I have the great fortune to live in a community that celebrates the Fourth of July in true Norman Rockwell form. In this small town on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, families gather along tree-lined streets to watch the parade, with gracious houses draped in bunting serving as backdrop. Picnic blankets dot the lawns where little girls and boys in their patriotic finest play, blowing bubbles, waving flags. Adults mingle and celebrate, sharing their summer plans and catching up with the young men and women home from college. It feels like America should feel, to me at least. Continue reading
I just returned from four amazing days spent with my little sister (affectionately known as Little J) at her Florida beach house. On our last and best day, we took the ferry to a place I’d always longed to see: Cumberland Island, Georgia.
Cumberland Island is a magical, chill inducing place. No bridge links the island to the mainland. Accessible only by boat, visitors explore on foot or bicycle, wandering ruins of old mansions and cemeteries while observing wildlife without boundaries. Life and death are imminently present on the island. Skeletal fragments seamlessly, exquisitely, meld with the earth while birds fly overhead and wild, feral horses and hogs roam without boundaries.
We rented island (i.e. rustic) bicycles and pedaled our way to Stafford Beach for a picnic, where we spent most of our time with no one else in sight. A giant steel buoy eroded next to horse shoe crab exoskeletons of the same color, striking an incredible visual chord. Wild horses grazed silently while seabirds circled marine life that had washed ashore. Fishing boats trawled as the men aboard waited to heave their catch on deck. It was impossible not to contemplate the circle of life and one’s place in it. William Cullen Bryant’s Thanatopsis filled my mind as I saw so much beauty in life and death, and the natural progression of it all.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the first installment of Best of the Fest Children’s Film Series, produced by Chicago’s Facets Multi-Media and presented at Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest. Milos Stehlik (pictured above), founder of Facets, travels the world to find films for children that engage, entertain, and empower. Last Sunday’s short films carried themes of persistence, music, love, acceptance, courage, and the environment that were told mainly from children’s perspectives but loved by viewers of all ages. The familiar sounds of children’s chatter, wiggling seats, and rustling popcorn bags came only in the moments between short films. During the showings, kids in attendance were completely engrossed in the films, letting out bursts of infectious giggles and sometimes shouting enthusiastic proclamations of plot discovery. This Sunday, April 13th, Facets returns to Gorton at 4pm to present three book-based short films, including the Oscar winning “The Gruffalo.” Seating is limited but tickets are still available on Gorton’s website (link here). Tickets are also available on Gorton’s site for the last installment on April 27th.
Also this weekend is one of my favorite Chicago Botanic Garden events, the Antiques and Garden Fair. Friday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm each day, gorgeous floral displays surround 120 booths filled with treasures from around the world. Year after year I walk out with a lighter wallet and a heavier trunk (remember this goody from last year?)! Tickets available on the Chicago Botanic Garden’s site (here).
Happy Early Weekend! xo
Today I popped into my favorite flower shop in Lake Bluff, Twigs, for a dose of color therapy on this rainy, 38 degree day. I picked up some flowering cherry branches for my mantel, which reminded me of the pictures I took at The Chicago Botanic Garden last April. I can’t wait for everything to bloom again!
Yesterday’s blustery grey skies created a perfect backdrop for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s jewel toned autumn landscape. Wind gusts scattered leaves along the winding gravel walking paths – a bittersweet reminder of the season’s fleeting beauty.
This weekend during a trip to the Shedd Aquarium, I was struck by stunning visual similarities between a cluster of sea anemones and the peonies I had photographed just days before. Though one is rooted in earth and the other in water, one undulates with sea currents and the other on spring breezes, they share an astonishing sensual beauty.
all photos via the aesthete and the dilettante
ONLY SIX DAYS LEFT! Run to The Art Institute of Chicago to catch “Picasso and Chicago,” an expansive exhibit that explores the integral relationships Picasso had with both the city of Chicago and the AIC. Having interned in the museum education department during college (giving tours to school groups), I was aware of Picasso’s strong presence at the Art Institute, but did not understand the depth and breadth of their affiliation until I viewed this fascinating show last week.
From the Art Institute’s site:
A century ago, in 1913, the Art Institute of Chicago became the first art museum in the country to present the work of a young Spaniard who would become the preeminent artist of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso. This February the museum celebrates the special 100-year relationship between Picasso and Chicago by bringing together over 250 of the finest examples of the artist’s paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and ceramics from private collections in the city, as well as from the museum’s collection, for the first large-scale Picasso exhibition organized by the museum in almost 30 years.
The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 South Michigan Avenue
Open everyday from 10:30-5pm, Thursdays open until 8pm
Picasso and Chicago closes on May 12th