Fast Molasses – Music from The Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

For me, summers past are marked by the music that accompanied them. 2010 was for biking downtown to the coffee shop with wayfarers on my eyes and the Black Keys in my ears.  2011 was for weekly garden parties and Motown. 2012 included swollen feet everything, Cleveland pride, and Dr. Dog on vinyl. 2013 was for manufacturing feelings of a fabulous life during cancer treatment with Ella Fitzgerald on Pandora in my forever messy kitchen. During the past four summers, music has seen me through some difficult times and even helped to develop my intense local pride for northeast Ohio. Good things come out of this place I call home, and one of them is a merry band of friends who play soul-satisfying music fit for the perfect summer sountrack.

Fast Molasses has come a long way from their Friday night house parties— and I mean that quite literally! The boys have moved all the way to the Pacific Northwest, so I don’t see them around Canton any more, but Christopher mailed me some music with a nice handwritten note, even enclosing some chocolate mint from his garden. He said I should make a pitcher of ice tea and listen to the CD with headphones on one lovely summer night. It was perfect.

If you need a little Americana in your life (Who doesn’t?), click through to listen to Fast Molasses on Bandcamp and download their new album, From the Sugarcane. Along with a pitcher of sweet tea, their music will infuse your summer with exactly what it’s been missing. Oh, and follow their adventures on Instagram here and Facebook here. Miss you guys around here! Thanks for sending the music!

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt    Fast Molasses - music from the Rust Belt

top image by Sonya Kumpus

Motherhood, Blogging, and Avoiding Mommy Blogging

Well, it’s true. I’m a mommy now. And I know what you’re thinking. Oh great, another mommy blogger! Just what the internet needed! Well, if you’re bracing yourself for lots of chubby-faced pictures (of course I refer to Lucy’s cubby face, not my own), you can brace yourself no longer and rest assured. I’ve got plans to continue blogging, but not as a mommy blogger! Sure, my blog has some evolving in its future, that much is unavoidable. But let’s talk a little bit about what my plans are for Making Nice in the Midwest.

I’ve always said I wouldn’t let the other parts of my life fade away into oblivion, as motherhood encroaches and makes its best attempts at pushing away my identity. No sir! I would keep up my hobbies, maintain my social life, and be fabulous all the while. But I can’t avoid the fact that my days are spent trying to sooth a screaming baby, keeping up with laundry, catching up on sleep, trying to somehow prepare food for our family, and attempting to keep our house somewhat tidy in the process. Oh, and that little thing called personal fashion? It’s a bit difficult to focus on when you’re covered in spit-up and your breasts are the size of cantaloupes  Or watermelons, even! All of these things aren’t very exciting or glamorous, and probably not interesting to you guys at all. They’re very draining, though, and leave very little energy for much else. I had no idea this is what I should have expected from early motherhood!

Things should calm down a bit as Lucy settles into more of a regular sleep schedule, and I figure out how to balance things, but in the meantime it makes it difficult to find too much else to blog about. The truth is, cranking out new ideas and making time to fulfil them just doesn’t come as easily as it did in my pre-motherhood days. And I’m not planning on burning the candle at both ends, or being less of a mother to try to create a cutting edge blog.

I understand that many of you aren’t much interested in baby things. At all. Two years ago, I was that blog reader who quickly scrolled by the baby posts from some of my favorite bloggers. I just wasn’t interested. And to be honest, I’m still not super interested in baby talk. Though, there are those of you who are interested in seeing how Lucy is growing, what she’s wearing (diapers and sleepers so far! ha!), and how we’re getting along with a new baby in the house. So I’m really aiming to strike a balance.

In the past, I’ve always shared parts of my life on this blog, and now that Lucy is here, she is obviously a pretty big part of things. So, parenting talk and baby pictures will occassionally make an appearance here on Making Nice in the Midwest. But I’ll make sure to keep those kinds of posts sprinkled between the usual DIYs, fashion posts, and other fun stuff you’re used to seeing here.

Oh, and going along with the good mother bit…. I’ll be dialing back the blogging a little. I’ll still be here, of course, and I’ll still keep blogging. Just not every day as I was able to do in the past. And I hope you all will still follow along in the process!

A Seasonal Playlist | FALL FLAVORS

Our windows have been opened to let in the crisp air (that’s here at least for today!), our front door has been decked out with a seasonal wreath and doormat, and today I purchased my first Yankee Candle of the season- a true sign that I’m ready for Autumn’s arrival! The next step? Share this year’s Fall playlist.

This time of year is always comforting to me, because I enjoy comfy sweaters, hot drinks, the changing of the leaves, bonfires, and just all things cozy. When selecting music for Autumn listening, I tend to veer towards haunting or calming melodies. The trouble is finding different tracks for each year’s playlist (though it’s easy to stick to traditional favorites), because I like to associate specific songs with each year’s memories. So, a fresh Fall playlist is a might important tradition in this house! On this year’s playlist, you’ll find pretty mellow stuff that just makes you want to cuddle up by the fire! Due to technical difficulties, I am unable to embed the playlist in this post at this time, but you can click through to Grooveshark to have a listen!

Two Sweethearts

Hi friends! I might not be around too much for the next week, as I'll be busy working on some blog designs, shooting a much anticipated wedding, and trying not to worry too much about the biopsy results I'll be getting on Wednesday. (Twitter friends will know what that's all about.) So, meanwhile- please check out this beautiful song written by my friend Ashley, who will be marrying her Sweetheart on Saturday! Guess who gets to be the photographer?

A Crisis of Self in This Wonderful Life


Why didn’t I get a real job after graduation? Where the heck has my style gone? And why are my boobs getting SO BIG?! These are questions I hadn’t asked myself in two years… but now I suddenly find myself sitting around, staring off into space, and contemplating these very things. Like, throughout my entire day. Okay, obviously, the boob thing has to do with pregnancy. But knowing that doesn’t make fitting into my shirts any easier. The other questions? I have to wonder if other creatives across the world ponder the same things.

Have you ever had a crisis of self? You may be somewhere in your life that you know is totally right. Your friends and family are great, you’re making (mostly) responsible decisions, and you just have a lot to be happy about. Yet you have those nagging feelings of discontentment, the desire for change, and perhaps a little frustration with what you can accomplish with where you are at financially.

I think I’ve finally pinned down the source of my crisis. And I know you all can relate to this- because I’m 99% sure it’s a cultural thing. Maybe some lean more towards the antsy I-need-new-things personality [raises her hand and says, "Oooh, oooh, me! That's me!"], but isn’t it a cultural epidimeic of boredom? The need for new, exciting, and better things. And the need for them to be here right NOW? I see so many things that appeal to me, especially with being such an avid blog reader, whether it be a style of decorating, personal wardrobe style, hair-do…. but I just can’t have it all. I can’t go out and buy all of the things I need to fill out my home and decorate a nursery, but that’s all I can think about. I can’t have minimalism and maximalism at once, but they both appeal to me. I can’t keep my weight in check AND make all of those cookie recipes I discovered on Pinterest. And I can’t have the job I want now, and the budget that would supposedly make all of my dreams come true. My home will never look as awesome as all of those pretty pictures on my Pinterest board. I just can’t have it all, gosh darn it! And not having these things isn’t what’s causing my crisis- My crisis is caused by dwelling on what I do not have, instead of ejoying what is right in front of me!

You see, what I do makes me happy. Saving money will give me security. Debt is an evil, scary monster. And those six eighty-dollar curtain panels for my windows might make my living room prettier, but most likely will not make my life any more worth living than going outside and enjoying this beautiful weather, spending time with my loving husband, growing my faith, and cherishing the ones I love.

So I keep telling myself- saving a little money every month for new curtains will be so rewarding when they finally arrive! And maybe someday before I am a grandmother, I will be able to afford to do it up right on a roadtrip out west. But in the meantime, I’m happy to have time to enjoy my life where I’m at. I just might forget about it every now and then…

photos from this 2010 post

Note to readers: It’s become my desire to share more of my heart with you dear readers! Starting with my miscarriage last December, and my thoughts on self-confidence, I’ve really enjoyed connecting with your hearts, and hope that you will be happy to see when these wordier posts pop up amongst the other content you see at Here’s Looking at Me, Kid!