Monthly Archives: April 2017

  • Did You Know? Fun Facts About Philly

    Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, the Birthplace of America, or simply Philly - the city has numerous nicknames that reflect its unique character and rich history. Founded in 1682, Philly is the sixth most populous city in the United States. Here are some neat facts about Philly you’ll never forget:

    Art Metropolis

    When you think of Philadelphia, ‘art’ may not be the first word that comes to mind. But maybe it should. More impressionist paintings live in Philly than any other city in the world besides Paris. So if you’re looking to see masterpieces by Monet, Cezanne, Matisse and Renoir, it’s hard to beat a visit to Philadelphia.

    Fun Facts About Philly

    Caption: Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge is part of the permanent collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

    Philly is no newcomer to the world of fine art either. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was founded all the way back in 1805 making it the first and oldest art museum and art school in the United States.

    Plus, if you want to experience Philly’s vibrant art scene, you don’t even have to go indoors. The city is decorated with over 2000 outdoor murals. That’s why some call Philly the “mural capital of the U.S.”

    Major Center of Technology and Innovation

    As you can see, Philadelphia has quite an imagination. The city’s unique ingenuity also manifests itself in a vibrant history of advanced technology and innovation.

    Philly is the home of the first ever air conditioned building: the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. This forward thinking city was also the home of ENIAC, the world’s first electronic general purpose computer.

    Fun Facts About Philly

    Caption: ENIAC ('Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer') was 150 feet wide with 20 banks of flashing lights.

    Formally dedicated on February 15, 1946, ENIAC was dubbed the "Giant Brain" for its intimidating size and speed in calculation. It could compute one thousand times faster than predecessor  electro-mechanical machines.

    ENIAC was housed at the University of Pennsylvania, which also happens to be the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Naturally, the country’s first library can also be found at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s reputation as a center of learning  earned it the nickname “the Athens of America.”

    Home of Health and Wellness

    With such a strong commitment to education, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear Philadelphia has trained more than a few doctors over the years. One out of every six doctors in the U.S. actually completes their advanced medical schooling in Philly.

    As you may have guessed, this medical prowess stretches back for many generations. Ben Franklin himself cofounded the nation’s first hospital in Philadelphia over two hundred fifty years ago.

    Fun Facts About Philly

    Caption: Benjamin Franklin called Philadelphia home for most of his life, and cofounded the nation’s first hospital as well as its first library both of which are still in operation.

    Philly’s Mütter Museum commemorates past and present contributions to health sciences with a truly astounding collection of medical oddities. Visiting the Mütter Museum, you can view slices of a human face, a book bound by human skin, and even pieces of Albert Einstein’s brain preserved in glass.

    Fun Times in Philly

    These details only begin to scratch the surface of what the City of Brotherly Love has to offer. The infographic below has even more fun Philly facts about the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed!

  • Gift Basket Themes to Surprise Your Mom With


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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

    bouquets of flowers

    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


    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


    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


    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.

3 Item(s)

Flowers to get you out of the doghouse

Dried Flower Wreaths

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