More

Most people throw away tons of flowers after their wedding. She puts them back to work.

Why let good flowers go to waste? She made it her mission to recycle discarded wedding flowers, and the result is beautiful.

True
Facebook #SheMeansBusiness

Shawn Chamberlain was tending the gardens at a hospice care facility one day when she noticed something unusual about one of the patients.

The woman, standing on a nearby patio, caught her off guard. Most of the patients Shawn had seen at the facility were older; hospice care is typically for those who are given six months or less to live, after all.

But this patient was young — a young mother.


A young mother herself, Shawn felt compelled to do something for the woman. Looking down and seeing the flowers in the garden, she quickly clipped a few and had a charge nurse deliver them to the patient.

Gathering up some love. Image via Rogue Heart Media.

In addition to being beautiful, flowers may actually lift people's moods.

According to a 2005 research study at Rutgers University, every single person who received flowers as part of an experiment had a positive response. Every. Single. Person.

Admit it: Flowers make you feel loved, special, adored, and remembered. Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

As a landscape designer, Shawn had seen the power of flowers to bring people delight. In that moment, she knew she wanted to bring flowery happiness to other people. But not just anyone: long-term care patients, people who could really use a few moments of unexpected joy.

There was only one problem — where on Earth could she obtain a massive amount of flowers without going completely broke in the process?

If you've ever had to buy flowers for any event, you know they're, uh, not cheap. Shawn was a young mom of five kids — not a millionaire by any stretch.

But then it came to her: weddings.

Wedding flowers — gorgeous, expensive, and only used for one day. Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

Weddings are a treasure trove of floral arrangements, bouquets, and other lovely things ... that often go straight in the trash once the event is over.

Shawn started making calls around town to wedding planners, event spaces, florists, anyone who dealt in bulk flowers. Amazingly, there was no hesitation; people were on board. The Full Bloom was born.

Flowers. Flowers everywhere! Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

Brides and grooms really took to the idea, thrilled that they could use their time of joy and happiness to give back. (All without a lot of effort because, as we know, weddings are super stressful!)

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something recycled! Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

Another cool thing? Through postings to The Full Bloom's Facebook page, donors can be connected with the receivers.

As Shawn put it, "They can see their flowers (through posting) actually go somewhere."

Brides, grooms, and other donors get to see how their contribution has brightened someone's day. And patients know someone was thinking of them and that, for a moment, they're feeling a little better because, you know, science.

Volunteers of all ages get involved and deliver arrangements to long-term care facilities. Image via Shawn Chamberlain.

To find out more about The Full Bloom and recycling the love, check out this video from Rogue Heart Media.

[vimeo_embed https://player.vimeo.com/video/76064995?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Laverne Cox in 2016.

When kids are growing up they love to see themselves in the dolls and action figures. It adds a special little spark to a shopping trip when you hear your child say “it looks just like me.” The beaming smile and joy that exudes from their little faces in that moment is something parents cherish, and Mattel is one manufacturer that has been at the forefront of making that happen. It has created Barbies with freckles, afro puffs, wheelchairs, cochlear implants and more. The company has taken another step toward representation with its first transgender doll.

Laverne Cox, openly transgender Emmy award winning actor and LGBTQ activist, is celebrating her 50th birthday May 29, and Mattel is honoring her with her very own Barbie doll. The doll designed to represent Cox is donned in a red ball gown with a silver bodysuit. It also has accessories like high heels and jewelry to complete the look. Cox told Today, “It’s been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll.” She continued, “I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection.”

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.