january afternoon

I arrived home yesterday after being with my family in Cleveland for a week. The "currently reading" post that went up last Tuesday had been scheduled in advance, but otherwise the lack of posting was due to the fact that I was traveling, and grieving. My younger cousin Peter, who had been tormented by mental illness for the past ten years, chose to leave this life in search of something better. I still can't think of him without crying, but I am comforted by the knowledge that he is finally free.

It is good to be back home with my husband, and back to work. Emails have piled up. Meetings have been rescheduled. Taxes still need to be finished. Work is good, and keeps my mind occupied. Because the truth is, life goes on. I feel like taking a week to grieve with my family may be considered indulgent in this day and age, but the reality of the situation is... I needed it.

Denver is cold and dreary, much like Cleveland was. I do long for a bit of sunshine and some warmer days, to help me shake this melancholy. Fortunately, I have these pictures, taken January 20th, 2011. Just one year ago, this is how green and sunshiny my back patio was in Los Angeles. I had a snack lunch under the shade of my sun umbrella. Tea and toast on a chilly day in Colorado isn't quite the same, so I am grateful to have these images to bolster my spirits. Life goes on, and we learn to cope as best we are able...

Back to work!

Images | Styling by Lauryl Lane.


Being in the wedding industry is strange. There will be times, particularly during the winter, when I won't work for two or three weeks at a time. I'll make myself a little bit mad by organizing and re-organizing my home and office and studio... blogging an insane amount, baking up a storm, and then feeling weird because I'm not working. During those times, I have to create work for myself just so I don't feel useless. Not that house-wifely things are ever useless, but I'm a career woman. I need to be working, at least to some extent, or I can get into a serious funk.

There are other times in the wedding industry, namely now, when I feel crazy for the opposite reason. I am so busy that my head is spinning and I've been confusing my events and mis-filing my papers. I always catch my mistakes, but I have to remind myself to slow down and take a little bit of time to relax so I don't lose my mind completely. In the past three weeks I've flown to three different states and driven through eight more. I've been in hot, humid 100 degree temps, comfortable 70 degree temps and chilling 50 degree temps! In the midst of it all, I took an hour out of a recent afternoon to bake some shortbread, brew some tea, and read a chapter of a novel. It was SO worth it. And when I'd drained the last sip of tea from my cup, I was refreshed and ready to attack my work with renewed vigor. For I was also reminded how grateful I am to be busy. Life is good!

I've shared this recipe before, but newer readers may still appreciate it... for me, it never gets old. And the simplicity makes it all the more appealing!

Cranberry-Orange Shortbread

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, sifted
  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt

When the ingredients are well combined and crumbly, add 1 teaspoon of orange flavoring and 1 cup of dried cranberries (I prefer Trader Joe's orange-flavored dried cranberries). Pat the mixture into an ungreased jelly roll pan. Bake at 275 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges.

Isn't this tea-cozy adorable? It was custom-made for me by my mother's good friend, Sandra Dalrymple. She's an incredible mixed-media artist in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I only wish she had a website...

If you're in crazy-busy mode, like me, please take some time to recharge your batteries! Even fifteen minutes away from the phone and the computer on your patio to breath in the fresh air and listen to the sounds of your neighborhood will give you a whole new outlook on life...  I promise you, you won't regret it!

Images | Plant Design | Styling by Lauryl Lane.


The fourth season of Mad Men recently became available for instant viewing on Netflix, and {lovah} and I are obsessed. We'd been having serious Mad Men withdrawals, despite having watched and re-watched the previous three seasons! {lovah} is pretty convinced that he is a "Mad Man," and he likes to tell me that regularly. Admittedly, he sort of is. Entertainment P.R. isn't the same as Advertising, but the environment he works in and the mix of creative & purely-business-driven work that he does really is quite similar to what goes on a Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Minus the drinking at the office... although I'm quite certain he and his coworkers would do that too if they thought they could get away with it! {lovah} has a growing collection of skinny ties, plays 1960's music like it's going out of style (it is out style, right?), and collects vintage decanters. He loves smoking cigars, he loves to dress up, and he drinks his scotch neat. Recently, he moved into a new office, and the first thing he said to me was that he was going to decorate it like Donald Draper's office.

We've found him a perfect lamp and he's painting some abstract canvases (yeah, the guy paints- who knew?). He's planning to take one of his vintage decanters and some rocks glasses to the office (for water, of course!), but he really needed a plant. And what is a Mad Men-style plant? I really wasn't sure, but I decided to go modern, masculine and a little asian-influenced.

If you want to make something similar, this was a snap to put together...

You'll need a ceramic container, a plant, potting soil, large rocks, small decorative rocks or glass, and driftwood or another natural element. First, put a few cups of large rocks at the base of your container, they'll help guard against over-saturation if you accidentally add too much water. Then add some soil, place your plant in the center, and use a small cup to fill in with more soil around the plant's roots. Leave an inch or two of space at the top of the container, and then add your decorative rocks or glass. Add your other "natural element" artistically askance, and voila!!!

What do you think? Is it "Mad Men" enough? Do you have any other ideas for how I can help my {lovah} Mad Men-ize his office?

Image | Plant Design | Styling by Lauryl Lane.