Shopped ’til We Dropped


Good morning, happy Monday and welcome back!

Mother-daughter weekend in Minneapolis was!! I picked my Mom up at 6:30am on Saturday morning (we’re serious about our shopping,) and set off in the cold, dark, misty fog.


So foggy that ice even formed on my car’s side mirrors!


It was actually very fitting that we were headed up north to go Christmas shopping, because the scenery was straight out of a winter wonderland. :)


3.5 hours later, we arrived at our shopping destination: The Mall of America!


Whenever I go to insanely large places like this, I take a picture of where I park, so I am certain not to get lost. The MOA names their parking lots after the states – we were in Texas – yeehaw!


We decided that if we couldn’t go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, we’d it least shop at the department store in Minneapolis. ;)


The mall was decorated gorgeously for the season!! Enormous, shining wreathes hung from the ceiling with ropes of twinklling lights.


Of course, there was the Christmas tree! This massive beauty spanned the entire 4 floors of the mall!

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Mmmkay – enough pictures…it was time to SHOP!!


And so we did – for about 2 hours – until we were gnawing at our packages, we were so hungry!

We made a pit stop at a place that I used to eat at all the time when I lived in Minneapolis – (like their Pasta Fresca? Try my version!) – Noodles & Company! Noodles & Company is similar to Chipotle in that it’s freshly made “fast food.” It’s awesome!


We ordered two dishes to share:

Japanese Pan Noodles: Chewy udon noodles pan seared in a hot skillet with fresh vegetables, shrimp and sweet & spicy soy sauce.


Shrimp Pad Thai: Homestyle rice noodle stir fry with all the fixins’.


MY FAVORITES!!!  I’ve forgotten how much I loved these dishes – we devoured!

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After lunch we digested a bit by exploring Lego Land…


And the indoor Amusement Park!


Soon enough, we realized those savory bowls of delicious Asian noodle goodness called for something sweet…Coldstone to the rescue!


We ordered the “kid size” bowls, because honestly, anything more of Coldstone would seriously make me sick. It is the richest ice cream on earth – but the most delish, as well :)

I got my staple: Cake Batter Ice Cream with a Brownie Mixin.


Mumsie got an AWESOME duo: Oatmeal Cookie Dough Ice Cream with a Peanut Butter Cup Mixin.


OMG! We both agreed that even a kiddie sized portion may have been too much – but it was worth it. Sooo creamy, thick and amazing. :)

4 hours of some serious shopping later, we had lugs of Christmas goodies and legs that were about to collapse! Seriously – we shopped until we literally dropped. I don’t think I would have made it to another store by the end!!


I reeeeally wanted to pick up a few shirts and sweaters while we were there, but I have a serious shopping problem: I am the pickiest clothes-picker-outer you will ever meet in your entire life. Of the 526 stores in the entire mall – I could not find ONE SINGLE SHIRT that I loved. Who am I?! Who goes to the Mall of America and can’t find a single clothing item they want to buy?

I’m just at a point in my life where, if I don’t absolutely love something, I’m not going to buy it. There’s no point in wasting money on something that I’ll get home and say “ehhh” to.

I DID, however, pick up this adorable bowl!


My morning oats will love it here!

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And some body splash. My Mom and I got ridiculous at Bath & Body Works. With the coupons we brought with us, coupled with some store promotions going on, we got 7 bottles of body splash and 3 bottles of soap for $24. Considering that each of these bottles of body splash are normally $12 – that is outstanding! Ahhh, I love a good deal :)



I also picked out some necklaces!


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Nice and simple for this girl :)





After the mall, we headed downtown…or rather, Uptown for dinner! Uptown is the area just southwest of downtown, and is where I had my apartment when I lived in Minneapolis. It’s got a super funky, hiptser vibe – I just love it!!  


 It’s also home to Calhoun Square, which has got some terrific bars, restaurants and little shops.


Our dinner destination: Stellas Fish Cafe & Oyster Bar 


 I.Love.Stellas. They have got THE freshest fish, and the vibe inside is super cool. 




My Mom and I split Grilled Salmon with Bernaise Sauce, Grilled Asparagus & Mashed Potatoes.


While we waited for our food, we reviewed the placemats on how to clean a fish, and made mental notes.


Oh, we also started with a Spinach, Pine Nut & Goat Cheese Salad.


To die for. Must replicate at some point…


Our dinner was absolutely, unbelieveable in every single way. The freshest, most perfectly grilled salmon paired with a creamy, buttery bernaise sauce and charred, salty asparagus – HEAVEN!


Oh, and don’t even get me started on the mashed potatoes! Buttery, garlicky, whipped peaks of perfection.


Stella’s is where it’s at. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our night.


Or maybe we could, because after dinner we headed to the promised land: TRADER JOES!!!


Have you ever?!?!?!?!


I never knew and was seriously jumping up and down when I saw these – fresh, on the stalk, Brussels Sprouts!!!


We walked around in a daze for about 30 minutes and picked up alll my favorites. Seriously, does food make YOU this excited?!


After TJ’s, we decided to call it a night. 6 hours of shopping, 1 crazy good dinner and a visit to adult candy land was just about the end for us two ladies. :) We laid our heads at the fabulous Marquette Hotel in downtown Minneapolsi. Stunning.







I can’t say enough about this hotel – it was gorgeous! I slept like a little shopping angel, but woke bright and early to hit up my favorite breakfast place in all of Minneapolis: The Uptown Diner.


My last meal in Minneapolis when I moved was at the diner, and I must eat there every time I return!


It’s a fact that the Uptown Diner serves the best coffee – so of course, we got a couple mugs!

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Cream and a little sugar, please.


The Uptown Diner is super cool, a little retro, and always reliable. I’ve never had a bad meal here, ever!



I started with might be my #1 fave thing on the menu: Thick Cut French Toast.


Cinnamon-sugary goodness topped with a drizzling of maple syrup = the best breakfast on earth.


Which, ok, might be riveled by the Florentine Omelet and Hashbrowns. :) 


Which we crushed. :)


Ahhhh – it was with happy bellies, a trunk full of Christmas gifts and some great memories that we hit the road back home. With some candy, natch. :)


I do love Minneapolis with a large portion of my heart, but it is definitely good to be home. Time to get started on another short week – it’s Thanksgiving in a few days, my friends!!

Have a wonderful Monday!!

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  1. Sarah Jayne 11.23.2009

    Wowowow!!!! Sounds like a total & complete DREAM weekend!!! Between all the goood food & amazing shopping…perfect ‘girls’ weekend with your momma!!

  2. Ohmigosh I would LOVE to go to that mall. I have a feeling I could do a TON of damage.

  3. Amanda 11.23.2009

    I am so jealous. I have always wanted to go to the mall of america. My BFF & I once planned a trip all the way there from NY just to shop but plans fell through :(

    I got an awesome deal at Bath & Body this week too! I bought $69 worth of products for $28!! I love a good deal!

  4. VeggieGirl 11.23.2009

    And the award for Best Weekend Ever goes to….

    YOU!! :-D

  5. Leianna 11.23.2009

    You serioursly make me miss my home so much, all those things I miss, like just hoping over to Trader Joes, living in downtown Minneapolis, and being 10 minutes from MOA!
    SO jealous of your weekend and glad you accomplished lots of shopping!
    Trader Joes was obviously the highlight:)

  6. Beth 11.23.2009

    Good food+mom+shopping=fantastic weekend. Does it get any better than that?!? My mom and I will be doing our shopping bright and early on Friday and I can’t wait!

  7. Dawn Hutchins 11.23.2009

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend with us! I hear so much about Trader Joe’s I’m SO jealous. We do have a wonderful little market that just opened near the house called Fresh Market and I saw the brusselsprouts on the stalk just like that for the first time on Saturday! I’m trying your ground turkey egg rolls tonight. SO excited. I know they will be delish.

  8. Stephanie 11.23.2009

    Hahaha I totally saw the brussel sprout stalk at Fresh Market a few weeks back and was so excited too! I whipped my camera out right tehre for a pic bc I couldn’t believe my eyes – I had no clue that’s what they looked like! Looks like you had a nice trip too :)

  9. Evan Thomas 11.23.2009

    That mall is absurd. I wish I lived close enough to it to take a trip some day. And I get that excited about Trader Joe’s even though I live near one, haha

  10. Looks like a great mother daughter weekend! I love Stella’s! My brother always takes me there when I visit :)

  11. Graze With Me 11.23.2009

    Noodles and Co, Coldstone, TJ’s and diner food?? All my favorite things right there! Sounds like a great weekend!

    I’ve only been in a TJ’s once, in San Francisco on my honeymoon. I was so sick of eating meals out and at our hotel & when the concierge told us there was a Trader Joe’s a few blocks away I ran out the door before he finished giving me directions. I was sooo excited! My husband thought I was crazy. He refused to take pictures of me in front of it…I think I embarrass him with my enthusiasm for food. Know that you’re not alone.

  12. Abby's Vegan Eats 11.23.2009

    Wow, what a fun weekend!!! You and your momma look so happy!! I saw those brussels on a stalk this weekend too and totally wanted a pic, but I was by myself so I thought it would be inappropriate/awkward to do a “Self-take” lol. ;)

  13. holly 11.23.2009

    you hit up like a bunch of my fave places! stellas=soooo good, noodles is always a winner, love me some MOA and UPTOWN DINER IS ONE OF MY FAVE PLACES EVER!

    this makes me miss MN so :) glad you and mama had so much fun – yay for short weeks!

  14. Marissa 11.23.2009

    Love the hotel decor! Trader Joe’s is pretty awesome :)

  15. Your eats and goodies look fabulous!

    I agree that I won’t buy something unless I love it. I don’t have a lot of time to wear “regular” clothes due to the uniform so I tend to only buy stuff I love and will wear a ton.

  16. Ummm, you were literally in my neighborhood! So, the photo of the Uptown theater? I work ABOVE that! Yes. In the offices above Chino Latino etc. – that is where I am typing from right now!
    I was also in Stella’s just on Thursday! Never eaten there though but it looks really good!
    The Marquette is gorgeous isn’t it? I stayed there last summer for work and loved that big flat screen TV and the super bouncy beds.
    Yay for Minneapolis! So glad you enjoyed!
    Oh – and I can’t leave without telling you the Tex Mex at Uptown Diner is the cure for all ills. Fact.

  17. Nancy 11.23.2009

    I was actually listening to Christmas music on the radio, while reading your blog entry and it seriously brought a huge smile to my face. Except it was bittersweet – I would love for my Mom and I to do a girls roadtrip like that, but I’d have to fly her (3 hours) to me, and then we’d drive somewhere. Not sure if she’d be up for all that excitement haha. Way to get a headstart on your shopping though. I’d LOVE to go to Mall of America some day!

  18. Erin 11.23.2009

    I wanna go home now! Ok, I’ve never actually lived in Mpls. but my Mom’s family is there – there’s something about that city that makes me wanna call it ‘home’ – I hate leaving it behind! If I wasn’t so established here, I’d move, just for Trader Joes!

    Living vicariously through your photos until I invade Mpls. for Christmas,

  19. Kaye 11.23.2009

    Looks like a great time!
    BTW…what camera do you use…your pictures are always AMAZING :)

  20. Alicia 11.23.2009

    Sounds like a wonderful Mom-daugther weekend!!!! I wanted to let you know that I made your Pumpkin Butter this weekend and it was to die for! Thank for you for a wonderful yet simple treat ;)

  21. Molly 11.23.2009

    ahhh love Stellas! It was our drinking destination for the past few weekends…I need to remember to go there for the food too :)
    I love that city. So glad you had a good time!!!

  22. Pamela 11.23.2009

    I’ve only been to Minneapolis twice, but Uptown was one of my favorite neighborhoods! Have yet to visit MOA, but I can understand not being able to pick out a shirt – the sheer number of choices sounds so overwhelming!
    I used to live near a Noodles & Co – your photos make me miss it!

  23. Laura J. 11.23.2009

    That is pretty much my definition of the perfect weekend! Good shopping, AMAZING food and Trader Joes :) I’m dying to try Stellas, but unfortunately I live in Virginia…boo

  24. Lauren 11.23.2009

    What a GREAT post. First-the Christmas decorations at the mall look GORGEOUS! I just love going to places that are all decorated for the holidays. It is so much fun. Second-I went to Trader Joe’s and saw those brussel sprouts and thought the same thing. I kept saying over and over that I never knew they grew like that. It was the most insane and coolest thing ever. Third-your mother/daughter weekend looks fantastic and like so much fun! I loved reading all about it!

  25. Tay 11.23.2009

    Awwww what a wonderful fun time with mommy dearest :-) I’m loving all those decorations in the mall. Definitely get you in the spirit! And what amazing looking French toast. Mmmm yes please!

  26. Whit 11.23.2009

    What a fun shopping trip! I will have to admit to being quite envious! Love the necklaces!

  27. Sher 11.23.2009

    Can I ask where you got all those great necklaces — looking for some for my sis-in-law for Christmas, and you have great, classic taste that I’d love to “copy” for her. If you wouldn’t mind sharing that is?
    Thanks in advance for the info~

  28. […] Lick the bowl clean while blog reading about my fave Iowan’s trip to my […]

  29. Penny 12.11.2009

    Wow. I am officially jealous of that mini-vacation. That looks like so much fun!

  30. Melissa 12.11.2009


  31. […] a tad on the $$$ side, but you can find it for less at Trader Joes (where I got mine when I was in Minneapolis) or if you have a […]

  32. Joanie 01.19.2010

    You went to some of my FAVORITE places…Stella’s and Uptown Diner. I agree with you about the great food at Uptown Diner…never a bad meal! I live in Uptown and dread the day I move because I won’t be so close to these great staples!!

    Love all your recipes! Can’t wait to try them all!

  33. Jessica 05.07.2010

    I moved from Uptown in Minneapolis about a year ago. Your post makes me miss it so much!! I realllly miss Trader Joe’s and the Uptown Diner. Looks like a fun shopping trip!

  34. […] The next morning, even though the majority of us were still full from dinner, we met up at our spot for breakfast – the Uptown Diner! […]

  35. […] annual Mall of America shopping trip my Mom and I go on always puts me in a cheerful, holiday mood. One of my favorite things to do at […]

  36. Conny 02.14.2012

    thanks for sharing:) You brought back sweet memories. It made me miss Minneapolis/ Uptown, though… I hope to come back one day, even if its just for a weekend :)

  37. Minneapolis is a fabulous city! Thanks for sharing :)

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