Good morning, happy Monday and welcome back!

Mother-daughter weekend in Minneapolis was so.much.fun!! 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.

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

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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. :)

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

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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!

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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. ;)

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

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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!!

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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!

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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.

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

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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…

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And the indoor Amusement Park!

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

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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.

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

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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!!

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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!

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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 :)

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I also picked out some necklaces!

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Nice and simple for this girl :)

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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!!  

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

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Our dinner destination: Stellas Fish Cafe & Oyster Bar 

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

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

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

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

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To die for. Must replicate at some point…

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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!

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

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

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

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Have you ever?!?!?!?!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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Which we crushed. :)

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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. :)

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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!!