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The Best Valentines Day Movies

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 30, 2015

It’s that time of year to be mushy and gushy and what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a romantic flick?  Hollywood was founded on the principles of making movies with great love stories that most of us can only dream about.  Some are serious, some are tear jerkers and some are just flat out hilarious with botched relationships and zany hook ups.  The list is long as to what is available within this holiday genre but I can promise you, there is something for everyone no matter what your taste my be.  I have highlighted some of my top favorites over the years that whether if I’m alone or celebrating with that special someone, they are sure to keep my heart entertained! 


Love Stinks (1999)

This one is so good, I almost can’t wait to play the dvd on the 14th – it’s that funny!  “Love Stinks” might be a chick flick but it is brutally honest (and hysterical) within the script, which tells the story of a woman who will stop at nothing to be married.  Starring Tyra Banks, Bill Bellamy, French Stewart and Bridgette Wilson, you’ll be amazed as to what “Chelsea” does to snag a ring from television writer, “Seth” who winds up literally running for his life.  “Love Stinks” is funny, racy and a perfect reminder that sometimes being alone for this holiday is a blessing.


Date Night (2010)

Tina Fey and Steve Carell take on the characters of a bored married couple, stuck in a rut.  With the intention to spice up their love life, the pair head out to a romantic dinner where they run into a case of mistaken identity.  Disaster erupts as they dodge danger around every corner but in the end realize that they make quite a team. 


Valentine’s Day (2010)

If you’ve ever experienced pure havoc on Valentine’s Day, you’re going to really identify with this holiday film treat.  Several single Hollywood couples make up and break up all within the 24 hours of Valentine’s Day.  With goofy mix-ups, romantic attractions, serious defiance and heartbreaking decisions, you’ll learn that finding love has a whole lot to do with both chance and destiny.  The all star cast in this movie alone is reason enough to watch with players including Julia Roberts, Jessica Biel, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper, Kathy Bates, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift and several other heavy hitting Hollywood actors. 


Say Anything  (1989)

This movie might not take place on Valentine’s Day but I’ve never seen a better movie about finding love in the least expected places.  Led my John Cusack and Ione Skye, you can’t help but relate to this sweet high school story about an underdog, Lloyd Dobler who will do anything to connect with the class valedictorian, Diane Court.  The whole movie is reminiscent of teen years and inspires memories of our own high school romances.  Music fans will get an extra bonus from the “Say Anything” soundtrack which still remains famous today twenty years later.

suzie_canale_westwoodSuzie & Rick Canale, Westwood, MA 

Suzie's favorite movie is Say Anything and she is a huge John Cusack fan. 

Tags: Movies, Holiday Movies, #EXFL, Valentines Day

Silently Spoken Project - Boston's Inner City Poet

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

I love reading but I love writing more.  My taste in genres range from children’s books to mysteries, romance to historical fiction but what I really love the most is poetry.  It’s the tempo, the flow, the gentle way that the words bring you softly through a story or thought, which makes prose one of the highest respected forms of writing in the literary industry.  Boston is full of talented poets that use their talents to express feelings, opinions and outlooks on what they experience.  You might find them on their laptops in coffee shops or maybe scribing on a notepad on a bench in the Commons but wherever they find their inspiration, there is no doubt the remarkable perceptions that they give readers.


One Boston poet that has particularly caught my attention is the Silently Spoken Project (J.J. aka JustKnoxx) who uses social media platforms such as Instagram (@silentlyspokenproject) to promote his work.  His primary quote featured on his page, “Even in silence, you have a voice” speaks volumes of his style, which I find to be direct, phrased in strength and refreshingly honest.  While he seems to prefer writing about topics reflecting on themes of love, he has successfully built an archetype that is original and marketable.  One of my favorite’s read, “If you genuinely love someone, don’t ever decorate their eyes with tears, their ears with lies, and their heart with a wound.”


This artist has cleverly been accruing more and more interest on his media sites and continues to grow his following with both men and women (I like how he speaks to both sexes).  In doing a quick search, I’ve already found several web pages showcasing his poetry including Facebook, Iconosquare and Tumblr.  If your looking for a great account to follow, this is the guy to find and from one writer to the next, I’ll be following the silentlyspokenproject to be sure not to miss this Bostonian’s genuine poetic talent.  Best of luck to your future writing endeavors, J.J!

Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA





Tags: The Arts, Artist, Poetry, Poet, #EXFL

The Best 3 Valentine's Day Gifts

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 28, 2015


Valentine’s Day is soon approaching where bright red and pink hearts will be seen everywhere!  Originally named after the Christian Saint, Valentines, February 14th has been celebrated for a long time throughout history that originally dates back five centuries ago.   Although there is much disagreement as to how exactly the holiday came to pass, most agree that it is a day where we share our sentimental feelings with the ones we love.  Bostonian couples are infamous for their appreciation for Valentine’s Day where some dine in the most decadent restaurants within the city, stay in one of our five star hotels or exchange gifts that signify their adoration for their partner.  Right now, Bean Town is gearing up for the excitement, which will fall on the second Saturday of the month.  How do you plan on celebrating Valentine’s this year?  Here are a few ideas to get the romantic creativity flowing.


Sweet Treats

A box of chocolates is nice but it’s not original.  Find out what your honey’s favorite sweet treats are and package them nicely in a heart shaped bag or box.  Gumballs, fireballs, gummy bears, M&M’s, sweet tarts are a few options.  The local “Party” stores have a wide range of packaging selections including an entire aisle dedicated solely for this holiday.  He or she will love the added extra effort, but if you're short on time Exotic Flowers does have traditional heart shaped chocolates along with Godiva gold box in the Exotic Flowers gift bag.


Flowers Are A Must

You know it’s true.  She’ll never forgive you if she doesn’t receive that beautiful bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day but does it have to be the generic red roses thing again?  Don’t get me wrong, they’re pretty and all but why can’t you spark things up this year by doing the unspeakable…ordering something different?  Many floral customers don’t realize that there are a ton of choices out there like tulips, hydrangea, sweet pea, ranunculus, hyacinth and my favorite, orchids.  Some of these varieties last a lot longer than roses and are far more interesting to look at in the long run. (Keep an eye out for more on Valentine’s Day flowers in upcoming articles). 


Something Cuddly

Ok, teddy bears are the number one seller for the month of February but again- I think we can do better.   If you truly want to satisfy an animal lover, why not think about sponsoring an actual animal at the local zoos or aquariums?  Many of these organizations have programs where you can donate a set amount of money to be used for the care and well being of Boston’s animal inhabitants.  Seals, giraffes, gorillas, lions, bears, tigers, elephants, flamingos and so many more need help in funding to maintain their homes.  Contact the Boston Aquarium, Franklin and Stoneham Zoos for more information on how you can help.  Then make sure that you pick up a stuffed toy of the animal you choose to sponsor and watch your Valentine melt over the gesture and the snuggly warm gift. 


suzie_canale_westwoodSuzie and Rick Canale, Westwood, MA 2014

Suzie's husband Rick always designs Suzie's Valentines flowers.

Tags: Chocolates, Valentine's Day, Valentine's Roses, Valentines Day

The Ideal Valentine’s Day Romantic Weekend

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Jan 27, 2015

Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year which means that Bostonians will be vamping up their plans to extend over an entire romantic weekend!  While couples scurry about trying to make their ideal holiday itinerary, some are at their wits ends as to where and what they should do?  Should we stay in the city or venture out towards other New England hot spots?  Should we book a fancy urban hotel sweet or take a drive to one of Massachusetts more secluded locales?  It’s a lot to decide since we all know whats riding on our decisions.  One bad move and we can seriously affect the romantic outcomes of Valentine’s Day so be careful.  Bostonians are lucky though to have so many options at their disposal.  Whether you’re interested in having a beachy, glitzy, snowy or laid back theme to your special weekend, this region has something to offer every sweetheart couple.

 romantic weekend

Ocean Getaway

Just because it’s cold outside, it doesn’t mean that we have to completely omit any ideas of visiting the beach.  New England has some of the most beautiful oceanfront property in the country and believe it or not, can still provide the perfect vacation venue year round, even during the winter.  North Shore destinations include several Gloucester and Rockport inns and hotels including Bass Rocks Ocean Inn and the Vista Motel which both provide breathtaking views of the Atlantic at affordable prices.  If you are traveling south, check out Wequassett Resort & Golf Club in Chatham or Seacrest Beach resort of North Falmouth, Cape Cod.  You won’t be disappointed in these luxurious getaway spots and will still be conveniently close to home!

 smith and hook wine

Housebound Romance

Who says you have to leave the house to have a truly romantic weekend alone with your honey?  Forget about making the beds, washing the dishes and doing the laundry.  Just make a pact that you, as a couple, will spend the entire weekend at home with no one and nothing to take care of but each other.  Stock up on romantic movies, candles from anthropology or terrain and grab a whole bunch of local take out menus to order from.  Make sure you swap the everyday sheets for new silk blankets and stop by your florist for a fresh bouquet of flowers to add to the ambiance.  Pop the cork on a good bottle of wine and your good to go!


Ski Bunny Stay

The slopes may be calling you this Valentine’s Day and since we’re lucky to live in one of the greatest places in the country for skiing, you’re in luck!  Not only are our winter resorts home to stunning white powdered covered landscapes but also provide quite a spread for couples looking for a romantic retreat.  Sitting by stone fireplaces, sipping hot chocolate and even indulging in many of their five star spa packages are definitely things to put on your to-do lists.  Suggested ski resorts for Bostonians are Mt Washington in Bretton Woods, NH (great spa, buffet, pool and game room) and Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vermont (great accommodations and lots of fun things to do in town). 

suzie_canale_westwoodSuzie and Rick Canale, Westwood MA

Suzie and Rick will be spending a romantic evening at their Westwood home on Valentine's Day.

Tags: Wine, #EXFL, Valentines Day, Romance, Beach, Travel, Skiing

How To Survive A Snow Day

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

The snow is piling up outside and inch-by-inch the outlook doesn’t look so hot.  Your family is crowded around the television listening intently to see whether or not school will be closed for the day.  Kids are getting excited while mom and dad shake their heads in fear of the fatal news and then it happens…school is officially closed due to inclement weather.  You start to panic as your children cheer “Snow Day!” with zeal and you wonder how you will make it through a twenty-four hour period trapped in the house?  It’s a familiar situation for many Bostonian families as the winter is flung into full gear.  Blizzards, ice storms and frigid temperatures are all part of the New England package but don’t fret yet.  There are a few sure fire tips to surviving these messy predicaments that will allow you and your children a comfortable, stress free and (dare I say), fun snow day together!



I don’t care what other experts say, food is key to surviving a snow day so make sure that you’ve made a trip to your grocery store before the storm hits.  Stock up on munchies like chips and ice cream, something that is a special treat that you don’t ordinarily buy on a regular basis.  Water, fruits and veggies of course are a staple, but make sure that you have some fun nibbles.  Foods that make the house smell good are also a great idea like pot roasts, Crockpot dishes and marinara sauces.  Baked goods like cupcakes and cookies that you can make together are also smart choices and will help to entertain the troops if boredom sets in.



Never underestimate the power of playing games to whisk away the hours while still spending quality time together.  My favorites are Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Parcheesi and Scrabble.  A deck of cards can come in handy, too and will supply your family with entertaining tournaments of war, go fish, rummy and old maid so always have a deck on hand. 



Along with making a stop to your grocery, don’t forget to drop by your local library for a great selection of DVD’s.  Movies are a wonderful way to pass the time and you’ll be happy with the cost since it’s free.  Trilogies are smart since you can watch one right after the other like Home Alone, Star Wars and Jurassic Park.  Pop up some popcorn and enjoy a great show!


Arts and Crafts

Grabbing a few projects for the kiddos is another fabulous way to get through a snowstorm and can be very inexpensive if you have the right supplies.  Empty egg cartons, pipe cleaners, tissue, construction paper, crayons and paints are a simple way to bulk up your arts and craft inventory.  Browse Pinterst from some great ideas or just let the creativity flow with some fun winter themes like making snowflakes or glitter snowmen!

RICKY_AND_SUZIE_CANALE Suzie, Lance, Rick & Ryan Canale, Westwood, MA 

Suzie works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library. She can help supply you with books and movies to combat any winter storm.

Tags: Movies, Books, Childrens Book, Kids, cooking, January, winter, February

Valentines Day Love Songs

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Jan 24, 2015

Valentine’s Day brings out the largest played genre of music, love songs of course!  The best crooners of all time are played over the loud speakers, adding to the romanticism of the holiday celebrations.  Music is essential for a successful Valentine’s Day and may be so important in fact, that it may be useful to scout out your preferred selections prior to the big day!  For some, easy listening is the way to go and for others, a soulful ballad is a better fit.  Whatever your tastes may be, keep in mind there are love songs that have stood the test of time and have become classics for Valentine’s Day.  Here are the most played tunes for the month of February:


“Still Into You” by Paramore                          “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles

“Little Things” by One Direction                    “Baby Love” by The Supremes

“A Thousand Years” by Christna Perri          “Love Story” By Taylor Swift

“I See the Light” Tangled Soundtrack           “Part-Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder

“To Make You Feel My Love” by Adele        “Don’t Let Go” by En Vogue


If you’re a florist and looking for a Valentine’s Day/Flower themed love song, check out the lyrics to Jim Reeves’ “One Dozen Roses” that shares a sweet tune about placing his heart within a dozen roses for his sweetheart.  The words are beautiful and directly reflect the sentiment that most florists aim to please when making their Valentine’s Day arrangements for clients.  Check out these lyrics and see if it might be the perfect track to play in your stores this holiday!

Give me one dozen roses
, Put my heart in beside them
, Send them to the one I love.

She'll be glad to receive them, 
And I know she'll believe them
, There's something we've been talking of.

There may be orange blossoms later, 
I think that there will
, She's done something to me, 
And my heart won't keep still.

Give me one dozen roses, 
Put my heart in beside them
, Send them to the one I love.

There may be orange blossoms later, 
I think that there will, 
'Cos she's done something to me
, And my heart just won't keep still.

Give me one dozen roses
, Put my heart in beside them, 
Send them to the one I love
, Send them to the one I
, Send them to the one I love.

suzie_canale_westwoodSuzie and Rick Canale,Westwood, MA

Although Suzie's husband Rick will be working late on Valentines Day, they will celebrate Valentines Day the following weel at the Capital Grille in Chestnut Hill.

Tags: Rose Symbolism, Music, Roses, Valentines Day, Romance

Recycled Storybook Paper Roses

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 23, 2015

I have always loved flowers from a very young age.  I’m not sure when this affair began, but my first baby pictures were always images of me crawling in my mother’s gardens and there’s one when I’m around 1 ½ years old where I’m playing with yellow daisies that lined my grandparents driveway.  It seems that my connection to the piece of the world that “grows” has been a long-standing relationship, one that seems to have blossomed throughout my entire life.  Because of this adoration, I have utilized this in several areas including three children’s tales I’ve written where all contain themes of flowers.  I also cook with flowers, decorate with flowers and often draw my favorites using charcoal.  They are everywhere around me.  Recently, another opportunity arose to express floral appreciation, one that combined two other preferred hobbies, crafting and books!

story book roses

If you have kids, you’re going to really get into this art project that was shown to me by a children’s librarian.  Using pages from books that were going to be recycled (which is environmentally responsible), I could actually make roses by following only a few easy steps.  Perfect for tiny fingers, this craft is simple to do because the materials needed are inexpensive and commonly found around the house.  There’s also little mess and teaches fantastic hand-eye coordination skills.  The snowy weather is soon approaching, so read on for this perfect indoor winter art project for kids and adults!



  1. 3 pages of recycled book pages (try to find ones that have bold writing, titles, numbers and pictures.  It will make your flower more interesting looking.)
  2. 1 black/brown pipe cleaner
  3. 3 green pipe cleaners



  1. Cut out shapes from the book pages that resemble petals.  Make them different sizes, using the smaller ones first for the inner bud. 
  2. Take the black/brown pipe cleaner and wrap a petal around it, making sure that it curls completely around the stem.  Add more petals as you pinch the stem and the surrounding petals. Continue until they are all wrapped around forming a rose shaped head. 
  3. Use one of the green pipe cleaners to secure the head around the stem by tightly coiling in a circle shape.
  4. Form leaves and intertwine the last two green pipe cleaners around the stem to complete the rose.


suzie-1 Suzie works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library.

Tags: Books, Childrens Book, Roses, Kids

Hot Colors for Winter Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jan 22, 2015

January Flowers


Yes it’s freezing, yes there’s ice and yes snow seems to cover every inch of ground but that doesn’t mean that we can’t escape the winter chills with a beautiful arrangement of flowers!  January is a wonderful time to try new things so why not get creative with your floral color palettes?  Traditionally, the first month of the year is cascaded with shades of white and blue but these tints are categorized in the “cool” section of color and let’s be honest, we need more warmth instead.  White and blue also express “crisp” which we also know to be all too true in New England weather terms.  So why don’t we warm things up a bit and I don’t mean we have to get on a plane to the Caribbean to do it (although that would be nice).  Lets try a few new tricks in our flower vases this month!

 orchids and roses in boston

Red emanates heat so that’s a great starting point for a new January color base.   I know we just did the red thing at Christmas but if we pair this shade with other tints besides silver, gold, white and green we can come up with a new feel and look for our arrangements.  Red is beautiful with combinations of orange and purple, lime green and yellow or multiple shades of crimson to pink.  All of these mix and matches omit a different sensation from joyful to sexy so don’t be shy to try them all out. 

 gerber daisies boston

When we use yellow, it’s pretty much a sure symbol of happiness and this is just what Bostonians need on the gray and glum days of winter.  You can either play it simple with one tone of yellow or spread your spectrum across many lighter or darker tones.  If too much yellow is threatening, add in a few hints of white and green to lighten the visual impact.  This will soften the vase’s appearance and produce a “springtime” motif, which we are all looking forward to! 

 exotic flowers boston

Lavender is a third option that is surprisingly different in effect than the color blue.  While blue is “cold”, purple provides more of a mysterious appeal.  By incorporating deep and light tints, you can make pieces that are sensual and relaxing, a combination that is perfect for a date night.  Lavender is also an excellent reflector of light that can brighten even the darkest rooms.  Since depression is at an all time high this time of year, lavender and light are two perfect remedies to clear away the January blues. 

suzie_canaleSuzie and Ryan Canale, Westwood, MA

Suzie currently has cymbdium orchids in vases throughout her home in Westwood.

Tags: Floral Design, Flower Arrangements, January, winter, Flowers

Flower Picks for January Weddings

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 21, 2015

I love flowers.  In fact, I love them twelve months of the year and especially during the holiday season.  April brings beautiful bulb plants while July and August bring sweet stems of wild flowers.  Even the fall produces an extraordinary array of options including sunflowers, asters and cabbage.  New England is almost a year round resource for botanicals but there are those sticky few months where the wind chill factor drops to below zero and that white fluffy stuff drops from the sky.  Alas, Boston florists have made it their mission to supply their customers with hardy and most importantly, beautiful, blossoms during the months of January and February.  Now you can’t go into this without realizing that flexibility is a must.  You might not find peonies but you will be able to choose from a delightful selection.  Here are some of my favorites for the winter season.


 Sweet Peas are probably one of the most sought after flower for weddings during this time of year and remarkably, comes from several different countries of import such as Holland and Japan.  Petals come in shades of purple, yellow, white pink, blush, fuchsia, peach and even red.  Their delicate appearance makes them perfect for wedding bouquets, showing a dreamy like appearance when stems are tucked tightly within European styled handhelds. 


Lilly of the Valley is another popular item because again, it’s shipped into the US on a standard basis during the wintertime.  Also dainty in nature, these tiny stems hold white cups that resemble bells dripping off the vine.  This variety is one of the more fragrant options and also becomes popular with brides using sprigs for hairpieces and corsages.  Be careful though, they likely will not live for a long period of time so weddings and party work are the best place to utilize this variety. 

 tulips in boston                                        photo credit: Flower Factor

Tulips are everywhere during this time of year and for a good reason.  They come in a mass assortment of shapes and colors and in most cases are priced reasonably.  Tulips can either be ordered from your Boston florist or picked up in your grocery store-its that simple.  While the spring bulb may not look like a decadent additive to your floral arrangements, they present a “clean” appeal that is also extremely easy to work with.

 lady slipper orchid

                                   photo credit: Flower Factor

Cypripedium orchids are stunning, end of story.  They are small in height but produce the most gorgeous green, pedaled face that has a striped green and white throat.  These little babies might cost a penny or two but one things for sure, they last!  You wont need too many stems either as they are perfect standing alone in a simple fuss-free glass holder.  Trust me, you wont be disappointed with this pick!

suzie_c Suzie and Ryan Canale, Boston MA 2014

Suzie once served as the South End Wedding Planner for examiner.com


Tags: Planning a Wedding, Orchids, Wedding Flowers, January, Flowers

Low Fat Winter Desserts

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Jan 20, 2015

The holiday season is packed with celebrations amongst family and friends where we can enjoy one another’s company, sip champagne and feast upon the most delicious treats.  There’s the turkey at Thanksgiving, red velvet cake at Christmas time and for New Years, just about any decadent cuisine is up for grabs.  The holidays are wonderful but if you’re like most recovering from the festivities, you’re looking to pare down the calorie count and get back into those favorite jeans that have been on vacation in the closet.  So many people swear off dieting in January because they just don’t want to give up satisfying their sweet tooth just to dial back the numbers on the scale. I agree, it’s depressing but what if we could compromise by allowing dessert if we only swapped a few ingredients here and there?  Now I don’t mean eating strange non-dairy cheesecakes -we don’t have to get crazy to lose a couple of pounds.  I, myself, love a sweet morsel before bedtime and refuse to get weird when it comes to denying certain after dinner accompaniments.  This is what I’ve tried and amazingly, it works.  Give it a go and you’ll see you’ll be strutting your stuff in no time!


                              photo credit: Whole Foods Market

Berries, Berries, Berries

Berries are nature’s savior in the dieting department because they pack a ton of vitamin value and antioxidants (something many need after a little too much bubbly over the last month).  Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries (my favorite) can all be found in your produce department year round and can be mixed in with any dessert dish being served.  Blackberries are another yummy berry but can be difficult to find in New England grocery stores but if you do, ground the berries to make a natural, finishing syrup.   You don’t need to add any other flavoring or sugar and the beautiful color will top off any cake or soufflé magnificently.


Frozen Yogurt-You’ll Never Know The Difference

There is a long running argument that frozen yogurt can’t match the taste of ice cream but I strongly disagree.  Not only does the creamy consistency taste wonderful but you’re literally ingesting a quarter of the fat and sugar, therefore upping you metabolism to burn more wasteful calories.  You can select just about any flavor desired including chocolate chip, chocolate mousse and peanut butter cup.  Fantastic varieties include Breyers, Friendly’s and Edie’s, try them blind folded for an ultimate test.  You can’t go wrong with any of there products and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. 


Splenda Makes Splendid Treats

Splenda is a sugar substitute that many bakers have been using as a sweetener substitute.  Prepared within cakes, cookies, muffins and cupcakes, many speculated that Splenda wouldn’t deliver the “sweet” effect that consumers were yearning for.   They admitted their mistake when tasting that the low calorie sugar really did deliver and was pleasantly comparable with traditionally made desserts.  Although the ingredient was mainly implemented at first by pro-dieters and diabetics, the tasty confection has proved to be a big hit on the dessert menu!

suzie_and_lance_canale Suzie Canale, Westwood, MA 

Suzie frequents Wilson Farm in Lexington, Market Basket in Waltham, and Roche Brothers in Westwood for fresh produce and quality ingredients for her and her family.

Tags: Dessert, Chef, cooking, #EXFL

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