10 Tips to DIY Your Own Floral Arrangement

Nothing brightens up a space like flowers and a trip to the Los Angeles Flower Markets is one of our favorite ways to spend a morning. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we rolled up our sleeves for a team DIY designing our own arrangements. We’re excited to share our 10 favorite tips to help you design your own!

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1. Buying the Blooms – It can be overwhelming when you begin planning an arrangement. Choosing one or two colors to focus on is a great way to narrow down the options. Try selecting either a “warm” (reds/orange/yellow) palette or a “cool” (blue/green/purple) palette and anchor your design with 2-3 prominent blooms such as dahlias, peonies or protea.

2. Don’t Forget the Foliage- You may not have noticed but most arrangements are not just flowers, but also foliage. Add vines, leafy greens, berries, vines, and even fern cuttings to design around your focal florals. Foliage adds character, texture, and shape without distracting from your floral focal points.

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3. Stripping- Many people make the mistakes of putting flowers right in the vase without any maintenance. You need to strip your flowers or they will not last as long! Stripping is the process of removing any leaves on the stems of your florals that will be submerged in your water to prevent mold. You can leave some leaves at the base of your floral to add volume, or you can remove all.

4. Add Intrigue- Contrast is essential to creating an interesting arrangement. Make sure to cut your flowers and foliage at different heights to add dimension to the arrangement and think about playing with different shapes, such as the spiky look of a dahlia with a soft anemone. Seek beauty in the juxtaposition.

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5. Don’t Rush It- Take your time while putting your arrangement together, this is the fun part! If you’re not achieving the look you want, just start again. Put on some music and let nature’s blooms guide you.

6. Think Outside the Vase- You can use just about any container for florals so feel free to design your arrangement for a favorite mug, old pasta sauce jar or the pretty container of a used up candle. Just make sure the container is waterproof and thoroughly cleaned.

7. Water- The key ingredient for good floral maintenance is water. Make sure your florals are supplied with plenty of water, and that starts right when you get home. Cut the stems immediately and put them in water until you’re ready to arrange. Then trim again before adding to your vessel. It’s best to cut on a diagonal, which exposes more of the stem to water. After you arrange your blooms, make sure to give them as much water as the container will allow so they can drink up after being transferred numerous times.

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8. Fine-Tune Blossoms- While natural beauty is more appealing than anything, not every bloom is perfect. This is where pruning comes in. If there are any buds that distract from the overall arrangement, don’t be afraid to remove them. Eliminate petals that are broken or browning and trim any leaves competing for water.

9. Keep ‘Em Cool-| Always place finished arrangements in a cool space. Check the water frequently– you would be surprised how much flowers can drink!

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10. Upgrade your Tools- You can absolutely make a beautiful arrangement with just a vase and a pair of scissors but if you’re going to be working with florals regularly we recommend a few purchases to make the process easier:

  • Pruning Shears- to strip florals with thorns and cut thicker stems
  • Floral Wire & Floral Tape- to help secure any florals. You can use wire to help wrap and arrange smaller stems as well as create structured pieces, like boutonnieres. Floral tape is self-sealing tape and can be used to wrap stems or create bouquets.
  • Clear Floral Tape– to make a grid for spaced out arrangements
  • Oasis Floral Foam– if you’re creating arrangements for an event, this floral foam is your friend! Just dunk in water and it will absorb. Stick fresh florals in and the foam will keep them hydrated and in place throughout any event. It also comes in a variety of sizes allowing you to create floral wreaths, hearts, and 3D shapes.

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SPPR Travels: 5 Things You Should Do in Samaná, Dominican Republic

Beautiful beaches come standard with most Caribbean islands but if you prefer to be a traveler rather than a tourist, you might want to skip the Bahamas and opt for a less talked about island. SPPR Account Manager and avid wanderer, Colleen Dunn, recently spent a week in the Dominican Republic town of Samaná where she drank piña coladas out of pineapples and ignored TLC’s advice on waterfalls. Here are her five must dos in this underrated coastal town.

Stay in a Treehouse

Get off the beaten path of all-inclusive Punta Cana resorts and fulfill all your childhood dreams by sleeping in a treehouse. We stayed at tropical hideaway the Dominican Tree House Village which features a collection of breezy open-air houses completely surrounded by trees. It was insanely gorgeous and delightfully free of crowds and surprisingly, bugs. The nature immersed hideaways feature comfortable beds, electricity, plumbing and outdoor showers making it a unique step above glamping and the resort comes complete with a rope swing adorned waterfall and all-inclusive rum cocktails. It’s owned by an American but staffed mostly by locals which makes it a good option if your Spanish isn’t great but you don’t only want to hang out with other Americans.

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Drink Mama Juana

Did you really go to Greece if you didn’t have Ouzo or Colombia if you didn’t take a shot of Aguardiente? In the Dominican Republic the liquor to try is Mama Juana. This concoction is made of rum, red wine and honey soaked in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. It’s common for a household to keep their Mama Juana for decades, constantly adding to it to keep the bark and herbs from drying out. In addition to giving you a buzz, Mama Juana has all kinds of positive health effects depending on who you ask: curing the flu, digestion, circulation issues and serving as a detox for your kidney and liver. The liquor’s most lauded benefit is as an aphrodisiac and people often add conch to increase these benefits, or in the case of one bakery who offered us a sip of theirs, a small octopus!

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Zipline

There’s nothing like flying through the trees so make sure to put Samaná’s 12 line course on your to-do list. The first (and highest) line is 1,000 feet long and by the time you get to the bottom run you’ll be flipping upside down and spinning like monkeys.

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Visit Mama’s Beach

Adventure and Instagram worthy views aside, you came to the Caribbean to lay on the beach. There are nearly a dozen options in Samaná but our favorite was El Valle. This secluded stretch was a short bike ride from our tree house and an immediate favorite for its lack of crowds and availability of chaise lounges. More importantly, there’s Mama. Mama is a toothless Dominican woman who sells amazing fried chicken and piña colada filled pineapples five feet from the crashing waves. It should be at the top of your to-do list. Fair warning though, they call her Mama for a reason so don’t try to go swimming when there’s a riptide. She’ll come out from behind the stove and chase you out of the water.

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Hang Out with Locals

This is one of my top five tips for every trip anywhere and always results in my most memorable experiences. The best thing we ate in the Dominican Republic was Tres Leches that a local purchased for us from the back door of someone’s home after taking us to a shop of candy colored magic positions for love, wealth, strength and anything else you could think of. For best results on your own travels, ask a native where their favorite place to eat is or just head to the local market. The local market is the apex of many cities or at the very least an interesting window into the diet of its residents. In Samaná you’ll find local fishmongers and farmers selling bananas, pineapples, pink salt and even snake belts.

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5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Caitlin Lee

From a Galentine’s Day DIY Homemade Pop-Tart party to making healthy chicken pot pie with Lauren Conrad, Public Lives Secret Recipes creator Caitlin Lee knows how to have fun with her food. Caitlin’s fantastic blog features interviews and recipes from people in the public eye as well as all of her favorite things in the lifestyle and food space. We’re excited to welcome Caitlin to our corner of the internet this week to talk about comfort food, her first year in LA and where to go for creative inspiration.

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1. What inspired you to start Public Lives, Secret Recipes and are there any recipes in particular that stand out as favorites?

I’m not sure there was one thing that inspired me to start PLSR. It was more a combination & natural build-up over time. When I was in college I had to live in my sorority house for 3 years. Don’t get me wrong, it was the absolute best, however, we only had access to a toaster & microwave. After I graduated & moved to Chicago I began baking a ton. It was something I had grown up doing & when I finally had all the tools to do so, I remembered just how much I enjoyed it. I would bring everything I made into work, post it on my personal Instagram, & send some to family. Everyone would ask for the recipes & it just seemed like posting them on a website would be an easier way to go rather than emailing, texting, etc. for people individually.

Once the site was live I was shocked that people aside from those I shared it with were viewing it. The OCD in me immediately kicked in & realized I needed to make this site aesthetically pleasing. In that process I began brainstorming exactly what I wanted to blog about. I knew there were a billion other baking blogs out there so I decided I wanted to do something different. Food to me is so much more than the taste, it brings people together & is the ultimate ice breaker. I realized I wanted to start hearing other people’s stories & get recipes from them.

Four years later that is still the most prominent part of PLSR, however, there are some other aspects such as travel, my own recipes, style & more that have been fun to dive into.

I go through phases of what my favorite recipes on the site are. Right now my top three would have to be Coolhaus’ Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwich (their founder & CEO, Natasha, is one of the coolest ladies I know & she shared this recipe exclusively for my site!) for the ultimate indulgence, Lauren Gores’ popsicles recipe for a sweet yet healthy treat, & Lauren Conrads’ healthy chicken pot pie for when I need to balance out the Coolhaus recipe.

2. You moved to LA in the last year, what are a couple of your favorite spots in the city so far?

Oh man, there are SO many! For food: Gjelina, Lodge Bread Co., Great White, Malibu Farm, Pressed Juicery, Sugarfish, Moon Juice, Katsuya, Zinque, the list goes on & on. For something other than eating… hiking in Malibu, biking down Abbot Kinney, & exploring all of the different neighborhoods LA has to offer.

3. As someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, what is your favorite comfort food to make at home? 

A few years back my parents were hounding me for gift ideas of what I wanted for my birthday (they’re clearly the kindest!) & I told them I wanted the two of them to make me a cookbook of all their favorite recipes. I don’t think they were expecting me to ask for a gift that required them to really work but it’s easily the best gift I’ve ever been given. Any of those recipes or my grandma’s bread recipes are my go-to comfort dishes!

4. Where do you go for inspiration when you’re in a creative rut?

For the obvious, Pinterest. The less obvious, Malibu, my family, & my website. I love combining a few old recipes into one hybrid recipe so looking back on what I’ve done in the past serves as a huge form of inspiration for me.

5. What would be your ideal food day if distance was no limit (breakfast, lunch and dinner)?

Holy moly this is one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked. Can I include tons of snacks & desserts too?! Breakfast: Parisian croissants (yes, multiple!) in bed with a view of the Eiffel Tower, Snack: Pinkberry Tart Froyo with Gummy Bears (in a dream world they’d also have chocolate covered gummy bears as an option there!), Lunch: Ravioli from 4Leoni in Florence, Snack: My sister’s homemade cinnamon rolls, Dinner: Peppermint Thai Restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio Dessert: My homemade vegan chocolate chip cookies!

 

 

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Sami Davis

This week we’re excited to welcome SPPR’s new Creative Coordinator, Sami Davis, to the blog. Sami joins the Soda Pop PR team with experience in marketing, graphic design, event planning, and content creation!

Read on to learn more about Sami’s advice on how to find your creativity and why she MUST go to Egypt.

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1. You are one creative lady! Where do you look for inspiration?

I honestly feel like inspiration can strike anywhere and everywhere. Pinterest and Instagram are great platforms that I scroll through the most frequently; both are endless visual resources that show me what people have already created so I can dream up something new! Travel is also a big influence on my creativity. I’ve learned the most from experiencing different cultures, habitats and colors of the world from the dusty hues of Zion National Park to the ethereal mountain temples in Chiang Mai.

2. What advice would you give to someone who is “not creative” but wishes they were?

I think it’s absurd when someone says they aren’t creative! I definitely believe everyone has their own form of creativity. If you really don’t believe me and are still “wishing” you were creative, then take some steps in a creative direction you’ve always wanted to learn more about. Pick up a paintbrush, have a DIY day, or take a class to learn how to do something you’ve always lusted after. I taught myself how how to hand letter by watching Skillshare videos, which was great because I was able to take my time learning.

3. What excites you most about public relations?

PR is constantly morphing and changing, most recently to encompass influencer marketing, digital media, and even social media management. Strategies and technology have transformed so much, especially in the past two years, to really redefine what “Public Relations” means! I admire this industry because I’m constantly kept on my toes and pushed out of my comfort zone to meet the changing demands. I’m so excited to have a front seat to the innovative ideas coming out of PR!

4. If you had unlimited funds and two-weeks off, where would you go?

Morocco and Egypt! I’m so captivated by the vivid colors, diversity of cities, and rich culture of Morocco. I would love to explore Jamaa el Fna in Marrakech to shop the spices and pigments. Not to mention, the architecture also looks insane and I’m eager to hang out in the Sahara Desert.

Egypt has been on my bucket list since I was 5 years old. I had a fascination with ancient Egyptian history and wanted to be an archaeologist for the longest time! I’m still dead set on taking a cruise down the Nile River and walking among the Valley of Kings & Queens.

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women in their 20s today?

As someone who is smack dab in the heart of my 20’s, social media and workplace equality are huge challenges we face. Over and over again, I see that there is an adverse effect of social media on girls and women alike. We need to spend less time comparing ourselves to what’s in the media because it’s really damaging at such an imperative growth stage. The more opportunities that women have to really find their own inner strength and balance it with external strength, we can go out and be advocates for ourselves.
As for women in the workplace, I was brought up in a family without any type or mention of discrimination, ever. When I started working and my career took off, the idea of women being held back due to their gender was so foreign to me until I got a taste of it myself. It’s still so bizarre to me and a topic I tend to get really passionate about if anyone of any gender, ethnicity, or size gets discriminated against because of who they are– especially if they are good at what they do! I’m excited to see so many thriving, women-owned businesses make an impact and watch how women as a whole will make strides in 2018.

 

Follow along with Sami’s adventures @theunexpectedtype

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Christina Schneider

From Snapchat filters to festival grounds it’s hard to resist a flower crown. The longtime favored accessory of boho-chic brides is now acceptable for weekend wear and we know who to thank for it. Wedding planner and flower queen Christina Schneider of Cake & Punch joins us on the blog this week to talk about how she turned a birthday party arts and crafts project into a serious side hustle.

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1. You started out as a wedding planner, where did you get your idea for a flower crown bar and when did you know it would be a success?

I’ve always had an eye and interest for floral design. I had the idea of a flower crown bar for a friend’s birthday party at Malibu Wines. Other guests at Malibu Wines came up to us and asked us if they could buy one.

I called Malibu Wines the following week to see if we could do a Pop Up Flower Crown Shop, and over 2 years later we are still at Malibu Wines and now Rosenthal Winery every weekend making custom flower crowns for purchase. We’ve also expanded to the festival market, making crowns at Coachella, Stagecoach, and KAABOO.

I had no idea it was going to be this popular, but I did recognize the need for affordable flower crowns. If you call up a Florist the pricing for 1 flower crown can be anywhere from $60 – $250. The first flower crown I ever wore was one I made for myself. I felt so radiant wearing it and I wanted to share that experience with everyone at a price everyone can afford.

2. You really hustled to make your business happen. How do you stay motivated?

It’s easier to stay motivated when you are doing what you love! Ever since I was young, I’ve always known I’d have my own business for some reason. I like the idea of working for myself and making my dreams and ideas come to fruition. My goal is to have Cake & Punch grow with me as I continue to discover all my passions in life.

3. What has been your proudest girl boss moment to date?

Wow I love this question! Growing up I’d secretly flip through The Knot magazine fantasizing about my future wedding (yes I was that girl lol), thinking that a wedding planner would be my absolute DREAM job.

Since starting Cake & Punch 2 years ago, one of my weddings got published in The Knot magazine with a 6 page spread AND we recently did an Instagram take over on their 1.3 million follower fan base! The fact that The Knot actually loves my work is what makes me feel truly like a Girl Boss.

4. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs just starting out or testing an idea?

Depending on what your product or idea is, get a booth at a local farmers market, venue, or small local event that fits your brand. The investment should be small, but the feedback from the attendees will be priceless. Start small and ask family and friends for a little help if you can! My business wouldn’t be where it is now without their help and support.

5. What goals do you have for the next year?

I’ve actually developed a unique hair accessory that I will be launching early spring and I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.

I also want to use my public speaking/hosting background in some capacity in the wedding industry. Whether its workshops I host, speaking at events, TV, who knows, but I am open to all possibilities that God and the Universe want to flow my way.

 

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Monica Wang

You’ve seen Monica Wang’s work before. Her bright, light filled photos have appeared on The Every Girl, Rue Magazine, Glitter Guide and even the Soda Pop PR blog. As an interior and lifestyle photographer popping up on all our favorite Insta feeds, Monica is one of our go-to ladies for photo magic and style inspiration. This week, we asked her to give us a little insight into balance, creativity and why it’s all about the lighting.

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1. You’re an amazing photographer but it’s actually your side hustle. What’s the biggest struggle in balancing photography with your finance career?

I would have to say that my biggest struggle is to maintain a normal personal life with two jobs and it isn’t balancing between a photography and a finance job. I am a workaholic! I can work hours on end and I love the feeling of achieving something and feeling proud of the work I have put together. So after juggling all my work responsibilities the thing that I spend the least amount of time on is with family and friends. I have to remind myself that I can’t complain because I have been given so many amazing opportunities.  However, now I only say yes to the gigs that I really want to do vs saying yes to everything.  Work/life balance is the real struggle for me.

2. Do you have a favorite, or particularly memorable, photo shoot?

My recent favorite shoot was with my dear friend, Anne Sage of City Sage (a previous 5 Questions with SPPR guest). She is a styling genius and I always love working with her so it doesn’t matter what we are shooting together. When you find the right creative partner, that is when you are able to produce the type of work that you are most proud of.  Work doesn’t feel like “work” and it is quite a milestone to find that within your career!  I always have to take a step back to reflect and be thankful that I am able to do what I do and call it my job.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?

I am constantly influenced by what is around me in LA. There are always new shops and restaurants popping up all the time so I try to keep my radar out for all the good ones I want to check out.

The IG accounts that I follow religiously are @garypeppergirl, @lucywilliams02, and @haleboyd for fashion and lifestyle related things.  I try not to look at other photo work so much because when you do that, your work starts to look like theirs instead of your own. I try to do my own thing as much as possible.

4. What would be your dream photo shoot?

My dream photo shoot would be traveling to Anguilla, Morocco or some other magical destination to photograph beautiful homes or hotels for Architectural Digest or Elle Decor. That would truly be a dream!

5. What is your number one tip for amateurs who want to take better pictures?

Find good lighting. It doesn’t even matter if you are shooting with your iPhone or a super high-end DSLR, as long as you have good natural lighting you can always take a good photo! My favorite kind is soft window light in the early morning.