Athena may only be four years old but shopping is clearly on her bucket list. She loves shoes, sparkles, and all things Disney. It’s beautiful to watch her face light up when she tries on a new pair of shoes or puts on a sparkly tutu. I don’t even have to buy anything for her to be happy. She just likes to imagine, play, and discover. The best place to live in the magic of shopping is South Coast Plaza in Coast Mesa. South Coast Plaza defines the luxury shopping experience with boutiques, personal service, and upscale amenities. It makes children happy with a playful Carousel Court, a Disney Store with magical openings, and crisp, bold colors at Kate Spade. It makes mom’s happy with unique stores like Maje and it’s sexy-street chic style or Sandro with its clean lines and sophisticated aesthetic. Athena and I spent a full bucket list day shopping at South Coast Plaza enjoying all of our favorite stores and amenities. We found the perfect balance between mommy and daughter stores and excitement.
We arrived at South Coast Plaza shortly before 10 am and noticed the magical lock outside the Disney Store. There were no other children around so we knew Athena was going to get to open the store. The Opening Ceremony happens at each Disney Store and it allows one child each morning to help turn the key and unlock the doors of Disney. Athena excitedly turned the key after the countdown and the doors opened. She was beaming with excitement and we had only just arrived. It’s such a special experience for a child yet it’s simple for the store to do. Good on you, Disney.
Our deal was that if Athena was a good girl all morning, she could return to the Disney Store and buy one gift that was under $20. She promised to be on her best behavior as we headed toward the Carousel Court. During the holidays, the carousel is converted to a holiday theme with reindeer. Carousels are undoubtedly Athena’s favorite ride so I let her choose three different reindeer before going to our first store of the day.
Playfully sophisticated with crisp color and sparkles, kate spade new york is a little girl’s and a mother’s dream. As soon as we walked in the store, Athena noticed an adorable bunny ring and a pink headband. She hopped around the store with her hands up like a bunny. It was too cute not to take a picture.
The ladies in the store were helpful and instantly made us feel welcome. They were more like friends rather than employees. We never felt pressured to purchase anything and we were given time to explore and have fun.
The kid’s section of kate spade fits Athena’s style to a tee. She tried on a pink tutu, a faux fur vest, and a black sparkly headband. Her smile says it all. Even after visiting several more stores, this was still her favorite outfit, which was great because while we tried on shoes, I had the ladies pack up the tutu and the headband as Christmas gifts.
The next two stores, Maje and Sandro, were more for me but Athena gladly tried on women’s boots and hid between the racks while I shopped. In Maje, I found a top that would work well for the holidays regardless if I was dressing up or going casual. The dress I found in Sandro was feminine and sexy without being too over the top. The material will pack well and I can take it with me for the holidays and continue wearing it throughout the season, especially in California. My clothing shopping was complete but I still had more fun stores to come.
We love visiting Pottery Barn Kids, designed to delight and inspire the imagination. I expected to sit and watch as Athena laid in the beds, played with the toys, and cooked on the toy stove. I didn’t expect to find something that I wanted to buy for myself. While Athena pretended to make me eggs, though, I looked at the Christmas ornaments and found an airplane. I usually only fill the tree with ornaments from my travels but this matched our tree so well that I couldn’t leave the store without it. I let Athena choose one as well. She picked a pink mouse ballerina that I loved too. The ornaments prompted me to put up the Christmas tree when I got home.
I thought it would be fun for us to indulge our senses with the smells and soft creams of Fresh. My skin always gets dry this time of year and I was hoping to find a face cream to help. I asked for assistance in picking the right cream and I left with a few travel-sized products to refresh my skin.
It was time for Athena to return to the Disney Store and pick her reward for being such a great shopping partner. I wasn’t surprised when she picked a pair of sparkly, Frozen shoes. I also saw her eyeing-up a Beauty & the Beast tea set so I had the staff put aside for another Christmas gift.
All of my Christmas shopping is done and it’s only mid November. It was easy with Athena there to help decide. In each store that I wanted to buy something for Athena, the employees made it seamless. They would bring the gift to the register and put it in a bag. All I had to do was go up and pay and pick up the bag. Athena didn’t have a clue of any of her gifts and I didn’t need to get a babysitter so I could do my Christmas shopping.
At South Coast Plaza, shopping is a bucket list experience. Fun amenities like the Carousel Court do a great job of breaking up your shopping and entertainment and the employees treat everyone like a valued guest. Athena and I bonded over sparkles and Fresh products and I completed my Christmas shopping list without her knowing. We’re planning our next visit when Santa is at the Carousel Court to add even more magic to South Coast Plaza.