Amazing Day!

I have some great news to share! Today I was asked to come design a couple peices at Bitterroot Flower Shop and voila, was offered a brand-new part time job! The whole interview process was a great experience and I'd love to share a little about that.

I arrived early with my own humble tools: green floral tape, a floral knife and snippers for woody stems. Lynda, the flower buyer, brought me to the large back design room, full of desks, sinks, flowers, and walk-in refrigerators. She told me that I could use anything I want and just be free to design.

This was both thrilling and intimidating for me! The only fresh flowers I've had available to me for the past several months have been roses, and normally I would just cut those shorter and set them in a vase, nothing complicated. But now, with three enormous refrigerators full of every flower and folliage you could imagine at my finger tips, I simply didn't know where to start. All I knew is that I'd need a baket.

My first arrangement was difficult for me. I changed my mind several times during the process, I inserted and removed folliage, and finally came up with what I'd like to call free-gathered Autumn arrangement. While creating this peice in my nervousness and excitemnet, I imagined myself a child holding her mother's hand. As they walk through the woods on an Autumn afternoon, they gather anything that fascinates. Berries, daisies, yellow button poms, plenty of leatherleaf make up the arrangement that resulted from my trips to- not the forest but- the refrigerator. Instead of becoming a densely constructed and strictly traditional arrangement, it's whimsical and free-form. I'm glad my imagination freed me from the nervousness that would have otherwise took hold.

My second arrangment was a breeze. I found a low and lovely vase and filled it to the brim with moss. This arrangment, I decided from the start, would be in the Terra-Firma style and very high fashion. Terracing with lemon leaves, I built an "altar" to the flower that started it all. The Stargazer lily is said to have begun the floral industry as we know it today. This bold flower is still fashionable today, and especially when displayed alone, has a very contemporary vibe. The three willow branches were a nod to the practice of Ikebana, the first true artform based on flowers.

So with these arrangements and a little small talk with the lady designers in back, I was given the first job of my dreams! The only job I've ever truly dreamed of having. To work immersed in such incredible beauty, and to bring my creativity to the spotlight once again.

Things I've Learned Recently~

This blogpost starts a tradition. One year ago today I wrote about some things I had learned over the course of the year. That blogpost can be found here . So now it's time to take a hint from the 22 year old stuck in 2009 and bring forward something fresh, something oh-so-now!! :)

The problem is I don't know where to start.

The BIGGEST lesson I've learned this year is how quickly an intention, a thought, can transform your reality as long as it's in God's will for you. Here are some thoughts that became my world today (aka dreams come true)

  • The dream: To start and grow my own business in Floral Design
    • Built an business
    • 2 sales as of today, without any $$ spent on advertising or marketing
  • The dream: To eat healthy foods and have less impact on the environment
    • I now work at an organic, non-profit grocery store where I get all my food at a discount and help others achieve this lifestyle as well.
  • The dream: To be with my man and build a life with him, no matter where it takes me
    • We're still together and growing our relationship!
    • We moved to Montana so that he could pursue his graduate studies and stay together. (this is proving to be the RIGHT choice.)
  • The dream: To keep singing jazz and meet other musicians
    • I make regular appearances at the Badlander where Tommy and the Front Street Jazz Ensemble play amazing stuff!
  • The dream: To be continually inspired by the world around me to create and thrive.
    • I wanted to start a business in natural hair care with 100% aloe vera as the base
    • I wanted to start a business selling the high quality bluestone found on my parent's property as a craft material. My younger siblings as my employees... my miners. :)
    • I wanted to start a business making kits for indoor gardens to hang on kitchen windows. (This idea has already taken off for someone else, more power to them)
    • A BILLION other things. But the ideas themselves are so entertaining to me, I get all the satisfaction I need in just daydreaming about them.
It's just been a great year. I need to keep working hard and pursuing whatever's within reach. I'm loving the journey.

Business Stuff

I am so happy that I've made two sales already, and it wasn't even my Mom or my friend as the customer!! This has given me a lot more confidence that selling my art online will be a good thing for me to keep doing.
Sold 9/28: Set of 6 Silk Mum heads, $7.00
I was having some serious doubts lately! Because of my extremely tight budget, I'm unable to buy high quality brand new silk flowers. This makes it incredibly hard to put together something worthy of sale in an online community swarming with amazingly talented artists. How can I be expected to achieve the elegant, sophisticated designs I dream of with only 20 year old, dusty flowers from the thrift store?  I can make one or two nice things but certainly not enough to fill a whole shop.

Sold 10/08 : Pressed flowers and display frames, $3.50

These little pansies were growing in a pot on the front porch. One day, on a whim, I began to pick and place them between the pages of a large book for pressing. A couple months later, and they are perfectly preserved with all their beautiful colors. When I found the tiny frames at the thrift shop, I thought this would an excellent way to display the blooms and keep them from the elements!
So as you can see the things I have sold have been more along the lines of supply and small gift, not large arrangements. This could be because my shipping costs are so high on the large florals (they incorporate dried flowers and will need to be very well packaged) So I've made a flyer to post at work about my designs and hopefully drive business by offering free shipping for Missoula residents. I simply can't move forward with more designs without making a sale to break even on sales and supply costs. I can't make anything remotely Christmas-y because I lack the materials!

So there will be a new influx of smaller, more giftable items in my shop. Things like "blooming pens" and flower hair clips, and really whatever else I can think of that I can put together with these supplies I have! Maybe around the holiday season people will purchase these smaller items as gifts. I will also be joining a couple ETSY Teams which help members to market themselves for free accross the site. I was also thinking of building a Etsy floral designers team, but I just can't bring myself to do it unless I have more sales and attractive items.

I can't help but always thinking of new creative ways to make ends meet. School and food are just too expensive. I'm so glad I don't have a car, I'd be unabe to fill the tank anyway. I look forward to the days when I don't have to nervously clutch my checking register and triple check if a purchase is actually ok to make. I will also be trying out hand addressing envelopes this holiday season to make a little money and to save people some time (a suggestion from Mom) thanks Mom. :)

Necessity is the mother of invention! And here we go!

The After-Birthday Crafting High

Well I've just been having a blissful week and a half! My birthday shot off into the sky and burst brilliantly like fireworks, it's past now but I'll definitely have another one next year. Who can say if it will live up to this, though?

My parents equipped me with a cell phone that projects a wireless connection so I finally have internet again. My boyfriend Rob surprised me with a jaw-droppingly awesome new bicycle, and I no longer ride a $30 little boy's bike around town. Gifts from my Uncles and Grandparents allowed me to do the thrift shopping I was so eager to do. My boyfriend's parents showed me so much affection with an amazon gift card and cook book. Part of that gift card went towards the purchase of a subscription to Flower Magazine, so I can get inspired and be informed of the latest floral design tips & trends!

Since finding the amazing thrift items I showed you in my last post, I haven't been able to keep my hands from twisting, gluing, tying, and otherwise crafting with them.

Finally my shop is taking shape, but with no sales yet! I remind myself that Etsy is a very competitive site filled with creative people who dedicate enormous amounts of time to growing and developing their brand, who are armed with years of design experience. Nevertheless, I believe my first million is in floral design, ha! I've been focusing more on the attractiveness of my photos and have come up with the ones you see here.

Postman's Wreath on the left was made to be an outdoor wreath. It's meant to be outdoors hanging from a mailbox because of its length and materials.
 Here is the only Autumn flower arrangement I've done so far (beyond wreathes) and it was one of my favorites to photograph. The weathered stairway to my front door has proven to be an excellent spot for fun photos.
 Someone at the grocery store I work at brought in three wicker baskets for the freebees table. They looked a little beat up, but what did I care, I had centerpieces on the brain! So, without knowing why or what I would use them for, they came along home with me.

I cut rectangles from some of the plaid fabric remnants I found at the thrift shop, and before I knew it I was filling them with anything and everything Autumn till I found the perfect combination. Red apples from the front yard, brown pinecones from the Montana University campus, and a little pumpkin I paid 70 cents for at the local grocery store.

Because of these pictures, my items have been included in several Treasuries! My mums are featured at "Pale Dream" by zime and "Inspired by the Constant Gardener" by xxxRedStitchxxx 

It's always thrilling to see your item caught someone's eye!
 My baskets pictured here are now part of the "Sugar & Spice" treasury by armcandyforyou

I'm so pleased that my efforts are paying off, if not literally, at least in the form of recognition here and there. I'm learning so much along the way and love the fact that I don't have to leap into small business ownership. I'm just dipping my toes in for fun and learning my strengths and weaknesses at a pace I can grow along with.

All of these items and more are for sale now  in my shop. I can't believe its transformation in the past week!

All's Well in Missoula

So, Rob's parents came to visit and we all had such a pleasant time! They really got the grand tour and seem to love Missoula. School's just started and things got off to a great start. It's so nice to be enrolled, even though I'm only taking one class.
Having Rob's parents over made me excited for the possibility of my own family's visit. There are no plans yet, but I keep hoping. I'm a very family-oriented person, and have a very close relationship with my parents and siblings despite the distance. I can't wait to be able to share this place with them.

I'm altogether satisfied, and just want to keep living a life that's pleasing to my family and God. I'm happy with school and feel like what I'm learning has practical application to possibly starting my own business in floral design or whatever floats my boat 3 years from now.

I want to share this little arrangement with you. Someone at work anonymously brought in some beautiful sunflowers for the staff to take, so naturally I snagged a couple! The amazing multi-colored roses and blue iris were finds from Bitteroot Flower Shop . The iris cost me $0.50 and the 1/2 doz. roses (I only used 2 here) were free with the bicycle benefits program. ---Making this arrangement cost fifty cents. The mini vase was a thrift store find (probably thirty cents) and the ribbon was free from Bitteroot.

This arrangement celebrates the spirit of generosity that allowed for each of these beautiful flowers to come together in my little vase.

The Internet

The past couple days I've been having trouble with my internet connection at home and so have had to figure out what to do instead of surfing...
I realized how powerful a tool the internet is and how I sometimes misuse it with mindless browsing. Here and there I do a couple productive things, but not enough to make it wholly worthwhile. And what if it all disappeared one day? It's easy to imagine catastrophe that cuts us off from the invisible world wide web. I know several people who build their livelihoods around the availability of the internet, a most dangerous livelihood at that because it could all come crashing down, taking with it any proof of what you've accomplished.
I'm going through this transition period right now where I start plugging in and working full time. Is it really worth the risk to invest myself fully in the internet? I plan to spend a little more time in the physical world before I dive in. Maybe I'll gain a little more perspective.
Read the Printed Word!

Exploring my Options

Life could go in a million different directions right now! I'm about to move out West to Missoula, Montana and everything is up in the air. I don't know where I'll live, work, anything... but I do know I'm gonna be a Grizzly! I like this blanket I found on  It shows a big grizzly bear and a beautiful mountain range. I just realized that when I was a little girl, I had a teddy bear with a grizzly-hump back! So maybe living in the wilds of Montana surrounded by grizzlies will actually subconsciously serve to relax me. ;)

Lately I haven't been sure what to do with my shop, SongbirdsBranch. I only have one item for sale and its been quite a while since I first listed it. I have even gone so far as to purchase a domain name and build a nice website for my brand.
While I do feel somewhat discouraged, I know that I've done very little to promote the item (financial reasons) and build up the shop with more merchandise. Truth is, I'm afraid to pour what little money I have down the drain, even if the drain is something I made with my own hands. Also my upcoming move has prompted me to try and simplify my life. No shopping for new things, even if they're craft supplies. What should I do when I get to Montana? Continue building and growing my own business in floral design using the tools on That sounds amazing to me, but is it really, truly what I want to do? Should I help Robin start the t-shirt business he wants so badly? Absolutely. I can't wait to start exploring these options, but for now they're in gridlock until I arrive in Montana!

Staying in touch with my dreams...

Having dreams isn't easy. Part of me is afraid to name and number them in the first place. One by one they dissolve from big frothy foam into watery goals, and goals so often slip away through life's little cracks. But yesterday in conversation with Rob I began to see things from a new perspective.

"I'm feeling so slow and tired. I think I have jazz withdrawal. I need to sing more, and start listening to jazz again."
"I'm feeling tired too. Maybe you have lyme disease!"
"Don't you ever feel drained when you haven't expressed yourself creatively in a while? Like when you haven't written in a long time? Jazz is a part of my identity and when I'm not in touch with it, I feel like a part of who I am is dying or going to waste."
"If jazz were are part of your identity, you wouldn't need to force it. It would just come naturally to you. You'd be out there doing whatever you can to get opportunities to perform."
"That can't be true. Jazz has always been one of the ways I express myself."
"Maybe it used to be. People grow and change, our identities are always being shaped and re-worked. You aren't who you were 3 years ago, and neither am I. Not long ago I wrote all the time, but now I don't even like to write. But it'll come back."

So if we're always changing, what can we do to stay "true to ourselves"? For so long I thought that an identity was something you had to fight for, long to be categorized by, something worth keeping. After a while of thinking, I began to see there are some things about people that generally rarely change. Today, I was looking back through old journal entries and came across a list that had nothing to do with how I want to be perceived, and it struck me as kind of a note from the future... except I wrote it last year.

My dreams.
• Peaceful mornings in the countryside where I can lay in bed dozing while the fresh breeze ruffles the curtain.
• A happy, loving family built on God, love, trust, and respect.
• A reason to get dressed up in the evenings, every now and then.
• A pond to jump in when it's Summertime.
• Good friends, familiar faces, warm, hearty greetings. Laughter.
• A flower garden where I can grow & cut flowers for arrangements.
• To see Venice. Thailand. Castles in Ireland.
•  To go dancing with my husband.
• To sing my heart out.
•  A fireplace. Creeping vines/ivy. A staircase, a dog, a courtyard with a tree.
• Sailing! To sail, or soar!
• I want to be the kind of Mom whose children aren't afraid to approach her about their problems, who never makes her children feel betrayed, who inspires the respect and obedience of her children, not through force but through genuine love.
• I want a man who will respect me and help me to always continue to grow and learn, who can find ways to show his love for me, who I am attracted to mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He will be a good, kind, patient, and loving father who takes part in raising his children and supporting their emotional health by being a huge presence in their lives.
• Although I will have a lot of pursuits and responsibilities, I would like to have enough time to take care of myself, my physical appearance, to have time to write and read, go for a walk- those kinds of things.
• I want to live a life in line with God's vision for me.

Despite what interests me in the moment, I think that these things will endure the test of time!! :)

Anne Taintor, Inc. 01434 Magnet , Voila! 40W, 3-3/8-Inch, Square 

Financing the Move: Frugal Living

I have to be a full-on frugalista for the next month! Here are some things I've already been doing to save money, and a few more I plan to try to help finance my move to Montana.

I already:
Bring bag lunches and drinks to work
       I normally make a big spinach salad with black olives, croutons, almond slices, carrots, cheese, croutons, and crackers. On special occasions I'll mix in some salmon. Yum! Otherwise, I make a simple tuna fish or pb+j with club crackers. You'd be surprised at how these meals are envied over the microwaved lean cuisine. And even though I'm spending less, I don't feel deprived in the slightest!
Window Gardening: Amazing Hydroponic Veggies
     Whenever I buy leeks or chives, I put them in a little cup of water  by a sunny window and extend their life by as much as 2 months. Frequently changing the water insures they will develop strong root systems and continue to produce.  I have also purchased romaine lettuce with the root ball still attached, and in a cup of water it's still going strong after almost 3 weeks. Hard to believe but it's true! I'm looking into more sophisticated means of accomplishing this and possibly purchasing nutrients to enhance the water.
Buy clothing from goodwill
      I've never been one for brand names or clothing labels so this one's a piece of cake for me.  I was also impressed by how open my guy was to the idea. We found a cool store here in Buffalo called Plato's Closet which sells gently used teen fashions and most everything there is brand name.
Forgo TV and Cable
      What is deemed impossible for most is easy for Rob and I. TV watching just doesn't fit in our lifestyle right now, and I don't plan on re-introducing it in the future. There is tremendous time and money to be saved in this area.
Container re-use
By keeping and washing empty glass Snapple bottles, plastic food containers, and styrofoam take out boxes, I've been able to creatively re-assign them for future uses! My favorite container to save is the glass spaghetti sauce jar. After washing, I've been using these jars for dried goods, home-made salsa, home-made caramel, and as flower vases. After a little while, it's made buying containers seem pretty lame.
Simply said, powdered lemonade has been one of the best investments in my young life. By refilling my clean, saved glass bottles with fresh water and lemonade mix and then refrigerating it, I rarely buy juice and never buy bottled water. Tip: to get the mix inside the small bottle opening without making a mess, try using a funnel or making a temporary one with a rectangular piece of parchment paper.

I Plan To:
  Write my favorite companies
    to tell them what I think about their products and offer suggestions. I've heard many companies will send valuable coupons in gratitude. I'll let you know how this goes. I'm starting with the makers of my favorite beverage, Malta Goya! This way I'm getting some really great coupons on items I would be purchasing anyway... instead of spending hours coupon clipping only to buy things like 3 boxes of Uncle Ben's jambalaya that I will never eat.
 Buy only what I absolutely need
   Since we're moving just 29 days from now and trying to squish all our stuff in one car, there is no use in buying stuff that I will just end up trashing or giving away. This means I can only buy food items, and even there I need to be careful not to over-buy.
Give away my car
   My parents have been especially gracious in letting me use my Dad's Chrysler for the past several years. Now that I'm moving, it's time to give it back, and I won't be purchasing a replacement. I intend on using only public transportation and if that's too much, investing in a motor scooter.  

All these ideas actually enhance my quality of life, not take away from it. I'm looking forward to getting a new start and a fresh attempt at living a more minimalist lifestyle. I'll probably blog about it, too. ;)

frugal is such an ugly word Coin Purse by anne taintor 

Beautiful Idea

It's pretty amazing to me how things can come together when you get a really beautiful idea. Not long ago, Robin asked me to come away with him to wherever he'll be for the next two years. For a while we weren't sure where that would be, but soon it became clear that he was destined for life in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. There, in Missoula, he'll be seeking his master's degree in Conservation Biology. It wasn't hard for me to accept his invitation to Cartagena, Colombia last year. Now Missoula, Montana is that exciting destination that has me counting down the days again this Summer.

What an incredible year it's been. One Summer to the next I've been getting to know how right a relationship can be, and how it can experience actual growth despite distance, and be entirely rooted in quality of conversation, shared viewpoints, and mutual understanding. I'm so glad that somewhere within the past years I got real with myself so that I could be honest about what I want, because it paid off- and showed me where my priorities are and what's worth holding on to in this life.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone told me, "Laura- If that's where believe you're being led, go for it with your whole heart and full faith." Yeah, that'd be nice. But there's something about being told to do something that sucks the fun clean out of it. Instead of it being a beautifully independent and spontaneous act of free-will, you're halfheartedly doing someone a favor.

Together, Robin and I are writing a story worth telling. Traveling light, leaving nothing but memories in our wake. What the world doesn't give us, we'll build ourselves... right under its nose.


They're sprouting. :)

This weekend sure was jam-packed! My old elementary school friend Stephanie spent a couple nights here and it was just one celebration after another. On Friday we (Steph, Kyle, Robin and I) got the Anchor Bar out of the way, there we shared the obligitory bucket of buffalo wings, talked of life, literature, and education.

On Saturday, Rachel joined us on our trip to see the magnificent Niagara Falls, and we walked so much that I got to explore the wild outskirts of the US National Park for the first time. At first I was a bit critical of their attempts to preserve the natural beauty of the area. Soon my heart was changed, as I stood small beside the roaring, rolling rapids on shards of ancient rock, no bars or ropes, mere inches from disaster! :) Real nature isn't safe. It humbles you and terrifies you- instead of being just another photo-op.

Later that night I had a little house party with a few musician friends Jamie and C.W. , as well as my roommate and her best friend. With Steph, Kyle, Robin and myself included that made a good 8 of us, just enjoying one another's silliness with a game called Apples to Apples (a good one but I prefer Baulderdash) unto the wee hours of the morning.

Robin and I were able to attend another of Pastor Jerry's great messages on Sunday morning, which was especially great because I was reminded of the significance of Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem on Donkey-Back, fulfilling prophecy and stirring some pretty serious rebellion against Roman rule. I've really been enjoying going to church with Robin this past month and I love the meaningful conversations it sparks.

Yesterday I left work early due to construction materials and drywall leaving a dusting on my computer, my back, my hair, and just everything. Soon I found myself in a more glamorous position- getting some top notch dance instruction at Chow Chocolat. On Mondays they hold $5 tango lessons, I always recommend it to friends and I hope to get a few of you to come with me some night. Robin and I are learning to be graceful, elegant, sophisticated and one-minded together... and learning an important art form in the process. After some beautiful dancing, Robin took me to Shango, an excellent (maybe even 5-star?) creole restaurant on main street. It was tasty to be sure but we both enjoy Japanese cuisine worlds more. Isn't it nice when you're with someone who shares the same or similar unique tastes as you? Well, the answer to my rehetorical question is YES!

What a great few days it's been, I've experienced so much in such a short amount of time. I'm learning to "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish". I'll be continuously pursuing those things that I love, taking risks, and having adventure after adventure with the man I admire most. That's how I want to live every day!


Spring Things :)

Finally, finally FINALLY! I'm able to start my little viola seeds in my eggshell greenhouse...
The oregano plant on the left and the seeds were both gifts from Mom :) I hope the tiny viola seeds grow as strong as the oregano has!

I think seeds have got to be one of the best gifts you can give someone. It's a low-pressure gift since the recepient isn't stuck with a live plant to take care of, a plant which would probably die a week later anyway! What's more, they can germinate the seeds whenever they want if and when they are so motivated. And nothing compares to the satisfaction of a newly sprouting seed, or budding branch, or blooming flower, a plant coming to life from your effort.

Using tweezers to carefully tuck each seed into its shallow hole, I realized how much patience I must have gained from working in that Nevada greenhouse. I used to spend hours every day just sowing seeds, and thinking about life, or thinking about nothing. The good days are the ones when your mind easily rests on the feeling of sun on your skin and the bird-songs, the bad days- when any thought gets in the way of that bliss. As for now, I've got a lot on my mind. Planting things and making them grow puts me back in step with my breath, and I'm breathing easy.

I came home one day to a surprise bouquet.

Robin had gotten me a whole lot of flowers, which I made 8 small arrangements from and distributed all over the house in my mini-vases, which fit perfectly on the windowsills here! :) Thanks to my formal education in floral design, I have the confidence to just wing it, and I know that one bouquet can go a long, long way. ;) I'm only posting this one photo because it's one of my favorites, it happens to be the most clean and simple of them- This one brings some life to the little blue bathroom.

I'm pleased to say that I have officially SURVIVED my first Buffalo Winter!  It wasn't as bad as they say, you know. I knew it wouldn't be. hehe plus, now I'm "strong like bull!" errr... anyway, tomorrow is the first day of Spring and everything here is already popping out of the soil. It's good for the soul, and so worth the wait!

It's amazing having Robin here in Buffalo. Things are joyful.
While I started my Gladiolus bulbs in my back porch flower boxes, Robin began a project of his own. Here's that blowfish I mentioned earlier. Using a picture from my camera phone, he replicated this awesome blowfish from a flag hanging in a sushi restraurant in New Paltz, N.Y. Now that he's made this fun stencil, he can paint it on pretty much everything! A couple weeks ago, he also made a Narwhal stencil from a picture we drew and made me a shirt from it. :) Maybe I'll model that for you. But only if you ask.

Till nextime,
Change the world! Love someone.

Anne Taintor 1057 3-3/8-Inch Square Magnet, Garden

Schkoawangunks (sp)

I don't know how you spell them, but they're beautiful.

Yesterday, Mom, Dad, Robin and I took the hour drive up to this world famous mountain range. World famous for rock climbing! On the way, Robin told us how in his teens he'd watched the movie "Big Ups" on vhs over and over- and it was filmed (at least in part) in the "Gunks" here in NY just outside New Paltz

We weren't able to do any climbing of our own, but we did stop in to a really nice visitor's center and gathered information for our future visit, hopefully on a nice sunny day. It was raining yesterday :(
I think New Paltz is an awesome place. What's funny is you when you're on the 32, you feel like youre in the heart of it, but then you cross a bridge and suddenly you're in the middle of farmland! It's a trip ;)
We had lunch at Neko Sushi which was my favorite. I also got a great photo of a blowfish but I won't share that with you just yet.... big plans for that blowfish. You'll see.
Out of curiosity we visited The Inner Wall climbing gym hoping that it would be enormous and incredible. It was pretty small actually (about the size of Niagra Climbing Center in Buffalo, NY) but I was tickled by the great white shark strung on the wall, and the alien in the back room. You will have to go to see what I'm talking about!!

When we got back to Saugerties, the first thing we did was purchase some chicken wire. My little brother, David is making himself into a bush for arbor day.
... :) Pictures to come.

A Timely Update!

After a couple of "unique" posts, I think it's time to just re-engage with my blog and write a little about what's going on in my heart. :)

 I'll start by saying that I'm writing you this from a sun-filled kitchen in a glorious two story Spanish Villa overlooking the majestic pillared stone buildings of my college campus. The blanket of snow has made everything look spotlessly clean and pure... what's more, I'm listening to Enya.

What a perfect opportunity to take some time to update you on what's going on in my life!

A Fool for School
I'm well into the third week of classes at the University @ Buffalo, and I've really been enjoying all my classes. I'm taking Managerial Accounting, a science course called "Great Advances in Science, the Micro-world: Medical Implant Controversies", World Commerce, Statistics, and Jazz Band. Yes you read this correctly. I've really been enjoying all my classes.

I've had a major attitude shift towards school and I love the satisfaction from getting A's in every class, on every test and quiz so far!  And I know I'm only a month into it, but you know what? I'm already doing better than I was last semester, and I see this as being my best semester in college yet- not only based on my performance, but also my level of enjoyment and fulfillment.

So, I'm looking forward to keep chipping away at this semester and experiencing the rewards of my enthusiasm and hard work.

Wedding and a Birthday...
 Earlier this month, I attended Mark's (my third-cousin) wedding and got a hefty helping of family, love, joy, and celebration that has not really satiated me but instead left me craving more! Everyone, have more weddings! ha ha I'm so happy that Mark has met Jessica and that they've made this dedication that is just between them and God. Let me tell you, I was there and it was a beautiful demonstration of their faith and commitment. It was also an honor to sing for their ceremony and praise God that He allowed me to contribute to their wedding in that special way. :)  I was so happy to meet my little 2nd cousin Christopher Simpson for the very first time. It had been years since I'd seen my cousin Philip (since his wedding) so this was a really great reunion for us. With my amazing family, the 12 hour drive from Saugerties, NY to North Carolina was not just tolerable, it was actually enjoyable! Yes, you read that right as well. Pop your eyes back in now. haha. I quote my Mom: "Bananas? ... Rotten Bananas??" Yah... you'd only know if you were there. :) Mom, if you're reading this, I love you.

Speaking of my Mom, last weekend was her birthday! :) I wrote her a little card and gave her some reading materials (Better Homes & Gardens, mind you) as well as a year subscription to their magazine. Although I couldn't be physically there for her birthday, I heard it was great- lunch at PF Chang's, watching the new flick, "Avatar" on I-MAX, enjoying Godiva chocolates, man oh man. As an added bonus, my boyfriend Robin sent her a package with a lovely letter and a book called 100 Years of Solitude which she told me yesterday she's already 150 pages into! Whoa! So needless to say, she really likes that gift. I'm sure she also read her Better Homes & Gardens cover to cover that material is time sensitive!! (Are you still reading this, Mom? haha) Also, my Dad took her out to a special dinner the following evening. Go, Dad! ;)

Knock knock, it's the IRS...
 So you're probably wondering, what the heck were you doing on your Mom's birthday, Laura? Well, my dear inquisitive friend, I was being trained to be IRS certified to do people's taxes. Yes, I know, it doesn't get much more masochistic for any fun-loving 22 year old. And you certainly are right. But they're going to be holding a free tax-preparation service for low-income families right across the street from me and I really want to be a part of that. Not long ago, my friend Jeannie replied to one of my blog posts saying that a good way for us to give when we can't give financially is to instead give of our time. I believe that God made this opportunity to serve the community clear to me, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll let you know how that all goes. :)

This Weekend, A couple faces I've been aching to see...

 I'll be doing a little drive to Oil City, PA to visit my Grandparents and spend a couple days with them. Grandma Simpson and I have a very healthy pen-pal arrangement going so I'm always really anticipating my visits there. :) This I think will be the third time I've been to visit since I came to Buffalo back in June and I hope to do this even more often so long as I'm this close.


My Uncle Eric proposed to his girlfriend, Melinda, and she said YES! Not that I'm surprised she did, haha, because he's a really cool guy. We all love Melinda so much and are really excited to have her as a part of our family. No word on the wedding date yet, they are still exploring options for the destination! Congratulations to the both of you, we couldn't be happier.=D
 On the horizon...

In a mere 2 and a half weeks, I will be aboard a flight to Vegas, N.V. With our planned cross-country road trip,  my boyfriend Robin will become a part of my daily life! He's decided to eliminate this land gap that has kept us apart for the past 6 months. Our situation has undoubtedly challenged our determination and dedication to eachother. But we've been doing incredibly well despite the distance, and by finally being able to enjoy his presence, things can only get better.

 Until next time!
Well, that's all I have time to share right now but thanks for reading. I hope you really enjoy this day God's given you and find ways to somebody smile.


Music :)

I don't think my last post made any sense. haha I guess that happens when you're a little sleepy =P so here's a different song by the same band

Laura Simpson, Vocal Jazz

Hey there, I know I haven't written in a while. I woke up unusually early today, with a bit of a jolt. I think its because my mind keeps dredging out memories of my professional singing days and asking me what to do about them. My final year in high school, only year at UNLV and my summer in Philadelphia have been hanging out in my mind's recycle bin for a quite a few years now, I'm not sure how to file them and it's frustrating so I want to throw them away.

If you asked me why I stopped singing I might give you one of these answers.
- I was in it for the wrong reasons, and because of that, grew impatient.
- My voice deteriorated, singing became difficult and disappointing, so I lost interest. It would take a lot of work to be able to perform the amount I used to at the same quality.
- With all the distractions, I couldn't get serious about it in my first year of college.

I think it's a mixture of these things and maybe a couple more. So when those memories pop up, I bury them in some new hole, covered by a fresh layer of newly manufactured excuses.

I don't know how to identify with the mistakes I've made in this area of my life, or how to categorize all the foregone opportunities. I don't want to call it failure, because I know I'm too young to have actually failed at anything. Only death throws the gavel down. Who's to say that my every wrong won't be made right before I leave this world.

Even if I'm given just 10 years more on this Earth, I hope I'll have already circled back to jazz and cried into the microphone some more, being broadcast from some antenna somewhere, or before an audience who claps not because it's customary but because my performance has caused their hands to spontaneously collide.

Maybe you'll hear my ridiculous, clumsy guitar playing again. My voice'll come out with a limp, and fall flat on the ground instead of making every molecule within range vibrate in agreement the way it used to. This is just the sound of my life malfunctioning a little, with a past too big to throw away, and yet too much a part of me to ignore.


- Took my love to the airport and watched him fly away.
- Printed stickers and typed invoices into a spreadsheet for an oil distributor.
- Drove in some of the worst snowy road conditions I've ever seen.
- Purchased a sledgehammer and with the help of my friend Kyle, destroyed my favorite desk on the side of the road.
- Snuck into a house.
- Drank the best Latte of my life.
- Danced the Argentine Tango.
- New England Clam Chowder, need I say more.
- Was encouraged by my man to follow my dreams and live the life I was born to live.
-Fell asleep in a nice warm bed.
okay, the last one is just a guess ;)

The Protagonist

I have days tied to my ankle, they scratch the black asphalt up from under the snow. I wait for him in the car, allowing it to warm up, watching as he pushes the perfect snow off from all the windows. My throat is sore and my hands are dry so I clutch the steering wheel, put on the whole armor of jazz and turn up the volume. This car makes me want a horse instead. In fact, it makes me want to shed all layers of want, and that's something I've wanted only recently. Content, I reach for the passenger seat warmer, set it on high. He'll notice it just in time to appreciate it.

As I drive and drive through the driving snow, the thin layers- white silk on rough black skin deceptively delicate- drift and make the road look like it's crawling along with me. Of words exchanged from around then I remember only that he's glad I'm patient and have a good attitude, that he hates snow, and that I shouldn't walk like I'm sick.
The protagonist is at the bar tonight and comes home smelling of cigarettes not his, with a smile, asking how I'm feeling, now singing in the shower improvised lyrics that include my name.
The days I'm dragging clank like cans tied to the fender of a car. There are ribbons and there is confetti. It's a good sound and leaves the idolizable glories of 2009 just a residue from the bliss that is me in the present moment. Then again, I guess it's weird to have this thing tugging on my ankle like this. :)

Content by Laura Gabriele