Mom

Today is my mother’s birthday, so I thought I’d honor her by sharing her absolutely phenomenal talent.  What’s even more wonderful than these beautiful arrangements is the reason behind them. . .

For as long as I can remember, my mother has participated in some kind of volunteer or charitable work.  She’s done countless classes for children, in particular, over the years, and loves nothing than giving, sharing, and seeing others surprise themselves with talents of their own.

She recently spearheaded an event, Flowers, Fashion, and Footwear, that raised money for a local social service agency that she has worked with for many years, Community Centers Of Greenwich. CCI services children, adults with special needs, and seniors, and provides educational and financial assistance for lower-income families.

I am convinced that my love and passion for volunteering with these communities was passed down by her and my father’s dedication to helping where they can.  I am honored to be their child and thankful for the early exposure to these wonderful aspects of community service.

For the CCI event, flower arrangers were called upon to pick a pair of Louboutin shoes – owned by Kent Russell, perennial specialist – and design an arrangement to match.

I looked at the photos in the Fairfield County Look article (event link above) and without knowing hers, I gravitated to them as my “favorites.”

I grew up with the great fortune of having flowers and nature in our home all year round (yes, even in the throes of wintertime!) And it wasn’t just the beautiful blooms or branches, which I, for one, adore… The unreal sculptures and art she always manages to create look more like they belong in THE fanciest spas, homes, hotels…whatever!…in the world. They’re always breathtaking.

The shoes, of course, were art of their own.  Having been in the footwear and fashion industry for many moons, I watched the birth to death of many a pair…and I know exactly what goes into them.  I’d personally steer clear of stepping out in these if I were him, however, simply in fear of dirtying their impeccable polish!

In any case, I’ll maintain my mother has a supernal gift because there’s no explaining the talent – it’s an inherent spark I wish I had.  But I’m so very proud of her, and I’m inspired by the things she does to raise money to help wonderful causes…all the time. I can only hope to make as much difference in my life, and am blessed to have the example. (Keeping in mind I won’t ever quite get the hang of flower arranging!)

 

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Thursday Flowers. . .

I went downstairs to pick something up the other day, and there was a nest with Autumn flowers waiting for me, with a note from my husband to wish me a happy Thursday. . .

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Since the day we met, his thoughtfulness has melted my heart – there is no gesture, large or small, that I do not appreciate fully.  

Love those in your life fearlessly, and with all you have.  Take any opportunity you can get to say

“thank you,

“I love you,” and…

“I appreciate you.”  

Life is precious…and far too fleeting…not to cherish what you have in every moment.

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There will not be a day so long as I breathe and live that I will not harbor an immense gratitude for everything he does, and all that he is…  And there will never be a day that I stop making sure he knows. Relationships may evolve in time, but love never has to lose its vibrant aura.  

 

Gothiness – Goth Garden

I’ve always had an affinity for all things darkly-hued.  I couldn’t even say why, save that there is a richness born of the depth of the color (or “absence” thereof) that woos my heart (and sight!)

I bought my mother a spectacular black pansy plant for Mother’s Day one year – nothing “morbid,” nor dreary about it!  She was delighted knowing that those velvety black blooms with sunny centers and a burst of violet were my way of smiling at her each day. ❤

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Black pansy

I also have a tradition of sending 50 Black Baccara roses to my parents for Halloween.  This year, my wedding in on the 29th (as close to Hallows as I could manage!) but I will still be sending them their gloriously, decadently-hued blooms all the same!

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Black Baccara rose

“BLACK?!” people say?  Well…not necessarily 100% pitch (there are some flower varieties that are pretty darn close, though!)…but very much “blackened” and beautiful most of the time.

There are countless varieties of black’ish blooms, and one day if I DO have a garden, I will endeavor to plant as many as I can.  “Queen of the Night,” “Black Magic,” “Mystic Dreamer,” “Raven’s Wing”…for me, those names alone have me full swoon.  Strange?  Maybe…but we are all entitled!  I love a brightly-colored bouquet as much as anyone, and in fact one of my favorite flowers are the Pascali rose – an angelically white bud, fresh as driven snow – that my mother planted in our garden in my honor as a child.  My skating coach still calls me “Pascalli” and the memory of those striking, moonlit petals will be with for always.

Pascali rose

Pascali rose

Perhaps, then, I will add a Pascali plant…and some red varieties…since red is also a favored shade…  Osiria, naturally, speaks to my Egyptian-Pagan-heart… ❤ 

Osiria rose

Osiria rose

And “Hearts” would work so nicely…

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What would you plant in your garden…?

Goth Garden

 

The “Numbers” At The MET Gala

I saw this Vogue article and basically gasped “oh my!”

My mother has always been huge into flowers, whether with her own arrangements, teaching classes, or running horticultural organizations, so I’ve been to my share of flower shows and events over the years.  Her best friend is also a phenomenally gifted flower designer and arranger so I have also had the fortune to observe behind the scenes in a way most folks can’t (save for those IN the industry!) 

I am planning my own wedding for this Autumn and flowers are one of those things that are not only delicate and perishable…but outrageously pricey – it isn’t a detail you leave to last minute for sure.  When I saw the “Met Gala By The Numbers” it was hard not to swoon – I can’t even IMAGINE the time and cost involved in such a large-scale, BEAUTIFULLY decorated event!  (Not to mention…the scent of flesh blooms must have been divine!)

Per Vogue:

  • 325 bottles of champagne
  • 70,000 square yards of carpet
  • 610 guests
  • 610 apples (one per person per dessert)
  • 65 tables
  • 250 people spent 200 hours setting up (50,000 hours total)
  • 500,000 roses in the Great Hall and Grand Staircase
  • 250,000 silk roses in the Great Hall and Grand Staircase
  • 300 table arrangements
  • 7 different types of flowers in the centerpiece arrangements
  • 2,500 miles that the flowers flew from Colombia
Met Gala 2016 Photographed by Taylor Jewell via Vogue.com

Met Gala 2016
Photographed by Taylor Jewell via Vogue.com

All I can say is…WOW!

Farmer’s Markets!

My hunnie and I are always trying to come up with activities for Sundays.  We love to be outside and be active and farmers markets are a great way to do that in a low key way.  It happens that they aren’t often under direct sun, so you can get a nice dose of vitamin D without scorching your skin!

(Three letters for you – S. P. F.!)

We love fresh produce and good-for-you foods, so it’s always exciting to see what vendors have. The scents of herbs, wild flowers, and fresh vegetables permeates the breeze – it reminds me of gardening with my parents growing up…and we had quite the garden, if I do say so myself! 😀

Our zucchini grew to a foot and half but miraculously managed to maintain flavor…  I feel like no matter how many zucchini breads and muffins we made, there were yet more zucc’s to be had!

And then there were cucumbers, equally gargantuan, and eggplants.  The white “Ghostbusters” were my favorite, basking in the sun in all their glorious pallor! 

Home!

Home!

We grew potatoes – fingerlings, yukon gold, and peruvian blue, along with yams and more traditional spuds…and we’d hold a “Potato Fest” for our friends in Fall, making enough potato dishes to sink a ship.  We even had a chocolate grave-garden cake with sugar “potatoes” dressed in Halloween costumes one autumn.  Yes…my parents, the jokesters.  The cake was a huge hit.

We had countless varieties of tomatoes – yellow, green, purple, red, sungold… They were most delicious right off the vine…or tossed in our fresh lettuce…or sliced with mozzarella, with oil and basil. ❤  The stems had the most “green-and-earth”y fragrance, and the basil drifted up from the bottoms of the plants making a casual jaunt by heavenly.

Home!

Home!

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Home!

Home!

Home!

Then there were the snap peas, green beans, wax beans…the former which I would pluck with complete abandon.  Sadly, my stuffed cheeks always gave me away. “BUNNY!  You’re going to eat them ALL!!!!”  (Yeah. It was worth it.) 

We grew cabbages and radishes, squashes and pumpkins…and all sorts of funny lil’ gourds.

We had watermelons, and kohlrabi that was AMAZING sautéed…

There were onions, habeneros, and peppers of all hues…

The carrots…those always came out curiously… Twisted and not always with just one shoot! *?* But…they were the most flavorful carrots I have, sincerely, ever had.  

Sadly, when I went off to school and had Ballroom competitions that took me on the road, and my parents were traveling in summer…the garden tapered off.  The veggies were replaced by ENORMOUS burgundy sunflowers, with faces the size of my own…

The herb garden, however, is still going strong…  I can smell the parsley and mint and oregano from here… 🙂

So farmer’s markets...I can REALLY appreciate those.  The hard work and love that goes into growing all the goodness I am thankful to enjoy every day is genuinely valued.

My man passed one while running out for coffee the other day, and he brought me back this “adorbacchini.”  That’s my word for it – It’s the cutest, most precious ball-of-a-cchini that I have ever seen! ❤

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And then there was the one we went to on a Sunday…  It was enormous – surrounded by gorgeous fruits, vegetables, herbs, meats…and even a fresh donut station!

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But it isn’t just edibles… The flowers are out to further brighten the day, and for shoppers to bring some sun home for later…  I made wreathes from grasses and wild flowers for my mother’s hair when I was a little girl, so these are also a true joy to see. 

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After walking around a bit, I bought a little snack!  It was actually a full mini tub of Honey Bunch Yellow tomatoes. and I just about ate every single one before we got to the car! Nature’s candy, the way I see… Deliciously, sunny-sweet yumminess!

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For us, a Farmer’s Market is a great way to spend a morning, or afternoon…especially on a restful, weekend day.  With Autumn around the corner, I can’t WAIT for the squash and pumpkins to crop up!!! ❤

Belle and the Bouquet

Steve Madden’s latest trend tout is floral printswhether for the “festival season” (I’m envisioning Coachella, though, not Ozzfest, which is where I’d be!) or just for fun for a Spring or Summer evening out.  The array ranges from white-based and delicate, to black grounds, artistic renditions, material mixes, and embellished.  

I noticed some snake print styles as well…and I suppose, while they are clearly NOT florals, they could work with a floral print…provided you keep tones in the same families.  (If you prefer clash central, by all means deviate from that – Sometimes contrast is exactly what makes the outfit!)  So all in all, snake print can work.

stevemadden.com photo

stevemadden.com photo

I can’t help but smile at “Rach” (who I am guessing…I think accurately…is pronounced “Ray-tch.“) Her punky, gilded-stud lean suggests she has that I-don’t-go-by-Rachel-it’s-RACH sass.

stevemadden.com photo

stevemadden.com photo

Swaying more to the flirtatious but girly-girl, is Ms. Zaneyy.  Her bare-but-not-backless upper pattern, and simple-but-sexy shape are essentially no brainers, right down where the heel is set – I can see a lot of later-teens trying this one out, and a few sprinkled at college fetes.

stevemadden.com photo

stevemadden.com photo

There are a good variety as far as shapes and uppers in this garden-like gathering – flats, sandals, blockier wedge bases, and pumps…they all seem to be covered.  

stevemadden.com photo

stevemadden.com photo

stevemadden.com photo

stevemadden.com photo

So if you are feeling flirty…or maybe if you aren’t and need a fun perk-up!…take a peek!  I think many of these would add freshness to basic denim – you know, like a hip, outdoor NYC cafe at sunset for dinner with your man. 😉

 

Poisonous Plants for Pets

The Spring and Summer are the most popular times for people to buy flowers for their homes.  What many DON’T realize is that a lot of common houseplants can be INCREDIBLY dangerous to pets (felines and canines alike.)

There are many wonderful sites with sections devoted to pet poisoning dangers – I’ve provided a few resources below (I have zero affiliation, just sharing public information!), as well as a list I complied from the broader information therein contained.  The list includes the more common-place and familiar-sounding plants.  

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If you have outdoor pets and tend to your own garden(s) at home, and / or have property with wild flowers, I’d encourage you to really take a peek at the lengthier lists.  

I dry flowers at home, and am fortunate the boys have no interest…but when they are fresh, they have been known to attempt a nibble or two – it is so important we are mindful!

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If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, or ingested a poisonous substance:

Contact the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435

The Hotline is 24 hours a day! 

(For some some cases a consultation fee may be charged to your credit card.)

PET POISON HELPLINE

ASPCA TOXIC and NON-TOXIC

HUMANE SOCIETY (with PDF link)

Per EARTH CLINIC’s post, and sources as above:

Aloe Vera – HUGELY popular as an after-sun treatment – so this is out in spades at this time of year! – but dangerous for the pets!  Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, and can affect the urine.

Autumn Crocus – Ingestion of the crocus can cause oral irritation, shock, bloody vomiting, diarrhea,  and be as severe as multi-organ damage, and bone marrow suppression.

Azalea – Azalea toxins can be exceedingly dangerous, causing anything from diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, abnormal heart rhythms, hypotension, blindness, to central nervous system weakening, seizures, depression, and possibly coma or death.

Baby’s Breath – In just about every arrangement that gets sent out!  This plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets, so be careful!

Castor Bean – The Castor Bean plant can cause vomiting, abdominal strain, drooling, diarrhea, hypotension, loss of appetite and weakness. Severe concerns can include dehydration, sudden collapse, tremors, coma and death.

Chrysanthemum  – The plant is incredibly popular.  It contains pyrethrins which, when ingested, can cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, loss of coordination and depression may result, provided enough of the plant is eaten.

Cyclamen – The most dangerous part of this plant is located in the root.  Ingestion can result in drooling, severe vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, gastrointestinal irritation. Death has also been reported in some cases.

Daffodil – A common garden flower whose bulbs are poisonous.  Reactions can include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal breathing, abdominal pain, and cardiac arrhythmia.

English Ivy – Poisoning from the ivy plant can result in hyper salivation, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Kalanchoe – Poisoning from Kalanchoe can affect both cardiac rhythm and rate, as well as cause gastrointestinal irritation.

Lilies – Broadly, lily varieties are extremely poisonous to cats.  Reactions could include lethargy, diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting, seizures, liver failure, severe kidney damage, and death…even in small amounts.  Be wary, as lilies are common to floral arrangements.

Morning Glory – This wildflower contains poisonous seeds and roots that can cause gastrointestinal upset, ataxia, anorexia, hallucinations, tremors and disorientation.

Oleander – All portions of Oleander are considered poisonous.  Poisoning can cause drooling, nausea. vomiting, tremors, gastrointestinal irritation, hypothermia, abnormal heart rate, seizures and possibly death.

Tulips and Narcissus – Many folks in our area of the North East grow tulips, and have Narcissus growing or in the house – our deer LOVE the former. The toxic portions are the bulbs themselves.  They can cause drooling, central nervous system depression, gastrointestinal irritation, cardiac issues, as well as convulsions.

Sago Palm – While the seeds and nuts of this plant are most poisonous, the entire plant is toxic to pets.  Animals ingesting parts of this plant may suffer from lethargy, diarrhea, abdominal fluid accumulation, vomiting, depression, seizures and liver failure.

Yew – The “taxine,” a toxic portion of the Yew plant, can cause weakness, major changes in heart rate, nervous system problems, tremors, poor coordination, and breathing difficulties.  The possibility for gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, coma and death also exist.

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