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Annapolis Lifestyle. Rani Ruby.

{Note to reader: I warned Rani I’d be telling a story this round of bloggage. In true form, she said, “You’d better tell it all.” I won’t. Just one anecdote today and my enthusiastic endorsement for Ruby Rehab and Design and the special woman behind the magic.}

Arrival: 10:45 am.

Weather: High 70’s, no humidity.

Excitement: Hovering at an eight, as our last cancellation was due to doozy of a tale which won’t be shared today.

It’s T minus four on the countdown to summer break. Ruby home is already buzzing, trucks belonging to high school friends, boat restorers and power washers lining the driveway. I dodge the gently spray of bleach water to get close to the house, as Rani walks around from the back, Scout bag full of accouterments on her arm, vase of hydrangeas in her hands. It’s a moving still from Coastal Living. (oxymoronic metaphor never hurt a fly)

Cole falls out of bed mid morning, his high school buddies still asleep in the house, and wanders outside to water’s edge were we are doing a quick headshot session before heading out to capture Rani’s most recent design projects. Rani did not plan for a headshot session. Did you get that? She didn’t even take a shower OR put on makeup. She threw on her beach coverup, some cute earrings, clipped a vase of freshness to take to the new rehab home and was ready to jump in her truck, escaping the chaos of home base.

I insisted. She looked adorable, and I just wanted a couple minutes of her in her happy place. When charming Cole wandered out, I asked him to hop in with his mom. He did it without any hesitation. Peas and carrots, these two.

Rani and I do these shoots regularly. She and I have been friends since we were young girls, and became close during our summers of stock theatre at Theatre on the Hill. I was a little bit older, and felt protective of her . . .especially at cast parties. Paradoxically, I also supplied her wine coolers. Living in the gray, I know.

Fast forward through many conversations, confessions, admissions and struggles.

February 2020.

I have just lost my mom and we are hearing rumors of a health crisis bubbling. Rani is there for my mom’s memorial, pre-shut down, pre super-spreader awareness. We discuss our work shoot scheduled in four days. She wants to reschedule. I assure her that I am fine, and will be in Annapolis as planned. I. am. FINE.

Rani confirms with all the clients and I show up. FINE.

Thing is, I have no camera. A whole bag of lenses, yes. But camera body? Nope.

I knock on the door and the words fall right out of my mouth.

Rani pulls me inside, makes me one of her special espressos, and begins calling her local photographer friends, because . . .well, because RANI.

She finds one friend who is not home, but tells Rani to just go inside and get her camera. All the friends in Rani’s life are like this. . . because RANI.

Rani called in a huge favor to cover my blunder AND she kept me as her photographer.

So, yes, I’ve said it before, Rani is tops as a designer. She uses incredible textures, luxurious wall coverings, muted colors and bold statements to bring the stunning Annapolis waterfront views inside. Becoming more judicious about her time and projects is her summer goal so she can enjoy balance and stay inspired. All this is true, but what is truer is Rani’s heart. She gives grace liberally. She doesn’t have all the answers. She struggles like me and says all the things out loud.

The last thing I’ll tell you about Rani is that each time I leave her, I add to my must have list . . . this time it’s cute raffia earrings and a white linen beach coverup romper with wedge sandals. I mean, come on. How adorable is she?

P.S. Special THANKS to Mike, who is always a sport, open hearted and generous. He’s one of the good ones. His grandfather was a football coach and mentor to my dad. Small town roots run deep. I like it that way.

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