Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Every Rose Has Its (Wacky) Thorn

December 27, 2018 by
Photography by provided

Omaha floral shops have deep roots, with dozens planted throughout the metro. The annual sequence of holidays, weddings, and romantic flings keep local florists busy. Their busiest time of the year, by far, is Valentine’s Day. Although every good florist knows to stock up in time for Feb. 14, even the most seasoned pros can be caught off guard by the occasional strange request. The following local florists shared some of their most memorable—sometimes wacky—requests from customers.

Pam Cyboron

Corum’s Flowers & Gifts
Florist: Pam Cyboron
Address: 639 Fifth Ave., Council Bluffs
Phone: 712-322-7355

Website: corumsflowers.com

Pam Cyboron distinctly recalls one particular customer’s unusual order—a request for a bouquet of dead flowers tied together neatly with a ribbon. The customer wanted a theater-themed gift for her husband, who was acting in a stage performance of the play Oklahoma! Cyboron signed the card “Poor Jud Fry” just in time for opening night.

Stock photo

Taylor’s Flower Shop & Greenhouse
Florist: Tracy Taylor
Address: 12310 K Plaza, Suite 108
Phone: 402-733-2322
Website: taylorsflowers24hours.com

Tracy Taylor’s typical day often involves answering the phone and hearing a familiar voice: Mr. Secret Admirer. This person makes regular orders at Taylor’s Flower Shop & Greenhouse, and he always keeps his identity anonymous. After a year and a half of deliveries with unsigned cards, Tracy is still wondering the identity of this most loyal of customers.

Brandy Schreiner (second from left) photo by Erin Ren Photography

Florist: Brandy Schreiner
Address: 10923 Prairie Brook Road
Phone: 402-991-2300
Website: omahablooms.com

After nearly 20 years in the floral industry, Schreiner has really seen and heard it all. Especially since she received the most memorable and emotional order of her career just last year—a beautiful arrangement for a couple’s upcoming wedding day. The catch? Schreiner was the mother of the bride.

Rachael Sjn

The Purple Orchid
Florist: Rachael Sjn
Address: 1503 Galvin Road S., Suite 2
Phone: 402-609-0900
Website: purpleorchidflowers.com

This shop gets it fair share of weird requests (including a bride who brought in used shotgun shells and asked for boutonnieres to be made with them). But the sweetest order Sjn has ever received? After an Air Force member was relocated from Omaha to a base in San Antonio, he contacted The Purple Orchid with a special request: one teddy bear dressed in Air Force garb holding a bouquet of flowers for his sweetheart back home in Nebraska.

Dana Bean

All Seasons Floral & Gifts
Florist: Dana Bean
Address: 16939 Wright Plaza
Phone: 402-991-9300
Website: everbloomfloral.net

Dana Bean knows that when Valentine’s Day is coming up, she can expect to see all kinds of customers in her shop. From those composing poems and ordering traditional bouquets of red roses, to guys quoting lines from The Bachelor (“Will you accept this rose?”), and even last-minute customers in need of one-of-a-kind arrangements. The weirdest order Bean gets every year? The guy who requests a gorgeous bouquet delivery for his wife…and another for his girlfriend. 

This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Bit O’ Everything, Honey

February 8, 2018 by

Pick of the Week—Friday, Feb. 9-11: Celebrate your love of all things anime and show your appreciation of the multifaceted aspects of Japanese pop culture at Kanpai!Con 2018. Happening at Hotel RL, this three-day event will have games, tournaments, prizes, and a variety of special guests. Panels, meet ups, and autograph sessions will be held, as well as dances on Friday and Saturday nights. Dress to the nines if you want to attend the special Formal Fantasy Cosplay Ball on Friday, though. To get all the information you need, click here.

Thursday, Feb. 8: Take a long lunch today and head to UNO’s Milo Bail Student Center to listen to some stimulating jazz music from violinist Daniel Davis (Daniel D). The young artist hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, began performing live at the age of 12, so he knows how to entertain. So hurry and tell the boss you need a little mental health break and get to Urban Jazz Violinist | UNO Black History Month because the show starts at 11:30 a.m. Learn more about what’s happening this month at UNO here.

Saturday, Feb. 10: Still trying to find the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for your Valentine? Then head to Bench’s Open House—Valentine’s Day Edition. This collaborative community hub provides space and tools for local artisans, and this weekend you get the chance to check it out and purchase some of their wares. Whether for that aforementioned Valentine, or to add to your own collection, there’s bound to be something to lift your spirits and bring a little much-needed sunshine to your life. Get more info here.

Saturday, Feb. 10: If your interest in pop art is more Kendrick than Kanpai, then this art show may be more your style. The Prince and Michael Jackson Tribute Art Show Opening Reception happens this Saturday at The Get Down Ultra Lounge. Art Pop Omaha is bringing you 15 local artists paying tribute to the purple one and the gloved one, respectively. Come early to mingle with the talent before the dancing starts. Don’t stop ‘til you get enough. Dress the part, and you might just win a prize, so go crazy and check out more here.

Sunday, Feb. 11: Abandon all things traditionally associated with the upcoming holiday and show your love for nature by attending Love at First Flight: Valentine’s Day Edition of Raptors…Live! Check out Fontenelle Forest’s beautiful birds of prey and learn more about them from “raptor ambassadors” and experts. Predators love too, so head out and show them a little love this weekend. This event starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Swoop on over here for more details and to check out other events at the forest.


Obviously Omaha

December 27, 2016 by
Photography by Contributed

The month of February is an often-underappreciated time on the calendar of many Midwesterners. The cold temperatures, the snow—the long winter season is almost behind us, but the warm promise of spring still out of reach. However, shift perspective a smidge, and you might find a hidden gem or two in this fantastic metropolis. OpenTable.com certainly did when they awarded Omaha one of the Nation’s Most Romantic Cities in 2016.

From the newly dating to the “old married couples,” we have your go-to guide for all things romantic in honor of St. Valentine. Cupid’s arrow is guaranteed to strike and captivate your sweetheart when you pull one of these activities out of your inventory.

oldmarketHorse-drawn carriage rides
Omaha’s Old Market is a charming turn-of-the-century historic district located in downtown Omaha. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and has an active nightlife, including some fine eateries perfect for any date night. What makes this particular area of Omaha unique, however, is its horse-drawn carriage rides (weather permitting, of course). With the beautifully lit, gas lamp-lined, brick-paved streets, a private ride with your Valentine is a fairytale way to end—or begin—an amorous evening.

potteryplaceThat Pottery Place
Which pottery place? That Pottery Place (yes, that’s its name) is a great place for Valentine’s Day, especially for creative, artsy couples. Duos are welcome to bring in their favorite beverage and snacks to enjoy while they paint pre-fired ceramic sculptures of their choosing. The ceramics include everything from dinnerware to piggy banks that are just in need of a splash of color and a pinch of imagination. Pick out something to paint for each other, and unveil your masterpiece to your sweetheart. Ask about their Valentine’s Day discounts when booking.

cookingclassCouples Cooking Classes
Omaha is home to some of the nation’s most influential chefs and renowned restaurants, so it makes sense that learning from the best is the way to go if you are looking to improve your culinary skills—or simply have a good time together. Upscale cookware and grocery boutiques like the Grey Plume and Williams-Sonoma offer cooking classes, some of which are led by famous chefs. Call in advance to check their events, and book in advance to reserve a spot—especially this time of year.

lauritzengardensLauritzen Gardens
Experience one of the most inimitable romantic dinners in Omaha at Lauritzen Gardens. Among its intimate surroundings, guests dine on a three-course meal and a glass of wine for $55 per person. The ambiance is what makes this a distinctive Valentine’s Day date idea, but the food is exquisite as well. Taking your plans one step further, the gardens are also the perfect place to pop the big question. Reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner opened December 1, 2016. Spots fill up quickly, so call now.

orpheumThe Orpheum Theater
Omaha’s Orpheum Theater has served the arts community for nearly a century. A cornerstone of the city’s cultural history, this former vaudeville house was constructed in 1927, and has since been restored impeccably. Its lavish décor and architecture, and its resounding acoustics make this elegant performing arts venue an incredibly romantic place to enjoy a show. The evening of Valentine’s Day, the Orpheum is showing Elvis Lives, a multimedia and live musical journey across Elvis’ life that highlights the King’s greatest moments. Think quirkiness and class all rolled into one unique Valentine’s Day idea.

Valentine’s Day is for the Dogs

January 20, 2015 by and

Now that our kids are in junior high, they don’t have those Valentine’s Day class parties. For Chris and I, romance has digressed into the form of a nap. In lieu of all the typical celebrations, we make Valentine’s Day a proclaimed day of love for our dog.

I love all dogs and their furry souls. A dog walks by me, and I immediately inquire about the name of the dog, the breed, its age, and its personality. I’m always curious about a dog’s connection to their human.

Before kids, or even marriage, we had Farley the Wonderdog, a 125 pound, loyalty-and-gentle-giant of a black lab. Since I was vetoed on letting him be in our wedding party, Farley was represented at our wedding with a custom-made cake topper. Once the babies arrived, our Farley became our personal service dog. He cleaned up anything on the floor. He would assess the extent of my cooking project and man his station right next to the cutting board.

When the kids learned to crawl, he’d keep them corralled. And when they’d get too close, he’d lick them until they toddled away. When they learned to walk, he’d keep an eye on them and then get out of their way, lacking in their judgment of newfound confidence in their upright adventures. On occasion, he’d knock them down with a whap of his tail, just to remind them who’s really in charge.

My kids were 9 years old when we made the heartbreaking decision to put Farley down. They grew up with him. Farley taught us that we have room in our hearts to love dogs. He taught me the profound and still perplexing lesson that dogs will take any love you give them and reciprocate with an exponentially greater rate.

And that is true love. It’s a give of everything you have—regardless if you have thumbs or not. Farley also taught us to clear all food up to six feet high, and hide all shoes. But mostly, he taught us that we have room in our hearts to love another dog.

So that’s when we rescued Maybee. The word “maybe” initiates hope to a child. Our furry family member, Maybee, is a sign of hope and possibilities for all great things to our family. Maybee is a herding dog, and for the first year we had her, she kept the kids in line by nipping them on their backside. I love this dog.

As it stands now, I’m trying to decide if we saved Maybee or if she saved us. Either way, we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with our sweet, smart, and beautiful dog. Instead of chocolate and Sweethearts, we’ll take a romantic stroll in the park and give her doggy treats and a rawhide. Thank you, Maybee! We love you!


V-Day Photobooth

January 19, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Valentine’s Day has always felt backwards to me. My idea of romance looks more like hiking through the woods rather than a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a teddy bear (not that I’ll ever turn down chocolate). So you can understand the eye-rolling that occurred as I researched Valentine’s Day DIY projects earlier this month. After scrolling through a sea of cutesy pink construction paper, I didn’t see a thing that I would be proud to put my name on. So I decided to ditch the frilly love letters, and bring out the gold and glitter for a glam V-Day photobooth environment.


  • Colored paper
  • Scissors/ Blade
  • Cutting board
  • Large cardboard box
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glitter
  • Hole Punch
  • String


  1. Choose your colors. Since I’m not one for red and pink, I picked out three large pieces of paper in white, beige, and brown.
  2. If you are doing this with kids, you can draw hearts and cut them out with scissors. If it is just you, do what I did and draw the hearts with a blade. With this many hearts to cut out, it will save you a lot of time.
  3. Lay out a few of the hearts on a large cardboard box, or something to protect your floors. I would recommend doing this step in your garage or in an area that has ventilation. Apply spray adhesive and sprinkle glitter on each heart. Let dry, flip, and repeat on other side. The spray adhesive evenly coats the paper, and keeps it from warping while drying.
  4. Punch holes in all the hearts. Holes don’t have to be in one place. Punching holes in different places on the hearts will cause them to hang in whimsical ways.
  5. Cut about 4-5 feet of string, and tie a few hearts to each string.
  6. Hang strings from the ceiling in front of a blank surface, and you’ve got yourself a perfect photobooth for your Valentine’s Day party.


Be very careful when transporting these bad boys. They tangle easily, and we all know tangles lead to profanities. You don’t want to look up to see every other mom in the room with their jaws on the floor, covering their child’s ears. Keep cool and keep organized




Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2014 by

Growing up in a Catholic elementary school, we took notice of holidays with religious connections, mostly involving saints. However, as a younger child, Valentine’s Day did not seem to fit into that religious holiday category. February 14th, skipped over as a feast day by most, is originally known as St. Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine was a Christian priest in the third century, living in Rome. The Roman emperor at that time, Claudius II, decided that single men would be more useful for fighting, not falling in love. He issued a law forbidding the marriage of any young man. Valentine would not put up with this new rule, so he began to perform marriages in secret. Unfortunately, Claudius II found out about Valentine and put him to death.

Now, Valentine’s Day is known as a holiday celebrating love. Not much is remembered about the famous martyr and even less is actually cared about. Most people see it as a day to recognize all the people that you love in your life—and especially that one special person.

For teenagers such as myself, the holiday does not take over our lives. We shouldn’t spend hours upon hours figuring out the right gift and thinking of things to say to get someone else to fall in love with us. If you happen to be in a relationship, then it is perfectly fine to get your girlfriend/boyfriend a little something, but the holiday should not be blown up to be that big of a deal. Much of the reason teenagers like to make a big deal about Valentine’s Day is to make them seem more mature, but, in a sense, they are only mocking the original intent. The holiday is meant to celebrate everyone in real love, so I think we can leave that to the adults.

With all the pink and red hearts floating around, the holiday can be pretty cheesy, but there is some good to it. For adults, it is a great day to show their love for each other. Kids, well, just stick to the hearts and candy.

Daniel Jewell is a student at Mount Michael Benedictine School.

Finding the Love

February 10, 2014 by

The other day, I did the splits when stepping on my son’s sweatshirt. It should probably be noted that I’ve never done the splits before, so I might have mentioned in a slightly unloving way that he needed to pick his stuff up. Then we had a friend over for dinner, and my sweet, gorgeous daughter reached over my friend and grabbed the drumstick off the chicken and put it on her plate. I was horrified.

I’m really tired of lecturing them though. So I’m going to approach it differently. Maybe their poor housekeeping and manners is an extension of love. I give to you five odd ways that kids express their love for you:

  1. The stall tactics at bedtime. Max and Lucy zone out and move extra slow at the mention of bedtime. They linger in the hallways staring at the walls or have a sudden need to pet the dog. Perhaps they’ve just realized (every night) that the day is over, and they spent a lot of it playing video games or playing with their friends. It’s their way of saying, “But wait, I wanted to hang out with you—I just had 47 other things on my to-do list.” They don’t want their day with you to end. It’s kind of sweet, really. I’m going to try to remember that tonight at bedtime.
  2. “Tuck me in.” This one went on for a long time at our house. To the point where us jerks-for-parents would say things like, “I already tucked you in—go to sleep!” Maybe that’s what’s comforting to them—to see your face right before drifting off to dreamland. Whatever the case, one day they’ll stop asking. And it’ll hurt way more than it inconvenienced you when they were asking to tuck them in.
  3. Leaving shoes, socks, and sweatshirts on the floor. How do they just walk out of their shoes mid-stride like that? Maybe they’re doing it because they feel so secure and comfortable in the home you’ve created. Okay, this one is a stretch, and my kids should find a way to just directly express their love for me—or someone is going to get hurt with this expression of love.
  4. Grabbing at food like wild savages before you pray or say “go!” If you’re like me, there’s not enough food in the house that could qualify as being enough…ever. You made the meal for them with love. Consider them eating it with such vigor as the reciprocation of love.
  5. They ask for tiger time or tickle time. Our kids both loathe being tickled. But they see the joy it brings us to all interact in some chaotic dog pile/giggly torture. Tiger time is when our kids ride around on our backs, and we crawl around on all fours. I’m not sure why they picked, of all four-legged creatures, tigers. But who cares. Sadly, the kids are too big to do tiger time any more. But it’s the precision and inside family name when the kids’ request it that shows their love.

So there are five very indirect, slightly far-fetched ways that kids say they love us. I hope this month when we’re celebrating one day of love, we can stop and see the every day love. It’s gotta be in there somewhere.

Love is in the air, 
especially at school.

February 9, 2014 by

This is the month that people rush to buy flowers and chocolates in order to celebrate the love they have found with that “special someone.” However, for those of us working in an elementary school, we may look at this holiday a little differently than the rest.

For us, we take this time to celebrate friendship and positive relationships of all types. We may do this by allowing the children to send special treats to friends or teachers with kind notes attached, or encouraging the students to bring small Valentine greetings to share with their class. This is done to facilitate an appreciation among the students for those people that help make school a nice place for them to spend their days. Yet, school personnel do not wait until February to show love to students. Schools try to do this all year long.

During the nine to 10 months that schools are in session, many different programs are put into place in order to celebrate students and bolster their self-esteem. Awards assemblies are held to recognize students with good grades, students who attend school regularly, and students who are responsible and trustworthy when it comes to their education. Programs are also put into place that celebrate students who are good citizens, respectful, kind, and simply make the school an enjoyable place for others. Schools also make sure that children support other children by holding food drives for needy families, collecting coats and winter gear during the colder months to donate to other children, and supporting letter-writing campaigns to soldiers (who are also students’ parents) who are away from home serving their country.

All of these things give students a sense of pride and accomplishment. This leads the way to further academic and personal success in their lives, and it helps them spread and receive lots of love!

Exploring Omaha on Valentine’s Day

February 7, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the love and letting your spouse, your children, your friends—even your dog—know that you care.

But when it comes to Valentine’s Day celebrations, it can be a little difficult to share the wealth when you find yourself stuck in the stereotypical rut of chocolate, flowers, and the same dinner at your favorite restaurant every year.

Home to dozens of distinct neighborhoods, Omaha offers hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered, as well as classic landmarks that might be overlooked on Valentine’s Day.

Meghan Francis and Kerry Jones, founders of the Omaha-based blog Wise Owl + Sly Fox, brainstormed some unique Omaha Valentine’s Day activities.

“I guess we’ve always been old souls with old styles, and that’s one great thing about Omaha: There’s just so much history here,” says Francis.

Together, Francis and Jones came up with a Valentine’s Day “tour of Omaha.” Pick and choose from different activities to show loved ones a small portion of all the intimacy, history, and romance that Omaha has to offer.

Get your heart rate up in the morning with a walk or run with your loved one through the Field Club neighborhood. Located along an old railroad bend, the Field Club trail offers visitors a brief glimpse into a bygone era. Although you’ll have to bundle up, the sights of this secluded area include gorgeous ravines, snow-capped trees, and abandoned railroad tracks.

If your partner is a history buff, make a quick stop by the Gerald R. Ford Preservation Center near Hanscomb Park. An exhibition on Ford, the only president to have lived in Omaha, is open by appointment by calling the center’s main phone line at 402-595-1180. The exhibit is available for private viewing Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free of charge. The exhibit features photos of his birthplace, family memorabilia, and gifts given to Ford by world leaders and well-wishing locals.

For lunch, hop on over to Dundee, home to both casual and higher-end fare in an all-accessible setting. Stop by the French Bulldog for something on the trendier side or try Dundee Dell for classic comfort food from an Omaha staple. Both spaces offer comfortable opportunities to spend some time watching the eclectic crowd of Dundee.


If you’re looking for an afternoon activity once the kids come home from school, Valentine’s Day crafts are an easy way to get the whole family involved. Francis and Jones suggest making homemade cards.

“We’re big fans of sending things through the mail. It’s just always a fun thing, and it’s something that we don’t do a lot in this day and age,” says Francis.

“Send them to your grandma, your single aunt, veterans at the VA hospital, whoever,” adds Jones.

For crafting supplies, head out to South-Central Omaha. David M. Mangelsen’s has been stocking Omaha’s crafting closets since 1961, and is an easy stop to find any Valentine’s Day-related arts and crafts supplies you could think of. A few hours coloring, gluing, and bedazzling might expose some hidden creativity among the family.

If you want to end your night with a more traditional Valentine’s Day celebration, spend the night in the Old Market, which is home to a host of restaurants that offer the quintessential romantic dinners by candlelight. Francis and Jones’ personal favorite is La Buvette, a French-style café and grocer.

For some after-dinner entertainment, look to the Omaha art scene. Many of the Old Market’s art galleries, including the Passageway Gallery and Anderson O’Brien Fine Art, are open until 9 p.m. on Fridays for some late-night shopping.

Although, after a whirlwind day around Omaha, you might want to hit the sack early.

Make Any Photo a Great Gift

January 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Framing a photo for your special someone can make for a great Valentine’s Day gift. But why just settle for a regular frame and print when you can get creative with your gift? Canvas prints, puzzles, t-shirts—you name it! There are plenty of unique ways to share photos with your sweetheart this holiday.

Rockbrook Camera

If you’re thinking about getting a big photo gift, consider Rockbrook Camera’s wall-size Presentation Print or Gallery Wrapped Canvas Print. They’ll print from negatives, slides, prints, or digital files. Canvases come in Rolled Canvas, Stretched, or Gallery-Wrapped Canvas, and Textured Fine Art Prints. The service time for a canvas print is three working days for unstretched and five working days for stretched or gallery-wrapped. Depending on the size and the type of canvas, projects can range from $49.99 to $269.99.

But Rockbrook Camera has more than just canvas prints for photo gifting—they also have photo memorabilia options. You can have photos crafted into a beautifully bound 11×8½ book. Covers come in black, royal blue, burgundy, or metallic silver, and cost $29.99 for 20 pages or $39.99 for 40 pages. You can also have photos printed onto puzzles ($13.99 for 110-piece or $26.99 for 252-piece), t-shirts ($16.99-19.99), woven pillows ($75.99 for 17×17), woven throw ($129.99 for 50×60), ceramic mugs ($12.99-16.99), and many more gifts.

Rockbrook Camera at Rockbrook Village
2717 S. 108th St.
M-F/9am-7pm; Sat/9am-5pm; Sun/12-5pm

Rockbrook Camera at Legacy
2909 S. 169th Plz., Ste 100
M-F/9am-7pm; Sat/9am-5pm; Sun/12-5pm


If you’re more of an online bargain hunter, check out CanvasPop, which often has great deals on its photo gifts. Since 2009, CanvasPop has been providing customers with the highest quality canvas photo prints anywhere. Unlike other photo printing locations, CanvasPop can create canvas prints from images beyond negatives and digital files. They can actually access your Facebook or Instagram accounts or pull photos directly from your mobile phone! With every canvas print you order, CanvasPop can also send you a free digital proof by e-mail so that you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Depending on the size, the type of canvas, and the framing, photo projects with CanvasPop can range from $30 to $419 (not including the flat rate of $14 for shipping and handling). If your order over $150, however, you can get free shipping. And if you don’t love it, CanvasPop will either reprint it or give you your money back.

CanvasPop also has multiple options for photo presentation. Photo collages can incorporate 3-20 photos (starting at $60); photo mosaics can incorporate 9-200 photos (starting at $60); and panoramic photo prints are available in 18×48, 24×72, or any custom size.