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Thanks for checking out our Blog!  We're the team of RainbowWeddingNetwork (Marianne & Cindy, Ira and Lauren) and we love to post on a variety of subjects:
Current Events, Insights about LGBTQ Wedding Trends, Parenting Resources, LGBTQ-related Celeb News, Inspiration from Couples and Stories around the World!

Enjoy the posts, and always feel free to message us with any feedback through Facebook:  www.facebook.com/RWNcom

To learn more about who we are, visit the About Us page!

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Bella Fiori c Will Hollis Photography

Q&A with Rebecca Frazier-Smith, Texas Master Florist
Bella Fiori of Austin, TX

RWN: As a floral designer, what are some of the current trends you're finding popular with regard to florals for weddings and receptions?
Rebecca:  Cascade bouquets are back in a big way! The trending favorite look is pretty wild, natural, fresh-picked-from-a-field, etc., with asymmetrical lines and lots of textures. Same feel for receptions: wild lines, looking like they were just picked and simply arranged in a footed bowl right before everyone turned up… Needless to say, the underlying mechanics that make it look so freshly-picked are anything but simple! Personally, I love the current trend. So different from the tight little round bouquets that were trending ten years ago!

RWN: What are some of your personal favorite florals or design styles to work with?
Rebecca:  I do love starting with hydrangea as a bouquet base, and then adding other things to create the character of the piece. Hydrangea works so well with every other kind of cut flower, and even takes a light spray tint well. So versatile. And since I can’t grow them here in Austin, it makes me super happy when I get to work with them and be around them!

RWN: How did you get started as a floral designer?
Rebecca:  I grew up on a family farm just outside Springfield, Missouri. I was the oldest of four kids, and was four years older than my nearest sibling, so my parents relied on me quite a lot to help out on the farm. I learned so much about gardening (the veg kind and the flower kind) and while I didn’t appreciate it as a kid, I do SO appreciate that knowledge now, and I have a deep love and respect for growing things. In college I took a design course and realized I had an aptitude for spatial relations and color harmony, so I continued to develop those gifts at the Benz School of Floral Design here in Texas and the Floral Design Institute in Seattle.

RWN: What inspires you with your work?
Rebecca:  There are so many things I find inspiring in working with flowers; too many to name. Today, it is the magnificent sunshine coming through my studio window, making the colors of these coral snapdragons and blue cornflowers just POP so exquisitely. They don’t even look real.

RWN: How long have you and your husband been advocates for the LGBTQ community? Why?
Rebecca:  Fairness and equality are big issues in our house. As humanists, we believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, responsibility. We strive to work for the common good of humanity and we attempt always to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, class, orientation, ethnicity, etc. There is no “Other,” there is only us. Our LGBTQ family is no less deserving of the rights and protections afforded to legally married couples. We have fought for marriage equality since long before we were married.

RWN: Tell us about one or two of your favorite LGBTQ wedding experiences.
Rebecca:  There was this darling couple who’d been together for over 30 years who could finally legally marry, and I took them a couple of surprise bouquets over to the courthouse on their wedding day. One of the ladies was an alto in my community choir; she was just the most darling lady, always a smile, always a kind word. I have to admit, watching the two of them say their vows to each other was SO powerful… To think these two darlings had been denied the right to marry for so long made my blood boil, and to see them wed was such an incredible joy… I admit I sobbed like a ninny! 😊

RWN: A favorite quote you’d like to share with our readers?
Rebecca:  I have this on the back of my business cards and elsewhere in my marketing materials; if you think about it, it applies to so much in life, not just what we choose to do in our vocation but also how we conduct ourselves daily: ”Let the beauty we love be what we do,” - Rumi

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Bella Fiori of Austin, TX
Rebecca Frazier-Smith, Texas Master Florist
512-933-9243
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.bellafioriofaustin.com

 

 

 

For Immediate Release                                                                     CONTACT:      Alex Haurek

May 10, 2018                                                                                                 (202) 225-2361
                                                                                                                                                 

         

Velázquez, Clarke Demands Answers After Trump’s
SBA Deletes LGBT Web Resources

 

Washington, DC- Late yesterday, two key Members of Congress wrote the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), pressing the agency on why it has deleted online resources that previously existed to assist Lesbian, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) entrepreneurs. In the Tuesday missive, House Small Business Committee Ranking Member Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) asked the SBA Administrator why the pages were removed in January of last year, shortly after Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“Erasing these resources from SBA’s website shortchanges gay, lesbian and transgender Americans who happen to be among our nation’s most successful small business owners,” said Velázquez. “The fact that this move took place shortly after Donald Trump came into office raises troubling concerns and, as the Committee of jurisdiction, we intend to get to the bottom of how this happened and see the situation rectified, quickly.”  

“I am deeply concerned by the SBA’s removal of its LGBTQ Outreach Page,” said Clarke. “While we were originally assured that this page was removed for routine construction, enough time has passed for it to be back up and running again. The SBA must explain why it has taken so long to address this issue and make its intentions clear toward the LGBTQ community going forward.”

Over one year ago, shortly after the inauguration of President Trump, Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Small Business pressed Small Business Administration (SBA) officials over the disappearance of LGBT resource pages on SBA’s website. At the time, Committee Staff were reassured that the pages would be reactivated in the near future, yet they remain missing. In their letter, Velázquez and Clarke ask for any instructions the SBA may have received from other parts of the Administration with regards to the LGBT resource pages.

The full text of the letter is below. For a PDF, click here.

 

May 9, 2018

 

The Honorable Linda McMahon
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 3rd Street SW
Washington, DC 20416

 

Dear Administrator McMahon:

As Members of the House Committee on Small Business, we are writing to inquire about a disconcerting change made to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website.  As first reported in January 2017, following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the SBA removed its Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Outreach page.

As you may recall, Democratic Committee staff discussed this issue with SBA staff in August of 2017.  At that time, Committee staff were assured by the agency that the website was under construction with plans to reactivate the webpage in the near future. 

It has now been over a year since these resources were taken down. Other pages that were also under construction are already up and running. This is deeply troubling and renews our concern that this page’s removal may have been politically or ideologically motivated, rather than simply administrative.

As you may know, the nation’s nearly 28 million small businesses, only 964 are certified LGBT Business Enterprises, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Despite their low numbers, these firms contribute over $1.1 billion to the U.S. economy and realize an average of $2.5 million in revenue each year – almost triple that of other small firms.

When considering all 1.4 million LGBT businesses, their offerings are even more staggering with nearly $2 trillion in economic contributions. While most start-ups generally close before their fourth year, the LGBT small entities have been in business an average of 12 years. Data like this strongly suggests LGBT businesses are a critical segment of the nation’s small business community and a powerful force for the economy.

You may recall that in 2016, the SBA made history by selecting an NGLCC-certified LGBT business as the small business of the year during that year’s National Small Business Week. This milestone highlighted SBA’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs of all types, no matter their location or background.  Sadly, removal of these webpages suggests the agency may be reversing this progress.

According to reports, the webpages have been missing since at least January 25, 2017. Specifically, those pages are https://www.sba.gov/content/lgbt-outreach and https://www.sba.gov/about-sba-navigation-structure/lgbt-outreach. Additionally, the LGBT Business Certification page redirects to the nonfunctioning LGBT Outreach page. Since January, the SBA stated “with any new administration coming in, websites throughout the federal government are currently under construction and review. As more policies are developed the websites will be populated with more information.”

It has now been over a year and much of the general SBA website has been updated. This raises troubling questions about why these pages were removed and, equally important, were not prioritized for replacement. 

We are therefore requesting that you submit responses to the following questions:

 

Why were these pages originally removed? Was the SBA instructed by White House staff, the Office of Management and Budget or other Trump Administration officials to remove the LGBT Outreach and Certification pages? Please provide any correspondence between the SBA and OMB or the SBA and the White House related to these pages, the decision to remove them and why they have not yet been replaced.

 When will the outreach be replaced and will it still contain useful information and resources to address the needs of LGBT small businesses?

It appears that pages targeting resources to minority, women and veteran business owners remained intact on the agency’s page. Is there a reason that the web pages for LGBT-owned businesses were targeted for removal, while these other pages were left intact?

Will the LGBT Certification page be restored to provide materials and information related to SBA’s partnership with LGBT-owned businesses?

Is the SBA continuing to partner with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to provide strategic outreach to LGBT business owners?

Will the agency commit to continuing to engage with LGBT businesses?

 

Please provide a written response no later than May 22nd.

Sincerely,

Nydia M. Velázquez                                                   Yvette D. Clarke                    
Ranking Member                                                        Member of Congress 

 

In 2007, eight young entrepreneurs founded ONEHOPE Wine, and sold 168 cases of their product, with homemade labels, out of the trunks of their cars.  Their vision was to sell amazing wine and donate a sizeable percentage of the profit back to social and community based causes, providing the wine connoissueur the opportunity to make a real difference with each purchase.

Their mission statement reads:  "ONEHOPE is a lifestyle brand with a world-class vineyard in the heart of Napa.  We give back and create a measurable impact through every product in our family of brands.

Our story is one that inspires the common person; epitomizes entrepreneurship; defies odds; and positions women and small businesses as the leaders of the most important movement in the country.  At ONEHOPE we believe consumers want to make a social impact with their everyday lifestyle choices, so we are building a brand that allows them to do that with a platform that is helping other businesses do it too."

And real impact?  Indeed!  After that auspicious start in 2007, in the following year ONEHOPE sold over 1000 cases and donated over $25,000.  By 2009, the company had begun to collaborate with Robert Mondavi Jr. and by 2013 ONEHOPE launched on Amazon and still holds the #1 placement on the site for selling wine.

Here are some of the options when you purchase a bottle:

 

  • Sparkling Brut Rainbow Edition from the Glitter Collection (Every four bottles sold funds 1 hour of operational costs for a help line to assist LGBTQ youth in crisis, through a contribution directly to the Trevor Project)

  • Pinot Noir (Every case helps one animal find their forever home, through the ASPCA)

  • Merlot (One bottle provides life changing medicine to one child in need, through the charitable organization End7)

  • Sauvignon Blanc (Each case provides the planting of six trees, through Trees4Trees)

  • Carneros Reserve Chardonnay from the Reserve Collection (Every bottle helps end bullying and other crises through counseling services via the Crisis Text Line)

  • Reserve GSM (Each case reunites one veteran with a sense of purpose by leading and organizing natural disaster relief through Team Rubicon)

  • Sparkling Brut (Every case funds 25 meals to a child in need, via WhyHunger)


...And the list goes on and on! 

Additionally, any couple who purchases ONEHOPE wine for their wedding will receive 30% off the listed price for a full case (12) and 18% off for a half case (6).  But what's even better is that 10% of THEIR PURCHASE can be donated to a cause of THEIR choice!

Check out the website for full details, or meet their staff in person at RainbowWeddingNetwork.com's upcoming LGBTQ Wedding Expo in Houston on Sunday September 17th!

 

https://www.viaonehope.com/TheBenevolentWine

 

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