I was having a casual email exchange with new AML friend Donna O’Brien, owner and creative director of Northern Liberties floral boutique Beautiful Blooms, a few weeks ago when O’Brien mentioned she was single. I was surprised…and secretly excited! The 44-year-old blond bombshell is as pretty as she is personable, bubbly as she is brilliant and as kind as she is cool. A few minutes later, I had successfully snagged Donna as the first fabulous female in our new series, Sensational Singles. Two days later, we were chit-chatting away on the phone about O’Brien’s life as a successful businesswoman in one of Philly’s hippest neighborhoods.
With a slew of friends and business connections throughout the city and suburbs, Donna is a social butterfly tackling on Phillies game, her favorite BYO or her gorgeous garden. Her day-to-day duties with Beautiful Blooms has O’Brien designing breathtaking centerpieces for Main Line and Philadelphia clients, weddings and events fresh out of her new Northern Liberties storefront. So, that leaves little time for finding Mr. Right!
But Beautiful Blooms regulars do know there is one special man that is always by Donna’s side. T.J-her beloved one-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog and BFF- is her 120 pound constant companion. Tucker was O’Brien’s first Bernese Mountain Dog that she adopted after going through a divorce three years ago. Tucker passed away suddenly at the age of one. “I wasn’t quite ready to get another dog. It took some time, it was very tough. But, T.J. helped to introduce me to the neighborhood in Northern Liberties. I would get stopped all the time (when I first adopted him) on the street and in the dog park because you just don’t see a lot of Bernese Mountain Dogs around. Now everybody says ‘You are T.J.’s mom!’ People laugh that I don’t have the pocketbook dog. He is a big teddy bear. And, he is very protective of me-if someone comes to the door his bark makes it sound like he is going to eat the person. But T.J. is a gentle giant; don’t let his appearance fool you!”
Get To Know Donna
Occupation: Owner and Creative Director of Beautiful Blooms (a Floral and Décor Company) and Beautiful Blooms Boutique
The ‘A’ Team: Donna and good friend Kendall Brown (of Eclatante Designs) are well known around the Main Line. They are considered the region’s dynamic event and floral design duo. Their retail spaces face each other in their NoLibs space.
Height: 5’ 31/2”
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Brown
Nationality: Irish & Polish, mother is German, dad has some English heritage
Faith: Not really practicing, but Catholic
Hometown: London (spent 6 years of my life growing up there), then Yardley, PA
High School: Pennsbury High School
College: F.I.T., Associates in fashion merchandising and buying
Currently Resides: Northern Liberties area of Philadelphia
Morning Show: I am a total Today Show person! I am usually at work very early, but if I can catch it between getting ready, taking T.J. for a walk and starting my day, I do.
Green Thumb: Philadelphia Home recently photographed Donna’s gorgeous yard for an upcoming feature.
In A NutShell: I am an old fashioned girl…thought I’d be married for ever but it didn’t work out that way and that is okay. I actually started this business when I was not so happy and when I got divorced I put everything into building my company. It really paid off and I love what I do. I have an amazing team that works with me. I love being outdoors…golfing, hiking, kayaking, running, walking but I also enjoy trying new restaurants, reading (haven’t had much time for that lately), traveling, wine tasting (need to get back to Sonoma one of these days) and am pretty much open to most things…not hand gliding or parachuting though!
Family Gal: I am very close with my parents, who now live in Florida. They come up about three times a year for a visit and they are just wonderful. I’m also very close to my aunt and uncle that live in the Outer Banks and I love going to visit them. My other aunt and uncle and my brother are local, so it is nice to spend time with them too.
Working Girl: I work constantly with my business, I am usually at my office or out at a wedding, party, scouting locations–you name it. But, I also have a great circle of friends and enjoy spending time with them, so usually when I am out and about I am not meeting new people because we are all so busy catching up.
Twist of Fate: Donna’s former roommate met his fiancé moments after he walked out the door one day. “I believe in fate. You just never know what the day will bring.”
Describe What You Are Looking For In A Man: Someone that makes me laugh, that is kind and caring, someone that understands who I am and appreciates me for that and doesn’t try to change me. Someone that likes to keep in shape, that I can talk to and share anything with. And, most importantly, someone that is willing to try just about anything, a man who is honest and open and likes dogs (I’ve got a big one).
Miss Manners: Chivalry is not dead in my world. I love a door being held for me, the car door being opened for me…manners matter.
My Idea of A Great First Date: An activity is always good so it keeps you busy. Maybe wine tasting and then dinner, hiking and then a picnic. I like creativity but it doesn’t have to be over the top. Scavenger hunt?
Last Relationship: I’m now divorced for three years but did date someone for a year after that. I have been on dates, but nothing has really clicked.
High School Persona: I just arrived from London and so I was known as the most fashionable girl in our school.
Biggest Misconception About Me: I have heard from friends that some guys are overwhelmed or not sure what the right word is….can’t quite handle that I own my own business and know what I want. Just because I have my own business it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to find someone great to date and relax with! Deep down I am just a girl looking for my best friend to share some fun and adventure with.
Favorite Jersey Shore Town: Love Beach Haven, Long Beach Island
My Mother Would Say I Am: A nice girl and worth getting to know. They are very, very proud of me.
My Friends Would Describe Me As: Kind, talented, attractive and fun.
Kiss on A First Date? Sure, but I still believe in the old fashion dating rules-of taking things slowly and getting to know each other.
Favorite Clothing Store: Third Street Habit
Five Songs on Your iPod Right Now: Most of the time I use my Ipod to run with so Lady Gaga’s album, of course the greatest hits of Michael Jackson, Madonna. I love to hang out at home with a great glass of wine and some candles and listen to Nora Jones.
Thing about Philly I love the most is…I spent a lot of time in NYC and I love that Philadelphia is smaller and so much more ‘doable.’ I love that it’s a neighborhood-there are so many fun and amazing things to do here.
Most Attractive Part of A Man: His smile
I Can’t Stand Men Who: Talk about themselves nonstop. Let’s share info and listen to each other….that is how you get to know each other.
Date Deal Breakers: You cannot ask me on a date via a text message. No texting to confirm a date either! Guys should confirm a few days ahead to make sure everything is set. And, I really believe that my date should come pick me up. No meeting halfway–come to my door and drop me back off at the end of the night. This whole texting thing has gotten completely out of control–it is rude!
I Love Men Who: Listen and are honest. Hey, if you go out on a date and realize it is not going anywhere it is best to be upfront instead of ‘I’ll call you’ and never do.
Favorite Food: So many but probably Italian–but then I love Mexican too!
Favorite Cocktail: This is hard it depends on the season, time of day. I love a great glass of wine, love a mimosa with breakfast and sometimes it is a beer or margarita kind of night.
Favorite BYOB In the City: Modo Mio (modomiorestaurant.com), between Second and Front on Girard
Favorite Coffee Shop: One Shot Coffee in Northern Liberties
Best Way to Spend a Sunday Afternoon: Waking up early to go for a run, taking T.J. for a walk. I’d have brunch with friends and then sit back, relax and read a book in my side garden.
When I date a man they can expect: That I am fun, have lots to talk about, like to take care of myself and dress nicely. I really like to do fun things!
Describe The Perfect Guy: I really don’t care what someone does for a living. I love to cook and entertain and be outdoors. It’s more about someone whose personality matches mine. I love to see plays in the city, museums and restaurants…you name it!
You Can Bring Me Flowers: Donna wants to debunk the perception that she would not want (or appreciate) a beautiful bouquet on a first date. She loves flowers, as long as the savvy gentleman discreetly orders them through her staff at Beautiful Blooms!
Donna O’Brien is the Owner and Creative Director of Beautiful Blooms, a Northern Liberties-based Floral and Décor Company. Donna is also on Facebook. Donna can be contacted via her email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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