A Guide To Getting Wild At Your Hometown Mall

In today’s news: Malls aren’t dead!!!! Contrary to the many, many articles saying otherwise, WWD reports that foot traffic at Simon Malls was actually up in November. For me, a diehard mall rat, this is excellent news. Even though I love a good dead mall, I also appreciate a living, breathing mall with a Sephora, a Cheesecake Factory, and Auntie Anne’s pretzels. 


When you’re in your hometown for the holidays and looking for something to do that’s not sitting at home or texting a high school ex, it’s time to get your Valley Girl on. Round up a sibling or your childhood BFF (or whoever, really) and spend an afternoon the way you likely spent many formative middle school afternoons: at the freakin’ mall.


The hometown mall trip is my all-time favorite holiday activity. It involves only mild consumption, maybe an ill-advised piercing from Claire’s or Icing, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll arrive during Cheesecake Factory’s happy hour. But first things first…


Cinnabon—In order to fuel the next few heady, oxygen-pumped-air hours ahead of you, you need a sugar high that will spike right as you enter Sephora and leave just after you pull out of the parking lot. I’ve scanned the Cinnabon site for the latest and greatest, and it’s looking like the Caramel PecanBon is the way to go. 


Claire’s—Girl, you went and got your belly button pierced like you’re 16 and it’s spring-freakin-break? U wild!!


Ironic Santa Photo!—”Wouldn’t it be funny if we got a photo with Santa?”


Sephora—In high school, before a Saturday night at the local coffee shop open mic (I was…deeply uncool), my best friend Rachel and I would visit Sephora to apply a full face of makeup and, to the chagrin of Sephora employees, paint our nails. Nothing brings back the hope of a night ahead like a Benefit bronzer palette.


Cheesecake Factory—With the thick face full of makeup you’ve just applied, sort of like a five-year-old who’s trying on her mom’s makeup, you’re now ready for every glamour queen’s favorite spot: Cheesecake Factory. If you come from 5 – 7 p.m. you can get a “Well-Mannered Dirty Martini” for quite a steal. 


Forever21–So you had two “Well-Mannered Dirty Martinis,” and now it’s time to buy something weird at Forever21. Also, it just doesn’t feel right to leave the mall without an outfit you will only wear once. For your consideration: a too-tight leopard print bodycon dress or a crop top emblazoned with BOYS (still one of the best shirts I own). An honorable mention for this cheap-couture category is any local streetwear-ish store with a name like “Image.”


And now your holiday mall trip is complete! 45 minutes later you will find your car parked on the other side of Sears, very, very far from where you thought it was.


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