blue-eyed beauty in the bluebonnets

The Texas Bluebonnets have been in full bloom here so we took advantage of a sunny, but windy Sunday afternoon to take some pictures of Harper. Apparently, it’s a pretty popular thing to do here. The field near our house was chock full of cute families posing for pictures. There were even people posing with their dogs. We rode our bikes down a trail from our house to a nearby park with a big open field of Bluebonnets and by the time we got there, Harper wasn’t in the mood and didn’t feel like sitting by herself in the middle of a field of flowers, but she warmed up after a few minutes and ended up loving it! I think this may become an annual tradition!

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

Harper in the Texas Bluebonnets

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are the voices in your head calling, gloria?

A couple weekends ago, on another hot afternoon, we decided to hit up the Austin Museum of Art Laguna Gloria. We had visited the downtown AMOA back in June where they have a Herman Miller exhibit. This museum, situated in the west hills right on the lake, has more of an outdoor appeal. The museum itself has very few pieces of art – it’s more about the 1916 Italian-style villa on the property and the nature walk along the water. It was stunning. Naturally, they host a lot of weddings.

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

We walked along the path until we couldn’t stand the heat anymore.

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

AMOA Laguna Gloria

This will be a great place to bring visitors, but I think we’ll do it in the fall or spring. Summer is just too brutal.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Gloria” by Laura Branigan

take a walk when autumn comes to town

We enjoyed an unusually warm couple of November days last weekend in Chicago, but due to recent wind/rain, most of the fall leaves have already fallen. Luckily, I took advantage of an equally nice October afternoon a few weeks ago and took a few pictures of the leaves in their just-turned-yellow state. I live right across the street from this forest preserve along the Des Plaines river and had never spent time in it before (except to drive through it to get to work). Glad to know it’s a nice quiet place to take a stroll, just steps from my place.

Fall Leaves

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Autumn Song” by Van Morrison

in an ocean of noise

Yesterday my mom and I took the train downtown to Shedd Aquarium on a lovely July Saturday (finally!) Of course the nice weather brought out the crowds (plus Chicago was prepping for Venetian Night later that night.) Shedd Aquarium on a summer Saturday is chock full of kids and strollers! But it’s cute to see kids squeal when the dolphins swim by the window.

Because I had visited Shedd Aquarium back in December and saw all of the indoor exhibits, we just checked out the newly renovated Oceanarium. While they were renovating, they relocated their Beluga whales to Connecticut for 9 months. We watched the dolphins and Beluga whales practice for their upcoming show Fantasea. Very well trained animals! It’s always impressive to see dolphins jump in unison, and we got to watch the show from above and below the water.

Here are a few highlights from the day:

These little guys weren’t part of Shedd Aquarium, but they were hanging around outside hoping for a fish to get loose.

Check out the rest of the pictures from the day on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Ocean Of Noise” by The Arcade Fire

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!