All Posts By Jennifer Sparks

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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!

 

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Flowers Inspire Connection Nationwide

by Jennifer Sparks on October 11, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Let’s face it, there has been a lot of bad news lately, from natural disasters and devastation to tragic events that make people question their faith in humanity. The country needed a bright spot, and today – even though the weather forecast brought rain and clouds to many parts – the sun was shining in peoples’ hearts, thanks to a movement called Petal It Forward.

The concept? Floral industry members — from Maine to Florida, and California to Oregon to Alaska, and everywhere in between — took to the streets of their communities to randomly surprise people with flowers. Lucky flower recipients in more than 465 cities in all 50 states received two bouquets – one to keep, and one to share, with a loved one, colleague or even a complete stranger. This idea came from survey findings that show that while 80 percent of people say receiving flowers makes them happy, 88 percent say giving flowers makes them happy. So we wanted them to feel appreciated and loved, and to also experience what it feels like to create that delight for someone else. Happy smiles, joyful tears, and grateful hugs ensued and peoples’ days were turned around, feeling that true human connection that comes from a random gesture of kindness.

As an industry, we know the power of the product that we work with day in and day out, but that true power is actually scientifically proven. A study by Rutgers University shows that a gift of flowers creates instant delight and boosts moods. Another study from Harvard shows that the presence of flowers eases worry and anxiety, and makes people feel more compassionate towards others. This video embodies that beautifully.

Lots of #petalitforward stories have been shared on social media that illustrate the research, and this one from a flower recipient articulates the sentiment better than we could ever describe:

Despite all the stuff happening in the world lately, there is hope. Today, a friend and I were sitting outside Riverwalk Café and were approached by a woman who was giving away sunflowers as a gift for a movement titled #petalitforward. I’m grateful to be in a place where hope abounds and life flourishes. I’m grateful to have the capacity to show up in ways that are special and to give time. It’s a gift, and I’m even more grateful for the Giver. This is as good as it gets.

You can see more stories of peoples’ experiences here.

What can we learn from an effort like Petal It Forward? That it only takes a very small act of kindness to turn someone’s day around. Give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.