I started researching flight prices before confirming flights with Leona. I noticed that Sun Country offered direct flights at very reasonable prices via CheapOAir. I usually use google flights since you can monitor and compare multiple without all the spammy ads and pop up websites. Do you monitor your flights with any specific websites?
Sun Country Airlines & Unexpected Encounter
There was only ONE flight departing from Boston to Sun Country at around 11:00 AM so my husband decided to drop me off super early and I waited around for hours before they even set up the check-in! I was informed by the neighboring koisk of Cape Air that they usually don’t arrive until 2 hours before departure time. There I sat at an airport cafe working on some posts with my new wireless keyboard with my iPad mini. I finally checked in to receive my boarding pass and arrived at the gate only to wait some more before boarding.
About 20 minutes before boarding I preemptively made my way to the line for my range of rows. There I saw a familiar figure! My father stood with his laptop bag waiting to board as well. He spotted me as well looking equally as surprised. It turns out he was there for a quick business trip to the Midwest as well also to Wisconsin but a different area. He also received an aisle seat about 4 rows ahead of me. Funny how it worked out like that. Neither of us wanted to give up our window seats so we boarded to sit next to strangers. As we disembarked the flight I saw him again and we headed downstairs still baffled by the coincidence to the baggage claim. He waited to pick up his checked bag while I contacted Leona to see if she was close to Terminal 2 for the pick up. My father and I snapped a quick selfie to memorialize this strange encounter.
Overall the airline was fine. Nothing remarkable to report. However, never gain will I pay an extra $2 to select my seat ahead of time since my dad also got a window seat assigned to him! Apparently all of the air crafts are named after one of the 10,000+ lakes in Minnesota!
Glimpse of Downtown St. Paul
After Leona picked me up from the airport we decided to make a pit stop for lunch on a chilly November afternoon. We decided the perfect option was a Ramen restaurant to warm us up. We chose Ichiddo Ramen which has a location also in Minneapolis. My husband called me afterwards and seemed very confused because he didn’t realize that the Twin Cities meant that St. Paul was right next to Minneapolis. When we walked in we saw a large wall of soup spoons. They looked so cool. I ordered the Char Siu Ramen. It was the perfect meal to warm us up.
Afterwards Leona wanted to check out the Yarnery to pick up some new colors! We somehow got lost walking around inside of the mini-mall when the Yarnery was right next door. We had to ask someone else at the bakery for directions. Inside there were so many colors of yarn and different brands. I purchased 2 skanes of deep purple yarn and Leona began working on my infinity scarf as soon as we got to her apartment. One of the funniest moments was while we were driving I looked out my window and saw a woman driving in the car next to us. She turned over and smiled widely at us. It felt so uncomfortable and different since I knew nothing like that would ever happen in Boston.
Passing Time in the Mall of America
While I don’t think anyone should go to Minnesota solely for this Mall of America (MoA), it’s a good way to pass time since it’s right next to the airport. Leona hung out with me for the day while John hung back with the dogs. I think I hyped this place up too much in my mind as the second largest mall in the United States, second only to the King of Prussia. No we did not go on any of those gimmicky roller coaster rides. We actually had a goal in mind to try and find a similar sweatshirt jacket for Leona. More on that later. Apparently ages ago her parents got John an amazing zip up sweatshirt lined with Sherpa. They always fought over who got to wear the sweatshirt.
It’s very interesting that their garages are named after states in the U.S. We parked on maybe the 4th level called Arizona. We actually had time to venture in several beauty and clothing stores. The first place we visited was Sigma since very few malls actually have this brand to search for some basic brushes. I’ve only seen it online but many beauty gurus rave about this place. Unfortunately the brush sets they offered were much more expensive than I expected. The second store was another makeup store – M.A.C. They had 2 electronic machines set up in the middle of the store where you could try on virtual looks! Unfortunately the camera does not do well if you are wearing a black shirt or jacket. Leona had an issue where her face skin tone looked over contrasted with her black hoodie. They give you the option to try on blush, lipstick and dramatic eye looks with the machine. I just took a photo with the split screen so you can see the before and after!
Afterwards we also stopped by the most famous beauty distributor – Sephora. As expected the store was mobbed by females. I tested out some makeup for Leona but didn’t have the right tools in the store so we flagged down one of the Cast Members for help with eye makeup for hooded lids. She joked that she also had hooded lids and gave us great tips. She used a gradient method on Leona’s eyes with the Becca Ombre palette with only 3 brushes. Afterwards Leona and I also perused the false lashes selection and stumbled upon another House of Lashes holiday kit! I purchased one last year on super sale for only $15, but they came out with a gorgeous new purple oil slick case! I was tempted to purchase another one for myself. The cast members cannot try out the lashes on you unless you bring your own Sephora distributed brand or purchase them in store. We went the second route and Leona also purchased the last Becca Ombre cool palette they had in stock with my VIB Rouge promotion code for 20% off. We flagged down the same woman and she helped us again with the lash application. In the end Leona seemed surprised and happy with the result. I wonder if she’s had a chance to practice herself. All of the brush sets at Sephora were also very expensive so we conveniently stopped by the Ulta also in the mall! This is the first time I’ve ever seen those stores in the same location. Leona picked up a starter set of respectable Eco Tool brushes. I own and use several of them still myself!
As proof that we actually visited the Mall of America and not just any random Mall we took a photo in front of the iconic Lego structures. Then just for fun we sent inside to the Tomadochi store where all of the cute Japanese anime toys. What drew me in was the giant stuffed Pusheen inviting all visitors to take a photograph. I also found several stuffed Hello Kitty dolls to pose with! We visited some clothing stores but only actually tried on clothes at New York & Company. I had fond memories of the tiny store near the college we attended. Sadly the store closed down and I haven’t been able to easily find another location. I actually ended up purchasing 2 items both dusty pink colored. One sweater with a fake zipper for design in the back and a shirt with flared sleeves.
Traipsing around the mall we also found a brightly lit store called “Minnesot-ah!”. Aside from the famous Wisconsin cheese I figured I’d also check to see if there were any other souvenirs worth buying. The funniest part was they had a shelf of clearance items related to Minnesota at 50% off then right next to it was a huge 75% off sign for Wisconsin! I got some great deals and cute souvenirs for Wisconsin, which I wouldn’t have otherwise purchased. I don’t think I’ve fully explored Minnesota enough yet!
One of the last stops due to location was the Gap. I actually wrote a more detailed review about our strange experience. This location out of all of the other ones I’ve visited seemed off. We had one item in mind to search for and couldn’t get a hold of anyone to ask about the Sherpa lined Sweatshirts. We eventually found someone in the dressing room area to help us basically just look online on his phone to find the products by description since their actual store devices didn’t have that functionality. Eventually someone pointed us to the direction of one of the center tables. Leona received a 50% off coupon, which convinced her to wait in the slow checkout line. Now they won’t have to fight over the warm and fuzzy sweatshirt!
At the end, of course grew hungry and tired from all the walking so we tried to find a food court. We walked around to see all of the options. We ended up on the other side not knowing where we really were then we stumbled on a second set of food courts! We originally chose a different restaurant but after getting lost we decided to just order from Johnny Rockets. Unbeknownst to me they qualified for Yelp Cash Back, after we paid for a savings of 7%! We savored our final moments together before I departed to head back home.
I had a great time in Minnesota for the brief moments there related to my flight. I think it was a fun way to spend the time since each way it was about 1 hour and 30 minutes for Leona to drive. I can now say I’ve been to the Mall of America, which I’ve always been curious about. However as I mentioned earlier, I would only stop here if you’ve already got other plans in the area. In the end of the day it is just another shopping mall that you probably could find everywhere.
Rating: 3.5/5 ★★★1/2