The dictionary defines Autumn as “the time of year between summer and winter, during which the weather becomes cooler and plants become dormant” – whether you want to call the season Autumn or Fall the point is, it is here and it is beautiful. The warm midday weather is bookended with brisk mornings and evenings. The leaves are different shades of greens, yellows, oranges and reds. Trees look as though they have caught fire with their brilliant color. Unfortunately, this glorious spectacle is so short lived, in a matter of weeks the leaves would have fallen to the ground waiting for us to crunch them under foot. Therefore, before the long winter descends upon us lets walk in our parks, sit in our gardens, stroll along tree lined streets and take day trips to the countryside to enjoy this colorful show that mother nature gifts us.
A Farmers market called Green City Market opens every Wednesday and Saturday morning near where I live in Lincoln Park.The market is seasonal opening from early May to late October every year. There are numerous vegetable stalls, food stalls and plenty of prepared foods like pizza’s, crepes and sandwiches. All this makes the market a treat to visit. I will admit that despite this wonderful markets proximity I tend not to be a frequent visitor mainly because I find everything the market sells in the grocery store often at cheaper prices. Also the added hassle of trying to find parking in a difficult area means my visits during the 6 months the market is open are intermittent.
I have sadly neglected this little blog of mine recently because life got very busy. However, now the kids are back in school and the after summer holiday chaos has calmed down so I am back to posting pictures and writing.
After our sun drenched mediterranean summer holiday in Sardinia we went to visit my parents in Wales for a week. Our house in Wales is in a small village called Catsash on the outskirts of a city called Newport in South Wales. When I was growing up in Wales I took the countryside around me completely for granted, in fact as I got older I longed to get away. My surroundings were too empty, too still and too quite. But now that I have lived in a city like Chicago for 10 years, I appreciate the slower pace of life that places like Catsash have to offer. The little cottages, the country pubs and the rolling hills, the peace and tranquility is beautiful.
For most of the week that I was in Catsash it rained. The dewy weather had made the green of the countryside particularly lush. On the few days that we had dry weather I took my camera and photographed the countryside. I hope you like the pictures.
One of the highlights of my summer every year is my summer holidays in Europe. Every August before going home to visit my parents in Wales we go somewhere on the continent for some rest and relaxation. This year the sun drenched paradise we chose to visit was the Italian island of Sardinia. I love going on summer holidays to the European islands – the shimmering blue mediterranean sea, the olive oil drenched food and mingling with the boisterous, sun tanned Europeans make a perfect end to the summer season.
Out of all the social media platforms, my favorite and the one I use the most is Instagram. I love this app – it is such an easy way to get a glimpse into other people’s lives. I am a relatively new user, I joined December 2014. The accounts I follow all have great photography, great story lines, and content that I am interested in. I have found that over the last couple of months I have become a faithful follower of a handful of women whom I will call my Instagram ladies. Every morning when I am having coffee I check in to Instagram to see what photos these ladies have posted. Each has a different style, however there are certain similarities; all except one are professional photographers and all are great visual storytellers. They allow me to escape into another world, inspire me and ultimately teach me something new.
Read below and check out my Instagram ladies.
Have you ever wanted to own a country house in rural France and spend your days cooking and eating amazing food? Then check out www.mimithorisson.com. Mimi Thorisson is one of the most famous bloggers in the world – she is not a photographer but her husband Oddur Thorisson is and in my view one of the best food photographers I have ever seen. Mimi lives in the Medoc region of France and her free flowing writing style about everyday ventures like taking walks in the woods, shopping at local markets and constant cooking and eating of delicious food all documented in stunningly vivid photos pulls you into her country life.
Photos courtesy of www.mimithorisson.com instagram account @mimithor
One day the mother of one of my daughter’s friends, Tasha Gelling emailed me an invitation to an ASH + AMES jewelry event. Tasha is a Brand Ambassador for the company and was hosting the event. I love jewelry and wanted to support Tasha so I went. What I discovered was firstly, the beautiful jewelry – unique pieces in wide ranging styles, hand crafted with gorgeous metals and stones. Secondly, ASH + AMES is a start up with a difference – while philanthropy is a side project for many companies, for ASH + AMES giving back to artisans who produce their jewelry, supporting them and encouraging their growth is woven into the fabric of this small company. Large proceeds of sales are donated back to artisan communities. Distribution is through Brand Ambassadors, women who are encouraged to balance family and career and can choose which charities to donate proceeds to. I reached out to co-founders Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile and was thrilled when they agreed to talk more about their business.
After our four day holiday in Los Angeles, we completed our trip to California by flying to San Francisco. I think a more appropriate heading for this post would be “Hello Again, San Francisco.” This is an annual vacation we take every year over the 4th of July holiday, to visit my brother and his family in the Bay Area.
Every year, for the 4th of July holiday, we visit my brother Kaustuva and his family in San Francisco. We usually tag on another California destination to make a week long holiday. This year we decided that the other destination would be Los Angeles. I was beyond excited to go to LA. I had not seen the city since I was a child visiting with my parents on a trip to DisneyLand. The weather in Chicago had been so inconsistent all spring that I was looking forward to some consecutive warm days, feeling some west coast laid back vibe and just getting to know the city.
This weekend I answered the call of the country. If you know me you will know that is a very unusual statement for me to make. I am not a nature person. I lived in a house with an acre of land once and happily traded it in for a city house with no land because I could not be bothered to deal with nature. However, as much as I love the excitement and energy of the city there are times when the great outdoors beckon. Twice a year usually once in the dead of winter and at last once in heat of summer I start going stir crazy in the city. I yearn for the openness, greeness, slowness of the countryside. The body and mind need to be refreshed. My longing for the country was satisfied this weekend by taking a trip to Starved Rock State Park, a national park 100 miles outside of Chicago.
When I owned my women’s wear boutique, one of our best selling lines was Chikahisa Studio, a jewelry collection by designer Ann Chikahisa.
Ann was a weekly presence in our store, the reason being she had to continuously drop off supplies of jewelry as her designs sold out immediately. Our customers simply loved Ann’s organic, bold, creative and beautiful jewelry. The feedback was that it was exceptionally well made, timeless in design and can be worn with anything to anywhere. I thought Ann would be perfect to interview for this “Work” series.
A creative, an entrepreneur who has built her own business from scratch – I wanted to know more.