So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 28

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my not-so-glam 20-something life. See past posts HERE}

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What Do You Want to Read on My Blog?

First and foremost, my blog is my way of journaling. It’s my scrapbook and my way of keeping “my people” updated on my life. With that said, I would love any feedback on what other content people might be interested in seeing added! Or what have I done in the past, that you would like to see more of.

Please let me know!

In Case You Missed It On the Blog in November and December

  1. A Week in the Midwest
  2. The Road I Traveled: Meet Amanda
  3. Love Letter: To My Family’s Flower Shop on its 30th Anniversary
  4. So There’s That Vol. 27
  5. The Road I Traveled: Meet Zech
  6. The Road I Traveled: Meet Lyndsey
  7. The Road I Traveled: Meet Emily

Welcoming Miss Callie Elizabeth

Richole and I have been best friends since we met in the first grade, so I was so excited when she welcomed her second little bundle, daughter Callie Elizabeth, on December 13 (a week after her due date!) Richole is already a wonderful mama to son Wesley, who will be 2 in March, so I was so happy that she now has one of each! I got to snuggle little Callie when I was home for Christmas vacation when she was just 9 days old!

Girlfriends

December was a bit of a hard month for me (though January is looking to be about the same), but I just want to share that I was so thankful for these girls and their friendship. I chatted a bit in my 2017 year in review blog post about how navigating friendship as an adult can be hard. But these girls were there for me when I didn’t expect it, and its just such a good feeling to have people in your corner, especially when you live so far away from your family and closest friends.

Sunday Brunch.

The Greatest Showman

I am LOVE LOVE LOVED this music! Les Miserables is my favorite musical (and one of my favorite movies), so I was already a big Hugh Jackman fan, but this movie really surprised me. I had seen the previews and thought it looked really cute, but I was pleasantly surprised that I loved it as much as I did. Even my sister, who proclaims often that she hates musicals, said she loved. Because I always like to read up on movies, their back stories and how they were made, I think I loved this movie more knowing that it was a big passion project of Hugh’s (and others) that took more than 7 years before they finally were able to make it. Plus, aside from it being a fun movie all around, it also dives into a few themes that are SO important for people of all ages.

Anyway, until further notice I will be playing the soundtrack on repeat on Spotify.

Home for the Holidays

I had a wonderful 9 days at home in Oregon with my family and friends, including lots of time with everyone’s favorite babe, Sawyer June!

2017 – Year in Review

Recapped my year HERE!

Top 20 Favorite Pictures From My Camera in 2017

Last week on the blog, I rounded up my favorites from my DSLR camera in 2017.

purple orchid with namemark

Favorite Things {in 2017} I Need to Tell You About Right Now

Last week, I also rounded up my new favorite things and obsessions in a new series, which featured Game of Thrones, Trader Joe’s, The Home Edit and more…

insta post

Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.


Shout out to my co-worker and friend Stephanie! These party favors were so creative and cute!

Update: Sawyer can get to her toes on her own now to eat them. (This was a struggle when I was home for Christmas 🙂 )

My Life in Memes

Memes that are speaking to me right now… both thought provoking and just plain funny.


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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Photography, Year in Review

Top 20 Favorite Pictures From My Camera in 2017

This post was actually something that I had thought of doing at the end of 2016, but never made it happen. But after another year of fun experiences behind my camera, I decided I needed to make it happen this time!

I always want to make it clear to others that I don’t think of myself as a photographer. I know a few things from practicing and being a communications professional, but I have way too much respect and admiration for both friends and strangers who take photos for a living, to claim to be anything more than an amateur.

For example, I took my camera out with me when I was feeding cows with my Dad when I was home for Christmas. Dad was taking a bale out with the tractor, which meant that the cows would let me get pretty close. Plus, it had snowed the day before and around mid-morning it was beautiful and sunny, so I just knew I could get some pretty good photos!… And guess who didn’t realize until JUST LAST NIGHT that I never had an SD card in camera the whole time, so all those photos were gone the second after I took them #notarealphotographer.

Regardless, photography is something that I really do enjoy and from time to time some of the pictures that I take aren’t half bad for an amateur (especially when the location is gorgeous).

So, in no particular order, these are my top 20 photos that I took in 2017. I originally tried to just pick 10 photos but it was impossible because of my big trip to Thailand where I saw so many beautiful things!

Enjoy!

“Docked” at a private island on the Andaman Sea near Phuket, Thailand. (More photos like this.)

Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand. (More photos like this.)

Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand. (More photos like this.)

On the Andaman See near Phuket, Thailand. (More photos like this.)

An island snack in Thailand (bananas and purple potatoes). (More photos like this.)

Elephant in Phuket, Thailand. (More photos like this.)

Jim Thompson House in Bangkok, Thailand. Thompson played a big role in revitalizing the Thai silk industry after World War II. (More photos like this.)

Jim Thompson House in Bangkok, Thailand. Thompson played a big role in revitalizing the Thai silk industry after World War II. (More photos like this.)


Flowers at the Pak Khlong Talat flower market in Bangkok, Thailand. (More photos like this.)

Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. (More photos like this.)

Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok, Thailand. (More photos like this.)


Touring a cookie and cracker manufacturer (that uses U.S. wheat flour) outside Bangkok, Thailand, with the 2017 U.S. Wheat Associates South Asia Board Team. (More photos like this.)


Paul Bunyon’s Foot on the hike to Gem Lake near Estes Park, Colorado. (More photos like this.)


Nothing spectacular about the quality of this picture, except that it is hilarious. Thanks Mom 🙂 (Up at Gem Lake near Estes Park, Colorado) (More photos like this.)


This was NOT on zoom! (Up at Gem Lake near Estes Park, Colorado) (More photos like this.)

Hard Red Winter Wheat Harvest in North Central Kansas. (More pictures like this.)

My family pup Jack. (More pictures like this.)

Early morning walk around Phillips Reservoir near Sumpter, Oregon, in the Blue Mountains. (More pictures like this.)

My best friend Megan in the Blue Mountains in Oregon. (More pictures like this.)

Obviously I didn’t take this one myself (thanks Megan!), but I wanted to include it because I really like. In this picture I know I was relaxed, in my happy place (my family cabin in the Blue Mountains) and surrounded by my family and best friend. It is certainly not a perfect picture in many ways, but its very me 🙂

Cheers!

Favorite Things I Need to Tell You about Right Now

Favorite Things {in 2017} I Need to Tell You About Right Now

A few weeks ago I saw a lot of bloggers with posts centering around their “favorite things of 2017.” Most of these posts focused specifically on categories of products like beauty, fashion, home decor, etc. I thought it would be fun to do my own list for the year, but with a little bit of a twist 🙂 These lists also started to make me think of two things: the MTV show that was called “Best of (insert year)” or something along those lines where each episode focused on all of the trends, news, phenomenon’s that were big in pop culture that given year.  The second is a similar series “3 Things You Need to Know About” from a blogger I regularly follow (and you should too!)

So this is my “Best of 2017,” covering what trends I was into, random finds and the things I became obsessed with. I should also add that this post in not sponsored in any way. I just genuinely enjoy it all. I actually I think I might make this a quarterly piece moving forward.

Trader Joe’s

I have become a part of the cult and am volunteering myself to be their poster child. Practically anytime someone refers to Trader Joe’s I have to reign in my excited response of how in love I am with that place. I think it’s important for people to understand that I loathe grocery shopping. In college I would always try to convince my roommates to come with me and to this day I’ll call my mom up to chat while I’m shopping which is always a clear mistake because I can’t actually multi-task. Its also taken me a good portion of my almost-3-years living in the DC area to adapt to smaller weekly shopping trips and balancing my grocery budget out with the fact that you inevitably eat out more while living in the city. But Trader Joe’s has changed all of that. I like the environment of the store, its quality vs. price ratio always shocks me and I just really love so many of the products.  Specifically, for someone who cooks for one and doesn’t like to cook, I really do think that doing the bulk of my shopping there has helped me make healthier decisions, explore a bit more with cooking and has cut down on my food waste. Plus, I love that there are so many random finds that end up being new favorites. I could really do an entire blog post this. But until that time some of my favorites are:

Fresh flowers, candles, Black Cold Brew Coffee (in the can), Citterio Genoa and Provolone snack packs, deli fruit and nut spinach salad, beef tamales (the “handcrafted” ones with 2 in a bag), tubs of soup in the deli section, good AND affordable wine, the fresh asparagus/mushroom/onion mix, fresh pre-made vegetable kabobs, almond butter, steel cut oatmeal, frozen asparagus risotto, frozen vegetable stir fry, olive oil popcorn, scone and muffin mixes, whole wheat toaster waffles, chili lime seasoning

Nickel & Suede Earrings

I honestly can’t remember where I discovered these but I am obsessed! These leather earrings are essentially weight-less, come in a few different sizes and shapes, and I think the quality is great. In their original teardrop style I prefer the medium size. The rose gold pair were my first and their leather is a bit lighter than the others which does tend to make them curl a tiny bit but I’ve just stuck them in a book overnight a few times and they were fine. I have always been into big and flashy earrings, but as I get older I really don’t like when they are too heavy and I like how versatile these are with my clothes. Plus, the couple who own the company started it in their basement in Kansas City, and I am always a big fan of a good small business story. I love them so much I gifted three pairs at Christmas this year.

Game of Thrones

I finally jumped on the bandwagon, and spent about three months binge watching the series. I always knew that it was probably something I would like, but for many years none of my friends were watching it and I typically like to have people to discuss shows with. But two of my best friends finally got in to it and practically drug me along with them. I probably would have finished it a lot more quickly but I took about a three week break after watching the “Hold the Door” episode because I just couldn’t deal…

Harry Styles

Half of you are rolling your eyes at me and the other half is nodding in agreement. I shamelessly admit to jamming to One Direction in the car with my roommates in college, but regardless of your sentiment toward the group, don’t condemn Harry as a solo artist just yet. His debut album is SO SO GOOD! Its soulful with more intricate lyrics, in more of a Lumineers and Mumford and Sons type of way, and you’ll realize that being part of a boy band really didn’t do him justice. My favorites off the album are “Two Ghosts”, “Sweet Creature” and “Ever Since New York.” He also recorded a cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” that makes me think it should have been his song from the start (and I love LBT’s version).

Filly Flair

This spring one of my best friends turned me on to this online fashion retailer out of South Dakota, and now it is one of my favorites. They have a lot of fun dresses, but they also have a great selection of what I consider staples for mixing and matching. I usually find that online retailers aren’t consistent at being true to size, but this one has been the exception so far. Plus, once again, it started as a small business by a woman entrepreneur, which I love and actually follow on Instagram because she engages with her customers there.

All of the items I have from there are not in stock so I can’t show any pictures from the site and this picture is the only one I have on hand of me wearing something from the boutique… which is odd because I practically lived in a basic black tank top dress from there this past summer. So much so that I regret not buying it in other colors too.

The Home Edit

This duo and their company make their living by organizing (mainly famous) people’s lives… you know the magazine worthy Instagram pictures you see of perfectly curated pantries? Yah, they do that, and then offer tips, tricks and products you can buy on their website. But the real reason I am obsessed with The Home Edit is because of two ladies behind it are HILARIOUS and share my affinity for good grammar. They chronicle their real-life sarcasm and adventures via InstaStories, and last year they finally started to sell shirts with their funny, often-used phrases. For Christmas I received the “Surviving Not Thriving” sweatshirt from my friend Brandi, who is equally obsessed.

InstaStories

Personally, I’d venture to say that in regards to social media platforms, InstaStories owned 2017 across the board. I know it became my go-to for following people on social media over scrolling through Facebook and even regular Instagram posts, which seems to be more of a time suck.

FabFitFun

I LOVE THIS BOX. PERIOD.
Maybe a year ago or so, I decided that I wanted to try out some sort of box service and started looking around at what would be the best bang for my buck and would fit me best. I settled on FabFitFun, which sends you four boxes a year – one for each season. I chose it because: it was the most well-rounded, meaning it covers beauty, fitness, decor, fashion and hobbies; it sends you full-size products instead of samples; and the retail value of one box is typically more then you pay for the entire year subscription.

So after a year of four boxes, I am sold! Out of the four boxes there is only one thing I can remember that I flat out didn’t like at all. Past that, there were maybe maximum 5 or 6 things that just either weren’t my personal style or preference, and so I just re-gifted those items, which was kind of fun to do anyway. Everything else, I have LOVED and there are a few things that I do plan on buying again for myself or as gifts from the original retailers. Boxes like these aren’t for everyone, but as someone who likes to try new things, but doesn’t particularly like to aimlessly shop, this is a fun surprise to gift yourself with a few times a year. Below is what came in the most recent Winter box and were all thing that I loved.

If you are interested in these, let me know because I have 3 starter boxes that I can give away (you would just pay the shipping). I also have this referral link – http://xo.fff.me/hy0DY – which gives both of us a discount off a box if you use it to sign up.

And of course… Miss Sawyer June

Because more than any trend or material thing I’ve been loving recently, Sawyer June and her baby talk have been my favorite thing of all 🙂

Should I make posts like these a semi-regular thing? Let me know!

Cheers!

Linking up with both the Friday Favorites crew (here, here and here) and The Blended Blog.

Capture

Family, Oregon

Home for the Holidays 2017

Originally, I had every intention of spending my holiday vacation time getting ahead on some blogging for the new year. But I ended up sort of naturally taking somewhat of a break from all things technology-related, and I am not one bit mad about it. Obviously my subconscious knew I needed it. But I am back to the regular grind, and now that I spent my first week in the new year getting myself organized for 2018, I want to jump back into a few posts to wrap up 2017.

This year I was able to go home to Oregon for Christmas for 9 days (plus 2 travel days) and overall I’d say it was a great, relaxing time with my family and friends. I saw the new Star Wars movie with my Uncle Josh (our yearly holiday tradition), as well as The Greatest Showman with my mom, sister and Grammy. Both were great movies and, as expected, I loved Hugh Jackman! Its just fun when you can tell that an actor put so much into a role. So yes, if you were to check my Spotify lately, the movie’s soundtrack is what is playing. I caught up with a few old friends, including Richole, who had just welcomed her new daughter Callie, earlier in the month on December 13. As usual, I spent some time at my family’s flower shop, helping out a little bit here and there, but mostly just distracting everyone from doing their work. I also traveled to Portland for a long day trip with my Grampy to watch my Uncle Jay coach his high school girl’s basketball team in a tournament and then over to the Moda Center to watch the Blazers beat the 76ers. I also spent time with dad feeding cows (a separate post on that later this week!) and shopping with my mom and sister. But most of our evenings were spent just the four of us by the fireplace watching a movie.

Of course, the main highlight was spending as much time as I could with my cousin Sawyer. She is just such a fun, sweet baby and definitely has the spotlight in my family right now.

Here’s just a few snapshots of my break.

On this particular day, I had Sawyer ALL DAY while her parents spent a day in Portland. All things considered we had a pretty good day together, except that I contributed to the demise of her napping schedule and she wouldn’t let me put her down for one second to put on my makeup. #parentingcrashcourse

It’s amazing what an adorable 5 month old baby will convince you to do.

Ego cousins!

Christmas morning with this babe.



Our Grampy is crazy, I’ve tried to warn her 🙂

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Cheers!

Year in Review

2017 – A Year in Review

Let me annoy you by being cliche and stating that “I can’t believe 2017 went by so quickly.” 🙂

But really, 2017 felt like a WHIRLWIND for me.  Personally, my year was filled with good health (well, for the most part), great adventures and even greater people. I worked through the hard knocks and challenges, and feel content that I was able to grow through most of those experiences. Looking at the world around me, it would be wrong to ignore that 2017 was certainly a hard year, but I choose to believe that this world is full of good people who aim to make 2018 better.

Looking back, I’d probably summarize 2017 as bittersweet. It’s a strange feeling to recognize being both happy and sad, and even more strange to be relatively OK with it. I met someone that became really special to me, and I did not expect that I would end 2017 not knowing if that person would be in my life going into the new year. At first I struggled with writing a year in review at all, or including him in it, but this blog is first and foremost my journal and scrapbook, and cherry picking memories is not my style. And regardless if our time is done,  those memories are still very special to me.

Around mid-December, I was sitting at CVS waiting to get my flu shot and was flipping through a GQ magazine and stopped at an interview with Senator John McCain. Regardless of whether you agree with his politics or not, in my mind its pretty hard to not acknowledge or respect that he has seen a fair amount of adversity in his lifetime. With that in mind, the very last statement really struck me:

No matter what 2017 held or what is yet to come in 2018, I hope that we can all benefit from walking through life with that attitude. I know I am going to try.

Now let’s look back at my busy year…

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In 2017, I traveled to 2 countries and 6 states (and two of them twice!)…

In February, I went on a trip of a lifetime to Bangkok, Thailand, and Manila, Philippines. The first half of my trip was a work trip to accompany three U.S. wheat farmers on a board team experience. The second half of the trip was spent on vacation in Bangkok and Phuket with my grandparents and Great Aunt Diane.  Find all of my posts about the trip HERE.

That trip won the year when it came to travel, but it wasn’t my only one. In April, Sam and I went down to Blacksburg to visit my friend Chelsea for the Virginia Tech spring game. In May, I went to Estes Park, Colorado for my work World Staff Conference. I invited my Mom to join me for the week and we spent a few extra days hiking and enjoying quick visits with friends. In June, I traveled to Manhattan, Kansas for the National Festival of Bread and squeezed in some friend time again. At the beginning of July, I made the short drive over to Annapolis, Maryland (for the first time!) for my work summer board meeting. Sam joined me a day before the meeting and we explored the downtown area. At the end of July, I attended the Agriculture Media Summit in Snowbird, Utah. In August, I went home to Oregon and finally took my best friend Megan with me to show her where I grew up. Next, I traveled to Kansas City, Missouri in November for the AFA Alliance Forum and the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Trade Talk event. In between the two events, I spent a few days down in Wichita, Kansas to visit Megan. Finally, I rounded out the year in December with a trip home to Oregon for Christmas.

In 2017, I continued to work in a job that gives me purpose…

In March, I celebrated two years with U.S. Wheat Associates and was promoted to Assistant Director of Communications in July. My goal has always been to work in a job I love, that challenges me and pushes me to become a better communicator, and to use those skills working for farmers. Thankfully, all of that continues to ring true for me.

In 2017, my family welcomed Sawyer June…

After 23 years, my sister and I finally have an Ego cousin! Sawyer June joined our family on July 13 and its safe to say that she has stole the spotlight. Shortly, after she was born I wrote her this love letter. Oh, and #sorrynosorry that she has taken over my Instagram…

In 2017, my Grammy and Grampy visited me in Washington, D.C…

In October, my grandparents came for four days to visit me and experience Washington, D.C. They were actually the ones who helped move from Kansas to D.C. almost three years ago now (what!?) but we didn’t have the time for any site-seeing. I have a really special relationship with my grandparents so I was so excited to finally share my current home with them.

In 2017, I learned that adult friendships are hard, but so very important…

I think that one of the hardest things about being a 20-something is friendship. Everyone’s lives are so busy and usually full of change, and while I think that is awesome, it tends to take a toll. It is hard to be there for that college friend who now lives across the country instead of down the hallway, and while you might have so many great memories with childhood friends, it can be hard to connect with them when you are no longer in the same stage of life. And then there is the challenge of attempting to make new adult friends, which I swear is equal to the ups and downs of dating 🙂 But I’ve learned this year especially, that friendship requires a whole lot of grace. Some people are in your life for only a season, and that’s OK. And some people are in for the long haul, but sometimes they’ll have more to give and sometimes they’ll need more from you. I am thankful for both types of friends in 2017, who filled my days with fun memories and were supportive, sometimes when I least expected it.

In 2017, I filled my days with celebrations, new experiences, things that I love and both big and small moments worth remembering…

Peace out 2017, here’s to believing the best is yet to come in 2018.

P.S. Because I always include music at the end of my Year in Review posts… and because my love for Ed Sheeran knows no limits 🙂

Cheers.

So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 27

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my not-so-glam 20-something life. See past posts HERE}

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27 Years Young

My last “So There’s That” post was right before my birthday in October so we are backtracking a bit. It was a pretty low key day because it was a busy work week but those near and far made me feel pretty special… although my sister did try to make me a year older than I actually was.

In Case You Missed It On the Blog in October

  1. The Road I Traveled: Meet Caroline
  2. So There’s That Vol. 26
  3. The Road I Traveled: Meet Wyatt
  4. My Favorite Traveling Duo Visit D.C.
  5. The Road I Traveled: Meet Brian

Sawyer June

What happened to this wee baby?!? Suddenly she is looking so much bigger to me! I’ve been getting lots of adorable pictures lately so trust me this is the already culled lot.

How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk

I’ve seen this pop up on Facebook before, but never took the quiz. It anchors around large cities in the area that you most identify with and considering how broad and ambiguous I thought some of the questions were, this is basically SPOT ON for both of the main two places I have lived. The full results give you a breakout based on all of your responses.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/dialect-quiz-map.html

Jam Session

I really do want to get back to blogging about what I am listening to someday, but my old “Friday Jam Session” posts just take too much to put together. Until I figure out something different, you know I am over here always obsessing over Ed Sheeran. Recently stumbled across this acoustic version of “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” off his “Divide” album that I am currently loving.

30 Years

Last week I blogged about celebrating the 30th anniversary of my family’s flower shop by writing this love letter and reminiscing a bit on why its such a special place.

An Ode To the Women Who are “Too Much”

This article was recently passed around Facebook  about being “too much” as a woman and I really wanted to share it here too. I appreciate that it was written by a man and I thought that its was sweet, short and effectively direct. There are parts that I can certainly relate to, and other parts that remind me that my home team is pretty great.

Link: https://www.stevewiens.com/2017/11/11/an-ode-to-the-women-who-are-too-much/

Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.

Crossing my fingers this sweet girl makes K-State her final choice!

My Life in Memes

Memes that are speaking to me right now… both thought provoking and just plain funny.


Sorry for the language, kind of…

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So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Family, Love Letters, Oregon

Love Letter: To My Family’s Flower Shop on its 30th Anniversary

When I was in high school, we hosted a young woman who was serving as an Oregon State FFA Officer at our house and she asked my Mom a lot of questions about our family-owned flower shop. To one of the questions, my Mom explained that outside of the holiday season, Valentine’s Day and the week of Mother’s Day, it was weddings and funerals that led the core of our floral business. At the time I remembered feeling a bit embarrassed and uncomfortable that my Mom said that, but the guest saw a bit of humor in my Mom’s matter-of-fact answer, and a few days later we received a thank you card that was signed off with “Wishing you many weddings and funerals.”

Looking back, now it makes me laugh and for some reason that story has always stuck with me. When you think about it, owning and working in a flower shop, really means that you get a front row seat to helping people commemorate and celebrate the milestones and memories that make up their story. From new babies, sweet sixteen’s, get well soon’s, high school proms, graduations, holidays, job promotions, break-ups — and yes, weddings and funerals — we get to be a part of it all. And in a small town, where we have generations of families, that carries even more significance.

This year we are celebrating my family’s flower and gift shop, Cottage Flowers, which my grandparents bought 30 years ago and now my Mom owns. I’ve always told people that I grew up in my family’s flower shop — that it was our home base more than any house we lived in ever was. Sure, that might be a bit of an unconventional way to grow up but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If anything, “the flower shop,” which is how we refer to it, is another member of our family.

So, to the flower shop, this love letter is for you:

I didn’t know the very first location on Main Street, but I do remember the location at the Plaza very well. I remember playing in the “silk garden” around the indoor gazebo where we were allowed to make a bit more of a mess. I remember holding tea parties with the glassware and stuffed animals, making Italian sodas when we had a cafe counter and the taste of the carbonated water when you accidentally chose it instead of regular water or Sprite. I remember “making arrangements” with the leftover stems in the trash, my hands going numb from filling water picks and when people camped outside the store for the newest Beanie Babies to arrive. I remember my mom’s back office where I spent every sick day away from school and that the dim back room where we cleaned flowers was scary.

I remember when we moved the store across town to the old armory when I was 10 (I think?) and the true labor of love it was to flip. I will forever remember having to climb along the rafters in the ceiling to thread some wiring for Grampy and being told to “pretend the spiders aren’t there.” I both loved and hated the Event Center that we opened for many years. I loved the big open space to play when it was empty and seeing so many weddings and parties come together there, but I also hated setting up tables that were much bigger than me and being woken up early on Saturday mornings because the wedding from the night before didn’t properly clean up and there would be anxious people waiting to set up for the next one. I can almost remember the exact amount of steps it took to get from the front counter to the back loading dock and can vividly remember the well-crafted process I had for washing hundreds of folding chairs with the pressure washer machine.

As I got older and officially started earning a paycheck, it’s where I learned how to count back change, talk professionally on the phone and that the customer is always right. It taught me how to problem solve, plan a project and manage my time. I remember the exact smell of Comet from cleaning buckets, the sound of the wire service when an order was coming through, the fastest way to clean roses without getting poked by a thorn, being pulled out of school to work on Valentine’s Day and judging people’s ribbon color choices for their prom corsage and boutonniere. Though after you’ve made a few dozen boring ones in a single day, the crazy ones are a welcome change.

The flower shop grew my curiosity and love for telling stories. Every time I wrote a card for someone who’s order I took over the phone, I wandered, how did the woman receiving flowers on her 50th wedding anniversary first meet her husband? Who will this new baby girl that is receiving balloons grow up to be? Why is he sending her an arrangement with a card that says he’s sorry?

It fueled my creativity in a way you couldn’t bottle up and recreate. Yes, I probably inherited the creative gene from my Mom and Grammy, but it also comes from countless hours of watching them work, criticize their own work and somehow make the customer happy on those Sunday afternoons when all that was left in the cooler is three colors of carnations.

It showed me what it means to be a part of a community and the reward of pouring back into your local economy. I mean, I understood the impact of “shopping local” before the hipsters even made a big deal about it.

It gave me examples of what strong, entrepreneurial women can be. I’ve seen them both succeed and take the loss, embrace change, make hard decisions and challenge themselves to see goals through to fruition. Even with their own careers, the men in my family have certainly always played an important role, but celebrating this anniversary is also a celebration of the two women who have put their heart and soul into building a successful business. 

There have been many characters over the years that have played a big part in the flower shop’s story. Whether they only worked for us for a short while or for over a decade, so many of our employees have become a part of our extended family. And to our customers who trust us with their memories, thank you for sharing your lives, challenging our creativity and of course, keeping our doors open.

Most importantly, I truly believe the flower shop is why my family is so close. Sure, mixing business with family can be challenging and definitely not for everyone, but for us it somehow works.

Thank you for the random skills I hardly use like making bows, and the practical lessons I use everyday in my own chosen career. Thank you for showing me what hard work and empathy look like. Thank you for teaching me that love, heartbreak, hope and kindness come in all shapes and sizes.

And thank you, for the privilege of that front row seat.

Love, Mandy

P.S. I found a folder of photos from the flower shop I took my first Christmas home after I got my DSLR camera in 2015, and I don’t think I’ve ever shared until now. So here is a little behind the scenes!

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