Let’s Talk About Driftless Magazine


I’m going to real talk you here for a minute. About four months ago I posted that I wanted to start a magazine about the Midwest – 20 contributors, 2 editors, 2 creative directors, 1 designer, 2 illustrators, and numerous bumps later – we are finally ready to release issue 1 of Driftless. Now here’s the real talk – this was 10000% more work than I had ever imagined it would be. Did I have any idea how to layout a magazine? No. Did I have any idea what kind of costs are involved with print? No. Did I have any idea how to coordinate deadlines with a slew of 20+ people? Hellll no. Thankfully, my good friend Leah came on board as a partner at the start of all of this or I would have never stayed sane trying to get this off the ground.

This magazine was by far the hardest creative adventure to date for us. But I’m hoping it could be the most rewarding as well. With the time ticking (this issue is about the summer), we are scrambling to get this to the printed press asap and start getting this out into the world. One problem: it is going to cost around $7000 to print these at a high enough volume that we can sell them back to the public at a reasonable price. Yup – Seven Thousand Dollars. That is a whole ‘latta cash…and about $4000 more than we had budgeted for. I know talking about money is so ugly – believe me, I feel ugly talking about money but there is just no way around it here. We could really use some help getting this project off the ground – we could really use your help. Even if you don’t have any cash to contribute – just sharing this on your blog, Facebook, twitter, etc would really help spread the word about Driftless!

If nothing else, hop on over to the crowd funding page to see a video of Leah and myself – you’ll get to watch how awkward I am in front of a camera and imagine that this is probably how awkward I would be in real life if we met.

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Here are the hard facts:

Driftless is a new, ad-free, independent magazine about adventuring in the Midwest. Our quarterly publication introduces readers to the creative and awe-inspiring wonders the Midwest has to offer by way of stories, recipes, guides, essays, and interviews. Driftless is putting the Midwest back on the map as a beautiful place to both live and visit — we are way more than just flyover territory! We showcase the talent, creativity, and ingenuity that flourishes in our neck of the woods.

Driftless is the type of magazine that you keep on your bedside table for nightly reading, your bookshelf for easy reference, and on your coffee table for showing off your favorite Midwestern inspirations. Issue 1 is 100 perfect-bound pages of gorgeous photographs, beautiful illustrations and clean design from Midwestern artists and makers.

By contributing $25 or more, you are pre-ordering Issue 1 which will show up at your doorstep before it becomes available in any retail shops. 

A few snapshots from issue one (if that recipe looks familiar that is because its from the insanely talented creators of A Couple Cooks, the Grand Rapids photo by Jill DeVries, the swimming photo by Leah Fithian, and all design layouts are by Jessica Kleoppel):




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And don’t forget to follow Driftless on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily updates!

Thanks again for always supporting VV and taking a minute to hear about my other wild and creative endeavors! I’ll be back later this week with a  deliciously spring biscotti recipe.



  • Renee Shuman
    May 27, 2014

    This sounds like a HUGE project! I can’t imagine how much work this must have been. Creative life, creative work = mo happiness, mo purpose (and we all hope mo money). Ima share it all over. <3

  • Anni
    May 27, 2014

    I’m so impressed with you for putting this all together – it seems like such a daunting task and I know it’s going to be amazing!

  • Tieghan
    May 27, 2014

    So exciting!! I cannot wait to read it. CONGRATS!!

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen
    May 28, 2014

    YAY, girl! So proud of you! Do you also do international shipping? If not, I’m happy to get a digital version anyway. Totally happy to support you. xo

  • maria | pink patisserie
    May 28, 2014

    Huge congratulations Shelly! So very awesome. It looks gorgeous. Heading on over to support and sign up for my issue!

  • Liz B. @ Umami Life
    May 28, 2014

    I went to grad school in Ann Arbor, so I am super excited about the Midwest getting the foodie glory it deserves! I hope everything works out and congrats on finishing up the first issue! – a clean eating bento blog. Japanese or Asian-inspired.

  • bell
    May 29, 2014

    Wow how exciting! All the best with it! The photography is of course stunning, top notch! 🙂

  • Grace
    May 29, 2014

    You brilliant, beautiful thing you. Just from this little glimpse, it’s obvious you poured your heart into it. I wish you all the best!

  • Satpreet K.
    June 1, 2014

    Wonderful! As someone who was raised in Chicago, went to high school in Muskegon, MI, and went to college in MSU, I love hearing about Midwest pride, even if I do live on the West Coast now!

    I will definitely be buying copies for a couple of my friends.

  • Kris
    June 4, 2014

    You are seriously so awesome!

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  • Crista
    January 7, 2015

    This is a fantastic project! I live in the midwest, and I travel all throughout the Midwest – I’d love to bounce some ideas around with you 🙂

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