Kremp Florist Blog

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  • The New Rules of Dating: How Dating Apps are Changing the Game

    Romance

    Dating has changed over the years -- from the formal courtship rules of the 19th century to the going steady rules of the 1950s to the lax laws of the free love movement to the sitcom mores of the 1990s.

    But technology has revolutionized dating in the 21st century by shaking up the dating pool, changing how we interact and what we expect from those we court as romantic partners. Gone are the days of dating the boy or girl next door -- now we swipe right and determine what mile radius is actually realistic to set on our dating apps.

    From op-eds in countless newspapers and magazines to the “Modern Love” column in the New York Times to books like Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, the world has taken notice of the extreme shifts in dating habits. Traditional modes of dating are rapidly being surpassed by the likes of Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Match.com, and other online dating apps -- instead of looking for love in our friends or the people around us at the bar, we look for it on our phones.

    Romance

    How People Meet and the Dating Pool

    Dating apps have completely revolutionized how we meet people and the size of the dating pool. In the past, we were relegated to our neighbors, the people we attended school or worked with, and those we might meet through our friends. Sociologists found that the majority of individuals ended up marrying someone who lived within 5-10 miles of them.

    Nowadays, we can cast a much wider net with the assistance of dating apps. While most people tend to still look for people in their immediate vicinity, you can launch a search on dating apps that covers the entire world if you’re so inclined. Of course, there will always be those who “meet cute” or are high school sweethearts or find each other via some other in-person channel, but dating apps make it possible to evaluate hundreds of possible matches on a daily basis.

    For the most part, this is a good thing. It means we’re that much more likely to find that perfect match. However, dating apps have also made us more selective and more indecisive. When there are seemingly endless options of who to date, it’s hard not to feel anxiety over your choice. You can start to worry about whether you have the “best” person or if there is someone better out there. Carol Lieberman says in her book Bad Boys that dating has gone from “a romantic serendipitous meeting to a virtual shopping spree.”

    This can be exhausting for users, scrolling through profiles hoping to find that one special someone and sort out all of the bad matches. What’s more? It can run the risk of making us too choosy in our quest for perfection.

    No one should settle, but as Aziz Ansari explains in his book, “If you are in a big city or on an online-­dating site, you are now comparing your potential partners not just to other potential partners but rather to an idealized person to whom no one could ­measure up.” Essentially, dating apps have given us more choice, but also possibly too much choice.

    Romance

    The Rules of Dating

    With the world of dating apps comes a whole new set of “dating rules.” It should be stated that one major question is the issue of expectations. Tinder and other dating apps have propelled the rise of “hook-up” culture with many individuals using dating apps to find a casual partner for the night, rather than a committed partner. Dating apps both gamify and sexualize the process of dating, according to The Guardian. With dating apps, we can seek out a sexual encounter, rather than a more traditional dating set-up.

    However, recent research from Tinder and sociologists does suggest that couples are now just as likely to find a committed partner and successful relationship on an app as they are in person, so this trend is fading somewhat. Just be clear and upfront about what you’re looking for on a dating app, so that neither you nor your potential partner is getting more or less than they bargained for.

    If you are looking for love on a dating app, there are still some ground rules. Naturally, we advise you to be yourself and treat your date with respect and thoughtfulness as you would like to be treated. However, there are trends that are emerging from usage.

    The dating “rules” of avoiding seeming too eager or interested off the bat, waiting a prescribed amount of time before calling/asking for a second date, etc. have transferred to the online world. Now, rather than waiting a day or two to call someone, it’s become a rule of the recommended amount of time you should wait before responding to someone on a dating app (or texting them after your first date). Amounts of time vary depending on who you ask, but everyone suggests that people avoid looking too eager or available off the bat, allowing at least an hour to pass between response times.

    This can be more difficult in the world of dating apps, as you often feel like responding as soon as you get a message and the notification pings a shot of dopamine to your brain. Studies find that we receive high amounts of validation and increased feelings of self-worth from the surge of dopamine that accompanies message notifications we receive on dating apps. We all want to try our best to play it cool, particularly when there are so many options out there and being too eager can make you appear desperate. Ultimately, though, the only real rule is to be yourself and be kind.

    Romance

    Is Romance Dead?

    Many, including those Ansari interviewed for his book, bemoan the loss of romance with the rise of dating apps. There are those who hate the very idea of online dating because it removes the random romance of a happenstance meeting that provides the perfect narrative response to “how did you two meet?”. And then of course, many complain that the buffet of choices available on the app make people less considerate -- we are more likely to simply ignore potential partners if things don’t go well, and if we know there’s so many more options available, we might not work as hard to woo or court them.

    So, have dating apps killed romance? Sometimes it can certainly feel that way. But actually, there’s no reason to completely abandon romantic gestures just because you met through a dating app. Bring your date flowers or scan through their list of interests on their online profile and choose a dating activity tailored to one of them. If things go well, end your date with a little stargazing. Injecting romance into life isn’t all that difficult. We just have to remember to make the effort -- something we all will appreciate even more in a world where technology has revolutionized the way we date.

    Romance

    Though dating apps have changed the game (and made dating more of a “game” than ever before), ultimately, we are all still looking for the same thing -- that special someone, a companion with whom we can share our lives. Keep that in mind (and at heart) as you proceed into the landscape of 21st century dating.

  • Tricks to Keeping Your Bouquet of Roses Fresher, Longer

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    So you’ve received or cut a beautiful bouquet of roses -- you can’t wait to display them in your home, but you’re already a little bit sad thinking about how quickly they might wilt. You wish there was a way to make their beauty last a little longer. What if we told you there is?

    Whether you’re getting a bouquet of roses from a florist or the grocery store or cutting flowers from your backyard, here are some tips for keeping your roses fresher longer.

    Cutting Your Rose Bush

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    If you’re cutting your own flowers from the yard, there are a couple of tips and tricks to ensure your bouquet will have its maximum shelf life. You’ll want to be sure to water the rose bush the night before you intend to cut them -- flowers that are freshly watered will live longer than those that are thirsty.

    Cleanliness is crucial to prevent potentially flower-killing bacteria so use Lysol or Clorox on your pruning shears before cutting to ensure that you are cutting your roses with the cleanest possible tools. Lastly, cool temperatures are crucial for floral longevity, so be sure to cut your flowers in the morning, preferably between the hours of 6 and 10 am. The hotter the weather, the earlier you should cut. When you cut, be sure to cut the stem at a sharp angle, as this will maximize water absorption in a vase.

    Buying Roses from a Florist

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    If you are buying your roses, there are several things you can do at the florist to ensure your bouquet will last longer. Ask the florist which flowers in the shop are freshest/just arrived -- they will certainly last longer than something that’s been on the shelf for a few days.

    Additionally, just as with cutting roses, you’ll want to opt for cooler temperatures, so select roses that are in a refrigeration unit over those that are sitting out at room temperature. If you’re able to handle your roses before purchasing a bouquet, there are a few things to look out for to ensure freshness--squeeze the stem at the base where the flower meets the stem and if it’s squishy/loose, the flowers are not fresh. You want to look for roses with a firm link between stem and flower head. Secondly, be on the lookout for bruised or brown petals -- this is a surefire sign of freshness and how quickly a flower will droop or die. If you can, it’s advisable to transport the roses home in water. Put a bucket with a few inches of water in the bottom in your car and place them in it immediately; if roses go without water, even for only ten minutes, they will lose freshness more rapidly.

    Preparing Your Bouquet of Roses For Display

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    Now that you’ve cut or bought the roses in your bouquet, it’s time to prepare them for display. You will want to use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut the stems, not scissors. Scissors tend to squeeze the stems, which can mean that they take in less water and die more quickly. Be sure the cutting implement is clean and free of bacteria that might precipitate your roses’ death. When you’re cutting the stems, cut them underwater to prevent air getting into the bottom of the stems. As with fruit, the second you cut a flower and air makes contact, it causes the deterioration process to begin.

    Be sure to cut the stems at a 45 degree angle, which allows more water to get in. You will also want to remove all thorns (for safety) and leaves from the stems. A rose stem acts like a straw and if you leave the leaves, they will take the majority of the water, leaving the petals to dehydrate. Furthermore, if the leaves are underwater, they often rot, causing your bouquet to accumulate bacteria and die more quickly.

    Cleanliness is also key with your water and your vase. Make sure the vase you are placing the bouquet in is pristine -- wash (and dry) with hot, soapy water and clean with a bottle brush to be sure it’s rid of bacteria from previous use. You’ll want to change out the water and re-cut the stems every day to increase longevity. If you don’t, bacteria will accumulate and stems will become less effective at absorbing water.

    Lastly, when preparing your water for the vase, consider a few options. Use clean, cool water in the vase. There are many suggestions out there that aspirin, a penny, bleach, etc. will increase the life of your flowers, but tests suggest this is erroneous. Clear, clean water that you change every other day is the best way to ensure your flowers last over a week. If you’re so inclined, flower food or a ¼ teaspoon of vinegar can also help preserve the life of your flowers, just don’t overdo it. And be mindful that flower food often causes the flowers not to bloom all the way. Another option is to fill your vase with 7-Up instead of fresh water and change the soda every day--the sugars and carbonation have been proven to extend the life of a bouquet.

    Keep Your Roses Lasting Over Time

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    Lastly, you’ll want to take care when displaying your flowers. The cool rule is also pertinent here. Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight or particularly warm rooms -- displaying them in a shady, cool spot will ensure they last longer. If you really want to maximize their life, you can even store them in the refrigerator overnight or when you’re not at home and bring them back out when you want to enjoy them.

    If you notice them starting to wilt, it’s time to refresh the water and cut the stems again. Note, the shorter the stem, the longer the life of the rose (the water doesn’t have to travel so far), so even cutting the roses down to float in a bowl of water can be a way to keep the bouquet looking fresh and beautiful long after you cut or receive them.

    Whether you’re cutting your own bouquet of roses from your beautiful garden or buying an arrangement from a florist or the grocery store, you want your bouquet to last a week of more. Follow all of the tips above and you’ll have a stunning floral display in your home for 7 days plus!

  • The Symbolic Meanings of Funeral Flowers

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    Losing a loved one is never easy. Many people wish they could have one more conversation with the person that has passed, and although that’s not possible, there is a way for you to tell the deceased how you truly felt about him or her. The funeral flowers that you choose will speak volumes about your feelings for your loved one. What do you want to say to him or her? Find out the meaning behind these popular funeral flowers so you know which ones you should choose:

    Lilies

    If you’ve ever attended a loved one’s funeral before, you’ve probably noticed that many of the floral arrangements were filled with lilies. Lilies are one of the most popular funeral flowers because they symbolize innocence and purity of the soul that has recently left this world. Although these flowers come in many different colors, white is the preferred choice for funerals.

    Roses

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    Roses are traditionally associated with romance and passion, but they are also appropriate for funerals. There are many different colors of roses, and each color has a unique meaning. In a funeral setting, red roses symbolize love and grief. White roses, similar to white lilies, symbolize innocence and purity. If the person who has passed away was a close friend, you may want to consider sending an arrangement of yellow roses, as these represent friendship. Light pink roses are typically not used at funerals, but there is a rare shade of dark pink that can be used to show your gratitude for everything that the deceased has given to you.

    Carnations

    Florists often use carnations to create funeral wreaths because of their bold colors, affordability, and of course, their symbolic meaning. Just like roses, each color of carnations has its own meaning, so choose wisely as you select flowers for your loved one’s funeral. Red carnations are often used to show affection, while white carnations show innocence and rebirth. If the deceased was Catholic or Christian, it may be appropriate to send pink carnations because it is believed that the Virgin Mary created these flowers with her tears.

    Orchids

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    Orchid plants may not look as impressive as a giant arrangement of roses or carnations, but they hold a deep meaning for those that are grieving over the loss of a loved one. At a funeral, an orchid plant symbolizes your everlasting love for the deceased. If you are giving an orchid plant to someone to express your condolences, it is recommended that you choose a white or pink orchid since these symbolize sympathy.

    Chrysanthemums

    One of the most popular funeral flowers throughout the world is the chrysanthemum. The meaning behind these flowers varies depending on the country. For example, people in Asian countries such as Korea and Japan view the chrysanthemum as a symbol of death and grief. In the U.S., chrysanthemums are seen as a symbol of truth. Regardless of where you live, this is a great choice for funeral flowers and is often included in floral arrangements with other popular flowers.

    Gladioli

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    The gladioli is a timeless choice for funeral flowers, and should be used when the person who has passed away had great integrity and character. These flowers typically represent strength, strong moral values, and sincerity. Gladioli come in a wide variety of colors, but each color does not have its own meaning, so feel free to choose whichever you think is best.

    Daffodils and Tulips

    A funeral is hardly a cause for celebration, so you may be wondering why these bright and colorful flowers are often used at funerals. Both daffodils and tulips begin to bloom in the spring, and as a result they are often associated with renewal and new beginnings. Sending an arrangement with daffodils or tulips to the family members of the person who has passed away is similar to sending a card with words of encouragement. It tells them that they will get through this difficult time and find happiness again—and that you will be right by their side every step of the way.

    Violets

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    Violets were used throughout literature, including in Shakespeare’s Ophelia, to symbolize a death that came too soon. If a loved one passed away unexpectedly at a young age, it may be appropriate to incorporate violets into the funeral flowers.

    Hyacinth

    The meaning of the hyacinth flower can be traced all the way back to ancient Greek mythology. Apollo, the god of the sun, adored a boy named Hyakinthos, who was tragically killed by Zephyr, the god of the west wind. After his death, beautiful flowers grew around Hyakinthos’s body, and Apollo named these flowers hyacinths after the boy whom he deeply cared about. Based on this story, many florists use hyacinths to symbolize a sense of deep sorrow and longing for the person who has passed away.

    Forget Me Nots

    funeral flowers

    It’s not hard to guess what these flowers symbolize based on their name alone. Choose forget me nots if you would like to tell the deceased that you will always remember him and that he will live on in your memories forever.

    Camellia

    Camellia flowers are breathtakingly beautiful because of their delicate petals and elegance. This flower symbolizes perfection, refinement, and excellence, so it is ideal for funerals of those you admired or truly respected.

    Magnolias

    funeral flowers

    Bold and beautiful white magnolias typically represent dignity and perseverance. These flowers are usually associated with the southern United States, so you may not see them at funerals in other regions of the country.

    Hibiscus

    The tropical hibiscus flower is a unique choice for funerals, but it is appropriate in some situations. Hibiscus flowers are brightly colored and feminine, and for this reason they are often used at funerals for a beloved mother, sister, daughter, or wife. They symbolize femininity, a quiet strength, and a delicate beauty.

    Now that you know the meaning behind these popular funeral flowers, you can choose an arrangement that is appropriate for the relationship you had with the deceased. Use these flowers to express what’s in your heart and say a final farewell to your friend or family member.

  • Prom Etiquette Guide: How to Buy the Right Corsage

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    As spring comes into full bloom and begins to make it way towards the glorious days of summer, it’s time for two time-honored school traditions: graduation and prom.

    For many teenagers, prom is one of the most exciting and memorable nights of their life. The high school dance is a chance to make unforgettable memories with their friends and high school sweethearts. One of the most beloved prom traditions is that of the corsage -- the small flower arrangement that adorns a girl’s wrist or collar and is given to her by her date. The corsage is often paired with a boutonniere, a small floral arrangement that goes on the lapel of a suit. Typically, the boutonniere and corsage are in matching or complementary colors or flower arrangements, but that can depend on the coordination of the pair.  If you’re going solo to prom or prefer to select your corsage yourself, there’s no saying you can’t buy your own as well!

    What Corsage to Buy

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    There are many options when it comes to a corsage -- you can buy a premade corsage, work with a florist to order a custom design, or even go in a totally different direction and order a plastic corsage. Plastic flowers are growing in popularity as a way to promote reusable corsages and they can be ordered from various online retailers.

    However, if you’re going to buy the real thing you still have my decisions to make. If you’ve left the corsage to the last minute, you can buy a premade design from a florist and hope for the best. But the most polite and best option is to work with a florist on a custom design.

    Though carnations and roses are the most common flowers for a corsage or boutonniere, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to selecting the flowers for your design. Do your research and come to the florist with ideas and they can help steer you in the right direction. Bold and bright colors are very in right now for corsages, as they complement the youthful vibe and energy of prom night. Statement pieces that make use of a variety of textures and details are all the rage right now.

    The most important thing to consider when purchasing a corsage is what your date is wearing. A corsage (and a boutonniere) should match and complement your date’s gown and your tux.So even if you’re going with a pre-made design, be sure the flower and ribbon colors match or complement your date’s outfit. The last thing you want is to present her with a corsage that clashes terribly with her dress. There are many ways to avoid this -- ask your dress for a swatch of fabric from the dress or a photo of the gown to share with the florist (you’ll need it anyway if you’re planning to match your tux). Or if you don’t mind the corsage not being a surprise, you can even bring your date with you to the flower shop to choose the proper ribbon and flower colors.

    There are many options when it comes to the color selection -- you can pick flowers that naturally blossom in hues that complement/match the dress or you can choose a flower that can be easily dyed, such as a carnation. You may also choose to opt for a neutral hue, such as white, and use ribbon and other accessories to match the gown. Consider any number of options, from including rhinestones in the arrangement to match the sparkle on your date’s dress to dyeing a carnation nearly any shade to match.

    If you’re deciding between a wrist or a shoulder corsage, consider your date’s dress -- shoulder corsages can be very heavy, so if they’re wearing a strapless gown, it’s best you opt for a wrist corsage. Otherwise, you may have nowhere to pin it! In general, wrist corsages are more popular nowadays anyway, but you can always ask your date what she prefers.

    Besides the color of the gown, feel free to ask your date about her likes and dislikes before finalizing your choices. Be sure you’re not buying her a corsage featuring blooms she hates. Most importantly, find out if there’s any flowers or plants that your date is allergic to and tell your florist. The last thing you want is your date to have itchy eyes or be sneezing all night because of your corsage.

    When to Buy a Corsage

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    You should allow ample time for your corsage, whether you’re ordering online and need to allow for shipping time or buying directly from a florist. Prom is a very busy time of year for florists (in addition to all the prom orders, they’re also often handling Mother’s Day and graduation requests, as well as heading into wedding season). Therefore, you need to give them plenty of time to ensure you’re getting the best work. If you want to purchase a pre-made corsage, visit the shop a week prior to the dance to place your order, but be aware that the choices will be limited (and call ahead to be sure the florist you’re visiting sells them). Do not go into a florist the same day as the prom and expect them to make miracles happen.

    If you’re buying a custom corsage, place your order a minimum of two weeks in advance. This will give the florist plenty of time to order the proper materials (and flowers) and make your corsage. You won’t pick up the corsage until the morning of the dance to ensure the flowers are of optimum freshness, but planning ahead is key. Once you pick up the corsage, store it in the refrigerator or a cool place until you give it to your date to keep the petals looking fresh and beautiful.

    How Much is a Corsage?

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    Corsages can really range in price, from as cheap as $20 to as high as $50. Boutonnieres run a bit cheaper and hover in the $10-12 range, but they’re less involved and typically only feature one central flower. The type of bloom and the ornateness of the design will largely inform the price point. If you’re on a tight budget, be upfront with your florist when you place your order. They may advise you to order a pre-made design or to pick a less pricey design. Don’t wait until you go to pick up your corsage and then be shocked by the price tag. Discuss what blooms and designs will cost in advance and plan or adjust your designs accordingly.

    How to Wear the Corsage or Boutonniere

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    It is traditional for people to present their dates with their corsage or boutonniere prior to departing for the prom. Many families enjoy taking photos of their daughters receiving corsages from their dates and pinning their boutonnieres on. Etiquette and tradition state that a corsage should be worn on the left side (either the left wrist or left shoulder strap), but ultimately, placement and how you wear is up to personal preference. Many left-handed people prefer to wear their corsage on their right hand.

    The most important thing is that you wear the corsage and express admiration and appreciation for your date’s selection. Odds are they dedicated at least some thought to the process and you should let them know you appreciate their effort. Depending on the bloom and the size of the arrangement, corsages may start to come apart over the course of the evening depending on how vigorously you’re dancing. Don’t fret if your petals turn slightly brown or blooms fall off during the course of the evening -- it’s natural wear and tear.

    Many wish to save their corsage as a memento of their special evening. Place it in a cool, dry place when you return home and allow it to completely dry out before storing it in a more permanent location as a keepsake.

    A corsage can be a special memory and symbol of an unforgettable night -- be sure to pick the perfect one!

  • Gift Basket Themes to Surprise Your Mom With

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    It’s almost time for Mother’s Day. Unlike Valentine’s Day, which is often reserved for those in romantic relationships, we all can celebrate Mother’s Day, whether we’re celebrating a mom still with us, honoring her memory, or showering an honorary mom with love.

    Mother’s Day is the perfect time to surprise her with a special gift that shows her just how much you care. One of the most beautiful and versatile gifts you can choose is a gift basket -- with a basket full of hand-selected items to fit your mom’s interests and hobbies, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Here are some great options for the perfect gift basket for any type of mom.

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    Spa Baskets

    Odds are your mom needs to relax and deserves a day of pampering. If you can’t take her to a spa, take the spa to her with a relaxation themed gift basket. Arrange or purchase a basket full of soothing lotions, bubble bath, face masks, bath salts, candles, and more.

    You can choose her favorite scent and build a basket around that, whether it be rose-scented products, a refreshing Cucumber Melon gift set, or a Lavender themed basket. If you’re unsure what scent is the best option, lavender is always a safe bet as it’s scientifically proven to aid in relaxation and calming, as well as improve sleep. You can also opt for an even more general theme and pick a wide range of complementary scents with a miscellaneous basket like the So Serene Spa or Bath and Body baskets. No matter what scent or amalgamation of products you choose, a spa basket is sure to be a hit with a busy mom who longs for some quiet time.

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    Wine Baskets

    Let’s face it -- every mom could use a drink once and awhile. And many moms are connoisseurs of wine or beer, belonging to a wine club or having a favorite brewery. Or maybe your mom has a favorite cocktail of choice. Build her a gift basket that lets her imbibe with her favorite liquid treat.

    If she’s a wine lover, give her a basket featuring her favorite wines, some delicious cheeses, and perhaps some perfect wine accessories, such as a bottle opener, cork, aerator, and more. Perhaps she prefers beer to wine? It’s just as easy to put together a basket of her favorite brews, complementary peanuts/snacks, and other fun beer-themed items. Or maybe she prefers the hard stuff? Martinis, Margaritas, or any range of cocktails? Build her a basket with her favorite cocktails, including a beautiful glass, a fine label of her favorite liquor, and all the fixings to make several cocktails that use it as a base. We all need to pick our poison sometimes -- make it a luxurious treat for your mom.

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    Tea and Coffee Baskets

    If your mom prefers the comfort of a warm beverage to alcohol, make her a basket with her favorite teas and coffees. The basket could range from anything to a selection of teas with a delicate teacup and matching saucer and other tea related items (accompanying cookies, a tea timer, etc.) to a sampling of new and exotic coffee and teas.

    You could choose one of our tea baskets or samplers, or you can build your own depending on what your mom likes. If she’s an Anglophile, build her a basket with a London themed tea cozy, a cute tea towel, and some classic black teas. Maybe she loves South American coffees? Build a fun gift set that includes delectable coffee beans, a unique mug, and some delicious biscotti to pair with the coffee. No matter what she likes, there’s a warm beverage basket that’s perfect for her.

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    Food Baskets

    One of the most straightforward form of gift baskets is a more traditional fruit or snack basket. Companies from the likes of Edible Arrangements to Harry and David offer a wide range of gift baskets in this category. You can opt for something simple like an assortment of delicious fruit or a sampling of cheeses, crackers, and dips, or you can find something really unique that fits your mom’s interests.

    If she’s really into cooking or baking, make her a gift baskets that features a cookbook, recipe cards, and some of the crucial ingredients. If she’s a baker, you can include cookie cutters, spatulas, or more. Throw in an apron or other fun accessories for good measure.

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    Movie Lovers Baskets

    Is your mother a cinephile? Or maybe going to the movies is her favorite way to relax? Give her a movie-going gift basket. The sky is the limit here -- you could opt for an at-home movie night and include a DVD or Blu-Ray, a box of popcorn, some movie candy selections, and maybe even a special blanket or something fun she can use to snuggle while she’s watching the film. Or if she prefers to do out to the multiplex, take a different approach.

    Give her a movie gift card, a certificate for the concessions stand, and consider something unique like a special frame in which she can keep her favorite ticket stubs. For good measure, throw in Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide or another film-themed book that will help her learn more about the movies she loves and decide what to see next.

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    Book Lovers Baskets

    If you mom prefers the library to the movie theater, consider getting her a book themed gift basket. This is another one that you can be very creative with and tailor specifically to her interests. Build a basket around her favorite author or genre -- include gift certificates to a local independent bookstore (maybe promise to go with her as a special outing), a new book (or two or three), bookmarks, a reading light, and more.

    You can find fun items to throw in like a candle that smells like the pages of an old book or library card themed socks. Every time she uses one of the items or reads the book, she’ll think of you.

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    Hobby Baskets

    If none of these sound like a good option, consider making a super special basket tailored to your mother’s interests and hobbies. Does she love going to the beach? Make her a supersized gift basket with a beach towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, and more. Perhaps she loves to garden? Voila -- a flowering gift basket of seed packets, gardening gloves, a new shovel, and more. Maybe she’s more a crafty person and likes to sew or do mosaics or something of that ilk? Fill a basket with trinkets and treats that she needs to update her supplies. You can create a gift basket around any theme or hobby!

    If you think about it, a gift basket is really just a fancy way of gathering together a bunch of presents around a theme -- but it’s a thoughtful, beautiful gift. It shows you’ve taken the time to think about your mom and select something that’s totally her. What’s more -- the arrangement of a gift basket makes for a really stunning and special present. It’s much more exciting (and lovely) than a series of individually wrapped presents. Plus, if you’re giving something like food or beverage items or a spa package, it ties everything together naturally. It’s like putting a bow on it without actually doing it! So, surprise your mom with a special gift basket this Mother’s Day!

  • How to Make Bouquets of Flowers

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    So, you need a bouquet of flowers? You can always find beautiful, prearranged bouquets at many top quality florists. But sometimes, it’s just fun to make your own! Making your own bouquets isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds.

    If you’re going to go the DIY route, the first thing you’ll need to do is purchase flowers.There are a few places you can buy them:

    a) a flower market

    b) an online wholesaler

    c) the supermarket/grocery store

    d) a professional florist

    If you’re looking for something particular or want the widest range of choice, it’s probably best to head to the flower market or talk to a professional. But if your local grocery store is full of beautiful flowers, then go for it. There’s no rule for where you have to buy flowers -- as long as the flowers are beautiful and fresh, choose the option that’s easiest for you.

    bouquets of flowers

    When picking the blooms for your bouquet, you should keep a few things in mind. Most importantly, don’t forget seasonality (this is a hot button word for florists). Be aware of what flowers are in season and choose those for your bouquet (or be prepared to pay steep rates for imported blooms that will be more likely to die in unseasonable climates).You can always go with a bloom that thrives at all times of year, like hydrangeas.

    Lastly, consider color, shape, and size when selecting your blooms. If you’re making a bouquet to go with wedding or bridesmaids dresses, select a color that pops with the gown (if you select a bloom of a matching shade, it will fade into the dress). Pick a color sequence of no more than three colors when arranging, so, for instance, shades of red, white, and pink. Any more than that and the bouquet can become overwhelming and clash. If you want to make multiple bouquets using coordinating colors, select a base flower, such as a large white bloom, that will help tie them all together. Lastly, consider cost and try to select larger blooms – they go further because they take up more space in an arrangement which means you don’t require as many of them.

    Building a Bouquet

    Now that you’ve got your flowers, it’s time to arrange them. There are several steps to making the perfect bouquet.

    bouquets of flowers

    Prep

    First, you must prep your flowers to be the ideal selection for your bouquet. This means trimming any excess leaves, thorns, etc. and pruning petals that are dead or dingy.4

    Next, fill a bucket with cool water and holding the stems under water, cut them at an angle about 2 inches from the bottom (if you have flowers of varying lengths, you will want to end up with stems that are all equal). You’ll likely want to work with longer stems while arranging and cut the tips to their final desired length once the bouquet is complete. Be sure to use a sharp knife or stem cutter rather than scissors – it gives the flowers longer life. And never cut straight across, always at an angle. When you’ve finished cutting, allow the flowers to drink in some of the water before moving on to arranging.

    bouquets of flowers

    Assemble

    Now, it’s time to arrange your bouquet. There’s really no science to it – simply pick the blooms and color arrangement you think looks best. You’ll want to build a base of anchor flowers – select 2 to 4 flowers, bunch the stems together to create a square with the blooms and wrap with floral tape to create a strong base.

    You’ll want 4 to 5 inches of exposed stem on the bottom and at least one to one and a half inches to the start of the tape on the top. Now, start adding flowers around your anchor blooms to begin creating a “bunch.” Add elements one by one building from the center to create a dome shape. If you have heavier flowers or particularly flimsy stems, you may want to have floral wire on hand to wrap around the stems and secure them against other flowers.

    This is where your creativity comes into play – mix and match colors and textures with your various blooms, fillers, and greenery. Remember to keep the eye of a photographer while arranging – if you’ll be carrying the bouquet, don’t build it so big that it will overwhelm you and become the focal point. You may want to stand in front of a mirror while arranging to keep an eye on what the bouquet looks like in your hands.

    Secure and Finish

    Once you’re satisfied with your arrangement, you must secure it. You can secure it at both the top and bottom with two rubber bands or floral wire. But, we recommend you also wrap the bouquet with floral tape, starting about 1 to 1 ½ inches from the flower heads and leaving anywhere from 0-4 inches of stem exposed on the bottom. After you secure your blooms, cut the stems one last time to ensure they are all the same length.

    Next, you’ll want to beautify the arrangement by covering the tape with a ribbon. Cut a length of ribbon three times as long as the stems. Start by tucking one end of the ribbon into the top of the binding and wrapping in a spiral down the length of the stems and covering the floral tape. Once you reach the bottom, wrap back up in a spiral and tuck the end of the ribbon into the binding. Secure the ribbon along the stems with pins and cut a separate length of ribbon to tie around the bouquet if you want a bow.

    bouquets of flowers

    Preserve

    Now that you’ve made your bouquet, you want it to last as long as possible. Wrap the bouquet in tissue to protect the blooms while transporting it. Store it in the refrigerator until you leave for your event. It’s best to build a bouquet the morning of the event and to leave the flowers in water before binding them as long as possible.

    bouquets of flowers

    To Keep in Mind with a Florist

    If all of them seems like too much for you, you can always hire a florist, but keep some things in mind. First off, don’t wait until the last minute to decide you can’t handle a DIY bouquet. If you need a florist, hire them with plenty of advance warning.

    You’ll still need to take care of your blooms to make them last, so don’t expect your florist to be a miracle worker (for instance, if you have your bouquet outside in a hot climate for many hours, it will wilt). Remember that you’re hiring them because they’re a professional and be open to their suggestions and ideas – most likely, they know more about blooms and arranging than you do. It’s better to come with color schemes, tones, and a notion of look and feel than to be wedded to very specific flower selections.

    And lastly, don’t be afraid of more expensive flowers – they may be pricier, but often they’re bigger and have a more significant wow factor than cheaper options. In the end, they could result in a smaller bottom line.

    Whether you DIY your bouquet or hire a florist, be kind to your blooms and enjoy the beauty of the flowers.

  • Feng Shui Your Home

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    Your home is your sanctuary, which is why it’s no surprise that many people believe in the power of feng shui. Now that Spring is here, it’s time to use Spring Cleaning as an opportunity to reorganize and bring in positive energy with just a few rearrangements.

    The History of Feng Shui

    Going back over 6,000 years in China, feng shui is an ancient Chinese philosophical practice used to organize and construct spaces in a way that harmonizes individuals with their surrounding environment.

    Also known as “Geomancy,” feng shui literally means “wind” (feng) and “water” (shui) in Chinese. It is a construction and design process that aims to bring happiness, abundance, and harmony to both living spaces and businesses.

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    Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The practice analyzes and breaks down architecture in metaphoric terms of "invisible forces" that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi. It seeks to harness Qi (氣) , “natural energy,” by placing objects in the optimum relation to its flow.  Informing the layout, framework, materials and colors of building structures, the precepts of feng shui seek to help architects, designers, and homeowners make the most ideal arrangement in any setting.

    Feng shui dates back to some of the earliest peoples as they looked for ideal places to plant crops and establish safe dwelling places, as well as to scout optimal burial places for their ancestors so as to protect and honor their spirits. Before the invention of the magnetic compass, practitioners relied on the stars and astrology to determine the most auspicious locations.

    According to Feng Shui Style, “ In ancient China, farms and villages were auspiciously placed within the protective folds of mountains, shielded from harmful winds and nurtured by the gentle, winding streams. The people who practiced these principles prospered in agriculture and trade and grew strong and powerful. They produced social, cultural and military leaders unlike their neighbors who were exposed to harsh winds and inhospitable terrain.” Thus, feng shui became a way to promote health, happiness, and harmony within a civilization or community, allowing practitioners to grow wiser and stronger than their opponents who did not make use of the same philosophical precepts. Over time, the practice of feng shui developed, producing scholars in the art who adapted the practice to fit all manner of dwelling spaces, informing the development of everything from palaces to public monuments to entire cities.

    Indeed, feng shui became such an influential and important practice that it was a highly guarded secret of the Chinese Imperial Court. Feng Shui Masters were servants of the emperor and forbidden to share their sacred knowledge with outsiders. As a result, knowledge was often passed down the generation within families. Today, it has become a practice that wields influence all over the world.

    Taking into account modern scientific precepts and the relationship between the natural and man-made worlds, feng shui seeks to help individuals situate dwelling spaces and rooms within their homes in ways that harness energy and promote good “qi.”

    Feng Shui Your Home

    Some aspects of feng shui, such as sitting with your face facing a door to avoid someone sneaking up on you, or the emotional affect of certain colors are merely common sense or intuition. But if you want to harness the power of “qi” in each room in your home, follow these careful precepts of feng shui.

  • The Benefits of Flowers to Your Home Spa

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    Spring is in the air and flowers are blooming everywhere, which makes it even more enticing when they become a part of our everyday lives. We don’t need special occasions like a wedding or an excuse to get out of the doghouse, to enjoy everything these beautiful blossoms have to offer.

    Who doesn’t love enjoying some quality time away with our gal pals? While a girl’s night out is certainly a great way to spend memorable moments with our favorite BFF’s, a spa night at home is an excellent alternative to hitting the bar scene.

    Rather than going out to an expensive spa, instead we can chill at home with our closest friends while we pamper ourselves in the presence of some fresh flowers and breathe in this type of natural aromatherapy.

    Benefits From These Blossoms

    Back in the sixties, during the time of peaceful protests when “flower power” and free love was all the rage, it was for a very good reason. Science is now sharing with us that these blooms have a number of different health benefits including a sense of overall relaxation and a calming effect. In fact, studies show that simply viewing roses can be an instant stress reliever.

    For example, in hospital settings, when patients with floral arrangements are present in their rooms, they needed less postoperative pain medication delivered to them. They also had much lower blood pressure and reduced pulse rates compared to those without the presence of these floral arrangements during the time of their recovery.

    Scents And Sensibility

    Similar research has shown that placing plants and flowers inside homes and workspaces leads to more creativity overall, better cognitive performance, puts us into a much better mood while providing us with more oxygen delivered into these spaces. So, what’s not to love?

    Speaking of love, roses have always had a strong tie to being a sign of love and commitment, while their scent is certainly enjoyable, after all, by any other name, it would smell just as sweet. Other scents from some of these flowering plants, like lavender for example, have proven to be beneficial for a number of different dilemmas. Their aroma gives people relief from anxiety, depression and restless moods. This makes them a perfect addition to any spa-like environment.

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    Mood Alteration and Fascination

    Plants, flowers, their blossoms, buds and fragrances are all beneficial to us in many different ways. Whether we’re enjoying them in the great outdoors or bringing them into our indoor spaces, they grace us with benefits that are worth exploring and embracing.

    Aromatherapy is another reason that adding flowers to your home spa is key! Mixing flower scents with essential oils can help create the atmosphere. Be selective about which flowers you bring into your home spa, that agree with your allergies, and make you feel more relaxed overall.

    Taking Care of Your Home Spa Flowers

    You want your flowers to last as long as possible--after all, your home spa is not a one stop shop! There are a few tricks to making sure flowers stay fresh, such as:

    • Recut their stems. If you recut the steps at a sharper angle, flowers will more easily be able to take up water.

    • Change the water. With fresh water, you have fresh flowers. Water that has been sitting for too long with debris may pick up bacteria.

    • Control temperature. When you’re not using the sauna, make sure that the temperature you are storing the flowers is between 62 and 70 degrees.

    Flowers are beautiful no matter what part of your home you add it to. Whether you have a home sauna or jacuzzi, flowers can undoubtedly improve the look and feel of your home spa. Choose what’s in season, what you find beautiful, or just what’s recommended from your favorite florist. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

  • How to Pull Yourself Out of the DogHouse With Your Spouse

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    We’ve all been there -- gotten into a petty argument with our spouse because we’re tired or irritable; forgotten an anniversary or birthday; or maybe just been a bad listener or not pulling our weight in chores or household responsibilities. There are plenty of ways to find yourself in the doghouse with your spouse (and to varying degrees of trouble).

    But, luckily, there are just as many ways to pull yourself back out -- the size of the gesture and seriousness of your apology will depend on how badly you messed up. Remember, whether you deserve your place in the doghouse, being the one to take the blame and apologize will ensure a long and happy relationship.

    Here are some ways to get yourself out of the doghouse:

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    Flowers

    Everyone loves to receive flowers -- they’re a beautiful symbol of your love and commitment. You can go traditional and send a bouquet of red roses or get personal and send an arrangement that is uniquely tailored to your spouse.

    If you really want to get creative and send a lasting gift, consider giving flowers or a plant in a pot that your spouse can replant. Turn your relationship drama into a lasting and beautiful memory of your love. Flowers are the ideal apology because your spouse will think of you every time they look at the bouquet (Bonus Points: If you send them to the office, they have a reason to brag to their coworkers about what a wonderful partner you are). They’re a small gesture, but flowers can a long way.

    Date Night

    You may not realize it but maybe your issues or your spouse’s anger stem from not having enough time together. A lot of people find that they end up in the dog house when they’re overwhelmed with work, taking care of the kids, etc. If this is the case, plan a special night out for both of you.

    Plan a trip to the movies or the theater (especially if you haven’t been in ages), visit a new or favorite restaurant, or do something really over-the-top like going dancing or taking a romantic picnic in the park or a trip to the beach. If you have kids, take care of all the babysitter arrangements so your spouse doesn’t have to do it.

    Plan the perfect romantic evening for the two of you where you can enjoy each other’s company and your spouse doesn’t have to lift a finger to make it happen -- bonus points if you find ways throughout the evening to delight and surprise them. You can make date night extra special by including the previous two tips:  a date plus flowers and an outpouring of physical affection is sure to be a fast train out of the doghouse.

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    Do a Little Extra Around the House

    Yes, our lives our busy, but if you forget to take out the trash, fold your laundry, wash your dishes, or even pick up some extra groceries on the way home, it may send your overwhelmed spouse into a tailspin. If this is what got you into the doghouse in the first place, don’t only do your chores, take over some of theirs.

    If they come home to find the dishes done, the kitchen sparkling clean, and the living room vacuumed, imagine their gratitude. Go the extra mile and fold and put away their laundry or put clean linen on the bed and leave a mint (or flowers and chocolate!) on their pillow.

    Cook Their Favorite Meal

    For many of us, the path to our hearts is through our stomachs. And nothing is better than our favorite home-cooked meal. If you want to get out of the doghouse, spend some time slaving away in the kitchen perfecting the most tantalizing meal for your spouse.

    Really go all out -- open an expensive bottle of wine, make them delectable appetizers, prepare their favorite entree, and don’t forget to include a mouth-watering dessert. If you take the time to make a meal and present it to them in a beautiful setting at home, they won’t be able to resist forgiving you. Make it even better by making sure the kitchen is spotless when you’re done.

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    Write a Heartfelt Apology Letter

    Maybe you need to apologize for something in particular or just have trouble expressing yourself verbally. Write your spouse a letter that tells them how much you apologize for whatever got you in the doghouse.

    Don’t stop with an apology--write them a letter recounting how much you love them and why; share stories of your favorite memories together, writing down every detail of special moments together; or take it a step further and write a poem. Make a list of all the reasons your spouse makes your heart go boom.

    A handwritten letter shows not only that you are thinking about your spouse, but that you are willing to take the time to record your feelings for them. It will be a beautiful keepsake for your spouse to pull out and read anytime you hit a rough spot -- therefore, writing a letter could have the potential to get your out of the doghouse multiple times in one go.

    Make a Big Romantic Gesture

    If you’ve really messed up and you need to do something big to get yourself out of the doghouse, then consider a romantic gesture. The best thing about romantic gestures is they need not be huge or expensive, but merely something sweet and thoughtful.

    Pull a classic “Say Anything” and serenade them with a boombox and their favorite song when they come downstairs in the morning. Create a romantic scavenger hunt (maybe even use a trail of flower petals) that ends in an apology (if you really messed up, maybe be waiting with a present like jewelry or something sweet). Do something silly like spelling out “I’m Sorry” on their car with food. If you go over the top with a romantic gesture, your spouse won’t be able to resist being disarmed and accepting your apology.

    There are countless reasons we end up in the doghouse. If you find yourself there, try one of these tried and true methods to turn an apology into a special memory with your spouse.

  • Decorating with Flora? Follow These Flower Do's & Dont's!

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    Flowers are one of the most beautiful ways to decorate your home. With the approach of spring, there’s no better time to add some flora to your apartment or home to beautify your living space and add a touch of color and joy to your surroundings. Here are some tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts for decorating your house with floral arrangements.

    Do Consider Placement and Color when Using Living Plants

    If you are using live flowers to decorate your home, be sure to consider where in the space and the colors of the flowers you select. Live flowers are always a wonderful choice as according to the principles of feng shui, they bring a strong healing energy.

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    There are important principles to consider when decorating a room -- it could be as simple as picking subdued, soft blooms when decorating your bedroom to create a calming, relaxing space for sleep. However, there are deeper factors at work. Decorate the northwest corner, known as the “prosperity quadrant” of a space with flowers to encourage wealth to grow! This is especially potent if you use chrysanthemums.

    If you’re looking to spice up your love life, consider putting peonies in your bedroom or the top right corner of a room as they promote love and romance. Place orchids in your living room to promote good fortune in your entire household-- this is especially powerful if you’re hoping for a raise or a career move. If you have a home office, you can use a lotus to assure knowledge and harmony, while a hydrangea will help the creative juices flow. Flowers can be linked to increasing energy and compassion when used in home decorating.

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    The exact type and placement of bloom is crucial, but don’t forget the role of color. If you already have a distinct color scheme in your home or a particular room, select blooms that will complement the existing design, rather than ones that might clash.

    Don’t be afraid to go monochromatic (one color) or mono-botanic (one type of flower) if that’s what works best in the space. Blues and greens are soothing, tranquil shades, while bright reds and oranges promote a more intense energy and a sensual environment. If you want a nurturing bloom, opt for shades of yellow and peach, while pinks and lavenders will lend a romantic vibe to any space.

    Don’t Buy Store-Bought Flowers if You Can Help It

    Conventionally grown flowers that you might find at the grocery store are not only potentially expensive, but also a likely detriment to the environment. They may even be harmful to your health if the florist or the company who grew the flowers used dangerous pesticides or chemicals to keep the flowers fresh and safe from various insects, etc.

    You can easily source locally-grown organic flowers or find an eco-friendly florist.

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    Do Take Into Account the Room You’re Decorating

    The space you choose to place flowers has a big impact on their efficacy. Be sure to place them in high traffic areas, like a foyer, so that everyone who enters your home can enjoy them. The kitchen and dining table are the centers of the home, so if you have to choose one spot for a floral arrangement, those are the perfect option. If you’re in an expansive space such as an airy room or a large entryway, focus on big blooms like hydrangeas or lilies that can fill the space and draw the eye. Don’t neglect unexpected areas like a bedroom or bathroom.

    A bedside table can be a lovely place for a bouquet and a beautiful way to start and end your day -- tea roses, lilies, and freesias are all wonderfully fragrant choices to act as natural air fresheners in these living spaces. You may wish to stick to more tranquil, soothing tones in the bedroom and bathroom as these are often places in our home where we seek rest or prepare for sleep.

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    If you’re decorating the dining room, don’t limit yourself to a centerpiece -- you can line a table runner with smaller arrangements or decorate each place setting with a single flower. A bright and eye-catching bouquet is a great accent in an entryway, but be willing to shake this up -- place a basket with a fresh garden bouquet on a table or make a wreath for the front door from fresh flowers.

    In the kitchen, you can get more practical, lining a windowsill with potted herbs and sun-hungry flowers. If you have a fireplace in your living room or family room, use seasonal floral arrangements to brighten up the hearth in the spring and summer when you’re not using it. If you have a home office, you may want to shake things up and plan a “nature break” for yourself with a fern, potted plant, or some other greenery.

    Don’t Stick to Tradition

    When choosing floral decor for your home, you don’t have to stick to traditional bouquets and blooms. You can float blooms in bowls and glasses of water and include other decorative elements like floating candles to create a unique arrangement. More importantly, use all kinds of plant life.

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    Take the springtime cherry blossoms out of the garden and use them as a stunning rarely seen indoor bouquet -- it will look like you have a mini tree in bloom in your home. Surround or stuff a vase with freshly cut citrus -- lemons, limes, and oranges -- for a zest of freshness and an unexpected pop of color. If you really want to do something different, place single flowers in eggshells for a fresh take on arranging. Instead of filling a vase with stems or water only, fill the bottom with shells, pebbles, and colorful rocks -- this will add an eye-catching accent to your arrangements. Twigs, pebbles, and dried flowers make stunning additions to arrangements -- you don’t need to rely on fresh blooms to do all the work.

    Do Use Anything As a Vase

    Do flowers look beautiful in a traditional glass or silver vase or a clay pot? Of course. But you can use the trappings of your home to create a vase from nearly anything that will result in a truly unique arrangement. If you’re in the yard, repurpose a watering can, an old pair of rain boots, or a wheelbarrow for your planting purposes. In the kitchen, use a soup tureen for a large arrangement or a coffee cup or tea cup for something lovely and dainty.

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    Truly anything from an antique glass bottle to a basket to an empty tin can to a water pitcher can be the perfect vessel for your bouquet. The sky or the nearest empty jar, can, or bucket you have on hand is the limit when it comes to where to put your decorative flora!

    When it comes to using flowers in your home decorating, there really are no rules. But these do’s and dont’s will help you maximize the beauty and special energy of the blooms you choose. Once you know the style and space you want to decorate, you can start shopping for flowers!

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