Archive for March, 2012

Crown to Cockpit

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

note_airplane_textLast week, Lilly and I had the opportunity to meet Patricia Ann Murray who went from being Miss California to a pilot flying in Baghdad. Her life stories are entertaining and insightful, all the while reinforcing the belief that you must pursue your own dreams and not get sidetracked by what others are doing.


“Run your own race, let the others catch you” was the title of her talk addressed to middle school and high school girls. She talked about the importance of knowing your strengths, sharpening your skills and keeping your eyes focused ahead rather than off to the side, concerned with what others are doing.

Patricia knew at a young age that she wanted to be a pilot. After her guidance counselor told her “Girls like you don’t do that,” she was more determined than ever to pursue her dream. Needing money for flight school, she was industrious and entered pageants knowing they awarded scholarships. The title of Miss California came with the scholarship she needed for flight school and off she went!

She has a book coming out called Crown to Cockpit, coming out this summer. Letters from Lilly has an airplane design, although Lilly and I don’t know how to fly…maybe someday.

Flowers Feed Our Souls

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

gf_bridalbouquetLast week, I was lucky enough to see a lecture and demonstration by Shane Connolly. You might not know this floral designer unless I add the fact that he was the Artistic Director of Flowers for the Wedding of The Royal Highness the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Those 15′ maple trees lining the aisle of the Abbey were his doing. Shane shared the initial plans of blooming trees and how this idea all seemed quite perfect for a princess until the warm spring forced all trees to bloom early. By the time of the wedding, there were no blooming trees to be found. As he shared this, I imagined people on the phones, day and night, trying to solve the crisis of no blooming trees and the looming wedding. Luckily, he said knew he was working with a flexible princess and she found the img_09351green maples to be just right with or without the blossoms. After the wedding, Shane looked back and felt the blooming trees might have been too predictable and was glad with the way the day turned out.

He’s quite a quick wit,  just what you would expect from a sharp Irishman. He was on stage with two long tables, identically draped in black. He started behind one table with luscious lilacs and quickly whipped up a masterpiece of an arrangement, then snapped right over to the next table doing the same with peach blossom branches sprouting out of a tall, glass cylinder and then wrapping jasmine around the outer, bottom base. For two hours, he took what looked like dull, commonplace containers and made them magically transform, all the while encouraging us that we too could do the same at home. With every flower he touched, he taught us the meaning of each flower reminding us that “flowers feed our souls.”

Back in the day, men and women couldn’t be seen talking with one another so flowers were sent and depending on the flower, you could be delivered a message of love, despair or the symbol of true friendship. Pink roses mean perfect happiness and red roses express passion and love. Flowers were used for communication, much as writing papers are used today.

I walked away learning things that were elementary to him, but keepsake suggestions I will use myself; bunch like flowers in arrangements rather than polka dotting them within, use containers of interest, and have fun with it. Rather than forcing flowers to hang a certain way, let them fall where they may. They will be happier and you’ll end up with a more natural and beautiful display.

Above, see our bridal bouquet design on Letters from Lilly gatefold stationery, resembling the arrangement by Shane in the photograph, which is full of luscious lavenders to use for any event from birthday celebrations to weddings.

P.S. Shane got to see “the dress” before any of us!