Pantone’s color of the year for 2018 is Ultra Violet

Image: Pantone

As a nod to inventiveness and imagination – with a little tribute to Prince mixed in for good measure – Pantone has chosen Ultra Violet as color of the year for 2018.

Ultra Violet (18-3838) is a deep, rich blue-based purple that, according to Pantone, communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking. Pantone goes on to describe their pick of the provocative purple shade as a tribute to the unknown

This year’s color selection is a stark contrast to the past four years which have consisted of softer and more muted colors such as Greenery in 2017, the duo of Rose Quartz and the light blue Serenity in 2016, along with the wine-colored Marsala of 2015. Prior to that, Pantone used a lighter shade of purple in 2014 with their selection of Radiant Orchid.

Amsterdam by Topper’s European Floral Design

The bold purple may be a curious choice for some, but a closer look reveals that the opposing colors that make up Ultra Violet – red and blue – are largely symbolic of the polarizing American political climate of 2017 along with the hope that we can become more unified in 2018.

Aside from the political overtones, Ultra Violet is just a fun color that comes at a time when we could all use a little more fun in our lives. The dynamic shade of Purple also fits perfectly in the floral industry since it can be such an eye-catching accent color.

Lilacs, sage, clematis, and allium are close matches for Ultra Violet, but there are other options as well. Carnations, Lily of the Nile, anemones, hyacinth, chrysanthemums, hydrangea, and orchids can also be closely matched to Ultra Violet, as can a multitude of other varieties.

Now is your chance to jump on this new trend in its infancy. Your friends at Topper’s European Floral Design are ready to help you select the perfect bouquet featuring 2018’s hottest color – Ultra Violet. Only time will tell if this year’s color of the year is prophecy, but even if not, it’s still a fun shade to use.

Image: Pantone

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Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift? Topper’s European Floral Design Has Your Answer!

Classic Christmas Wreath by Topper’s European Floral Design

It’s beginning to a lot like Christmas here at Topper’s European Floral Design. We’re working hard to prepare for the holiday rush, but we’re never too busy to help you pick out the perfect gift for someone special on your list. Whether you’re shopping for a Christmas or Hanukkah gift, or just want to send a special treat, we have the perfect gift ideas for every occasion.

Hopefully, by now, you’ve crossed several names off your list, but chances are you still have at least one or two of those hard-to-buy-for people left. If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, never fear – because we here to help you spread your holiday cheer! The possibilities are practically endless this time of year and we have an incredible variety to choose from. Whether you prefer a timeless classic like a festive poinsettia plant or something with a bit more flair like a beautiful hand-designed holiday floral arrangement, you’re in good hands at Topper’s European Floral Design.

Northwest Holiday by Topper’s European Floral Design

Be sure to get your orders in early this year to avoid the rush. Not only will you get the best value and widest selection by not waiting until the last minute, but you’ll also be able to cross one more thing off your list and reduce your own stress levels a bit. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home to have a beautiful gift hand-delivered by Topper’s European Floral Design, we’re just a phone call away – or you can order online 24-hours a day. Are you sending the gift out of town? No problem! We can take care of that for you with the help of our network of associates located across the country.

In addition to our incredible selection of fresh flowers and plants, we also feature a fantastic variety of holiday gifts and décor that is sure to please anyone on your list! We’re also a great source for unique stocking stuffers and gifts for teachers, mail carriers, party hosts, co-workers, hair stylists, and more. This year, leave the last-minute shopping to the amateurs by trusting one of our professional designers to create the perfect one-of-a-kind gift. Give us a call today to check out what we have in store for you this holiday season!

The Cornucopia: An Iconic Symbol of Thanksgiving

Ready, or not – the holiday season is upon us and Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Thanksgiving is a special holiday for many reasons, but what makes it so unique is the fact that it is the one major holiday where the meal is the main event.

Not only that, but It is also the holiday that will set the tone for the remainder of the holiday season. So why not make it beautiful with a cornucopia of your own, or some Thanksgiving flowers from Topper’s European Floral Design?

According to lore, Thanksgiving began as the celebration of a bountiful harvest. It was – and still is – a time to reflect and give thanks through a meal shared with friends and loved ones.

One of the most iconic symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia. Typically hollow and made out of wicker in the shape of a horn, it is often called the “horn of plenty.” Cornucopias represent an abundance of food and nourishment and serve as a visible reminder of the meaning of the holiday while also giving the table a finished, polished, look.

While cornucopias are most closely associated with Thanksgiving, their origin can be traced all the way back to Greek and Roman mythology. Cornucopias are even depicted on the state flags of Idaho and Wisconsin, as well as the coats of arms for Columbia, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

With food being the center of attention at Thanksgiving, the table itself an important part of the holiday as it often serves as the hub of the day’s activities. Long after the food is enjoyed and the dishes are put away, the cornucopia and other autumn-inspired centerpieces remain to serve as a reminder of the prosperity and good things in life for which we give thanks.

It’s never too soon to start thinking about Christmas

Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, that means Black Friday is here as well to kick off the official start of the holiday shopping season. Wouldn’t it be nice if you already had your holiday shopping done before the calendar even turned to December?

You’re in luck because Topper’s European Floral Design is your one-stop-shop for all your holiday needs. Of course, flowers always make an outstanding gift, but we also carry a wide assortment of other holiday presents for everyone on your list.

Make things extra-easy for yourself and order your holiday flowers and gifts at the same time you place your Thanksgiving order. Let everyone else fight the traffic and the crowds while you enjoy the holiday season from the comfort of your own couch, knowing your shopping is already complete!

How Did Poppies Become the Symbol of Veterans Day?

Honoring service members has been a hot-button issue in our country as of late. No matter what your political stance is on the topic, we can surely all agree that those who served this great country deserve to be recognized, and Veterans Day, on Friday, November 10, is an opportunity to do just that.

Veterans Day, which is observed annually on November 11 (or on Friday, November 10 if the 11th falls on a Saturday – as is the case this year), is often confused with the more widely-recognized Memorial Day, but there is a distinct difference between the two holidays.

Memorial Day honors those who died while serving in the military, while Veterans Day is meant to honor the service of all U.S. military veterans. So, technically, thanking a living vet for their service on Memorial Day is missing the intended meaning of the holiday. Obviously, there isn’t a “wrong” time to thank a veteran, but if you’re going to pick a day to do so, Veterans Day is it!

Just how did this holiday get its start? It all started back in 1926 when the U.S. Congress adopted a resolution requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for an observance of November 11 – notable because World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.

It took 12 years for a Congressional Act to officially make the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday. Originally known as Armistice Day in the United States, the name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

Poppies

Like many other holidays, Veterans Day has a direct tie to the floral industry with poppies being symbolic of the observance. Many poppy wreaths are laid at war memorials and small artificial poppies are worn on clothing to commemorate this patriotic holiday.

Inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” in which the opening lines refer to poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the soil from soldiers’ graves in the Flanders region of Belgium, these small red flowers were adopted by the National American Legion as their official symbol of remembrance in 1920.

The Royal British Legion soon after adopted the poppy as their symbol, as did veterans’ groups in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as a host of other countries.

Although they are closely related, the poppies used for Veterans Day (as well as Memorial Day) are not the same species as the opium poppy which is grown as a field crop to produce opium and poppy seeds. Opium poppies were once prohibited in the United States under the Opium Poppy Control Act of 1942, however, the law has since been repealed and the law of poppy cultivation in the U.S. is now somewhat vague and remains controversial.

Coincidently, the red remembrance poppies aren’t free from controversy of their own. In fact, some anti-war groups view the remembrance poppy as a political symbol of war and conflict. The controversy has even spread to the sports world and particularly European soccer clubs where remembrance poppies are a common occurrence on team uniforms in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

Some groups have adopted white poppies as an alternative to, or an accompaniment to, red poppies as a way to symbolize peace without glamorizing war. Additionally, purple poppies are sometimes used in Britain to commemorate animals that have been victims of war.

Regardless of the controversies surrounding this little red flower, you’re probably going to see them “popping” up around town this week. When you do, remember to take a moment to give thanks to all the veterans who serve – or have served – our country.

Chrysanthemums: The Ultimate Fall Flower

We often associate certain flowers with certain times of the year. Red roses, for example, are an iconic symbol of Valentine’s Day, and spring never really arrives until the tulips start popping up. Poinsettias usher in the holiday season while sunflowers remind us of lazy late-summer days.

But when it comes to fall, chrysanthemums are the star of the season – especially during the month of November. With their brilliant colors and long-lasting nature, mums can brighten up any front porch or indoor space. Many people, however, do not realize the deep symbolism behind this favorite autumn icon.

In Chinese culture, this flowering herb symbolizes a life of ease and longevity. Together with the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo, chrysanthemums are renowned as one of the “Four Gentlemen” in Chinese and Eastern Asian art and are depicted in traditional ink and wash painting

Wellington by Topper’s European Floral Design

The earliest illustrations of mums show them to be daisy-like flowers that are small and yellow in color. Today’s chrysanthemums can be quite showy and would probably not be recognized by ancient growers. Modern chrysanthemums can be daisy-like or decorative, like pompons or buttons. In addition to the traditional yellow color, mums can now also be found in a variety of whites, purples, and reds.

Around the 8th century A.D., the chrysanthemum appeared in Japan and was so admired that it was adopted as the crest and official seal of the emperor. The western world was not introduced to the mum until the 17th century and it first appeared in American horticulture in 1798 when Colonel John Stevens imported a variety called ‘Dark Purple’ from England.

Just as the season the represent, chrysanthemums are known for being hardy and strong while also presenting an unmistakable sense of beauty and intrigue. Consider including some mums the next time you order flowers so that you can enjoy these amazing flowers! The Wellington by Topper’s European Floral Design features the lovely mum and is a perfect way to spread some autumnal cheer!

Did You Know???

  • Despite their strong presence in the fall, chrysanthemums are tropical flowers that were originally grown in the Eurasian region.
  • In the Victorian language of flowers, yellow chrysanthemums are a gentle way to decline amorous advances and white mums encourage the recipient to tell the truth or to be honest.
  • The chrysanthemum is November’s birth flower. If you are born in November, the mum is symbolic of your soul’s many layers.
  • In Eastern meditative traditions, the chrysanthemum is used as a focus tool to activate the heart chakra.
  • Germans have white chrysanthemums in their homes on Christmas Eve as a symbol of Christ.
  • The name, chrysanthemum, is adapted from the Greek word, “chryos” which means gold (the original color) and “athos” meaning flower.
  • Some species of chrysanthemum flowers are boiled to make tea in parts of Asia. Likewise, a rice wine in Korea called gukhwaju is flavored with chrysanthemum flowers.
  • The chrysanthemum was recognized as the official flower of the city of Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1966.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Since 1985, the month of October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a goal of promoting mammography as the most effective weapon in the battle against breast cancer.

Each year during October, a variety of events including walks, runs, and fundraisers are organized throughout the United States to promote awareness to this cause which has affected so many lives.

The iconic pink ribbon is a symbol for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many prominent landmarks around the world are illuminated with pink lighting throughout the month of October in observance.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Each year over a quarter of a million women are diagnosed and more than 40,500 will die from the disease. It is estimated that one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

There is good news, however, as death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989 and breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in the year 2000 thanks in part to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), along with better screening, early detection, increased awareness and continually improving treatment options.

In fact, for many of the 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., the month of October and the awareness campaign offers a reason to celebrate and reflect.

How to help

There are many ways for you to get involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The obvious ones include volunteering your time or making a donation to local or national charitable organizations that focus on awareness, research, prevention, and treatment of the disease.

Keep in mind that not all of the “pink” charities are alike and some are less than transparent about where your donations end up. Watchdog groups like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator are typically good sources of more in-depth analysis of organizations as they review and evaluate financial statements, tax reports, program expenses and fundraising costs.

The American Institute of Philanthropy’s Charity Watch recognizes 12 organizations as top-rated cancer charities and assigns letter grades to each one. Here are their top three in descending order:

Of the three breast cancer charities recommended by Charity Watch, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation also received Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars while the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund and the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners received three stars.

Other national four-star charities recommended by Charity Navigator include:

Susan G. Komen

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is one of the largest and most well-known charities devoted to the cause, but according to the watchdog groups, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.  Charity Navigator gives the organization a 3-star rating (out of four), while Charity Watch gave them a C+ grade.

Charities to avoid

In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission has dissolved Breast Cancer Society and the Cancer Fund of America after alleging they were scam charities bilking money from donors. Those two organizations are now defunct, but there are still some groups that are low-rated for various reasons.

Charity Navigator urges people to do their own research before donating to charitable organizations but also cites three groups in particular as ones to avoid due to the fact that they spend more on fundraising than devoting funds to the issues. The watchdog group gave the following organizations zero or one star and cautions you to look carefully before supporting them: