Monday, January 31, 2011

Vintage Valentine

Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year in the floral industry, and it is quickly approaching. Preparations at the Poly Plant Shop are well under way.  We began planning for the big day over a month in advance and we've been able to come up with some cute and creative ideas! One of the ideas that we decided on was that each girl would design and name two arrangements to be put on display for people to pick and choose from.  

When it comes to Valentine's Day flowers, I'm pretty untraditional. I'm not a huge fan of the whole red roses, greenery, and babies breath (fyi-I strongly dislike babies breath in any and all arrangements). I'm not a flower snob I promise, but I like thinking outside of the box for this holiday. I feel like every year I see the same thing over and over and OVER again. So, for my first design I tried something a little different. I have a huge thing for shabby chic and vintage styles and I will make any excuse to uses a mason jar. So I went a little in that direction.  

Vintage Valentine
Pink spray roses
All in a mason jar wrapped with raffia

This will be a little experiment for me. I know that when it comes to V-Day, people are pretty set in their ways when it comes to flowers. But, it never hurts to try something new. And this bad boy is only $15.00 and you get to keep the jar!

So this Valentine's Day, think outside the box :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Beauty of Friendship

This week I have been spending a lot of time reminiscing and being sentimental. I've really been thinking about how much the Lord has blessed me with with such wonderful friends. I would love to introduce you to two of them. I met both of them when we traveled to the Middle East in 2008 and I can't imagine my life with out them in it.

Meet Grim (Sarah)

Before I actually met her in person I thought to myself, there is no way I'm going to like this girl (I was super judgmental, I hate to admit it) but she scared me. My first encounter with her was interesting; I was in line to check in at summer project briefing. Grim screamed my name, I turned around and the next thing I knew she was throwing herself at me wrapping her arms tightly around me. I was like get this girl off of me please! I kept my distance from her the next couple of days and during all of our travels. BUT, God had other plans.

 We arrived where we would be staying for a couple nights while in Jerusalem, we each were going to be assigned a roommate....NO, PLEASE GOD, PLEASE DON'T LET ME BE STUCK WITH HER! I was literally praying this to myself and little did I know Grim was thinking the same thing about me. People were getting paired off until finally it was just Grim and I standing there.  I sucked it up and headed to the room we would be sharing.

 Later that night, our team was hanging out playing games, chatting, and getting to know each other. As it got later we all headed to bed, Grim and I walked into our room. All of the sudden I felt extremely compelled to tell her something, a secret of mine that I wasn't planning on telling anyone...ever. I don't know where it came from, but I told her. She looked at me, smiled and we spent the whole night in bed chatting and laughing so hard there were tears and snorting if I recall correctly. We learned everything about each other that night, and the rest is history. After that night we were inseparable for the the next 8 weeks. Who knew that by telling her that tiny little detail about my life, it would completely change mine forever.

In the garden of Gethsemane.

Kayaking down the Jordan.

Now, Meet Christina
I met her with no preconceived notions whatsoever, but I wasn't expecting us to be close, she was so quiet! Yet again, God continued to have other plans. It wasn't until about a week into our trip that I got to know her. We paired up to spend the afternoon together, we were both a little tired so we sat on a bench over looking the city and the sea and just talked. I sat and listened to her tell her story, how she came to know Christ and how He was working in her life. I couldn't believe she was talking that much! It was beautiful. I new right then and there God wanted her in my life. And so she was is!

Sea of Galilee.
Excited to go kayaking!
Hiking on  Mt. Carmel.

Then, something  great happened. I'm not sure how and I'm not sure when, but all three of us never left each others sides. I could't believe it, the two girls I wasn't expecting to be friends with were the two that I grew closest to. Good one God.

Last night together in the Middle East.

God used them both to change my life and I could not be more grateful for them. I opened up my heart to them, shared with them my struggles that I had never told anyone before. They were there with me during my time of complete brokenness and they got to see the part of me that I kept hidden from everyone, even those who knew me well. They were there when the Lord started picking up the pieces and putting me back together. I have never felt so much love or experienced such encouragement and these girls challenged me in every aspect of my life.
 They are beautiful in every way possible.
 I cherish them.

Evening at the beach.
God has truly taught me the value of these women in my life as well as the effort and commitment it takes to make a relationship work. Despite the distance between us, we are still great friends and we are trying our best to be intentional with each other. It is very difficult to be away from the ones you love the most, but the fact that God is at the center of our friendship is what keeps us together.  

It has been about three years since our summer adventures. God has been faithful, providing the time and money for me to visit the girls and meet their families and friends.  One of the things that I love about our friendships is that it doesn't matter how far away we are or how long its been since we've seen each other, we are still able to just pick up where we left off as if we were never apart.

Visiting Grim on the East Coast.
Christina visiting California.

Visiting Utah.
I truly and deeply admire these women and the experiences I have had with them.  I love getting to share the  story of our friendship with people because God's hand is so evident in it all.  

I adore you both.

"Oil and perfume make the heart glad, 
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel."  

-Proverbs 27:9

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cuesta Ridge

Tuesday's are always fun!

 Today, my California natives class wandered around the top of Cuesta Ridge (2,000+ feet). We drove up the 101 and when we reached the top of the Cuesta grade we made a left off the freeway. We were quickly briefed on what we were to expect and then started our way up the mountainside. The ride up was quiet the adventure in itself; 5 girls shoved into a tiny truck (not meant for 5) driving up a mountain with roads that are no longer maintained by anyone. I wouldn't even call it a road. Just giant, deep holes that lead to the top of the ridge. It was a super gnarly ride up (and down) but very much worth it as we made it up to the top. It was another gorgeous day here in San Luis; 75 degrees, slight breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. Are we really in the dead of winter?!

Today we were exploring a chapparal community, full of salvia, manzanita, ceanothus and lots of other goodies.

Just seconds after taking this picture I slipped and fell, disappearing into very sharp shrubbery-naturally.
Our first stop on the ridge.
Serpentine soil (serpentine is the state rock of CA).
Tiny leaves with multiple facets. 
Tiny treasures.
Salvia mellifera-Black sage
Apparently this makes a really good pasta sauce!
Salvia spp.-ground cover.
Archtostaphylos 'Hood Mountain' (Manzanita)
Blooms in the winter and attracts hummingbirds.
Second stop.
Looking out over where a large fire came through in 1994.
Discussing the benefits of the fire active community.
Next stop-moving to a higher elevation-Cuesta Ridge Botanical Area.
Now seeing pines and cypress.
Cupressus sargentii-has closed cones that open and spread with wild fires!
Beth and Carrie trying to maneuver through the dense bushes.
Carex obispoensis
Small patch of Carex praegracilis (Sedge)
Leave it to me to find the moss...

Carrie, Molly, Beth, Lexi, and I.

Looking out over to Moro Bay.
Driving down the mountainside-to our left we saw some Dendromecon rigida (Bush poppy) and we all got very excited.
trying to get down....

I really did enjoy todays explorations....a lot. Though chapparal plant communities aren't my environments of choice, it was still so great to get to experience it all.  And I learned things I hadn't known before. 

I'm already looking forward to next Tuesday, stay tuned to see where we end up and what we find.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Lovely Sunday Afternoon

I must say, living in wine country definitely has its benefits! After a great morning at church I got to spend a beautiful afternoon in Paso Robles with 4 wonderful women enjoying tasty wine and great conversation, and was all free! Thanks to Lisa who works at a vineyard in Paso on the weekends. I guess it pays to know the right people.

 Free wine, free food, it was truly fabulous!

First stop Linne Calodo.

Riding in the Saturn :)

Jodi, Lisa, Michelle.

Best friends.

Enjoying the Four Vines tasting room.

They have delicious Zinfandels!

Enjoying the Peachy Canyon vineyard.

Moss on the vines!


Enjoying our free baguettes. 

It was a gorgeous day.

Pretty ladies.

I love being able to spend time with these great women, I am trying to soak it all up while I can. I will be moving away before I know it and unfortunately I can't take them with me...sad day.