Aaand, we’re back! (Scroll to the bottom of the post for the Keurig deets!)

Thankfully this year we didn’t have any freak snow storms to deal with, so Saturday morning we were able cruise from my house, where my Mom picked me up at 6:30am, to Starbucks for a hot cup o’ Joe, and pull up to the Mall of America at precisely 11am…just in time to inhale Chipotle burrito bowls to fuel us for, gulp, FIVE STRAIGHT HOURS OF SHOPPING!

(pic borrowed from last year’s post because it was super foggy in MSP this weekend!)


The mall was decorated to the nines, per usual, and after lunch we quickly got our shopping underway. 3 floors + 400 stores = a lot of road to cover!

In addition to crossing some gifts off my holiday shopping list, I couldn’t help but keep my eyes peeled for a few items I’ve been eyeing online, including my beloved Sorel Joan of Arctic boots, which I spotted from 50 yards away as we were coming down the escalator at Nordstrom’s! I couldn’t have been more jazzed to pull on a pair of the warm and fluffy boots, and was admiring them adoringly in the full-length mirror when, I took a step. And cringed.

They are so uncomfortable! There was this hard, ridge-like thingy that was stabbing me in the back of my heel/calf, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I even tried on a couple of different sizes to make sure it wasn’t me or the boot, but no dice.

Fellow Joan of Arctic owners – do these break in at all? I hope so because they are SO cute, and SO warm. They’d be absolutely perfect for the brutal Midwest winters, though by the looks of today’s temps (63!) you’d never know it was December ’round here!

Anyways, later I consoled my sad tootsies with a rub in a foot/calf massager at Brookstone. I know. Gross. I hardly cared though. 5 hours of shopping in flats (what was I thinking?!) will convince you to give anything a try! Totally worth it.

A Coldstone Oreo Ice Cream with Brownie mix-in snack helped too. :)

After all the Christmas gifts had been bought we headed to our hotel to relax before heading off to dinner. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott, which was less than a mile away (you could see it from the mall,) and had clean, nice rooms for a great rate. We’d definitely stay there again!

We had to nearly peel ourselves out of bed an hour later to go feed our grumbling stomachs. The beds were oh-so cozy, but our appetites were oh-so strong. I know some people pssht at this, but shopping seriously takes it out of you.

Not wanting to drive any further than necessary, we headed to a nearby Friday’s because it was close and, gosh darn it, I have a not-so-secret love for the chain. Once seated we proceeded to order everything on the menu…!

They have this 2 for $10 meal where you can get an app and entree for, well, $10, and of course we had to add a cup of Friday’s famous French Onion Soup (perhaps my favorite soup, ever?!) In the end, our eyes proved to be bigger than our stomachs and I bet we ate 1/3 of what we ordered. Luckily our hotel had a fridge!

We fell fast asleep back at the hotel circa 8pm while watching Inception, but it was probably for the best as we had one last stop to make on Sunday before heading home. IKEA! :D

IKEA might be my most favorite place ever. I love their designs, and wandering around their ingenious showrooms for dream-home ideas. This modern-yet-cozy kitchen with dark wood, and stainless steel accents had me drooling.

Nothing in the showroom gets me quite as excited as kitchen utensil alley though! I have had so many stainless steel IKEA utensils, gadgets, and gizmos last me for yearsThey really are of high quality – and for so cheap!

Including these DARLING mini stainless steel prep bowls. CAN YOU EVEN HANDLE THIS?! :D

After checking out at IKEA, we headed on home. Another year, another successful mother/daughter holiday shopping trip in the books! (PS I axed my hair a few weeks ago and am never looking back!)

Month of Holiday Giveaways Begins!

My Mom’s and my annual holiday shopping trip post seemed like the perfect way to kick of my fourth annual Month of Holiday Giveaways, where I give away fun products, gift cards, and yummy goodies on the blog all December long! I’ve got some great giveaways lined up this year, which I think you’ll really love, and am especially excited about the first one:

The Ultimate Keurig Starter Kit!

I have been a Keurig devotee for YEARS. Their single-cup brewing system is absolutely genius, and perfect for when you don’t want a whole pot of coffee, or are the only coffee drinker in the house. I know you’ll love this ultimate starter kit, which includes a Keurig® MINI Plus Brewing System, perfect for small kitchens, dorms, or the office:

Packs of holiday-inspired Gingerbread K-Cup® CoffeeSpicy Eggnog K-Cup® Coffee, and Golden French Toast® K-Cup® Coffee (one of my faves!) PLUS a K-Cup® Countertop Storage Drawer to conveniently store them all in!

Enter to win the Ultimate Keurig Starter Kit by leaving a comment on this post (not on an image, nor by email or Facebook) telling me the gift you are most looking forward to giving this holiday season, by NOON central time on Wednesday, December 5. Good luck!


In addition to regular and flavored coffee, Keurig also has tons of other options to brew like teas, apple cider, lemonade and, one my faves, Café Escapes® K-Cup® packs like Chai Latte, Hot Chocolate, and Café Mochas. Lately I’ve been enjoying Café Mochas with a mini peppermint-stick stirrer as a satisfying snack at night, which makes it taste like a peppermint mocha. Mmmocha… :)

In addition to the giveaway, Keurig is offering an additional 15% off all Café Escapes® products to EVERYONE through December 4th, with promo code: ESCAPE8131. These would make great stocking stuffers, btw!

Full disclosure: I am a non-paid Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup Ambassador, which means I am sent Green Mountain Coffee and K-Cup varieties to sample, then pass my opinions and product saving codes onto you.