What I Love: Small Batch Prints

It’s time to feature another amazing friend with an amazing business. Allie Hasson did this interview with me forever ago, and I am just now getting around to blogging it, but the plus side is that my lazy assness allowed her the time to get a gor-ge-ous Etsy shop up.…go laziness? Let’s also talk about her unbelievably beautiful website. I can’t even with this girl, she’s much too talented.

This is Allie. She's so pretty.

This is Allie. She’s so pretty.

So Allie makes these custom hand lettered signs, stationary pieces, invitations, etc. THEY ARE INCREDIBLE. Buy them. Buy all of them now before she is so famous that you can’t afford her anymore.

Obsessed with gold leaf things right now!

Obsessed with gold leaf things right now!


1) What is your business all about?

I’m a hand letterer and graphic designer making graceful and approachable correspondence and communication for print and for web. I make logos, invitations, maps, monograms, custom paintings, illustrations, and bespoke stationery. After several years of research (working at the National Postal Museum), I use my knowledge of and knack for casual and elegant lettering styles to create work that features letterform design specific to each client.  Custom work is made beginning with a conversation between my client and I where we find out what their vision for the piece is or, if needed, we create a vision for the piece together.  From there, I make work that is both classic and thorough, as well as fresh and well-aligned with its function, purpose, or meaning.  


2) Do you have a day job in addition to your “fun” job? If so, what is it?

Yes!  I’m fortunate to work at Columbia College in Chicago, where I manage a large interactive space in the Art + Design department called the Materials Lab.  There, I curate a collection of materials (of all kinds) for the students to come and take from and be inspired by and use in their projects.  The materials come as donations from all over Chicago, many times they’re material samples from architecture firms, and they vary widely from paint chips to fabrics, resin, stone, glass and paper goods, and are free for students.  It is fascinating to see/touch/smell so many new colors, textures, patterns, and resources on a daily basis.  I think it keeps my aesthetic eye fresh and discerning.
3) Where do you find your inspiration for what you do?

In addition to my work at Columbia and a long-nurtured fascination with handwriting (I took a calligraphy course in elementary school), my paramount source of inspiration for this project was my time at the National Postal Museum.  Prior to moving to Chicago, I was so lucky to work in DC at Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.  During my time there, I made digital images of thousands of historic stamps and letters from all over the world that were being prepared for exhibition.  For that year and a half I would spend the day at work and getting so jazzed about seeing the amazing hand-lettering or intricate design up close, and then go home and try to develop my own interpretations of those styles.  The stamp layouts and patterns (particularly the ones from the 1940’s) also really stuck with me.  


4) Tell me something about your business that you wish everyone who bought from you knew?
I think I’d like people to know that each piece of my work, and specifically custom pieces, is a labor of love.  One of my favorite parts of this process has been getting to work with people on making pieces that commemorate something important in their lives, whether it’s illustrating words from their love story or crafting an heirloom family crest.  I feel so fortunate to be able to spend time on these projects, and I really enjoy creating work that can exist indefinitely as a reminder of the best moments in life and ideally can be passed down through generations.
Family Crest

More things about fat

Hey friends! Time to update you. I’ve lost…not that many pounds. BUT! I have noticed that my bumps are getting less bumpy, my cellulite is going away, and my energy level is going up up up. So I count that as a big FAT win. I honestly had to give up South Beach because oh muh guh. Sorry. I can (if I must) give up sugar, and starch, and caffeine. But fruit was my downfall. I LOVE IT. I can’t take not having an apple or some blueberries or something. So you know what?

I PUT IT BACK IN MY DIET. As my friend Heather says, if it grows on a tree, it’s pretty healthy, so don’t stress too much about eating fruits and veggies, you know? I love her. She’s so wise.

So crazily, even though that last entry was in February, some of ya’ll must be Facebook stalking me because it blew the hell up this week. I got a ton of comments on it. I also got private messages from friends doing their own diets, workouts, etc, just sharing stories. And guys, let me tell you…I know a lot of determined people. And you guys are warriors. And you know what?

Fat is just FAT. It’s not a measure of your worth, it doesn’t determine your coolness, your prettiness, your confidence. I know I sound like a fucking self help book right now but SERIOUSLY. Some of the shit I’ve heard girls say about their gorgeous perfect selves just because of a little fat?! COME ON. Get it together now, people. You are awesome. Fat doesn’t make you less awesome! Fat wants you to make it CRY because you’re sweating and getting healthy and having fun. Even if I stayed fat forever but was working out every day…I could live with that as long as I got that work out high and felt good about my efforts.

So please friends…keep working, keep making wise choices, but don’t forget to have fun. One Reese’s cup or a glass of wine will not kill you or make you gain 5 pounds. LIVE A LITTLE! Or a lot.

And just to drive this home, here are some pictures of full figured models that I’m in love with. Tell me you don’t think they’re sexy. I DARE YOU.



Crystal Renn




Kat Denning

Healthy Butters

You guys. It has been a bajillion years since I updated. Life got in the way, yada yada blah blah. The truth is that I really needed to focus on my freelance writing and the thought of writing for fun made me gag a little. But writing for money couldn’t keep me away forever, and here I am again!

So newsflash: I have gained about 40 pounds in the last year through a winning regime of couch sitting, night eating, and a lot of wine. According to Hailey’s Helpful Hints, I have a “spare tire tummy”. Caused by lack of exercise and eating the wrong foods. I’ll admit to too much wine, eating at night, and being lazy as all hell over the last year. I know what’s wrong. What I couldn’t figure out was how to fix it. I’ve tried many things at this point with no luck and was starting to get pretty depressed that I couldn’t shift even one pound. When the little Hispanic ladies in my building start asking if I’m pregnant…sigh. That’s a definite sign it’s time to get serious.

I went back to Kazaxe this week. I can’t even explain the amount of pain I was in after two classes in a row! But it was the good kind of pain, like “Hey! Way to not let your muscles atrophy from lack of use!”  Here’s what the class looks like:

It is the best, most fun work out I’ve ever done. I’m quitting the gym. It’s that fun. Friends in the DMV area: if you want to go, the first class is free. Check it out.

The other thing that is helping is my doctor told me to try the South Beach diet. So far I miss wine, sugar, carbs and fruit, but thankfully this part is temporary and some of that will come back soon. To get some healthy fats in my diet, I decided to make some treats.

Jars of hippie amazingness

Jars of hippie amazingness

So here’s some fun stuff I made this week. I love almond butter and I’m allowed to have almonds on the South Beach thingy, thank GOD. I decided to make my own the food processor!

Almond Coconut Butter
Makes one small jar

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

1) Throw in food processor

2) Process for about 12-15 minutes or until it’s smooth.

3) Yes, that’s it!

Easy right? And it’s so good. If it’s too thick for you, throw a little melted coconut oil in it or something. If you want it sweetened a bit, add some honey, agave, brown sugar, whatever you’d like. You could also dry roast your almonds for some roasted flavor. Yums.

Amazingly, the coconut cream concentrate is even easier.

Coconut Cream Concentrate

1 bag of unsweetened coconut chips

1) Throw in the food processor and process until it looks liquid, about 15 minutes. Scrape the sides down periodically to help it all get processed.

Here is a great recipe to use this in. I honestly just ate a spoonful of it by itself…oops. might try mixing it with some unsweetened cocoa powder…this is getting dangerous.

So there you have it. Some healthy butters to use in your times of 40 pound weight gain! This week, one pound down, 39 to go. What kinds of diets have ya’ll tried?

Goodwill Fall Fashion

ImageNew purse. $11. BAM. I wanted something neutral but not white or brown or black…erm. Grey was perfect. I am in love, it’s in WONDERFUL shape. 

ImageThese Jeffrey Campbell heels were unfortunately not my size but my friend might like them. If she doesn’t, they’re going straight to ebay so that I can take a profit off them 😉 

ImageFinally, my new TOMs. And yes, they’re new! Tags still on. Go me. 


Happy Labor day weekend, my loves. I hope you’ve all managed to find some great deals and enjoy some QT with your families!




Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

All I can say about this dressing is YUM!!! I found it here.  If you have a ton of basil in your garden like I do right now, this is a great way to use it up and is a bit more interesting than pesto, of which I already have too much. It’s also a nice way to change up my salad lunch routine while keeping everything healthy!


Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 cup olive oil

1 cup basil leaves

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Just buzz everything up in the blender. That’s it. You’re welcome.

With the rest of my basil, I was thinking about trying a lemon basil dressing next week. Yum. Or maybe this. Or this. So many options! I love basil season.

You’ll love it. Promise. What yummy lunch choices have you made this week?

Retail Therapy on a Budget

So some weeks are hard. Some weeks are punch you in the gut, didn’t see it coming, I need a whole bottle of wine in one sitting hard. Sometimes, when you have one of these weeks, you need a little retail therapy.

I make a good living but living in an urban area has its drawbacks. A whole paycheck spent on rent doesn’t leave much to retail therapy with. Thankfully, I’m near a bunch of amazing thrift stores. I was hesitant to write about this because these thrift stores have been my source of amazing name brand goodies (most brand new and a lot with tags still attached) for years, and I don’t want to share! But I figured some of you might be having crappy weeks too and might need to blow off some steam and get some cool new things.

Today I went to happy hour and on my way home, decided to stop by my favorite spot to see if I could find a few things I wanted for my apartment. Ok fine…I also wanted a new dress. Shut up.

So for what would have cost me probably at least $70 brand new, I walked out with a super cute green GAP dress (brand new), a really unique and comfy fuchsia and lavender batik scarf, a tap light for my closet, and a floating shelf. All for under $20. SCORE.

Retail therapy, Goodwill style.

Retail therapy, Goodwill style.

I love thrift shopping, especially in my area. Stuff ain’t cheap, but it’s certainly better than going to the mall in most cases. The other cool thing about living in DC is that it’s a transitory area, with people picking up and moving suddenly without having time to have yard sales, etc. They end up donating things that they normally might sell which are in perfect condition. Which is helpful for me since I am a) cheap, b) poor, and c) eco-conscious. My favorite finds since moving back up to the area are: A whole new work wardrobe, including Ann Taylor Loft dresses for $5, a new cross body purse by Relic, a brand new dehumidifier for $15 (new ones can get into the hundreds of dollars), and a gorgeous Tory Burch cardigan.

So tell me: What amazing thrift store finds have you found lately?