‘Tis the season to shop ’til you drop! :D

This weekend my Mom and I went on our 4th annual girl’s shopping trip to the Mall of America!

It’s one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me, as we get to spend the entire day together shopping. What more could two gals ask for? ;)

We woke up at the crack of before dawn, hit up Starby’s and were on our way to Minneapolis by 6:30am. At 10:00, we entered the mall in all its glory. You couldn’t help but get into the holiday spirit, what with the twinkling lights cascading down from the ceiling, and the hustle and bustle of the crowd.

Two hours of intense shopping later, we were famished.

We searched high and low for the America’s Next Great Restaurant winner’s place – Soul Daddy, right? – but alas, it was nowhere to be found. Charley’s Subs did the trick.

I don’t know what it is about Charley’s, but both my Mom and I are obsessed with their grilled subs. Maybe it’s the free samples they’re always hawking out front.

All I know is the Chicken Teriyaki sub with pickles totally hit the spot, and fueled me for another 4 hours of shopping. Muwahaha!

After six hours at the MOA, here’s what I walked away with – thoughtfully modeled by Ben. Christmas gifts for the fam (unpictured, obvi,) a fleece vest from Old Navy, belt from Forever 21’s accessories shop, electric eyelash curler from Sephora, and anti-static hair products from Aveda.


I am THIS CLOSE to chopping my hair short again, as the level of static my hair experiences in the winter is absolutely unreal. I begged the Aveda girls for help, and this is what they came up with. Fingers crossed!


Right, but what did you bring me?!


As we walked out of the mall, we were (un)pleasantly surprised to find this. SNOW! There was already 2 inches on the ground, and the fat, heavy flakes were still coming down hard and fast (twss.)

Luckily our next stop wasn’t too far away. It was right across the street, in fact. IKEA!

IKEA is the furniture store equivalent of Target. Don’t even think about walking out of there without dropping at least $100.

After slamming a couple Reese’s Trees for a pick-me-up (they’re back!) we headed in.

We oo’ed at the kitchen setups,

and ahh’d over cute bedroom linens.

But we really went cuckoo for the kitchen wares – a foodie’s dream come true.

Whisks, colanders and dishes, oh my!

This is the part where the cart really started to fill up.

I couldn’t help but throw in measuring cups, cutting boards, pastry brushes and a whole lot more for “Santa” to bring me for Christmas.

$3.99 knife sets make me happy. :)

Here’s my loot:


Individual sized bowls and baking dishes, napkins (really?), package clips and a dish brush,

DSC_0991 DSC_0992

new bedding for the guest bedroom,


and new drapes/curtains for the kitchen. I HEART these!


By the time we left IKEA, the roads were a complete mess. I ran into a curb, actually, so we said to heck with it and grabbed dinner at the closest restaurant we could find. This ended up being T.G.I. Fridays, where we shared pot stickers, Chicken Bruschetta Pasta,

and an all too small serving of Oreo Madness.

Oh how I have missed thee!!!

After crashing at the hotel, we got up early the next morning to head home before the next storm hit. Sticking with the closer to the hotel the better theme, we made a quick stop at IHOP for brekkie first!

I’ve actually never eaten at an IHOP before, but pretty much got the gist when they slammed the syrup caddy down with my mug of coffee. ;)

Pancakes it is!

I panicked and got Cinnamon Roll Pancakes. They were pretty much the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

Supplemented by eggs, hashbrowns and bacon which, well, weren’t.

Another successful girls trip, in the books! :D

I wish the story ended there…but it doesn’t. I locked my keys in my car at a gas station on the way home. BLERG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Similar to losing glasses in hotel rooms, locking my keys in my car is also one my things. One of my highly obnoxious, inconvenient, irritating things. Once in college I locked them in my car twice in one day. When I lived in Minneapolis a few years ago, I locked them in my car two weeks in a row, not just at the same gas station, but at the same pump.

Luckily AAA saved the frickin’ day, and we were on our way 20 minutes later. Hallelujiah!

20 Day Holiday Workout Challenge

Week 2 of the 20 Day Holiday Workout Challenge officially begins tomorrow!

Fellow challengers – how did Week 1 go for you? Monday-Wednesday were great, while Thursday and Friday were mentally challenging. I don’t think I have ever consciously worked out at a gym 5 days in a row, so when Thursday rolled around I was all, We’re seriously going back there? I had to put all thoughts aside, and just go.

That’s why working out with a plan or goal in mind is so effective for me. If I wasn’t participating in the challenge and was just like, ok I’m going to work out 5 days this week, I would have totally blown off a couple workouts.

So far so good!

Month of Holiday Giveaways

Thank you so much for everyone who participated in the Sabra Prize Pack Giveaway! With a record number of entries, congrats go out to:

Jenni: My favorite part of the holidays is decorating sugar cookies with my family!

Jennie – send your full name and address to IowaGirlEats@gmail.com, and we’ll get you your prize pack.

Everyone else, stay tuned for some more awesome giveaways!

Off to go get ready for the week – see ya!


“The first store I usually head to at the mall is ________.”

Usually I head straight to Von Maur, Francesca’s or Ann Taylor Loft!