Looking at Des Moines as a whole, there are so many things that happen, have happened and will happen. The future seems endlessly bright and optimistic. Thinking about the things that inspire me, challenge me and bring joy to my heart related to Des Moines is not easy. I’ve tried my best to narrow the depth of the city into my top 7 things I love about our great city.
- Gong Fu Tea: For anyone that knows me, when I say, “Hey, want to get coffee?” What I really mean is, let’s go to Gong Fu, or that you can have coffee wherever we go and I’ll have tea. It as simple as this: I love tea. I am just a tea person. I also happen to love the aesthetics of Gong Fu. It is simple, elegant, open, airy and fresh. The staff are knowledgeable too, so if you stop in without a clue about tea, they are happy help, answer questions, and let you smell and taste before you make a commitment. It is a great place to meet a friend, or take a notebook and a book and just sit, surrounded by serenity and enjoy the slow steep.
- Market Day Iowa: I have to be honest in this, I have only been to one Market Day Iowa event. It was the Black Friday sale last year. I instantly fell in love. I mean, you have all this talent, artists, crafters and DIY. It is literally a living, breathing thing, a collection of people who inspire the city and made me want to create more than I already was and in a way that was more physical. Apart from the art, talent and creativity, I found it an amazing opportunity and place to mix and mingle with others in the city, who may be like you, who you may want to be like. It wasn’t long before I attended my first Market Day Iowa that I had learned more about the DIY scene and fell in love with the idea and culture that surrounded it. We have this in Des Moines, take advantage!
- Countless amount of positive PR: In the past I can recount comedies where Iowa was always the butt of a joke. Iowa. People from Iowa. It got old, I have to tell you, but in the past year or two, I lost count of the number of positive articles surrounding Iowa; everything from young professionals, to family, to cost of living and everything in between. Iowa is a good place to live. Des Moines is a great city to inhabit. I think I have made my point. Just keep doing Des Moines, we are all in this together and we are headed in the right direction.
- Wooly’s: I am a huge fan of music; I always have been. For I while, I even worked as a promoter/marketer for shows in the area. There were a couple years where shows were few and far between. Wooly’s offers that consistency and variety. It is a great venue with fair prices. I always feel satisfied after a show. The quality of acts that come through are better than in recent years. The crowd is always fun. The environment is good, too. The thing I like most about Wooly’s is that is is not huge. I love attending shows where you can see the band or artist. It is an intimate experience and I love that. The venue is a great size for a lot of acts and never feels like you can stand in a bad spot.
- Plain Talk Books: I love to read and I love books, but I love used bookstores the most. Why? Well, because I’m cheap, plus I read weird stuff that chain stores won’t carry. Plain Talk brings in authors, including myself a couple years ago, and engages the community. They have food and drinks and a nice area on the east side of the building where you can sit quietly and read or enjoy the smell of old paper. It is a romantic, small shop that is full of stories. You can go in and take your time and just be and discover. They are also great about supporting local writers, buying books and putting them on the shelf.
- Domestica: Again, back to the DIY. I can’t help but love the idea of buying local and supporting local artists and creatives. It is very important. It is a place lined with inspiration and loaded with uniqueness. The front windows bring in a sparkle of light and showcase original art, design, jewelry and handmade anything you could possibly imagine. It is a store focused on local artists, and I like that.
- Vanity & Glamour Cosmetics: Let me start by saying I don’t wear makeup; however, when I was six I wanted to be a makeup artist. That’s what watching horror movies as a little kid will do to you. I made up all the neighborhood kids and scared their parents half to death. That’s a true story. I’m a big fan of the store, because of the ower, Patrick. Let’s just say, he knows his stuff. He has developed his own line of makeup, but also his own chemical compounds. His shop has doubled over the past few years and does everything from weddings to photo shoots to celebrities when they are in Iowa, and all kinds of Halloween creatures. He is brilliant. He is also a very intelligent businessman, and one of the most interesting people I know in the city.
This list was not easy to put together. There are so many great things in the city. I may have an easier time when we celebrate seven more years. The number fourteen is easily overlooked, but I feel I may have more to offer seven years from now.
Happy Anniversary to us!