Maximize the Joy of Fresh Flowers


Pastel cut flowers in a glass vase

 

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and that means flowers will be flying off the shelves.

 

In fact, “one-fourth of the flower and plant purchases made for holidays occur at Mother’s Day,” according to the Society of American Florists.

 

If you’re the lucky recipient of flowers, here are some tips on how to make your bouquet last longer.

 

Fresh blossoming flowers at at the florist shop (roses, ranunculus, tulips, carnations, mattiola,)

 

Clean vases are a must.

If whatever container you’re putting your stems in isn’t clean, bacteria will continue to grow and kill your flowers. Experts suggest scrubbing the vase with a mixture of 1-part bleach to 10-parts water before rinsing.

 

If a whole leaf is submerged underwater, tear it off.

When leaves remain underwater, they decompose and bacteria grows. You must keep bacteria at bay if you want your flowers to last.

 

The colder the water, the better.

When you want to cook vegetables, you steam them with warm water until they wilt and soften. Think about it like this, if you use room temperature or warm water, you’re causing the flowers to soften. The colder the water, the better your results.

 

Cut stems at a 45-degree angle.

When you cut flower stems with scissors, you are constricting the straw-like tube that allows nutrients to reach the top of the flower. Use a Swiss Army knife for soft stems and a pair of bypass cutters for woody stems. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle.

 

Measure flower food precisely.

Avoid taking the easy route and dumping flower food into the vase with your flowers. Too much flower food will poison your flowers, and too little flower food is somewhat pointless. Use the directions on the packet of flower food to follow the correct food-to-water ratio.

 

Fresh water is key.

Every two days, or when the water gets cloudy, replace the water in the vase. With each water change, it’s recommended to clean the vase. Use the same recipe as above.

 

Source: ProFlowers

How to Make Your Bouquet Last Longer


Colorful roses background. Beautiful, high quality, good for holidays, valentines's gift.

 

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and that means flowers are flying off the shelves.

 

In fact, Valentine’s Day is the “second-largest holiday next to Mother’s Day for the floral industry,” according to 1800Flowers via Fortune Magazine. It’s estimated that Americans will spend $2 billion on flowers this year, according to GoBankingRates.com.

 

If you’re the lucky recipient of a bouquet of flowers, here are some tips on how to make your bouquet last longer.

 

1. Clean vases are a must.

If whatever container you’re putting your stems in isn’t clean, bacteria will continue to grow and kill your flowers. MarthaStewart.com suggests scrubbing the vase with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water before rinsing.

2. If a whole leaf is submerged underwater, tear it off.

When leaves remain underwater, they decompose and bacteria grows. You must keep bacteria at bay if you want your flowers to last.

3. The colder the water, the better.

When you want to cook vegetables, you steam them with warm water until they wilt and soften. Think about it like this … if you use room temperature or warm water, you’re causing the flowers soften. The colder your water, the better your results.

4. Cut stems at a 45-degree angle.

When you cut flower stems with scissors, you are constricting the straw-like tube that allows nutrients to reach the top of the flower. Use a Swiss Army knife for soft stems and a pair of bypass cutters for woody stems. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle.

5. Measure flower food precisely.

Avoid taking the easy route and dumping flower food into the vase with your flowers. Too much flower food will poison your flowers, and too little flower food is somewhat pointless. Use the directions on the packet of flower food to follow the correct food-to-water ratio.

6. Fresh water is a must.

Every two days, or when the water gets cloudy, replace the water in the vase. With each water change, it’s recommended to clean the vase. Use the same recipe as above.

How to Style a Bar Cart


BarCartMidCenturyBarCart

If you’ve been keeping up with home décor trends, then you’re likely aware of the resurgence of the bar cart.

 

Originating as tea trolleys in the Victorian era, these beverage carts became a home for alcoholic elixirs after Prohibition ended. It wasn’t until the 1950s that these carts gained popularity, when entertaining and cocktail hours became a cultural norm.

 

When home architecture began to include built-in wet bars and spaces for entertaining in the 1970s, the bar cart became an image of the past.

 

But alas! Bar carts have made their way back into mainstream homes, pleasing cocktail lovers, Mad Men fans, and home décor enthusiasts alike.

 

Bar carts can not only be used to display your apéritifs, but also as a side table, nightstand, art easel, and more.

 

Want one in your own home? All it takes is a little creativity and a few must-have items.

 

1. Liquor
A variety of classic cocktails can be made with just these items:  vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and bitters. Vermouth should also be at the top of your list: dry is a must for martini fans, while sweet allows you to make other drinks, like Manhattans. If you still want more variety, brandy and Aperol are great additions, as well as any flavored liqueur you enjoy (i.e. Cointreau, Frangelico, St. Germain).
 
2. Mixers
Must-have mixers for your bar cart include tonic water, club soda, ginger beer, and cola. In fall and winter, you may consider adding apple cider to the mix. These mixers give you the ability to create a drink for virtually any taste preference.
 
3. Citrus
A few lemons, limes, and oranges in a bowl are both a functional and decorative addition to a bar cart. Use them to make drinks, garnish, and add a pop of color to your cart.
 
4. Barware (glasses and tools)
A bar cart is nothing without the tools. You’ll need a cocktail shaker, measuring unit (like a jigger), stirring spoon, strainer, bar board, pairing knife, corkscrew, and a variety of glasses. Additional options are an ice bucket, muddler, zester, and cocktail picks. Bar tools come in a variety of styles, so you can easily find something that fits the aesthetic you’re aiming for.
 
5. Plants
Adding a plant or flower is another way to bring an air of freshness to a bar cart. A simple clear or white vase never fails, but you can also pick something colorful or quirky.
 
6. Trinkets
If your cart isn’t too crammed by now, it’s time for the fun stuff. Adding a random object that speaks to you is the best way to complete your bar cart. Books, clocks, candlesticks, artwork, etc. are all great pieces to add that finishing touch.
 
Feeling inspired to decorate your own bar cart? These ones are the perfect blank canvas.
 
Bar Carts
1. Velma Mirrored Serving Cart – $134.99
2. Victoria Serving Cart – $115.99
3. Dante Bar Serving Cart – $292.99
4. Metal, Wood, and Leather Bar Cart – $129.99
5. Renee Bar Cart – $499
6. Wood and Gold Bar Cart – $129.99
7. Healy Acrylic Kitchen Cart – $195.49
8. Hobbs Bar Cart – $269.00

 

Special Ways to Make Your Guests Feel at Home


Holiday Guests

 

The holiday season is just beginning, and that means there’s a good chance you might be hosting family or friends. Here are some quick tips that will make your guests feel extra special during their stay.

 

1. Cheat sheet

Create a home cheat sheet that provides your guests with the Wifi code, instructions to turn on the television, garage code, and anything else they may need. Be sure to include your address, landline number, and any emergency contact information.

 

2. Spare samples
Have tons of hotel freebies and sample products lying around the house? Put them all in a jar in the guest bathroom. Your guests will like the availability of extra products, especially if they may have forgotten something.

 

3. Flower power

Placing fresh flowers or plants in the guest room adds brightness and freshness that anyone will appreciate. Bonus points if your foliage is festive!

 

4. Cozy essentials

To create the ultimate retreat for your guests, put a basket in the corner with items that will make them extra comfortable. Think soft throw blankets, magazines, bottled water, snacks, and a reading light.

 

5. Freshen up

Make sure to leave extra towels and washcloths in the bathroom so guests can always use dry ones. An extra toothbrush is always a nice touch too.

 

6. Sense of smell

Adding a candle or diffuser to the guest suite is always a good idea. Be careful, however – not all guests love the smell of warm vanilla. It’s best to steer clear and find neutral scents – think fresh linen or the like. If you’re feeling extra fresh, a small bottle of room or linen spray is a great addition to the room.