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Some years are for growing, but this year is for blooming.

I promised myself in 2019, I would try to make sure I added a blog once a month, even if it's short and sweet, which will highlight one of the beautiful love stories that come my way through floral preservation. I literally get to be the book that holds a million short stories filled with so many beautiful, careful details that I get to display.

But this month, I'll start my blog goal off with my story, Don't Toss The Bouquet's story.

In October 2008, my hubby proposed to me. At Patchogue's L-Dock after a sub-par day of pumpkin picking and a fast food lunch that took hours. Sitting together at the L-dock wasn't something out of the ordinary for us, so when he asked to go down there for a little, I wasn't suspicious at all. I told him that I had to pee and we couldn't stay long.

I remember Rob's proposal started off with something about how happy he was that I was making Patchogue my home with him. I don't really remember the rest. I was literally shocked (and asked him if he stole the ring). We were pretty house-poor at the time, having bought in Patchogue in 2007, so I was never expecting a diamond...or a wedding to budget for either. (We were at the stage where I would yell at him if I found out he bought a cup of hot chocolate at Dunkin'. HE COULD HAVE SAVED FIFTY CENTS MAKING IT AT HOME. #housepoor #crazylady #budgeterforlife #hidetheevidence.)

And then so it began, my entrance into all things bridal. My friends were also beginning the whirlwind of (pre-Pinterest) wedding planning. I was trying to think of thoughtful gifts for my pals entering the same phase I was, and I thought the gift of floral preservation would be sweet. I also didn't realize the going rate for it was on average $1,000. So, I figured it out on my own - old fashioned English-teacher research: books, databases, and experiments.

I would buy 2 dozen roses from Costco and practice on the color of roses I knew my friends would carry. At each of their showers, I would present them with a promise of preservation (with a disclaimer that I didn't know what I was doing). And so it began, free preservation for everyone!

My displays (cubes only) spoke for themselves and friends-of-friends, high school pals, friends' cousins' sisters would start to request preservation. I would ask them to pay for my supplies, and it just gave me a craft to fine tune.

I never meant for this to be a career, a passion, a business.

I would meet people at Target, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks picking up flowers for them. One time, a person asked for a receipt for a deposit. So I hand wrote the receipt.

And my husband suggested I become more professional. And he was right. With his suggestion, I created documentation for everything: a logo (thanks Jess), a receipt, a contract, a timeline....paperwork galore. A form for EVERYTHING.

All the while, I was teaching (my English forte is Technical Writing - so this paperwork stuff is my thing, for sure - and the hunt for the little detail in the stories in Literary Analysis goes hand in hand with my flower/memento details in the displays of love stories).

And then, I had a baby. I stopped preserving flowers on my maternity leave and recommended people to far away, expensive floral preservation places. And then, back. to. work.

Too many hours teaching made me a lunatic, an unhappy situation I knew I had to resolve. My only solution was....grow the flowers. I would talk to one of my fellow mom friends who was in the trenches of motherhood with me at the same time, dealing with the back-to-work blues too, and I remember her texting me, "Grow, flowers, grow." She knew I was determined.

So, I made DTTB insanely official. I would sit up at night and design and program my website. I opened an official DTTB credit card and bank account and research tax rules in the middle of the night nursing sessions in between grading papers and preserving flowers.

And so my seeds of hard work began to bloom! Honored every day to watch this unfold in front of my eyes.

I may never sleep again, but then again, what dreamer needs sleep!

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