Tampa: Are we there yet, shoppers?
1. Zara: Vogue worthy style at decidedly less snobby prices has finally landed at International Plaza. Thank the shopping gods for delivering!
2. Whole Foods: The sign is up on Dale Mabry Highway, replacing the store formerly known as Wild Oats. We are elated, but the pride is bittersweet. If it's taken this long to get Whole Foods, we have no hope of Dean & DeLuca. And we still yearn for Trader Joe's.
3. Ikea/Crate & Barrel: In two years, we will look back and wonder how anyone decorated before the arrival of these titans of chic and affordable home furnishings. Let the countdown begin ... Ikea, Summer 2009. Crate & Barrel, 2009. And let's begin a campaign for The Container Store, and West Elm.
4. Saks Fifth Avenue: In the dark days before Saks, women had to go as far as Atlanta to find anything more exciting than Talbots. Repress the memory. Now we have full-line Chanel boutiques in Saks and Neiman Marcus. An embarrassment of riches!
5. Tiffany & Co.: How did anyone say "I love you" before the little blue box?
6. Anthropologie: Girly, flirty, hippy, happy. So few of us can look like we roll out of bed with good taste, which is why we have shelled out big bucks for their little tee's ever since this gem opened in Tampa's Hyde Park Village. And while we're counting blessings, here's to Urban Outfitters, an edgier cousin in Ybor.
Still waiting, after all these years ...
8. H&M: Why, why are we cursed? In real cities, H&M is the staple of cheap style on a budget. We pine away and dream of taking trips to New York.
9. Bloomingdale's and Barneys: We adore our Nordstrom, Dillard's and Macy's, but the department store lineup remains sadly incomplete. Tampa is not asking for the moon. Just give us Bloomie's and Barneys CO-OP.
(Photo: You won't see the Bloomingdale's brown bag in Tampa, but the little blue box is here.)