i love what lottie loves

I wasn't able to make it to the Farmer's Market today.  It has been terrible outside, it was in the 40's, rainy, and insanely windy.  Everyone on the street is squinting with their hair all over the place, misty rain blowing sideways into their eyes and their umbrellas inside out. I don't think Chicago got the memo that June is next Wednesday.  It's just too gross to go somewhere if you don't have to, so I skipped out on the veggies.

The Farmer's Market is the best part of my work week and always makes Thursdays great, but today I found something else that did the job.  One of the blogs I look at every weekday morning while I sit at me desk and eat my oatmeal is Lottie Loves.  It was one of the first sites that I started to frequent, and today when I looked at her blog I saw a post for Sampling Press and their Comedy Cards.  These cards are wonderful, I love them all, but my favorite series is her "Dear Blank" collection.  She teamed up with Jared Wunsch of "dear blank please blank" and made a few of his letters into cards.  After looking at everything from Sampling Press, I spent the rest of the day (minus the time spent actually working of course) reading Jared's websites.  All of his "letters" are pretty hilarious, but I like them even better as cards.  I love the formal quality of the letterpressed card, it puts something so silly in a serious and deliberate context, I just love it.


and my favorite:


Aren't they great?

wishful wednesdays {mud rooms}

Odds are that a few/manymanymany years from now, when I do own a house, there probably won't be so much space that I could dedicate a whole room to mud, but a girl can dream, can't she?  A place where the dirty shoes stay put and a there's little bench to sit and take them off.  A place where jackets and bags and soggy things can hang out.  Maybe even a place to store winter things when it's hot and summer things when it's cold.  Mud Rooms can be so cute, and useful. 

I used to be a very messy kid.  Before college, when I lived with my parents, I would come home from school and explode.  My mom would come home from work and complain that a tornado had come through the house again.  Then I went to school (here in Chicago), and each day when I came back to my room from class everything would just stay where I dropped it.  There was no magic elf that tidied everything up for me while I was away, and I realized I hate messes.  My mom (aka that magic elf) was always following my dad and I around with a vacuum and laundry basket, but there is no one willing to do that for you once you move out on your own (..duh).  Seriously, I've tried, but roommates tend to get angry when you leave your messes for them to clean.  So I became much tidier.

I do have my off days weeks when the house gets unbearable, and that is when I day dream about cabinets and shelves and cubbies and magnet strips and secret storage in benches.  Everything having it's own place to be.  Like In A Mud Room!!


Mud Room traditional laundry room
I think it's a bit unlikely for people to have a separate room for their mud these days, but if you did, this would be quite lovely.  I love that they created storage all the way up to the ceiling and put in a ladder so that the high up cabinets are actually useful.


Mudroom traditional closet
This is a cute taking-off-your-shoes nook.  I like the wood paneling (not such much with the floors, but hey that's just me)


Washington Park Residence 08 traditional entry
I love, love, love the idea of a chalk board wall in a mud room. So you can remember your "To-Do's" right before you walk out the door (or remember what you forgot the second you walk back in). 


mud room storage traditional entry
Every mud room needs a space for the pups of the house!! Mud rooms are the perfect place to clean up the dogs before letting them run wild through the rest of your home.  It would be great to have a place for their leash and toys and little puppy sweaters, if you're the type to put your dog in funny outfits.  


Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. traditional entry
Now this is more realistic, and a great use of space.  You've got plenty of storage for a few people and a cozy nook for taking galoshes on and off.


This picture I just found browsing through a "mud room" google image search.  If you have a little extra space off to the side in your entry way, then this is the way to go.  I love how the wall color continues inside the built-in, both in the larger space and in the long nook above with all the hats.



One of my favorite mud rooms, is the one in Dana's house from House*Tweaking.  She turned a hall closet into an adorable space.  This is what she said about it on her blog:

 One night I had an epiphany to remove the closet door, widen the doorway, install recessed lighting and add a bench to act as a mudroom of sorts.  Handy Hubby did the dirty work (he’s awesome) and I organized the space with baskets, hooks and hangers.  And we did it all for less than $160!!

I think it's such a wonderful idea to take a small area that's already in your house but isn't serving it's purpose, and turn it into it's own, incredibly useful, room.  Out of all the mud rooms I've looked at over the past year, from full blown rooms to hooks on the wall next to the back door, this little space is one of the all time best.  When the day comes that I do have my own place, my first line of duty will be to create a space like this (unless I get stinkin' rich and have one of those full-blown rooms of mud and dirt and cubbies).


Andrew called me while I was writing part of this post and I told him it was about mud rooms.  He laughed and gave me his two cents about them.  His definition:
"Mud rooms are where people do all the stuff they don't want to do in the rest of their house . . . Get Dirty!!!  Can't you just wipe your shoes off before you come in?"


How about you? Completely unnecessary?  Totally useful? Wish you had one? Have a great one?  Is a few hooks by the door just fine, or are you like me and want a bench and maybe a few cubbies?
Tell me, I wanna know!

bathroom storage

I remember back when we were looking for apartments last July.  After a few runs of bad luck I felt thoroughly defeated (the Morning Man is a little more "glass half full" than I am), but then we stepped into this cute apartment in Logan Square and were instantly charmed.  At that time it was chock full of the current tenants' things, we walked around thinking, "wow these people have a lot of crap!" There was a keyboard in the kitchen and a dresser around every corner.  We took a peek in the closet hiding the water heater and were greeted with a plethora of jackets, boxes and stuff, stuff, stuff.  The landlord told us the tenants were going to be moving into a studio apartment, and we just couldn't imagine how.

We were charmed by the original moldings and the built in hutch, the full sized washer and dryer (just for us), a space in the garage, and, my personal favorite, a small office off of the living room with french doors.  The price was right, the landlord was great and it was all ours by the 1st of August.

We moved in our boxes and a couch, and soon came to realize that although the previous tenants did have more stuff than us we were still going to have the same problem as they did. . .  STORAGE!!!

Other than the closet in the bedroom there is no place to put things out of sight.  So, after we had made fun of the other couple for shoving their extra things in with the water heater we ended up having to do the same, along with using the beautiful studio as a "boxes we don't know what to do with yet" room.

It's been 10 months, and we've been slowly addressing the storage problem.  You can walk in the studio now, and our clothes are up off the floor, but up until last weekend there was nowhere to put things in the bathroom.  After months of my incessant complaining the Man decided we should do something about it, so we headed over to the shop.

First we cut the wood into the pieces we'd need
(we meaning Andrew because the table saw scares me)


The we used an awesome tool called "The Domino" to create biscuit joints, so that the little cabinet would be super sturdy.


Then, before we put glue in the joints, we sanded everything down to get the pencil marks off and to prevent future slivers.

 (It was a lazy Sunday, so please excuse my "just out of bed" look)

After we sanded everything down and quickly glued all the pieces together, we used a staple gun to make extra sure this little shelf isn't going to fall apart.


I thought we were just going to take some scraps and staple them together but even when doing quickie-nothing-to-them projects Andrew can't help but go the extra mile. He even had us put trim on the front so it looks finished and clean.

Here it is all nice and empty in the shop.


And Here is what it solved!!


YAY! It's been a few days now and it's working great!! Everything is easy to take out and put back, and for once everything actually gets put in a place where it belongs.  Because isn't that what everything needs? . . . A place to Belong?
(Ha ha, didn't expect a moral to that story did ya?)

STUFEST!!!

Today is May 19th.  On this day in the year 1953 a Great Man was born, and that man is my Father.  He is the best Dad a kid could ask for. He is hilarious, super great with homework, AND when I was younger he made ice cream . . . professionally. (I was the coolest kindergartner in the school house).

This is the time of year we call Stufest, the festival of this Great Man's birth.
 There is only 1 rule to Stufest and I advise you all to take part in it.

Grab a Frosty Beverage


Find a sunny spot


and just do nothing.

farmers market {with a little asian fest mixed in}

Last week one of the ladies at work came back from court and told me the farmers market was back in the Daley Plaza!!! It was already 3 O'clock so I had missed it, but it got me so excited! This week it was all I could think about. So today at 11:45 I went out to take my lunch break at The Farmers Market.

I was weirdly nervous walking over there, maybe I was afraid it wouldn't be as great as I had remembered, it had been a long, terrible winter. But as soon as I saw it the butterflies melted and I was grinning from ear to ear.

It's not yet in full swing, the Asian American festival was happening at the same time, so it was a mix of produce and tchotchkes, but most of my favorites were back. I always give myself a 20$ limit so I don't blow my life savings on veggies, cheese, and delicious breads. This time I only got a few things, mostly because the only vegetables any of the booths had was asparagus (and not great looking asparagus).  


It was BEA-u-tiful outside so I watched some of the festival




I got some Panang Curry, sat in the shade with my Farmer's Market buys, and watched people walk around



It was great! Thursdays are the best!!


wishful wednesdays {kitchen appliances}

This post is the first of many more "wishful wednesdays" (which I will wishfully keep on top of).  One thing this Lazy Lady does best is fantasize about the future.  I'm not very good at living "in the now," I'm always thinking about the next recipe we should make, or couch we should buy, or city we'll live in, or job I could have, and where we'll be in 1, 3, 5, or 15 years.  It's not really the healthy way to live, buuuut sometimes I come up with some really great futures.

A little over a year ago Andrew sent me a text, it was just a website link followed by "you'll love this."  He was right, and now I have a place to get the refrigerator for my dream kitchen.

Elmira Stove Works sells 1950's and 1850's style kitchen appliances.  I'm all about the 1950's, if I could be a house wife wearing a dress in a fun print with a large pleated skirt baking some muffins in my Robin's Egg Blue oven I'd be in heaven, (but all in the 21st century of course, I like voting and voicing my opinions, yadda, yadda, yadda).  With this website and a few grand in hand, at least half of my dreams can come true . . .
did you hear that? It sounded like an angel choir.




Freezer on the bottom is the way to go these days, having the "crisper drawer" at eye level will hopefully let less veggies go bad.  The company that makes these great pieces is Northstar, they have refrigerators, ranges, range hoods, just about everything.  I was really on board for the whole stainless steal craze, they are nice and clean looking.  Then I found out that they repel magnets and (unless they're brushed) get all finger printy, Lame! What's a refrigerator without family photos and a good report card?? I've now come to my senses and have accepted that I'm a girl who loves color and there is no way around it.

Look at some of these kitchens with some great 50's colorful appliances


GORGEOUS!!! 

1957 Orange Kitchen!

Some from real 1950's kitchens!

1956 GE Wall Refrigerator

Something else that should exist again . . . cabinet refrigerator! Everything would be at eye level. How Cool!!!

While looking up photos for this post I also found a company called Big Chill.  It's a company in Boulder, CO started by an uncle and his nephew, and they also make some great stuff (they just need to get on that freezer on the bottom thang).


I just love the Robin's Eggs Blue color.


This is one color that Northstar does not have.  This orange against the green tile is absolutely beautiful.  One day I will have the money and the house, but I don't think I'll ever be able to make a solid choice on the color I want.

How about you? Are you all about the clean lines and shinny surfaces of stainless steal, or do these pictures get you excited about a kitchen remodel?  Which color would you choose? Buttercup yellow? Mint green? Candy red? or my possible fav, Robin's Egg Blue!!
Tell me, I wanna know!

date night

On Friday Andrew asked me out on a date . . . night.

He took me out to Urban Belly.  It's a small restaurant with 4 large communal tables, I had never been before but boy oh boy I can't wait to go again!  They serve mostly noodles and dumplings (and rice), you go up to the counter, order, pay, get your number and then they seat you and do the rest of the leg work. It's nice not to have to deal with the bill after your done (and no body can ditch after they dine).

We ordered a few things to share, 
for noodles we got the special - udon noodles with shrimp and chorizo
then we got two kinds of dumplings - the lamb & brandy, and the duck & pho spices



It was all so good!
Date night is going to become a bi-weekly? monthly? . . . some sort of common occurrence, and next time we are going to try Francesca's Forno, I love date night!!

Mail !

It's so rare that we get mail that isn't a bill or an application for a credit card, that it's celebration worthy.
So here's to the Fun mail we got in these past weeks.

Andrew got this pretty package from Ms. Becky Flint (and Stu)


The ribbon wrapped around the sides of the paper is slightly iridescent but I guess iphone cameras don't show sparkle very well.

Then we got an invitation in the mail.  Our friends got married a few months ago and they are having a reception party.


Sarah typed up each invitation on their typewriter.  I like that they are simple and unique.  The little sun spot and the strip of a map cut out for a horizon line are great, and I want one of those tag stamps.  I can't wait for beer, wine, whiskey, and tacos.  Especially the Tacos!

While Andrew and I were getting these in the mail my mom finally got her mother's day card
I took an egg, blew the yoke out, filled it with glitter and a note and sealed it up with a piece of paper towel that I painted over to blend in with the rest of the painted egg.  The words "Crack Me Open" are written with a gold nail polish pen (I bought it in 2010 to paint my nails for the super bowl!).

I let dad know in advance that mom should open her present outside and explained to him what was in the egg.  I knew if she got it and opened it in the living room over her lap that she would murder me (it was very fine gold glitter .... and a lot of it, no body wants that in their carpets).  Unfortunately dad left the morning before the fedex guy stopped by, and my mom was only left with the instructions of "Aly told me you shouldn't open this in the house."  That morning I got a frazzled voicemail from mom asking what she should do, that she was sitting there holding an egg, confused.  I think her exact words were "What you'd get me a dragon or something? Call me!"

The next morning we opened it together (over the phone), and she thought it was great! She said the wind blew the glitter all over the deck plants, I wish she had gotten a picture but dad had the camera on his business trip.  This is a picture of the remnants.

I love mail, I can't wait until we get more, or better yet my dad's birthday is coming up, I can't wait to Send Some More!!!!

the day after

It's the day after Mothers Day, and I must say, I have the best mom on the planet!

She's funny, caring and super hip.


Yep, we were pretty stylin'.


Stylin' and Sleepy.

It doesn't have to be mother's day to appreciate my moma.  I Love You so much, you are awesome everyday.
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