Much like the merits of a good haircut, fancy-ass cheese boards, French bath oils with names we can't pronounce and a well-fitting, beautifully made bra, flowers are just one of those little things that for us make all the difference in our day-to-day. Much like the latter, they make your life instantly Instagram-friendly (whatever, you were thinking it too), and in this weather, the potent, placebo-like effects on our mood are palpable. And given that they're staples in the homes of everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Emily Schuman to Miranda Kerr, Amy Astley, Adam Glassman, Rumi Neely... yeah, pretty much everyone ever, we dare you not to find reason to throw some $8 tulips in a mason jar and feel the teensiest bit better every time you see them.
Fast forward to the afternoon we spent with Eric Buterbaugh, the Beverly Hills-based florist behind TheBouqs, which, not going to lie, is essentially the online flower service of our dreams, sending your bouquets straight from farms in South America the day of your order. Eric has created floral arrangements for the likes of everyone from Nicole Richie to Salma Hayek to Demi Moore to Princess Beatrice (you know, the one with the insane hats?) to CHANEL and Dior.
While stopping by Buterbaugh's eponymous floral shop at The Four Seasons, we tasked him with putting together three Valentine's Day arrangements—you know, in lieu of Kiki de Montparnasse paddles and Charlotte Olympia clutches—for three of the, ahem, favorites in your life: your Drake-lyric-worthy ex, your judgmental in-law, and one for your secret crush. Or to, uh, send to yourself at the office with an anonymous note, if you completely lack all and any self-awareness.
As Buterbaugh got down to work, he filled us in on his (unreal) career so far, a few floral faux-pas and oh yeah, that time he became besties with Naomi Campbell. "Being in my late 20's and working with Versace was an amazing experience—Versace was the king! I always remember the times at the Ritz in Paris, glamorous shows with rock stars, movie stars, then the most amazing after parties. Naomi [Campbell] and I became friends when she was 16. We have been close since then—she is loyal, lovely and lively!"
So how exactly does one go from Versace prints to peonies (white are his favorite)? "I had been living in London working for Versace, and then Valentino and wanted go move out of fashion. I moved back to London to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up, and a friend was having a party and I said, 'Oh, I'll do the flowers!' It was fun and everyone was calling her to ask who had done them. She gave people my number as a joke. Somehow I did a couple of things for Hollywood types and loved it... the rest is history!"
All Vanity Fair-worthy anecdotes aside, our visit to Buterbaugh's wasn't without its lessons in all things botanical.
Why should you snip away at the stems of fresh flowers, for instance? “[The stem] clots up like if you cut your arm and had a scab on it. It doesn’t pull water anymore, so if you cut it, it starts pulling water again. Another way is to put a few drops of bleach in the water. The feeder stuff [that you get with the bouquet] is something of a dry bleach." The more you know.
In between dispensing flower life-lengthening tips and spilling his distaste for lilies, Buterbaugh brought our vision of three distinctive bouquets to life.
Classic red roses for your ex ("the really love-birdie ones, they always want red. At Valentines, probably half the orders are red"), orange roses for your judgmental mother-in-law ("It’s friendly, but there could just be a little touch of fire. Just as a ‘wink, wink, wink’ because the orange is sort of a fiery color, so you have just that touch of ‘Happy Valentine’s Day, b*tch’") and white ranunculus ("pure as the driven snow") for your secret admirer. It's the thought that counts, right?