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I CONQUERED THE FROZEN WEDDING!

 It happened, my ultimate fear happened...

We had two very large weddings to deliver on the same day. One was about 40 minutes from our shop and the other was at our downtown location inside the Mayflower Autograph Hotel. The team had just left with two vans full of flowers for the wedding off-site and I was getting in the third van with my other designer to meet them. Then, I got the call...

A strained, panicked voice on the other end was my manager of the hotel studio. I couldn't understand what she was saying. "What, the cooler froze? All the flowers in the cooler are frozen?" I felt it in the pit of my stomach, and I'm sure all the blood drained from my face. What was I going to do? All of the flowers were designed and ready to install at the hotel for the wedding. It was 1:30 p.m. and the wedding starts at 6...what do I do now?

Well, I put my big girl panties on, that's what! I immediately told her we were going to figure it out and went into action. I called the crew...

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I dreamed...I struggled too. A brief synopsis of my 30-year floral journey

I dreamed. I struggled too. Just like you, I truly wanted an opportunity to run an efficient and profitable floral business.

I started in my mom's basement over 30 years ago just doing craft fairs with artificial flowers because that's all I knew. I dreamed of owning a big retail flower shop but wondered how I would get there. My mom and I took design classes once a week for a year. You can read a little more about that in my blog from Mother's Day.

Off I went to college in Pennsylvania and would drive home on Friday afternoons to design weddings, deliver on Saturday and return to school on Sunday. Next thing I knew, I was purchasing a small two-door cooler that I could only put personal flowers into. You know, the bridal party flowers, boutonnieres, corsages, etc. And, my biggest fears were, “Are these flowers going to open in time? And, how can I make sure they don't wilt before the wedding?" (Back then, the wondrous thing called a "CoolBot" wasn't invented yet! This is one...

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A Trip to Royal Flora Holland Flower Auction with Hilverda de Boer

 

So a lifetime bucket list experience came to pass yesterday! Two years ago, I set-up this trip to go to Hilverda, but due to a family emergency my trip was cut short, and I returned home. Now, TAKE 2!

Arriving early at Hilverda's large building literally across the street from the Royal Holland auction, with luggage in tow, Dalia and I got a warm welcome from the lady at reception. Come to find out, 7 a.m. isn't so early. Many of these employees are here much earlier than that to start buying on the auction.

Sander, who is our account manager for the US, was our amazing personal tour guide. He has been with Hilverda since 2000, and he knows the business of flowers, Holland flowers, that is! Our tour began with Sander driving across the street and showing us around the Royal FloraHolland. As you can see from the images, I've never seen anything like it!

 

Yes, they take live pictures of the product as it arrives from the auction, so what you see online to...

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An Alaskan Peony Retreat

It started with just a quick mention..."Who wants to join me in Alaska for a retreat on a peony farm?" said Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore.

I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days on a peony farm in Alaska with now new friends. What an experience it was! From the breathtaking scenery, peonies abounding, gaining knowledge to getting to know fellow florists and farmers, hands down this was an exciting trip.

Our retreat was arranged by Kelly and Beth & Kurt van Sant from Scenic Place Peonies. They couldn't have been better hosts! We visited 5 farms, took a hike to a glacier, went foraging for driftwood on The Spit, learned how to grade peonies, pack peonies and learned what the farmers go thru just to get these precious blooms into our hands!

We had a day of designing together, two florists who live there in Homer, Alaska; along with two other florists who joined us on the retreat. Sharing stories and enjoying each other's company enriched our lives. 

A...

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Why I went for my AIFD, but got me EMC first!

Next month I will be inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). After testing last July in Seattle, Washington I was awarded my CFD (Certified Floral Designer) designation and tested high enough to get my AIFD. Participants have to wait until the following year for the induction ceremony. It's been a long year of waiting, and I am very excited!

You may ask, why did I wait so long? For the past six years, I had a second location at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Having two places took all my focus, and I couldn't get back into the realm of the floral industry that I love...education! I declined the additional 5-year contract at the hotel to get back to my roots in a single studio and being active in the education of flowers again.

In addition to the second location keeping me from focusing on studying, the annual AIFD Symposium falls on my wedding anniversary every year. This isn't exactly how my husband wants to spend time together for our anniversary...

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A Few Days with American Grown Flowers and the First Lady's Luncheon

I must say the past five days have been gratifying for me! I had the privilege of designing with a team for the First Ladies Luncheon. Now, you may be asking, "What is the First Ladies Luncheon"? So I'll share about that first.

Started by the Congressional Club in 1912, the event was initially a breakfast and later morphed into a luncheon honoring the First Lady of the United States. The Congressional Club is the official club of Congressional spouses and prides itself on being bi-partisan.  Guests come from around the country and the world to attend the event. Every year the luncheon has a different theme, and everything from the tablecloths to the favors (always some type of bag filled to the brim with goodies) to the centerpieces revolves around this theme. Generally, the idea is inspired by the state from whence the chairman of the luncheon committee hails.

The last three years, Certified American Grown Flowers has provided the floral decor for the Luncheon. This year and...

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Mom—My Best Friend

life with christi May 08, 2018

I know, it sounds trite, but really my mom, Jeanie, is my best friend!

When I started out in this business years ago (and I mean years, people!), my mom was my biggest cheerleader. And, she still is today. I decided to delve into the florist business pretty soon after high school. Mom and I went to design classes together every Monday night for a year. Traveling around the beltway in Washington DC traffic just to learn how to design with flowers. What a time that was!

She would have a dinner packed to eat on the go, and I would hop in the car from my full-time job, and away we would go. The instructor was a head-designer at the famed “Blackistone’s” florist in Washington DC. That shop has long since closed, but the memories are still with me today. Back then, we were hitting the start of the trend in “reflexing” a rose; all arrangements were linear, and we based designs with galax leaves. Minimalism was key.

Anyway, back on subject! My...

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