Farewell, Summer

September 21, 2011

Summer has come to a close. Fall is here. Winter is not far behind, and I hibernate during winter. So I thought it would be good to recount some of the things I’ve done this summer.

Attended Maifest in Lincoln Square

Visited The Art Institute

Looked out over the city from the Hancock building

Attended Blues Fest

Listened to Music in the Park at Millennium Park

Worked out with the rest of Chicago at Millennium Park

Took pictures of the bean

Watched the face water features at Millennium Park

Enjoyed amazing food at Taste of Chicago

Purchased fresh produce at the Park Ridge Farmer’s Market

Visited Buckingham Fountain

Took in the scenery downtown during lunch time runs

Cooked out with friends

Vacationed in Lake Geneva, WI, and Orange Beach, AL

Joined a book club

Enjoyed a couple of picnics

Spent a couple of evenings on the porch swing with the hubs

Knowing my memory, I’m sure I have forgotten something, but it’s been a busy summer! And I have at least 2 more events on the agenda: a nighttime airplane tour of Chicago and a visit to the Skokie driving range. Then, the hibernation begins! Farewell, Summer!

What fun things did you do this summer?


So last week I started this series on how to make friends in a new place. You’ve probably all been there – a new environment of some sort or another. It can be challenging to meet and get to know new people. I’ve been in this situation for the past year. I picked up and moved my life from Alabama to Chicago. I left my family and my friends there, and I had to find a way to make new friends here. These tips are based on my experience.

Tip #2:  Take advantage of the local flavor.

This weekend I went to a local farmer’s market. (see my fresh strawberries below.)

Fresh Strawberries

I have a wonderful friend who already knew about this special event, and she allowed me to tag along with her and her twin daughters. We walked around, ate free popcorn and sampled other goodies, and bought some fresh produce for the week. (In case you were wondering, I bought spinach, asparagus, a bell pepper, and strawberries.) It was so good to get out and enjoy something this area has to offer with a good friend.

I also went with the same friend to a local park so her twins could run around and release some energy. I took my oversized puppy with us and we snacked on some fresh veggies, potato chips, and yummy dip.

Later that same day, my husband and I met two other couples downtown at Millennium Park for a free concert. We took a picnic and enjoyed each others company for a few hours. It was perfect weather for a picnic in the park!

So this week’s tip is to look up fun things to do in your area and make plans! What a wonderful way to learn more about your town and meet or get to know new people!

Word of the Week:  New

Word to the Wise:  “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God….”  Psalm 40:1-3

Disclaimer:  As I said previously, these tips are based on my own experiences. Take them for what they’re worth.

What fun events are planned in your area?

The Story of You

February 14, 2011

This is the story of one of my readers. Feel free to leave words of encouragement in the reply section. I hope you learn something about yourself by reading the story of someone else.

Her Background

Age:  28
Gender:  Female
City/State of Birth: Rome, GA, but only because Centre, AL, didn’t have a maternity ward in the local hospital; grew up in Gadsden, AL
Current City/State: New Orleans, LA
Marital Status:  Married
Children: No

Her Story

  1. What is the last book you read?
    I just finished a biography called Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller that documents the lives of Carole King, Carly Simon, and my favorite musician of all time, Joni Mitchell. As a reader that normally ignores the biography section of the bookstore, this read is incredible and irresistible. The lives of these three artists are heroic, colorful, & influential.
  2. What is your favorite book?
    No question-Gone with the Wind. I read the novel in the fourth grade, but used to watch the film every Saturday morning when I would visit my dad and stepmom. I’ve seriously seen this movie over 50 times and my husband just bought the blue ray version. In fact, I can quote the first 45 minutes of the movie. I’m such a GWW buff that my mom took me to the museum and home of Margaret Mitchell in Atlanta for my 20th birthday. And naturally, as an English major in college I wrote a paper that argued the work is not a romantic novel, but rather an early feminist movement.
  3. What do you do for fun?
    The motto of New Orleans is “we live to eat” and it’s one I adhere to. I enjoy trying new restaurants and down here there are endless options. In addition to eating delicious food, I have started an Etsy page called Gabby Gumbo that offers handmade, recycled jewelry and other NOLA inspired art. I really enjoy making something out of nothing so this project is high on my fun factor right now.  {gabbygumbo.etsy.com} And finally, traveling. My dream is to have enough money take a year and travel the world, but for now I love taking road trips or mini-vacations and discovering new cultures, lifestyles, and of course, food.
  4. What is your most treasured memory?
    As a little girl I would stay with my nanny (grandmother) during the day while my mom and dad worked. The fondness I have for this time period is incredible. These days were filled with lots of imagination, a purple bicycle, a tire swing, cartoons, cinnamon toast, and playing with her pots and pans.
  5. What causes you to lose sleep at night?
    I lose sleep over pondering what I want to be when I grow up.
  6. How do you define grace?
    I define grace as the essence one radiates through life’s ups and downs. For me this essence stems from a healthy balance of confidence, independence, respect, humor, compassion, happiness, and desire.
  7. Describe an event of grace exemplified in your life.
    During the fall of ’09 I experienced the happiest and saddest moments of my life at once. I married my husband in October, lost my beloved grandfather and learned my mom’s cancer returned in November, and struggled to get through grad school oral exams in December. It was a time of starting new journeys, yet realizing others were changing. I took it one day at a time and through the tears and laughter, I became a stronger woman who cherishes her family and strives to bring happiness to myself and others.
  8. Do you have any parting words for my readers?
    “Remember when you wanted to be.” I saw this quote on a bracelet in an artsy shop in Chattanooga a few years ago. This simple statement has stayed with me ever since. In so little words, it says so much. For me, it’s never letting go of your dreams and realizing that life is too short to not be happy. As my mom always says, “sometimes you just gotta jump off that bridge and go for it.”

Do you relate to this reader? If so, tell her how by commenting on this post. Or follow her on Twitter: @gabbygumbo (shared with permission).

Want to participate in The Story of You? Let me know! I publish posts in this category once a month.

Follow me on Twitter: @hbur3234

Feature Friday

February 4, 2011

Date:  February 4, 2011

Blog: Gabby Gumbo

Author: Whitney

Link: http://gabbygumbo.blogspot.com/

Description: Good food? Check. Good scenery? Check. Good times? Check. Whitney writes about the food, architecture, and fun available on Bourbon Street and beyond. That’s right. Gabby Gumbo is a blog dedicated to Whitney’s exploration of New Orleans! So join the party at http://gabbygumbo.blogspot.com/!

Whitney is also an artist who is inspired every day by the city that surrounds her. Check out her fun, vibrant, New Orleans-inspired jewelry here.