A girl’s got to multi-task. So on a recent Sunday morning, I took my 2-year-old along to Fairy Godmother (yes I really do visit every store I write about). The owner had encouraged me to stop by. She mentioned the 5-foot-tall statue of Mother Mary, the books on spirituality and menopause, the greeting cards and the famous Tingle Department. I was intrigued, and only the tiniest bit concerned that I could get arrested for bringing my child to a place like this. My concerns were alleviated even before we entered, by the plastic frog toys on the $1 table just outside the store. How very G-rated! Inside, the manager immediately pulled out a basket of puzzles and toys to occupy the child while I took a peek inside the Tingle Department, which does indeed live up to its name. (Any toy you ever heard mentioned on "Sex and the City," they sell it here.) Of course this shop is run by women — who know how to mix spirituality and sexuality in a tasteful, even family-friendly way. Across the street, Better Than Ever is also doing its part to accommodate moms. The back of the consignment boutique has a generous children’s play area featuring a kitchen and toy cars. Not something I would have expected. It’s great to see more retailers realizing that a few toys will allow Mommy to actually shop. Just ask my kid.

Often it seems like Minneapolis is the neglected stepchild, frantically waving to national retailers. Look at us! Look at us! Chicago isn’t the only city in the Midwest! We need you too! Eventually, they hear us and try to make up for lost time. And they’re always amazed by how polite, well dressed and enthusiastic we really are. So I have no doubt American Apparel  will be extremely well received when it finally opens its first Twin Cities shop later this summer in Uptown. Why should you be excited? American Apparel knows how to do basics. It picked up where Gap went astray and stays true to its mission of affordable, quality cotton clothes — t-shirts, tanks, hoodies, intimates, even casual dresses — the sort of stuff you’ll live in. So hooray! It’s always nice to get noticed, even if it does seem to take an awfully long time.

Well what do you know, there still are a few surprises for me at Mall of America. Today I discovered Journeys Kidz — third floor, north side, just down the corridor from Nordstrom. I knew Journeys was a teen-type shoe store, but had no idea about Journeys Kidz, which carries infant and toddler sizes and a decent selection of sneakers and sandals from major brands including Converse, which is what I was looking for. My 2-year-old is a ring bearer in his aunt’s wedding next week and I refuse to spend $45 on dress shoes he’ll wear once. Black Converse high tops for $24, I can justify. Plus, they’ll make him the coolest guy to walk down the aisle (assuming he makes it down the aisle). Nordstom was out of his size and sent me to Jorneys Kidz where we got what we needed. (I’d suggest having your child’s feet measured first at Nordstrom — didn’t get the impression the young girls working at Journeys knew much about fitting a youngster.)

I probably should have scheduled an appointment with my brow specialist before mentioning her name on FM107 last weekend. Now women are requesting her number, and I can’t help but sing her praises. Jessie May at H. Design (3034 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-825-2535) is a master. So now you know. Please, keep it on the down-low or she’s apt to raise her reasonable prices.