The flyer was stuck on the bulletin board at Glam Doll Donuts along with any number of other announcements. It wasn’t the hot pink colour that caught my eye but the content.
The flyer was publicity for the Minneapolis donut crawl. Now that’s my kind of city I thought. I can definitely like a city that takes its donuts seriously enough to organise a donut crawl.
The donut crawl seems a moot point though. I can’t imagine that any other Twin Cities donut shop had better donuts then Glam Doll Donuts. In my opinion, they have the best donuts I have ever tasted (and I’ve sampled a few!).
Glam Doll Donuts
Glam Doll has won a fair few accolades for its donuts and rightly so. They have a wide variety of donuts all with cool names referencing vintage glamour like Showgirl and Femme Fatale. The vintage theme is carried through the store with retro furniture and uniforms for the staff.
For example, for a sweet and salty fix, you are not limited to a salted caramel donut. Instead you can get the bacon and maple syrup glazed variety. It’s the traditional pancake breakfast only in the form of a donut. So much easier to eat.
Check out the vegan varieties for the socially conscious sugar fiend. They actually look tasty. You can tell it’s a crunchy sort of town when the vegan donuts actually look like they are selling faster than the regular donuts.
All donuts are made at the store. In fact, they were being made when I visited.
The store has a large seating area with mismatched cozy furniture groups. Being from London where space is at a premium, having so much space for a donut shop just screams hedonism in itself. You could easily hang out and scoff yourself into a donut sugar coma. And then wrap yourself up that warm cozy throw. Bliss.
I won’t be in Minneaolis-St Paul for the June 13th donut crawl. I just had to satisfy myself with a donut crawl that began and ended in one store. Oh but a donut store it was!
Visiting Glam Doll Donuts
Glam Doll Donuts is located on 2605 Nicollet Avenue South in Minneapolis, the so-called Eat Street which has numerous restaurants. These donuts have been named among the best in the nation by such diverse sources as USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.
I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.
Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!
– lyrics by Aqua
I got to be a Barbie Girl for a few hours at the real-life 36,000 s.f. Barbie Dreamhouse at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Like pretty much every other little girl in the United States, I had a Barbie as a child. I decided to visit the Barbie Dreamhouse on a whim and was planning on an ironic trip down memory lane.
I’ve got to confess though life in plastic was a pretty fantastic experience! So much so, that I made a Barbie Dreamhouse Experience video to give you a short guided tour.
Visiting the Barbie Dreamhouse
I was pretty happy to be told that our tour group would consist of only two adults. If I was going to deal with shocking pink, I’d prefer not to have over-excited shrieking little girls along for the ride as well.
Imagine my surprise when the other adult turned out to be a very pretty woman with Kate Middleton glossy locks, decked out in full make-up, wearing a short, tiny hot pink dress and teetering on glittery heels. She confessed that she hadn’t been able to sleep because she was so excited about visiting the Barbie Dreamhouse. So much for my ironic tour.
Of course, you can’t judge a book by its cover. She turned out to be a bomb disposal expert for the city of Chicago. Respect.
Bomb Disposal Barbie turned out to be a lot of fun! Her enthusiasm was infectious. At the Barbie Dreamhouse, you wear these bracelets which let you play interactive games. Mercifully, neither of us wanted to play any games. We just wanted to check out the house and take photos. Many of my photos did not come out though. Most of the house and accessories are a shocking, glaring, glossy pink and my camera had problems finding its focus.
The Barbie Dreamhouse Rooms
The Barbie Dreamhouse was ginormous!! The entrance was graced with a giant pink shoe. After you walk through the doors guarded by pink poodles (obvs!), you enter the main living room.
An elevator takes you up to the top floor. Half the floor is a kitchen, great for pretend play for little girls. There is also a living area with pink books and room for Barbie’s pets. Barbie has a great terrace which overlooks the palm trees of Malibu beach.
I’m not sure how Barbie’s horse which sticks its head through the living room window likes living up on the top floor. That pesky adult realism kept creeping up on me.
On the next floor, we find Barbie’s bedroom, en-suite bathroom and walk-in closets. Yes, walk-in closets in the plural. One closet for shoes and one for clothes.
Barbie’s bedroom is hardly cozy. There’s a giant jewellery box and triple California-king size bed (pink of course!). Maybe Ken snores and she needs him practically in the next post code to make the relationship work.
Next door, she has her bathroom with a dolphin who pops out of the toilet. Apparently it all makes sense if you have watched the new Barbie shows which neither Bomb Disposal Barbie nor I had.
Although at the age of 9 my daughter considers herself too old for Barbie, at heart she is a girly-girl. As luck would have it, she FaceTimed me just as I was doing the tour. I got to show her a bit of the inside of the Dreamhouse. She was enthralled, especially with the walk-in closet where a bit of computer gimmickry lets you change outfits by waving your arms. Check out the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience Video to appreciate how cool it is.
In the end, you take the Barbie plane to Barbie’s entertainment centre which is approximately 6,500 square feet little girl heaven. My favourite part was the runway which features lights and the song “Everybody Needs a Ken.” Sung non-ironically of course.
You can accessorise in the giant dressing room and/or pretend to be a popstar and sing on the pink stage. Bomb Disposal Barbie and I walked the runway and had our moment of glory onstage. It helped there were no kids there to make us feel stupid.
Aspiring fashionistas can do Barbie’s hair and make up. There are tables for them to draw her next fashions. All under a giant white Eiffel Tower because, of course, Barbie’s fashion house is Parisian.
The interior decor features lots of Barbie dolls some of them quite rare. Clearly Barbie likes to remember her favourite looks and has no issues with self-absorption.
Outside there is the Barbie cafe and Boutique with lots more pink. I checked out the menu at the cafe which does not even pretend to be healthy like the American Girl cafe. It has Twinkies and Hostess cupcakes for sale. Enough said.
Good to know:
The Barbie Dreamhouse Experience at the Mall of America is open by guided tour only. They run every half hour. It’s open every day and unlike most places, the adult admission price is cheaper if accompanied by a child. The price is steep at $23.99 for children and $19.99 for adults accompanying a child. But, what price dreams?
There is also a Barbie Dreamhouse Experience in Florida in a mall in Sunrise in Florida which seems to be located half-way between the cities of Miami and Boca Raton. Created by an Austrian company, EMS Entertainment, there are traveling exhibits. Apparently the one in Berlin was in 2013.
Any little girl will find herself delighted with a trip to the Barbie Dreamhouse. I, too, also enjoyed for a short afternoon pretending I was five years old again. I’ve created a Barbie Dreamhouse Experience video for a virtual tour I hope you enjoy.
My tour guide, Sunny, was an older woman with an infectious enthusiasm about Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, specifically. Sunny by name, sunny by nature I thought. Too bad her name was definitely not reflected in the grey and hazy morning weather. If it weren’t for the humidity I would have felt like I was back in London.
We meandered around the garden as I listened to Sunny’s anecdotes about the sculptures. I was pleasantly struck by how family-friendly the sculpture garden is. You hear that people in Minnesota are friendly and welcoming but I was not expecting that openness to extend to their museum.
Salute to Painting by Roy Lichtenstein
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has gotten more than 7 million visitors since it opened in 1988. Part of the renowned Walker Art Center, the garden combines two things Minneapolis is known for – arts and outdoor space.
The most famous sculpture in the garden is without a doubt Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Oldenburg got the idea for a spoon based on the motif he saw inside the General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis. The building featured their beloved Betty Crocker and her spoon. The spoon itself is 52 feet long.
The cherry, weighing in at 1200 pounds, is a fountain. The stem sprays a fine mist in the summer onto a pond shaped like a leaf from the Linden trees found in the park. In the winter, the snow piles up so high around the sculpture that only the cherry on top is visible. It looks like an ice cream sundae!
Beautifully landscaped with rows of Linden trees, clipped hedges and well-maintained grass, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden spreads out over 11 acres. If it weren’t for the occasional piece by such notable sculptors as Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi, the children playing in the grass and the couples out for a stroll along pebbled paths would make it look no different from any other public park.
The garden is sprinkled with benches for you to sit and appreciate the art. It also makes a great space for people watching! No one was precious about the many babies and children playing in the garden. These pieces of art are made to withstand the harsh Minnesota winters as well as interaction by the occasional child.
There will be a mini-golf course called Walker on the Green with pieces of modern art opening soon. Located next door to the sculpture garden, the mini golf will make the space even more family-friendly. I know my kids will think it is a hoot to hit a golf ball through a urinal. Just their sense of toilet humour.
My Three Favourite Pieces of Sculpture
With so many choices, I struggled with choosing just 3 favourite pieces from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to share with you.
Arikidea by Mark di Suvero seemed to be one of the most popular pieces in the garden. Weighing more than 3 tons, the platform on the bottom was a natural gathering place for people and photos. Both the platform and the piece swung gently with any movement even a light wind.
My other favourite piece was Standing Glass Fish by Canadian artist Frank Gehry. The 22 foot high glass fish set into a lily pond is a nod to an abiding memory of his childhood in Toronto. Gehry’s grandmother would buy a giant carp on Thursday which she would leave swimming in the bathtub until Friday. On Friday, she would prepare gefilte fish for the Jewish sabbath.
My third choice has nothing to do with animals. It is Two Way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth by Dan Graham. You get mazes and labyrinths in gardens in the grand old houses of Europe such as Hever Castle. This variation on the theme uses modern materials to look at the concept of transparency and reflection.
The photo below shows Sunny standing on the other side of the glass wall which also reflects back on me taking the photo.
It’s Sunny through the glass.
The material lets you see through but also reflects back your own image. It really messes with your sense of perception in a cool way. I loved the way that children interacted with the hedges and different facets of mirror and metal.
Good to Know:
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the home of 40+ pieces of modern art owned by the Walker Art Center. I took one of the free guided tours available from May through September on the weekends at 11:30. The Garden is expected to close this September until next year for a complete revamp. This sculpture garden is so great I can’t wait to see what the new and ‘improved’ version will be.
The Walker on the Green mini golf course is open daily and has 2 courses. Fees range between $12 for adults and $9 for children. Children under the age of 5 are free. In addition, your mini golf course ticket entitles you to a free ticket to the main Walker Art Center (a $14 value).