On Wisconsin + Happy Endings

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 23, 2011

Happy Fall!!

Today marks the official first day of the new season which, as you know, I’m a big fan of for its cooler weather, delicious food and FOOTBALL. That said, it was a rather exciting final few days of summer. I’m glad you all enjoyed my lighthearted post on being scared out of my mind. Stay tuned for the end of that story later on in this post. πŸ˜‰ First, let’s talk Wisconsin.


Ahhh, Wisconsin. Land of Papa Bender’s Papa (as well as many an uncle, aunt and cousin), cheese and the glorious Green Bay Packers. I was fortunate enough to travel there on business this week, first to Madison with Jill on Wednesday to speak about job happiness in front of the bright minds of the UW-Madison Association for Women in Communications. We had an amazing time talking with these women about our personal experience, as well as hearing from them on the issues and questions that matter most in their own job searches.

The following morning, Jill and I grabbed breakfast at Madison’s Gotham New York Bagel. Honestly, if this place is even one quarter of what a bagel place is like in NYC, I fully understand why New Yorkers love them so much. I chose the whole wheat honey bagel with walnut raisin cream cheese.

On our way back down to Chicago, we arranged for several meetings in Milwaukee, all of which ultimately led us in one way or another to the incredible Milwaukee Public Market.

We arrived at the market early in the morning for a coffee date with Jenn, a good friend and name twin of mine who I met at the agency I originally worked for. Jenn and her husband recently relocated to the Milwaukee area and she suggested the public market would be a great place to grab coffee and gab.


Jenn clearly knows me and my blog well. πŸ˜‰ This market was filled with vendors of every food and flavor, everything from fresh seafood to fresh guacamole, from gourmet sweets to gourmet herbs and spices. And, of course, there was the coffee.

The Cedarburg Coffee Roastery could best be described as friendly, both in terms of their staff and in terms of their fall-friendly menu, which immediately caught my eye.

Of course, once I saw they had pumpkin lattes, my choice was easy.

Jenn, Jill and I had a great time catching up over our respective hot drinks. It’s always a treat to see her and hear about all the great things happening for her and her husband. She has been and continues to be an immense source of support for me, both professionally and personally.

Shout out to Jenn if you’re reading! I look forward to the next time we meet!

The rest of our morning took us out to Menomonee Falls for a POP! Social Media business meeting. Eventually, we found ourselves back in the city and looking for a spot to meet again, this time for lunch. It wasn’t a tough decision – we found ourselves back at the market! This time, we went for that fresh guacamole I mentioned earlier, found at a vendor called Margarita Paradise.

Both the chips and the guac were outstanding and flavored just right! I also tried the chicken quesadillas, which were made with shredded meat. I liked their consistency much better than the quesadillas I’ve had in the past with chopped chicken. Everything seemed to meld together better, which made for a more cohesive taste. Obviously a good thing with a melted, cheesy quesadilla!

Once we were finished with our lunch, we couldn’t help but walk around the market for a while longer. Ultimately, I found myself indulging my sweet tooth and affinity for fall when I came across…mellowcreme pumpkins!

But Kehr’s Candies didn’t stop there. As you can see in the photo above, they also had gummy sour pumpkins. I snagged a half pound of each, which should hopefully last me through the weekend a while. Although since I showed them to Bobby, they may see an even quicker end. πŸ˜‰

The remainder of our afternoon was spent in another great business meeting, in which we met with an awesome design company and discussed ways of potentially partnering in the future. All in all, it was a wonderful day to be in Milwaukee!


Earlier this week I spoke about the fear factor, and how very nervous I was for Bobby to read the first third of my novel. As expected, there was plenty for us to talk about once he was finished.

First of all, I am so glad he felt he was able to be brutally honest with me. In general, he said he felt the writing was great, that he was entertained and was left wanting to read more and learn what happens next. All good things. But there was also a part of him that felt I was staying very surface level, almost as though I was afraid to delve deeper into certain emotions and plot developments.

I knew immediately that he was right.

In previous posts, I’ve touched on the importance of thinking about and, to a certain extent, writing what you know. What I realized after hearing Bobby’s perspective is that I’ve been relying too much on this concept. It’s a very easy way to get words down onto the paper because you are essentially pulling from memories and personal history, but changing them in such a way to best benefit your fictional characters, scenes and settings.

What I’m realizing is that that’s not enough. I need to take more risks and allow myself to create new realities, new memories – I need to not be afraid to write descriptively and passionately on areas that I am not as experienced in, in order to create a better overall experience for my readers. J.K. Rowling (my idol) is not a witch from Hogwarts. Suzanne Collins does not live in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world. George Orwell published 1984 in 1949. You see where I’m going with this.

We talked through ideas on how to bring this to light within the context of what I have already written. It’s by no means going to be easy, but I’m up for the challenge, and I will obviously be keeping you updated along the way!

So though it was not the happy ending I was hoping for (“this is great, no changes necessary, a publisher would eat this up immediately”), it was an honest, real ending to this first part of my journey, and I am happy about that.

Onward and upward!


Hope you are all looking forward to the weekend! Any fun plans on your end?

I’m looking forward to hanging out with a friend and, of course, that other “f” word.

No, not that one, you potty mouths. πŸ˜‰ This one.


1 Jenn M. September 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I’m smiling over the pic and blog shout-out! It was (and always is) a pleasure to catch up with you – and I’m glad you liked the Milwaukee Public Market! Thanks for making time to share a morning coffee/tea with me. I loved hearing about all the great things you and Jill are working on! You are both inspiring ladies :)

I hope to see you again in WI soon! Have a great weekend!

2 Jenn (eating bender) September 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

The feeling is mutual and yes, we will definitely need to meet up again soon! Hope your weekend is wonderful!

3 Megan (Braise The Roof) September 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Umm, your name twin and you actually LOOK like twins. Seriously! That market looks awesome- I’m surprised I’ve never stopped in there. I need to make more trips to Milwaukee. It sounds like Bobby’s feedback was really productive- and I’m sure it’ll help you really dig into the remaining parts of the story!

4 Jenn (eating bender) September 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Haha! Jill said the exact same thing after she took the picture. We proceeded to dig into our ancestry and decided it must be our shared German/English heritage on one side. That either makes us logical or nerdy, or both. πŸ˜‰ You should definitely make the trip next time you’re in Milwaukee!

5 Erica September 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

What a trip! The food looks awesome! Especially the walnut raisin cream cheese on that bagel and the candy. I am a sugary candy fiend….I stay away as much as I can because I have 0 control! Glad Bobby was super honest. It will make for an even better end product. This weekend? Dinner with friends, football & gym!

6 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I am a sugar candy fiend, too! I’d take it over chocolate every single time!

7 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) September 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm

The Milwaukee Public Market looks awesome! It must be so much fun to go there! You and Jenn look like sisters, and yeah, even twins like Megan said! I had to do a double-take when I first saw the picture! Glad you had a nice time meeting up with her again.

I think it’s really great that Bobby felt he could be so honest with you – it shows just how much respect he has for you and how much he cares about you to really push you out of your comfort zone so that you can achieve your dreams to the best of your ability. And I think that you showed a lot of respect for him by taking his advice to heart and really working with him on how to make that happen. Congrats on getting through the first part of your novel, and good luck on reworking certain things! I am sure it will turn out wonderfully!

8 Jenn (eating bender) September 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Thanks so much for the kind words, Foodie! I know I owe you an email, too – stay tuned for that this weekend!

9 Milwaukee Public Market September 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Hi Jenn!

Thank you so much for visiting our Market, and for the flattering write-up. Your pictures look great and we’re happy you enjoyed your experience. Please visit again soon!

The Milwaukee Public Market Family

10 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post. You’re awesome! :)

11 Kristie September 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Gotham bagels is the bomb… and lucky for me, I work 2 blocks away from it :). Glad you had fun on your quick trip. I’ll be wearing my Jennings jersey tomorrow!

12 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I was thinking of you while I was there — I wish I could have seen you, but it was truly a 12-hour trip…I think less than that even, haha. We’ll have to plan another Madison or Chicago meetup very soon. Until then…go Pack! :)

13 survivingcandyland September 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm

OMG! Sour pumpkins I love those suckers. They sell them here in Texas at a local market called Central Market. They are like my favorite snack in the fall. Back in highschool my AP euro teacher used to give us little gifts of them. I didn’t know Milwaukee had a huge market like that. Def makes me want to travel there.

14 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:33 pm

They are SO addicting! I need to find out where they sell them in Chicago!

15 luckytastebuds September 25, 2011 at 12:18 am

Practically twins! :) how cute are u two?

I’ve been to Wisconsin once and that was just to the outlets! (low the lower tax!!!) Next time I go, that bagel + shmear combo sounds right up my alley!!! Honestly, I kinda miss our NU days when tech had Einstein’s and I’d stop by almost every lunch time for my cinnamon raisin + honey almond shmear. Ahhhh those were the days.

This weekend is lots of studying plus rest and relaxation. Homemade cinnamon rolls were out of the oven too earlier today!! Hope you’re having a great weekend Jenn!!

16 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Yes, the outlets!! I miss the good ol’ NU days, too. For so many reasons. I was actually up in Evanston last weekend and visited some of my favorite old haunts. :) Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend. Can you send me a cinnamon roll??

17 shannon September 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm

fabulous looking bagel up there πŸ˜‰ and i think it does sound like a positive “ending” to the reading… love how he got into it, and i’m sure you’ll be able to bring out a bit more to make the manuscript really shine :)

18 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Why, thank you. πŸ˜‰ I truly hope you’re right about that…time will tell!

19 Karla September 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Looks like an amazing trip, Jenn, and hooray for an awesome WIN for the Packers!! :) If you’re ever wanting to grab a bagel in the City, you know you always have a place to stay or a person to grab one with!

I am so happy to hear that you were able to talk through the book and Bobby’s suggestions. How awesome that you two are able to be so open and communicative with each otherβ€”it sounds like everyone benefits and this no doubt is helpful in other parts of your relationship as well πŸ˜‰ I cannot wait until we are all lucky enough to pick up a copy of your amazing book at Barnes and Noble!

20 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I desperately owe you an email with further explanation, but there is a chance I may be able to take you up on that bagel date in December! I will keep you updated and write back much more soon. And thanks for the endless support on this book journey. It is definitely one of the most difficult but rewarding things I’ve ever done, but as you know about me, I am nothing if not a glutton for pushing my limits. πŸ˜‰

21 withasideofhope September 26, 2011 at 7:11 am

You and Jenn do look like you could be twins! Wisconsin looks like a cool place to visit! That market looks amazing. Oh, and that bagel sandwich looks delicious! :)

22 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:35 pm

It is definitely worth checking out if you’re ever in the area! :)

23 Paige @ Running Around Normal September 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

You and Jenn look ilke sisters!!

And that bagel just made my tummy growl :)

24 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:35 pm

That’s what everyone keeps saying, haha! I can definitely see it. :) And I want another bagel, too!

25 Melissa @ TryingToHeal September 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Ah, such great feedback and future ideas for the book! I cant’ be more happy for your first read! And that bagel looks AMAZING! glad you had a great time!

26 Jenn (eating bender) September 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Thanks, lady! Can’t wait to share more with you — and HEAR more from you, too! :)

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