Celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a worldwide celebration of social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women that takes place annually on March 8. This year’s theme is #PressforProgress which spotlights gender parity.

IWD is not a new holiday – in fact, it was first observed in the early 1900’s. It has, however, grown in popularity over the past few years and is now celebrated and supported around the world by the United Nations, along with governments, industry leaders, educational institutions, community groups, professional associations, women’s networks, charities, non-profit organizations, and more.

IWD is a terrific opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women as well as a chance to take action to help raise visibility and awareness in order to help drive positive change for women and accelerate gender parity around the world.

We can all do our part in helping drive better outcomes for women by becoming responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender-inclusive world. The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely for another 217 years, so International Women’s Day provides an opportunity for ground-breaking action that can drive greater change for women and speed up the clock on gender parity.

World-renowned feminist, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem once said, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

How to get involved

  • Together we can all play a role in promoting women’s issues and rights, especially for women in developing countries. One of the easiest ways to get involved is by sharing the #PressforProgress hashtag on social media posts and encouraging your friends and followers to join in the festivities.
  • Purple is the official color for IWD, so simply wearing a purple shirt or ribbon is a great way to show your support.
  • There are numerous festivals and gatherings planned for IWD and you can check the International Women’s Day event page to see a full list of activities in your area.
  • Consider donating time or resources to women-focused charities or groups
  • Volunteer to set up your own IWD campaign. Materials and instructions can be found here.
  • Most importantly, just speak out and make your support known!

Even if you don’t want to get involved in organized IWD events, the day itself is still a great opportunity to celebrate a special woman in your life by acknowledging their hard work and sharing their stories. A small gift, like a beautiful bouquet, is always an appropriate way to show your gratitude and the smile is causes can make a big difference!

How Did Poppies Become the Symbol of Veterans Day?

Honoring service members has been a hot-button issue in our country as of late. No matter what your political stance is on the topic, we can surely all agree that those who served this great country deserve to be recognized, and Veterans Day, on Friday, November 10, is an opportunity to do just that.

Veterans Day, which is observed annually on November 11 (or on Friday, November 10 if the 11th falls on a Saturday – as is the case this year), is often confused with the more widely-recognized Memorial Day, but there is a distinct difference between the two holidays.

Memorial Day honors those who died while serving in the military, while Veterans Day is meant to honor the service of all U.S. military veterans. So, technically, thanking a living vet for their service on Memorial Day is missing the intended meaning of the holiday. Obviously, there isn’t a “wrong” time to thank a veteran, but if you’re going to pick a day to do so, Veterans Day is it!

Just how did this holiday get its start? It all started back in 1926 when the U.S. Congress adopted a resolution requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for an observance of November 11 – notable because World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

It took 12 years for a Congressional Act to officially make the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday. Originally known as Armistice Day in the United States, the name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

Poppies

Like many other holidays, Veterans Day has a direct tie to the floral industry with poppies being symbolic of the observance. Many poppy wreaths are laid at war memorials and small artificial poppies are worn on clothing to commemorate this patriotic holiday.

Inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” in which the opening lines refer to poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the soil from soldiers’ graves in the Flanders region of Belgium, these small red flowers were adopted by the National American Legion as their official symbol of remembrance in 1920.

The Royal British Legion soon after adopted the poppy as their symbol, as did veterans’ groups in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as a host of other countries.

Although they are closely related, the poppies used for Veterans Day (as well as Memorial Day) are not the same species as the opium poppy which is grown as a field crop to produce opium and poppy seeds. Opium poppies were once prohibited in the United States under the Opium Poppy Control Act of 1942, however, the law has since been repealed and the law of poppy cultivation in the U.S. is now somewhat vague and remains controversial.

Coincidently, the red remembrance poppies aren’t free from controversy of their own. In fact, some anti-war groups view the remembrance poppy as a political symbol of war and conflict. The controversy has even spread to the sports world and particularly European soccer clubs where remembrance poppies are a common occurrence on team uniforms in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

Some groups have adopted white poppies as an alternative to, or an accompaniment to, red poppies as a way to symbolize peace without glamorizing war. Additionally, purple poppies are sometimes used in Britain to commemorate animals that have been victims of war.

Regardless of the controversies surrounding this little red flower, you’re probably going to see them “popping” up around town this week. When you do, remember to take a moment to give thanks to all the veterans who serve – or have served – our country.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Since 1985, the month of October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a goal of promoting mammography as the most effective weapon in the battle against breast cancer.

Each year during October, a variety of events including walks, runs, and fundraisers are organized throughout the United States to promote awareness to this cause which has affected so many lives.

The iconic pink ribbon is a symbol for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many prominent landmarks around the world are illuminated with pink lighting throughout the month of October in observance.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Each year over a quarter of a million women are diagnosed and more than 40,500 will die from the disease. It is estimated that one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

There is good news, however, as death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989 and breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in the year 2000 thanks in part to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), along with better screening, early detection, increased awareness and continually improving treatment options.

In fact, for many of the 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., the month of October and the awareness campaign offers a reason to celebrate and reflect.

How to help

There are many ways for you to get involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The obvious ones include volunteering your time or making a donation to local or national charitable organizations that focus on awareness, research, prevention, and treatment of the disease.

Keep in mind that not all of the “pink” charities are alike and some are less than transparent about where your donations end up. Watchdog groups like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator are typically good sources of more in-depth analysis of organizations as they review and evaluate financial statements, tax reports, program expenses and fundraising costs.

The American Institute of Philanthropy’s Charity Watch recognizes 12 organizations as top-rated cancer charities and assigns letter grades to each one. Here are their top three in descending order:

Of the three breast cancer charities recommended by Charity Watch, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation also received Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars while the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund and the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners received three stars.

Other national four-star charities recommended by Charity Navigator include:

Susan G. Komen

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is one of the largest and most well-known charities devoted to the cause, but according to the watchdog groups, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.  Charity Navigator gives the organization a 3-star rating (out of four), while Charity Watch gave them a C+ grade.

Charities to avoid

In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission has dissolved Breast Cancer Society and the Cancer Fund of America after alleging they were scam charities bilking money from donors. Those two organizations are now defunct, but there are still some groups that are low-rated for various reasons.

Charity Navigator urges people to do their own research before donating to charitable organizations but also cites three groups in particular as ones to avoid due to the fact that they spend more on fundraising than devoting funds to the issues. The watchdog group gave the following organizations zero or one star and cautions you to look carefully before supporting them:

A Painless Guide to Prom Flowers

Prom season is upon us, and for many high school students across the country, prom may very well be their first experience buying flowers from a professional florist. That can be a daunting task for teenagers who may not know a lilac from a lily, but fortunately, we’re here to help!

Prom flowers typically consist of a corsage for the ladies and a boutonniere for the gentlemen. Traditionally, the colors and flowers used in the corsage and boutonniere were matched to the color of the prom dress; but like most rules, this one was made to be broken.

Modern corsages and boutonnieres are limited only by the imagination, and the flowers available to the florist. However, it’s important to keep in mind that prom night is centered about dancing, so the flowers should not only be beautiful but functional enough to withstand an entire evening of festivities.

Blue Rose Boutonniere with Jewels by Durocher Florist

How do I know what to choose?

Ideally, the corsage and boutonniere should be purchased together to ensure the colors and styles match, but this isn’t a necessity as long as the florist has enough information from one of the parties. Some prom-goers even bring their dress or a swatch of fabric with them to help the florist get a better idea of what to design.

The first decision when choosing a corsage is: what kind? You may think that all corsages are the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It used to be tradition for the gentleman to pin the corsage to his date’s dress prior to departing for the evening. But prom dresses have evolved to feature spaghetti straps or even no straps, making the ceremonial pinning no longer practical. Instead, many ladies opt for the wrist corsage that can be worn like a piece of jewelry.

Options aren’t limited to the wrist, however, as modern corsages can be worn in other places, such as around the waist or in the hair. It behooves the gentleman to find out which style his date prefers since she will be the one wearing it all evening.

The ladies have it easier when choosing a boutonniere because there are fewer decisions to make. Since boutonnieres are traditionally pinned to the lapel of the tuxedo or suit jacket, the main decision is the color and types of flowers. Since those two elements are usually dependent upon the style of the corsage, it’s usually just a matter of trusting the florist to know what works best.

Floral Necklace by Durocher Florist

What kinds of flowers do I want?

There are many different options when it comes to choosing the flowers for your corsage. Roses and spray roses are always a popular choice and can usually be matched well to the dress. Many people opt for carnations which are available in nearly every color imaginable, and some people prefer more bold options like orchids, lilies, succulents, and even birds of paradise.

While some people know exactly what they want, there are plenty of others who don’t even know where to begin when it comes to choosing flowers – that’s where we’re happy to help. In fact, most customers find they end up with the best result by simply giving us their dress color and letting our designers do their thing. We have years of experience with prom flowers and stay on top of the latest styles and trends. Depending on the budget, we can add special features such as jeweled beads, feathers, and lace to truly make each corsage one-of-a-kind.

Prom night is often one of the most important and memorable nights of a young person’s life and the memories from that special night can last a lifetime. We like to think of prom flowers as the icing on the cake, and we’re excited to help create that perfect look to fit every style.

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching as well as wedding season and other special events, the spring and summer seasons are a busy time so we urge our customers to order their prom flowers as early as possible to ensure that their order is filled on time.

Invited to a “Super Party”? Don’t wait until the last second!

football for blogsThere’s a big game coming up in a couple of weeks, in case you haven’t heard.

Last year’s Super Bowl XLIX was the most-watched show in U.S. television history, hauling in a ridiculous 114.4 million viewers and shattering the previous record of 112.2 million.

The Super Bowl has indeed become much more of a tradition than just a football game. It’s become an annual celebration that non-football fans look forward to just as much as the diehard fans do, if only for the food and viral-worthy commercials.

If you’re not hosting a party for this year’s Super Bowl, chances are you’ve been invited to one.

Now, while some people choose to go all out with elaborate recipes and sophisticated side dishes, not everyone has the ability – or the time – to create their own culinary masterpiece.

Snack Attack Basket by Durocher Florist

Snack Attack Basket by Durocher Florist

One trap you want to avoid as a “Super Party” guest is waiting until the last minute!

Good food and drink are essential for any great Super Bowl party, yes, but stopping by the store at the last minute to purchase your party gift? Not so much!

This simple act of procrastination will leave you sifting through leftovers and hand-me-down dishes with no clear end in sight. Not the best way to make a “super” impression, right?

While cheering for the wrong team may earn you ribbings from fellow partygoers, the “showing-up-to-the-party-empty-handed” foul will most certainly draw the biggest penalty flag.

There is one option, however, that is much easier and a lot less stressful. One that will cut the time and hassle out of your busy Sunday and make you the MVP of your Super Bowl 50 party:

Gourmet Basket by Durocher Florist

Gourmet Basket by Durocher Florist

That option is having a gift basket from Durocher Florist DELIVERED directly to the party!

Not only will your gift basket serve as a token of appreciation, but it’s a great way to say ‘thank you’ to the party host and makes a delicious statement that will be enjoyed and admired by everyone at the party.

Why bother with dirty dishes in the kitchen or the hair-pulling frustration of finding a last-minute gift at the grocery store? A simple phone call to Durocher Florist at (413) 785-5148 is the only game plan you need!

So sit back, enjoy the game, and let your friends at Durocher Florist take care of the rest.

Let’s play some football!