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People want to see flowers now – as many and as soon as possible. So we go to garden centers and look, perhaps to buy. This region’s garden centers are exhilarating after winter – tropical houseplants, early flowering annuals and perennials, spring-flowering shrubs. But what are you seeing and when can you put them outside? What is ‘cold-hardy’? In professional ga…

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The above photo of snowdrops received 57.5 percent of the votes in our latest Reader Challenge. This was the chance for people to send in photos of early bloomers popping up in their gardens after this long, long winter. Allison Sagraves took the photo on April 7 at the family's cabin in Holland, which they purchased last fall. She discovered the snowdrops in a mature r…

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Name: Mimi Harris Steadman, 53. Who she is: Vice president for academic affairs at D'Youville College since September 2017. Previously, she was associate vice president for institutional effectiveness at Daemen College. A native of Logan, W. Va., she earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of California, Berkeley, a master's degree from…

Gardening

For our latest Reader Challenge, we asked for photos of early bloomers – those delightful hyacinths, crocuses and other signs of spring beginning to pop up in the garden. Thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge. Now it’s readers’ turn to vote. This week there are four options from which to choose. We ask for your email address to avoid multiple submis…

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In early spring, it’s always uplifting to see buds on trees or shrubs and flowers poking up in the garden. Once we see them, many of us can’t resist taking a few photos. Now we want to see some of those photos you have taken recently as you wait for your garden to be in full bloom. Email your photo to homeandstyle@buffnews.com. A phone number is helpful. We plan to h…

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Name: Kristen Smigielski, 25. Who she is: Vocalist who sings a diverse range of music and started her jazz band, Kristen Smigielski Combo, last June. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in music degree (voice performance) from SUNY Buffalo State, a master’s in music from University at Buffalo and is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in education at SUNY Buffalo St…

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Do you remember when recycling entered our collective conscience? Did you first think about The Three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in the 1960s or 1970s? In popular culture the 3-R mentality has certainly had highs and lows along the way, but now commitment to environmentally responsible consumerism is reaching a new high. That’s thanks in part to a caring younger g…

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The handbag above received 50 percent of the votes in our latest Reader Challenge. This was the chance for purse-lovers to submit photos of their spring handbags – and have readers vote for their favorite. The purse belongs to Clarence resident Kathy Curatolo. "Whenever I carry this bag, people literally stop me no matter where I am and say, 'I love that bag,' " said…

Fashion

Name: Debra Horn Stachura Who she is: Co-owner with her husband, Bob, of Buffalo Advertising Management (BAM) on Delaware Avenue. A runner since college, she has completed seven marathons in Buffalo, Erie, Pa., Chicago and New York and continues to run 5K and 10K races. She graduated from SUNY Fredonia and earned a master's degree in education from SUNY Buffalo State. S…

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Maria and Tom Tarapacki share the story about how, after the exterior of their home was re-sided and spruced up, the mail carrier was so startled by the transformation he had to double-check the address to make sure he had the right house. The exterior makeover is just one of the projects the Tarapackis have tackled during the past five years. The couple, who married in…

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For our latest Reader Challenge, we asked for photos of spring handbags – any color, style or material. Thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge. Now it’s readers’ turn to vote. This week there are three options from which to choose. We ask for your email address to avoid multiple submissions ... not that our readers would ever do that. :) The deadl…

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Name: Kristy Schmitt, 33. Who she is: Director of education at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. She oversees the Children’s Garden at Plantasia in Paradise, the garden and landscape show continuing through Sunday at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Artisan Hall in Hamburg. She is a board member of PLANT WNY, which presents the show. The Arcade native ea…

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The recent Philadelphia Flower Show reminded gardeners of what we know deep in our hearts: Flowers make us happy! The 190-year-old award-winning show, produced by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, is the country’s largest and oldest flower show. It’s always fabulous. This year’s theme was “Flower Power,” and the happiness factor was contagious: We danced. We bo…

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The arrival of spring seems the perfect time to present our latest Reader Challenge: stylish handbags that sing spring. Have a handbag you love? Don't be shy. Please email a photo to homeandstyle@buffnews.com. It can be a shoulder bag, clutch, bucket bag, evening bag, something vintage – any bag you either have owned for years or recently purchased because you couldn…

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Name: Pamela Miskey, 63. Who she is: Owner for 38 years of Tis the Season Gift Shoppe, 15 Lincoln Road, Snyder, which specializes in seasonal decor, women's clothing and accessories, and locally crafted Buffalo-themed products. Before opening the shop, she was an assistant administrator at a local nursing home and had little retail experience except working at L.L. Berg…