Shop & Lock + Sabra Giveaway Winner!


‘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, 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!

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  1. I can’t stop laughing because I do dumb things like lose my keys, wallet, etc…. typical “d’oh” type moves! ;)

  2. Janna 12.04.2011

    The first store I head to is H&M

  3. Week 1 was pretty great! I’m not being so hardcore as to do Monday through Friday. It just doesn’t fit into my schedule, so I’m getting 5 workouts in, but giving myself two “off” days, wherever I need to take them. It’s working! I’m grateful for the challenge to keep me on track this holiday season :)

  4. Kim 12.04.2011

    Being a California girl I have never been to the Mall of America but I have heard that it is a pretty phenomenal place. As for IKEA, love that place! I have the same red and white bedding that you got and the same pillow that your mom got. The bedding is beautiful

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.04.2011

      Oops – forgot to include that in my pic! The pillow is actually an accent pillow for the guest bedroom. I LOVE it.

  5. Looks like such a fun time, and beautiful pics. :) I think it’s so cute you and your mom go together every year! Great way to bond.

    I love Francesca’s, too! Every other store can let me down in my cute clothes search but they usually pull through. :)

  6. I was at the MoA (and that Ikea, for that matter) in July and we searched for Soul Daddy too, to no avail! Wonder what happened with that…

  7. What a great shopping trip, Iā€™d love to visit MOA at some point in my life! Booo to the snow though, it was 60 degrees here today and it can stay that way for as long as possible please haha

  8. Stacie Gorkow 12.04.2011

    At MOA I head to Marshalls! We do an annual girls trip there in March with my mom and her sister and sister’s daughter! Something to look forward to after a long hard winter!

  9. Hooray for a fun day out shopping! I just LOVE LOVE Ikea! I could live there and or buy the whole place!

  10. Allison 12.04.2011

    I have the EXACT same Ikea curtains/drapes as you just bought! My fiancee and I fantasize about going to Ikea one day and saying: “We will take that entire kitchen.” Cabinets, table, chairs, accessories, everything…. A girl can dream. :)

    I like to shop online, but when I do go to the mall, I usually head to Ann Taylor or Ann Taylor Loft first. I got sooo frustrated over Black Friday weekend b/c they did an online 50% off everything deal. I spent about an hour picking stuff out online, then I could not check out. Their website wasn’t working. Oh, the disappointment!

    I had no idea they make electric eye lash curlers. I love the idea, but I bet it would really hurt to burn an eyelid.

  11. Christine 12.04.2011

    You should get the new deep conditioning treatment available at Aveda salons! Does wonders for the static and it only takes 5 minutes! It leaves your hair super soft and is supposed to last 6 weeks! I just had it done and it’s helped so much!

  12. Gramma22 12.04.2011

    Starbucks first and then any store close!

  13. what a fun trip! the first store i head to is crate & barrel and j. crew.

    on a different note, ihop eggs make me nauseous, but their pancakes are to.die.for.

  14. Fran 12.04.2011

    looks like in the last picture that you forgot your mom!!! ha ha

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.04.2011

      Hahaha I know! She was waiting inside in the warmth while our key man worked his magic!

  15. Lauren 12.04.2011

    This has to be the best mother/daughter weekend ever (despite the key incident). I had one of these days yesterday with my dad. It was truly the best day I’ve had in a long time.

  16. Julie 12.04.2011

    Depending on the mall, I usually head to the Loft, Bannana Republic or Victoria’s Secret (is it just me, or do they constantly send “free panties” coupons, haha)

  17. Iowa Girl at Heart 12.04.2011

    Soul Daddy closed two months after it opened here – started off with a huge BANG and then all three restaurants (NY, LA and Minneapolis) just closed. Always thought that was odd.

  18. Soul Daddy closed at all 3 locations as it failed:(

    Love MOA! Went there last July and it was fabulous!

  19. Linda 12.04.2011

    One of my best friends lives in Minneapolis and I love to go to MOA when I visit. We just got a Von Maur in Atlanta. I’ve seen tons of advertisements so I’ll have to check it out.
    I usually hit loft j crew and banana.

  20. h.esmeralda 12.04.2011

    Soul Daddy has been MIA at the MOA for quite some time. My husband and I ate there a few weeks after it opened. HUGE disappointment. Our chicken was cold and our cheese grits tasted like they had been seasoned with a Kraft Mac and Cheese orange-cheese-mystery-dust package.

  21. Whit 12.04.2011

    Oh, JEALOUS of your Ikea trip!
    I spent the weekend shopping til I dropped, too. In downtown Chicago. It was absolute madness. But the first store we headed to was Lush. AFTER Chicago-style pizza, of course.

  22. mary e 12.04.2011

    Here in Atlanta, we’re getting our very first Von Maur and the only reason I knew what it was was because of this blog, ha ha! First store I head to is Nordstrom followed directly by Banana Republic!

    PS–looks like your madre got cheese blintzes…my FAAAAAAVE!

  23. I’m also notorious for locking myself out of my car. I haven’t had any incidents in well over a year, but unfortunately it seems as if my bad luck just transferred over to my living quarters. This summer, I locked myself out of my apartment and a family member’s house THREE times!

    I’ve always wanted to go to Mall of America – it looks like your mother-daughter shopping spree was so much fun!

  24. Kristin from MN 12.04.2011

    I can’t believe you make it there in 3.5 hours! It takes me over 2.5 and you just seem so much farther away.
    Have you ever done the ropes course in Nickelodeon Universe? It’s fun and so scary! I chickened out at the 2nd level but I want to try again. :)

  25. Your mother-daughter trip looks so fun! I wish my mom liked shopping…

  26. Sarah 12.04.2011

    What an exciting trip to hear about! We take an annual trip as well! Ours begins with a store we have never frequented and ends with a stop by Harry and David’s before heading over to IKEA which happens to be my favorite place!

  27. Kristen 12.04.2011

    I have those linens!

  28. Amy 12.04.2011

    Oh man, your day in Bloomington, home of the Mall of America and IKEA……….how fun! Since I live 15 min’s away, I don’t go often, cuz, it’s so available? But, IKEA>…….love love love! I went there a few mths back and found all I could carry in and out in about 30 min’s, yay…………….
    Sorry that keys locked in car thing happened UGH!

    Soul Daddy’s didn’t last long, I guess it was due to finances or something……:(

  29. Lori 12.04.2011

    You didn’t miss anything with Soul Daddy’s. We also ate there shortly after it was opened and the food was not good! My go-to food stop at the MOA is Magic Pan Crepe Stand. Love it!
    I always park in the west ramp so I can hit up the Crepe Stand, H&M, DSW, Aveda and then head to the Loft.
    Looks like your mother daughter trip was a lot fun!

  30. jad18 12.04.2011

    I usually head to Barnes and Noble to get some coffee first when I head to the mall. I once locked my car keys in my car 2 days in a row at work. I always take it as a sign from above that I need to slow down and focus on what I am doing at the moment.

  31. KT 12.04.2011

    I bought a duvet cover at IKEA with complementing throw pillows in the same pattern as your kitchen drapes. Super cute pattern.

  32. Alexa 12.04.2011

    H&M is always the first place I run to!

  33. KT 12.04.2011

    And, oh yeah, my Nissan Altima hybrid won’t let you push the lock button on the door while the keys are still in the car. Genius!

  34. katie 12.04.2011

    Just run a dryer sheet over your hair – it’ll get that static right out!

  35. Nancy 12.04.2011

    At Tim’s like these you make me want to sign up for CAA, I can’t believe I haven’t done that yet. Also, idea…I now. I went there two weekends ago and just had to walk away. I don’t even remember why we popped in there. But I did get some black icecream bowls….er I mean indIvidual sized bowls.

    Hmm when I first walk into a mall? I like going to Zara!

  36. Megan 12.04.2011

    OMG – I was at Ikea yesterday too!

  37. heather 12.04.2011

    i always run to sephora or nordstrom first…i prioritize buying MAC lipglass and those little travel tubes of benefit mascara above buying any real items, like clothing or gifts(or dog food, i’m ashamed to admit).

    im from new jersey, and i still have friends who go to other states and take triumphant photos of themselves maneuvering a gas pump(is that even the right word…?). i give you respect for doing that stuff on the regular and not getting locked out every time, it seems like a delicate task! i know i absolutely would mess it up, haha. :)

  38. Sarah 12.04.2011

    I, too, lock my keys in my car. Duh!
    Keep us posted on how well the eyelash curler works. I have wanted one for a while.

  39. Kristin 12.04.2011

    You should just use static guard on your hair brush … Works like a charm. It’s part of my daily regimen :)

  40. lindsay 12.04.2011

    Here’s some articles about Soul Daddy closing at MOA:,59965/?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=feeds

    It sounds like he didn’t get a lot of support in opening the restaurants, which is too bad. He almost bought a house here, but good thing he didn’t, I guess.

  41. Tracie Marshall 12.04.2011

    IKEA! Oh, heck yes! It’s heaven…that store rules! Looks like you had a great time with your mom!

  42. Shelley 12.04.2011

    I locked my keys in my car 3 times in high school. I think two times in the same week or month. The second time it happened I had a friend call my parents because they would be nicer to her than they would’ve been to me about driving 30 minutes round-trip to bring spare keys. Luckily my car keys have a remote on them so I don’t do that anymore… now I just accidentally misplace my gas cap key!

  43. Karie @ The HoB 12.04.2011

    Oh I love IKEA and I love the Aveda Air Control, it is awesome!!!! And I have really fine hair that is forever flying all over the place!

  44. Ive only been in an Ikea once and I still have dreams about skipping down the aisles and grabbing everything in sight… And I’m actually not a huge mall fan, I get kind of claustrophobic in them. Much more of a TJMaxx girl.

  45. nicoleigh 12.04.2011

    I think I’ll stick with Target. :)
    But I so wish I could go to an Ikea! The last one I went to was last year….in Germany. So of course, I couldn’t get anything that I ‘needed’.
    Someday I’ll get to one!

  46. Megly 12.04.2011

    I was at MOA the same day you were!! Too funny :) And I was pretty bummed about Soul Daddy, too- but the one time I walked by there (in the short duration it was open), it seemed overpriced and not-so-good. But I’m glad it sounds like you had fun overall!

  47. Jeri 12.04.2011

    You know how you leave a store without that one purchase, saying to yourself that if you are still thinking about it in a couple weeks you’ll go back and get it? I did that with a stainless steel tri-ply 3 qt. saucepan @ IKEA and I am still coveting it and am wondering if I could just pop up there some day w/out the hubby knowing. :)
    The first store I stop at in MOA is H&M!!! LOVE IT! Des Moines NEEEEEEDS one…like ASAP!

  48. Kelsey 12.04.2011

    we were just at ikea last weekend – it was SO.CRAZY.BUSY! in the photo with you and your mom in the car after IHOP, where is that jacket from? i can only see the top part of it, but i’ve been looking for one similar to yours FOREVER!

  49. kayla 12.04.2011

    um, yeah, definitely locked my keys in the car (brand new, no power locks, not used to it) twice in the same day…in two different cities. it cost me $150 to free them that day. Oh blondes…

  50. Ahahah omg. Poor Ben. I love those Christmas tree Reese’s! They make me feel super festive, kind of like when I eat holiday-themed M&M’s #happyholidays

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