I have been collecting baseball cards since 1979. I used to wait for fresh packs of baseball cards to arrive at the corner stores in Roslindale and Scituate. I used all of my money for packs of baseball cards. Thankfully, I rarely chewed the gum. I do miss that smell though as baseball card packs today do not come with gum.
My card collecting days peaked in 1985. My best cards at that time included a 1976 Topps Carl Yastrzemski, a 1975 Rookie George Brett, 1980 Rookie card of Rickey Henderson and all of Carlton Fisk's cards as he was my hero at the time.
I have all these cards today. Thankfully, my mom never threw them away. My top cards now are bit a different. I own a 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson along with 1953 Topps cards of Mickey Mantle, Satchell Paige and Willie Mays. I also collect cards of my friends Ted Lepcio, Ron Kittle and Benny Ayala. Exotic Flowers has nice collection of cards of players who have bought their flowers here; David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes and Tim Wakefield to name a few.
I still buy a fresh box of baseball card packs every year to share with friends and family on Opening Day. It is a great tradition. Baseball remains my hobby. I spend most of my time at Exotic Flowers selling flowers in Boston. Like Hall of Famer Bill Veeck, I am an avid reader, passionate marketer, lover of flora and fauna (it was Veeck's idea to plant the ivy at Wrigley Field) and huge baseball fan. Like Veeck and myself, Topps Baseball Cards also sees the connection between nature in baseball.
(If you are looking to acquire any type of trading card, the best site out there is comc.com)
In 2011, Topps produced an insert set in its Allen & Ginter collection. This subset, known as Flora of the World comprises five cards. The cards were inserted into 1 out of every 144 hobby packs. The coolest thing about these cards though is that they contain flower seeds embedded in the cards. You can actually plant the card itself and it will produce the flowers on the card. How cool is that ? I would love to create a business card like that. Although I do have a pretty cool busines card.
by Suzie Canale
New England is home to beautiful and productive farms cultivating bountiful fruits, hardy vegetables and of course, breathtaking flowers. Some of which have been in operation for hundreds of generations, several of these family owned operations are taking it upon themselves to expand their services to include a variety of activities resonating a real farming experience! Clever to utilize the quintessential beauty of the fielded landscape, agricultural businesses across Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire have done a magnificent job capitalizing on the entertainment segment of their operation. Activities ranging from stuff your own scarecrow to carving jack-o-lanterns have made their way into many local establishments proving to not only boost sales but also re-infuse the business with a fresh pool of patrons.
Farming industrialists are eager to market these events in an effort to encourage a healthy, fun and educational experience during visits. While some feature classic games of maze cornfields and hayrides, others have developed a “pick-your own” concept such as blueberries, apples, peaches, pears, raspberries, tomatoes, sunflowers, zinnias, pumpkins and even potatoes. So not only are you purchasing fresh produce and blooms free of chemicals common to major super market chains, you’ll be able to take part in the process of selecting your preferred items straight from the earth and trees. Adults appreciate the advantage of purchasing home grown organic food while kids are able to immerse themselves within the farming culture, learning the value of growing your own food and the hard work, which goes behind it.
The ambition behind this strategy is to one, establish an activity where the property can accumulate a secondary income other than the initial harvest cultivation, two, develop a destination for people to visit as part of their seasonal traditions (most of us have memories of apple picking as a child) and three, to educate guests on the importance of supporting local growers to continue producing chemical-free crops. As more and more farms adopt this method of intertwining their service of providing quality crops with industry friendly recreational entertainment, New Englanders are taking notice of these fun and festive opportunities being offered by their growing community. If you haven’t had a chance to include this form of amusement within your travels, here are a few recommendations that are sure not to disappoint.
133 Exeter Rd, Hampton Falls, NH
Specializing is fabulous apple picking, live music on the weekends and the world’s best homemade sugar donuts.
10 Pleasant Street, Lexington, MA
Known for its breathtaking fields which can be seen from the road, Wilson Farms also has its own petting zoo and year round food and flower market.
Ward’s Berry Farm
614 S Main St, Sharon, MA
Along with their famously fresh berry picking fields, Ward’s also operates a lovely garden center and offers a wide range of pick-your-own options including tomatoes, pumpkins and potatoes.
259 Allandale Road, Brookline, MA
One of Boston’s hidden treasures, this farm may seem small but hosts an bountiful array of events including a farm share program, hayrides and a tomato festival fun for the entire family!
315 S. Bradford Street, North Andover, MA
Featuring their own pressed cider, adorable gift shop and a Halloween Hayride where kids will see their favorite fairytale characters, visitors will experience so much more than just your basic apple-picking destination.
Actress Jean Harlow shows that flowers in your dressing room are not only welcome but appreciated.
Recently screen legend, Sophia Loren turned eighty. With the social media blitz surrounding her birthday, I came across a number of photos of her with fresh flowers. I have always been a big fan of the actress and knew from her cook books that she loved flowers. For example, every Christmas, she looks forward to receving a white azalea topiary from her close friend.
(This photo was taken at the Cannes Film Festival.)
In the midst of Loren's social media celebration, I stumbled across many screen legends surrounded by flowers. Hollywood knew then that flowers create a stunning photo opportunity. In the age of Instagram, we see stars like Holly Robinson Peete and Britney Spears share striking photos of flowers they receive. Publicity and flowers go hand in hand.
Below are some of my favorite photos of screen legends that I discovered.
Carole Lombard in her dressing room is flanked by two vases of gladioli.
Audrey Hepburn showing off her skills at the flower design bench.
Vivien Leigh poses with her Oscar alongside a floral arrangement featuring birds of paradise and gerbera daisies. Editorial note, this floral arrangement was way ahead of its time.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall picking flowers.
Mae West and roses. Ed. note, roses have come a long way in size and petal count.
I can't help but wonder if Ginger Rogers is reading a card from dance partner Fred Astaire.
Marlene Dietrich caught strolling in Warsaw with a bundle of lilacs.
Elizabeth Taylor's love for flowers is well known. This earlier photo of her shows her knack for floral design.
Greta Garbor is engulfed in flowers.
Ingrid Bergman looking like she has Rick Blaine on her mind.
Bette Davis definitely has an idea of spacial organization.
A rare photo of Brigitte Bardot with a typical floral design of the era.
Jayne Mansfield picking flowers. Florists often grew their own flowers at that time. Note the greenhouse in the back. Most flower shops in the mid 20th century had their own greenhouses to grow flowers.
No collection of screen legends would be complete without Marilyn. She even adds grace to a simple carnation.
photo credit. 1800flowers
When we hear about Oktoberfest, we think about beer. What we neglect to mention is that Oktoberfest is a tradition. At Exotic Flowers in Boston
, our slogan remains as 'start your own tradition,'. As Americans, our heritages have been watered down. Cultural traditions have often been forgotten. Traditions also create memories and good times shared amongst friends and relatives. Ask the folks at St. Pauli Girl Beer, you do not have to be German to celebrate Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is not only a celebration of copious tankards of beer, but also an abundance of foods like bratwurst, sauerkraut, dumplings, schnitzel and various mustards.
As Americans we are fortunate to indulge in delicacies from various cultures. Who cares if your ancestors were not German ? Oktoberfest is a chance to celebrate and start your own traditions. What celebration is not complete without fresh flowers
to adorn the table and your New England home ?
The golden hues of mustard, the bronzed bratwurst and pickled cabbage can all be enhanced with amazing floral and plants. The colors of the fall season are a perfect complement for the menu. Bronze mums, burgundy calla lilies, free spirit roses and yellow orchids all lend to the illumination of your home for the party.
Even the White House
when entertaining German heads of state made a point of incorporating these hues into the tablescape.
Note how the yellow oncidium orchids, green trick dianthus, and green heleborus illuminate the dinner setting for this illustrious event. Remember, if heads of the world have flowers on their dinner tables, then you should too.
Hi, my name is Rick Canale and I tweet. I tweet a lot. Days, nights, weekends, you could say I have an addiction. I follow more than 1900 Tweeters and am followed by over 1200. If you are a glutton for information, want your news now or enjoy pop culture, then Twitter is waiting for you. As a matter of fact, you do not even have to tweet to enjoy twitter. I know many voyers on Twitter that have never even tweeted. I love Twitter so much that I even bought their stock. I have compiled a short list of my favorite five on Twitter to get you started. I have also thrown in a solid list of honorable mentions to build your profile and although I am not a huge advocate of following companies on Twitter; I have tossed in a few that seem to get it right. Here is my short five in no specific order.
- @DaveKerpen Dave is considered one of the most influential marketers on LinkedIn. His infectious personality has transformed the social media landscape. Some may remember Dave as the Crunch n' Munch guy. I know Dave as a kind man who loves his family, is a huge baseball fan and pleasure to work with. You can learn a lot from him.
- @chrissyteigen Some may know her as an SI Swimsuit cover girl while others recognize her as John Legend's wife. Teigen is the blueprint for anyone looking to build their personal brand on Twitter. She also tweets lots of great photos of food, engages her fans and makes you laugh a lot.
- @RingPRGirl Boston Public Relations pro, Kimberley Ring is a torch bearer for those who want to help others on Twitter. Sharing anecdotes, promoting charities and reaching out to others make Kim a Twitter all star.
- @BeschlossDC Michael Beschloss is an author, presidential historian and contributor to PBS and NBC. Follow him for a daily history lesson filled with prize winning photos.
- Megan tweets all day long. Some news, some humor and some great pop culture.
Once you've added these five people to your profile, then you can add our list of honorable mentions.
- - entertainer Erykah Badoula shares wisdom and responds to her fans regularly.
- - Nicki Minaj is everywhere lately. This outspoken entertainer posts regularly and interacts with her fans.
- - this former Red Sox World Champion shares a great baseball insight and healthy living tips. His interaction with fans keeps us as fans.
- - local news legend Paula Ebben is great for timely news and quickly responds via Twitter to her fans.
- - one of the best there is for sports drama.
- - always awesome when a legend replies to your tweet, she makes the list.
- - being a passionate baseball fan puts her on the list, favoriting my tweet keeps her on the list.
- - Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson is a great follow for all us baseball fans.
Companies like , , and have all shown me how quickly customer service can happen via Twitter.
Of course I would be remiss to not mention how cool it is when a celeb follows me. , , ,
. Thanks to them and all my followers. It is likely that Exotic Flowers in Boston will not have a Twitter account. We want to keep our relationship personal. Thank you for trusting as your florist in Boston.
If you want to connect with me on Twitter, I am .
photo credit Visa
I have always admired Jim Mccann's marketing gimmicks at 1800flowers. He is one of the major players in the floral industry who steps in with new ideas and fun ones too. Recently, 1800flowers partnered with Visa and the NFL and created a football holiday known as Footballentine's Day. The idea is to send flowers to your loved one, because you are stuck at the TV watching the game. As if this gesture would placate your loved one for your lack of attention. It is is great to see these NFL Stars get in touch with flowers though. At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we even pitched Tim Tebow to endorse our products.
photo credit Visa
Unfortunately for Visa and 1800flowers, the NFL is surrounded by controversy and does not need commercials touting guys to send flowers to women while they watch football. After all, more than 55% of women watch football.
Hopefully, 1800flowers steps up and donates a percentage of this bouquet's sales to combat domestic violence.
If you get a chance, watch Eric Decker step up to the design bench and design a one of a kind floral arrangement. It is worth it. Likes a lot of Mccann's advertising, we pause and take notice. The floral industry needs more commercials.
The gerbera daisy remains a favorite for many brides in Boston, Cape Cod and Newport. Gerbera daisies are used in bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, aisle petals and even in the bride's hair. Its versatility keeps the gerbera daisy on the Boston bride's radar. Many brides search for a specific color when planning their floral displays. Some gerbera varieties are not available during year round. Certain gerbera daisies are cultivated at different times of the year. This cultivation allows for stronger heads, wider availability and sometimes even higher cost efficiency. Adhering to seasonal color palettes is a wise decision during event planning. A wise bride will choose darker shades during the winter and lighter tones during the summer. If a bride is planning a fall wedding, here are a few decadent gerbera varieties that are perfect for your autumn wedding celebration.
The Serena gerbera daisy is luscious. This variety arrives in a shaded dark pink with a dark center. Fuchsia hued flowers make wonderful fall accents. The fuchsia flowers make the darker colors really pop. Serena complements other gerberas like orange and peach quite nicely. A gerbera daisy's durability is renowned. Its strong head prevents weeping and drooping in centerpieces. Other substitutions for Serena are “Picasso” and “Dark Serena”.
The “Calypso” gerbera daisy is a stunning orange that Boston brides will choose for their fall wedding. With its dark center and frilled inner sepals, Calypso gerbera daisy makes autumn arrangements pop with its vibrant color and delicate outer petals. Calypso pairs well with red, yellow or peach. This combinations stuns and awes wedding guests. Substitutes for the “Calypso” can be “Orange Illusion”, “Milonga” or “Sirtaki”.
“Yellow River” gerbera is another strong headed variety, this gerbera daisy is known for its density throughout its petals. Yellow River Gerbera has a green center; this color contrast works well in bridal work, including hair pieces, bride's maids bouquets and church pew markers. Bearing a striking resemblance to the sunflower, Yellow River gerbera makes an easy transition from summer to fall events, ideal for late September weddings. Similar yellow gerberas include “Kalika”, “Illusion” and “Chelsea”.
The floral industry's big four will soon become the big three. In October, 2014 FTD will merge with ProFlowers. What will this mean for the floral industry and what will it mean for florists ?
As a florist in Boston, my biggest hope would be more national advertising to create awareness for the entire floral industry. While the floral industry relies upon occasion based giving, it would be great if FTD ramped up their advertising to make certain that flowers should be at the top of any gift giving list.
ProFlowers was always limited in its ability to tout same day delivery. Same delivery is one of Exotic Flowers in Boston's greatest assets. FTD's network of thousands of local florists should strengthen ProFlowers value. It is interesting to note that FTD launched a hand tied European bouquet collection previous to this announcement. ProFlowers was built on assembly required bouquets. At Exotic Flowers, 'batteries' are included and we do not feel that your floral gift should have to be assembled.
The gorilla in the room just got stronger. The question remains, how will FTD convince its members like Exotic Flowers in Boston that this merger will benefit a local Boston florist ?
Every night I read my four year old son Lance a bed time story. While Lance prefers The Cat in the Hat or his mom's The Popcorn Hydrangea of Poppingtom, I make sure to read new books often. Now that his mom works at the Westwood Library, Lance enjoys new books daily. Last night we read The Donut Chef by Bob Staake.
Staake's tale shares the story of a wildly popular doughnut shop who almost loses sight of what made his clients love his shop to begin with. When a rival doughnut shop opens, the chef continues to create new and exciting flavors every day. Sometimes the doughnuts do not even look like or taste like doughnuts.
As florists in Boston, we can caught up in this same type of hysteria. Competition is great for business. It forces new ideas and betters service. At the same time, florists cannot forget where our clients came from. The donut chef is reminded by a two year old girl that the glazed doughnut (which he no longer sells) is the reason she was there. This revelation leads the donut chef to bring back the glazed doughnut in all its grandeur.
Much like the Donut Chef, every florist needs to remind themselves that the red rose is the backbone flower of our industry. We should never dispel its significance. Clients will try other flavors, but they will always want that red rose.
So many small florists undervalue their talents. As professional florists, know that your skills came at a steep price and you should be compensated for your time, effort and talent.
When brides come into our Boston flower shops and ask about doing the flowers themselves (dyi) for their own wedding, I often think of this story.
Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.
“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.
“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”
“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.
“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”
To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”