Shop Local! 2024 Northport Shopping Guide

Main St, Northport

We are incredibly grateful for our Northport neighbors, and warmly recommend the whole village experience. Pop in and support these folks who give so much to our communities. You’ll be glad you did. It’s easy to find wonderful gifts for not nearly as much as you might think, and a great way to keep all sorts of magic alive.

Continue reading

Shop Local! Beckman’s Florist

Photo of Beckman's Florist by Katheryn Laible

Photo of Beckman’s Florist by Katheryn Laible

Sometimes, you learn, there have been treasures under your nose all along. This one’s perfect for Valentine’s Day! 

We recently discovered the family-owned Beckman’s Florist, which has proudly served Long Island from it’s Larkfield Rd, East Northport location for almost 75 years. It was a lovely experience. 

The service was impeccable, the corsage incredible. It was also a delight to see all the gorgeous arrangements being prepared to grace other special occasions, offer love and care, and make any old day a bit brighter.

They have lovely gifts, too! This butterfly garden ornament is one of my favorite things. <3

What We Give vs. What We Get: Long Standing Imbalance at Crisis Point – The Time for Action is Now

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

The imbalance of what Long Island gives versus what it gets has long been felt. Now, it’s at a crisis point.

Continue reading

Arts Matter: LIAA Releases Numbers Detailing $330M Impact on LI

LIAA Board Member Marc Wong, David Okorn and Melissa Greenberger of LICF, and Lauren Wagner of LIAA show off key stats from a recent comprehensive study of the economic impace of Arts and Cultural organizations on LI

Share this with anyone involved in securing investment in the arts. We know the value is clearly deeper than economics. Still, that impact is profound and now we have numbers to clearly illustrate it!

Continue reading

Shop Local! 2023 Northport Leg Lamp Lighting

How one village gets lit, including a Shopping Guide starring the merchants who light the Northport Leg Lamp!

Continue reading

2023 Smart Growth Summit

For more than 25 years, Vision Long Island has made a huge difference in our communities, connecting great people and generally helping all sorts of folks wrap their heads around the challenges and opportunities to improve our built environment on LI. Their 2023 Smart Growth Summit is happening Friday, December 1, 2023 from 8am-4pm.
It will feature over 1,000 local community, business and government, downtown revitalization and community development leaders. There will be nearly 20 workshops, 100 speakers, a trade show, and a concurrent Youth Summit. The breakfast “State of the Towns and Villages” session and luncheon alone are worth the program price. 
This is a great way to get an in depth, inside scoop on important local issues, including infrastructure, redevelopment, energy, human needs, small business, walkability, transportation and many others.
The LI Smart Growth movement generally attracts great people who care about the future of our communities. For an idea of the quality of folks who attend, check out these in-depth interviews hosted by Eric Alexander featuring a broad range of local leaders. You can also check out Vision’s YouTube channel to see important discussions they’ve hosted in the past, as well as people, projects and policies that they have highlighted. 
It’s really valuable stuff. Best to come check out what they’re talking about now!
Check out their website for details and get on their email list!

Autumn Landscaping Resources

Child in leaves

Autumn Landscaping. Plant Something and Chill

It’s taken a full year to feel like our Firefly Gallery is mostly resettled. Tending to that treasure has left both Synchronicity and my gardens sorely neglected.  
Fortunately, things are falling into place and there’s still time to tend to these passions! I am grateful to those who encourage me to get back to writing already, and am delighted to report that autumn is a GREAT time for gardening!
Autumn Dogwood
"Autumn Dogwood" photo by Katheryn Laible

On Leaving the Leaves

To explain why this is so beneficial, let’s start with another post from deeply knowledegable local expert Anthony Marinello of Dropseed Natives, “Leave the Leaves!”

This is rapidly becoming a very mainstream concept.

Here’s a piece from, “Rake It or Leave It? Here’s Why You May Just Wanna Leave Your Leaves Where They Fall,”  one from the USDA, and even one in Good Housekeeping.

Here’s an article from James Doubek for NPR on the subject.

Environmental groups have been saying this for years. Here’s the National Wildlife Federation on why.

And one from The Xerces Society: “Leave the leaves.”

BTW the Xerces Society is interesting. It’s really focused on saving invertebrates. Their work is deeply fundamental and yet applied at our level in the food chain, so it’s also really helpful! Their Facebook page is a wealth of basic, excellent advice.

…There are tips on winter cleanup, saving seeds, a beautiful sight of Monarch Butterflies migrating….

I learned about them from Long Island Native Plant Group on Facebook, a great community of incredibly knowledgeable and helpful folks who think about our local ecoscapes all year long

…but I digress…

…I was talking about leaving the leaves…

Photo of oak leaf on pavement
"Oak Leaf" photo by Katheryn Laible

Well, Most of Them Anyway

The movement to leave the leaves is really important, but should be taken with a little common sense.

It also remains important to keep the driveway clear, as well as stone patios and pathways, assuming you wish to preserve them. The same goes for grass (though a thin layer of leaves may be mowed quite healthfully), which also likes to be aerated from time to time.

On my property, I’m dealing with invasive Norway Maples that I’m working to eradicate and replace with native trees as quickly as I can afford to do so. With them, I have found raking the leaves is fairly important as they seem particularly smother-y and slow to break down. As I am working to reduce their spread, I also want to be able to get their whirlybirds up in the spring!

As such, my approach isn’t so different from what these folks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have to say, or The Spruce, here.

So, I do continue to rake a bit….mindfully….

Autumn afterblooms
"Autumn Afterblooms" photo by Katheryn Laible

Consider Losing the Lawn

Of course, while lawn health is among the biggest reasons to still rake, folks such as those from Re-Wild Long Island (an incredible collaboration of Long Island experts) suggest you consider doing away with your lawn instead.

This powerful opinion piece in the New York Times suggests you’d best “Kill your lawn before it kills you.”

On the West Coast, this has become a serious affair. Alternatives such as Xeriscaping, which focuses on minimizing water use, have become very popular. There, many factors including severe ongoing drought are coming together to prove that fighting the ecosystem for the sake of grass isn’t worth the trouble.

Related practices are gaining popularity across the country as communities come to realize that tending their own yard is a great way to nurture a healthier environment.

I’m not quite ready to ditch my lawn myself. However, I am committed to neither watering nor fertilizing nor spraying it with chemicals, and to doing all I can to maximize the ecological value of my property.

Here’s a nice piece from Brooklyn Greenways on why native plants are so important.

I am deeply inspired by projects like these “Rewilding Long Island” examples featured on the Rewild Long Island website.

See these 12 Inspiring ideas for a lawn-free landscape from, and some more on Houzz.

Check them all out and then go, tread lightly into winter, and dream of the upcoming spring.


(BTW: You can find resources for that here … it’s never too early to start planning!)

photo looking up at trees in twilight
"Looking Up: After the Fall" photo by Katheryn Laible

Infinite Potential: Donna, Rosemarie, and Drake Media Studios

From far left: Rosemarie Kleupfel, ___, ___, Donna Drake, Chris LaVecchia

Photo at Drake Media Studios by Katheryn Laible

Infinite Potential: Donna, Rosemarie, and Drake Media Studios

I was delighted to recently get to tour the AMAZING Drake Media Studios and learn that Rosemarie Kleupfel is now working with Donna Drake!!! 

Rosemarie Kleupfel

If you’ve followed here for long, or been in any number of go-getting LI circles, you’ve probably met Rosemarie. I think I encountered her first when the Fairway Foundation hosted the Long Island simulcast viewing of a profound full-day international leadership summit featuring the likes of Simon Sinek, Malcolm Gladwell, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

It might have been Rosemarie who first introduced me to SCWBEC, the Suffolk County Women’s Business Enterprise Coalition. I know I found her offerings there of professional development and communications presentations exceptionally useful.

It was Rosemarie who shared with me this incredible adventure bringing builders, interior design experts and others together to make a veteran a home. This was just one of many endeavors to serve veterans that Rosemarie championed with the Fairway Foundation.

A mother of two women, Rosemarie has a particular passion for serving female veterans. Really, she loves helping anyone who wants to be all that they can be.

She sings in the Chuck Evans Band, has been known to write, and is excited to now join forces with Donna.

This is a good match!!!

Donna Drake

Donna is incredibly down to Earth, with an open heart and thoughtful mind to inspire all who will to reach for the stars. Hailing from St. Louis and now a Long Island girl, Donna has grown to become an international award-winning creative artist. She is a writer, producer, actor and influencer. Her beloved, uplifting local production, an enthusiastic invitation to “Live it Up!” is now simply called “The Donna Drake Show.” It has come to reach across the US and 25 countries.

Donna is all about hope, motivation and resilience. Through over 600 episodes, her show has featured over 7500 moving conversations. She has hosted celebrity entertainers, sports legends, top journalists, business moguls, authors, motivational speakers, medical professionals, health and wellness experts, beauty and fashion icons, chefs, and diverse non-profit organizations.

The best part might be the everyday heroes who share stories of triumph, inspiration and perseverance.

Your Opportunity: Drake Media Stories

In the past few years, Donna has also come to own one of the most welcoming video and film production facilities in the USA. Drake Media Studios encompass 8,200 square feet of stages, editing suites, and support spaces. They are equipped with full gear, ranging from an Arri Alexa to a light bulb.

Here’s an online tour. It was so much fun to visit this amazing place. It is a treasure; charming, exhilarating and heartwarming. Valuable memorabilia hang with precious children’s artwork. The furnishings and décor are a uniquely comfortable feast for the imagination. Add in the warm, creative hospitality of Donna (which always seems to include introducing folks to other great people) and you have a good time going!

They offer full service creative production. Whether you are eager to reach the world or host an intimate event, have your own crew or need full support, these folks want you to know they are psyched and prepared. You can rent a customized studio (like totally customizable), or do simple vod (video on demand) or podcast. They can handle production, distribution, syndication, marketing…

If you just want to have an unforgettable gathering, they can help you set the stage.

The possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to see what they do, what you do!

I’m going to follow them.