I may live in Minnesota but I don’t like the cold.
I used to but I’m too old and tired now. Spending one winter in St. Louis, Missouri broke us.
This past weekend I was watching the last Top Chef episode. Not only did they go camping, they went snow camping. I wasn’t sure which was worse; this challenge or that one season where they contestants had to do a relay race in the snow and chip cooking tools out of giant ice blocks.
Either I would do the George Constanza thing where I’d end on a clever high note and say “Alright! That’s it for me!” and then run away. Or I’d serve them crudo.
In this sub-zero weather, I’d rather stay indoors mall walking or sitting on my couch reading books.
I just finished Emma Cline’s The Girls and have so many feelings and am now reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time.
Here are two, new indoor activities I tried this month that happen to be located in Northeast Minneapolis:
Aveda Institute Elemental Spa Package
Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients companies founded by Horst Rechelbacher are headquartered in the Twin Cities. There are Aveda aesthetician and cosmetology schools in multiple cities including Minneapolis, MN.
You know you’re in an Aveda salon because of the smell. It’s hard to describe, but it’s certifiably, singularly identifiable as the Aveda smell. You’ll also know you’re in an Aveda salon because the tea. Aveda salons always serve hot Aveda tea that tastes exactly like the smell of Aveda and someone will always offer you some.
I don’t even really like the tea, but I love being offered it and I always drink some. It’s just part of the Aveda experience.
The Aveda institute here is located in beautiful brick building in Northeast Minneapolis. Supervised students offer all types of discounted services from haircuts to spa treatments. Although you can request appointments online, the easiest way to schedule is over the phone. My initial request was denied online but a scheduler found me an appointment in the same time frame via phone.
I had a really bad massage experience at a beauty school in Iowa once and felt nervous about visiting the institute. A friend recommended it, though, and I trusted her opinion.
The inside of the building is beautifully decorated and the reception desks are professionally run. You will truly feel like you are checking into an upscale spa. And of course, someone will offer you hot Aveda tea.
On the day I visited, the elevator was in repair. I had fun walking up the stairs checking out each floor’s artwork.
Little things will remind you that you’re in a school. Classrooms and lockers are located here and there. Students may walk by holding a mannequin’s head.
While a typical spa package may cost upwards of $200+, the institute offers two types for $80 each. The Elemental Nature package includes a back treatment, facial, and miniature foot or shoulder massage.
The services cost less because a student is using it as a learning experience. Rooms are actually spaces surrounded by privacy curtains, and tables and mirrors show some wear and tear. You may hear the murmur of students studying for tests as the relaxing spa music plays in the background. But the products are the same Aveda products used in spas and instructors check-in with students and clients to make sure everything is going well.
My student ran the treatment plans past the instructor beforehand and checked in with us afterwards.
One thing that I will point out about my particular treatment is that it involved a lot of exfoliation. We all agreed that my main problem was dry skin, so maybe this is typical to a facial targeting dryness. It wasn’t so uncomfortable that I felt like I needed say anything but I’d probably choose a different treatment next time.
In the end, I expected my skin to look raw and red, but it appeared healthy and has remained moisturized and smooth.
While I will continue visiting my favorite salon for haircuts, I would return to the institute to try a manicure or other spa treatments.
Jake’s brother bought the family admission to the Riddle Room for a Christmas gift.
I had never been to a riddle, puzzle, or escape room and always wondered what the experience was like. My condition for participating was that it wasn’t the type of room where a zombie was locked inside with us. “It’s not,” he promised. “I better not wake up with a key in my stomach,” I kept saying.
There’s nothing scary about the Puzzle Room. You do have to check in and sign a waiver, mostly stating that you will not damage the property. The Riddle Room offers different puzzles , each with its own theme, story, and difficulty level. You are given an hour to complete the challenge. An employee will check on your room from time to time. Although you can bring all of your belongings into the room, the staff ask that you don’t take photos of the room that would spoil the challenge for others or use your phone to cheat.
Our riddle had a middle ages, royal family theme. The staff member gave us our general challenge left us to search the room for clues and keys, and solve riddles.
I’m not sure if this was particular to our challenge or all of the challenges, but it involved more math than I expected. Sometimes I felt like I was living in a real-life story problem. If it wasn’t for the other math-oriented people in the group, I’d probably still be in the room.
All in all, I thought the concept of a puzzle or riddle room was fun and a unique way to spend part of an afternoon.
The Riddle Room
507 E Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Have you received a beauty treatment at a similar school or visited a puzzle/riddle/escape room? Feel free to leave your thoughts below in the comments section!