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4xForth: Julie Morelli of Letterform and Nourishing Notes by Natalie Pavela

Each Friday we’re highlighting one of the lovely women in our community by learning about her favorite Chicago places and restaurants, hearing what websites she’s all jazzed about, and gaining some inspiration from destinations she’s dreaming of traveling to next.It’s 4 x Forth Friday and today we’re talking to Forth alum Julie Morelli who co-owns the graphic design studio Letterform with her husband Andy, and is also the chief creative lady at Nourishing Notes. Read on to learn all about what this lovely lady loves! 

Places I frequent in Chicago:

1. Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits : What's not to love?! Everything is delicious, the space is so warm and inviting and their side yard is ADORABLE. As if that weren't enough, they have the friendliest service in town. I love it here.2. Mitsuwa Marketplace : A Japanese wonderland just outside of Chicago in Arlington Heights -you're right by it when you exit for the IKEA in Schaumburg. When you first walk in there's a paper goods section filled with all my favorite pens for my illustrations AND erasers shaped like sushi. In the actual food section you can find almost anything you need for a Japanese meal. BONUS : In the back there's a food court serving up serious bowls of ramen. You'll need an entire afternoon here and it'll be way more rewarding than IKEA.

3. Textile Discount Outlet : To be fair I was trying to find a spot I frequent that has nothing to do with food, this is as close as I got. A gigantic warehouse of a chaotic assortment of fabrics. I go here when I'm working on a new project (like our new aprons) to get an assortment of fabrics so I can go back to the studio and see what works best. It's a spectacle - the range of people shopping and working here are as fascinating as the range of fabrics. You'll probably get lost and lose cell phone reception so bring snacks and leave a crumb trail.

4. My backyard : My husband and I just moved to a new apartment in Logan Square and for the first time in eight years of living in Chicago, we have a backyard. We quickly filled it with all sorts of edible plants and it's my favorite spot to hang out.

Places I'll go someday:

1. Mallorca, Spain : Honestly, I know very little about this island other than I've read about a certain type of bread they make, which I would love to try. I travel for food and I have a feeling I would not be disappointed here. Plus I'd fly into mainland Spain first before island hopping, so I would have to eat my way through the whole country.

2. Acadia National Park, Maine : After watching the Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks, I want to go to all of our national parks but this one is way out there along the Atlantic Ocean and unlike anything I've seen before. I will obviously plan to go around prime lobster season.

3. Brazil : There are many reasons I want to go here, but let's be honest, I just want to try an authentic version of their national dish, feijoada. I have drooled over it on TV and in magazines but it's time I tried the real thing. I guess I would check out the beaches too, if there's time in between meals.

4. The Azores - Just look at where it is on a map! It's way out there in the middle of the ocean! I need to go. They make crazy amounts of cheese AND are surrounded by delicious seafood. A winning combo in my heart. If you can find the episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain travels to the Azores, you'll fall in love too.

Best Bites in Chicago:

1. Old Fashioned Donuts : I'm old an old stick in the mud when it comes to my donuts. I want them to be classic, cheap, and not filled or topped with a million different things. This place has been around forever and understands the classics. Get the apple fritter and the buttermilk old fashioned donut. It's worth the drive. Seriously.

2. Middle East Bakery : I head straight to the back counter where it's overflowing with handmade meat and veggie pies. The parsley pie is deceptively delicious. Get a grab bag of everything at that counter, a tub of hummus, find a quiet spot in a park nearby, have a friend stop by with the wine… I can't think of a more perfect evening in Andersonville.

3. Beans & Bagels : ANY of their croissants. If I'm in a savory mood I go for the spinach. If I'm in a sweet mood it's a toss up between the almond and the chocolate, so I usually end up with both.

4. The Winchester : On weekends whatever they have dreamed up to pair with their amazing waffles…you WANT IT! One time my husband and I had a savory waffle (topped with poached eggs, bacon, kale, and apples) and followed it up with a dessert waffle (topped with fruit, lemon curd and happiness). It's unlike any other waffle you've ever had - the dough takes 16 hours to make!

Sites I lurve:

1. LTH Forum : The nerdiest Chicago food forum that ever existed. I don't eat anywhere without checking here first.

2. Chowhound : A more dressed up version of the LTH forum and with a national reach. Anytime I'm traveling I check here to see where / what people are eating.

3. Heritage Radio : Best podcasts! Check out "After the Jump", "Cherry Bomb", and "Sharp & Hot"

4. It's Nice That : So much great design inspiration from across the pond in the UK.

Thanks for sharing Julie! Bang Bang has my heart, Old Fashioned Donuts is 100% worth the drive south of the city, and a backyard full of plants sounds dreamy. Take us with you when you go to Acadia National Park!
You can find Julie on instagram, twitter, and facebook, or learn more about her work at Letterform and Nourishing Notes.

4xForth: Angela Bryant by Natalie Pavela

4xForth-Chicago-Angela-Bryant Each Friday we’re highlighting one of the lovely women in our community by learning about her favorite Chicago places and restaurants, hearing what websites she’s all jazzed about, and gaining some inspiration from destinations she’s dreaming of traveling to next.

It’s 4 x Forth Friday and today we’re talking to Angela Bryant, owner and director of Abryant Gallery!

Places I frequent in Chicago:

1. Artist studio's. Nothing is more interesting than walking through an artists' personal art-making space.  Asking someone to do a studio visit and them saying "yes" is like asking a lady if you can snoop through all of the belongings in her purse and her saying "sure".  In addition, they provide beverages and snacks for the occasion. 2. Filter is a favorite coffee shop of mine - last summer I went at least once a week!  It's filled with creatives that have inconsistent day jobs, massive cups for coffee, and offers decent breakfast and lunch options. It's also filled with like 30 thrift store couches and 60 mix-matched lamps. 3. Art Openings.  I usually make it to the important ones at the big name galleries like Kavi Gupta and Rhona Hoffman, but I still delight in the apartment galleries that I get invited to.  They move all of their furniture into the one bedroom, clear the floor, put up art, and say "guess what? we're a gallery tonight." (They validate their arty pursuit by playing the weirdest music they can make a playlist out of and a cooler filled with PBR.) 4.Textile Discount Outlet in Pilsen. This place is a massive warehouse full of fabric and accessories.  They have lots of modern fabric, some vintage fabric, and some fabric that is in between both genres, but so cheap that you have to buy it all just in case you decided to make an art installation that involves sewing a cozy for a single-family home.

 Places I'll go someday:

1. Italy and Paris.  It's not necessary for me to explain that I need to go to these places to stand in front of works of art that I've only seen in textbooks and on the interwebs. 2. Iceland.  It's Bjork's homeland and therefore my homeland.  I'm sure that seeing nature from that location on the earth will change my entire perspective on viewing. 3. Africa. Specifically on a safari.  I feel like I should be able to communicate with wild animals through long gazes and telepathy. This will also change my entire perspective on viewing. 4. Outerspace.  I'm sure once a space station is established on the moon that is suitable for visitors, we'll have quite a nice chunk of money in savings to finally fulfill a lifelong dream.  It's like I told my husband when we were dating, "You know, I'm still planning to live on the moon for a year, but if we stick together and get married I'll change the timeframe from a year to six months."  He thought it was a fare compromise.

Best Bites in Chicago:

1. Baker and Nosh was a weekly favorite of mine from November-January. Every Tuesday I would embark on the 10 min walk from my apartment, arrive at 10 am and leave at 5 pm.  Staking my claim on the long large island of a table right next to the bakery, my mornings usually started with coffee and a vegetable frittata. Their turkey sandwich with jalapeno cranberry compote is still the best turkey sandwich I've ever eaten. 2. Original Pancake House. It's not fancy, but there's something to be said about fluffy pancakes that are unmatched in taste or texture anywhere else. Perfect for the Saturday that you slept in waaaay too late, woke up starving, decided to put on non-pajamas, and to go to OPH. 3. La Colombe. I always order a Cubano latte, where they put raw sugar in the espresso before they brew it just to take the bitter edge off. 4. I can't decide on the last one so I'll just name Magnolia Cafe, Girl and the Goat, Cafe Spiaggia, and of course Epic Burger...I'm not a snob.

Sites I lurve:

1. My husband does CNN, I do Artslant.com.  It keeps me up to date on whatever craziness artists are up to. 2. Autotrader.com.  This may seem unlikely, but being from the Motor City, I have always been a car fan.  I will definitely own at least one muscle car from the late 60s, but we're currently shopping for an SUV so I'm on this site at least once a day. 3. Trulia.com. We need a house...in our budget...I'm all over this site ALL THE TIME. 4. Buzzfeed.com I've recently been forced to have more down time on my hands than is normal and I find myself truly wanting to know what 80s pop icon I am and which character from Star Trek most represents my personality.

Thank you Angela, we loved hearing about your pics. Filter - what a great spot for getting work done. I just love sinking into those old couches for a few hours of productive work. And these apartment gallery parties you speak of sound like a dream! The Cuban latte is new to me; I'll definitely have to try it next time I'm at La Colombe.

You can find Angela at Abryant Gallery, on Twitter and Facebook.