The Top Five–Photos of 2022

Since all of my other 2022 in Review “Top Five” photo lists have six photos, this one had to also, right? Right?!? I’ve already looked at food, drinks, desserts, and our trip…these are my favorite photos from the past year that aren’t food or vacation related.

I’ve taken hundreds (thousands?) of photos at the Missouri Botanical Garden over the years, but there was something special about this one featuring Henry Shaw’s final resting place in front of his country house:

This photo taken in downtown St. Louis in May reminded me how much I love an urban environment:

Speaking of urban environments, this spring was the first time I’ve visited the Chicago Water Tower in many, many years, and I discovered just how photogenic it is!

That’s a quality shared by the entire city of Chicago…I loved having a bird’s eye view of the city from the Centennial Wheel!

A little closer to home, I really like the beautiful gingko tree outside of our town library, especially in the fall:

Our town is also especially pretty at Christmas:

That wraps up what ended up being my top 30 photos of the year. In light of all of the fun things we did in 2022, I think I should get at least some credit for keeping the number that low!

Sartorial Saturday–The Rare Dirndl Design Studio

Last week, Bunny and I got to visit Erika Neumayer’s Rare Dirndl Design Studio in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago!

It’s a small studio, which is why you need an appointment to visit, but they pack a lot of great items into the space, including jewelry and other accessories, dirndls, blouses, and even their denim lederhosen! You also get a look at the design space, plus some of the special items they’re working on.

While we were there, Erika showed me a poster she had on display at German Fest in Milwaukee at the end of July. You can imagine how tickled I was to see myself featured front and center!

Bunny was searching for a necklace to go with her dirndl (she found a great one that’s just her style!), but I didn’t have anything too specific I was shopping for. I did have something in mind that I wanted but I wasn’t even sure it existed…a fancy zipper pull to add a little extra bling to my dirndls. I was thrilled to discover Rare Dirndl had just what I had imagined! I picked up a beautiful heart and flower design that I can add to any of my dirndls (but I especially like the way it looks with my periwinkle Everyday Dirndl!):

It was so great to tour the studio (we even got to peek in the basement!), do a little shopping, learn about more about the design process, and especially meet Erika, her adorable children who were helping out that day, and Maria, the studio manager, who kindly took our picture:

I’m so glad we got to stop at the studio when we were in the city!

The End of Summer Blow-Out

On Thursday, we chased one last wild hair of mine for the summer, and drove up to Chicago for the day. We had a few goals, starting with visiting Buckingham Fountain, which we didn’t get to do in May…it was just as grand as I remembered it!

The place we really wanted to spend time at, though, was Navy Pier, the last really big thing on my list of Chicago things to share with the Fab Five. We walked all the way around it, and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to do it…it was in the 70s with a beautiful lake breeze!

Seeing the anchor from the USS Chicago is kind of amazing…you just don’t realize the scale of the size of one until you see it for yourself!

The views from the Pier are amazing!

I also finally got to reunite some of my Homes Bracelets with the place they represent…Lake Michigan!

There was no way we could do all of the things, so I picked one big attraction…the Centennial Wheel. It is very similar in size to the Ferris wheel in St. Louis, but the views of the skyline and Lake Michigan are a lot more impressive than anything we have here in the Lou!

We stopped for Rainbow Cones after our ride. I really prefer the original Beverly location, because it has so much character, but the scenery made the five flavors taste even better!

We walked over to Polk Bros. Park just across the street:

We also shared a burger from the Billy Goat Tavern, just so we could say we had one:

And then we walked back through the mall and to the end of the Pier again:

I will never tire of the view!

The other big reason for our trip north was so that Bunny and I could visit the Rare Dirndl design studio, located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, which is a really cool place! We toured the studio, did some shopping, and most importantly of all, got to meet and talk to the designer, Erika Neumayer!

On the way home, we stopped at Portillo’s, as is our tradition:

I’m not going to lie…it was a lot of time to spend in the car in one day (although we certainly had days that were longer on our vacation!), but it was worth it to get to see Chicago one more time before the end of the summer!

Quote of the Day

“The Chicago accent is the night shift, the factory worker, the airport baggage handler. It is firefighters, garbage collectors, and busdrivers. It is bad coffee, the funniest guy in the breakroom, and the six days a week for one day off with your family. It is neighborhood know-it-alls and backseat loudmouths. It is complaining about the weather, the mayor, the city that you love. It is a bbq with family and the first snap of a sausage when you bite into it. If the Chicago accent is ugly, then it is an acknowledgment that work in America is ugly, for nobody works like Chicago.” Unknown

Gone to the Dogs

On past trips to Chicago, we’ve seen a few “K-9s for Cops” art installations around the city…this time, we saw a few more in a place we had never previously been!

I love finding cool public art installations!