Three years ago in August, two women inching close to 40, decided to partner up and create Midwest Nest Magazine, from the ground up. With two crazy months of preparation, we were able to launch our very first issue in October 2017. Unsure if our dream would be embraced or ignored, we forged ahead, keeping our eye on the local people, places, and organizations that were important to us. Three years into our journey, three design challenges, and over 40 regional and national awards later, we're still here and still proud.
This month, we came screeching in at the finish line, just in time to send a new magazine off to print, and officially launch our 3rd Annual Design Challenge: Boxed-In! at West Acres. Thank you to our sponsor SCHEELS Home & Hardware / Design Studio, and all 12 of this year's designers who so generously donated their time and talent. They conquered the design in one week, showcased a local artist, and gathered donations for their chosen charity!
Travels & Challenges
While this summer has been historically challenging, it's also given us time to plan and motivation to explore. While nearly all of our favorite events were canceled or postponed, we used the extra free time to travel farther and more often than we ever have; hence, our Gull Lake, Minn., cover this month. We stopped discussing all of the cool places and finally arrived. It's been exhilarating to see so many of our readers doing the same; visiting new lakes, renting campers, exploring national parks, or just simply using their imagination in their own backyard. I hope at least a bit of this creativity stays with us all, even when normalcy returns.
If you're a Midwesterner, chances are, July is your prime time for adventures in lakes country. As someone who's written about this destination for nearly eight years, I can assure you it's never dull. The photographers and I get lost often. We eat the food from the cuisine shoot, ignore the bites from mosquitos, and happily do our job in the midst of white caps, rain, and near 100 degree days. If we have a rare, well-navigated day, with time to spare, we take a detour on the roads less traveled. This is our time to explore the shops and galleries we shot, have a glass of wine at the vineyard we're writing about, then follow the clues to new hidden gems that are destined to inspire a story. The interesting thing about lakes country is, just when you think you've seen it all, you'll be blown away by something new.
You'd think after 33 issues and hundreds of stories, my overt optimism would evaporate into my coffee cup. Despite deadlines, long days, and late nights, I still love the race to print day. Each month is a fresh start; another opportunity to get to know an inspiring person, place or concept within our community. While riding the wave of uncertain times, my role with Midwest Nest has remained a constant, bright light - and a true privilege.
While this pandemic has certainly been challenging, and frightening - it's also been life-changing in the strangest ways. Nearly all of our outside interaction has been virtual, via Zoom, Facetime, Facebook Live and Webex...etc. We've been face-to-face with our kids and spouses more in one month than in a year. Some would say, despite everything, they've grown, and I'm not talking about the "COVID-15", ha. I'm referring to people that have been forced to take a time-out; do all the family things, finally learn to bake bread, go for a walk in the middle of the workday, and the biggest one - teach our kids to use their imagination. If you got to do all these things, consider yourself lucky, for those on the frontline did not.
As we finished writing the April issue, while self-quarantining, I was reminded of how much I love my family, and love(d) my freedom. It is our job to work on a whim, running to and from shoots, driving all over the region, engaging with new people and getting to experience how others live. I'm fondly remembering the days when people would welcome you into their home, offer a warm hug, and not even consider your level of disinfection.
This month, the Midwest Nest family traveled the distance and brought our best ideas home. Starting at the Las Vegas Market, Kari Rasmus and Designingwomen2 recapped the trends, while Lindsey Christie and Donna Block brought us to Grand Forks to see inside their latest project at Blackmore Flats. We also ventured to the lakes area to hear how Helenske Design Group and Lighthouse Construction transformed Alexandria, Minn.'s Lure Lakebar. Closer to home, Monica Hart led us underground for a dramatic basement reveal, fusing rustic appeal with modern design.
With stone hand-picked from the quarry featured on the roadside and cantilevered windows on the lakeside, this panoramic paradise stops boaters in their wake. To find out more about this elevated endeavor, Jackson Strom, of Strom Architecture in Fargo, walks us through the spectacular space and skyline views. Located on Pickerel Lake, S.D., this is a weekend retreat that's redefining what it means to truly capture the view.
Urban lifestyle concepts are a hot topic, and there's no better place to start the conversation than Roberts Alley and Roberts Street in Downtown Fargo. This month, we'll give you a glimpse inside the new Beer & Fish Company, their fitness neighbors at FLY and the new Dillard Apartments above. This is a backroad abode where residents can live, work, and play - without ever leaving the block.
While last month's Design Challenge and anniversary celebration left us counting our blessings, it also had us sending up a few extra prayers. This year has been devastating for so many local farmers, and a nearly impossible harvest added insult to injury. In awe of their dedication, this Thanksgiving, I want to say, "Thank you" to all the hardworking farmers in my life; my dad, older brother, uncle and grandpa (retired, but forever a farmer). Our prayers to all of the farmers and their families in the surrounding communities.
We like any reason to throw a party, but this past month, Susan and I have two years of reasons to celebrate, and thousands to thank. To show our gratitude in style, we gathered friends, family, readers, team members and supporters to the beautiful rooftop of Pioneer Place in West Fargo.
If we've ever had a milestone month, this is it. September's issue is number 24 - marking two full years since our first issue in October of 2017. It's been a wild ride, and like I've said on many occasions, a leap of faith my publisher Susan, and I have loved. To mark the occasion, we're inviting everyone to our 2nd Annual Design Challenge and anniversary celebration on September 12th at Pioneer Place in West Fargo. This is an event to thank our readers, celebrate our team, and showcase the talents of some of Fargo-Moorhead's most elite designers. If you need more incentive to attend, we'll also be serving food by Chef's Table and desserts by Nichole's Fine Pastry.
This month, we racked up the miles in search of the magical. Somewhere between North Fargo pool houses and golf courses, Otter Tail Lake, Detroit Lakes, and Lake Eunice, we found creative heaven. With cameras ready and glasses of wine perched, we raced to the end of the dock, spent more time barefoot than in shoes, beat sunsets to the punch...and finally basked in capturing its glow.
This editorial is the last thing I write in every issue...eek. After countless sleep-deprived nights, it's truly the worst possible time to share my brain fog of left-over thoughts, but I refuse to do it any other way. I just Googled "best ways to detox from coffee"...asking for a friend, of course.
Not only does June have us celebrating our amazing dads, but it also marks my daughter Elle's 10th birthday, my 40th birthday (I'm not crying, you're crying), and my husband and my's 13th wedding anniversary. Oh, I forgot to mention, this all happens in an eight-day span. For someone who just qualified for a mid-life crisis, that's far more celebrating than even I can handle. Not to worry, I have a plan. I'll fuel up on the sugar-fest of frosting and pack my bags for the lake - after all, how else are we going to get July's lake home issue done?
With Mother's Day right around the corner, I felt the need to thank the two amazing mothers in my life; my mom, Diane Kutzer and my mother-in-law, Pat Nicholson. One birthed and raised me, while the other got stuck with me after her son fell for me...ha. For the past few years, I've tried to do it all; following in the steps of my own mom, but never really grasping her endless energy and flawless ironing technique. I do my best to raise two active kids, be a domestic diva, chase a deadline-driven career, be a good friend, wife, mom, and daughter - but it's never easy...
I write my editorial about 10 days before the newest issues hit the stands. No big deal, right? Residing in one of the country's most unpredictable climates, I'm always hesitant to mention things like the great March melt when I have yet to know the outcome. My fingers are crossed and hands are praying that when this new issue arrives, you won't need to swim to the store to get it. Regardless of what April showers us with, we're adopting a sunny state-of-mind and purposefully dwelling on bright, fresh and floral. Right now, a splash of vibrant color, is exactly what our hearts and homes need.
I hate to disappoint those who clearly don't know me very well and thought I was going to devote my editorial to basketball, ha; I left that interest and my mediocre court skills in high school. Trust me, it was for the best. My "March Madness" is less sporty and more laser-focused on our mad rush to spring. We just stepped away from another awesome Giving Hearts Day, the RRV Home & Garden Show, as well as a big win at the ND Ad Federation Awards! Special thanks to my husband, Mike Nicholson, for designing and building our now award-winning, life-size magazine! Find us at events throughout the year and make sure to swing by, pop your best pose and snag your cover shot.
It's February, and it's fabulous - yeah, we've never heard anyone say that either. Ok, so this month doesn't have the excitement of a Thanksgiving feast or the anticipation of Santa, but there is something special about a month that signifies the start to an end of a particularly cold winter. In the midst of our frosty February, there's Valentine's Day, Ladies Night Out at The Pines, Unglued: Craft Fest, President's Day, Coffee & Cocoa Crawl, Fargo Hotdish Festival and of course, the Red River Valley Home & Garden Show. So, although the weather is less than inviting, Fargo-Moorhead's welcome has never been warmer.
If January reflects the first blank pages in our 12-chapter book chronicling 2019, I'm probably not off to a great start (insert Netflix). After a whirlwind 2018, and our first full year as magazine publishers, Susan and I needed a vaca. Instead of actually taking one, we designed our first issue of the new year to be all about local folks who live two fabulous lives; one on the prairie, and one under the palm trees (insert envy).
I could use my entire December editorial to talk about the importance of shopping small businesses during the holidays, but by now, we should all know the impact that shopping local can have on our economy and the strength of our community. This year, if you promise to spend your dollars wisely and locally, I will spare you my annual rant and share an entirely different concept in "shopping small".
On the eve of publishing our 14th edition, I sat down with the team and hit rewind. I wanted to take a look back at our very first issues and make sure we had done our job. Like any editor, I saw things I love...and maybe a couple of teeny, tiny things I'd rather forget. All grammatical errors aside, what surprised me the most, was the job our contributors had done. Over the last year, we've accidentally built a team of contributors that feels more like family. We spend a lot of time with them, laugh with them, and ultimately, work hard with them. They flip their schedules, donate their time and devote every ounce of energy to make a single story shine. So, in our month of Thanksgiving, I think it's the perfect time to say, "Thank you."
Last August, when Susan and I first sat down to discuss starting Midwest Nest from scratch, we predicted it was going to be a crazy adventure, and we were right. We published our first issue in October of 2017 and with each passing month, we found an outpouring of support.
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