I just returned from Alt Summit, a business conference for pioneering and rookie bloggers held last week in Salt Lake City. It was unlike any conference I've attended and I look forward to sharing some of the good stuff in my next post. But for now, indulge me for a moment to gush about one aspect of this conference that really stood out. The flowers! They were everywhere, used to creative effect in unexpected places and generally lending a dreamy and luscious quality to the whole event. All of the young lovelies in attendance adorned themselves with flowers and I felt like I was at a midsummer festival in Scandinavia. It was girly and wonderful.
All photos by Justin Hackworth and Brooke Dennis.
That's me in the photograph. It's the day after Thanksgiving and I'm spending the morning in bed with a great book and a cup of Earl Grey. Heaven. I might look a little fuzzy and out of focus but you would too if you had just made three gallons of turkey gravy.
You can't see the title in the photo, but the book I'm reading is one I stole from my fourteen-year-old niece. She might be my new reading soulmate. We were on vacation, pontooning on Green Bay, and I recognized a fellow book nerd when she showed up with a dogeared paperback in hand. All afternoon, she tolerated me leaning over her shoulder until finally, she handed over the book. A generous gesture.
This is the story that Glenda told me: it was a long ago day that Glenda sat cross-legged on the floor of a library in southern California, flipping through a magazine and dreaming girlish dreams. A photo of Jackie Kennedy flashed past and caught Glenda's eye. Jackie was sitting astride a horse, back straight as an arrow and ankles properly flexed, wearing a chic black riding habit that made her look athletic, patrician, and beautiful all at once.
In that moment, Glenda decided that adults shouldn’t get all the good clothes.
On a trip to England this fall, my husband and I rented a small car and very slowly drove on the left through hedgerows slightly wider than my kitchen island to a place in the Cotswolds so quintessentially English, so utterly charming, that our first night, I dreamt I was a flower girl in Kate Middleton's wedding. Not the famously grumpy flower girl. The other one.
Okay, maybe the finger puppet thing has gotten out of hand, so to speak. Perhaps I’ve come unraveled, as it were. Confusing fantasy and reality.
For those new to this blog, my finger puppet family was born a couple of years ago when my own kids gave me grief about posing for a family photo. You can read the original post here. Since then, my finger puppets have traveled the globe, documenting their adventures on Instagram under the hashtag #knittedtogetherforever.
If I'm posing with my finger puppet at a tennis tournament, or atop a mountain in Yosemite, I don't think it's much of a leap to make Halloween costumes for my finger puppet kids.
I don't usually repeat myself on The Bubble Joy but the last post about Ellen struck a deep chord. In the nearly four years that I've been blogging consistently, this essay was by far the most read and most widely-shared. By my metrics, Ellen went viral.
I thought in light of that success, I'd share some behind-the-scenes moments. These are snaps caught with my iPhone.
Which do you think is scarier: speaking to an auditorium full of high school students or running into a bear in the woods? My friend Ellen has done both.
She was in Virginia last week, backpacking the Appalachian Trail with her two hiking mates, Sandi and Rachel, when they came across a bear. The women clicked their trekking poles together and spoke to the bear in normal voices. It turned and walked away.
Later that day, a bobcat passed in front of Ellen on the trail.
I was out to lunch with someone I hadn't seen in a couple years. I asked her, "How's your nephew? The one who lived with you for a while?"
She made a face. "He's shacking up with a woman of questionable character," she said.
"Drugs?" I asked.
"No, she's an exotic dancer." And then she leaned in and said, "But please don't think I'm judging you."
Last summer, we almost bought a farm. It was a pretty place, up in Door County, Wisconsin, certified organic and very well-maintained. The stone and timber house sat nicely on the property, overlooking the horse pasture out front and the barley fields out back. But it was the fence of espaliered apple trees that completely captivated me.
Not that I would have a clue how to prune an espaliered apple tree fence. My mom grew up on a farm in Illinois, but she left for nursing school as soon as she could. She did not pass that knowledge along. Everything I know about farming I learned by reading the Little House books seventeen times. When the grasshopper cloud comes, you are screwed. Also, you can be minding your own business sweeping the dugout floor and by jingo, an oxen hoof will puncture you in the head. And don't even think about eating watermelons planted in the creek bottom.
In London last week, I spent a few afternoons wandering the streets alone while my husband attended meetings. The monuments and museums were grand, and between destinations, the people watching was just as compelling. On a whim, I decided to snap photos of street fashion. Scrolling through my phone after about fifty pics, I noticed a pattern emerge. The stylish ones were mostly men.
It's true. The Dapper Dan of Londontown is everywhere. Well-tailored, well-heeled, well-coiffed. Bespoke jacket. Tight pants. Tighter shirts. Chiseled chins.
Here are a few fun outtakes from last week's photo shoot. I borrowed a plane, a hangar, some luggage, a few wardrobe items, and a wind machine, which you can see me holding in one pic. As usual, my hubbie helped out behind the scenes. It was a fabulous day with a model who loved the limelight. She and her daughter, my famous cousin Natalie, had us laughing so continuously, it was hard for Renn to hold the camera steady!