Monthly Archives

February 2013


The Art of Making Real Flower Jewelry: Meet Jen Bristow, Designer and Co-Founder of Fresh Jewelry Company

February 26, 2013
Fresh Mixed Flower Circle Pendant Necklace

Fresh Mixed Flower Circle Pendant NecklaceWhen you really want to make a loved one smile ear to ear, nothing does the trick quite like fresh flowers. But what if your gift could last forever? That’s exactly what Jen Bristow, creative director and co-founder of Fresh Jewelry Company, dreamed of accomplishing when she created her line of real flower jewelry. Her truly original pieces capture the natural beauty of fresh buds and freeze it in time, allowing her customers to carry it wherever they go. And since we here at share Fresh Jewelry Company’s mission to deliver smiles through flowers, we were thrilled to team up with them!

We spoke one-on-one with Bristow about her one-of-a-kind pieces and how she and her husband took their love of serving smiles at their family-owned coffeehouse and transformed it into a passion for creating lush, gorgeous flower jewelry that lets you express yourself perfectly for every occasion.

How did Fresh Jewelry Company get its start?

My husband, Troy, and I set out with our three school-age children in 2003 to open a coffeehouse named Ragamuffin Coffee House in the western suburbs of Chicago. We created a beautiful environment where everyone had a friendly welcome, and we served made-to-order coffees and lattes with our hearts for serving the community and for each of the people that came in. In many ways, we became the heart of the town, and we loved our thousands of customers—ragamuffins and all.

Jen BristowOur coffeehouse was voted the most popular coffeehouse in the western suburbs in the big Chicago magazine, and we became known as the coffee man and the coffee lady. About 1.5 years into our zealous endeavor, we realized that we needed to add to coffee sales to make our family business financially healthy. We started by bringing in books and greeting cards, along with other miscellaneous items, and we discovered that retail was a good idea and we had a good everyday market.

Earlier in his life, my husband lived in the country of Mexico for two years, learned the language and found a great love for the people of Mexico. So on our first opportunity to vacation after 20 months of the daily grind at the coffeehouse, we went to Mexico with our children. We were on the beach swimming and lounging, and we saw a young man with a huge wooden box full of sterling silver jewelry. I had a brilliant epiphany that we should sell jewelry over the coffeehouse counter, and so we struck a deal on the beach and selected approximately 30 pieces of silver jewelry at a discounted rate. When we returned to work and plopped the jewelry on the counter, it sold within just a few hours. Wow! Maybe we’ve got something here!

Several weeks later, we traveled back to Mexico to one of the towns with a silver mine and we purchased 300 pieces of jewelry. In one week at the Ragamuffin it was gone. So we set out to learn importing and jewelry merchandising, as we were our own first retail customer. Surrounding stores asked to carry our jewelry and we learned the wholesale business. One or two years into our jewelry business, we chose to shift focus and to create and specialize in fresh flower jewelry. Now we distribute lightly to 35 states and Canada. The coffee house is closed due to construction throughout the downtown corridor, but out of the ashes has risen the truly beautiful business of Fresh Jewelry Company.

What’s the story behind your jewelry? What inspired you to create pieces with fresh flowers?

As the creative director, I get the honor of choosing what we manufacture. I’m grateful for that. I have a passion for conveying beauty, and I find flowers and plants to be among the most beautiful things in the world. I love the colors and the textures, and they make me happy. When I was a young girl, we lived on a large piece of property full of woods and wildflowers. I would spend my days exploring the property, enjoying the fresh, warm breeze and the feel of the long grass and the wild flowers rustling against my legs. To me, the flowers were beauty and freedom and comfort. They were everything alive and nothing stale. They were happiness and they were the feeling of fresh.

Fresh Rosebud Teardrop EarringsSo you can imagine what pleasure it gives me to work with flowers all day, every day, and also how fun it is for me to give the feeling of fresh to hundreds of people around me as they choose to wear our jewelry. Running Fresh is like being in those fields all over again!

What makes your jewelry line truly original?

Design and quality. We have very little competition—perhaps two or three companies that do anything similar. So, first of all, we’re very unique to the market in general. Within our little circle, I respect every other manufacturer of jewelry that contains flowers. It is difficult! However, our flowers are especially beautiful in color and in their fullness, and my designs are each specifically designed to create the feeling of freshness and lushness. Continue Reading…

Floral Occasions & Holidays

50 Super Cool Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

February 13, 2013

Couple on a Valentine's Day date“So … what do you wanna do?” That’s one question you’ll never have to ask your Valentine again! Here’s a list of 50 super cool Valentine’s Day date ideas to make those love flames burn even higher.

  1. Glide around at the ice skating or roller skating rink (don’t forget to hold hands!)
  2. Unwind with a couple’s massage at the spa
  3. Show off those singing pipes at the karaoke bar
  4. Do some major shopping damage at the mall (while you’re at it, pick each other’s clothes out!)
  5. Expand your creativity by taking a cooking, baking, dancing or photography class
  6. Challenge each other to a video game duel
  7. Rack ’em up and shoot some pool
  8. Sample some vino at a wine tasting class
  9. Take a quiet, relaxing stroll through an art gallery
  10. Test your knowledge at trivia night at the local bar
  11. Pretend you’re on vacation and book a fancy room at a nearby hotel
  12. Cook up your favorite romantic meal … together
  13. Volunteer your time at an animal shelter or another charity organization
  14. Kick it old school and go to a drive-in movie theater
  15. Strap on those skis or break out the sled and go for a run down your favorite slippery slopes
  16. Try your luck at the casino
  17. Play detective at a murder mystery dinner
  18. Set up an indoor picnic on your kitchen floor or on your bed
  19. Gaze up at the stars at night, then get up the next morning and watch the sun rise
  20. Pick a random dinner recipe, dessert recipe and craft from Pinterest and make them
  21. Reach for the sky and take a hot air balloon ride
  22. Rock out at a concert of a mutually favorite band
  23. Hit the stores and pick out each other’s Valentine’s Day gifts together
  24. Take a bike, bus or boat tour of the nearest city
  25. Make friends with the animals at the zoo
  26. Laugh your hearts out at a stand-up comedy show
  27. Watch romance and drama come to life at a play at the local theater
  28. Set out on a scavenger hunt at home or around town
  29. Root for your favorite team at a live sports game
  30. Knock down some pins at the bowling alley
  31. Tap your feet to the beat of live music at a restaurant or bar
  32. Ooh and aah in amazement at a magic show
  33. Hang out with the fishes at the aquarium
  34. Lace up your sneakers and face each other off in your favorite sport
  35. Have a contest to see who can win the most rounds of pinball at the arcade
  36. Brush up on your reading and share a romantic book
  37. Tackle those rocky cliffs head-on and go hiking
  38. Play in the snow as if you were a kid
  39. Go bargain-hunting at a local flea market
  40. Change up your movie-watching experience and go to an IMAX or dine-in theater
  41. Mix up a few cocktails at home or take a bartending class
  42. Break a sweat together at the gym
  43. Put your chemistry skills to the test and invent a new recipe together
  44. Tap into your inner music mogul and write a song together
  45. Recreate as many details of your first date as you possibly can
  46. Make a bucket list and start crossing things off
  47. Instead of eating chocolate, take a soothing bath in it together at the spa
  48. Do a couple’s photo shoot with a professional photographer, just because
  49. Revisit your childhood neighborhoods and do all the things you loved as kids
  50. Give your home a quick and easy makeover and rearrange your furniture

So, what will you and your sweetheart be doing on Valentine’s Day?

Floral Occasions & Holidays, Valentine's Day

Fun Love Facts: Excerpts From the Book “Celebrating Love”

February 12, 2013

Celebrating Love from 1800flowers.comThink you know everything about matters of the heart? Guess again! There’s a lot more to that weak-in-the-knees feeling you get every time you lay your eyes on that someone special. To honor the arrival of Valentine’s Day, here are some little-known fun love facts, excerpted from the exclusive 1-800-Flowers book, Celebrating Love: Share, Remember, Cherish from founder Jim McCann. You’ll never look at your love the same way again!

Fun Love Facts

  • Being in love produces the same physiological responses as fear: pupil dilation, sweaty palms, and increased heart rate.
  • Men who kiss their wives each morning live five years longer than those who don’t.
  • Medical experts suggest you are more likely to catch a common cold by shaking hands than by kissing.
  • Love and marriage are boosts for your health, so much so that one doctor admitted that if a new drug had the same impact, virtually every doctor in the country would be recommending it.
  • According to research, love at first sight is not just a fairy tale. If a person is in the right emotional frame of mind, it can take as little as 30 seconds to fall in love. Physical appearance tops the list for attraction, but a desire to know more about the person is another factor. Interestingly, men fall first but are usually the most fickle, a sign that it is possible to fall in love with more than one person at a time.

Which fun love fact is most surprising to you?

Floral Occasions & Holidays, Valentine's Day

Deliver Valentine Smiles With Funny Valentine’s Day Messages

February 5, 2013

Funny Valentine's Day Message: Bouquet of FlowersThere’s no doubt about it: Flowers are the best at delivering smiles, and hilarious greeting cards are the best at delivering gut-busting laughter. So this Valentine’s Day, the smile pros at have teamed up with the comedic geniuses of to create the ultimate feel-good gift. When you’re sending that bouquet of romantic red roses, don’t forget to pass along one of these very funny Valentine’s Day messages too. It’ll have your sweetie rolling on the floor with glee, guaranteed!

Funny Valentine's Day Message: Early Valentine's Day Gift

Funny Valentine's Day Message: Surprise Date

Funny Valentine's Day Message: Exes
Click here to e-mail or share any of these funny Valentines Day messages with your Valentine!

Floral Occasions & Holidays, Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day for Singles: 10 Ways to Have Fun on V-Day If You’re Single

February 1, 2013
Baby Dressed as Cupid

Baby Dressed as CupidDid Cupid’s arrow fail to hit your heart in time for February 14? Don’t fret! It’s not just a holiday for lovebirds. There are tons of ways to have fun on Valentine’s Day if you’re single; the key is being positive and open-minded. Here are 10 creative ways to help you stick it to Cupid and enjoy a Valentine’s Day for singles!

Host a Party for Your Single Friends

Being single is not equal to being alone. Remember: There are others out there who aren’t in a relationship. So wrangle up all of your unattached friends and hang out! Host a DIY get-together with fun and games at your house, or go out as a group and let loose at a single’s party at a neighborhood bar. Whatever you do, don’t get too wrapped up in the idea of not having a Valentine. Just sit back and live up the single life with your best buds. You’ll make some awesome memories to think back on when love does finally come around.

Give Yourself the Royal Treatment

You save loads of money when you don’t have to buy a Valentine’s Day gift for a significant other, so spend that dough on yourself instead! Send yourself flowers to pretty up your home, or indulge in a king-size box of chocolates. Been saving up for a new wardrobe or the latest tech gadget? Now’s the time to hit the shops and buy it. Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with a little (or a lot of) pampering! Head out to the salon for a massage or a mani/pedi, or spoil yourself rotten with an at-home spa gift basket.

Chocolate Strawberries in Velvet Heart BoxBe Productive

Make the most out of your time and do something you’ve always wanted to do … but never got around to doing. If you have a bunch of “someday” recipes and DIY projects sitting on your Pinterest boards, do them! These tissue paper roses are a great place to start. If cooking and crafts aren’t your cup of tea, do something else that might have been left on the backburner, like planning a much-needed vacation, going to the gym, rearranging your furniture or organizing your home.

Discover a New Hobby or Passion

Chances are you have a few hidden talents that you didn’t even know existed. Try uncovering them and you just might unearth a new favorite hobby! Teach yourself how to play an instrument, grab your camera and start shooting random photos, try your hand at drawing sketches or make a website from scratch. You never know; if you think hard about the things you like and do something you’ve never done before, you might end up finding your true calling!

Do Absolutely Nothing

True relaxation is a luxury that we don’t really get to enjoy these days, so milk the quiet time for all it’s worth. Order your favorite comfort food, grab a few snacks and just veg out on the couch. Catch up on your favorite TV shows, browse through your bookmarked blogs and queue up the movies you’ve wanted to see all year. Or draw yourself a nice warm bath infused with essential oils and surround yourself with nothing but the soothing light of candles. Do whatever it is that helps you recharge your tired batteries. Continue Reading…

Inside the 1800Flowers Offices

Enter the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM® Valentine’s Treats & Trivia Contest on Twitter

February 1, 2013

Celebrating Love from 1800flowers.comAs we join Cupid in gearing up for Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate the spirit of the season with loving quotes and questions! Taken from Celebrating Love: Share, Remember, Cherish, these fun tidbits and factoids are a perfect way to prepare your hearts for February 14th.

Enter the contest by visiting the Twitter page for chances to win a special Valentine’s gift! The first person to reply @1800flowers with the correct answer to the current question will receive a copy of Celebrating Love.
Continue Reading…