• What We’ve Learned Lately

    What We’ve Learned Lately

    Today we are celebrating the last Friday in April before we move into one of our two favorite months… May ...

Dying to be Me

September Book Picks

We took a little break over the summer from blogging, but are happy to be back just in time for the start of Fall.  And there’s no better way to begin than with one of our favorite topics, books!! There are some great new titles coming out this Fall, but to get you started, the following are some books we have enjoyed over the last few months.

Beartown: A Novel by Frederick Backman

 

From Amazon:

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

Our Thoughts:  This book wrecks you in the best and worst possible ways.  While the story centers around a hockey team it is not really a story about hockey.  It is a story about what privilege can get you.  It is a story about small towns.  It is a story about loyalty, family, friendship and belonging.  It is a story about discovering who you are and what you are willing to stand up for and fight for.  This is a hard story because some rather awful things happen but it is a book that impacts you in all the right ways.

The Lying Game: A Novel by Ruth Ware

From Amazon:

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Our Thoughts:  This is a story couched in mystery.  What happened to the girls so many years ago and who is trying to discover the truth now?  Most of the women in the story have tried to put behind them what they did many years ago.  The bonds of that act have kept them connected and now with the discovery of a body their carefully constructed lives are threatened to be pulled apart.  A good mystery although I did struggle with some of the characters being a little dumb.  The setting lends itself to making even the event more mysterious and the setting ultimately saves many of them from the past.

Lucia, Lucia: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani

From Amazon:

It is 1950 in glittering, vibrant New York City. Lucia Sartori is the beautiful twenty-five-year-old daughter of a prosperous Italian grocer in Greenwich Village. The postwar boom is ripe with opportunities for talented girls with ambition, and Lucia becomes an apprentice to an up-and-coming designer at chic B. Altman’s department store on Fifth Avenue. Engaged to her childhood sweetheart, the steadfast Dante DeMartino, Lucia is torn when she meets a handsome stranger who promises a life of uptown luxury that career girls like her only read about in the society pages. Forced to choose between duty to her family and her own dreams, Lucia finds herself in the midst of a sizzling scandal in which secrets are revealed, her beloved career is jeopardized, and the Sartoris’ honor is tested.

Our Thoughts: Although this is not a new release, Lucia Lucia is the sweet story about the ties that bind an Italian-American family in the early 1950’s. Lucia, is the daughter of a proud Italian father and although she wants to please her family by marrying a childhood friend, she is also struggling to find her own independence. The author had a wonderful way of pulling you into Lucia’s family dynamic and although the book wasn’t very complex, it was enjoyable. The perfect read for a Sunday afternoon.

Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing by Anita Moorjani

From Amazon:

In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body! Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge. As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, Anita had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she’d never even imagined. In Dying to Be Me, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being! This is a book that definitely makes the case that we are spiritual beings having a human experience . . . and that we are all One!

Our Thoughts: Although we don’t do many memoirs, this one was mentioned on several podcasts and as a follower of Wayne Dyer, it was worth checking out. It was an inspiring story of Anita Moorjani’s struggle with fitting in not only with society, but also her family’s cultural expectations, followed by a cancer diagnosis and near death experience which she shares in detail. It is a lovely book about life and living it on our terms, rather than the expectations of others. 

We’d love to hear what you all have been reading lately. Enjoy this first weekend of Fall!!

~May and June

“If the crowns of all the kingdoms of Europe were laid down at my feet in exchange for my books and my love of reading, I would spurn them all.” – François Fénelon

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Sharing Summer Meals

When the weather outside is sizzlin, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time slaving in a hot kitchen. I generally don’t have a big appetite for heavy meals and meaty dishes, and I like to keep summer food prep a little more simple. My daughter, Nicole, and I recently tried out this yummy recipe for vegetarian tacos. Although I’m sharing the recipe below, I was thinking about how enjoyable the actual process of creating a meal is when you do it with someone special. I have so many fond memories of cooking or baking with my mom, grandmother, children, friends and husband. This past Christmas Eve, our family was in several different locations, so my hubby and I decided to make a special dinner together at home, and we had a wonderful evening. There are so many memories to be made right in your own kitchen! Now, back to the tacos. There was a little prep required, but with some cool background music, a little wine, and great conversation, dinner was on the table in no time. I love how versatile this recipe is too!

Vegetarian Tacos

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 poblano pepper, diced

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tabs. fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving

Sea Salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1/2 lb. medium carrots, cut into 3″to 4” sticks

1 tsp. ground cumin

8 whole grain tortillas (you can also use taco shells or flour tortillas, your preference)

Toppings:

Sliced avocado

crumbled goat or queso fresco cheese

chopped cilantro

sliced black olives

radishes

broccoli slaw

salsa

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Add onion, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add chili powder and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add black beans and 1/3 cup water. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until thickened. Mash beans with the back of a spoon or potato masher until thick, then stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, toss carrots with cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast turning occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes, until carrots are tender. 

Divide beans and carrots between taco shells or tortillas. (We warmed our tortillas in a pan.) Finish with toppings, a squeeze of lime and enjoy. We made a tossed salad as a side. 

Enjoy and have a great week!

~May

“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.” Maya Angelou

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What We’ve Learned Lately

Well, it’s official. We have entered the dog days of summer. Store aisles that have been filled with coolers, beach towels, and gardening tools the last few months are now stocked with pencils, spiral notebooks, and other school supplies, ready for a school year that is quickly approaching. We know the pumpkins are next! With that said, we’re not quite ready to say goodbye to the long days of the season just yet, and here are a few things we’ve learned this summer.

It’s nice to take a vacation from healthy eating and our workout routine, but always a bit painful getting back on the wagon.  Summer tends to lend itself to getting out of your eating and workout regime, so give yourself a bit of a break knowing that you will make up for it when the regular schedule of life resumes.

For those of us who are very structured with our schedule (May and June), it’s ok to take a break, re-evaluate, and try something new. Remember, change is healthy and can even open new doors.

If you’re not already in one, join a book club or start your own. You will get an opportunity to read something you wouldn’t ordinarily pick on your own, it’s a great place to cultivate new friendships, and of course there’s always great food and wine.

This is a difficult one, we know, but try to embrace adversity. Generally, when something difficult enters our world, it is a tap on the shoulder that a new road is waiting for us. Try to understand what that challenge is teaching us, and go with it. Change always results in growth, even if it is wearisome. 

Similarly, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something that scares you shakes things up.  It may be uncomfortable in the moment, but ultimately the feeling of pride overrules fear.

It is nice to have the house to yourself for a few days, and even better when your spouse comes home.  Absence sometimes makes you remember how much you miss each other.

Chocolate makes everything better.  Indulge (in moderation of course)!

Have a good weekend. –May and June

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi

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Here’s what we’ve been reading in July

Our days have been a little out of control lately around May Meets June.  Summer does that.  Your schedule gets thrown out the window to enjoy the fleeting season.  If you are looking for a little grounding this weekend, though, sitting with a good book may be a good option.  Here are a few books we’ve read lately.  

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Drawing on Queen Victoria’s diaries, which she first started reading when she was a student at Cambridge University, Daisy Goodwin―creator and writer of the new PBS Masterpiece drama Victoriaand author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter―brings the young nineteenth-century monarch, who would go on to reign for 63 years, richly to life in this magnificent novel.

Early one morning, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria is roused from bed with the news that her uncle William IV has died and she is now Queen of England. The men who run the country have doubts about whether this sheltered young woman, who stands less than five feet tall, can rule the greatest nation in the world.

Despite her age, however, the young queen is no puppet. She has very definite ideas about the kind of queen she wants to be, and the first thing is to choose her name.

“I do not like the name Alexandrina,” she proclaims. “From now on I wish to be known only by my second name, Victoria.”

Next, people say she must choose a husband. Everyone keeps telling her she’s destined to marry her first cousin, Prince Albert, but Victoria found him dull and priggish when they met three years ago. She is quite happy being queen with the help of her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, who may be old enough to be her father but is the first person to take her seriously.

On June 19th, 1837, she was a teenager. On June 20th, 1837, she was a queen. Daisy Goodwin’s impeccably researched and vividly imagined new book brings readers Queen Victoria as they have never seen her before.

Our thoughts: If you’ve been watching the PBS mini-series on Victoria, this book pretty much follows the first several episodes. This historical novel tells the story or Queen Victoria’s first two years as an unexpected successor to the throne. It was definitely a coming of age story as a reigning queen and add to that, the often times funny romance with her future husband, Albert. An enjoyable read.

 

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopelessly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers (all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework) and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and finds herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes… and work out exactly where her future lies…

Our thoughts: May and June are both fans of Jenny Colgan’s novels. She writes the perfect story if you’re looking for a little escape to someplace beautiful, want a little romance, and of course, delicious food. We love that their are always recipes in her books. This takes place in a little coastal town in Scotland where the main character, Flora, must return to her home town for work and has to confront past conflicts with her family. Oh, and she is hopelessly in love with her boss, Joel.

 

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

 

Can you miss something you never had?

Jubilee Jenkins is no ordinary librarian. With a rare allergy to human touch, any skin-to-skin contact could literally kill her. But after retreating into solitude for nearly ten years, Jubilee’s decided to brave the world again, despite the risks. Armed with a pair of gloves, long sleeves, and her trusty bicycle, she finally ventures out the front door—and into her future.

Eric Keegan has troubles of his own. With his daughter from a failed marriage no longer speaking to him, and his brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son attempting telekinesis, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. So when an encounter over the check-out desk at the local library entangles his life with that of a beautiful—albeit eccentric—woman, he finds himself wanting nothing more than to be near her.

Our thoughts:  This book made you root for the heroine.  She has had such a hard life because of her allergy and her mother.  It made me wonder what it would be like to be afraid to be touched by any other person or risk your life.  It would be isolating and we take small touches from our loved ones for granted.  The ending is very satisfying and makes you smile through some tears.  And, of course, we always love a book set in part in a library.

Have a good weekend.  Enjoy the season for all that it is and maybe enjoy some lazy days. –May and June

There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs.  -Henry Ward Beecher

 

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What Is Your Yoga?

I can’t believe it’s Monday again! Is it me or does it feel like time keeps moving faster and faster? I often find when there is a lot happening in my life at one time, I start to feel a little off and need to move inward. For me, it’s about staying connected to the ancient practice that always brings me back to a feeling of balance. 

The word yoga means “union”. For me, it is a conscious connection to something such as my body, breath, mind, spirit or environment resulting in a feeling of peace and contentment. For years, my yoga was on my mat and involved a physical practice of asana (movement) where I pushed my body into postures worthy of a magazine cover. At that time in my life, my bliss came from being in my body and I always felt a sense of calm and peace when my practice was over. My physical practice, although it has gone through adjustments over time, is still a large part of my life, but I’ve also discovered other ways of achieving that yoga experience, or connection if you will. 

My yoga is connecting to my breath. Do you ever take a moment throughout your day to simply stop, close your eyes, and truly be with your breath? If you don’t, you should try it. In fact, let’s do it right now. My guess is if you’re reading this you are in a seated position, so close your eyes, bring your awareness to the touch of breath at your nostrils, inhale to the count of four, then exhale to the count of four. Do this ten times and then open your eyes. Do you feel a little calmer? Deep breathing relaxes the central nervous system, which in turn reduces tension in the body and calms the mind. I recommend doing this when you wake up, mid-day, and before you go to bed. Trust me, it works.

By the Light of the Moon

My yoga is spending a little time in what I call sacred space. Is there someplace you like to go for a few moments of solitude? I love the beach during the off season. There are fewer tourists, the kids are back in school and it is so nice to sit and listen to the  sound of the ocean. I also love to sit on my favorite bench in a secluded church yard where I can connect with nature. It’s a lovely spot to meditate or read a book. I always tell my students to enjoy a few moments of quiet time each day, even if it is simply taking a short walk. Of course you can always create a sacred space in your yard or home. 

My yoga is disconnecting from my mobile devices. This is a big one. In fact, I could probably write an entire post on the negative impact of social media, but for now, I’ll stick with simply taking a break from it. Last week my daughter, Nicole, came for a visit, and we had a chat about how attached we are to our phones. She is a soon to be twenty year old college student who will regularly deactivate many of her social media accounts to take a break from all the noise. We spent a day at the beach and purposely left our phones in the car so we could  be completely engaged with one another and our environment. No, there weren’t selfies of us posted on Instagram, frolicking on the beach documenting our day. In fact, at one point, we realized we had no idea what time it was, and didn’t care. We had a lovely day of uninterrupted time together that will forever remain between us. We were completely in the present moment. It made me realize how much I miss that. While Nicole and I were at dinner one evening, she went to the rest room. Now, how many of you would take that opportunity to go on your phone to read the latest “fake news”, check Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or emails? We both kept our phones in our purses and while she was gone, not only did I notice the charming surroundings in the restaurant, I also saw many diners either on their phones, or saw phones sitting on the table. I often see men and women pushing strollers while they are on their phones, or they are on their phones at the park while their children play by themselves. I’ve seen someone step off a curb and fall because he was on his phone, and even though it’s illegal, people still text while driving……all the time. What is happening to us?! Now, I realize there are a lot of great things about social media, but do we need to be informed 24 hours a day? I truly feel we would all benefit from taking regular breaks to allow our brains the opportunity to power down and settle into stillness. In fact, I think it’s vital to our well being. I have cut way back, I don’t miss it, and I am happier for it. If we are always on our phones, how can we have that yoga connection with those we love or ourselves for that matter? I challenge you to curb the amount of time you spend on social media, and see how you feel. 

My yoga is living in the present moment. Let’s not dwell on the past, it’s gone. Let’s not worry about the future, it’s not here yet. Let’s fill ourselves with gratitude for today.

Have a great week ~May

“Yoga is the space where flower blossoms.”

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Discovering a Museum Gem – The Chicago Botanic Gardens

We are blessed in Chicago with a plethora of renowned museums, but I rarely visit any of them.  I think it is a function of taking them for granted because I live here.  Also, as an introvert, I don’t find them particularly relaxing.  There is a lot of noise and crowds and I feel like I need to comprehend every piece of information that is presented to me.  I leave most museums filled up, but also exhausted.  However, I recently discovered (or rediscovered to be more accurate) a museum of peace and beauty at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

A friend of May Meets June (who is also our wonderful blog designer) works at the garden which put them back on my radar.  The Chicago Botanic Gardens are located in the northern suburbs of Chicago and a short car ride from my home.  

I have always loved gardens although I am not a gardener myself.  I love to look at other people’s gardens.  My grandmother always had a beautiful flower garden with lots of cutting flowers, which one of these days I may try and replicate.

My mom and I visited on my birthday.  We enjoyed the beautiful plants and flowers, and had a refreshing lunch with a glass of wine under a canopy of green trees overlooking the blooming rose garden.

This museum felt peaceful.  There were people and there was information about the plants to read which could have overwhelmed me.  Instead, though, being in a beautiful natural setting just exuded calm and was refreshing.  Rather than a museum it felt like a giant park.  

If you have botanic gardens in your area, I suggest you check them out for a moment of beauty.  They may be a gem for you to discover.  Your soul and spirit will thank you. -June

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

 

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My Current Shoe Love

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. I know many of you, including us here at May Meets June, took a little extra time off last week for the 4th of July holiday. We are into the middle of summer and here in the south, it is very steamy. I can’t walk outside without my sunglasses fogging up and it only takes minutes before beads of sweat begin to form on my body. I was warned and all I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning!! My current wardrobe on these sultry days is usually a […]

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Celebrating the 4th of July

With the long 4th of July weekend ahead, we are looking forward to celebrating our country’s birthday by taking in a town parade, attending a festival or two, having a backyard BBQ with friends, and of course it wouldn’t be the 4th of July without fireworks. Today, we have put together a perfect treat that everyone will enjoy, as well as a table centerpiece to make your home a little more festive. Let’s face it, one treat that everyone loves is a dessert with chocolate chips. Instead of a classic cookie, May decided to make chocolate chip cookie bars for […]

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Things I Know To Be True – Birthday Reflections

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday.  My birthday often makes me reflective.  I am neither young enough or old enough to be proud of my age.  So let’s just say I celebrated the anniversary of my 29th birthday again.  In honor of that, here are 29 truths I have discovered.  Not all are easy to remember, but always good to keep in mind. All moments in life are temporary.  In moments of discomfort or sadness or pain, it is difficult to remember this fact.  Some moments in life last longer but eventually time moves forward.  The one thing […]

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Enjoying the Calm

These last six months, I have lived somewhat out of my comfort zone. I have been traveling between houses preparing one home to be put on the market, while creating a comfortable space in the new one. I have also spent a lot of time away from my husband and the security of what has been our home life.  Although I am feeling more settled and connected to our new digs, I still find comfort in the place I have called home for so many years. I will be traveling back to Chicago over the 4th of July holiday, the […]

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Beach Reads

This week we celebrated the first official day of summer.  So, we can’t think of a better time to check out some summer beach reads.  Beach reads are a little tricky.  On the one hand you want to read something that is light and fun that doesn’t contain long involved prose and themes, but on the other hand you don’t want something that makes you feel like your brain is slowly melting due to stupidity.  There are a few tried and true authors that almost always write a novel that fulfills this requirement.  We have also included a few other […]

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Summer Porch Refresh

I have probably said this a hundred times here, but our screened in porch is by far my favorite room in our house.  Sitting on a porch simply feels like summer.  This time of year I enjoy listening to the rustle of the leaves, feeling the hot breeze and the sunshine, especially on this first day of summer.  As the summer progresses, the insistent music of the cicadas becomes the melody on the porch.  Life just seems easier and slower when I sit on the porch.  I wish I could spend all my summer days there. However, after looking around […]

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Author Series- Lisa Wingate

This summer, I have been enjoying a wonderful author series here in South Carolina. It’s put on by Blue Bicycle Books, a locally owned book store in the heart of downtown Charleston. This month, it is showcasing new releases from southern authors. For me, it is a wonderful opportunity to share a meal with like minded friends at a popular Charleston location, and even make a few new ones. Recently, author Lisa Wingate joined us for lunch and presented her new historical novel Before We Were Yours. This story is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals. Georgia […]

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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About June

Today is June’s Birthday…..Happy Birthday, June!! You have another year of wisdom to carry with you as you continue your journey on this crazy road called life. Today is part two of our Everything You Wanted To Know About Us series and the following is my recent interview with June. May’s comments are in  red italics. Stats: I am married to Tom and we are parents to a lovable golden named Gatsby. I have been a practicing attorney in the city of Chicago for longer than I care to discuss, and have a great little blog called May Meets June. Since […]

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Five Ways to Beat the Heat

This week, the weather in Chicago feels like someone’s turned on the furnace full-blast! Our summers often come in this way.  We go from cold to hot overnight.  However, temperatures in the mid-90s is unusual for us in early June.  Yesterday evening my car thermometer read an outdoor temperature of 98 degrees!  I wonder if this portends a hot summer? I personally love the heat (I’ll take it over any day in January) but even I have my limits.  Here are five ways to beat the heat.  Air Conditioning.  Truthfully, I am not a huge fan of air conditioning.  I […]

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Last Minute Dessert Ideas

Now that school’s out and summer is here, we are all enjoying the warm temperatures and longer days. Summer is definitely the season for last minute backyard get togethers with family and friends. Since I love to bake, dessert is usually what I bring to these social gatherings. For a planned event, I love to browse through my recipes to find something perfect depending on the season and number of guests. Sometimes though, if it is a last minute potluck, I often don’t have the time to plan and shop, so I depend on some staples that I always try […]

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Summer Dresses For Everyday

Although summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, school is out, temperatures are warming up, and we are all enjoying the longer days. For us, summer is here. WooHoo!! It’s the season for iced tea,  the pool and the beach, long evening walks, BBQ’s, and of course enjoying the lighter layers that come with a summer wardrobe. May and June are all about sundresses this summer. Not only are they feminine and flirty, sundresses can easily transition from day to evening, they keep you cool, and there are so many styles to choose from. So, if you don’t like your […]

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Free Libraries

Anyone who knows me, knows I love libraries.  While I love the smell of libraries and the hushed atmosphere, I mainly love all of the books.  And I love that I can check them all out for free. As a child, I spent a lot of time at the library.  It was so hard to pick which books would go home with me until my return.  I wanted to take them all home, but sadly my mom only let me check out 10 books at a time.  Should I take home some old favorites or some new yet to be […]

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Our Backyard Makeover

My backyard has always been my sanctuary.  I love to garden and over the years we have slowly turned our yard into a bit of an oasis. Our home in the suburbs of Chicago is in close proximity to our neighbors, and as much as I enjoy them,  I wanted an outdoor space that was private and beautiful. We put up a privacy fence several years ago, and since then have added layers of trees, bushes, a pool, and beautiful flowering plants to the space. We also had room for a vegetable garden. Honestly, I think I’m going to miss […]

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The Cafe by the Sea

Summer Reading- New Releases

Hi everyone and Happy June!! We love this time of year!!! As we head into longer days and warm summer nights, we can’t think of anything better than a page turning thriller sitting out on the back porch with a glass of iced tea,  a sweet love story as we relax in a beach chair with our toes in the ocean, or a great work of historical fiction curled up on our favorite easy chair. Plus, we must not forget that it’s June’s birthday month. We both take our books everywhere with us because you never know when you might […]

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