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June 5, 2013

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This flowering paperbush is one of the earliest spring bloomers on the east coast, fitting to show now since I am in a bit of confusion in terms of time and space. Work came in backbreaking spurts this spring, and the traditionally crazy month is June is delightfully relaxed. I use the world relaxed very loosely. I guess I mean I'm eating decent meals and sleeping 8 hours a day! The novelty. I always thought the work/personal life balance was an ephemeral mist that evaporated the closer you got to it, but we are snatching handfuls this month.
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In addition to a smattering of beautiful weddings and tending to some truly wonderful clients, I'm prepping a series of summer classes that will be posted online soon. Brooklyn, New Hampshire and Washington State- here's looking at you. I've finally started a newsletter that you can subscribe to here, I will send out an email when the classes are listed. Hoping to share some floral inspiration from both inside the studio and out in the coming months. Happy soon-to-be summer!
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Spring has basically come and gone since I was here last. The windows are open, the fan is on and sticking has started. Roses, iris and vibrunum are out in Brooklyn and it feels like the start of the next big thing. The totaling of the truck is a long released nightmare of a situation but I've actually almost enjoyed being vehicle-free.  The past few months have been spent reconnecting with the sidewalks- the true home of all New Yorkers. The sidewalk here are our backyards, our only daily connection to nature. There is something more inspiring about a violet growing in a cement crack than damn near anything else in the world. And can it please going without saying that we are all that violet in our own way?
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This winter was brutal. Truly. I felt abandoned by this city and ready to abandon it right back. But seasons have a way of turning corners and this place still has me under its thumb. Not just because of my loving boyfriend here and enough stuff to fill several large dumpsters, but at this point, I'm finally ready to be called a New Yorker. Not permanently, maybe just for now, but after 11 years of hustle I better face facts. The scales tipped when I did the flowers for a party at the Met this month for the opening of the new Costume Institute show. This place has been hard on me, but wow. That was everything.

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(Here is a photo I took with my phone of that, since I am camera-less these days. Those instagram kids get all the news as it happens. But they don't get my heart like you do.)

Steven Alan pop-up
I'm currently writing this post from a huge rental cargo van, on the way to pick up dozens of beautiful houseplants for a pop-up shop at the new Steven Alan home store this weekend. I'll be selling simple bouquets and fool-proof plants- a perfect way to welcome spring (and fund my post hit and run truck!). The pop-up has been in the works for months, and I'm over the moon excited for it to finally be happening. Please stop in and take a bit of nature home with you!
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The past few weeks have piled up a few small sadnesses. A month of sickness in the house, back and forth between Michael and I, and the senseless smashing of my beloved truck. It was totaled in the middle of the night by a teenage boy who, after wrecking both of our cars, just ran away on foot. We woke up the next morning to find nothing but scatted broken vases and flower buckets at the spot where the truck had been towed in the early hours of St. Patricks Day.
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Trucks are replaceable. Humans are not. I've been through worse, so much worse, and yet I'm still heartbroken. Sadness, anger, guilt, sadness, anger, guilt! We are so very fortunate, if you have to be hit by a drunk driver, it's best not to be inside the car. The other driver's insurance situation is a diaster though, so everything is in painful limbo. But birds are chipping here and spring seems to finally be breaking through. Cars don't matter, breathe, cars don't matter, breathe, cars don't matter. Maybe now is the time to revive my hunter green jaguar e-type dreams?

truck

A surprising amount of flowers have come through the studio considering it's winter. Too bad I've momentarily lost interest in photographing arrangements, the same super blurry depth of field shot, blahhhh. It's nice to let pretty things pass undocumented sometimes, good for the creative cycle. 

People frequently ask what camera I use, I have an old canon 5D, a little 35mm point and shoot and my currant favorite, my iphone. This is a camera shot- the reflection of Broome Street in the back window of my truck after a finishing a job at the St. Regis. I've found that shooting phone photos is my new favorite creative game- the limitations of the camera make it much more casual and fun. Inspiration is hard to come by, and as long as I don't shatter my phone on sidewalk again, I'll catch a bit spontaneity whenever I can.

UntitledUntitled UntitledUntitled Just when you thought our work here was done, I found a lost roll of film under my bed from Palm Springs. 
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Before we move on from California, (how does one do that, ps?), let's talk for a minute about eye-popping west coast vegetation. Citrus, cacti, jasmine, eucalyptus, and date palms. Succulents, agave and avocados. Pomegranate trees in parking lots.

One morning, we snuck two ruby red grapefruits from tree branches so heavy that they seems likely to break. Back over the kitchen sink, we didn't even bother with plates or knives to eat them. A revelation for a girl from the mid-atlantic.
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The most bizarrely wonderful thing about Southern California is that you're within two hours of the truest of deserts, the Mediterranean countryside, an overgrown jungle, a palm oasis or a snowy mountain top. Or Beverly Hills with a convertible full of shopping bags like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

I'm eager to go back and take it easy the next trip. Eat a few more tacos, go to the farmers market and Rose Bowl Flea. Sleep a bit later and sun a bit more. I won't be holding my breath for the convertible and shopping combo though, a day in the dirt always wins here.
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I spent 10 days in Southern California at the beginning of the year. New Yorkers have this thing about California. We've internalized Annie Hall to the point where we're convinced that the effervescent sunshine out west must be hiding deep, dark secrets because how else could the weather be so damn nice all the time?

The only secret I found out was how happy and at ease I felt there. It was in no small part because of my tour guide and his highly selective greatest-hits tailored perfectly to a country yet city girl who likes getting dirty but more often than not needs a nice americano in the morning and wants to inspect up-close every cactus, leaf and flower under her nose. It was a whirlwind, and I think I felt the most inspired and energized during our time in Joshua Tree.
UntitledThe Mojave and the Colorado deserts join forces in Joshua Tree and visiting it's rocky terrain is something of a pilgrimage for artists, hiking vagrants and U2 fans alike. I fell hard for the desert, so unfamiliar and fascinating. It was cold, even by East Coast standards. As we scrambled from rock to rock, our toes froze and required a thaw courtesy of some spicy indian food and the car heater on high. The next day it snowed, shattering many Southern California conceptions. Happy surprises, all around.

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To describe the beauty in Joshua Tree as subtle, especially in winter, seems the easiest solution. A rocky abyss, brown, brown, brown and dusty enough to camouflage the blackest shoes in a matter of minutes. But subtle doesn't remotely describe the huge cactus spikes, hazy mountains, coral wildflowers and chartreuse lichen. Little fighting plants everywhere you look, huge boulders balanced, seussical trees for miles and banana date milkshakes at the local diner.

It's put me in the mood for geodesic domes and cactus gardens and while it couldn't be further from all of the things that speak of home to me, I somehow felt at home there, too. When expanding your horizons, an expansive horizon is always a beautiful backdrop.
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