That Time I Almost Gave a Charitable Donation But Then Bought Jeans Instead

Waaaayyyyy back in December 2008, I earned my doctorate.

Technically, my name is Dr. Egan.


The only time I use the “Dr.” title is when I have to call an MD’s office and I want a guarantee that they’ll call me back.

Because I’ve learned that MD’s are unlikely to call back regular folk.  Like educators.

Anyway, after my successful dissertation defense, my sister-in-law Jen asked me what I was going to do to celebrate my accomplishment, particularly since I didn’t bother to attend my graduation ceremony.

My first thought was, “I’m going to take a nap and then spend an evening watching TV.  Duh.”

Then I suggested that maybe I’d treat myself to a hoity-toity handbag, like this sweet little Kate Spade:

She fully approved.

Anyway . . . months went by.  The Eddie Bauer diaper bag continued to be lugged around.  Years went by . . . still no decadent handbag.

Why, you ask?  Aside from the fact that Drew would have probably killed me, I couldn’t help but think of the adorable red cows that were probably slaughtered for all that yummy leather and all the starving children in Haiti who could have used that $400.00 to buy their own handbag.

After several visits went by, I think my sister-in-law saw the writing on the wall and realized that I was unlikely to purchase a handbag that was more valuable than my entire shoe collection.

However, this past Thanksgiving, Jen mentioned how a good pair of jeans can make the difference between a should-not-have-eaten-those-last-twelve-handfuls-of-caramel-popcorn ass and a oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-you-spend-anytime-sitting-and-hiding-that fabulous-thing ass.

My ears perked up.  Jeans?  I wear jeans!  And I totally just ate 12 handfuls of caramel popcorn!  What a coincidence!

I mentally reviewed my current supply of jeans.  Let’s see.  I have my jeans from Old Navy.  Another pair from Old Navy.  One from Ann Taylor that stretched out after I wore them once so now they look like pants that Milli Vanilli would have worn, and a pair from The Limited that would look totally awesome if they didn’t have a big hole in the crotch from that time I slid off a park bench that had a nail sticking out.

No, she meant jeans like 7 for All Mankind jeans.  Or Citizens of Humanity jeans.  Or Joe’s Jeans.  The kind that cost nearly $200 and must be hemmed.  I don’t mean they must be hemmed because I’m only 5″ 1′ and I have to hem most pants.  No, they purposely make them long enough to accommodate women who are 6″5′ so everyone has to hem them.  It’s like, a rite of passage.

Anyway, after the whole, “sorry your husband dumped you during the holidays” conversation, she shifted the conversation to talk about the therapy.  The type of therapy that relies on less on emotions on more on visualization.


Retail therapy.

Specifically, JEANS retail therapy.

Because Nathan was in town this weekend for business, she sent him to me with clear instructions to TAKE TARA TO THE MALL AND DON’T LET HER LEAVE WITHOUT SOME KICK-ASS JEANS.

She knows that a woman whose ass looks awesome is more likely to have an awesome life.

She’s an engineer, and super smart, so I believe her.  Plus, she has a great ass and is super cheerful, so I’ve decided that she’s a good case study.

(Note:  Case studies are an important part of SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, folks.  And I have my doctorate, so its like, mandatory that I do case studies.)

So, my brother and the kids trekked to South Park Mall, where I have been exactly twice since moving to Charlotte nearly 4 years ago.  Once to take Dylan to visit Santa when he was 5 months old, and once to meet some ladies from Modern Parent to get a picture.

I tried on about 50 pairs of jeans, gawked at the price tag, tried them all on again, and then bought two pairs; one pair was a 7 for All Mankind, and one was a Citizens for Humanity.

Note: this is not me but I'm cool with it if you think so

Drew is going to pass out when he sees the credit card bill.  I have never been so wasteful with money throughout our entire marriage.  I’m hoping that because the store names have the words “all mankind” and “humanity” in them, he’ll think that I got all noble and donated money to starving children in Haiti.  Or to the Save the Red Cows Association.

(Note:  While I was navigating the too-long jeans, Nathan was teaching the kids how to bark like dogs in public and spin pennies on their sides.  Whatever.)

I think this was the first time that I’d ever gone shopping with a man and two children and not heard endless complaining or had to take the kids into the dressing room with me.  Shopping is super fun when you’re not hissing at your son to stop crawling under the dressing room door and commenting on other people’s clothing choices while your daughter is rummaging through your purse and trying to read your text messages.

Anyway, so now I have about $400.00 worth of jeans sitting in a bag on my bed.  I’m going to try them on AGAIN and decide if I should return them, keep only one pair, or stomp on the remnants of my marriage by keeping both pairs.

Regardless of which I choose, I think I might wait for the credit card bill to arrive just to see if some passing out occurs.

Heh.  Heh-heh.


  1. Millie says:

    Do NOT return those jeans!!!

  2. Jennifer Simson says:

    Glad you passed on the Kate Spade-I have one that I actually won for being some kind of exemplary employee at my old company and the purse is a piece of crap. I was disappointed. I still have yet to find something I love in the handbag department (Coach disappointed me too). Let me know how you like the jeans-I haven’t splurged on that yet!! Waiting for my body to deflate a bit.

    I’m also a little sad that I’ve never lived in Charlotte and have been to South Park more than you. In my defense, I used to travel a ton for work and was assigned there just prior to Christmas. Still makes me look like a shopaholic!!

    Hope you had a good weekend!! Sounds like it!!

  3. Liz says:

    Keep the jeans….and go buy some new shoes to match…with the same credit card. :)

  4. Amy K. says:

    Alright, I’m so uncool I haven’t even heard of these jean brands.

    OK so the question on everyone’s mind is – how does your butt look in those new jeans (pictures welcome)? Seriously, I need to know if there is any hope for my rear.

    • Tara says:

      I’m really not above taking pictures of my ass. So, consider this your warning.

      • Amy K. says:

        I’m really not above looking at pictures of your ass. But after you take the pictures you should return the jeans – because we wouldn’t want to give my rear an inferiority complex when we’re walking around Disney World together, right?

  5. Beth says:


    I love fancy jeans… you should totally keep both because what if one gets dirty or torn.


  6. Kelly J says:

    I’m with Liz!! Can’t wait to see them.

  7. katie miller says:

    Ok, I have to know, did you buy those two brands specifically with the intent for passing it off as charity, or was that just a clever afterthought? :-)

    • Tara says:

      Clever afterthought. I have to be honest . . . I got the Citizens at Nordstrom’s. So I won’t be able to pass off that pair as charity.

  8. You are going to be SOOOOO cute!!! Both pair have my vote and I wish I had the guts to go for a pair or TWO!?! You are a rockstar!! You will totally have to get a pair of sexy heels to go with them as you will have a HOT ass and your legs will look firm!! YAY Tara!! Cannot wait to see them!!!

  9. Lisa says:

    In case you become obsessed enough with the power of great jeans to travel: there is a place in Philly called “Charlies Jeans” it is considered magical amongst the locals because Charlie will find you the ultimate pair of jeans. Literally you walk into the store, Charlie (or another well trained associate) will pick your size and style and you will walk out with a butt lift and the most confidence that $200 can buy.

  10. sue says:

    Happy your spending money on yourself. Keep them. I am sure they look great. You go girl.

  11. Jen says:


    First, you must keep both pairs. A year from now you’ll be thinking about how often you wore them and how they still look fantastic. I like to think of them as a cost per wear, like a “jeans rate”. That’s basically how I have rationalized buying a closet full of jeans. By the way, this logic works with yoga pants & boots.

    Second – what about that handbag?

  12. April Jones says:

    Tara -
    That is exactly why Jen is one of my very best friends – she knows how to rationalize :) I still frequently use something she said to me years ago about how you really need a good, nice, coat, because then you can wear whatever you want under it and still look good.
    I have a small Kate Spade – I decided I deserved it because…. I cleaned the house that day… (ok, maybe just the kitchen)… and it makes me happy to carry it. You are raising 2 children and going through a difficult time, you should have a splurge.
    And I totally agree, keep both pairs and wear them often, you deserve it!
    P.S. I have also used this type of rationalization for my UGGs, Marmot coat (you know, for the 3 weeks per year it gets so cold I need it), and Toyota 4 Runner (ok, maybe buying that for the dogs sounds strange, but when I explain it fully, it makes complete sense).

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