Thursday, January 13, 2011

In my continued floral fun, I worked with Jenny Barker of Magical Blooms to create a fall floral bouquet. Check out this great video to see her instructing me on a beautiful creation using some fantastic florals.

Monday, March 15, 2010

From this, to all of these....

Another wedding floral class... I had forgotten about the time change so I was running late and very hungry. This week we tackled a taller centerpiece and were given ferns, amaranthus, seeded eucalyptus and various other greens and flowers to cover our floral foam (Oasis). It was amazing to see what everyone came up with, with all the subtle variations of grouping, height and color.

I would love to go to the Flower Mart downtown to grab some more flowers to play with, as there could be some great ways to use the forms of Ikebana with this traditional design. I do appreciate how Ikebana really let each flower stand alone and shine as these arrangements tend to be more of an explosion of flora and don't really spotlight any particular flower or their stems. Perhaps someday I'll find a way to bring both styles together.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Prom Season At Our Place

Of course I'd be honored to go with K as my date, but really it's nothing so formal. Instead, it's about corsages, boutineers and wristlets as I had my first Wedding Floral Design class today. Understandably, the flowers were not what I would have wanted for a client, and the bows and filler were a mish-mash of what have you for the sole purpose of practicing the technique. Still, it was interesting to see the amount of work that those little things hanging off a lapel entail, and we all had our fingers coated in the stickiness of flower tape, tacky glue spray and glitter. It was a lot of fun seeing what everyone came up with, and we ourselves were a motley crew of planners, brides-to-be and floral voyeurs. Everyone had their strengths and we all laughed at the frustration of learning something new.

For my His and Hers creations, I used white and pink roses with a small carnation, black tulle and silver ribbon. Making the bow was probably the hardest part and I'm still not really in love with how it turned out, but for a first run, I think it could be okay for a sophomore homecoming dance. You'd still have two years to show up with something better...

Monday, January 11, 2010

How's your 2010 going so far? Eleven days in and so far, resolutions have been pretty well maintained. With the help of reading Gretchen Rubin's new book "The Happiness Project," Daniel Gilbert's "Stumbling on Happiness" and the fabulous blog at, I am tackling resolutions and goals based on the precedents set by people far more learned than I in those various fields. The two happiness books have been a lot of fun to read in tandem since Gilbert's book helps to show, by oodles and oodles of case studies, how unreliable our idea of what can make us happy in the future can be, while Rubin's book details how each month she focused on an area of her life where she wanted to be happier, and tested happiness theories on each with wonderful, often surprising results. A lot of "Aha" moments in both of these.

In "The Happiness Project" January is focused on "Energy" and aside from just getting more sleep, Rubin recommends clearing clutter, exercising right and finishing nagging tasks to eliminate energy drains which make us more irritable and less able to do the things we want to do. Combining her suggestions with those of Angela from OhSheGlows has been fun. Angela has her own website challenge called "Whittle Your Middle" with exercises designed to strengthen your core and shrink your middle in 30 days. This is Round 2 for her and the teeny little thing lost 2.5" of her tummy in one month. I've stayed on track so far, especially motivated by the fact that both my luggage (with gifts) and me (with yummy Idaho food) came back from the holidays a bit heavier. Angela also has a ton of wonderful recipes and products on her page that can help with getting healthier such as GloBars and other vegan delights.

I may be shooting myself in the foot talking about this, but then again, perhaps being held accountable by writing will keep my focus clearer. I am checking myself daily by having a status update on my ab workout and in some areas, I can see that my time or reps are definitely improving. With my monthly resolutions, Gretchen Rubin recommends a quick daily chart so that you can check each day whether you achieved your goal or didn't. It all seems a bit OCD when writing it, but being able to see that yes, I honored my goal and promise to myself today or no, as much as I wish I'd tackled that, it just didn't happen serves as a great reminder that I'm not as bad or as good as I would like to convince myself that I am. I also love the idea of monthly resolutions rather than yearly ones. I get a new start roughly every 30 days and I can reassess what worked one month, what I want to ditch and what I want to push forward with in the next month.

If you want to check out their blogs for yourself, I've included the links.


I wish for you whatever it is you're wishing for yourself!!

Friday, January 08, 2010

I'm watching Julie and Julia and I love the fact that even Julia Child struggles with what to do with her time, and attempts to do things that would be suitable for a housewife only to realize that whatever is "suitable" usually never suits us. I think sometimes our fun gets inhibited by doing what we're supposed to, the sorts of things that would be respectable when written in our profile section under "Interests". I've tried crocheting, golf, reading Booker Prize winning novels, scrap-booking, Chess and yoga and it turns out I don't like them. In another twist of weirdness, I've found that the less prepared I am for an activity, the more I enjoy it. I have a tennis racket that's been used once, as well as tap and ballet shoes that have only been to dance class once. But barefoot in my living room or trying to point my toes in a pair of cross-trainers seems to work the best, perhaps because I'm not planning on fun. Perhaps when we see what makes others happy, we imagine it will do the same for us, and feel a bit awkward when it doesn't turn out. Sometimes I wish there was a Google search for ways to fill my days with wonderfully informative and interesting things.

On a side note, inspired by this film I opted to wait an hour and bake a potato rather than resorting to the potato button on the microwave. Aside from the fact that the microwave doesn't make the skin crispy and depletes it of nutrients, the idea that I, an Idahoan, would nuke a potato seemed sacrilegious. Bon appetit!!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Resolve to never workout again...

"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." ~C.S. Lewis

I had an epiphany while I was in the shower. You know, the place where all great ideas tend to show up when you have nothing to write them down with? However, I managed to hold onto this one in the hopes of getting to the computer to jot it down. I was in there following a half hour dance routine exercise program on Exercise TV and although I was completely wiped out and contemplating taking a nap more than anything, I still did it. Yeah, okay, so where does the epiphany come in? Well, year after year, people make New Year’s Resolutions to work out more and time and time again, it doesn’t last. But considering that Americans work more and vacation less than the rest of the population, can we really be blamed? So what would be a good alternative to working out for those of us that are already dreading that work word. How about “playing out”? It sounds a bit silly for an adult to imagine goofing around on the playground but based on my personal experience, if my brain is entertained, my body will follow. For me, and perhaps for many others, the idea of running on a treadmill just isn’t all that enticing. But dance always has been, and I have a sneaking suspicion that if you think back to when you were ten years old, there was a way that you found inexhaustible amounts of energy playing tag or touch football or climbing trees, and my proposal is to start playing out. Get over the idea that a gym is the only adult option for fitness and start having fun again. TAG! You’re it!!

Happy New Year!!

P.S. A great resource to meet others who share your interest is to go to

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Upside of Early

This morning, I was wide awake at 5:30 and after lying in bed unable to fall back to sleep, I decided to get up and seize the wee hours of a Los Angeles weekend. Considering our population and what it usually means for a commute anywhere, there really is nothing like hitting the 101 this bright and early. My destination: the Los Angeles Flower District.

Located in downtown, this is one of the largest wholesale flower markets in the United States. And it was breathtaking. Literally every kind of flower you could imagine to the point where it was hard to choose which ones to take home. Some had the names of the flora on white cards floating above and I tried to memorize the names: celosia, amaranthus, cymbidiums. I imagined how I would create bouquets and table arrangements from some, studying the shape and the stems from a respectful distance. The vendors all greeted me with kindness in spite of their early hours. Then again, waking up to work in a room full of the most beautiful objects on the world, like movie stars flown overnight from far off destinations, couldn't be a very bad way to start your day. The smell of each little bloom waking up and releasing its scent into the air made the sensory experience even more intoxicating.

I stopped at one vendor to seek out another vase after my first Ikebana class, and was met by a Japanese woman who shared her appreciation for the art. She told me that in Japanese homes, because they are much smaller, you really only see a bouquet from one side, and said that being in a kimono and doing Ikebana is one of the most wonderful parts of life. She gave me a much appreciated discount and we exchanged an "Arigato gozaimasu."

Some of the flowers I found to be interesting for their color and versatility, especially for this time of year were:

Ornamental millet (Pennisetum glaucum 'Jade Princess'): Having the shape of a cattail, this fluffy chocolate brown flower seemed masculine and very seasonal. They are noted for their hardiness and eventually get darker and darker to almost black.

Chinese lanterns (Physalis alkekengi): I loved these when I worked at a flower shop before and with their bright orange hue, they definitely stand out. They almost look like little toys, last a long time and work well for dried arrangements too.

Branch of Persimmons ((Diospyros kaki): This variety looks like a bunch of miniature pumpkins on a stem. I might be back for these closer to Halloween.

Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus): Another great fall flower and great if you want an arrangement that's more masculine. An added bonus: late in the day they actually start to smell like chocolate. But please, don't eat them.

I really think there is a floral designer in all of us and while the market and variety were a bit intimidating, I doubt any flower shop would be able to offer the prices and freshness you can get with an early morning adventure to your own local flower or Farmers market.