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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.


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 We have outdated style.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?


The Stress of Dealing with Anxiety

March 22, 2016

checking in with ya'll| via |

I thought I’d get a bit personal today.

In all honesty..I wanted to write something else. I wanted to post one of several posts I have formulating in the background–images lying around my phone or camera, posts that are half-written…you get the deal. It’s something I’ve mentioned on here quite a bit. The “was going to write a post” thing. I feel like I’m always making excuses why I’m too busy to post, or that’s how it’s felt this past year.

I’ll be honest, this past year has been riddled with difficulties, adjustments, triumphs and losses. And for someone who already suffers from anxiety or stress-related issues, this is not the best situation.

Essentially, I was all set to come home from work tonight. Sit down and crank out a few awesome posts that I’ve been cooking and share them with you–consistently. I was going to get back on track with consistent posting, dammit! I have some interviews with incredible creatives I’ve had the honor of chatting with months ago, a few DIY projects and a couple recipes. I was and am so excited just talking about them!

But then I came home and I had trouble breathing…I felt winded just sitting on the couch. I’ve also been suffering from nausea because my stomach issues started flaring last night, so much so that I barely slept. When I woke up at 2:30–so nauseous that it literally woke me up–I couldn’t even throw up (my last resort when my nausea gets so bad it interferes with my sleep) because my GERD was so bad.

This is all to say I was low on sleep, dealing with family issues, nauseous, stressed, pissed off at myself for not getting sleep and thus having to skip another workout, all the while Kero is ringing the bells at the door–trying to let me know he wanted to go play, even though he injured his paw at the park yesterday, and…all of a sudden… it hit me. I felt too exhausted to move.

This isn’t a post for you to feel bad for me, for me to make excuses or for anyone to worry about me. This is a post to be honest. I love this blog. I love the creative projects I pile upon myself, or the ones that swirl in my head. But sometimes, coupled with all the other things going on, it’s not as easy as “make time for it because you love it” or want to run a “successful blog” (whatever that means, anyway). In fact, it’s that sort of mentality that gives me anxiety…makes me feel bad that I didn’t make time for blogging because, well, all the successful bloggers make time for their blogs, why can’t I!? I mean, if I’m not making time now, I guess I’ll never be successful…right?

God, the damaging self-talk we do to ourselves, huh?

So, I guess I did end up blogging tonight. But it was later than I planned, less edited than I planned and an entirely different topic than what I planned. But it’s here, and it’s what’s really going on with me, and in my life. Not a pretty DIY. More like a messy work in progress.

Basically, no matter where you are, what you’re doing, I hope you are cozy and at peace. And if you’re not, just know that you’re not alone. We’re all just lost and stressed and happy and excited and making moves and feeling stagnant. But in the end, it will all work out. Trust that.

But P.S. If you’re ever truly alone, feel free to reach out to me via insta / snap (@midwestlovefest) / twitter or here because gurl, I get it. I’m there, and here.


Why I’ll Never Be Cool

February 12, 2016

Why I'll Never Be Normal... and why would I want to be? [ midwest love fest ]

For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been considered a weirdo.

My sisters and I always joke that we are the weirdest people we know. Something about how we were raised or something–we all understand each other’s weirdness, but put us out into society and we probably look terrifyingly odd.

For an extremely long time, I wanted to be like everyone else. Of course, everyone goes through this phase–usually around elementary or middle school–and just fly under the radar. That is exactly what I wanted. To be a fly on the wall. And for most of elementary school, I succeeded. Until, my clumsy and oddball nature took over, I grew up a little and it became harder to quite literally hide in a corner, like I had before.

Even as an adult, there have been countless times I have walked into a room, trying to blend in or look like I have my shit together, only to trip half way through my walk…or get my headphones tangled in my hair…or have coffee pour all over my pants. One time, I got lost going to an interview in a pair of brand new flats. I was walking around so much (because, naturally, I get lost everywhere I go) that the back part of my ankles got extremely cut up and started bleeding so badly that they soaked through my new shoes. I had to inconspicuously use my extra resume to mop up the blood, only when my interviewer quickly ran to the bathroom, sending up silent prayers that he wouldn’t come back and take notice.

When I’m traveling (aka people watching), I see so many women who look put together and admire them immensely. It’s funny because I’ve had this discussion with men, and they oddly find women who look 100% put together off-putting. Maybe they come off too cold or lacking in personality? But from a women’s perspective, I’ve never spoken to any lady who didn’t admire a woman who had perfectly manicured nails, trimmed hair, a flawless outfit, clean shoes, a trendy bag, and just looks like she rocks at her life. There’s just something about that that screams #GirlBoss. And, ironically, that’s the type of woman I aspire to be–a #BossBabe/#GirlBoss/#BossLady. Yet, I’m fully accepting right now that I will never be one of those flawless “I always look put together” women.

Don’t believe me? Just catch me 5 minutes into being home at the end of every day, when I’m in sweatpants and an old men’s tee that also happens to be covered in Kero’s black hair. Total Liz Lemon moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m working extra hard to be more timely. To dress like I appreciate myself and my profession, and take care of my health. I’m also *trying* to speak after my brain has processed all the ideas swimming around in it. But even when I can dot those “i’s” and cross those “t’s,” inevitably my sweater will get caught on the handle of a door, and I’ll be yanked backwards, nearly getting knocked over by a door, in front of all my peers. This is a metaphor, but let me assure you–it really happened. Multiple times.

Though I still aspire to try and look like I’m a relatively responsible human being–and, more importantly, a #BossBabe–who takes care of herself and works hard at what she does, I’m also owning the quirky flaws that make me, me. While I will always strive to be like those put-together people, I also find beauty in my own weirdness. No one is like me, just like no one is like you or like those lovely ladies. We all “own it” in different ways. And while my way is a bit more clumsy or full-frontal, it doesn’t mean I’m any lesser than those women. It’s something I’m coming to terms with as an adult: weird really is wonderful.

Life Meals Musings

Why I’m Going Vegan This February

February 10, 2016

delicious vegan bars

Did you know that I was vegan for a time? Probably not because I’m essentially a cheese addict (though, #funfact, basically everyone who eats cheese becomes a cheese addict). So, when my friend Dan said he was considering going vegan for the month of February, there was no hesitation. I was on board.


Well, honestly, I’ve tried most of the big diets: Paleo, gluten-free, juicing, plant-based, vegan, vegetarian and no restriction (All American diet), and I felt the best when I was vegan (and fairly gluten-free as well, if we’re being honest).

The reason I went back to eating the Western diet (minus milk, which I gave up during my vegan phase and continue to stay away from) was because it was a bit difficult to restrict my diet when I moved back to the Midwest. Which is a serious bummer and something I hope changes soon. I want more acai bowls!

That said, I never pass up a chance to go vegan for a time.

IMO it’s best to experiment with what works best for your body. Eating, whether we like it or not, is not a one size fits all (unless you’re talking about replacing junk foods with whole foods, in which case yes, no matter what your body type, that will benefit you). I know that I operate best with limited amounts of meat (Paleo was WAY too much meat for me and made me feel really heavy and sluggish) and just a bit of dairy (mainly cheese because I can’t give that up for life). However, I haven’t really been abiding by those rules recently, choosing instead to stuff my face with crap.

I’ll be real about it. I slid off the “eating healthy” slide. Fast.

But now, I’m trying to get back on. And that starts with what I put in my mouth (get your heads out of the gutter!), which is why I joined Dan.

If you want to join, it’s never too late. Okay, well it might be a week or so late, but no one’s going to tell on you, I promise. And, guess what? It’s a short month. BONUS.

Follow my vegan Pinterest board if you’re interested in trying the lifestyle and observing how it affects your health. Maybe just try it for a week. It’s not as restrictive as you may think, it just requires a bit more forethought.

For example, the no bake, damn good brownies from Minimalist Baker that I made the other night. #bombdotcom

Just give veganism a chance, see what parts work with your body’s needs and let me know what you think!



Hello, 2016

January 2, 2016


Happiest of New Years to all of you!

2015 was, um, rough…to say the least. Then again, it seems 2015 was universally terrible. From celebs to Facebook friends, everybody seemed to note the numbered struggles of 2015, instead of the triumphs. Maybe it’s the hippie in me, but I can’t help but think there was a weird energy or something at play that made 2015 a bit more dark and tumultuous than previous years.

That’s why I’m especially excited for 2016–for the clean slate, renewed sense of energy and … a fresh look and feel for Midwest Love Fest.

Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit off about the blog over the past year. Beyond personal struggles, I’ve felt something has been missing. This space just felt too all over the place, and seemed to be drifting further and further away from the whole reason I started the blog to begin with: to highlight the culture of the Midwest; to fight off the stereotypical belief that we are all out in the boonies, eating cheese or herding cattle.

While I absolutely love cheese and cows, I want to better share the creative culture here in the heartland. It’s a topic I’ve touched on with my DIYs and other random posts, but would like to better focus on with artist interviews, book/movie etc roundups (which you all seem to really like, which I love!), a few sporadic essays and other inspirational images and topics. Yes, this means a departure from recipes, but you can still find those in the archives; living on this URL. Other than that, things shouldn’t change too much–just better, more consistent, creative content. Hope you all enjoy it and share it! Oh, which reminds me, if you aren’t already, you can…

Like Midwest Love Fest on Facebook + Follow Midwest Love Fest on Twitter and Instagram + Snap me at @midwestlovefest.

Excited to see what this New Year holds!