I read somewhere once that the best way to ensure your garden grows well is to ignore it. Basically saying that if you spend too much time pruning and fussing over your plants it may impede their growth. Well, I certainly ignored my garden recently when I left for vacation with no plans to have it cared for or watered while I was away. I was hoping for a couple of summer thunder showers to keep things watered as to not feel too guilty. It worked. I returned home to find a thriving garden with lots of green and some good growth – including a bunch of tomatoes, peppers, and green beans, with plenty of squash and eggplant blossoms. As a bonus, my fig tree is still going strong with a bunch of budding fruit. I can’t wait for the summer’s bounty.

Here are a few shots I took of the garden – click the thumbnail to enlarge:

I mentioned yesterday that I took a day trip from Boston to Salem, MA on the ferry, and it was great fun. One of our last stops before hitting the return ferry, was Jean Louis Pasta Shop. This shop is one of those places you see and you have to stop into. The shop is small, but has all the great things you need to make a stellar meal – starting with the pasta.

About Jean Louis Pasta Shop in Salem, MA:

“Offering unique creations prepared by the hands of two food-obsessed individuals. We offer over 35 flavors of dried pasta, an ever-changing array of ravioli, and a diverse selection of gluten-free and organic pastas, olive oils and wine infused sauces.”

Lynda bought some chocolate pasta which is perfect for a special dessert – think ice cream instead of tomato sauce topped with fresh berries.

Jean Louis Pasta Shop is located at 84 Derby St. in the historic city of Salem, Massachusetts.

While on my vacation to the Boston area, my friend Lynda and I hopped on the Boston to Salem ferry for a day trip to that historic city and it was great. In fact, I will be making several posts about all the great stuff we found there.

First up, is the gallery of artist Paul Nathan, whose whimsical comic art style was a fun and refreshing find.

Paul Nathan’s gallery is located at 159 Derby Street in the great historic city of Salem, Massachusetts.

I lived in Boston for much of my adult life, having moved there for college. I love the city and spent a lot of time exploring every part of it. This week I was excited to come back to Boston as part of my early summer vacation and it was like coming home. The great thing about a historic city like Boston is that much of it stays the same and is still there no matter how long you are away or how much it grows. However, Boston is also a vibrant 21st Century metropolis and there is always something new and exciting to check out. So it was great to see the city I love and see how it is changing. It also brought to mind a great book I have paged through a million times, Boston Then and Now by Patrick Kennedy.

About Boston Then and Now by Patrick Kennedy:

“With photos that span 150 years, Boston Then and Now shows how the largest city in New England has adapted to change as it has grown. Many of the key places in the Revolutionary struggle are featured in the book, including Boston Harbor, Paul Revere’s house and Dorchester Heights, from where George Washington threatened the British garrison.The book shows how the Big Dig has transformed the city, which despite the march of the 21st century has managed to preserve a large part of its remarkable history.Sites include: Boston Light, USS Constitution, Bunker Hill Monument, Old North Church, Charles Street Jail, Scollay Square, Union Oyster House, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, Dock Square, Old State House, Massachusetts State House, Boston Common, Old South Meeting House, Long Wharf, South Station, Liberty Tree Site, Copley Square, Boston Public Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Fenway Park, Kenmore Square and Cyclorama.”

Boston Then and Now makes you appreciate the past while embracing the present of this great city – and it offers me the opportunity to get my Boston fix any time while I am homesick out here on the Kansas prairie (just across the river from the great city of Kansas City, MO.

Boston Then and Now by Patrick Kennedy is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

I love unexpected wall ornaments. However, I have never seen anything quite like the Midnight Blue Elephant Head I found from the fine folks at Chango – which is perfect for any home and won’t harm any animals. Well, unless it falls off the wall onto your cat or something.

About the Midnight Blue Elephant Head from Chango:

“These playful animal mounts come in modern neutrals (misty white, midnight blue, and grey). They add depth to a gallery wall, and can serve as hooks for jewelry in the bedroom or hand towels in a child’s bathroom. Each is handmade from jacaranda wood and then hand painted. There are two keyholes in back for easy hanging.”

Find the Midnight Blue Elephant Head from Chango here.

Visit Chango online here.

I am back from my early summer vacation to Chicago and New England and have tons of stuff to share in the coming days. In the meantime…

…I am always looking for the perfect platter for serving my guests my well curated charcuterie selections – which is why I love the Black Walnut Serving Platter I found from the fine folks at Turnco Wood Goods.

About the Black Walnut Serving Platter from Turnco Wood Goods:

“Serve in style. Soft cheeses, spread, or olives in the bowl, and crackers, breads and hard cheeses plate beautifully on the Walnut that surrounds. Makes a perfect housewarming or wedding gift!”

Find the Black Walnut Serving Platter from Turnco Wood Goods here.

Visit Turnco Wood Goods online here.

Last weekend I visited the great Randolph Street Market Festival in Chicago, a monthly market that has all elements of a great market: vintage items, art, music, food and fun people.

About Chicago’s Randolph Street Market:

“The Randolph Street Market Festival is home to the world-renowned Chicago Antique Market, Indie Designer Market, Modern Vintage Chicago and the Holiday Market. As seen in Travel & Leisure, the NY Times, Lucky Magazine and featured on TV news shows and web casts, the Randolph Street Market Festival is considered “a mecca of cool”, “the best hot spot for antiquing”, “the best Chicago venue for people watching”, and “the Barney’s of Vintage”. Celebrity designer Nate Berkus says, “I love this market…the quality is incredible!” As one of Chicago’s most happening monthly parties, Randolph Street Market has become the summer destination!”

Plan you trip and check out the Randolph Street Market’s schedule here.

Here is a small gallery of some of sights of the Randolph Street Market I spotted on my visit (click thumbnail to see the full photo).

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