Happy Holidays, y’all! Great finds to be “got” are available in Uptown. That’s not at your corporate-franchises that line the Hennepin Avenue, Lake Street corridor. Well, not to our liking. But I’ll share our finds at those too. And I’ll lead you to the same conclusions.
Bestest finds bar-none (at least for our needs) had to be at Hobbies by James. They’re located on the first floor of Calhoun Square. We found brain-stimulating, skill-set building whimsical gifts for our clever girls. Santa compelled us to buy things like, Mystery Express, A Whodunit on Rails board game. Stripped from the pages of the Agatha Christie’s Orient Express, this game promises to engross and inspire our budding CSI agents. They have a small selection of great stocking stuffer games under $20. Ka-Ching! The Buy the Numbers card game by Gamewright. It helps children learn multiplication and strategy. Please visit Games for the Infinitely Imaginative (Gamewright) to learn more about their creative games.We dropped a lot in there, but we found several items for the kids in our lives.
Next bestest, bar-none local find was in fact, a bar. Restaurant Aura, also on the first floor facing Hennepin and offers a wide selection of delectable treats. It’s almost too fancy to be called pub fare. i-Chad (aka husband-unit,) said their entryway from the mall didn’t register for him. Call it minimalistic dirge-chic, the mood-lighting will challenge the eye to be noticed and seen off the Calhoun Square promenade. For $35, that includes a 20% tip mind you, we dined on and delighted in a: Caprese salad, made with fresh basil, spring greens, buffalo mozzarella and Roma tomatoes in a fantastic dark vinaigrette; $5 Mini-Sandwiches – I and my people speak and testify on behalf of El Cubano & the BLT. Each are plated in a trio of meaty goodness. You’ll be full by your 2nd mini ‘wich. Even the waffle fries were cooked to perfection! Happy Hour runs from 4 p.m. to Midnight. Ask for the divine Ms. Emilia. She’s their drink maven and possibly the coolest waitress we’ve enjoyed in a while.
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Not-so-cool-nor-awesomeness goes to: Columbia Store. Expensive name-brands are absolutely desirable. Like, the $110 Sorel boots (saying it like a Minnesotan: boooooots,) for which my husband cutely begged. He got a ‘maybe’ from me who was secretly praying they’ll host a post-Christmas bargain sale. The Apple Store: Super-secret-santa helpers decked out in red fleece jackets dot the store, and are assigned to you based on your area of interest. A greeter politely asks what you’re looking for and then radios joie-noel attendants-in-waiting to meet you at the display you need. God forbid super-senior(in age)-greeter mis-assigned us to Biff and Rainman. Biff eyed us, smiled and shook us off with a chuckle, “Dude, I’m not doing the i-Phones today, m’kay?” His saccharine tone I’m sure was for our benefit. But he rebuffed the mature co-worker with a scoff and shrug and merely pointed to the table displaying the latest phones. Our eyes met the greeter’s and we shrugged too, acknowledging that his coworker was an ass.
But the worstest, most evil shopping experience goes to: Victoria’s Secret, across from Calhoun Square. Years ago, when the phenomenon that is VS first hit the malls I steered clear. They didn’t carry my bra size. That was before I had kids whom I breast fed. M’kay? But earlier this year while at Rosedale, I told a wooing sales associate by the door that she didn’t carry my size. She stopped me and quietly inquired about it. And then she grinned saying, “Oh no, we fit your size in several styles.” It was like a new world, a popular-girls’ tool was suddenly available to me. Yay, I love year ‘010! I bought $60 worth of girl-y unmentionables. I felt special and the i-Chad did too. With sugarplum sexiness dancing in our heads, my beloved and I marched into the 2-story store confident we’d find that special something. A youthful associate greeted us as we entered and offered to help us find what we were looking for. We said we’d like to look around first, and so we did. My husband had to run back across the street for a moment, leaving me to browse alone. Everything on display, from full-retail to their discount racks were size XS, extra small and didn’t go above medium. Hmm. Picked over, maybe? I stroll back to the entrance, full-price racks and see the same size constraints for their advertised ensembles. Without shame I point at teddy, the only one like it on the floor and it’s an A/B cup. Sucking in wind she says that’s the only size of that you’ll find. Undaunted I pick up a bustier, show it to the chica and ask for my cup size. She blinks. There is silence. Oh no, here it comes. “Yeah, we don’t carry your size in this store.” Huh? Husband returns as the sales associate shares back-handed help. “I think you can find your size online. But not in-store. Heh. (she barfs out a nervous-I-pitty-you titter with eye-rolls!)” I project to i-Chad that maybe not at this store, perhaps Rosedale? “Um, NO store carries you, uh your size.” Witch with a B. I look her up and down. She’s starring me down, daring me to same something else. I’m done. I’ve been informed by a pimply child that I’m fat and should fucking die for thinking that I can be sexy like VS gals.
But that’s O-K. I couldn’t shop anymore. I let the skinny itch spoil our holiday fun. I don’t need no-frackin’ VS-brand britches to feel or look sexy, just like we won’t fill the sales quota for a misinformed, condescending infant-woman.