running through the garden, i’m running in brilliant colors

I finally made it out to the Chicago Botanic Garden on Sunday to really see what my DSLR can do! How have I lived 10 minutes from this garden for 4 years and never set foot in it before? It was a great day for picture taking, and boy was I a shutterbug! I took over 500 pictures, which I cut down to under 400 after deleting some duplicates.

How can I choose only a few to showcase? Let me start with a montage of flowers:

These tiny thumbnails don’t do these flowers justice. Check them out in larger view on Flickr.

The garden was sprawling, with paths every which way and themed sections like the Japanese garden, English walled garden, aquatic garden, rose garden, waterfall garden, etc. Here are some highlights:

By the afternoon, I was too busy shooting everything around me to notice that I was starving… until I came upon the fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens!

There were even plenty of creatures to photograph – if they stood still long enough. I wasn’t afraid to get close to the bumble bees – with all the flowers around, I knew they’d leave me alone!

(Can you spot the fake birds?)

Seems that I found my new favorite place to visit – a not-so-small oasis in the middle of the suburbs!

bring your good times, and your laughter too

This past weekend brought out the whole family for Jeff and Heather’s wedding in Columbia, MO. Good times were had by all – lotsa family means lotsa dancing and fun.

Even the little girls joined in!

Giving our best gangsta faces. That’s how we roll.

The next day, the newleyweds opened gifts and then we all gathered at Hail Ridge golf course for a cookout and a little bit of golf, despite the heat.

Max tries for a birdie but decides he needs a smaller club.

We then drove out to Lake Ozark where I spent only one day before heading back to Chicago for class. But we packed our day with tennis, jet-skiing, swimming, and a nice dinner out!

try to set the night on fire

To celebrate Drew’s birthday, we tailgated at the Chicago Fire game vs. Toronto this past weekend. The rain held off for our cookout of burgers, dogs, and brats – and of course my mother-in-law’s famous homemade birthday cake! It was Blanco bobble-head night – even though the bobble-head looks nothing like him. Luckily, for the first time spectators, the Fire didn’t disappoint! Rolfe scored early in the game and then Thorrington scored in bonus time through the goalie’s legs to win it 2-1! GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!

Lined up in our second row seats ready for the game!

Blanco decides where to put his corner kick.

Mapp holds off his opponent.

touched down in the land of the delta blues

Spent a relaxing, long weekend in Tennessee visiting family for the 4th of July. We hiked a bit at Ozone Falls near Spring City and spent the rest of the time relaxing in and around Watts Bar Lake. We did a lot of eatin’, drinkin’, and chillin’ – my kind of vaca!

My cousin’s two cutie-patootie kids (Brighton and Natalie) joined in on the fun!

Traveling back via a flight from Nashville was uneventful for us, but Lisa and BK were not so lucky. After numerous delays, rebookings, and taxiing, they finally arrived back in NY 18 hours late!

In other news, congratulations are in order for my friends Stefanie and Adam who got engaged this past week during their trip to Sonoma!