Simply City Hall

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes the most simple can be the most beautiful (and the most green and eco-friendly).  I find nothing more romantic than a simple City Hall wedding.  Especially in a big city like New York or San Francisco.  But even the smallest small town could be an ideal location. Getting married at City Hall means less money spent on location and probably your dress, and in turn you're going to leave a smaller carbon and trash footprint.  But it doesn't mean you have to give up on looking cute and carrying a cute bouquet. Just last week Gorgeous and Green did the flowers for a couple who got married at City Hall and their small but major event turned out adorable.  Take a look at some pics and a video their photographers, Reuben Rodgriguez and Vanae Tran provided : The bouquet, boutonniere and hair piece were all made from locally grown yellow button mums and I used locally grown, non-sprayed white dahlias for the bouquet.  I don't ever use floral foam and try to use biodegradable ribbons or ribbons made from recycled plastic. Check out this awesome video of the wedding events:

Thanks Mily and Peter for sharing! In Green and Health, G&G

Gorgeous and Green Deliveries!

I have been doing a lot of gorgeous deliveries for Gorgeous and Green, my new sustainable floral boutique in Berkeley, CA.  It's been hard to remember to take pics, but on occasion I do, and so I have some pics to show you here from past deliveries. Most of my delivery clients are word of mouth, as of now I don't have an online shopping platform, but I hope to get something set up soon. Here is a pic of an arrangement I did for a local Oakland customer: And here's one I did for a Mother's Day arrangement.  The customer wanted as many organic flowers as possible so I included some organic snapdragons, greens and roses I grew!  It was also peony season (a short lived 4 weeks somewhere between April and May) so we had some lovely local bubblegum peonies too.  It was all packaged in a recycled glass vase I carry here in the store. Another arrangement, but this one is actually a living terrarium made with succulents.   I made it by request for a mom who wanted to give something living to her daughter on her birthday.  I love the way the gnarled wood looks in the glass. As always, trying to stay gorgeous and green with reused materials, biodegradable materials and local and organic flowers and plants.  This cylinder was actually left reused from a past event and the wrapping I used was recycled paper and cotton ribbon.  You gotta love biodegradable ribbon!  That plastic/polyester stuff is  bad news. In Green and Health, G&G

Using Fruit

So, there are a lot of ways to go green and to get gorgeous results, but one method that I recently used for a Gorgeous and Green Wedding was using actual fruit in the designs.  Not only did it make for a tight color scheme and fun atmosphere, it allowed the couple to creat a lot of splash with a smaller budget.  The fruit was also all local and pesticide free! Take a look at some of these gorgeous pics from Karen and Scott's wedding that took place at the Brazil Room in Berkeley.  Thanks to Greg of gregraphael.com photography for the pics! And here are some lovely pics of the bridal party and ceremony, all with the citrus themed colors:

Organic or All Natural Beauty Products

It all soaks in...

A year or two ago I came across Skin Deep, a cosmetic database that lists hundreds of different beauty and body products and how potentially harmful they are.  Of course most of us know that there are a lot of nasty chemicals in hairspray, nail polish, sunscreen and even lipstick.  But taking a look at this database will make you realize that just about everything we put on our bodies is potentially harmful. [caption id="attachment_660" align="aligncenter" width="258" caption="Simply Organic Hairspray "][/caption]

I also learned that about 60% of what you put on your skin soaks in to your blood and gets metabolized by your liver.  Some washes away and some just hangs out in your skin.  That's kind of scary.  I definitely watch what I eat, but now I'm doing more to watch what I spray/brush/lather onto my body. [caption id="attachment_662" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Organic Essence Cream"][/caption] You can also view a short blog post I did on The Knot's Green Wedding website, where I highlighted some products I found that are certified USDA organic. There's also more info on the Organic Consumer's Association about the relevance of certified organic and the potential misleading that may go on regarding the use of "natural" and "organic" when it comes to body products. In Green and Health, G&G

The Green Festival, San Francisco

Green Weddings and Green People in San Francisco

www.greenfestivals.org And no, we're not all eating granola.  I like granola like everyone else, but I definitely don't see myself as "granola" just because I live green or sustainable.  Besides, granola isn't a bad word these days.  It actually is pretty tasty, especially homemade.  Put it into a jar and you've got a great gift or "wedding favor" for your guests. Ok, so what will we be doing at this green festival?  Well lots of talking, sharing and looking at new ideas and guest speakers.  Check out the Schedule.  Online you can download a guide to the festival that gives you all the cool info.  It's huge and includes so many inspiring words, visuals and people.  Here are just a few of the highlights:
  • 450+ exhibitors and organizations in the Green Marketplace
  • 45 minutes presentations and speakers on the sustainable economy, ecological balance and social justice
  • how-to workshops in the Green Buiding Pavilion
  • Hemp fashion shows in the Hemp Pavilion
  • Music acts
  • Food Demonstrations in the Soul Kitchen
  • Green Social Media Demonstrations
  • Organic food and drink
  • Concerts and dance parties after dark:  greenbash.com
I'm actually going to be volunteering for the festival and donating some large sustainable arrangements (I'll post the photos this week).   I'll also be checking out new ideas I can use in my business and in my life (my husband wants to get a small wind turbine for our front yard... in Oakland)  and making connections with other green-minded folks.  One connection I've already made is going to be there, and I look forward to seeing their hemp silk bridal attire at a fashion show Friday and Saturday night.  They're called Conscious Clothing and you can check out there stuff here:  www.getconscious.com Here are some beautiful examples of the things they can do.  What I like, is that they do custom designs.

ruffle hemp silk wedding dressHere is the dress with all the layers, but you can unzip the last three and make it shorter.

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low back hemp silk wedding dressI love the low back and silk ruffles of this dress.

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IMG_3316love it.

So if your in or around the Bay, definitely come check out the SF Green Festival this coming weekend.

In Green and Health,

G&G

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes

The work that goes into those lovely flowers...

Over the summer, things got so busy with green weddings for Gorgeous and Green Events, that I asked my good friend and fellow florist Danica from Heavenly Gift and Florist, to come and help. Here are some shots from that weekend, lots of beautiful and locally grown flowers and artistic talent crammed into my home studio.

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Thanks Danica for your help! In Green and Health, G&G

Biodegradable Floral Foam?

Non-toxic and Biodegradable Floral Foam, Where are You?

I wrote a post a few months ago about the toxins found in floral foam and that it's essentially made of plastic that isn't biodegradable.  I've gotten so many hits on my blog about it, and yet, I still don't have much in the way of another option.  Until I dug up this information from Stanel Co, a bioplastics firm based in the United Kingdom.  Here is an informational pdf about a new bioplastic technology that can allow someone to make biodegradable floral foam made from plants: www.stanelcoplc.com .   This new polymer: bioplastic 2189 is both biodegradable and compostable!  What a relief.  Can you imagine?  being able to throw the foam and the flowers into the compost bin? What's more, the bioplastic works in the same way as the fossil fuel plastic, so it can be switched out and used in the very same factories and machinery as the other stuff.   I can't wait to go order this foam... But wait, who's making it?   Well apparently one floral foam specialist company is using this polymer to make biodegradable funeral foams: www.valspicer.co.uk .  They have wonderful foam shapes and molds, but I don't see any biodegradable options on their site.  I've contacted them and hope to find out what they have available! I will share any updates as soon as I can.  I would also urge you to write a letter or email to floral foam manufacturers suggesting they make a switch to nontoxic and biodegradable. Here's a couple of the top manufacturers: Smithers Oasis, Ultra Floral Foam. In the mean time, I totally avoid the stuff, and find creative and fun ways to display flowers without foam.  Take a look at how Gorgeous and Green tries to stay sustainable: G&G Services.  I know it means more work sometimes and possibly more cost, but to me it's worth it.  And it's worth it to a lot of customers to, not to mention to the planet. Check out these two designs from Gorgeous and Green Events that are totally floral foam free:

GG bouquet blue fuschia

GG fruit and veggie glass

Courtesy of www.seandonnellyphotography.com     In Green and Health, G&G

A Shout out to Blue Heron Farms

Organic Produce and Flowers from Watsonville

We've decided to start going to our local farmer's markets to meet the growers and support them firsthand.  (We shop at Berkeley Bowl, a great source for local produce,  but one step away from the growers themselves). Last Tuesday, we headed over to the Berkeley Farmer's market.  Luckily it's spring/summer, so a few of the local growers had some of their flowers out to sell.  I came upon Blue Heron Farms and their bouquets of organic flowers were beautiful.  They had bells of ireland, sunflowers, cornflowers and dahlias.  I am definitely going to use their flowers in the Green Gala show and fundraiser for the botanical gardens next weekend. blue heron   Blue Heron Farms are members of the California Certified Organic Farmers and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. For information about Blue Heron Farms, check out their listing at localharvest.org

Market Schedule and Location:

TUESDAYS- BERKELEY 2:00-7:00 WEDNESDAYS- SANTA CRUZ 2:30-6:30 Cedar St., behind logos THURSDAYS- MONTEREY 2:30-6:00 Monterey Penninsula College SATURDAYS: APTOS 8:00am-12:00 Cabrillo College Lot F, BERKELEY 10:00am-2:00pm, PALO ALTO 8:00am-12:00 (May through December)

A few plants here and there

Growing Flowers for Sustainable Weddings

part deux

So, I love gardening.  So much so, I've been gardening both at my house and at my good friend's house in Richmond, because she has a big backyard.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I would be planting at her house after we cleared her wilderness of a backyard.  So far, I've only gotten to the clearing stage, but  in the meantime, I've planted a little more at my own house.  

On one side of the house, I cleared some space for some ferns and larger leaf plants.  Mostly because it's a moist area and doesn't get as much sun as other parts of our lot.  

gg side house

 

Here are some of what I planted:

gg fern

 

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gg pink hydrangea

 

And this little guy, I didn't plant, but is a byproduct of our bird feeder.  More sunflower seeds to come for the neighborhood birds.

gg sunflowers

 

I also planted a few other plants elsewhere in my garden, with the specific idea of using their leaves and flowers for green and sustainable flower design:

A gardenia plant

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Jasmine

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A small lemon tree

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Lavender

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Mint

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Rosemary

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When we moved in to our house, it happened to come with 6 green hydrangea plants.  They are so great for floral decor and I just love their light green/chartreuse color.  They are just starting to come back this spring/summer, and are looking great so far.  Last year we had a little bug issue, maybe some caterpillars eating the leaves, I'm hoping they'll satiate their bellies with just the low leaves, and leave the flowers and top leaves alone.  Otherwise, I'll be looking into some pesticide-free methods of dealing with them.  I'll let you know how that goes.  

gg hydrangea green

 

I'm excited to watch all these plants grow over the next year, and of course to start using their beautiful leaves and flowers for floral designs.  I have to say, it's been so great having fresh flowers to cut and display in my own house.  It adds so much joy and seems too easy.  I definitely suggest growing your own plants and flowers, (pesticide free of course) not just for the benefit of the planet and the health of our atmosphere, but also for your emotional health.  

In Green and Health,

G&G

Growing Flowers for Floral Design

Reinventing a Backyard

Turning a friend's yard into a Floral Harvest

I've been wanting to start growing larger quantities of flowers and greens so that I can use them in the floral designs I create for people.  It's probably the most sustainable way to offer floral design. My own yard is not quite as large as I would like, but my friend has more yard than she knows what to do with, so guess who's going to use the space?  Yes, I've been offered a large plot in her yard.  It gets full sun, to part sun in one corner.  There is probably a good 500 square foot area that could be used. It will take quite a bit of preparation, weed-wacking, weed pulling, and leveling, but with a fair amount of work I anticipate a great outcome.  I'm really excited to offer floral materials that I know for a fact have not been sprayed with pesticides and are contributing nothing but floral joy and oxygen to the planet.  I hope to also include organic and native plants, as seeds these days are everything from genetically modified to patented, by large companies like Monsanto and other massive monopolies. I want to update you all every few weeks with the progress of the backyard flower garden.  Here is the yard as it stands today:   T's backyard2 T's backyard I haven't decided on the exact flowers that I want to plant in the space, but I have illustrated how I want the outlook /landscape of the space to look.  I know I want to include some sage, celosia, lavender, horsetails and ferns.  Feel free and give me some flower/plant ideas if you have them: garden Check in next week to see how far I've gotten with the space... I'm hoping to get it cleared this weekend. G&G