair of dangly beaded earrings. I relate to my blog twin Miss P at I Do Declare, feeling cool when somebody compliments your jewelry and being able to say “Oh I got these at Bloomingdales” (her earrings in question were purchased in Hawaii).

So this started an entire tradition of buying earrings on trips. I have earrings from Chicago, London, Rome and Atlanta. I have earrings from Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor and Saks. None of these were particularly expensive or even all that special, except I remember where they came from and when I pull them out to wear, it gives me a moment where I think of the trip and how fun it was. Another reader commented that she likes to purchase a Christmas tree ornament from places that she visits and I think this is a wonderful idea as well. It gives you a way to bring home a useful souvenir that isn’t a Hard Rock CafĂ© t-shirt or tiny collectible spoon.

Other than my earring and holiday ornament girls out there, do you all have any other things that you always purchase on trips?