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Hey there! I’m Cassandra Monroe and I am a lifestyle + editorial photographer and lifestyle blogger based in Des Moines, Iowa. I moved to Des Moines earlier this fall and have fallen in love with the people and places this Midwestern city has to offer. Des Moines boasts a sense of community and closeness, and its residents are huge supporters of small, locally owned businesses. I’d love to show you my typical Saturday afternoon through#MyDesMoines.

When I’m in the process of brainstorming ideas and inspiration for my latest photo shoots or blog posts, I love heading to places that offer peace and quiet against a unique backdrop. My two favorite go-to places are the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and the Des Moines Art Center. Between being surrounded by large exotic plants at the garden and a clean and calm, neutral layout at the art center, both places offer inspiration to help get my creative juices flowing.

No matter what I’m up to for the day, exploring the wealth of eateries downtown is always on the list. My second stop- grabbing brunch at Centro in downtown Des Moines. In this image, I had Centro’s Italian Bacon and Eggs- two eggs, arugula salad on sliced prosciutto and a slice of Italian bread- not pictured: my mimosa.

After brunch, I typically like to run a few errands in the east village area of downtown Des Moines. My go-to spot for locally and nationally sourced home and bath products is Eden. I have a love for scented candles, beauty and bath products, so Eden is a one-stop shop for me.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that one of my guilty pleasures is prop shopping for food and styled photography. I get such joy in finding the perfect piece to add to my prop arsenal! I love stopping by Reclaimed to browse the ever-growing stock of antique goods, ranging from home décor and kitchenware to furniture and more.

By this time, I’m ready for a little pick me up. Stopping by Mars Cafe’s east village coffee bar(the main Mars Cafe is on University Avenue near Drake University) is a must for me. The space is shared with Thelma’s (a sweet treat shop that specializes in serving warm, freshly-baked cookies and ice cream sandwiches) and Raygun (a clothing and home goods boutique that designs and sells products with fun, quirky, eye-catching statements) so chances are, coffee isn’t the only thing I’ll be buying.

After my caffeine fix, I’ll head over to Matilda Muse to see the new clothing arrivals. I love the variety of styles and sizes sold here and how I can find outfits that are perfect to wear for both client meetings or photo shoots and out for drinks.

Speaking of photography clients, I’ve been working very hard behind the scenes to perfect my branding for my business, so swinging by the Pink Print Company is mandatory. I love picking up stationery and ‘thank you’ notes, as well as other paper and office goods for my business.

Who wouldn’t want to end the afternoon with a cocktail? It’s the weekend after all. I love the staff, vibes and drinks at the Continental, so I’ll either meet a friend for a cocktail or sip on one alone with a good book. Whether you reside in this lovely city or you’re traveling to the area for work or pleasure, be sure to tag your images with #MyDesMoines so I can follow where your favorite places to eat, drink, shop, and hang are! Don’t be stranger and say hello at @cassandramonroe!