{My favorite eats, treats + local shops in Minneapolis.}

Nearly three years ago to this day Zack + I moved to Minneapolis from Detroit. Right now we’re on the road, driving to Santa Monica to start yet another family adventure. I’m sure I’ve already cried this morning, as we left the city. Probably twice. From September 2010 to August 2012 we called Minneapolis “home”, and I quickly came to love many restaurants, bakeries + shops. Most of what are listed below are locally owned ~ all are unique, fun + definitely worth visiting. For those that are visiting Minneapolis and are staying downtown, I noted the places that are located downtown; the rest are located within the city of Minneapolis, if not very close to it.

Enjoy my favorite finds, and Minneapolis — we’ll always love you. You helped me birth Gussy Sews and then in June 2012 you were the city where we learned we were expecting our first baby. We love you Minneapolis! :)

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Hell’s Kitchen, a unique spin on traditional foods {downtown Minneapolis} — favorite: Ham + Pear Crisp

Britt’s Pub, pub + grill {downtown Minneapolis} — favorite: Strawberry Mango Chicken Salad

Kieran’s Irish Pub, fantastic pub + grill {downtown Minneapolis} — favorite: Hot Pretzel + Mustard Platter

Bombay Bistro, Indian food {downtown Minneapolis} — favorite: Chicken Curry Entree

Pizza Luce, the best pizza in Minneapolis {downtown Minneapolis location} — favorite: Baked Artichoke Dip + Bread

Burger Jones, burger, fries + homemade shakes — favorite: Salted Caramel Shake

Punch, Neapolitan pizza — favorite: Margarete Pizza

Edina Grill, fresh + organic fare — favorite: Chicken Pear Salad

Our Kitchen, greasy breakfast diner  — favorite: Kitchen Special with Pancakes

Common Roots Cafe, local + organic fare — favorite: Fish Tacos

YUM!, kitchen + bakery — favorite: everything :)


Patisserie 46, french bakery — favorite: Ham + Gruyère Croissant

Sugar Sugar Candy, old fashioned candy shop — favorite: hard candies

Sebastian Joe’s, homemade ice-cream shop — favorite: Oreo Ice-Cream

Candy Land, TO DIE FOR fresh popcorn, chocolate + treats {downtown Minneapolis} — favorite: Caramel Popcorn

YUM!, kitchen + bakery — favorite: everything :)


Patina, handmade + quirky gifts for self, home, baby

I Like You, handmade gifts from over 200 handmade local artists

City Salvage, beautiful architectural pieces, furniture, old door knobs/glass bottles/antiques

Hunt & Gather, GIANT quirky antique store

Paper Hat, handmade art + gifts


Nice Ride MN, hourly/daily bike rentals

Lake Calhoun, clean beaches {with lifeguards}, bike/kayak/canoe/pedal boat rentals, The Tin Fish restaurant, separate walking + bike paths, restroom near restaurant

Lake Harriet, clean beaches {with lifeguards}, bike/kayak/canoe/pedal boat rentals, Bread & Pickle restaurant, separate walking + bike paths, restroom near restaurant


The Chair Hair Salon, make sure you visit Rachel, she’s a pro at curly hair :)

Royal Pet, dog grooming


SR Harris, wholesale fabric outlet {the building is 30,000 sq ft!}

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{reflecting on where you used to be…}

Gussy Sews jewelry case, open [2009]

Gussy Sews jewelry case, closed [2009]

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do you ever take the time to reflect on where you used to be and the process that brought you from then to now? when i started sewing, in detroit, mi in november of 2008, my focus was on learning the trade and fat quarters and the rush of excitement threading my parents sewing machine brought me. it was simple and it was more of a “right now” thing with no real future goals. then the following month zack’s mom + grandma gave me a family sewing machine for christmas and our lives have been forever changed ♥. the more i learned about sewing; the more i blogged; the quicker i understood about fabric, thread, and interfacing, the faster i fell in love. in february of 2009 zack and i were both suddenly unemployed. while it was absolutely the weirdest thing to “be”, we kept our focus on what we were interested in and very slowly, things started to make sense.

my passion for the trade increased as the months passed and i continued to draw up new patterns. i had found my rhythm of applying for jobs in the journalism field {one of my college majors; the other was art} and selling handmade items on etsy. both were important to me as i didn’t fully realize i could make a living off of handmade, but sewing had settled deep into my heart.

in march of 2009 i branded my products “gussy” after gussy the goose in charlotte’s web. you see, my mom calls me gussy and it’s a loveliest reminder of our relationship now that i have a company named after her nickname for me… [hi mom!]

the months passed and soon it was august of 2009. zack and i were still [sadly} unemployed but were talking with a friend that lived in minneapolis. nikki worked at an advertising agency downtown and was sure she could get me an interview.

the rest is a giant blur: zack + i drove to minneapolis. i interviewed with the ad agency. i freelanced with them for a week. zack started searching for housing + work. they kept me on for another week. they offered me a full-time job, which i accepted. we drove home to detroit on a friday, packed our house on saturday, drove back to minneapolis on sunday, moved in on monday, i started work on wednesday and zack FOUND a job and was HIRED 2 weeks later. praise God!

zack and i lived in an apartment downtown for 1 year before realizing we needed more room for gussy. oh — also during that time i quit the job we moved to minneapolis for {just 8 months after moving here} to become an indie biz owner. we decided to move away from downtown, but still within minneapolis, we adopted a puppy. ha ha, i always find a way to bring bauer into the conversation…

so much has happened — so many exciting, scary, life-changing things, and i love to sit and reflect on what used to be and the process from then to now. seeing some of my original gussy designs make me feel GRATEFUL and PROUD, they inspire me to continually work towards my dreams. setting aside time for reflection is so important — don’t you agree??

“Everyone and everything that shows up in our life is a reflection of something that is happening inside of us,” –Alan Cohen

Gussy Sews wallet [2009]

Gussy Sews stack of wallets [2009]

share with us: what is your favorite thing to reflect on? why does it mean so much to you? what do you do to nurture that memory?

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{we are here right now for a reason. // feeling thankful}

Zack and I have lived in Minneapolis for two full years now. It really is crazy that this is where we call “home”. Both of us are unsure where we’ll call home permanently — the fact that we live here currently was SO hard to believe for a long time. Then one day, probably some time this summer, we both said, Yep, this is it for now. It has to be OK because we are here for a reason. I don’t think either of us was living enough in the moment. And not doing so was really starting to affect us, mainly me. Rather, we were living for the future. The “next time we’ll…” and “some day we’ll be able to…”. That had to stop, and you know what? It was really hard.

We are HERE ~

…right NOW for a REASON.

In Minneapolis, for a reason.

Actually, just this week Zack was at a work event here in Minneapolis and his old boss from the company he worked for in Detroit {where we lived 2 years ago, before we lost our jobs and moved here} was there. She and Zack chatted and she mentioned to him the note I included in her Gussy Sews order… how it made her cry. And so it made me think — the day she let Zack go, nearly 3 years ago, I’m sure it was so hard for her. And yes, that was a very hard day for Zack and I. But had that not happened ~ had we not lost our jobs just 7 months after we got married and been unemployed for 7 months which caused us to move 400 miles to a new city so we could start new jobs only for me to quit that job about 8 months later for Gussy Sews ~ would any of this WHERE WE ARE NOW have happened?

See ~ there’s that “for a reason” thing ;]

If we weren’t in Minneapolis my morning coffee with Zack wouldn’t look like this, nor would I be adding product to my shop:

If it weren’t for Minneapolis this desk calendar wouldn’t mean so much, nor would wearing Zack’s shirt {tan & blue plaid} be so comforting:

And if it weren’t for Minneapolis this poochy wouldn’t be as special to us:

Yes. We are here right now for a reason. I believe it.

life rearranged

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{the story of Gussy Sews, part I}

I thought it would be really therapeutic to gather my story // experience as an Indie Biz owner of Gussy Sews and share it here through multiple posts. When my story first began I didn’t know where it would take me, so I didn’t document it in full-detail. November 2011 marks my third year since learning how to sew, and as of today I’ve been pursuing Gussy Sews full-time for 15 months. Looking back ~ the aid that blogging and Social Media has brought to my business is seriously amazing. I am so appreciate of the THOUSANDS of customers that have placed orders as well as the lovely clusters of repeat customers. You know who you are :]

Since I opened a shop, just a couple of years ago, I’ve had only a few negative customer experiences. This is so important to me ~ it is solid proof that having a positive attitude {personally & professionally} is like holding a magic fairy wand ~ over time, and with a lot of patience, having a positive attitude will help you to succeed at all things. It also is a sign that I’m really enjoying my job. And that that I say: OF COURSE I AM, I AM GUSSY!!! tee hehe.

So here is my story — I feel like I’ve always held back because it seems so final to write it out. But that’s silly, I know. Here I go…


Hello there! My name is Maggie Whitley and I’m the owner/designer of a blog and ruffled accessory shop, both called Gussy Sews. I’ve been sewing since November 2008, and a lot of my story has been shared since then (but not in one place, and not super detailed, either).

I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI with my parents, an older brother, Matt, our doggy Sonny and a few bunnies. My childhood is filled with fun memories that include many family & friend parties, lots of swimming, VBS, annual vacations, movies/ice-cream/nail polish/talking, just to name a few of my favorite things :] After high school I enrolled & graduated from Central Michigan University, which is where I met my hubby, Zack. I was so excited to study journalism & art and prepare for my dream job: to be a magazine editor.

Zack and I met through our many mutual friends. We also lived in the same area on campus and so I saw him constantly. HE WAS (is) SO CUTE! It was pure fate that we met :] Zack has such a kind personality ~ he’s super fun and is very passionate about life, and these things attracted me to him instantly. Zack was also singing in an all-male a capella group (swoon!) and would often bring his singing buddies to my dorm room to sing to me in the evening. One of my favorite, favorite songs is Insomniac by Billy Pilgrim. When we were at are our parent’s houses in the summertime he’d sing that song to me on the phone late at night. So… when we got married in June 2008 we choose that for our First Dance ♥.

If Zack were to share his side of our story, he’d say we met because I was constantly saying hello to him from across the street. Which I won’t deny! hah ;]

But it worked, because after 2 years of dating Zack proposed…

Our engagement story is one of my favorites to share: Zack and I lived near each other throughout college, but in the summertime we moved back to our parent’s houses. For three summers in a row we lived three (!!!) hours apart. It was so, so terribly “oh my heart is broken!” hard. I was constantly counting down until it was time to see each other again. Most of the time we saw each other every 2 weeks, which I realize is a lot, but it’s also not enough when you’re used to seeing your love multiple times a day during the school year. Anyways :] Zack and his family visited our family cottage one weekend in the summer. They came over for the day — Zack grew up in Petoskey, MI, by the way — and when it was time for them to pack up & leave I just stood there with tears welling up in my big blue eyes. Meeting Zack and becoming is girlfriend sparked this warm fire in my heart and so I hated to be away from him.

Zack and his family drove off and there I was, crying. And once it was clear he wasn’t going to turn the car around I was still crying, haha! I made it through, though. The following weekend we were back at my family’s cottage. I was feeling a little sad because it was also my birthday weekend (my birthday is July 5th) but Zack had plans with his family in northern Michigan. Translation >> he wouldn’t be coming down to visit me. I’m sure I pouted for like 32 minutes over this, but all-in-all I was OK with it. Mainly because I had no other choice. I remember Saturday, July 3rd was a gorgeous weekend day — the sun was out and I had just come in from a ride on the Sea*Doo. I was walking up to the deck, unbuckling my life jacket, and there comes Zack — OH MY HOTNESS — he’s right there and he’s smiling and I’m squealing and jumping and then I jumped up ON him to give him a hug. I am sure I had the most ridiculous, shocked look on my face. I was sooo so so excited to see him. He told me he was able to come down for a weekend visit after all. I remember I kept asking, Are you here all weekend? You’re really here all weekend? yeowwwwwwww!

Ohhh, I was such a happy girl. We lounged on the deck for the next couple of hours and then headed off to a restaurant for dinner. I had this crazy suspicion he was here to propose, I kept telling myself how that would be just too perfect, being my birthday and all. We drove to dinner, ate dinner, came back from dinner, but no ring.

To be continued…

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