Baby Shower Flowers

This week brought, yet another fun event I was able to help create beautiful floral arrangements for. This week my boss and I made arrangements for a baby shower, a girl. After I found out we were doing a baby shower, I connected the dots and realized it was for one of my friend’s daughters. It was an exciting little surprise.

Because I know the family personally it was really easy talking with them deciding what they wanted and how I could make it happen. My boss lets me, partially take the lead, it was really exciting!

Our creations for the baby shower were fun, elegant, and girly 😍

We focused on the simplicity and beautiful aspects of having a child. We used roses, cut off the stems and put them into small glass votive candle holders. They were beautiful. In taller skinny glass vases we put a variety of long stem flowers in shades of pink and white. We also made a large piece for the head table.

table-center-floral-arrangements

Since working quite a few events now, it is clear to me that a well-designed table centerpiece has the ability to pull a whole party theme together. The freshness of floral arrangements adds an element of delicacy from nature into a static indoor setting.

Helping create these beautiful pieces and know that I am actually going to the shower tomorrow makes me reminisce about Bobby and Clara and their baby showers. It seems like it was just yesterday my husband and I got the news we were going to have our first baby girl. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. 😊

I love creating arrangements for events like these. The energy and level of happiness that goes into creating them is reflected in the joy it brings to our clients. I can’t wait to find out the next event I’m going to help work.

Until next time,

Nancy

Clara’s New Beginning

Today was the start of a new chapter for Clara, she moved into a new “big girl” apartment. She had been living in an apartment that needed a revamp about 20 years ago, so moving into a new complex is a huge step up for her. The new apartment is closer to her work so she will be able to walk to work every day; saving money for this fancy apartment complex. Helping her move the past couple days have been quite the adventure, to say the least.

claras-boxes

I had no idea what I was getting into moving my daughter into a new apartment. I remember moving her into her dorm room and not being bad, moving Bobby into his dorm was a piece of cake; but moving Clara into an apartment after some time being on her own already…that was a challenge. How much can one girl accumulate? ….much more than I thought.

Being the mother I am I insisted on packing everything according to room and what it was. If Clara had packed everything herself, everything would be shoved together and unorganized. Even though she was complaining it was taking too long to pack, it was so much easier once we got there to unpack and organize it.

Her previous apartment was about half the size of her new one, but after we moved everything in it looked the same size. I can’t get over how many pillows my daughter has. I am not over exaggerating when I say she at 9 pillows…9. Who needs that many? She says they are just for decoration to make her bed feel cozy. I could only laugh, she is one of a kind and I love her for it.
Even though she asked my husband and me to help, she was complaining the entire time that we were “doing it wrong.” Oh girls, they never change. 😀 She won’t admit it but she was very thankful we helped pack, move, and unpack all her stuff. It would have taken her and her boyfriend so many more trips.
I am excited for her to begin a new chapter in an awesome apartment that is so close to her work. Once she gets everything unpacked and organized it is going to look so nice, it really looks like a “big girl” apartment. I am so proud of her.
Goodbye old apartment,

claras-old-room

Hello bright new apartment!

claras-new-room
Have you ever helped a daughter move? So much more work than a son… 😀

Until next time,
Nancy

GARLIC, GARLIC, GARLIC -with a recipe!

its-only-garlicIf you know me, you know I love garlic! Thank goodness my husband likes garlic as much as I do or he would never want to kiss my permanent garlic breath or eat my fabulous dinners every night. 😀 Ever since I can remember I have always loved garlic, it was one of the only things that my taste buds never grew out of and I hope never will.

This afternoon I made “Artichoke and roasted garlic” dip for my hubby and his friends that were over and they loved it.

As I grew older garlic became more than just something I loved to add to foods because of the taste, I began adding it for healthy benefits. I consider myself a bit of a garlic enthusiastic and history buff. Way back in the ancient Greek civilizations garlic was prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions. I agree with the Greeks and believe that garlic can do wonders for your body when you consume it the right way.

Here are some of my favorite benefits of garlic

• Garlic might help fight against hair loss because it has high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound that was found to treat thinning hair. To reap this benefit, rub sliced garlic cloves on your scalp or add it to oil and massage it in.

• I always turn to garlic when I feel a cold coming on. It is full of antioxidants to fight off your illness. I find that eating it raw in a salad or other recipes is the best way for it to boost your immune system. Garlic tea is also a good choice.

• There was also a study done a while ago that said that garlic could help control your weight. Even if it is just an idea, I am going to try it.  😛

• Raw garlic or garlic extract can help reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels lowing the risk of heart disease.

• Garlic is very nutritious and it has very few calories…so start eating your garlic!

There are so many benefits from garlic, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to eat it every day!

Here is my favorite Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip recipe-garlic-recipe

Ingredients-
• 2 heads of roasted garlic
• 6 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained, and chopped
• 4 oz. cream cheese
• ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
• ¼ cup mayonnaise
• ½ tsp. pepper
• 1 ½ cups shredded cheese, I like to use a blend of parmesan, asiago, and provolone

Instructions-
• Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
• In a large bowl or baking dish, mash the garlic until it becomes a thick paste then add and mix all the ingredients together, setting aside ½ cup of cheese for the top. After the mixture is thoroughly combined, top with the remaining ½ cup of cheese and pepper to taste.
• Bake for about 25-30 minutes and broil for about 5 minutes until the top is browned. Serve and enjoy your wonderful garlic dip!

What is your favorite garlic dish or side?
Until Next Time,
Nancy

Yearly Check-up, what I wish I knew when I was Young

yearly-checkup-important-fancy-free-nancy.jpgYesterday afternoon I had my yearly check-up at the doctors and I am very pleased with my health. I am very diligent when scheduling my appointments every year. I believe it is important to see a doctor and have tests done every year to make sure you are healthy and be proactive in keeping your body running well.

I was happy to find out that my blood pressure and cholesterol were normal, just a little on the high side but still normal, and that everything else is “A-Okay” and normal. I still have some hot flashes, but new-found healthy habits have helped me manage my menopause symptoms and actually lose weight and feel healthier.

My doctor was so happy that I have taken my health into my own hands and done research into healthy lifestyles for women over 50. It is such a rewarding feeling when the doctor compliments you on your health and tells you that you are doing a good job. He complimented me what I have done and what I am doing to continue my health journey and said it is exactly what I should be doing.

I want to share with you the easy things I have done that have helped me become a healthy woman over 50.

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• Making sure I get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night has been one of the most important things I have done.

• Eating more fruits and vegetables has been one of the biggest changes in my lifestyle. I try having at least two veggies at every meal and at least three servings of fruit throughout the day. I have discovered a new love for cooking and baking with fresh fruits and vegetables.

• I just fully committed, but giving up soda will help me health in the long run. Soda is full of sugar and acids that are harmful for your body. I have really tried to drink more water and find ways to incorporate it throughout my day.

• Staring Tai Chi and walking has helped me found an appreciation for physical fitness. It is hard to explain the feeling of accomplishment after a good work out. I really enjoy exercise and try having fun with it.

• Spending time outside doing activities to keep me active is not only a good way to get exercise but get fresh air too. I feel so much calmer and relaxed after spending time outside in nature.

• Spending time laughing and enjoying the company of friends and family keeps me sane. As strange as it sounds, after spending time laughing and talking with my friends I feel healthier.

• Taking time each day to reflect and be thankful for the life I have has made me a happier and positive individual. It is so important to mental and emotional health to feel grateful and reflect on each day to see the positives.

I have made so much progress and transformed my life for the better over the past couple years. It is very rewarding hearing that it is all paying off. I never thought I would have become this person I am today. Each day is a baby step in the right direction, I just have to keep truckin’ along!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Fall Wedding Floral Arrangements

Tomorrow our floral shop has a beautiful fall wedding to make arrangements for. We have been diligently working and designing the bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces for the tables. Fall weddings are so beautiful with all the rich colors and textures making them so unique and warm.

I love working with fall flowers because they are typically a little more “hearty” than other seasonal flowers. I feel like I am able to manipulate them more to create the kind of arrangement that fits the client the best. Even though I have been working in the shop for a while, I am still learning and a hearty flower is more forgiving when I am trying to figure how to do something.

I was excited to find out that the bridesmaid dresses were brown and our bride wanted to have bouquets created with orange, yellow, and deep red flowers. She was not picky on what kinds of flowers so we made her a few samples a couple weeks ago and she loved them. She choose the bridesmaids and her bouquet. flower-shop-fancy-free-nancyI am in love with her bouquet, it has orange calla lilies, yellow and cream roses, and accented with twine…they are having a barn wedding so she wanted a little bit of country vibe. It is so beautiful! The boutonnieres match and have one orange calla lily and twine. We stopped at the venue today to get a feel for what we will need to set up, and it was already decorated so beautiful. It is always so much easier for us when we do not do the decorating. The bride seems very crafty and made all the decorations for the venue and even set them all up today. We met her right as they were finishing up, she is such a sweet young lady and so easy going.

I am sure she is going to have an incredible wedding tomorrow, she was glowing with excitement today. Weddings are so special, no matter how many weddings I go to as a guest or work each one has something unique and magical about it.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Giving Up Soda for Good

I have decided today I am going to give up soda for good. I have really limited my soda intake over the past year or so, but every time I allow myself to have one I immediately regret it and end up paying for it. I love the taste of a fresh diet coke in the afternoon, but the coke doesn’t like me. I always end up feeling bloated and unhealthy. There are so many positives about giving up soda, I really need to commit and I know I will be successful.

Even though I don’t drink soda often, it costs money that I don’t need to be spending. I saw a statistic once that if you drink just one soda a day it costs about $365 a year. I could use that money to treat myself or spend it on something healthier.

Not that I needed much motivation to stop drinking soda, I found some great reasons why giving up soda is great for you and your attitude. If you are a soda drinker, maybe you will find a few reasons why life can be better without soda.

• Giving up soda might actually help you live longer. Because of the high sugar content in soda, it causes you to age faster similar to cigarettes…yes, cigarettes. Reading this really made me want to give up soda and hydrate on fabulous free water.

• Soda has been connected to childhood obesity….not that I am a child but still very interesting, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and gout. As an aging woman, I want to keep my body as healthy as possible to prolong my active life.

• It is known that soda is not good for your teeth because of the high sugar content, but the acid is also damaging to your smile. The acid causes your teeth’s enamel to erode and leave your teeth vulnerable to other health problems.

• We have all heard of vegetable oil, but have you heard about brominated vegetable oil? It is a chemical banned in Europe and Japan because it is used as a flame retardant and is linked to memory loss, nerve disorders, and behavioral health problems. Brominated vegetable oil is used in sodas like Mountain Dew and other fruity flavored sodas.

• Water is cheaper than sodas, better for you, and will actually hydrate you. I don’t need much more convincing.

I am excited to finally give up soda for good. Having a few sodas during week has been hindering me to live the healthy lifestyle I want to live. I don’t think it will be that difficult giving it up because there are so many other options that are better. Wish me luck!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

4th of July Fun!

Happy Fourth of July! This year with the fourth landing on a Monday, all of our parties and fireworks were on weekend. We were pretty busy the last weekend so, today will be nice just hanging out and relaxing on the day off. We attended two fabulous Fourth of July parties at my husband’s coworker’s home and my sisters. It was a really fun weekend party hopping and helping my sister decorate and cook for her barbecue.
happy-independence-day

My sister asked if I would help her decorate and make some of the food, of course I said yes. Over the past year or so I have really become quite the party decorator. It is always fun when I get to spend time with my sister, especially when it is something I am better at than her.

We came up with some simple party decoration ideas that wouldn’t cost a lot of money and were simple enough to keep the party relaxed. I had these big red and white buckets from a party I had a while ago for Bobby that we made into coolers for the drinks. We just filled them up with ice and put the pop in them. I also made cute little vases with red and white tulips for the tables. Tulips are very clean and crisp flowers that worked perfect for what my sister was going for. My sister insisted on using overhanging lights with red and blue bulbs to really give it a cozy feeling. It ended up looking very cute and patriotic.

After we decided on the decorations and got them all hung up and situated we began our kitchen fun! My sister assigned me to making desserts and snacky foods, my favorite. I made the cutest American flag fruit pizza, it look fabulous and tasted even better. I also made a grape salad, frozen watermelon drinks, and fresh salsa. Here are my super easy recipes I used for my Fourth of July concoctions.

Easy Grape Salad
easy-grape-saladIngredients-
• 1 lbs. seedless green grapes, stems removed, washed and halved
• 1 lbs. seedless red grapes
• 1, 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
• 1, 7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
• 1, 6 oz. package of almonds, chopped or slivered

Instructions-
• Stir the cream cheese and marshmallow crème together until smooth and creamy. Add the grapes to the mixture and stir in. Fold in the almonds and stir until grapes and almonds are coated with the cream cheese mixture.
• Serve chilled, enjoy!

Frozen Watermelon Drinkseasy-watermelon-drink
Ingredients-
• 4 cups seedless watermelon chunks
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 lemon, juiced

Instructions-
• Combine all the ingredients together in a food processor and puree until smooth. Pout into a pan and freeze, about 1 hour. Rake the mixture with a fork and freeze for another hour, and repeat one more time. Then rake and serve in cups for a delicious refreshing watermelon drink, Enjoy!

Very Easy Salsa easy-salsa
Ingredients-
• 4 large tomatoes, diced
• ¼ cup chopped white onion
• 3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 tsp. jalapeno, minced
• 1 ½ tsp. fresh lime juice
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• Salt to taste

Instructions-
• Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors mix, and enjoy!

Hope you had a fabulous Fourth of July “pre-weekend!”

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Happy Father’s Day

happy-fathers-dayHappy Father’s Day to all the daddy’s out there! I think it is important to celebrate our mothers and fathers everyday but especially on these days. Bobby and Clara got their father the greatest gift imaginable last year, so I had no idea how they would be able to top that. I don’t know how they did it, but they came up with a great idea that their father absolutely loved.

Last year we got him a brand new infrared grill and a cookbook and he was the most surprised I have ever seen him. Bobby and Clara are so cleaver and good at surprising both of us. This year I helped them brain storm a little but let them take the reins. We decided since we went with such a huge gift last year, we are going to keep the gift thoughtful and more realistic.

To go along with last year’s gift, Bobby and Clara wanted to get him some new grill tools. I thought it was such a good idea. They found a good deal on a grilling set and got him some “man” spices and sauces that he can use.

This morning we made him breakfast in bed and brought the paper up to him. Bobby and Clara always laugh at the little things that make their father so happy. It is just a reminder to them that it is the little things that really matter.

Because it is Father’s Day and we usually always cook for him, he told us last week that he wants to grill a big juicy steak his way. He is so funny sometimes. I am sure he will love his gift and the spices and sauces and will use them for dinner. Obviously we weren’t opposed to that, it makes it easier for us.

It is going to be a great rest of the afternoon spending Father’s Day relaxing and then having my husband grill dinner 😀
Happy Father’s Day!
Nancy

Feeling Ill after busy weeks

After these busy, busy weeks I am feeling a little under the weather. I have never had so much fun working and learning so much than I did over Valentine’s Day weekend. But running around like crazy has affected my immune system and made me feel ill.

Since my epiphany a while ago about natural remedies, I have been searching for different ways to nix illnesses before they happen. There are so many options that can help you feel better that are all natural and help you in the long run.

Here are some natural remedies you probably already have in your house that can help treat a cold or the flu.
• Not only does garlic make everything taste wonderful, it is a powerhouse natural antibiotic, antibacterial, and antifungal. It really is a super food! I use garlic very often but for potent illness fighting, mince 1-2 cloves and let them float in a small glass of water and drink it quickly. It might not taste the best, but it will help.
• Hot liquids have been a natural remedy for many years. But I swear by hot herbal teas and lemon water at the first sign of a cold. The herbs and lemon help amp up your immune system and kick that cold out. There are many herbs that are known to fight specific infections and illnesses like nettle leaf, ginger, chamomile, peppermint, and catnip.

 

tea-for-flu

• Cinnamon is good for stabilizing blood sugar and is also an antiviral and antibiotic. I like making cinnamon tea using cinnamon and honey. I find that it helps with coughing, scratchy throats, and congestion.
• Staying hydrated is key to fight an illness. If you have a fever it is extremely important to stay hydrated by drinking water and teas. Getting enough rest is also necessary. When your body is running in high trying to fight off whatever you have, it is important to get a few extra hours of rest to help your body reboot.
I know that WebMD is not the most reliable source for health related issues but there is a lot of information that helps initiate a search for reliable sources. The article 8 Tips to Treat Colds and Flu the ‘Natural’ Way, is a great place to start gathering natural remedy information.
Do you have a secret recipe or herb to help feel better when you are ill? I would love to hear more and try new natural ways to treat illnesses.
Until Next Time,
Nancy

BUSY Valentine’s Day Flowers

Today has been one of the busiest days I have had a quite some time. The day before Valentine’s Day at a floral shop is chaos, likely for me organized chaos! We have been working diligently all day designing the preorders for Valentine’s Day. I am lucky that my boss is so kind and patient as I continue learning and growing as a florist.


I have never made so many arrangements in a day. I think this Valentine’s Day has been even busier than last year’s already. Hopefully, with all our preorders done, tomorrow will be easier and less stressed.

I have been getting really good at basic bouquets and arrangements. Many Valentine’s Day orders are simple using just one flower, typically roses, with a ribbon. We had a few extravagant bouquet orders that gave us a little more freedom for creativity but they took a little more time.

I cannot thank my boss enough for such a great opportunity this has been. I have learned so much in the past year and grown as a florist. In the beginning I would have never imagined I would be comfortable making countless arrangements for Valentine’s Day or working and creating bouquets and centerpieces for weddings. I couldn’t be happier with the path I took to get to be where I am today.

Even though I will be working all tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, I have a little plan for my husband. I have to be at the shop really early in the morning, so I am going to make breakfast for him and have it ready with a love letter. I am sure he will love it. In the evening we are going to have a romantic movie night at home. Being in the comfort of our own home will be a great way to celebrate this holiday of love.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day tomorrow!

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Until next time,

Nancy