I won't deny that when I was younger all I wanted to be was "cool." I dreamed of one day walking into middle school and everyone losing their sh*t because I was a female Fonz. Needless to say that dream never really quite made itself into a reality. I could never just be cool. Instead, I settled for asking my parents for things that would turn me into someone cool. Things that everyone else wanted and made you into someone once you had it.
My parents were smart and good with their finances. They knew that all of the things I wanted were temporary distractions from growing up and facing the reality of life. Did it stop me from begging them to get me Legos or Moon Shoes? No. It did not. I was always yapping away, asking for things I would never see in my room, or accurately, in my closet. Toys, clothes, and other such wonders that were marketed directly to me through television and sugary cereals. I was a child of television and my parents were paying full price for their decision to have cable.
Nothing got my little teenage brain going quite like The Mall. No matter what anyone tells you, all malls were not created equal. There was one in particular, the Palisades Center, that was the king of all shopping centers. A few times a year when my mother would take me to this mall, my entire world would open up. Countless store fronts, hundreds of brands, food, fun and endless destinations for stuff — the Palisades Center made my eyes water. That was the place I would beg my mother for all of the coolest stuff in 2005. Below are just a few of those items.
1. Harry Potter Trading Cards
While most kids will point to Pokemon as being the most invaluable trading card game, Harry Potter was my wheelhouse. It got discontinued due to some legal issues between the creator and its company, but it didn't stop me from having an album full of these little guys.
2. Razr Phone
These slim suckers were all the rage. You were instantly cool when using one.
3. Jelly Bracelets
Degrassi taught us that these were exchanged between kids for sexual favors. I just thought they looked cool and everyone had them.
4. LiveStrong Bracelets
I begged my folks to get me this bracelet! They never budged. I saved up money and paid someone five dollars for it. If you want to get your own and relive your childhood, they are still being sold online!
5. Vera Bradley Purses
The patterns were setting you apart from everyone else. You would be the coolest kid at a slumber party.
6. Lesportsac Duffle
The only other option for you was having one of these bags. I remember all of the times my bag didn't fit in with all the other girls in school. Man. That was rough.
7. HardTail Skirts
These skirts were reminiscent of the '70s and were the yoga pants of 2005. If you were trying to chill and look cute — this was the look.
8. Von Dutch Trucker Hats
I don't know who started the trend first, but in the early 2000s every big time celeb was wearing one of these hats in magazines. Kylie Jenner was trying to bring it back for a little while in 2016.
9. Auntie Anne's Pretzels
Would a trip to the mall be complete without one of these?
It was important to have a cute stuffed animal that was designed by you, and you alone. High school was going to be scary so I made a poodle that looked like a mini version of me — for support.
11. North Face Fleece Jackets
If you wanted to be cool in my middle school you had to have one of these. I always rocked a decent sweatshirt at that age, but never a traditional North Face fleece. I should get one now, shouldn't I?
This was right when Uggs first hit the scene and changed the future of footwear ~forever~.
If you were a skater boy with Vans, no girl would ever say see you later boy. (That being said, she might steal your shoes.)
14. The X-Box
This was the most high tech gaming system around, and if you wanted to have an awesome sleepover, this was a must-have.
For some reason shoes were always really cool growing up, and these were the coolest shoe around. You could ride them like rollerblades, but walk normally down the halls at your school as well — unless yours was one of the schools that banned them (laaaame).
16. Abercrombie & Fitch
To this day the strong scent of an Abercrombie & Fitch beckons me to the storefront window display. Their clothes always promise you a better life than the one you have. Some things never change!
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