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:

Bringing Back Brown

Splash of Autumn by George Thomas Florist

Every season brings with it a new “hot” color pallet that dictates everything from high fashion to floral designs. Certain decades are even defined by the colors that were popular during that particular era.

We have to reach way back to the 1970’s to truly find the roots of this season’s hottest color resurgence, and while many people may try to forget some of the gaudy looks of the disco era, it’s about time that we embrace brown once again.

After falling from its place of prominence in the 70’s, brown’s popularity has been slow to recover, which can only mean that this earthy tone is long overdue for a comeback, especially now that autumn is upon us. After years of disrespect, the color brown is back in a big way this fall.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the resurgence of the color brown is because it is decidedly anti-tech. In fact, it’s nearly polar opposite of the whites, grays, silvers and neon hues that are increasingly popular in today’s digital world. While most technology is designed to get your attention, brown is more comfortable existing in the background – blending in and often hiding in plain sight.

In color psychology, the color brown represents quality, honesty, hard work and reliability while also reflecting a feeling of calmness and comfort. Brown is trustworthy, loyal and dependable in a realistic and practical way. It’s not a flashy color, that much is for sure, but the rugged, natural color takes a certain confidence to pull off.

Brown isn’t often used as the primary color in most floral applications – in fact, it is one of the least preferred colors of the western world – but it is a very important contrast color, especially when paired with the oranges and yellows of traditional fall designs. Best of all, it acts as a soothing presence to help us deal with the stresses of modern life – something we can probably all use a little more of in our lives!

A Message From Your Friends at George Thomas Florist

Dear Friends,

The term “family owned and operated,” has been tossed around over and over without much significance. But it still means something to us. George Thomas Florist truly is a family-owned retail florist, and we take a lot of pride in that.

At George Thomas Florist, we understand that when you place an order with us, you also place trust in our hands. We also know that in order to keep your business in the future, we must continue to earn your trust with expectations we will always strive to exceed.

It all starts with a guarantee, designed for you (our customers), that by accepting the request to fulfill your order, we will ensure that your gift or design will be created to value selected.

Because we are working with perishable products of nature, there may be circumstances when the exact product you order is out of stock, or perhaps our stock on hand may not be up to the quality standards that our family has established for you, our customers.

Should substitutions be necessary, we will use our very best judgment in order to see that the value and timeliness of your delivery is accomplished. If we believe for any reason that may not be possible, we will notify you immediately.

We understand there are many options when it comes to buying flowers and we also know when you see a deal that sounds “too good to be true,” beware, because it usually is – and that is why your trust is so important to us. We strive to make every gift and design from George Thomas Florist one that we’re proud to put our name on and we refuse to compromise on the quality and value that you expect from us.

Thank you for trusting us to represent your good taste with a gift, and name you can trust!

– Your Friends at George Thomas Florist

Need to send flowers to someone on Cat Island? Yes We Can!

Flowers are the international language and florists are the messenger. Did you know? You can count on George Thomas Florist, your local florist here in Indianapolis can send flowers ANYWHERE in the world!

Sending flowers across town? That’s easy. How about, Cat Island, Japan?

A short ferry ride from Japan’s east coast, Tashirojima is a small island boasting a population of around 100 people. That doesn’t sound too unusual until you discover that the humans on the island are outnumbered 8-1 by feral cats!

Originally the cats were encouraged as the island produced silk and mice are a natural predator of silkworms. Local fishermen regarded them as good luck and the island even has a cat shrine, along with newly built cat-shaped cabins for tourists to stay in. It goes without saying that there are no dogs allowed.

Okay, sending flowers there might be a little tricky, but suddenly Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t seem so far away anymore – and we can definitely deliver flowers there!

The bottom line is that the best way to send flowers – whether in town or out of town – is to always think local! George Thomas Florist is your connection to the world. Give us a real challenge and bring it on, we’re ready.

Did you know we are much more than just flowers? How about chocolate baskets or a seafood basket? If that’s starting to sound interesting then welcome to our industry, it’s fast, fun and exciting! With our Yes We Can attitude we can make it all happen for you; all you have to do is ask!

Why take chances with some out-of-town company you’ve never heard of when you can rest assured with an unconditional guarantee from a name you trust?

We specialize in beautiful florals imported from around the globe that we create and customize with your personalized message and deliver it wherever you desire. So next time an occasion arises and you want to send flowers or gifts, just give us a call and we’ll be ready to exceed your expectations – even if you want them delivered to Cat Island.

Know Your Flower Etiquette

We all know that flowers make wonderful gifts for a variety of different circumstances. It’s hard to go wrong with choosing flowers as a gift, but there are a few rules of etiquette that should be followed when giving flowers on certain occasions.

Choosing the right flowers

  • While there are no definitive rules about what kind of flowers to send, certain types or colors of flowers may be inappropriate depending on the circumstance. A dozen red roses typically suggest romance and may send an unintended message if you are giving them to a co-worker or casual acquaintance.
  • White or light yellow flowers are usually the best choices for sympathy flowers. You certainly will want to avoid bright colored flowers in most instances.
  • Bright colored flowers, however, are almost always appropriate for happy occasions or milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, congratulations, or thank yous.
  • When thanking someone, choose their favorite flower or favorite color instead of the cheapest option, the extra effort on your part will be appreciated and it makes your gratitude appear more personal and genuine.

Timing is everything

  • Some hospitals prohibit flowers, so check to make sure they’re allowed if you are sending them there. The local florists should know which hospitals accept them, and which do not. If the recipient’s hospital visit is brief, consider sending them to the home after they are dismissed.
  • While many people prefer to send sympathy flowers directly to the funeral home, it is perfectly acceptable to send them to the family’s home afterward. It’s even okay to wait a week or two in order to let the family know you’re still thinking of them.
  • Birthdays, holidays and anniversary are obvious occasions for sending flowers, but giving flowers “out of the blue” or “on a whim” are more impactful, especially if the recipient is not expecting a gift.
  • If you are late hearing about an occasion, but still wish to send flowers, be sure to mention that to the recipient – otherwise, the timing may seem odd to them.

Consider the recipient

  • Size matters, so consider where the flowers are going and what will happen to them after they’re delivered. Designs that are too small may not send the appropriate message you wish to convey, but larger gifts may be intrusive in small offices or rooms – especially if they’re shared with other people.
  • Putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes and asking yourself how you would feel receiving the gift should give you a good idea of what is appropriate.
  • Do some research when sending flowers to people from different cultures. Some cultures have stigmas against certain colors or flowers, and you don’t want to misconstrue your message or create an obligation to reciprocate.
  • Sending sympathy flowers If a family specifically asks for donations in “lieu of flowers” is a breach of etiquette, even if you mean well. In circumstances such as this, a fruit basket or other memorial item may be appropriate if you would still like to send a gift.

Flowers are such an excellent way to convey a personal sentiment, so it’s important to consider the message you are wishing to express. When in doubt, give us a call and let us know the circumstance and we’ll help you select the perfect gift!

Summertime’s Sensational Sunflowers

Sunflowers are admired in floral arrangements for their warm and inviting beauty and are known to symbolize loyalty, adoration, and longevity. They are used in the floral industry to express feelings of happiness and energy, but the wondrous sunflower is so much more than just a pretty flower.

While admired for their simplistic beauty, sunflowers are also some of the world’s most versatile agricultural crops. In addition to the large daisy-like petals that add excitement and intrigue to fresh-cut floral arrangements, they are an excellent source of food and edible oil. Along with its nutritional seeds, sunflowers are commonly used for industrial applications such as biofuel and livestock feed.

Here are some fun facts that will make you take a second look the next time you see a sunflower:

• Sunflowers are primarily native to North America and were a common crop among Native Americans who not only used the ground seeds for food but also the flower for textile dyes and the stalks for kindling.

• Sunflowers are rugged flowers that are tolerant of both high and low temperatures making them easy to grow.

• Sunflowers can grow up to 16 feet in height and some varieties can produce over 2,000 seeds per flower.

Sunflower Fields by George Thomas Florist

• Among their many industrial applications, sunflowers are used to extract toxins from contaminated soil and were used to aid in the cleanup from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters.

• There are over 70 different varieties of sunflowers in a wide range of sizes with petal colors ranging from vibrant yellow to deep oranges and browns.

• Sunflowers are among the fastest growing plants and can reach maturity and heights of 8 to 12 feet in 90-100 days.

• Sunflowers are often associated with renowned Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh who depicted the flowers in two series of still life paintings. One of those paintings was purchased for $53.9 million in 1987.

Be sure to take a closer look the next time you see one of these magnificently versatile flowers and consider including some of these cheerful favorites the next time you send flowers. Click here to check out George Thomas Florist’s summer flower designs.

Celebrate July 4th With George Thomas Florist

Spirit of America by George Thomas Florist

It’s time for Independence Day, and for many, that means a long weekend full of fun activities like picnics, parades, and fireworks to celebrate the 241st anniversary of our nation’s independence from the British Empire.

It’s a day to celebrate our freedom and reflect on the history of the country we call home. It’s also a perfect time for flowers!

Whether you’re looking for a gift for the host of your barbecue or trying to find the perfect way to decorate your 4th of July party, we have you covered in red, white and blue.

One of our most popular items this time of year is our Spirit of America. This festive delight is sure to turn heads at your holiday gathering.

It’s not the 4th of July without the fireworks, and it’s certainly not a proper celebration unless food is involved. Leave the grilling to someone else this year while you sit back and enjoy the festivities knowing that your Gourmet Picnic Basket from George Thomas Florist is the hit of the party.

Speaking of food, did you know that about 155 million hot dogs are consumed each year on the 4th of July? That’s enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to L.A. five times! Last year, 70 of those hot dogs were consumed in just 10 minutes by competitive eater Joey Chestnut at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest which is held every year in Coney Island, New York.

Here are a few other interesting facts you may not have known about Independence Day

  • The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies. The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. The youngest was South Carolina’s Edward Rutledge, 26, and the oldest delegate was 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin. The lead author of The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.
  • Benjamin Franklin was displeased that the bald eagle was chosen as the national bird – his choice was the turkey. In a letter to his daughter, Sarah Bache in 1784, he said of the bald eagle, “He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly.” He claimed that the turkey was “a bird of courage” and was far “more respectable” than the “lazy” bald eagle.
  • Gourmet Picnic Basket by George Thomas Florist

    In 1776, there were 2.5 million people living in the new nation. Today the population of the U.S.A. is 326 million.

  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee wastes little time in getting their celebration underway. The Annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade steps off each year at 12:01 a.m. This year’s parade is the 42nd annual installment and is expected to draw an estimated 80,000 spectators.
  • Due to concerns about cracking the iconic Liberty Bell, it has not been rung since 1846. Instead, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times each year on Independence Day.
  • Over 14,000 professional firework displays light up the skies in the United States each 4th of July according to The American Pyrotechnics Association.
  • The United States isn’t alone in celebrating their independence on July 4th. Both the Philippines and Rwanda also celebrate July 4th as a day of liberation. In Southeast Asia, it is known as “Republic Day” and Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day.”

From our family at George Thomas Florist to yours, we hope you have a safe and happy 4th of July! Give us a call today to help get your party started off right.