a visit to grammy and grandpa...

I took these images at my Grandparent's winter abode, their San Antonio condominium, three and a half years ago. My {lovah} and I were visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it had been quite a few years since I'd been there, so I wandered around one afternoon, taking pictures of things that I remembered from when I was a little girl, fascinated by all the lovely, fragile items that my Grammy decorated with. My skills with the camera have improved dramatically since I shot these images, but sharing them now seems necessary, cathartic.

My grandfather is dying. He doesn't have long. I plan to be with him soon in Cleveland, to say goodbye, but every day is difficult. My grandmother loves him so much, and I can see her falling apart at the seams as she contemplates life without him. They've been married for over sixty-five years. It seems so unfair to me that they've recently reached such a milestone, only to have it be their last. In between my daily meetings, photo shoots, writing contracts and recipes, sketching design ideas... I spend time on the phone. With my grandmother, my mother, my siblings, my cousin, discussing the inevitability to come. I break down crying, in random moments, while I'm typing at the computer or washing dishes or even in the middle of a morning run.

My grandfather is nearly 88 years old. He's lived a long and incredibly rewarding life. He's touched many lives, saved many lives, during his years working as a neurosurgeon. He's been such a kind and generous grandfather. In fact, he's been like a father to me- giving me advice when he knew I needed it, pushing me to work harder, to follow my dreams. He financed most of my education, an education that I am so grateful for today.

I could go on and on about my Grandpa George, and I'm sure I will, eventually. But for now, these pictures remind me of all the happy times I spent here with them. In the next month, my mother and I will be dismantling this house. It's been sold, my grandparents won't be back. The thought is devastating, but I suppose that all good things must come to an end. Even the lives of those we love.

I thought that I would narrate these images, but it seems unnecessary. My grandmother has very eclectic taste, which I'm sure is quite obvious from the images. She loves chinoiserie, and there are bits of oriental design and art throughout all of her homes. She has a knack for arranging things so that even the most mundane items are aesthetically pleasing. My mother has that knack, too. They both passed that knack on to me. I am grateful. Grateful for the dearest, sweetest, kindest, most wonderful grandparents in the whole wide world, for everything that they have taught me. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for Grammy Laurie and Grandpa George, and I just felt the need to put my feelings out there, into the universe, into the world wide web, so everyone can know how much I love and adore these two beautiful people.


Today marks the 65th wedding anniversary of my maternal grandparents. SIXTY-FIVE YEARS!!! They are now in their mid-80's, and as a couple they have been my role models for a happy, healthy marriage. My husband and I often say that if we can love each other even half as much as Grammy and Grandpa do, we'll be golden.

I love these pictures from my sister Olivia's wedding. Aren't they precious? I wouldn't be the wife, the daughter, the sister, the business woman, the artist that I am today if it weren't for George and Laurie Hoke and the incredible influence they've had on my life. They have shaped my world in every possible way, and I owe them so very, very much.

I know I am blessed to still have grandparents around, and I am grateful for Grammy and Grandpa every single day. My wish today is that they will be granted many more years of health and happiness together.

Images by Alec Vanderboom. Florals 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.

giving thanks

Whew! Has it really been a week since Thanksgiving? I had three visiting family members staying with me for nearly a week, so I'm still trying to get caught up on all the cleaning/laundry that ensues with houseguests. It was really wonderful though, to spend time with my mother and grandparents, and we had such a wonderful, relaxing time together.

We were joined by additional family members, for a total of eleven people around our Thanksgiving Dinner table. They came from Cleveland, Ohio; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Grand Junction and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and we were truly blessed that our family traveled from near and far to be with us on our first holiday in our new home city!

Although we are currently renting a small house, we didn't really have the space for eleven people. So we decided to get creative, and we actually served Thanksgiving dinner in our basement. The biggest room in our basement is long and narrow, and we have it divided into a den on one side and my office on the other, with a wall of curtains separating the spaces. So for Thanksgiving dinner, we moved the furniture to the edges of the room, pulled back the curtain, patched two tables together and covered them with a big tablecloth. We nabbed chairs from all over the house, not to mention the patio, so that we could provide a seat for every bottom. I was a little concerned that it would be too cold in the basement, or too unconventional, but nobody seemed to mind.

When you set a pretty table and ply people with good food and good booze... people tend to be very, very happy. ;-)

There wasn't much space on the table for decor, so I kept things simple with gold glittered trees, arrangements of holiday greens and gold roses, gold pinecone candlestick holders, and some assorted mini pumpkins.

My mother penned some placecards in her gorgeous handwriting, and provided her beautiful pressed-cookies as favors for each of our guests.

It was a lovely holiday. I hope your Thanksgiving was lovely, too. I think I should go eat some leftover pumpkin pie, now.

Images | Floral Design | Styling by Lauryl Lane.

autumnal martha

When Martha arrives, all I want to do is brew a cup of tea and cozy up on the sofa to flip through page after glossy page of stunning images. Martha Stewart Living has been my favorite magazine since I was a young girl. When I was in grade school, our next-door-neighbor, Mrs. Rubottom (if you're reading this, Mrs. Ru, hi!), would pass MSL issues on to my mother after she'd read them. I devoured those issues. Later, my mum got her own subscription and I would often intercept the latest issue before mum even knew it had arrived.

After my college days of reading Cosmopolitan and Glamour (once I realized that I no longer cared about features like "10 Ways to Drive Your Man Crazy"), when I was in my own little apartment with my {lovah}, I got my own subscription to Martha. Although I've subscribed to many other magazines over the years, Martha Stewart Living is the only magazine that I've continued to get consistently, with no lapses. I keep all my past issues, because they are always relevant and I often find myself pulling out all the past May issues for gardening ideas or all the past December issues for holiday decor inspiration. It's good to have a few "constants" in your life. Martha is my "constant."

On an unrelated note, I recently inherited my great-grandmother's gorgeous velvet-upholstered sofa. Every time I walk through the living room and spot this beauty, I think of dear Grandma Vasu and I imagine how pleased she would be to see her sofa in my home.

It's the little things...

Images | Styling by Lauryl Lane.

memorial day weekend

I am still trying to get caught up on business + life after traveling for the past two weeks. For Memorial Day weekend, {lovah} and I drove up to the Bay Area to visit with my family. My oldest sister and her husband are moving back to Berkeley after many years out East, so we went house-hunting with them. It was such an enjoyable, relaxing weekend. Here's a little peek at our adventures, courtesy of my iPhone!

Brunch at Crepevine in Oakland | House-hunting in Berkeley & Oakland | Breakfast (twice!) at Fat Apple's, an institution for my family | Exploring the beautiful Berkeley campus, where my brother-in-law will be teaching | Book-buying at Pegasus in Berkeley (the book thing runs in the family, too!) | A Pear Sage Martini at The Claremont in Berkeley | Watching my Dad compete in the Marin Memorial Day 5k Race!

Images by Lauryl Lane.


Today my {lovah} is home sick. He's been sleeping for the past five hours, and he never ever ever falls asleep in the middle of the day, so I am definitely convinced that he's under the weather. I've been feeding him tea and cookies. And soup. Chicken and Rice Soup. He made that himself. He's pretty good with the soup-making, even when he's not feeling well. I know chocolate chip cookies probably aren't the best remedy for a sick spouse, but they make him happy. So there's that. The Original Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, all the way.

While {lovah} rests, I'm trying to take it easy, too. It's been a ridiculously busy wedding season thus far, and I'm still on antibiotics and trying to recover from my illness last week. We make a sorry pair, don't we?

Hope you are having a nice week and being good to your body. xoxo

Images | Florals |Styling by Lauryl Lane.