Meet Sammy. She is kind, hard working, and somehow makes everyday tasks (shooting Cosmo editors in the rain, ironing sheets for a shoot, or trying to get the perfect "walking across the busy New York street" shot for the sixth time) a delight. I'm a big fan of her work on My Midwest is Showing and a big fan of her in general.
I love reading, but ever since I moved back to Wisconsin, I can’t sit still long enough to get through a book. Throughout college and my time in New York City, I didn’t have a lot of time or opportunities to work with my hands, so now I can’t get enough of it. It’s definitely one of my goals for 2017 to be a consistent reader, but a lifetime goal to be a voracious reader.
I have stacks and stacks of books to get through at home, more books on my Amazon wishlist, and even more book titles scribbled on scraps of paper everywhere I look. I only like reading physical books – I think reading on a device for a long period is the most frustrating thing in the world. I’m currently reading Eat Pray Love (ten years too late), because I recently discovered my love for Elizabeth Gilbert as a person, so I want to read all of her books. Next up is The Girls by Emma Cline, and the last book I read was Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain for a book club at work.
As a side note, I am constantly reading articles online and scrolling through social media. If you ask me, this type of reading is super important today in our current culture and society. You have to keep up and stay informed!
On how you spend your Saturday afternoons:
Saturday afternoons are the best because they’re probably the least demanding time of the entire week for me. Maybe I’ll read, flip through a magazine, go shopping, run some errands. Whatever. No pressure.
I really do like being productive though, so lately I’ve been all about working on my house, which my husband and I bought this summer, or working on my website, My Midwest Is Showing, which I launched in January. I’m always coming up with questions for features, going on photo shoots, brainstorming new ideas, etc. Both are really fun.
On your go-to dinner party plan
I love to plan a party. In fact, I recently planned a really fun surprise party for my husband – it was his golden birthday. 27 on the 27th! I spent most of my energy on the surprise and the decorations. I ordered takeout from his favorite Chinese restaurant, which was a lifesaver, because I have no idea how I would have set everything up and cooked for 25 people in the short amount of time he was out of the house. I decorated with a combination of gold and Chinese celebration decorations. This was my first official party I’ve thrown and hosted on my own – usually I’m helping a family member or friend – and I discovered I don’t love the actual hosting part of a party. I don’t like to be the center of attention, and I tend to be really quiet in a large group, neither of which are ideal characteristics for a good host.
If I have people over for dinner, I like to keep the group small. One other couple is ideal. I am literally insane about making sure my house is clean. Fresh flowers are a nice touch. My go-to meal at the moment is shredded barbecue chicken (which I make in a slow cooker with barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, and brown sugar), coconut rice (from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, Cravings), and green beans. Dessert is necessary; I like to make monster cookies or brownies. Fun fact: I make my brownies in a round cake pan, then cut them in triangles like cake slices.
When my husband and I lived in New York, it was too hard to travel home for every holiday, so we usually stayed in the city for Thanksgiving and Easter. We had my former co-worker and current best friend over, and it was so much fun. I cooked a feast for all of us – usually an abbreviated version of family traditions – and we hung out in my tiny studio apartment watching movies in our pajamas all day. It’s nice to be home with family now, but I think we will all miss our mini-holidays together. It would be fun to recreate these holidays in a dinner party setting – fun food, pajamas, and movies playing in the background.
On your personal uniform:
Jeans (classic, dark wash for work and ripped, girlfriend fit for weekends), a sweater or some kind of cool jacket, boots (although I’m transitioning to mules for spring), and black leather accessories with gold hardware. I’ve been really into layering two gold chokers, and if I’m not wearing those, I have my hair up and wearing big, gold hoop earrings. I never thought I’d be the type of person to have a uniform, but I have to try really hard not to wear the same outfit every single day lately. I am getting a little sick of my denim rut though and am on the hunt for black pants that are the perfect mix of pulled-together/chic and slouchy/relaxed.
On what speaks to you:
A really good business idea. I have approximately 5 million business ideas in my head at any given moment, not to mention I love thinking about businesses I visit. What do I like about this shop or restaurant? What would I do differently? I recently went to a restaurant I really liked, and talked about how genius the outlet locations were for a week. As soon as I gather a bit more courage, I’m going to have to take the plunge and just open a business of my own. I’ve learned from observation that the secret is to start just before you begin to overthink it. A strong vision and an ability to roll with the punches are far more valuable than any detailed business plan.