Amanda McLoughlin–Advice for Flower Arrangers

I’d like to welcome Amanda McLoughlin to the blog. Thanks for being with us. Can you tell us your occupation?
I am a Mompreneur – I’m a stay at home mom who is working to start my own event planning business and blog.

How old are you?
I’m turning the big 3-0 next month, and having a unicorn themed birthday party. Why grow up just because you’re growing older?

Where do you live?
Hendersonville, North Carolina

Do you have a website or a blog or anything where people can learn more about you?
I have a blog on my business site where I talk about party planning, DIY, recipes, and more – merrymakinglady.com (my other social media accounts are listed there).

I also have a YouTube channel.

How did you get involved in event planning?
I’ve loved putting parties together about as long as I have loved performing. In high school and college I often had a themed get together for my friends. Since then I have helped out close friends and relatives when they’ve needed to put together a shower, party, or wedding. While I like performing, my big passion in the theatre was stage managing because I love to problem solve and create. Event planning uses many of the same skills that theatre does, and with two small children I don’t have as much time in the evenings to do theatre. I do still have that passion for the creative!
I also know what it’s like to host an event on a limited budget, so I decided I could help people put together something beautiful even if they don’t have tons of funds. Thus, Lady Amanda’s Merrymaking was born!

Your favorite meal would be?
Many different rolls of sushi, followed with some strawberry cheesecake.

Pet peeve?
People who use “literally” when what they say is not literal.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
I’ve been a lifelong fan of the Chronicles of Narnia books. I also enjoy anything Sherlock Holmes related – the Doyle books of course. I also enjoy the BBC TV series.

What do you think of the movie adaptations of the “Narnia” books?
I really enjoyed “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” I thought that movie did a wonderful job of building the world of Narnia. The children were great and Tilda Swinton was fantastic. I wasn’t very impressed with “Prince Caspian,” but I did enjoy the Dawn Treader film.
“Voyage of the Dawn Treader” is my favorite of the books. Of course one of the main reasons I love the books is the allegory, which isn’t as obvious in the films. They are fun as fantasy films.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for……?
Guidance for the big leap I’m taking in starting my own business!

Tell us about your family?
I’m married and we have two beautiful children. I met my husband Christopher doing Shakespeare in the Park.
My daughter Ruth is three and loves to paint, sing, and dance (another performer in the making!) and my son Gideon is turning one on the 18th
– he’s a handful! (In a good way)

We also have a Treeing Walker Hound named Irene Adler.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
As the mother of two young children, I want my answer to this to be sleep. But, I’d honestly probably use that time to craft and create!

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I once danced onstage with a Rod Stewart impersonator while he sang “Hot Legs.” I enjoy making flower arrangements, I love visiting aquariums, and I have been involved in theatre for half of my life.

What’s the appeal of aquariums, and is there a favorite or memorable one you could tell us about?
I’m intrigued by the vastness of the ocean and the variety of the creatures that dwell there! There is something almost otherworldly about them. I particularly love jellyfish and leafy & weedy sea dragons.

The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga is my favorite! Here are some photos I took of jellyfish and weedy sea dragons on a visit in 2012.

How did you get involved in theatre?
When I was a wee one I enjoyed organization and performing in one way or another. I would get speaking roles in elementary school pageants because I could memorize things easily. I was also often involved in Christmas plays and the like for my church. My cousin and I wore out our copies of “The Importance of Being Earnest” reading them together.
So it’s no great surprise that I stumbled into the world of theatre.

I didn’t become really involved until high school. I had signed up to take Drama I the second semester of my freshman year, but wasn’t thinking much about it that first semester. My friend (also an Amanda) invited me to come to drama club with her one day after school during last period and I agreed. I went to that one meeting, volunteered to be part of the run crew of the upcoming show – and that was it. I was hooked. I then went on to perform and work tech for many shows in school and in community and professional theatre.

Thanks much! Can I ask you to offer some advice to flower arrangers?
The most important thing to know about flower arranging is – anyone can do it! I’m sure many of you who are reading think you could never make a beautiful bouquet – but each person has their own eye and it can be a great stress relief. I am in no way a professional, but I have helped create arrangements for friend’s weddings and parties. If you’re interested in trying – go for it!

A few tips to make cut flowers last longer: Cut the stems at an angle, and remove any leaves below the water line. You may laugh at this, but try lightly spraying the flowers with hairspray – particularly the underside. Store them in the fridge, and change the water often.

Use lime green foliage when you need to add something but you’re not sure what – it goes with any kind of arrangement (so I’ve heard).

Amanda, thank you for being with us on the blog. May God guide you with your family and with the business ventures.