The Shy Town Girls are starting out on a new journey in 2014 of seeking out the shy yet brave young women who are the real life inspiration for our characters. We are looking to feature the beauty and awesomeness that exists in women living our their daily lives and pursuing their passions. Our first subject is Lindsay Humes, the self-described tea-drinker, sauerkraut aficionado, environmentalist, and feminist who runs the blog, The Garden Apt.
In December of 2012, the same month that the first Shy Town Girls novel was released, Lindsay Humes started “The Garden Apt.” Her goal was to examine and write about her experiences reducing, reusing and recycling, and through this online exploration, to maybe to inspire others to lead more sustainable lives as well.
Her blog does not disappoint. In its stories grounded in Lindsay’s life, readers can find eco-friendly DIY yourself projects she is hoping to tackle or tales of local Chicago eateries that will put you on the path of healthy living. Most recently, in a post titled, “Made in Chicago: Bag Lady,” the blogger highlights purses that are designed locally and of repurposed materials but that are also ridiculously fabulous.
“I started The Garden Apt. because I was unsatisfied with my professional career,” Lindsay recalls. “Instead of waiting for a company to do that for me or give me the skills I was looking to acquire, I decided to do it on my own.”
In addition to The Garden Apt., Lindsay works as a digital marketing and business development consultant. She acquired a rich background before branching out on her own first as a Chicago Public Schools special education teacher and then working for a boutique advertising firm called MAB.
She credits both experiences with fostering much personal growth in her. Lindsay describes her time in CPS as “eye-opening” and says working for MAB allowed her to professionally apply her degree (Anthropology and Art History) in a very hands-on way.
“But I decided that I wanted a little more autonomy over my professional career, so I decided to leave the agency to work with different small businesses and brands on creating their business develop and digital marketing—website development, social media,” she explains. “I like deciding what brands and companies I want to reach out to work.”
But the strongest influence came from much further back in Lindsay’s life.
“I grew up with my mother working as a self-employed consultant, and I was really inspired by her drive and direction, and professionally, I desired that for myself,” she says.
Lindsay’s independent inspiration of a mother raised her in the Midwest —in fact, she was born in Chicago. Her parents spent her toddler years in Lincoln Park (home to the characters of Shy Town Girls) and then moved the family to Valparaiso, Ind. Looking for a new experience, Lindsay headed east to Smith College for her undergraduate degree, and it was there that she discovered her passion for sustainable living.
“When I attended Smith College, I lived in the co-op, Hopkins,” Lindsay explains. “Each semester we would vote on our food consumption priorities, which usually were local, organic, and then whatever is left over. I was really attracted to the idea of making my consumption habits very deliberate and investigating how something comes into our homes.”
Presenting and exploring the issues of sustainable living in both cooperation and contrast with consumerism was important to Lindsay when creating her blog, and she also made it a point to present the issues with what she calls “a sense of style.”
In the time since she started chronicling online—only a little over a year—Lindsay says blogging has introduced her to so many new people and things, including the Shy Town Girls. She was first made aware of the authors and series at the She Writes event earlier this year.
“I’ve met an incredible group of people who are driven, inspirational, and incredibly kind, especially through the Windy City Blogger Collective. I think I might have met a person here or there who is equally as motivated, but bloggers seem to have a different drive in them than the average person,” she says.
Both personally and professionally, Lindsay says that blogging has opened her up to risks. She might not have pushed herself to be so independent in her career if it hadn’t been for her experiences with The Garden Apt., and she admits that sometimes it is hard for her to put herself out there.
“I would say that I’m probably introverted in ways,” Lindsay admits. “Socializing exhausts me. I’d usually prefer working than networking, but it’s very important to do both, especially as a director of business development and running the blog. But by being introverted, I think I’m very honest in my interactions with people, and therefore, I’ve been able to form some really great friendships and professional relationships from that honesty.”
Shyness can be depicted as a weakness, but as it affects Lindsay, the writer has turned it into a strength. Where will her experiences take her next? She says she would love to run her own web design business someday. The look of The Garden Apt. is entirely of her own creation.
“It’s definitely my passion: it’s the thing I stay up late doing, not getting tired or bored from it. I’m constantly challenged and motivated to learn, and I like that.”
–Lauren Chval, for Shy Town Girls
Are you inspired by a shy yet brave young woman in your life? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can feature her too!