All Posts By Jennifer Sparks

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Random acts of kindness are a wonderful gesture, for both the receiver and the giver. Showing care and compassion for someone, or feeling cared for by someone can turn our day around, and even change our perspective. Can you imagine being able to experience both in one day? That’s just what more than 100,000 people across the country got to do today.

Through an effort called Petal It Forward, florists in more than 400 cities blanketed the streets of their local communities spreading joy to unsuspecting passersby by giving two bouquets to each person – one to keep, and one to give to a friend, family member, colleague, or even a stranger. This nationwide random act of kindness, organized by the Society of American Florists, was designed to help people start their day with more smiles and less stress, illustrating new research from the University of North Florida (UNF) that shows living with flowers reduces stress.

Petal It Forward is the floral industry’s way of giving back. The need for mood-boosting gestures is especially timely, considering these recent stats on stress: 68 percent of Americans experience stress weekly, and 32 percent report feeling stressed daily. Women are even more affected, with 25 percent reporting feeling stress multiple times a day. Through the positive effects of flowers, we wanted to make someone’s day brighter, and provide a much-needed moment of calm amidst the hectic pace of life.

While the findings on stress are new, Petal It Forward has been happening once a year since 2015, thanks to the generosity of flower growers, wholesalers and florists. The original idea behind the ‘keep one, share one’ concept came after looking at statistics that showed while 80 percent of people reported receiving flowers makes them happy, even more (88 percent) said that giving flowers makes them happy. We wanted to give people the chance to experience both.

Giving flowers is a gesture of connection. One that can bring people – even strangers – closer together. That’s exactly what we saw today, through the smiles, hugs, tears, and expressions of affirmation. And isn’t that what random acts of kindness are all about?”

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First Impressions

by Jennifer Sparks on August 15, 2018 at 9:08 am

Walk into any nice hotel, and what is the first thing you see? A beautiful display of flowers. How did it make you feel? Many hotels and resorts use flowers to create a first impression and make you feel welcome. Likely the reason for your stay is for vacation or a business trip — either way, you want to be put at ease, and if a smile appears on your face, even better. Flowers can do that.

It’s not just a theory that the presence of flowers makes you happy, it’s scientifically proven. In fact, a study by Rutgers University demonstrates flowers’ unique ability to create instant delight — the same kind of true smiles that come when you see a baby or a puppy.

Flowers can enhance the entryway of your own home too, and make guests feel welcome the minute they enter the door. And whether you have guests or not, use flowers to create warm feelings in your home, to start you off with a smile in the morning, or greet you upon your return after a long day. Who wouldn’t want that?  Read More

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The Secret to Happy

by Jennifer Sparks on August 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Have you ever wondered why the Disney parks, or any amusement park for that matter, are so perfectly landscaped? The streets and walkways are impeccably clean, the rides are fabulous, the food is fun, the music and marching bands create a lively atmosphere. So why go the extra mile to showcase and maintain such beautiful greenery, manicured gardens, and stunning hanging planters?

Is it just for aesthetics? Not likely. You see, these companies are ‘in the know’ on the importance of providing you with an amazing experience, even when you are hot, tired or hungry amidst all the fun. They want you to be distracted from the long lines, and to smile and focus on the wonder that is about to come with each ride, show, or refreshment.  Read More

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It’s been a long wait but it finally feels like spring in the Mid-Atlantic region! Once that happens, I can’t wait to enhance my outdoor spaces with flowering plants. I am fortunate to be surrounded by many trees, providing green therapy much of the year.  Read More

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Make A Difference in Her Life

by Jennifer Sparks on March 2, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Last month my daughter turned 21, and I smile when I think of the amazing young woman she has become. I beam with pride and encouragement when she talks about her hopes and dreams for the future.

Last night I had dinner with my 83-year-old mother, who spoke with conviction about her views on events of late facing the nation — another reminder that my inner strength comes from her.

In the last few months I have had friends reach milestone birthdays, and I nod in agreement as they express more confidence with each new decade — as years turn into experiences, experience turns into new wisdom, and wisdom provides a greater sense of self.

The last year has been eye opening, as women of all ages have revealed horrific events in their lives that are shocking and hard to swallow. These painful truths that have been brought to light like never before have conjured up past deep wounds for many, and almost every woman can relate in some way. But as difficult as the past year has been in that respect, the good that has emerged is that women are more confident to speak up and be heard, and the compassion, support and action that has come from other women, as well as men, is changing the landscape moving forward.

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and while every day should be a day to celebrate the women in our lives, this particular occasion provides an opportunity — a reminder — to stop and consider: Who in your life do you admire? Tell her. Who has been a shining example of good in your life, or been a mentor to enhance your well being, professionally or personally? Thank her. Who has recently reached a milestone or achievement? Celebrate her. Who has a personal goal in mind but doesn’t quite know where to start? Encourage her. Who might be struggling and in need of a listening ear, comforting words, or supportive deed? Reach out to her.

A kind word or small gesture can make a big difference to the moms, daughters, sisters, friends, co workers, teachers and mentors in our lives. Go ahead, make her smile. You’ll be glad you did. Happy Women’s Day!