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What I’m Watching This Month

May 4, 2016

Wow. It’s been a minute, huh guys?

I definitely didn’t plan on having a one month hiatus, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re stressed out, road tripping with your friend, your dog’s tearing up your couch, your probiotics made you sick and lethargic and your diet/exercise is all out of whack.

Why don’t they talk about this in books or blogs?

“You make time for what you want. Get up early or stay up late. Give up this, this and this. HUSTLE.”

I get it bitch, but how!? If it’s between a fun side project and much-needed sleep, I’m sorry, but I’m going with the Z’s. If I give up that sleep, the next day I can barely function and it becomes a terrible cycle where I’m too tired to workout, eat healthy or even write well.

So I’ll be honest, the past few weeks I chose sleep. Not that I don’t love this blog, but…sleep. It had to happen.

Anyway, that’s me being honest. So now you know if I disappear, it’s not because I dont’ love my blog–it’s just so I don’t break down crying from fatigue (of course, even if I’m taking a break from blogging, you can usually still find me snapping or Instagramming my heart out @midwestlovefest).

That all said, I think it’s time to get back to a bit of normalcy on this ol’ thing. Starting with my favorite…what I’m watching this month!

Watch to Watch This MayAll the shows are back people! I announce, every show is back. Basically. So I’m watching all the things this month.

  1. Keeping up with the Kardashians: (?) Jury is still out on whether this season will be any good (since it just started a few days ago), but have to say this is one of my guiltiest pleasures. And I fully own the fact that I probably contribute to their success by watching, but whatever. It’s a nice break from reality.
  2. Rich Kids of Beverly Hills: (3/5) Season 2 also started Sunday (following the Kardashians, if you’re curious), but still not 100% sure if the show has any staying power. Again, I watch it because it’s kind of insane (interesting? terrifying?) to see how the 1% live and behave.
  3. Shahs of Sunset: (3/5) On the whole “escape from reality” note, this reality show is another guilty pleasure. When it first came out a few years ago, I thought I would hate it. It didn’t even seem like they were doing anything worth watching, but somehow…you can’t look away.

Watch to Watch This May

  1. Silicon Valley: (4/5) Ryan got me hooked on this a few months back and we finally got all caught up, just in time for the release of season 3 last week. I have a very, um, hard sense of humor to nail, but this show gets close. It also gives me all the feels for San Fran, in an odd sort of way.
  2. VEEP: (5/5) Now this show nails my humor. The writing is incredible. It’s so quick-witted, smart and funny. I only wish they were hour-long episodes.
  3. Southern Charm: (4/5) Are you catching onto a theme with my penchant for watching terrible reality tv? I seriously can’t help it! I just love peeking inside the “realities” of different lives and lifestyles.
  4. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta: (3/5) So I’m giving this a 3 because the “acting” is terrible. I say acting because it doesn’t get more like a “scripted reality tv show” than the Love & Hip Hop series. If you watch my snaps, you know what I mean. That said, it’s kind of like a train wreck–you can’t look away.
  5. Teen Mom 2: (5/5) There will always be a place in my heart for the Teen Mom/16 & Pregnant series (that doesn’t sound too creepy, huh?).
  6. Real World: Go Big or Go Home(2.5/5) This year’s housemates are a bit obnoxious. I can’t tell if I feel bad for the racist girl or I’m irritated with her. Anyway, I’m too curious–I have to know how the whole thing ends–but I think Real World may need to call it quits soon. 31 seasons? Just, put a fork in it soon.

What show are you all watching this month? Anything I should look out for?

Life

what I’m watching in 2015

January 3, 2015

what are you watching this year?

The holidays really have me thrown. I legit thought today was Friday and yesterday was…not. So, that’s the reason this post is late (read: my excuse). Confusion.

Though this is a random post anyway.

Basically, I need some ladies to talk to about my TV obsessions. I know TV isn’t the healthiest activity, but it does provide a mindless break and helps me keep up on pop culture things. Which, in advertising, is actually pretty helpful.

Regardless, I’ve been looking forward to early 2015 since…early last year. ALL my favorite shows are back on. So I thought it deserved a little recap/schedule to get excited for:

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE
Returns January 4 on FOX.

NEW GIRL
Returns January 6 on FOX.

THE MINDY PROJECT
Returns January 6 on FOX.

MODERN FAMILY
Returns January 7 on ABC.

NASHVILLE
Returns January 7 on ABC.

PORTLANDIA
Premieres on January 8 on IFC.

GIRLS
Returns January 11 on HBO.

PARKS & RECREATION
Returns January 13 on NBC.

BROAD CITY
Returns on January 14 on Comedy Central.

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
Returns January 14 on FXX.

BACKSTROM
Premieres January 22 on FOX.

SNL 40th ANNIVERSARY EPISODE
Premieres February 15 on NBC.

HOUSE OF CARDS
Returns February 23 on Netflix.

(here’s a full list of shows returning/premiering etc if you’re an even bigger TV-buff than us).

Andd because it’s the New Year, can we quickly talk about all these awesome movies coming out too:

Foxcatcher
Out now (around Chicago at least).

Inherent Vice
Opens on January 9.

American Sniper
Opens on January 16.

Fifty Shades of Grey
Opens on February 13.

Kinsman: The Secret Service
Opens on February 13. (No idea why I want to see this movie)

Now the real question, does this list make me a total weirdo?
Life Relax

reading & read // watching & watched (04)

March 20, 2015

Um, HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING all!

You know how Spring welcomed me? With a bug. Yep, I woke up with a terrible stomachache, head and throat feeling gross and now I have the chills. I’ve been wondering all week why I’ve had no appetite and now I’m thinking I found the culprit.

I was planning on doing a juice cleanse this weekend, but I guess that will have to wait for … next weekend maybe? Blah. Just feeling so nauseous (and no, it’s not a surprise pregnancy).

I also realized February flew by so fast I never shared my reading/read + watching/watched post with you. WTH. No wonder I was so proud of myself, thinking “Yeah, Nicole. You’re really flying through these books this month.” Um, no.

So I might share a few extras with you and I’d love any advice on what to read next. I feel stuck in a book rut right now, trying to get out.what I'm reading & watching this month | midwestlovefestREADING

Sharp Objects: I’m obviously a huge fan of Gillian Flynn, so I might as well give her 3rd book a look. Haven’t started yet, but hoping to finish by next month. Will keep you updated.

The Goldfinch: You know how I was talking about being in a book rut? Yeah, that’s what this is about. I still can’t seem to finish this book. Maybe it’s because the size is so intimidating (there’s nearly 1000 pages), but I guess I also lost interest. I’ve heard it’s SUCH a good read after you get past a certain point, so I’ll keep plugging away. Maybe I’ll read it while trying to get over this flu/cold this weekend.

Tinkers: I legit forgot I was reading this book. So…I’ll get back to you. Hopefully once I’ve read it.

READ

The Girl on the Train: Fantastic book. If you liked Gone Girl, you’ll love this. And it’s an oddly quick read.

Blood, Bones & Butter: One of my friends, who knows I’m a huge Anthony Bourdain fan, recommended I read this book. She said it was similar to Kitchen Confidential. I agree the first half is very Kitchen Confidential-esque, but after that it strays a bit and becomes more about her life, husband and family than the food. Which, oddly, I was fine with. I didn’t want a Kitchen Confidential twin. While, I don’t agree with a few of the author’s decisions, the book is well-written and interesting. I also don’t recommend reading it on an empty stomach. Ohmygosh, the food she describes sounds SO good!

In the Woods: I know I mentioned this in January, so I figured I’d let you know what I thought of it. First, it’s a series. Did NOT know that. Second, if you love The Killing, you will love this book. It almost feels like I’m just watching a long episode. Very, very well written and intriguing. I looked forward to reading it every night.

WATCHING

Better Call Saul: Ryan and I were obsessed with Breaking Bad, so naturally we had to start watching Better Call Saul. The season has been pretty laid back thus far, until two Sundays ago where things started getting pretty interesting. Guess only time will tell if it can live up to Breaking Bad.

Broad City: Favorite. Show. Ever. Seriously. I tell everyone to watch this show, it’s so genius. I was once at a bar, and me and Ry (who also loves this show) were trying to convince our friend Ashley to give it a watch. As we’re talking, the bartender chimed in and said, “Are you talking about Broad City? Or..the best show ever made!?” I’ve also gotten a few people at work into it. Needless to say, you need to go watch it NOW!

The Fall: A friend of mine knows how much I loved The Killing and recommended I give this a try. Same hottie from 50 Shades, Jaime Dordnon, and apparently his acting is actually good in this series. Haven’t started it yet, but basically this show = weekend plans (and reading The Goldfinch, obviously).

WATCHED

50 Shades of Grey: Did you know I read these books? Yeah, good times. I had to read them because they were being hyped so much, it felt like a pop culture thing I should know. WELP, some of the worst writing, ever. The plot was interesting, but I spent half the time wanting most of the characters dead because they were so annoying. Anyway, of course the movie was hyped up just like the books. So, I took a gander last night. Sure enough, the acting felt extremely awkward (or maybe that’s just my frustration with the characters reappearing), the way it was filmed, or what was filmed, made the movie seem empty somehow and I couldn’t get it out of my head how much the media says the actors hate each other. However, the plot is interesting enough that I am intrigued to see what the sequel holds.

Whiplash: Just watched this movie with Ry (finally!) and loved it. Amazing acting, gripping and unexpected plot-line. Terrific film altogether.

Foxcatcher: Another incredible film I watched to and from NYC. First off, highly recommend as a travel movie–really takes you away and makes you forget you’re stuck on a plane. That said, while the acting was incredible and the story was interesting, the climax seemed to come out of no where and the movie itself felt stupidly slow.

BONUS: Birdman: I had to mention this movie. Holy crap was it good. The whole movie felt like a continuous shot (intentional), which made it feel really fast paced. The acting was insanely good (I love Edward Norton and Emma Stone in it, and of course the amazing Michael Keaton) and the whole movie was interesting, unexpected and had oddly funny parts. One of my favorite movies ever, I think.

Please tell me you have a good reco for what to read next?

 

Life Relax

reading/read + watching/watched (3)

January 28, 2015

january reading/read + watching/watched

READING

The Goldfinch – Yes, I’m still reading this book. Everyone says it’s so great, but it has such a slow start, I’m struggling. Anyone else dive into this yet?

In the Woods – Just picked it up and LOVE it. After reading two chapters, I recommended it to five of my coworkers. If you love True Detective or The Killings, you will love this book.

Tinkers – According to Amazon, “Tinkers is about the legacy of consciousness and the porousness of identity from one generation the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.” Honestly, I’ve heard good things, but more than that, the book has basically haunted me for the past few years. Reading this isn’t even a choice at this point.

WATCHING

Parks and Rec (final season) – This show is like a bedtime story to me. I’ve seen every episode at least 3x, I use their phrases in my day-to-day conversation (treat yo self!) and it’s like coming home to a cozy blanket and nice fire. I’m happy to have it back on air and will more than likely cry during the final episode.

GIRLS – I’m sorry, I still love it. Maybe it’s because Hanna is a writer or because the acting and plot lines are believable, yet witty, but I’m not ready to give up on this show.

WATCHED

American Sniper – I wanted to see it, but I knew it would be hard; that I would cry. Sure enough, end of the movie, I start tearing up. Screen goes black, audience walks out of the room in total silence. I have never ever left a movie where no one spoke. It was like a funeral. I think that says enough (even if the babies in the movie were, in fact, totally and obviously fake).

Basically, I need to pick up my reading game. This much is apparent to me. I’m in the process of reading three books, but really excited to read the next few on my list.

What are you all reading this month?

 

Life

reading // read + watching // watched (01)

October 10, 2014

what to read and watch in octoberI’m kind of obsessed with pop culture, especially when it comes to visuals and the written word. Chalk it up to my love of branding and art and writing, but I have a deep appreciation for good storytelling and a few interesting characters.

Of course, I’m always on the lookout for indie movies and books (like the ones mom & pop stores “highly recommend” with little post-its), but I still love to read the bestsellers. You know, the ones the Times is into? I just gotta see what all the fuss is about, in case I’m every at a really fancy dinner party and the topic of popular young adult thrillers comes up.

Well, I wanted to kick off a new monthly series featuring my favorite things in tv, movies and literature. Basically, what I’m reading, what I’ve read, what I’m watching and what I’ve watched. Feel free to add your own faves in the comments below!

what to read and watch in octoberI can never get enough books. I swear to you I am, indeed, reading these three books, all at the same time. Can’t help it. (If you want to follow along with my book/2014 book challenge, make a profile and lets be friends on goodreads!).

An Object of Beauty – Wanted to read this because it delves into the art scene via a young, attractive art seller. So far, so good.

The Goldfinch – Hoping to finish this book next, though it’s HUGE! But every single person I’ve spoken to says it’s an amazing, can’t-put-it-down piece of work.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Not sure what route this book is taking. I’m about half way through, and it definitely has some fantasy undertones, but mostly it seems like a Silicon Valley nerd book. Which means, thus far, I like it!

▲ ▲ ▲

Not That Kind of Girl – Just finished this book (it felt like such a quick read) and it was awesome. Can’t say for the amount of times they say “vagina” that I’d recommend it to many men, but the writing was beautiful and the stories were interesting. I’d probs even read it again!

Chocolates for Breakfast – This was one of those “mom & pop bookshelf” books I was talking about. Literally. I saw it at The Unabridged Bookstore here in Chicago, and had to give it a try. Not a bad book. First published in 1956, I was actually pretty interested, but the ending fell flat to me.

One More Thing – I think this is the opposite of Not That Kind of Girl: can’t really recommend this to many women. It seems men were falling over themselves to read this book, but I just…didn’t get it. Hard pass.

what to read and watch in octoberAmerican Horror Story (Season 4)  – I hate scary movies. Like, completely refuse to watch The Exorcist or anything with a possessed doll. But somehow, year after year, I have been suckered into the American Horror Story phenomenon. It’s more than scary or freaky or effed up–you never know where the plot is going to go. You think you have it all figured out and then BOOM! Someone finds out they were dead the whole series. Shit like that.

How to Get Away With Murder – The way they say this in the previews is catchy in itself  (“HOWWWW TO GET AWAAAYYY WITH MUR-DAAHHHH!”), but the plot line, which goes back and forth between present and past, and characters will get you hooked. For sure something I look forward to watching every week.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Everyone thinks this guy is an asshole, but I disagree. He’s from New York. And he’s a badass (former) celebrity chef. He knows his shit. Plus, watching his show is like being read a deliciously good, well-written book, while laying back and looking at the pretty pictures.

▲ ▲ ▲

Chef – SUCH a feel-good movie. If you’re babysitting/hanging out with family/eating 4000 calories alone in a basement, you need to watch this. It’s believable. It’s uplifting. It’s interesting and relevant. I loved it. In fact, I should watch it again this weekend…

The Skeleton Twins – Supposedly this was originally marketed as a drama, but it turned out to be more of a comedy/drama (dramcom?). Highly recommend, especially if you watched and loved these two on SNL.

Guardians of the Galaxy – I do think this movie could’ve been a tad shorter than 2 hours, but that being said, it was good. And not just for the eye candy that is Chris Pratt. It was funny, the soundtrack was so choice and it was fun to watch. Perfect for date night!

Okay now spill. What are you into this month?

P.S. Happy Friday all! #tgif

Local

Game Day with Farm Rich

November 22, 2016

Game Day with Farm RichToday’s a big day because we’re talking about one of my favorite food groups: cheese.

Specifically the cheese curd.

Many of you may be well-versed in this Wisconsin delicacy, but let’s just assume some of you have no effin’ clue what I’m talking about or what you’re looking at. Well, buckle up.

When Farm Rich reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in featuring their new Cheese Curds in a post, it felt like an obvious yes. Not only have I introduced many a Midwestern transplant to the cheese curd (*cough cough* Ryan), but you better believe they’ve also been a mainstay at parties, holidays and many-a game day growing up.

Game Day with Farm RichWhich gave me the brilliant idea to throw a Midwestern game day, reminiscent of my childhood.

And what do you need to do that? Why, I’m so happy you asked.

Here are my go-tos for creating the perfect, slightly stereotypical Midwestern game day:

  • Cheese curds (you saw that coming, I’m sure)
  • Organic ketchup to pair with the cheese curds
  • Bloody Marys or beer, both of which pair SO good with cheese curds (if you don’t believe me, Google: Cheese Curds & Bloody Marys).
  • Pizza or burgers #sorrynotsorry
  • Chips, or cheesy nachos (you’re sensing a theme here, I’m sure)
  • Salad, because you’re going to need some greens
  • Puppy chow or some other easily snackable dessert

Game days are also best when you have a fire going in the fireplace, but if you can’t make that happen – I highly recommend lighting a few candles to get that super cozy feel. We definitely had a pumpkin spice candle going during the entire game, I’ll be honest with you.

Game Day with Farm RichGame Day with Farm RichOh and please don’t judge that we are watching the Chargers and not the Packers! The Packers weren’t on TV when we had our little Game Day (for some blasphemous reason) and the Chargers are Ryan’s team, of course. So I made do with what I had.

Game Day with Farm RichSome true blue parting words on these breaded Cheddar Cheese Curds though? They’re the real deal. Not sure why, but lots of companies and people try to replicate these and fail TERRIBLY.

But these Farm Rich nuggets could easily be placed in any restaurant around here (or Wisco) and no one would be the wiser. I’m guessing it’s because they’re made with actual Wisconsin cheese from LaGrander’s Hillside Dairy and not that crap out-of-state stuff. #justsayingGame Day with Farm RichWorth adding that Ryan also really liked them, which is saying something since can be surprisingly picky (meanwhile I’ll eat anything with cheese in it). And, to me, they taste a little like home, ya know?

Game Day with Farm RichGame Day with Farm RichP.S. I highly recommend signing up for the Farm Rich newsletter to get some perfect-for-game-day recipes and snack ideas sent to you.

Alright now I shared, so it’s your turn: what’s your go-to game day treat?

And more importantly, have you ever tried a cheese curd? Basically, have you ever lived?

Game Day with Farm Rich

P.S. This post is sponsored, but only because it aligns with everything I’m about on this blog. Anndd it helps me continue to bringing content to you all. Thank you!

Inspire Life Relax

love, lust and leave: september movies

September 27, 2016

So. Many. Good. Movies. Coming out!

Arguably, this summer hasn’t been the best for my reading (a million apologies, Good Reads). But it has been pretty damn good when it comes to movie viewing! #winning

While I’m excited to see what comes out in the next few months, here are a few movies I’ve seen lately worth note (or worth..not a lot):

The movies worth watching this month

love

The Secret Life of PetsYes, this was cute and clever, which definitely qualifies it as a “love” movie this month. However, I personally was a little disappointed. Maybe I’m a diehard Pixar fan? Or maybe my humor’s gotten too dark? Because some of it just seemed a little too…predictable and cheesy for me. That said, it’s still a very cute, fun movie to see and seemed like a crowd-pleaser, based on the theatre attendees I was with.

Finding Dory: As mentioned, I’m starting to become a huge fan of Disney-created animated movies. And this second film did not disappoint. Of course, pieces may be slightly predicatble, but for the most part it was cute and maintained the essence of the first film. Highly recommend (and–sorry but–I recommend it over Secret Life of Pets).

 

lust

Popstar: Has anyone seen this? I totally missed it and now I’m sad and don’t know where I can watch it… I love Andy Samberg though and feel it my civic duty to see anything he stars in.

The Accountant: I know Ben is a bit of a mess right now (and I totally take Jen’s side in…whatever is going on with their family), but he’s SUCH a good actor and The Accountant looks amazing. Already scheduling this for date night.

The Girl on the Train: We’ll see if this movie is as good as the book (which I highly recommend, btw), but I’ll see it nonetheless because I’m really loving thriller lately. And Emily Blunt.

 

leave

Now You See Me 2: Ugh, I can’t with this movie. I *wanted* to like it. It had all these major stars (Harry Potter!) and I was surprised by how much I was into the first movie. But take 2 on this was no good at all. HARD. PASS.

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates: I love Aubrey Plaza and really wanted to see this. But then I did…and was disappointed. Went with my friend though, and she liked it. So I might have to chalk it up to my inability to appreciate simple humor.

Life Relax

love, lust and leave: september shows

September 13, 2016

Maybe it’s the cooling of the weather, but I feel like I’ve been staying in and watching even more shows than usual. Is that possible? Apparently so. Because I have the below roster and it’s about to blow up with even more good fall shows coming to TV in the next few months. Oh, did I mention we recently got cable? Yep, we did. Pretttyyy excited about it. If you guys have any recos for me for the next month (because it does seem like I have no life at this point, doesn’t it?), please leave them in the comments below.

All the shows worth watching this month

love

Shameless: I may be late to the party, but I’m obsessed with this show. I tried to watch the UK version awhile back, but the characters had such thick accents it was hard to understand. On a whim, a month or so ago, I needed to pick up a new show on Netflix (after finishing Jane the Virgin, which I also highly recommend) and I haven’t stopped watching it since. Great character development, interesting plotlines annnddd it takes place in Chicago! I swear I’ve even walked by filming of the most recent episode a few weeks ago. No, but really.

WAGS: WAGS (season 2, btw) is an acronym for Wives and Girlfriends of high-profile athletes. While I’m a major feminist, I can also be traditional and am semi-obsessed with how different women act in different types of relationships and marriages. Also, money and pretty people are always fun to watch, right?

Real Housewives of New Jersey and Real Housewives of Orange County: Well, I’ve lost my Real Housewives of New York (the season is over with), but these two I’m sure I’ll do just fine. Real Housewives for lyfe.

Teen Mom: They’re back, baby! Been watching 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom since they first came to TV, so at this point, watching this show is almost like visiting an old friend. That’s a normal thing to say about an MTV reality show right?

Atlanta: This is Childish Gambino’s new show and…I just can’t say enough good things about it. The way it’s shot, the writing, the topics they cover and how authentic the whole thing feels? It’s a must-watch. Seriously. It’s only one episode in (second episode debuts tomorrow night), so get on it NOW.

 

lust

American Horror Story Season 6: I’ve been hot and cold on this show since it came out. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I thought the first few seasons of AHS were really well done, so I kept watching. However, there have also been a few seasons where I was like, “Um, no thanks. Hard pass.” And other seasons where I only watched it because the actors were hot (last season). Crossing my fingers this season is better than the last few. Stay tuned…

JonBenet Ramsey CBS Special: Apparently it’s the 25th anniversary of the JonBenet Ramsey disappearance, which explains why every network is diving back into this investigation. However, the one I’m most interested in watching debuts next Sunday on CBS. Who’s watching with me?

 

leave

Ridiculousness: This isn’t new, but am I alone here!? How does this guy have his own show where he watches YouTube videos and provides commentary? His commentary isn’t even good! And this is coming from a girl who openly watches Love & Hip Hop (a non-scripted-but-clearly-scripted-with-terrible-actors-and-actresses reality show). I know this is a random one to throw in, but it’s been a long time coming. Please take your Ridiculousness and go away now.

Local Musings

ugh, stop with these midwest stereotypes

September 10, 2016

ugh, let's stop with this okay?Happy Friday everyone!

We’ve made it through another week. Luckily, this shorter week really made the days fly by and only today felt like I was watching the clock, waiting for the weekend.

Ry and I are headed to a party my agency is throwing in MKE (Milwaukee, WI for those of you who don’t know) tomorrow night. Staying at the Kimpton, probably watching the Notre Dame game at a bar in the 3rd Ward. The usual. Will report back sometime next week. Other than that, just hoping it’s another productive weekend filled with meal planning, laundry, reading, watching the first Packers game (#GoPackGo) and continuing to clean up that budget of ours. Fun stuff, I know guys. I go hard.

Anyway…

This post is going up a bit late, but it wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t just slightly late, right? Right.

I just felt like this post needed to be written. These things need to be said. One of the many reasons I started blogging and threw “Midwest” in the title of my blog was to try and be a voice of the modern heartland woman. Modern. Meaning, probably not the stereotypes that are passed around in the media or elsewhere. Of course, I’m just one small voice in millions in the Midwest, so if you feel anything needs to be added to this list – please let me know! I’m interested in what you guys think are the most annoying stereotypes we get too.

1. We’re all farmers.

My uncle is a farmer. I grew up across the street from a farm. Many kids I went to school with came from generations of farmers and some became farmers as adults. TBH, I love farms (makes sense – I love animals), but I dislike generalizing an entire population.

2. We have funny accents.

We definitely say things a bit differently, especially depending on where you live in the Midwest (a Chicagoan accent is very different than a Minnesotan accent, which is different from a Wisconsin accent). But guess who else has a funny accent? EVERYONE. I mean, we’ve all met someone from New Jersey or New York, or chatted with a Cali guy?

3. We’re backwards.

Ugh, I hate this stereotype. Just because I live between two coasts doesn’t mean I’m out of touch with what’s going on in the world, culturally, politically or otherwise.

4. We have outdated style.

Please. Have we seen some of the fashion bloggers who live around these parts? Oh, you haven’t? Well here are just a few:

  1. Sequins and Stripes
  2. The Chambray Bunny
  3. Regally Soled
  4. Sabby Style
  5. Charmingly Styled
  6. Wit & Delight (okay, they’re basically just lifestyle – but they’re so cool!)
  7. Blake Von D
5. We all enjoy the frozen tundra and refuse to leave it.

While I absolutely love a romantic snowfall around Christmas time, the frozen tundra that is January, February, March and occasionally April are THE WORST THING EVER.

“If everyone hates it so much, why don’t they just move?”

Have you seen the Midwest in the summertime? Or in the Fall? Or earlier Winter? This is such a beautiful place to live, it makes the winter season bearable.

6. No one interesting lives in the heartland.

Oh, puh-lease. Didn’t you just see all the bloggers I mentioned? No? Alright, well here are a few other “cool” peeps who call the Midwest home:

  1. The late Prince, who called Minnesota home.
  2. The billionnaire Warren Buffet lives humbly in Omaha, Nebraska.
  3. Meanwhile, Lebron lives in a $9.2 million mansion in Ohio.
  4. John Cusack prefer to hang out in Chicago (when he’s not working).
  5. Not to mention these 20 midwesterners who changed the world.
7. There’s nothing to do in Middle America.

Well where are you in the Midwest? My guess is no matter where you are, there’s more to do than you think. In a city? Well, you know there’s options. In a smaller area? Visit a local cafe or secondhand store, or take a walk around. You’re bound to find some beauty.

8. We discriminate.

Why does it seem like the weird, racist, terrible shit is the stuff the media likes to focus on when it features the Midwest? Like everywhere in the world, we have not-so-good-people living around here, just like we have incredible and way-too-nice people living here too. It’s a melting pot, much like the rest of America.

9. The Midwest is just farms and backwoods.

Have you seen the incredible architecture in Chicago? Or visited the biking paths in Twin Cities? Or walked the streets of Madison (especially during a Badger game)? No? Well, then please don’t talk.

10. Nothing of note happens in the Midwest.

Need I remind you of #6. No, okay how about this? Or this is currently happening. And this happened too. Then there’s always this.

Any other heartlanders have anything to add?

Snacks

Super Refreshing End-of-Summer Pineapple Basil Popsicles

September 1, 2016

Basil PopsiclesAlright, so it’s the first day of September, but I’m not letting go of summer just yet.

Yes, it’s been a doozy of a flipping summer. Busy AF. But also sunshiney. And just full-on Chicago, which is my favorite kind of Chicago.

But back to the busy part.

See, I’ve been muddling through a busy work schedule, while trying to budget better, eat better, workout more frequently, train my dog, keep on my Goodreads..and my shows…You get the picture. I needed a little help on the baking front. And the blogging front.

Because, if you couldn’t tell, I haven’t been blogging much (AGAIN) lately.

And while I’m not the best at asking for help when I need it, I did this time. And I asked it from literally the best person possible: my baby sister.

Basil PopsiclesEveryone, meet Kimberly.

Or, at least Kimberly’s recipes!

While I like making and baking healthy type meals like warm apple “desserts” or protein-packed burritos or Whole 30-approved protein balls (and, of course, a cookie cake every now and then), Kimber is the real chef of the family.

Legit this girl has been whipping things up and experimenting with food for as long as I can remember. So I’m super excited to see what she brings to the table (literally).

First thing she’s dishing out? This delicious pineapple basil popsicle recipe! Just look at that icy fresh goodness.

Basil PopsiclesLike I said, we’re not letting go of summer just yet. Whip these up for a super healthy, refreshing Labor Day treat and embrace the few rays of sunshine we have left. Enjoy!

Basil Popsicles

Pineapple & Basil Popsicles
 
Healthy way to enjoy a fresh summer treat.
Author:
Recipe type: Snacks
Ingredients
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (20 oz)
  • 5 medium sized Basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Wash and roughly chop the basil leaves. Put the basil leaves in the blender along with the entire can of pineapple. Blend the two ingredients until the basil has fully mixed into the pineapple around 1 minute. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze fully. Enjoy!