How to Make Flowers Last

On occasions when I’m fortunate enough to receive flowers, I often (woefully) neglect them to the point of desiccation or to where the water in the vase becomes toxic sludge.

These tips for making cut flowers last are helpful:

  • Start with fresh blooms. Gently squeeze the flower head; it should be quite firm and tightly closed. Check the stems and avoid anything slimy. Ick!
  • Choose long stemmed flowers over short. A long stem means a flower has had enough time to grow. Even if you ultimately want a short arrangement, start long and cut to size.
  • Make a fresh 45-degree cut to help flowers soak up water.
  • Remove all leaves that could be underwater. Otherwise they’ll be bacteria magnets and shorten the life of your bouquet.
  • Re-hydrate. If you’re making your own arrangement and have time, soak them for several hours in fresh water.
  • Use the flower food provided. Just follow the directions on the packet. (I am totally guilty of not doing this. Ever).
  • Change the water ever 1-2 days. Add a small amount of flower food with the fresh water.
  • Advanced tip: For droopy tulips, poke a pin through the stem just below the flower’s head. This will facilitate the flow of water and allow air to escape. (Thanks to Martha Stewart Living for that last tip).

Here’s a lesson from Martha on making floral arrangements and another from Real Simple magazine.

 

Coffee, Please

Somehow, somewhere MGM (6) obtained an old-school whistle and enthusiastically used it to wake up the entire household yesterday morning, shortly after the crack of dawn.

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As you can imagine, I was less than thrilled by this event and when returning to sleep was deemed impossible, I turned to caffeine.

I started drinking coffee during my sophomore year in college, first just to stay up late to study for exams. I would mix two small cartons of skim milk with one cup of dorm cafeteria coffee and two sugars.

By senior year, I was where I am now: brewed coffee with a splash of skim.

I’ve used different coffee makers over the past two decades, and unfortunately I can’t say I’ve ever discovered the right formula for the perfect home cup.

Most days I make a mug in my Keurig Vue, drink less than half while I get ready for work, and then mid-morning – if I can can make a five minute dash – I’ll get my travel mug filled at the coffee place across the street, which is much, much better.

Nevertheless, the search for the perfect home cup continues. Here are some tips for making your own coffee:

  • Understand you beans. Dark roast beans actually have less caffeine than lighter roasts, since some caffeine is lost during the roasting process. When you buy a bag of dark roast beans, they are generally smaller than light roast beans, and so it takes more dark beans to make up the same volume. If you’re measuring out ground coffee by a tablespoon or other measure, you’ll end up with less caffeine cup for cup. If you just dump beans into a grinder, though, you’ll end up using more dark beans than you would light ones (since they’re smaller) and could end up with a more potent brew. Confusing? Read a full explanation here.
  • Get the freshest roast possible. Look for a date on the package, and ideally, get beans that are less than 2 weeks old. 
  • Invest in a grinder, preferably a burr grinder, and grind beans right before brewing.
  • Use hot water.
  • Lightly pre-rinse paper filters (if you use them) to get rid off any taste they may impart.
  • Enjoy immediately. Coffee tastes best within 20 minutes after it’s brewed. If I have extra coffee, many times I’ll put the carafe in the fridge and use it later in the day for iced coffee.

P.S. MGM’s whistle? As soon as I find its hiding spot, it’s going straight into the trash.  

 

Aaaah-vocado Toast

I’ve posted about my love for avocado toast before, but lately, this version has been front and center.

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Ingredients:

Yum! Big, big yum.

New Splendid Wardrobe Kits

Splendid finally has their two new wardrobe kits available!

splendid tank splendid u neck

Both are $248 and for that price, you’ll receive a three month subscription service of either tanks or U-neck tees.

The first month for each is pictured above. Following that you’ll get two tops in seasonal colors each month for the next two months. The overall result is 7 tanks or 6 tees, depending on which kit you choose.

Or get both! Jackpot.

P.S. I am obsessed with Kit #1, which I scooped up tout de suite.  I love every piece.

 

 

 

Personalized Books

Are you looking for a great gift for a kid?

These personalized books are really cool.

i_see_me_books

After entering a few details about the child’s life (age, gender, names of family members, etc), a personalized book can be created.

Trixie got this book for Christmas last year, and it’s a hit:

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The message is very sweet and the kids love seeing the names of family members throughout the book.

If you’re not in the market for reading material, they also sell personalized placemats, growth charts, stickers and other fun items.

P.S. Sign up for their website and you can get 10% off an order.

 

Baby Names

Ask any OBGYN about baby names, and you’ll definitely get an earful.

We’ve heard some bad ones, trust me.

This is why when it comes to picking out names for our own offspring, it’s difficult to the point of near paralysis.

In a nutshell, you need to avoid anything too trendy, too weird, too pretentious, misspelled, unpronounceable, has bad karma or is just plain dumb.

Like these.

When I was pregnant with MGM (6), I was quite obsessed with this baby naming website. They also have a great blog and keep a running tab on the most popular baby names in the U.S.

When Trixie’s (FYI, this is not her real name) gestation rolled around, I became even more fanatical about Nymbler, a website that starts with a name that inspires you and then gives you related names as spin-offs. You can go way down the rabbit hole here, people. I did. Often.

Here’s a screen shot:

Nymblr

I used “Trixie” as an inspiration and it suggested “Dixie,” “Goldie” and “Buster” as related names. Umm, ok. Perhaps that was a bad example.

But trust me, this is a lot of fun! Great time waster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One More Thing, #24

A few tips for using your smartphone when traveling:

  • As you head into the terminal, take a quick picture identifying the location of your car in the parking garage. This avoids aimless wandering on the back end of the trip, when you’re inevitably exhausted.
  • Take a screen shot of your mobile boarding pass and (temporarily) make it your home screen. No more struggling to unlock a passcode and pull up an email at security.
  • Download your airline’s app, which is usually free. I often fly Delta, and they have a great mobile app that allows you to check-in and tells you gate information and flight status.

Please share other great tips if you have them!