Thursday, November 22, 2007

How to Make the Most of the Holidays

You'll be busier than ever this holiday season, so here's how you can get the most out of these festive occasions with the least amount of time and stress.
Mark your calendar Plan what you will do each day for the next week, and plan to start your activity on schedule.
Make a List Make a list of supplies you need. Make a list of people you plan to give gifts to.

Make a list of people you plan to send cards to. Check off the lists as you go. On your list of people, remember to at least put the date or the year. You will be very happy to see your list the following year and be reminded of what you gave the last year.
Plan your shopping trips With the price of gas, you need to plan your shopping trips and don't forget your list and try to stick to it.
Bake home made cookies It's surprising what a few gaily decorated sweets can do. Brightly decorated cookies not only are taste-ticklers, but they make interesting gifts...especially when packaged with holiday wrapping and bows. Make the dough in advance and store in the refrigerator, or buy the cookie dough. Costco and most grocery stores now carry a wide variety of cookie doughs.
Try these Time-Savers Keep a supply of peeled carrots, celery, and lettuce in the refrigerator ready for an attractive veggie salad plate. Save tidbits of meat from turkey bones. Use for gravies or chop fine, add relish for sandwich spread.
Here's an easy to make Holiday Cookie:
You will need: 1 cup shortening, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon grated orange rind 2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 cup pecan nut meats (broken).

Cream shortening and add sugars gradually, while beating constantly. Add egg, well beaten, orange juice and orange rind. Sift flour, soda, and salt together and add the nuts. Form into rolls. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. When ready, slice thin, place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. You can decorate before or after baking, depending on your mood.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Centerpieces to accent Thanksgiving Table

The night comes earlier now and colder too. Which brings us closer to Thanksgiving and then Christmas. I am hosting dinner this year just like last year since my father-in-law passed 3 years ago and my mother-in-law has not been invited by any of the offsprings older than my husband, so we decided we'd have thanksgiving at our house. We'll have the usual turkey and dressing, ham and the trimmings. It's usually so busy at work that we have not enough time to prepare, but then, there's just my family of 3 and Mom and one or two brothers. I promised myself that I'll make a flower centerpiece to decorate my food table this year, and I'll also make one for my sister who is hosting a dinner for my side of the family.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Florists in Sacramento

There's this large florist with 2 stores that just shut down so suddenly. Both stores are in prime locations, both are next to a Subway shop. One would think that this florist is doing so well, with all the volume deliveries they do and the large inventory they carry in terms of containers, plants and flowers. The local wholesaler for greens/foliage shared that this florist owed them 24 hundred and who knows how much they owe the flower wholesalers. Unfortunately this florist declared bankruptcy and closed so suddenly. It's good for my business - I've seen an increase in walk-ins and call-ins, however, it's not good for the industry, not good for my wholesalers who have to suffer the loss of not being paid for supplies that have already been delivered and used by this florist.
One major reason for their downfall was 800flowers. Not only did they pay a percentage of their sales, but they also had to contend with the cheap orders sent to them by 800flowers. At best, they got 50% of the cost of orders from which they have to subtract the cost of goods and labor, delivery and all the associated expense of running a business. It's a very unfortunate situation.
My wholesalers are now more than ever grateful for the small Mom and Pop florists who either pay upfront or pay their bills consistently at the end of the month.
I'm a small florist in Sacramento and my greens/foliage wholesaler acknowledged that he appreciates that we pay upfront for our purchases, and we can be relied on to buy from him every week.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School Just Begun

Aug. 27, Monday was the start of school for most college students in the Sacramento, CA community colleges. For the elementary, junior high and high schoolers, school started last week. Nationwide, school begins after labor day. So everyone is buckling down, settling down to a daily routine. A lot of people are back home from vacations.
I am amazed at young people that signed up for college courses. Of the dozen close friends that my son has, only 1 friend and my son are enrolled in college. The rest are making too much money for their age at their jobs. Hopefully, my son and his friend stick it out.
And with the school and the daily routine and everyone back from vacations, I am seeing and getting a few more flower orders either from the website or over the phone.

Thank goodness, the slow months of summer (for the flower business anyway) is slowly a thing of the past again. And we continue to do wedding flowers for weddings for this month and the rest of the year.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

July Musings of a Sacramento florist

July used to be the month for summer vacations, trips out of town, camping with friends. Here in Sacramento, people long to go out of town where it is a little cooler than 100 degrees F. Naturally, most businesses like the flower shops tend to slow down. After the June weddings, florists like to take it easy, others close shop for a week or two. And since it's supposed to be slow, I allowed my helpers to go on vacation. I am finding out though that business still has to go on, people still have birthdays, anniversaries, boys still mess up so they say sorry to the girls, and people still die. So, here I am, working double time, blowing up balloons, arranging roses, arranging plants in baskets, making silk arrangements, and candy bouquets.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

June is for Graduations and Weddings

June is a busy month for graduations and weddings. And so here we are busy each week either making leis, corsages and boutonnieres. It seems leis are favorites for graduations and also small wrapped bouquets custom made with care specially for the graduate and yet we charge the same as the grocery store. Tomorrow we have bridal bouquet, corsages and boutonnieres for an intimate wedding at an LDS church. On Saturday, we have a bridal bouquet, 3 bridesmaids bouquets, 4 corsages, 5 boutonniers, flower girl's flowers and a tossing bouquet for another intimate wedding in Auburn. I had to turn down another wedding because I was already booked for these two small weddings.
There's 3 more weddings to deal with after this weekend and the month will soon be over. Then we will have to deal with the summer heat, hopefully, we will survive the hot days of Sacramento summer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

June weddings

The wedding has been announced .... which creates the excitement and the flurry of planning the "day". A florist is usually thought of later down the line closer to the set date. As professional florists, we would like to know the bride better, assess her personality, style and taste and appearance, so that we will be effective in helping her not only with the flowers but other details that she might otherwise overlook in the process. The most important information we need to know is the date, time and location of the wedding, and the color scheme and or theme. When planning to see and meet your florist be prepared to provide these following information:
1. Date, times and venues, and when are the flowers needed for picture taking, what time could the florist start setting up decorations.
2. What is the color scheme, and what flowers are preferred.
3. How big is the wedding, is it an intimate one, a grand wedding, in other words, what is the budget for flowers.
May and June are the busiest times of the year for weddings. Most florists like us, prefer to book only one wedding per weekend. That way, we can concentrate on providing the best service for that one special bride. I highly recommend that you see your favorite florist soon after you've decided on a date, so that you can book the date with the florist. The months of May and June are the months that florists are busy because of high school dances and proms, and Mother's day. If at all possible avoid getting married a week before or during Mother's Day. Most florists will have their attention on fulfulling mother's day orders and high school prom corsages and bouttoniers.
Good Luck!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Proms, corsages and boutonniers

It's prom and school dance season and kids can't seem to get it together. My son knew he was going to the school dance on Friday. His friend called at 1 pm wanting to know if I can have a corsage and boutonnier made and "by the way, your son is going too, so he needs one set too."

Today, I was about to close the store for the weekend at 3:30 and here comes a Mom and his son wanting a corsage. So, I make one and charge him a little more than I would have charged him if it was pre-ordered at least a day in advance.

Somehow, the scene of this Mom and son reminds me of Anna Nicole and her son Danny. I know for a fact how a mother grieves for the loss of a son. My mother grieved so much when my brother died at 9 months old, she was inconsoloble for a long period of time. But, unlike Anna, my mom had a family support system. They were there to take care of the other small kids, and whatever household chore that got neglected. For Anna Nicole, she was not left alone by the media, they did not give her space and time to grieve. Her mother did not extend her hand to help, instead she was out attacking her own daughter and accusing her and her partner for the demise of Danny. And then she tried to stop the burial so she can take Anna's body to Texas knowing full well that Anna wanted to be with her son. What was Virgie thinking? She's a mother and a grandmother, but is her motivation driven by grief of a daughter's loss or greed for the potential inheritance? She did not seem loving at all when she was out in public talking about her grandson's death. For a normal person, she should have tried to extend her helping hand to her grieving daughter; she should have tried to avoid the press; or should at least be quiet and give her daughter the chance to grieve. If she did that, people might just have been more sympathetic to her when Anna died instead of being booed. I feel sorry for her for the loss of her daughter, she's still a mother who lost a child.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Don't forget to wear green tomorrow, - it's St. Patrick's Day. However, drink that (Irish) beer in moderation. Enjoy the day and the rest of the weekend!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Springtime in Sacramento

It's almost spring time, birds are a-chirping in the early mornings, the sun is out and yet the air is crisp and the weathermen predict a couple of rainy days in the coming week.
Young brides-to-be have been calling about wedding flowers and our June weekends are almost fully booked. It is exciting to be part of the exciting life changing event of our young generation.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentine's Day, Roses, and the Florists

It's the eve of valentine's day and I just found out that one of the big florists in Sacramento recently closed its doors, I can't believe it! Closing the business right before a holiday - it's the only time when florists expect to make some profit. And yet, I wonder if I am in the right business - a little florist in sacramento - selling roses and posies at very affordable price, trying to compete with grocery stores, hardware stores, drug stores and the big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart. How can a small florist compete with those that have big budgets, I wonder and I shudder and brace myself for the one day holiday that's meant to express one's love. We have hundreds of roses and other flowers, will men come at the last minute to buy their valentine flowers?