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The Untidy Garden Blog

Filtering by Category: Travel

Wedding: Autumn Begins in New England


I cleaned up from that fun party and packed for another one. This time in New Hartford, CT. My best friend was getting MARRIED. Her name is Julie too or Julie 2 (I’m older by 5 months so I get the numero uno title). I like to travel light, so I didn’t want to check a bag. I hate fees. I wasn’t checking a bag. This meant that my, oh 4-5 pair of scissors couldn’t come along. I have ribbon scissors, flower scissors, multi-purpose scissors, clipper scissors for thick stemmed things, and another 2-3 pair of multipurpose ones in case I misplace a pair under the mound of floral debris. Occasionally, I break off stems and have even bitten off a stem or five, but that is only until I can locate my real scissors.

So scissors are important. (And don’t you ever use my ribbon scissors on flowers - you will be sorry.)

Flowers arrived on Thursday from an online wholesaler. I also made stops at the local Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Bloomington Wholesale Warehouse to supplement my supply.

Caramel, rust, crimson, beige, brown and a little green made up the palate.

Chocolate cosmos, ranunculus, scabiosa pods, roses, mums, seeded eucalyptus and fountain grass were my ingredients. Voila. Wedding. Happy. In Love.

Brooklyn Part 3: Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Take Me In (And Let Me Go)


Sunday morning I decided to go to a yoga studio that had an 8am class.

There were 2 people there when I went inside. One lady was so cut. You might think the buzzed head and safety pin belly button ring may have had influence on my opinion, but I swear she was the best yogi I have ever seen. So, after being corrected for walking off the mat in my shoes, instructor Bibi asked me if I was familiar with Ashtanga yoga. Well, what is your definition of familiar exactly?….then she asked if I was familiar with Mysore, and I told her I had never heard of that before. Oh, I forgot to mention, the class was 1 hr 45 minutes long. One hour and forty-five-whole-minutes. It sounded like a long time to me, but it was the only class that worked with my schedule.

I thought musclewoman next to me was just showing off/warming up but there was never an official start time. Bibi informed me that Mysore was a type of Ashtanga yoga where the yogis memorized all the movements of Ashtanga and then built on their knowledge each class. So here I am not able to follow the teacher or blend in with the crowd. Bibi was very kind to walk me through some of the steps, but she used yoga terms, and I don’t know yoga terms. So I would do a set of moves and then just stand at the end of my mat until she assisted me again. After an hour of this she said that was enough for today and that I could go ahead and take savasana. (AKA, you’re done with this session, Yoga dork.) Call me yoga dork for the rest of my life.

So I rewarded myself with an iced coffee at Bittersweet (and a doughnut). Ahem.

After the yoga drama and caloric recuperation, it was time to hop on the subway and head for LaGuardia. I had to get on a couple different trains and buses to get to the airport, and by the time I got there I had 15 minutes until boarding time. I RAN to the kiosk. It didn’t let me check in.

I 100% cut in line to talk to a Delta rep. She told me I was late. Hmmm. (Great observation.) She still printed my boarding pass and told me to RUN to catch the shuttle – I did.

I was sweating it out because I hadn’t even attempted the security line yet….there was an introductory security line before you got to the actual security line. Oh great. I said, “This is not the security line, right?” Wrong.

A kind gentleman said, if it helps, you can cut in front of me, but I would try talking to a TSA agent. I didn’t push my luck. Another gentleman overheard me and said if he were in my position he would beg his way to the front – I did. Even the foreigners who didn’t speak much English understood my pleas. I made it through BOTH security lines in less than 5 minutes and at my gate at 12:25pm. The priority boarders hadn’t even gotten on yet.


Oh the generosity of strangers! I didn’t think I was going to make it.

Here is what I learned most from the trip: don’t be afraid to ask things of strangers. I asked for directions; I asked for floral advice; I asked for food recommendations; and I asked to cut in a 1.5 hour long security line. Be nice. Smile. Talk to the bus driver. Say thank you. And although I don’t do those things for what I could get out of them, it sure as heck doesn’t hurt.

Brooklyn Part 2: One Foot In and One Foot Back, Both Blistered


Last time we left off in a cute, quirky Brookly studio courtesy of Airbnb. The apartment had no air, but it did have a fan. Maybe it was just that I was in a new place, or that I was hot, or that I was excited to be in Brooklyn, but I didn’t sleep very well. I was up at 6:24am. I googled café and coffee shop and nothing was open that early, so I decided to walk the 3 miles to my first destination since I had nothing else to do. It was so nice. I listened to American Dollar and talked to Eric Dodds while walking along the Brooklyn waterway.

I started to get hungry and wanted to get some coffee so I ventured away from the bike path along the water into a more populated area. I went into the New York Muffin because it didn’t look stuffy or  presumptuous and had a sign for green juice on the sandwich board out front. That's the part that sold me: green juice.

I came across a Lexus that was on fire. I stopped walking towards it, but I did pull out my phone to snap a pic. There was a guy who had a big fancy camera who said to me that it was insurance fraud - he seemed to have it under control, so I didn't call 911. He was getting really close to the car. I got nervous that something was going to blow up, so I got out of there. Is this just another day in the life of a Brooklyn-ite?! I walked a few blocks before I heard sirens.

Unfortunately here is where I already started to develop blisters. I wore the only closed toe shoes I had besides my sneaks, and I was getting blistered. I saw a CVS and bought special blister band-aids that promised to not peel off-false advertising, by the way.

I got to my first destination. The lower level was a 35,000 sq ft warehouse of wooden wonders from Indonesia. From The Source was my favorite city find.

What a delightfully spacious workshop Peartree has. It was on the 3rd floor of this warehouse. Liza owns Peartree flowers in Northeast Brooklyn. She used to have a shop out in Portland, OR. She graciously spent time with me offering tidbits of wisdom and advice. She was also working on a wedding that had all sorts of “sci-fi” stuff. We’re talking lots of succulents and thistles and berries. It looked fun, and I wished I could be on-site to see the final product all put together.

I tried to catch a bus to head to Metropolitan Ave. In my ignorance, I hopped on with 2  $1 bills and a quarter. I put the quarter in the coin slot and asked, "Where do I put the bills?" The driver said, no bills, just change. He let me ride anyway-so generous. M next destination was a little garden and flower shop called Red Rose and Lavender. I wandered through the shop looking at the terrarium supplies and the air plants, and chatted with Kimberly about her experience as a retail shop owner.

After all my walking, catching buses etcetera my blisters were screaming at me. I ducked into a dollar store to find some flip-flops. I was in luck except the selection looked very asian/geriatric…..but luckily found some that would do. I got out my debit card. Cash only was the reply I got from the lady behind the counter. Here is where I wish I could have kissed the bus driver who forgave my dollar bill faux pas. I pulled out my two $1 bills and was on my way.

Class was so cool. The flowers, the foliage, the “professors,” my fellow classmates, the cheese tray were all spectacular. We photographed the class’s work. There was a laid-backness about class so I could ask Nicolette and Sarah my questions. I was picturing in my mind that I would be sitting in the back row, hand in the air waiting for them to call on me to ask questions about the business, their experience, general flower questions and so on. Side note: I think all of the florists I interacted with encouraged me to email them if I had any other questions.  I felt they really want me to succeed in this industry even though they don’t know me from Adam. It really meant so much to me. (Scroll to the bottom to see the the flower pics.)

I couldn’t justify throwing my flowers away, but I didn’t know what to do with them….I was flying home the next day and putting flowers through that rigor seemed unfair and way too much trouble.  I decided to take them with me. I didn’t have a plan.

I did want to go to the Dumbo area of Brooklyn to visit one last place. Emily Thompson Flowers. Oh and no big deal, but Emily did the flowers for the White House last year.

Toting my flowers the entire way, I hopped on buses and subways to get to Dumbo. (which means Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

Emily’s place was much smaller than I thought it would be. Just like at Saipua the trick is if you have a small space, you use the height of your studio for all your storage.

I walked around some shops in Dumbo and spent some time in a park close by before subbing it back to my apartment, flowers still in tow.

My feet were so tired and blistered but food and the cooler evening air drew me back outside. I walked down Myrtle street to make sure I shopped the area. I felt confident in my decision to eat at Zaytoons which serves inexpensive Middle Eastern fair. It did not disappoint.  I ordered so much food for myself it was kind of embarrassing. I had a dinner plate size pita, a bowl of lentil soup, 4 falafels and a roasted leg of lamb sandwich (in another pita) I was optimistic about finishing most of it, but really could only take 2 bites of my sandwich once it came. I got the rest of my sandwich to go.

I had no trouble sleeping on Saturday night.

Everyone's creations.

Yours truly's.

And another one.

Another student's work.

Brooklyn Part 1: Grab Your Bags and Coat. I Am Heading North.


Friday, August 10th: After a short drive up to Charlotte, NC, I parked my car and shuttled in to the airport. I arrived at 10:50am. There was a message on my phone courtesy of Delta that said my flight would be delayed for 2 hours. Almost immediately after receiving the first message, I  received another one saying we would be delayed 4 hours. Yay.

I debated leaving and driving to Ikea or the mall or someplace else, but they hook you by saying "If we receive clearance from traffic control we will leave sooner." I was NOT going to sit at my gate for 4 hours so I walked to every terminal in the airport. I bought a reader’s digest and some shampoo at the Body Shop. I thought it sounded like a good deal at $4 and realized that I hadn't paid $4 for the giant bottle of Pantene in my bathroom at home….so, I grabbed some sample face-wash wet wipe cloths, wrapped them in paper towel and thus justified my $4  shampoo purchase. (I re-wet those guys and they worked like a champ, by the way.)

I ate at a restaurant that was pretty quiet and that had the Olympics on tv. My calamari Caesar salad was nothing to write home about. I went to TCBY which made me chilly, so I went to Starbucks after that. I sat down and watched youtube videos to pass the time. I read the reader’s digest cover to cover, then checked back in at the gate to find out we were being delayed yet again.

And for good measure, we were delayed 1 more time after that.

Nobody likes delays and everyone experiences them from time to time. I had a good attitude for about the first 4 hours I was there….I called some of the florists I had set up meetings with to tell them I wouldn't be able to come Friday. I arrived to LaGuardia at 7:45 with a critically low phone battery. I had done what my husband advised me to do and took screen shots of my subway directions because as you may guess, you don't get service down there. Since I was not familiar with the area and the map said it would take me an hour to get to my destination, I decided to take a cab to the place I was staying. Being in a NY subway with a dead phone and no way to contact anyone didn’t sound like the kind of adventure I wanted to have that night.

Finally, I arrived at my Airbnb destination. (Airbnb is couch-surfing of sorts, just much higher class.) The apartment I chose was not a shared space but the entire 500sq ft studio. My hostess was nice and her place was cute and quirky. It had all the comforts of home, except air conditioning...which we will cover in Part 2 :)

Here are some pictures of my digs:

To Brooklyn We Go


Friends, this coming weekend I will have the opportunity and privilege to study with Sarah and Nicolette at Saipua in Brooklyn, NYC! As the blog stalker I am, I saw they were offering a class this weekend. Go on, read Sarah's posts. They are hilarious.

My trip will consist of visiting the flower market, studying at Saipua, going to the Brooklyn flea market, visiting a few other fantastic floral designers and maybe the Brooklyn botanic gardens.

To make it an enjoyable AND professionally profitable trip I plan to find good eats, browse the local shopping scene, jog the highline (park) as well as hit up a yoga studio for a lil sesh,. Here’s to hoping I can squeeze all that into my weekend.

Wish me luck.