Lifestyle November 2017

Dear Iowa…

Cue the waterworks.

Alright, let’s talk for a couple minutes. I have never been more excited to start a new chapter, than I am right now. My heart was all in, but as soon as it wasn’t, I checked out. Regardless of the reasons we are moving, there are so many things about this place that I’m going to miss… For that, this is my goodbye to Iowa post.

Thank you to everyone in Iowa who read alwaysampersand, and who now reads Thank you for answering my questions, giving me advice, holding my metaphorical hand when things got rocky and for letting me live in your state for a little while. Thank you to those who made fun of me on Instagram, and who always tagged me in memes on the internet (Here’s Kylie Jenner looking down at YOU, mama) Thank you for the families that let me be a part of their lives, for even a short time and nanny your children. Thank you to everyone for standing next to me when anxiety got in the way of me doing most things, and thank you all for never letting it affect how you felt about me. Thank you to Kum & Go and QT for having foam cups and crushed ice. Thank you to Fuzzy’s for ever. single. taco overload. Honestly, the three of you helped me get through many MANY days here.


Thank you to Iowa, because you’ve provided me with so much.

Iowa gave me the things you can see, like lower gas prices than pretty much anywhere, Minnesota’s “little brother” hockey team, cheap rent, great food and so many fun Friday nights. But it also gave me so much that you can’t see. Iowa made me feel welcomed. To be completely honest, Iowa’s basically just a smaller version of Minnesota, and so I always felt like I was home. People are friendly here, to strangers, and it’s something that the rest of the country doesn’t really understand. Iowa made me feel safe. While some parts are suspect, most everywhere I encountered was a safe place to be and that’s so hard to find in this world. Iowa made me feel like home. I didn’t live in Lincoln long enough to feel connected to it, but the connection with Iowa is real. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to go, but I’m thankful for getting to grow, learn, and live here. As far as our first real, extended “home away from home”, this place works.

Lastly, Thank you to every single person who I met through iHeartMedia. From the listeners who called Dylan & I “mom & dad” (Looking at you Shira and Kelsey), to the listeners who bonded with us over music. I will seriously miss you. To every person who came into my office when the door was shut, who offered Dylan and I marriage advice, who made me laugh until I cried, who challenged me, who taught me, and who made me so angry- I actually cried, I will miss you. 

It’s not often that you’ll work with your significant other. It’s even less often that you’ll go to work with your significant other and be surrounded by people you consider friends. It’s almost never a thing, to go to work and find people who become your best friends. I will never explain how lucky I got.  People who can also sneeze with their eyes open, like the cookie part of the Twix bar more than the chocolate and caramel, who know the correct Diet Coke to ice ratio and who hate Halloween. Friendships that take up your Friday nights at country bars, eating until one of you throws up (always Dylan), and challenging each other in bowling, Pac Man, and who can quote more movie lines. Friendship that brings you to Cracker Barrel when you really just wanted tacos. Friendship that ended with two new cars, on a Saturday afternoon. Double date days at amusement parks, steak houses, movie theaters and donut shops. Drunken weekends in Chicago, trips to Minnesota, and chili nights. Iowa was home, and home was with these people.

& while I’ll always have a little piece of Iowa in my heart, I just wanted to tell it thank you. Because even though I’m ready to go, take a new step and move on, you’ve given me a whole lotta love that’s staying with me for the rest of my life. Good Bye-owa. 


  1. We are so grateful you were in our lives, Jen! Thank you for being “mom” to my three babes when I was at work – they loved you! You are a special woman and i have no doubt you’ll find success and happiness, challenges and fun in your next adventure. We’ll miss you, Iowa will miss the Salisburys! xoxo

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