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Tales from the Midwest + Weekend Inspiration

by Kelli Kehler

Last week my family and I headed back to the midwest to visit my family living in Indiana, which is where I’m from originally. Today my youngest daughter, Poppy, turns one (!!!) and still my maternal grandparents had yet to meet her before last week, along with cousins, aunts and uncles. It’s easy to get busy and swept up in the go-go-go of daily life — especially when that means juggling two little ones and both parents’ work — but we made time to head back to Indiana, unplug, and spend time with those we love.

The trip was bookended with stops in Nashville, TN because we flew in and out of that city, so I found myself snapping photos both in the countryside in Indiana and in Nashville itself whenever I came across something inspiring. Perhaps it’s the nature of summer itself, or the fact that I was back in my home state in a season that’s incredibly nostalgic to me, but I came away from last week full of inspiration and gratitude. I’m carrying those feelings with me into the weekend as I celebrate the birth of my youngest today, and the fourth birthday of my daughter Grace on Sunday. I’m hoping to slow down and take it all in. Until Monday, have a safe and happy weekend! —Kelli

Check out some photos from my trip below! Do you have any plans to see family this summer? We’d love to hear in the comments.

Image above: In my grandparents’ kitchen. There are so many things that make my heart ache in this one photo: the embroidery that I remember seeing as a kid, the hole-punch detailing on this buffet’s doors, and the handpicked hydrangea nestled in a pewter dish filled with water. 

Image above: My aunt and uncle took us to The Nisbet Inn, which is in the middle of nowhere outside Evansville, IN and was originally constructed to serve railroad travelers in the early 1900s. Their claim to fame is serving the “World’s Coldest Beer,” and while I don’t have a barometer for such accolades, their cold beer did not disappoint on a muggy, humid day.

Image above: Our own Erin Austen Abbott reminded me to stop at Hey Rooster General Store while in Nashville — you may remember our tour of the shop. I immediately sent Grace a snap of their window installation, which features the giant DIY paper flower project we published back in 2012.

Image above: Hey Rooster General Store was just so wonderful in person, I loved every corner.

Image above: Erin, knowing I’m a sucker for gorgeously designed children’s retail, also sent me to Arcade Kids. I — I mean my kids — wanted everything. 

Image above: We made a brief stop outside the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, a legendary music venue. My favorite band, The National, has played here, and I imagined them loading their gear into the building and onstage as I stood outside this lovely two-toned window. 

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  • I love the photo from your grandmothers kitchen :-) It sounds like you had a lovely, restorative trip. Those sorts of trips can reenergize you for weeks after you get home.

    I’ll be venturing back to Sydney (Australia) with my 2yo daughter to celebrate my grandmothers 96th birthday! I can’t wait to catch up with all of my family back home too :-)

    • Thank you! I hope you have a wonderful trip to Sydney and a great time catching up with family :)


  • I’ve lived my whole life in New England and I am always amazed how the landscapes go on forever in the midwest. What a surprise when settlers ventured from the coast and found such rich farmland, minus all the rocks. Sounds as though you had a wonderful visit, thanks for sharing.

    • I totally agree, now that I am in California, whenever I go back to the midwest I am re-shocked at how expansive the landscape is. Thanks for the kind words :)


  • I’m literally moving to Indiana tomorrow!
    I’ve never been. I’ve never lived in the Midwest either.

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