I started collecting things as a preteen. First it was stickers, and as the years passed I moved on to blue glass bottles, then perfume bottles (still a weakness), Canton, another passion sparked by my grandmother, tiny boxes, and vintage linens. Years ago, I also started a collection of items with a strawberry motif. I've collected vintage strawberry-print napkins at flea markets and antique shops, and when we lived in London, I slowly amassed every item that Cath Kidston created in her sweet strawberry fabric - from children's bags to tiny seat cushions and place mats.
One of the most thoughtful gifts I received from my parents for my birthday this year was a set of handmade bowls decorated with strawberries. Knowing my love of the Cath Kidston print, my mom took a picture of the fabric and emailed it to one of her oldest friends, artist, potter and author, Judy Segal (who happens to be the mother of one of my oldest friends). Judy hand fashioned the tiny bowls, and hand painted strawberries. I was blown away by the thought and the love and care that went into every square inch of each bowl. I love that with each new addition to my collection there is a meaningful story and special memories.
Photographs thanks to Tiia Norsym
A table setting with Judy's pieces mixed with vintage linens and Cath Kidston
A Cath Kidston seat cushion
Judy's daughter, Christine, in the middle, and me on the right
The leaves are starting to turn and the weather is slowly getting colder in Chicago. As much as I love the beauty and crispness of Fall, I already miss the flowers, warmth and carefree feeling that summer brings. Here are a few snippets of our summer that included three trips back East, a kid-free night away at a friend's place in Michigan and lots of outdoor fun in the city.....
A beautiful wedding in York, Maine
An exciting perfume project
My travel companions
Quality time with the grandparents in Boston
Dancing in the rain in Cambridge, steps from where I attended preschool
A peaceful ride on the swan boats in the Boston Public Garden
A visit with old friends in Connecticut
The sunset from our friend's home in Michigan
Music and a mini potluck at Ravinia
Berry and veggie picking
Beautiful views from our rooftop
Lots of dining al fresco
Sun set on the water
A Maine Wedding
At this point in my life, the real friendships that I have formed over the years are those that I cherish the most. The people you know you can count on no matter what, who would be at your side in a heartbeat if you need them. Some are relatively new friends, and others are lifelong, childhood friends who have been there for as long as I can remember. Regina, who has remained a steady presence in my life since fifth grade, is one of those people. In June, she married her soulmate Mark in York, Maine, and I was incredibly honored to stand beside her as a bridesmaid.
The ceremony was incredibly personal from start to finish. The bride's brother, Neil, officiated the ceremony at the lovely and historic York Golf and Tennis Club. Literally every single detail had a special meaning attached. The couple was married under an arbor built by the groom from driftwood that his family had collected from the beach over the course of the year (Mark's adorable nephews even took part). The box that held the programs was made by Mark's grandfather, place-card holders came in the form of hand painted shims made by the groom, and the calligraphy was done by our high school classmate, Margaret. The image on the wedding program was a mural painted by a local artist in the 80's, and it has a very special significance to Regina. Ten years ago, the bride had a vivid dream of a very specific bucolic landscape, an image she never forgot. When she walked into Foster's (where the rehearsal dinner took place) for the first time, she stopped in her tracks when she saw the image she remembers vividly from that dream. If that isn't a sign that this union is meant to be, then I don't know what is!
The flowers were ikebana inspired in honor of Regina's grandmother who practiced the Japanese art of flower arranging every day after traveling exensively in Japan (Regina also lived in Japan and is fluent in Japanese). The arrangements, consisting of wild orchids, succulents, driftwood and moss, beautifully reflected the wild nautral beauty of Maine. Guests were given local taffy from The Goldenrod, which first opened in York, Maine in 1896, adding a sweet touch to the reception.
We ate, mingled, danced and sipped Maine Breezes until we were the last guests standing. Surrounded by friends and family and personal treasures, the couple's love was palpable. It was a magical weekend.
* All photos courtesy of Geneve Hoffman Photography (except the final three that I took!)
The couple under the beautiful arbor that Mark created
I loved the combination of the soft white flowers with succulents
Marks and Regina's hand made sign and a crate full of local taffy
Our bridesmaids bags held a beach cover-up, flip flops, a small tote, a silver bracelet, and an embroidered handkerchief.
Regina wore her sisters veil
We all took turns watching the guests arrive before the ceremony
The beautiful flower girls in sweet polka dots