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Andrea Crowley: Coming of age in Des Moines

2005. It was a time of Gilmore Girls, three-way calls and far too much contemplation over what tomorrow's MySpace song would be. Suburbia kids stuck out west, hitting up the new Jordan Creek mall like it was their job. (Thanks for the ride, Dad!) Downtown? Please. Only Spaghetti Works or a Cubs game was worthy of a visit.

Now, 10 years later (and no longer a teenager), my city and I have grown out of our awkward phases and into something with potential. And we did it together, this generation of Juice-ers. Turn up: "Started From The Bottom Now We Here."

In my role as Juice Content Specialist, I've talked with a lot of people about Des Moines, through interviews, events, you name it. I can't tell you how many times I've heard how much this city is "up and coming." Creatives of all kinds — from food truck owners to local hairstylists — tell me they can't picture themselves in any other place.

Des Moines is an open canvas and everyone wants to bring their own color to it. And it's really starting to show. Not just within the murals in the streets, but within the music, food, arts and entertainment scene. Did it just pop out of nowhere, or were we just too busy growing with this blooming city to see it?

I thought I knew most of Des Moines coming into this job. I mean, I've only lived here for 23 years now, but being a young adult who doesn't need her dad to drive her around anymore (well, much) has expanded my horizons.

I think Des Moines natives like myself tend to forget how many places there are in the city that are waiting to be discovered, if not rediscovered. I never thought I'd be here after my four years at Drake, but the city keeps surprising me with its little gems. And if you stick around long enough, you'll find them, too.