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I’m going steady with kale. Sure, I’ve had flings with other veggies — spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts — but none of them were as versatile as kale, and I’m true blue to my leafy green. How do I love kale? Let me count the ways:

1. I love kale in Veggie Booty, which is covered in kale powder. (Hey, 15% Vitamin A and 10% Vitamin C, it counts!)
2. I love kale in the Mean Greens juice I get from the One Lucky Duck juice bar.
3. I love kale chips, especially the flavors from New York Naturals.
4. I love sauteed kale, and this recipe couldn’t be easier or more delicious.
5. I love kale in ornamental garden beds and in floral arrangements.

[cue record scratch sound effect]

kale floral arrangement

Yes! It isn’t just good to eat. You can absolutely grow some gorgeous kale and use it in elegant arrangements. We have a tutorial for making a dramatic edible fall arrangement with ornamental kale and asparagus, and I might use some of its pointers to recreate the gorgeous Kale and Eschevaria arrangement from Jayson Home shown above. (I spotted it on their site the other day, but sadly, it’s only available for order in the Chicago area. Go Bears.)

Would you use kale or another veggie in a floral arrangement? Or do you think they should appear on dinner plates alone?

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Have you found (or made) that perfect gift?  There’s still time to create a thoughtful, delicious present: a romance-themed cocktail. Here are some of my favorites…

For your uber-romantic dinner for two, try the, ahem, to-die-for Romeo and Juliet cocktail. Top tequila and Grand Marnier with peach juice and ruby-hued Chambord. Garnish with an orange twist and a few maraschino cherries. Just add a not-too-cheesy card.

Romeo and Juliet Valentine's Day Cocktail
In lieu of a bouquet of flowers, why not mix up this fruity cocktail garnished with edible flowers? Swap orange juice for mango puree for a fresh spin on the classic mimosa. Punch it up with vodka, then top with a fresh viola, pansy or nasturtium flower.

Amour a Mosa Cocktail
Sure, you could buy a box of waxy supermarket chocolates or spend the evening baking a chocolate souffle. But this chocolatey dessert drink, made with white chocolate liqueur and dark chocolate shavings and a hint of orange liqueur, is just as satisfying and much more unexpected. Of course, since it’s Valentine’s Day,  I wouldn’t turn down chocolates, a souffle and the cocktail…just sayin’.

Chocolate Mandarin Dream

See (and make!) all 10 romantic cocktails >>

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Tell us in the comments below.

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Okay, so if you DO go the flower route for Valentine’s Day, I think a pretty classy touch would be to place the bouquet in a personalized vase, like these ones from Maid of Clay Ceramics.
name vase
These have that posh, understated elegance that only something monogrammed can have. And talk about romantic and thoughtful. You can pay extra to have important dates added to the vase (like anniversaries) and short notes inscribed on the bottom. Swoon! I’m going to be dropping hints, but if I don’t get one of these on the 14th, I’m hoping someone will spring for it as an eventual wedding gift. AHEM.

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My apartment is full of glass mason jars. My boyfriend and I have gone through various artisanal food phases like pickling or making bitters (insert eye roll at us here), but now there are just too many. I like to use jars as vases, but sometimes that means cutting the flowers down to itty-bitty size, lest they droop. But not with this soft “lace vase” from Milk Design.

lace vase

Since it’s made from rubber, the lacy neck can stretch to fit on jars and bottles of different sizes, and it helps keep flowers upright. Which is good news for me, because I don’t think I’ll be using those jars for jellies or jams anytime soon. (At least not until June, according to this NY harvest calendar.) (Insert another eye roll at me here for good measure.)

[Via: Bltd]

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If you’ve been following the blog closely, you may remember that I have a terrible black thumb. You may also remember a lovely flower-lined mirror DIY that I posted a few months ago. Both of those things play heavily into why I have my eye on these paper flower bouquet kits from Paper Source.

paper flower bouquets

They’re fantastically life-like and ornate for paper, aren’t they? And aside from the effort you put in up-front to make them, there’s no work or maintenance required. Technically, I think they’re intended for weddings and parties, but I bet some blooms from the bouquet kits would look smashing around a mirror. And hey, if you have a pollen allergy, there’s no risk of these paper petals giving you the sniffles, so everything’s coming up roses.

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My boyfriend and I have roughly the same style, which is good, but living together in a small apartment has forced me to abandon my girlier tastes. No florals, very little pink, nothing too Baroque. I’m okay with it for the most part, until I see something like this flower-lined mirror from Marie Claire Maison and I wanna go all femme-y with decor again.

mirror with flowers

Photo: Fabrice Besse

The blooms that line the mirror are actually made from egg cartons that have been cut, layered, painted and gilded. I love the soft color and the texture they add. They really look like they’re meant to be a part of the mirror, no? Now that I know it’s super-easy and cheap to add a romantic touch like this, I’m ready to bust out my scissors. But first, I’ll be making some scrambled eggs for my boyfriend. (Win-win, right?)

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I’m getting a little older, so Urban Outfitters isn’t one of my go-to stores these days, but every so often something pretty will catch my eye and put it back on my radar. Like these cherry blossom curtain tie-backs.

cherry blossom tie back

The curly brass branches are a striking color, and the white enamel blossoms look so delicate against that glowing backdrop. They’re feminine and fun, and at only $14(!) each, you really can’t go wrong. Just promise me you’ll leave the ironic tees to the 25 and under set, yes?

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If you grow flowers, these Normann Copehagen grass vases would be a beautiful way to display your blooms. But honestly, I think they could elevate even the most humble of grocery store bouquets into a stunning arrangement.

grass vases

The design duo Claydies transforms dull lumps of clay into these totally organic shapes. (Check out their handiwork in “The Making of the Grass Vase” video.) Suddenly all my glass vessels are seeming plain by comparison. I guess the grass is always greener on the other vase…

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My fellow editor Anna spotted this gorgeous “Wisteria Tunnel” from Japan’s Kawachi Fuji Garden on Tumblr the other day, and was so inspired she sent it around to a few of us via email.

wisteria tunnel

Just spying this lush watercolor painting come to life in my inbox was like taking a mini-vacation. How serene would it be to park on one of those benches and sketch or read a book? (And as Anna pointed out, it must be as easy on the nose as it is on the eyes, too!) If you’re as inspired as we were, follow these steps to train a wisteria walkway of your own.

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Give your garden a thrilling dose of patriotism this coming Memorial Day weekend by planting flowers that bloom in red, white and blue. (Cue the John Philip Sousa.)

Memorial-Day-Red-White-Blue-Flowers-Gardening-HGTV-DesignHappensPhotos: Bloomers Blog; Lowes; Sonja Smith

If you don’t think you’ll have time for planting, grab a hanging basket filled with red, white and blue petunias from your local gardening center. For you more adventurous green-thumb types, here are a few of my favorite flowers to get you started creating your own patriotic combinations.


Potentilla 'Gibson's Scarlet', Clematis, Grape Hyacinth

Patriotic Flower Ideas From

Keep your garden gorgeous all summer long with’s expert gardening tips.

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