Today we're cozying up with 30-year-old Lizzie Duszynski, Chicagoan and editor of local lifestyle site The Urbaness. Using this platform, Lizzie sends a love letter to the city by way of in-depth interviews with local personalities, guides to nearby getaways and even photo shoots revolving around autumnal picnics (featuring yours truly!). Soft-spoken yet confident, Lizzie leads a team of talented local writers and photographers to create a city guide that would make any Chicago girl proud.
Read on to get to know Lizzie!
What is your all-time favorite book?
I come back to stories when I need something from them: to be comforted, to be built up, to be easily distracted and entertained. I hope you don’t mind me cheating, but there are four books that are always on my nightstand: Dominique Browning’s Around the House and in the Garden (for when I’m feeling blue); Lorrie Moore’s Birds of America (for when I’m feeling nostalgic); Amy Hempel’s short story “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson’s Buried” (for when I need a good cry), and Sam Weller’s Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews (for when I need a dose of optimism).
What meal do you love to cook?
Nothing makes me feel quite as accomplished in the kitchen as cooking up The Post Punk Kitchen’s Chickpea Picatta. It’s the perfect winter dish when I have someone to impress!
What is your favorite food scene from a book?
Can I say every food scene in Like Water for Chocolate? The food, the drama, the heartbreak — it’s such a fun and addictive read.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee and tea.
What is the last book you abandoned?
Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton. I love Rushdie’s writing — and I love the character of Rushdie just as much as the fictional ones he creates. I went into this read — an autobiographical account of his years spent in hiding — delighted by the pretension of it all (I mean, really, here he is writing about himself in the third person!). In the end, it proved to be a bit too much. I do hope to go back to it and try again someday.
Author you'd most like to meet for dinner, and your order?
Joan Didion, hands-down. She is the epitome of cool to me so I think I would need a couple of martinis before I’d be able to speak. By that point, I probably wouldn’t care too much about dinner!
Where do you go to find new recipes? New reads?
When it comes to books, I’m a creature of habit. I go to the bookstore to discover something new and inevitably come back with another Margaret Atwood (in my defense, she just has so many books!). So when I’m in the mood for something new, I always look to friends for their recommendations. New recipes? I’m a sucker for beautiful cookbooks!
Tell us about your site — the inspiration for it, your mission and what your favorite aspects are.
The Urbaness is a Chicago lifestyle site for women. We’re a team of writers, photographers, and artists set on inspiring others to seek adventure, joy, and balance while living in one of the busiest cities in the nation. I pushed the idea originally because I wanted to read a publication that celebrated women — and talked to us about more than just new restaurants and celebrity sightings. I’ve met so many incredible people through the site, from interview subjects to new team members and readers, and that’s been my absolute favorite aspect of The Urbaness thus far.
What are your favorite blogs, and why?
Almost too many to choose! The Rumpus (for its Dear Sugar archives), One Part Plant (for its simple plant-based recipes), Bookslut (for its author interviews), Advanced Style (for hope for the future), Humans of New York (for its micro lessons in character development), and PAPER/PLATES, of course!