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blooms away! how to make the most of your fresh flowers 
by Yee-Fan Sun
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Slowly, surely, I can see the change. Each morning when my alarm goes off, the sky seems a little brighter than it did the day before, and the bird chorus seems to build up its chirping just a little bit more. Though the trees outside my window are still sporting the bare limbs of winter, and I don't step outside my building without throwing a hat over my head, I can feel it in my bones: spring's inching ever closer. And I'm watching and hoping, waiting for the signs.

Sadly, no amount of wishing has yet to propel the temperatures high enough that I can ditch my woolly cold-weather clothes; the trees remain as starkly naked as ever. Though my mind might be ready for warm sunshine and daffodils, the world outside remains stuck in a chill. To combat my case of the winter blahs, then, I've been on a mission: to bring a little bit of spring into these digs of mine… with fresh flowers.

Now normally, I'm not a frilly sort of girl. I don't accessorize; I don't like things frou-frou; with the exception of an inexplicable weakness for funky shoes, I tend to be pretty practical in my spending habits. Fresh flowers serve no purpose; you buy them knowing they're well on their way to demise. They are not, in any way, a sound investment. But from the first time I ever set my foot in a flower shop and bought a small bouquet of tulips just for myself -- back in college, on a whim -- I've been a sucker for cut blooms. I love stopping by a stand of fresh flowers, poking my nose towards the different buckets, weighing the merits of red flowers versus pink flowers versus yellow flowers, breathing in the various perfumes. I smile every time I decide that, forget the fact that I don't need a bouquet, I'm going to take the plunge. "Is this a gift?" the flower shop girl inevitably asks, because flowers, it seems, are one of those things we tend to think we have to wait for other people to buy for us. "No, it's just for me." I say this with pride and glee; it feels like the best kind of guilty pleasure.

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