Hasn’t been the best summer for outlet shopping, gas prices being what they are – which is why you might not know that Albertville Premium Outlets has picked up some new stores, including Columbia Sportswear, Converse and Guess Kids. Maybe not worth a special trip, but nice additions, should you happen to need a shopping fix on the way to the cabin.

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.)