Home humor On Country Girls and Department Stores (and turning 40)

On Country Girls and Department Stores (and turning 40)

by Kelly Crawford

It’s a near-perfect day. Fall has made a grand entrance, bringing a crisp breeze, clear skies and the scent of apple-cider memories.

I turned 40 today. I dreaded it but now that it’s here, I’m OK. It’s been a good reflective day–not on purpose, just naturally. I have enjoyed my family so much…from the construction paper streamers all over the kitchen and the chocolate-chip waffles with chocolate syrup, to the piles of hand-drawn cards and birthday wishes from children who obviously forgive quickly and look over transgressions daily. I am humbled, in a fresh way, at the gifts God has given me, including the tender, patient husband who shares it all.

Yesterday he took me shopping. In the city. A hidden camera could have captured an award-winning reality t.v. episode. Here’s how it went:

Let me preface….

  • We live on a farm at least twenty miles from the nearest store, which happens to be Wal-Mart. We have to go way beyond that to find a department store. I am not a hillbilly…I just enjoy a simpler life.
  • I don’t shop at department stores. Well, unless twice a year at TJ Maxx counts. If it’s in my closet, it probably came from a thrift store. (If you think I’m exaggerating, the last time I did buy something at a real store, I caught myself taking it off the hanger to put in my cart–the cardinal rule at our thrift store.)  Now don’t feel sorry for me. I consider it one of life’s greatest material joys to find really great stuff dirt cheap. To buy a whole wardrobe for around $50?? Can life get better? I feel sorry for all those poor souls spending their hard-earned money at department stores. Do they even know? It’s all about perspective, I guess.

So we step out of our 2001 Honda, sandwiched between the Mercedes, and headed shopping. I joked to my husband about “pretending to be rich” with my spending money. First store: “70% off summer clearance”. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Well, turns out 70% isn’t so cheap when the original price of the dress was $148. Well, it may be to some of you, but $9.97 at the thrift store is “high-end” to me…probably a leather coat or something. 😉 Do you see? (Don’t laugh.)

Next store–Williams-Sonoma. $24 dollars for a quart of apple cider? Mmmmm….probably not.

Then I decided. “Honey, now that I’m 40, it’s probably time to invest in some good makeup. That’s what I’ll do.” And I walked up to the first cosmetic counter we came to and spotted “just what I needed”. A cream foundation in a compact. “Small, easy, affordable.”

I told the sweet makeup lady what I wanted to purchase, and she, of course, began to give me a makeover “since it was my birthday”. When it was done, I told her I’d take the compact. “That’ll be $49.78.” (“Did I hear her right?”) I glanced at my husband and handed her my money.

(How was I supposed to know I had chosen “the world’s best moisturizing foundation”?)

We walked away and Aaron said, “Oh, honey, do you feel regret?”

“Does regret feel like I’m going to throw up?”

“Yes”…he laughed. “Do you want to return it?”

“I want it returned…but I don’t want to do it.” (Yes! I’m such a wimp–I was so embarrassed at the thought.)

“I’ll do it for you.”…he walked back and handed me my money….”Here ya go, baby girl”, apparently amused at my naivety.

It was a fun memory and we left the shopping center laughing with, “Take me back to the farm!”

Right after we enjoyed an Italian dinner and wine with great friends 😉

Perhaps I’ll “splurge” at Walmart and buy some Revlon.

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Charity September 22, 2012 - 1:44 pm

Oh, Kelly, SO funny! Sounds like me, except about 12 years younger ;). I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to a department store either! My daughter (5yrs) was given something recently with a store tag on it and she was so perplexed by the tag. (she actually asked to keep the tag 😉 ) Guess that’s proof that most of our items come from yard sales and thrift stores, huh?

Hope your birthday was wonderful!

6 arrows September 22, 2012 - 3:49 pm

Happy Birthday, Kelly! I’d say welcome to the 40’s, but I left them behind a couple weeks ago 😉


Mrs L September 22, 2012 - 5:50 pm

That’s so funny!
When I was pregnant with our first-born (and still working) I decided I was getting a ‘real’ hair-cut with some streaks put in. I went to a very fancy hair place.

I was halfway through the treatment when I was quoted at $160. I was panicked, but it was too late to back out so I squeaked ‘okay’.

An hour later I went to the counter to pay- I had misheard- it was $360. You can’t refund a hair-cut either. I had only been married for 9 months. I cried the whole way home, afraid to tell my husband. He was very forgiving of my foolishness, (couldn’t tell the difference between my hair before and after though! O.O) and now thinks it’s funny. You can bet that story gets pulled out a lot! I’ve cut my own hair ever since!

Word Warrior September 22, 2012 - 6:14 pm

Oh my! I don’t know if I would have recovered from that 😛 It’s hard for me to believe a hair treatment could cost that much…and more so that people pay it!

Mrs L September 23, 2012 - 3:04 pm

Yes, it certainly still boggles my mind!

Mrs L September 22, 2012 - 5:50 pm

I forgot to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Anne DeRuiter September 22, 2012 - 6:01 pm

I love going to department stores! But I almost always come home empty handed. I’d pay good money for something I deemed worth it, but very little is.

I’m glad you had fun. Happy birthday!!

Michelle September 22, 2012 - 6:37 pm

Happy 40th! I turn 41 this year. How I can relate to your country girl sentiments. I was lamenting just a bit at how my clothes and skirts were beginning to look bedraggled since it has been so long since I have really gone clothes shopping.

I am such a Goodwill girl too. Well, this weekend, after acknowledging that it would be a while longer before we could really afford to shop, a friend had dropped off four bags of clothes. (My daughter also was in need of getting clothes and there were some goodies in there for her too! God’s provision was abundant!

Now this is off topic, but I couldn’t help but notice your sidebar and how it says: “God did not author language to confuse us.” Ummm….isn’t that exactly why He created the different languages and perhaps why they are still kind of confusing today?:P

Word Warrior September 22, 2012 - 6:59 pm


I think the advertiser (to whom that quote belongs) is speaking of the English language and referring to the phonics program they are selling. 😉

Heather September 22, 2012 - 6:49 pm

40 was so hard for me too, but then my husband and God reminded me of how many times the 41st brought blessing in the bible! (this is your 41st year!) Ex~ Noah, Israelites, etc… It really changed my thinking and made some GREAT bible studies with my hubby and I 🙂 I turn 41 in a couple weeks and it has been an amazing year of God’s provision! Not easy, but so fruitful in ways that matter!

He appreciates a “thrifty” spirit! We all know Proverbs 31! 🙂 We too enjoy the Goodwill stores and LOVE garage sales! Enjoy your year and watch God continue to bless you and your family!

Happy Birthday!

Kacie September 22, 2012 - 7:33 pm

Haha! Happy birthday! That reminds me of two things: My mom recently was shopping at an outlet mall in the Chicago suburbs. She saw a sign that said 40-50% off and she thought, well that’s a decent start.

She was in the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet store. A shirt (fairly basic) was $399. And it was half off. She thought it was only worth the sales tax. Whaddya do?

Second thing…Kim C of Life in a Shoe had a cosmetic purchase that went similar, but I’m wanting to say her little jar of age-defying whatever was $200. She thought it was $20. Whoops! 🙂 (I could be mixing her up with someone else…but I’m not for sure.)

Kacie September 22, 2012 - 7:34 pm

Oh and to clarify, my mom didn’t buy anything there. She did head over to a Marshall’s and got a few things 🙂

Leslie from VA September 22, 2012 - 8:54 pm

Happy, happy birthday, Kelly!
(40’s are not all that bad….especially when you share the years with the man you love.)

Sue McKeown September 22, 2012 - 9:52 pm

Happy birthday, Kelly, 40 is just a number; don’t sweat it. Been there, done that.

I’m looking into “thrifting” or buying clothes in consignment stores in the nicer suburbs. There will be lots of thrift stores to choose from because we live in a metro area of 1.5 million people. There is a luxury mall about 15 min. from our house and another one on the way to church.

My story about luxury stores goes like this. My husband and I used to live in Madison, WI. We once took a long weekend trip to Chicago, our favorite large city and only about a 2.5 hour drive from home at that time. I found what seemed to be a nice deal on a hotel (it turned out to be marginally OK; I’m glad I was with Alex instead of women friends). Among the things we visited was Water Tower Place, the fanciest mall either of us had ever seen. We went into Neiman-Marcus and saw the $1000 purses, $500 belts, $300 men’s dress shirts, the fur coats, etc. Finally Alex exclaimed, “This place is enough to make a Communist out of me!” He was joking, but I saw his point. If that store had had gumballs, they would probably have been out of our price range.

Carolina September 22, 2012 - 9:55 pm


Jill Farris September 23, 2012 - 1:31 am

Happy Birthday Kelly! 30 was my hard birthday (for some reason) but I recovered.

Now that I am really “old” at 52 (with a seven year old!) I have gotten a bit more into make up. I, too, was appalled at the department store prices and was happy to learn that good ol’ Mary Kay has mineral make up that is affordable and good quality. Of course, spending any money for make up is hard for thrifters but if you want to feel pampered I am sure you can find a Mary Kay consultant even out in the sticks…or online!


hsmominmo September 23, 2012 - 5:56 am

Happy Birthday!
I am a city-girl-turned-country girl and find myself a bit in shock when shopping in the ‘real’ stores “like everyone else”
And what a guy you have there, coming to your rescue like that! You are a blessed woman.
I’m a few steps ahead of you and I can say that life is good, even on this side of 40. Enjoy!

Darcy September 23, 2012 - 7:52 am

You sound a lot like me. Last year for my birthday I was given a gift certificate to a store where one outfit ends up costing more than $100. I ended up prowling the clearance racks and was able to get two skirts, three shirts, and 5 pairs of underwear for $100. The whole time I just kept telling my mom (who was shopping with me) how I wished I could spend $100 at a thrift store and clothe my whole family!

Happy Birthday, by the way! I pray you have a wonderfully blessed 40th year!

Suzanne September 23, 2012 - 7:59 am

Kelly, thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the story. I also am a “GW Fashions” gal. That’s what we tell people when they ask us where we bought something we’re wearing. You just can’t beat spending $3 for a cute Calvin Klein t-shirt and $3 for some Levi’s that almost look like new. Then, of course, when they look at us strangely, not knowing what we’re talking about, we reveal our secret.

Happy belated B’day!

Bonnie September 23, 2012 - 9:14 am

Happy 4oth Birthday Kelly! My 4oth birthday is just 1 month away and I have been thinking about it a lot! My mom gave birth to me and my identical triplet sisters on her 40th birthday ( we were # 6,7,8 for her) so it has always been one of those “magic” numbers for me. She has been gone 8 years now,so with this special birthday will be even harder as we celebrate. I remember her telling me she didn’t have time to think about 40 because she had newborn triplets to care for…I just gave birth to my 7th child on September 11th and am thankful that God has blessed my life with lots of little ones to care for too, so that I don’t have time to lament my 30’s, or dread the 40’s too much!

Heidi September 23, 2012 - 10:00 am

Happy Birthday!

Dianne September 23, 2012 - 11:45 am

Happy Birthday! A great-looking gal like you should be especially excited about birthdays. To age gracefully and beautifully is the envy of all women.

We didn’t ever use to buy anything new for our children as we had so many hand-me-downs, there was no need. One time, though, my husband bought our three sons new outfits from Walmart just because he thought they looked cool. He brought them home and they were so excited to try them on. And then, all at once, they lifted their arm and grabbed the hanging price tag (seriously, it was all at once like synchronized swimming). “What’s this,” they wanted to know. We had to explain that when you BUY clothing, it comes with a price tag. Talk about sheltered homeschoolers!

Natalie September 23, 2012 - 12:07 pm

You crack me up girl!!! Loved reading this!!! If you ever come to visit me, I’m taking you to the MOA for a REAL shocker! (It’s only 15 minutes away from me!)

Jane September 23, 2012 - 12:35 pm

Happy Birthday Kelly! I’m with you on dept. stores. 95% of our clothing comes from Goodwill and our local Christian thrift store. The other 5% is socks and underwear, so I go to Wal-Mart for that. The only thing the mall is good for is Chik-fil-a IMHO!

Jennifer September 23, 2012 - 1:00 pm

Happy Birthday Kelly! 🙂

Rosann September 23, 2012 - 1:13 pm

Happy Birthday! I’ll be boarding the 40 train with you in May. I must admit I’m the exact opposite of you when it comes to shopping. I’m one of those poor souls who spends way too much money on makeup and clothes. BUT – in my defense, it’s all my husbands fault. Lol! No, I used to spend pennies for things and they’d fall apart only days or a few times after using them. My hubby convinced me that with a lot of things in life, you truly get what you pay for. As much as I hate to say he’s right…I’ve found he is! Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t shop in a thrift store for a nice looking quality item at a much reduced price. I have done so and have been quite thrilled with the quality stuff for much cheaper. But I do appreciate what the mall offers too. 🙂

Kelley September 23, 2012 - 8:45 pm

You are such a refreshment to my life. I love your candidness and am so glad to know so much of my own mentality is actually shared with others. Thank you for the post and for the forum so that many like minds (who are, incidentally, UNlike the majority of our world) can come together. Have a blessed 40th year! virtual ~hugs~

Sheila, Mom to Seven September 23, 2012 - 11:18 pm

Happy Birthday, Kelly!
Thanks for a good chuckle. I can so relate.
Best wishes and God’s blessings for another year.
Sheila (who’ll be 42 in December and still feels 22!)

Janet September 24, 2012 - 6:26 am

Happy Birthday!
I can so relate as my blush has been in pieces and I mean tiny fragments for weeks if not months. HAHA 🙂

Blair @ The Straightened Path September 24, 2012 - 6:32 am

Mary Kay is my make-up splurge. 🙂

Happy Birthday! You look beautiful!

MamaHen September 24, 2012 - 7:13 am

Happy Birthday Kelly!

Cindy September 24, 2012 - 7:48 am

Happy birthday Kelly. Welcome to the 40’s. I just joined the group a few weeks ago, and so far so good :). Loved the face cream story.

Heather September 24, 2012 - 11:48 am

Wow! This sounds so familiar! lol The trip to the mall for my birthday, the disbelief over the prices, the sick feeling after you finally do make a purchase, and the relief you feel when your husband makes the return you are to cowardly to make! Ha! 🙂 Happy Birthday!

Melissa September 24, 2012 - 11:56 am

Happy Birthday, Kelly! 🙂

Word Warrior September 24, 2012 - 12:05 pm

Thank you all for the birthday wishes! I enjoyed reading your woeful tales of overpriced stuff too 😉

Kristen September 24, 2012 - 11:26 pm

Happy Birthday, Kelly! Sounds like a wonderful day. And I’m writing this comment as I’m wearing my black, 3/4 length sleeve Ralph Lauren t-shirt with red sequins on it that I bought at a thrift store for $2.50. You are a woman after my own heart.

Lisa September 25, 2012 - 10:32 am

Happy Birthday! I really appreciate your encouragement in my homeschool and home. Now that I am 40 years young too, I was looking for economically priced moisturizer and really like Weleda. I use their Skin Food and Iris Hydrating Night Cream. I purchase from Amazon and take advantage of their free shipping by purchasing it with my school stuff on occasion. Plus I think it is a more natural product with less of the yucky stuff we find in most drug store products.

kimberly September 25, 2012 - 12:36 pm

Happy 40th Birthday!!

dora October 1, 2012 - 9:28 am

Wish I could remember 40. I turned 50 yesterday.

A belated Happy Birthday.

God bless.

Lisa T October 5, 2012 - 7:09 pm

Happy 40! I wanted to recommend Cover Girl’s Oil of Olay foundation. It’s very affordable (under $10) and I love it. I’m 49.:) Love your “city shopping” story — I live in a small city but I’m a Wal-Mart & thrift store gal too.

jen in AL October 10, 2012 - 11:34 am

can’t believe i missed this post! love this and can completely relate. 🙂 So glad you had a wonderful 40th! It is pretty nice being 40:) Lots of love and hugs, jen

Tracy October 13, 2012 - 12:49 pm

Hahahaha 🙂
Sorry , this just sounds soooo much like me and sooo much like my hubby. I can relate totally. My b-day is on Sept 22nd .I turned 42 but shhh don’t tell 😉
Sounds like you had a great birthday . God Bless!

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