recharging at mount washington

Self-Realization Fellowship 3880 San Rafael Ave. Los Angeles, CA (323) 225-2471

One of my favorite tranquil spots in Los Angeles is the Self-Realization Fellowship on Mt. Washington. The property and Mediterraean-style building of the Fellowship were part of an exclusive hotel over a century ago. During World War I, the building served as a convalescent hospital for solders, but it has been the home of a spiritual community since 1925. The grounds are free and open to the pubic, and despite the close proximity to and view of downtown Los Angeles, it feels like it is completely secluded. The beautifully cultivated gardens are lush and green, and offer many spots for quiet contemplation or meditation. It is a serene respite from the fast-pace of city living.

Images by Lauryl Lane.

san francisco's ferry building

The Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco is one of my favorite places to visit. The last time I was in the Bay Area, {lovah} and I scooted into the city early one morning to browse the Ferry Building and indulge in lattes at Blue Bottle and sugary treats from Miette Patisserie. Later, we met my sister Erica here for lunch since she works right across the street. With yummy sandwiches from Cow Girl Creamery in hand, we claimed a bench overlooking the bay, and watched the ferry boats coming and going. The Ferry Building is full of incredible artisan shops, delicious eats, and sweet gifts from local purveyors. Every time I visit, I discover something new. It's a true marketplace.

Ferry Building Marketplace One Ferry Building San Francisco, CA 94111 (415) 983-8030
Images by Lauryl Lane.

the boulder dushanbe teahouse

By a happy stroke of luck, my friend Erin and I recently found ourselves at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder, CO. We settled in for a light lunch (the greek salad was delicious!) and a repast of tea and scones. We were surprised and delighted by the beautiful architecture and design of the teahouse, which was apparently constructed in Tajikistan as a gift to the city of Boulder. We loved being tucked away into a corner where we could survey our gorgeous surroundings while catching up over our little pots of soothing tea. I even took my {lovah} back a few weeks later to indulge in tea and scones all over again!

Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse 1770 13th Street Boulder, CO 80302 (303) 442-4993
Images | Styling by Lauryl Lane. Shot with the iPhone 4, square images processed with Instagram.

beauty in the heart of texas

The San Antonio Botanical Garden is a veritable playground for nature-lovers. My grandparents spend their winters in San Antonio, and every few years I join them there for Thanksgiving. I tend to forget that Texas is so far south, so the lovely weather in November never ceases to surprise me. I've visited Botanical Gardens across the globe, from Singapore to London, and the San Antonio Botanical Garden remains one of my favorites. From the formal gardens to the plots representing plants native to Texas, this beautiful 38-acre garden reserve is a tranquil place for a long walk with family or friends. It's also home to a yummy bistro and a gift shop brimming with treasures for your favorite gardeners!

Images by Lauryl Lane.

beautiful big bear

Yesterday I awoke to another eight inches of snow. On top of the 2+ feet that still remained from the last snowstorm, everything seems devastatingly snowy to me. I find it both funny and sad how quickly the novelty-aspect wears off. The sun is shining today, so hopefully it will melt, melt, melt the aforementioned snow. In the meantime, I've been going through pictures and remembering times when I was warm!

When I needed an escape from Los Angeles smog (which I now miss, believe it or not!), my favorite excursion was to drive the two hours up into the mountains, and rent a cabin in Big Bear. Whether getting a bit of color on the porch, or sitting in front of the fire on a cooler evening, everything about Big Bear is relaxing. I love the hustle and bustle of urban living, but sometimes it's nice to take a break, breath the fresh air, revel in the beauty of nature, and recharge.

A view like this is a tremendous stress reliever!

And besides my own home, there isn't anything more cozy than a cabin.

Nothing says "relax" like a beer tasting.

Alpine sledding? Sure, why not!

Hiking? Yeah, I dig that!

Taking the ski lift to drink in the gorgeous scenery? Yes, please!

And it's pretty magical to look up at the night sky and see it filled with stars!

Big Bear is a skiing destination during the winter and it's quite lovely to visit then, but I prefer it during the off-season, when it's perfectly sunny and warm, wonderfully green and blue, less crowded, and exceptionally serene.

Images by Lauryl Lane.

last thanksgiving

Last year, my husband and I flew to Cleveland, Ohio, to be with my maternal side of the family for the Thanksgiving holiday. My uncle/godfather hosted Thanksgiving Dinner at his elegant condominium home in a high-rise overlooking Lake Erie. Everything my Uncle puts his hand to is successful, and Thanksgiving Dinner was no exception.

As I posted yesterday about the Thanksgiving Dinner that I hosted at my new home in Denver, I realized that I never posted pictures from Thanksgiving Dinner last year, even though I was recruited to design the floral decor. Better late than never, right? ;-)

I created one very large mixed floral arrangement for the table, using assorted holiday greens, multi-colored roses, alstroemeria and wheat in a stunning silver and glass pedestal vessel.

I also added mini bud-vases down the center of the table with assorted roses and greenery. My uncle and his wife have very classic, sophisticated taste, and my designs were suited to the style of their home and the way they set the dinner table.

As is usual with family gatherings, my mother lent her hand to penning the place cards.

My cousin announced his engagement to his long-time girlfriend over this Thanksgiving dinner, and in September, we all joined them back in Cleveland for the wedding. Holidays and weddings: definitely a few of my favorite things!

Images | Floral Design | Styling by Lauryl Lane.