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Flowers

Peonies 101 - Everyone's Favorite Flower

InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment

It's really no secret that peonies are some of the most prized flowers on the market.  All year round, we wait for those beauties to pop up in the Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for $6-13 a bouquet.  Which, as we know is a steal considering some peonies are $13-18 a stem in the off season.  But, I have to say the grocery store options pale in comparision to the beautiful arrangements that i-Fleur here in DC (and DMV) offers.  I've never seen a delivery arrangement more beautiful than these. (More details at the bottom of the post.)

Peony Facts

  • Peonies initially were grown for medicinal purposes.  They were used to treat headaches, asthma, and childbirth pain. 
     
  • Peony petals are edible. The petals can be parboiled and sweetened for use in teas, summer salads, or as a garnish for punches and lemonades.
     
  • The state flower of Indiana is the peony.
     
  • Peonies are often called “The Dolly Partons of the Garden”
     
  • Long ago, people believed that peonies protected them from demons.
     
  • Peonies are traditionally used for celebrating the 12th wedding anniversary.

Where Are Peonies Grown?

Interestingly enough, Alaska is the only place in the world that supplies fresh-cut commercial peonies in the wedding season from July into early September. Alaska? You may be asking yourself. Surprisingly, peonies could in fact be Alaska’s next big cash crop. Peonies thrive down to 60 below and require cold weather to flourish. A well cared for peony bush can live up to 100 years.

How To Keep Peonies Fresh

1. If you're buying, get the buds.  While they might not be pretty at first, you'll appreciate them more as you watch them grow and bloom
2. Keep them cool. As you would with other fresh flowers, stashing peonies in the fridge at night is a guaranteed way to help them last longer. 
3. Cut the stems at an angle and trim them every day. This will help maximize the water absorption and helps the flower get more water and nutrients. 
4. Change the water daily.  No brainer here - fresh water = fresh flowers
5. Make your own flower food. My Grandmother would mix sugar and water to feed her flowers and they always last longer. 

Where to Buy the Prettiest Arrangements

As always, I'm a huge proponent of supporting local businesses, particularly those owned and operated by women.  i-Fleur is an amazing and not to mention, a far less expensive alternative to 1800-Flowers or other floral delivery services for peonies.  The bouquet you see pictured here is the round petite option. And this stunning bouquet has lasted more than a week (far longer than the grocery store flowers mentioned above.) 

Be sure to check out i-Fleur's website for ordering as well as their social media channels.
Instagram  / Facebook / Pinterest 
Right now, they are also offering 15% off of their bouquets with the code SUMMER15

Happy Summer!

Photographer: Libby Rasmussen

8 Ways to Upgrade Your Bathroom

Interiors, ShoppingLibby RasmussenComment
Source:     Nicolas Mathéus

1. Add A Bold Accent Color

If your one who is typically drawn to neutrals, try something new with the space in with an unexpected bold accent. This bathroom hits the nail on the head with the orange Hermes hat boxes and matching orange towels. The simplicity of the light fixtures and mirrors keep the striking orange accents and blue diamond tile from overtaking the space. 

2. Invest In Better Towels

If not for yourself, at least splurge a bit on your guests.  I keep a basket of nice, white Elizabeth Arden Turkish bath towels ($39) for when guests visit. You don't to spend a fortune, just have something for special occasions. 

3. Add A Small Piece of Furniture

Even if you have limited space, you can still integrate an great accent piece.  Garden stools are a great option for next to the sink, in the shower, or next to the toilet. They can be used as a small table for displaying books or flowers. 

4. Keep Fresh Flowers 

While this may seem obvious, I'm always pleasantly surprised when I see a bouquet of fresh flowers in a bathroom. It's easily the best way to keep your bathroom looking and more importantly, smelling fresh. 

Source:  The Decorista

5. Display Your Faves

Have a favorite scent? Love that vintage tray? Pair them together, and create a display of your favorite products. Be careful not to overdue it though. I keep all of my old Chanel powder compacts in this gold decorative box from Target. It's a great way to keep the things you love and use, out on display in a tasteful manner. Apothecary jars are a great option for storing cotton balls and q-tips. 

6. Change Up The Hardware

It's a common misconception that switching out the hardware in a bathroom will cost you thousands. In reality, there are a lot of great inexpensive options out there that can help you revamp your bathroom. Replacing knobs, drawer pulls, towel bars and shower heads can do just the trick. Gold fixtures have been on-trend for quite some time now with no signs of stopping. Here you can find the shower head set from above for less than $270. These gold cabinet pulls from Home Depot are chic and inexpensive as well. 

Source:  Homes to Love

7. Switch Up the Shower Curtain

If you're somewhat afraid of your shower curtain touching you in the morning, you should probably get rid of it.  Changing your shower curtain now and then is definitely a must. The shower curtain is also a great way to give your bathroom personality. Be bold, having fun with it. Choose a cool geometric print or my favorite, a fun palm print.  Don't forget about the curtain rings either. These come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors. The opportunities are truly endless. Tip: Make sure to hang the rod high to give the appearance of a tall bathroom. 

Source:  Dustin Aksland

8. Add a Turkish Rug

Yes, you heard me. Add a full blown rug!  Because nothing is more pesky than trying to stone-hop around on several wet bathmats in a bathroom. Unless you have a toddler who soaks up the floor during bath time, there really isn't much of a reason not to get a fun area rug. It's a different twist to tradition but as you can see here, here and here, plenty are partaking. The best part, the beautiful patterns in Persian or Turkish rugs only look better as they fade, adding character and sophistication to your bathroom.  

What bathroom upgrades are you thinking about making?
I know I have a few of these on my list.
Make sure to check out my SHOP page for more decorating ideas! 

How To: Be a Great Host

Entertaining, InteriorsLibby RasmussenComment

A little while ago, I gathered some tips and tricks on How To: Be a Great House Guest and now here's some advice on being the host.  Side note: The word host is both male and female as in, "someone who entertains guests or strangers in his or her home."  Contrary to popular belief than only a man can be called host, and woman, hostess.  Anywho, the other weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting some friends from out of town and made some quick and easy preparations for their arrival.  
 

Tidy Up - This doesn't have to be anything extensive.  Just be sure that the sheets are washed, the bedside tables are dusted, and the bathroom is clean and free of any dirt of unnecessary clutter. 

Stock Up - Prep your home with some extra beverages. Make sure to have some cold water chilled in the fridge, and the bar cart stocked. Guests traveling long distances will appreciate a drink or cocktail to settle in and relax.

Be Cognizant of Smells - Really not kidding about this one.  We all know that feeling, when you walk into a home and instantly pick out its smell. To keep this initial nasal reaction positive, make sure to clean out the sink, empty the trash, and find some gentle-scented items to fill your home with.  I love Diptyque candles and room diffusers for this reason.  If you're worried about allergies, grab some hydrangeas, hyacinth, and lilacs for a fresh, floral, home scent.  

Create a Guest Tray - Nothing says "I'm happy you're here" more than a tray of goodies to welcome your guests.  This could also include a basket of toiletries in the bathroom, or even a card on the bedside table.  Anything to make your guests feel special and at home. 

Give a Tour - Once your guests arrive, be sure to give them a tour of your home or the spaces you feel comfortable showing.  We all have one "messy room" that we'd wish didn't exist. If you don't think the guest will be up in your master bathroom or home office, there isn't much of reason to show them the space.  Additionally, let your guests know of any security systems they might set off or supply them with a spare key if you plan on being home at different times. Give them the low-down on how your coffee machine works, or for extended stays, where the laundry room is.  This will save your guests from feeling uncomfortable not knowing the overall lay of the land. 

Be Welcoming - This may sound obvious, but many times, the stress of hosting guests can remain present during their visit. Be mindful of any arguments or loud conversations you could have while your guests are there. Alleviate any tension by actually enjoying your time with your guests. Play a board game or cook an easy meal together. 

Stay tuned for a future post on how to make the perfect guest tray! 
Until then, 

 

Kate Spade Floral Arranging with Urban Stems - Get $15 Off Your First Bouquet

Events, ShoppingLibby RasmussenComment

Last night, Kate Spade Georgetown was gracious enough to host a floral arranging event with Urban Stems and we had the best time.  There's really nothing better than shopping for new earrings (we picked up a new pair of our favorite studs) while sipping champagne and admiring the new Spring Collection.  Make sure to check out our favorites at the bottom of this post! 
Better yet, Urban Stems, our favorite DC and NYC floral delivery service, was there to show us how to make the perfect spring arrangements.  Here's how mine turned out.

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Urban Stems brought tons of great flowers for the arrangements.  This one included some anemones, yellow and pink ranunculus, some stock, and garden roses. Everyone's bouquets looked fabulous and unique.  Here's a snap of my hands (middle left) working on my bouquet, courtesy of DC photographer, Taylor Kampa Olson.

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If you haven't yet, make sure you check out Urban Stems for your next "thank you" or "just because" flower bouquet.  They are incredibly reliable and I've loved the bouquets I've been sent in the past (see here and here). One of my favorite things about Urban Stems is they send you a confirmation photo and email of the arrangement in front of the delivery address. Such a cool touch and a great way to ensure that the recipient got their flowers safely!  

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Make sure to use the code: HAPPY6403 for $15 off your next bouquet! 
I'm in love with The Jade arrangement pictured above. 

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A big thanks to the gals at Kate Spade Georgetown as well. The store looked adorable as always. Now check out my favorites from the store!

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