Design Inspiration: Wright Chairs

Where do you fall on the comfort versus style debate? And I’m not just talking flats versus heels here. (I’d, without a doubt, choose flats in that fight.) What about, say, a couch? Is it more important for it to have great lines or be able to double as a twin bed? Well, hopefully nobody is asking, “WWFLWD?” Frank Lloyd Wright, that is.

IMG_3967-editFrom the Chicago History Museum: Wright designed these chairs for the Glencoe home of his lawyer, Sherman M. Booth. Originally part of a dining room suite, the chairs are more striking in appearance than they are comfortable. As Wright later confessed, “I found it difficult … to design it [furniture] as architecture and make it ‘human’ at the same time—fit for human use. I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere almost all my life from too intimate contact with my own early furniture.”

Um, ouch! I think these chairs are beautiful—I’m a sucker for pretty much anything cane—but I don’t think I could go so far as to buy them if I thought they’d give me (and my dinner guests) bruises. I guess that’s why they’re in a museum now: They’re only pretty to look at!

Completed This Space: Entryway Vignette

So a week or two ago I asked y’all to chime in on how I should (quite literally) top-off my freshly painted, mid-century entryway bookshelf. Thank you to everyone who left comments, but… I’m sorry, I ignored all of your suggestions. beforeandafter2I didn’t mean to! There were a lot of great options: a sunburst mirror, faux taxidermy, a welcome sign, etc. BUT I came across something that was just too good to pass up:vignette3Isn’t she amazing? (Yes, it’s a she.) I just happened to stumble across this awesome—and cheap!—oversized mirror on Craigslist. I don’t even remember what I was originally searching for, but once I saw it, I knew it had to be mine. I talked the seller down almost 50 percent, fought the rush-hour traffic up to Rogers Park, and brought my baby home safely. That shape… sighhhh. She matches the new dining room pendant lamp perfectly.photoSometimes my mid-century modern furniture, especially the bar, gives the space a masculine vibe, so I’m loving the hints of glam the mirror and pendant are lending without being overly feminine.vignetteFINALSo given that this “entryway” is actually part of my dining room (I just call it an entryway because it’s the first thing you see when you open the door. I feel like now I’m finally making a good first impression!), does it change your opinion about the rugs?

Weekend Rewind: November Tornados

994034_10151694176177062_213138980_nMy heart goes out to all of the tornado victims across Illinois, but the devastation in Coal City hits especially close to home—quite literally. Coal City is where I grew up and spent all of my pre-college years. It’s where I played soccer on the Coal City Coalers boys team, and where I got my first reporting job at the Coal City Courant. It’s where I met the people that are my best friends even to this day, some 20 years later.

1374766_10151695656872062_2084128392_nMy parents still live there today, but the only damage to our property were some downed trees. Luckily for us, the tornado hit on the “other side of the tracks,” but nothing is that far away in a tiny town. (And technically it’s not a town or a city, it’s a village—yes, it’s that small.) Because of it’s size, everyone knows someone who was affected by the tornado.


I contemplated going down to CC (I was actually there on Friday and Saturday), but from all reports, it sounded like the routes into town were blocked by debris or downed power lines. According to the fire department, there were 221 homes in Coal City and Diamond affected by the tornado. My heart is with those families today.1454734_10151694175582062_663470429_nCheck out the Coal City Courant Facebook page for the latest information about donating food, clothing and other items, or if you’d like to volunteer with the clean-up effort.

(Images: Coal City Courant)

Foodie Friday: BBQ Shredded Beef Sandwiches

My original plan for this post was a crockpot pot roast, but lo and behold, it was another botched attempt in the kitchen. I have been striking out lately! I followed a recipe, but for whatever reason my vegetables were shriveled and the meat was a little dry. I was not happy because pot roast is expensive!

Luckily, I cooked up a super easy plan to save some of that pricey beef: BBQ shredded beef sandwiches. So whether you have a less-than-stellar roast or you’re just sick of eating leftovers, try this out!

Leftover Roast
BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory Smoked.)
Red Onion
Brown Sugar
Cheese Slices (I used mozzarella, but I bet any white would work.)
Hoagie Rolls (Not usually a fan of Trader Joe’s breads, but these were good.)

Preheat your oven to 300F.

Use a fork to rake through your leftover roast to get the shredded effect, then combine with BBQ sauce to your liking. (If I’m not sure how much to use, I always lean toward not enough over too much because you can always dip something like this.) Set aside.

Slice some red onion (I’d say half an onion if you’re making four sandwiches) thin, into half rings. Warm butter in a skillet on medium heat. Drop in the onions and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Cook until browned, and then remove from heat.

Pop your meat mixture into the microwave for a minute or two. You could also remove the onions from the pan, turn the heat to low and warm the meat in the pan—up to you.

IMG_1560The next part has some options as well: You either need a hot plate (what I did, just because I already had the panini maker out) or you can stick with the same skillet. Separate your meat blob into as many sandwiches as you want to make (two in my instance) and in the shape of your bread. Throw the red onions and cheese on top, and—this is the painful part—wait for it to melt. (If your meat is getting too warm and the cheese isn’t melting fast enough, you could cover it with a lid, even on the hot plate, to steam it.)

IMG_1562When there’s about five minutes left until the cheese to be completely melted, pop your hoagie rolls into the oven to toast up. Grab ’em out, fill ’em with the delicious meats, onions and cheese, and wa-lah! Deliciousness.

IMG_1570The pot roast is perfect for a grown-up weekday dinner, and then whip-up these bad boys for football Sunday. Tater tots optional.

Rugs on the Run

This is really a Weekend Rewind: Part II because on Friday night I was home alone, and you know what that usually means… I move furniture. I can’t just sit still and watch movies and relax! I have to do something productive. Or maybe I should say “productive” since this didn’t really accomplish a whole lot except to give me a backache from the aforementioned moving of furniture.

But anyway, at the time I thought it’d be fun to mix and match a few rugs I already owned to see if they could be re-purposed in different spaces. So for instance, I put the rug that was in the bedroom in the living room:

rug_livingroomThe end result:

IMG_1650And I put a rug that I had in storage from the old apartment in the dining room:

diningroom_rugThe final product:

IMG_1668So what do you think? I like the new look, especially the turquoise rug in the dining room since it matches the pendant lamp. Julio thinks the looks are too summery and wants to go back to the homey oriental rugs. Chime in below!

I Want That Wednesday

With the first snow fall of year now under our belts, winter has, in fact, arrived here in Chicago. I shouldn’t complain because fall really did last longer than normal, but now those beautiful leaves are scattered along the ground, the trees are barren and every day seems a bit grayer than the one before. Let the hibernation begin!

But while I break out the heating blanket and debate whether to insulate the windows, it sure would be nice to still enjoy a bit of mother nature away from that damn Chicago wind. Enter: fresh flowers.

Bloom2Bloom_fireworksFlowers are something that I would LOVE to have on hand year-round, but it’s just one of those extras that not in the budget right now. If you look through any shelter magazine, almost all of the featured homes have a vase of flowers in at least one shot. Plus, there’s supposedly health benefits to having fresh flowers around. Flower power, indeed!

bloom2bloom_interiorSure, I could go buy flowers at my grocery or a flower shop—I do like to “shop small” when I can—but since we’re entering the holiday season, it’s always nice to give a little something back, too. I’m loving the seasonal flowers from Bloom 2 Bloom. With every bouquet you buy, another one is donated to a community organization, like a hospital, shelter or nursing home. So you’re making someone else feel special, too! It’s definitely something to consider if you’re gifting flowers, a better alternative to the big, box, 1-800-FLOWERS kind of places.

bloom2bloom_redhotAlso, all the flowers are grown right here in the U.S. of A. Each boutique is priced between $40 and $50, which doesn’t seem unreasonable.

OK, so who needs my address? : )

Weekend Rewind: Besser/Reynolds Wedding!

IMG_1691The wedding of the year finally arrived! OK, so it wasn’t the wedding of the year in the Kimye sense (Indianapolis is almost just like Capri), but more so in that anticipation has been building for this weekend all year. A night to party with some of my favorite people? It’s was bound to be good—and it didn’t disappoint. IMG_1705I am so sore! I’ve never danced that much at a wedding (and I even managed to keep my heels on most of the night, I’ve very proud). I don’t think anybody danced more than the groom though, which is hilarious because he’s not typically a clubber (Did the beard give it away?). Peter was among the first people I met my freshman year at Indiana, one of my boys. The next day his parents said they’d never seen anyone enjoy their own wedding as much as Pete did. It’s something to aspire to. IMG_4345And we love Sarah, too! The two actually met in middle school, and Pete had a crush on her even then, but they didn’t start dating until a few years ago. She looked beautiful, and from what I hear, she was the opposite of a bridezilla (also something to aspire to). I know this picture isn’t good in technical terms, but I really liked it because it looks like a painting.

IMG_1687-2I feel so honored that I was able to celebrate with the newlyweds. I don’t often get sentimental, but this is a couple that I truly believe in. To years of happiness! (Oh, and I forgot your gift… It’s in the mail, I swear!)