DSC_0690Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling,

Give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard,

Give me a field where the unmowed grass grows…

– excerpt from Walt Whitman’s Give Me the Splendid Silent SunapplesDSC_0815fieldsDSC_0702apples+tractorDSC_0695_2Our family made its annual trip to the orchard in Wisconsin where we have picked apples and pumpkins for the last nine years.   We couldn’t have custom ordered a more magnificent day for taking a hay ride, gathering apples, and enjoying hot cider and doughnuts.  Ida Reds, Macouns, Granny Smiths, Cortlands, and Jonathans now sit in two overflowing half-bushels on my kitchen counter.  I can’t wait for the first crisp to come out of the oven, filling our house with the scent of warm apples and cinnamon!

It’s Been Quite a Ride

Navy Pier Ferris Wheel

I am ready to close the proverbial door on 2012.  Anyone with me?  It has been a year of great highs and lows both personally and globally, but glass half-full kind of girl that I am, I prefer to reflect on the moments worth celebrating.

One of the highlights of my year was launching this tiny little blog in January.  Talk about a learning curve!  Starting with the retelling of a crazy adventure that was too good to keep to myself, I dove head first into the blogosphere intending to share my, well, my love of life I suppose.  I leave the year much more tech savvy than I entered it and with a clearer sense of where I want the blog to go.  The new format (which I hope you have noticed today!) is part of that focus, and I look forward to bringing you more original images and content that take advantage of this clean, wide, streamlined layout.

my dressing room

February brought what continues to be my most widely read post.  From India to Indiana, it seems women everywhere are still searching for the perfect nude pump.

sleeping sails

Beautiful and unexpected weather visited Chicago in March, bringing runners and revelers to Lake Michigan months early.

 upside down chick

A visit to The Museum of Science and Industry on the last Saturday in April taught our family  a lesson about Perseverance.


In May I counted celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom as one of my greatest blessings.

mini carrot cakes

I also leaked her closely guarded carrot cake recipe.

sharpie triathlon tattoo hugs

Ah, June.  My first triathlon was a great high and horrible low all at once, and because of that I walked away with tremendous gratitude.  And exhaustion.  Thank goodness my little sister sharpied our  favorite expression on my arm before the race because I almost sank  and think it may have saved me!


sea turtle

A trip to Kiawah Island in July brought us close to creatures big and small.  Witnessing the journey from shell to sea for a group of loggerhead turtles is something I will never forget.

Lucy Vincent Beach


fishing nets

the bare essentials

Martha’s Vineyard in August was the best part of summer.  Exploring Lucy Vincent Beach, fishing with Captain Tom Langman, and wandering Menemsha were highlights of the vacation.


September brought autumn’s arrival.

apple picking

And October, a trip to the apple orchard in Wisconsin.


And my 40th.  Yes I’m fussing with my candles.

The Sartorialist

Fashion blogger and photographer Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist came to Chicago for a book signing in November.

peppermint bark

ginger cookies

Cookies and chocolate were all over December – just ask my poor neglected bathroom scale. Which brings us to the New Year.  Resolutions or no resolutions?  I’m already working on my list….

All images via the aesthete and the dilettante

Apple Season

Our recent apple picking trip left me dreaming of a fall-inspired weekend gathering with apples taking center stage.

I’m not sure how it will start (possibly with this apple brandy and cider cocktail), but I know it’s going to end with this warm maple syrup glazed apple crostata and the requisite topping of vanilla ice cream.  That will take at least five or six apples.  Now what to do with the 50+ left in the bushel…

All photos via the aesthete and the dilettante