On Embracing Midwestern Chic

Scene: Vera at 11 years old, begging her mom for silver puffy coat. Vera’s mom looks in disgust and denies the request.

Scene: Vera at 12 years old at Filene’s Basement buying her very own white puffy coat for the winter. She is pleased with her fashionable choice.

Scene: Vera at 13 years old, wearing the coat her mom bought her at year 11, because she has learned that the white puffy coat is ugly.

So, here we are. 15 years later and I am reliving the original scene from my youth. Except this time my mom and I are standing in Burlington Coat Factory in the middle of July buying matching puffy coats. My mom is currently living in Korea for the year after living in Saudi Arabia for the past 5 years and I am living in the Midwest again after a 4 year long hiatus in California. Neither of us had a need for Midwestern Chic, and now, after being away for so long, are ready to embrace the pragmatic approach to winter outerwear in the Midwest.

What is Midwestern Chic you ask? It’s this:

MidWestern Chic



It’s long puffy jackets from NorthFace, heavy duty mittens, mildly cute (hopefully fleece lined) ski hats, and some sort of snow boot to avoid frost bite. After many long winters in the Midwest, one usually breaks down and succumbs to pressure of Midwestern Chic fashion. For me, it happened in the middle of summer in a Burlington Coat Factory as I thought about the bone aching chill that hits you as you’re scraping ice off your car in the dead of winter. Midwestern Chic is the literal approach to comfort over fashion.

The first time I encountered Midwestern Chic was during a holiday visit on winter. I was at a nail salon braving the harsh winter wind putting my coat on when I noticed two women arguing over whose coat was whose. There on the coat rack, were five long puffy coats , all exactly the same. These women had to look into the contents of the pockets to identify their owners. Yes, they all looked the same, and awkward in these long quilted, jacket shaped blankets. But, they were warm. And that is the true Midwesterner at heart; pragmatic.

Also, scrunchies still live on in the Midwest.


On The Difficulties Of Post-Grad Life

Around this time last year I started watching the show, Girls, and consuming episodes daily to catch up with the masses. I actually wrote an entry about how the show glamorizes life at 25.

But I was still in college when I first watched it. And now that I’m fully graduated, moved to a different city, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Women and Gender Studies, a fair amount of debt ,back at the job I had in college and A LOT OF UNPAID WORK listed on my resume, I’m all like, “WHERE’S MY BIG GIRL JOB?” And I also relate to the main character a lot more. Of course Hannah was working for free, because who wants to hire someone that has a Liberal Arts Degree!

There’s something interesting about this period of time, where you’re freshly out of college, with some skills, but not enough to be desired by businesses/organizations/paying employers. People are more than willing to offer you an unpaid, full-time internship where you can “expand your skill set” and “gain important experiences” but why is it that they’re not willing to give you a shot at a position you probably deserve. Is it because you haven’t done it for “3 -5 years in a professional setting”? Every time I see that bullet point in a job description listed at the very top of a laundry list of requirements I let out a big sigh. This isn’t to say I don’t take the chance and apply anyway.

However, making do with the bare minimum seems more appealing than seeing the words, “Thank you for your interest….” in my inbox again if I’m lucky.

So, what does one do while they’re feeling down about their employment (lack of) situation?

-call up your BFF and cry on the phone about it. everyday.

-start a blog!

-look up all the free things that are happening in your city.

-take immense pleasure in the fact that a cup of quinoa can stretch and last about three meals.

-remind yourself that you’re totally worth it. and everyone else can suck it.

-and finally, listen to this song in your kitchen on repeat and dance it all out:


On The Out-Of-Home Home Office

I blog. I freelance. I also live with my partner who works from home. I have a home office.

But working from home is a difficult task for me. It always has been, even in school. For a while I really valued the library as a productive working space. It’s free, the volume level doesn’t get too loud, it’s properly air conditioned or heated, and generally has reliable wi-fi. But we all know that the library doesn’t hold as much cute factor as working from a cafe. 

Ah yes, the work from home office often takes place at local cafes, coffee shops, and of course, starbucks. As I write this, I’m sitting at cute little cafe that serves up freshly baked goods and overly priced, mediocre coffee. There is a trade off though, I get to sit in a space outside of my home and use their wi-fi. 

But as I’m writing this there is a woman sitting next to me going over wedding plans with her friends via FaceTime on her Ipad. She is talking loudly and I keep sending her death stares. It seems as though she has totally forgotten the out-of-home-home office rules. 

1. TIP your barista. ALWAYS and FOREVER.

2. Don’t take phone calls inside the cafe. It’s hella rude and I don’t want to hear your conversation. Also, put your phone on vibrate. 

3. Headphones, always. 

4. Don’t overstay your welcome. 

5. Do charge your computer beforehand. Outlets are not always plentiful.

6. Space is often times lacking. Be aware of how much space you’re taking up. But that’s just a general rule of life. 




On Adopting a Dog

I totally disappeared didn’t I? My best friend came to town and visited for a week and in this period of time I gave myself permission to have complete and total BFF time. But in this week long visit I started getting really serious about adopting a dog.

You see, it has been my dream to have a pug for years. My mom had one when I was a teenager and it was the highlight of every visit to her place. Pugs are naturally a little lazy, a little needy, and hungry. Basically, I am a pug. So when Chad entered my life, I shared the obsession with him and after so many years we’ve decided that we’re finally ready to take the jump and adopt a pug.

We chose adoption/rescue because it seems like the right thing to do. We don’t want to be a part of the puppy mill industry, and would love to take in a pug that has some emotional baggage (don’t we all have some?) Except adopting is hard.

Last week Chad and I were declined a pug. It was totally heartbreaking and worse than being denied a job (which I’m also going through). It felt like a personal attack, as if to say that we’re not fit to be parents to a pug. It’s so difficult because I waited all these years until I was in the right place to adopt and now that we’re ready, nobody wants to let us adopt.

So, lessons learned and we keep applying until that special pug finds it’s way into our home. But until then, a constant stream of pug videos will do for now.



Happy Friday Everyone!

summer shoes. summer sun.

summer shoes. summer sun.

Summer is quickly coming to an end and I am trying to get my fill of summer foods in. This includes tomatoes, corn, and summer squash. Almost everyday I eat a variation of this combo of veggies in some form. I plan to spend the weekend going to town on some recipes that I’ve been meaning to test out. I’m also going to be doing some work for SlutWalk Chicago, a movement that works to put an end to victim blaming, slut shaming, and street harassment.

Do you have any plans for the weekend?

Here are some of my favorite links from the interwebs this week:

Speaking of summer foods, Roasted Plum Ice Cream from A Cozy Kitchen

Are you in Chicago and looking to adopt a pet? Think of adopting from Chicago Animal Care & Control. Their pictures are the best.

Reasons why you should listen to Thao Nguyen, she’s super awesome

Awkward Black Girl will be doing a series with HBO. I cannot wait.

Have you checked out The Militant Baker? She’s one of my favorite body image bloggers.

Puppy Rooms at Colleges & Universities! Where was this when I was in undergrad?!



On Falling Back In Love (With A City)

Yesterday, I fell back in love.  You see, I was always in love, for years, even after we broke up. I was just denying it.

I was in a relationship with Chicago. I often took it for advantage and it yelled back at me, “pay attention to me! i’m great!” I was a bad partner.

I’ve left the city for someone else, in search of something better. I’ve had flings with other cities, even had a relationship with another city (a long term one). But that city broke up with me, threw all of my clothes on the lawn and told me to move out.

And then I came crawling back to Chicago. I moved back slowly, only going on dates with the city, not quite ready to commit again.

But last night, its beauty shined through everything. I forgot what a reliable partner they are, always giving, surprising me when I need it, charming me with their grace.

I might as well change my relationship status on facebook, adding Chicago as my partner for 22 years (we won’t count those years I left).

But why? Why now?

While sitting in a public park watching Chad play basketball with random strangers I felt happier than I had in a long time. I took in the weather, the scenery, the feeling of the ground beneath me, and the kindness of strangers. After this I went and had a drink with a friend, sitting outside, feeling content with everything and Chicago put its arm around me and whispered to me and said, “will you be mine?”

I said yes.

I’ll take Chicago for all of it’s flaws. Because for every single flaw there are folks working to make change. Change that is good.