Visiting Mall of America on Friday, July 17 could be quite rewarding – especially if you like rides. As part of "The Summer of SpongeBob" (he's 10), MOAand Nickelodeon Universe are celebrating a "Day of Happiness" – and what could be happier than free stuff, no strings attached? Nearly $75,000 worth of prizes will randomly be given away by staffers roaming the mall and theme park. Prizes include DVDs, Nickelodeon Universe unlimited ride wristbands, Nickelodon t-shirts and passes to Rick Bronson's House of Comedy. Um, don't mean to sound greedy, but could we throw a few pair of shoes or a designer bag in there? After all, SpongeBob is a spiffy dresser.

Cricketsyndicate Picture Tim Gunn, the epitome of elegance, in low cut boxer briefs with "Top Gunn" emblazoned on the crotch. "I was going to make him a custom pair, but no gifting is allowed," says "Project Runway" Season 6 designer  Christopher Straub of Shakopee, Minn., best known for his Cricket Syndicate underwear (pictured, and sold at Design Collective). Still, at his tryout, Gunn and Season 2 designer-turned-fashion analyst Nick Verreos "loved the underwear," Straub says. I talked to Straub and fellow cast member Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman today – their first basking in the glow of the upcoming season of reality favorite "Project Runway." Straub said he's received more voicemails and emails today than in the last year. Coleman, who launched his solo career in Minneapolis before relocating to Milwaukee, created a fan page on Facebook and started a Twitter account (this evening's post: "kind of freaking out!!!!! Just when you think you are ready for the storm you realize you aren't.") As a couple of the only Midwesterners on the show, the designers said they formed an instant bond. Both were warm, fun and incredibly gracious. My gut says Coleman is in for the longer run – not only is he the more accomplished of the two (he's currently collaborating on the Lauren Conrad line for Kohl's), he's got a flair for the dramatic. "You just have to let passion drive you without any resistance," he told me today.

For more on the designers, the upcoming season of "Project Runway" and what the attention could mean for Minneapolis fashion design, read the Pioneer Press.

The cast of Project Runway Season 6 will finally be announced today and among the designers are two Minnesotans: former Target designer Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, a fixture on the local design scene for the past several years who recently relocated to Milwaukee for a design job with Kohl's, and Christopher Straub of Shakopee who designs a racy/retro line of men's underwear called Cricket Syndicate (guessing those low-cut boxer briefs offered sex appeal to TV producers). They're the first locals to make the show since Katherine Gerdes in Season 3. Expect to learn more about them and the long-awaited season in the Pioneer Press this week. Project Runway Season 6 debuts Aug. 20 on Lifetime.

Targetctable I finally have a grown-up sofa. It's a contemporary sectional purchased new from a serious furniture store where some assembly is not required. But the accompanying C-shaped table that now provides a stylish perch for a beverage is from Target's new dorm collection. $29.99! I saw one quite like it recently at Roam that was around $200.

Of all shopping malls to make a big announcement while I was vacationing in the mountains, Southdale Center would not have been my first – or fifth – guess. How long can we reasonably continue to believe "redevelopment plans are in the works"? So I was indeed surprised and tickled to hear that H&M will open at Southdale this fall, with a two-level store nearly as large as the one at Mall of America. It won't make up for the gaping Mervyn's hole, but it could finally create some buzz for the way-past-its-prime mall.
Or will it? Hundreds showed up for the opening of H&M at Mall of America – but that was the first in town. When the second location opened in Woodbury, there was a much more modest turnout. We're H&M regulars now. While the news is sure to be exciting to Southdale regulars, it's unlikely to draw new shoppers the way it would were the store exclusive to the market. But, it could be enough to make other retailers take another look at the mall – which has a higher than average vacancy rate. I'll have more on that in my column this Sunday. Until then, weigh in. Does the arrival of H&M renew your faith in the nation's first covered shopping mall?