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The Symbolic Meaning of the Camellia

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 30, 2017

Camellia Flower Lady Song


She sang the trot like she owned the narrative,

as if she was singing about her inner most secret.


-The lady who lost her lover

The place where she met him

The Place with the Camellia flower


By Dawn of Lighten

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photo credit via monrovia.com

The camellia is a beautiful flower that is delicate in appearance and prefers warmer, tropical climates to grow within instead of cold or arid environments.  The original origins can be traced back to Japan and China where it was first developed and then later taken over to Europe where it flourished in the warmer areas of the continent.  Certain places such as the Borromeo Islands are also said to have a healthy harvest of camellia varieties where their colors expand outside of typical white, red and pink shades and into variegated hues.  The foliage is equally stunning having flashy wax leaves that add to the flower’s dramatic presentation.  While its physical features have inspired the flower to be symbolic of admiration, beauty and repentance, the camellia has grown to symbolize further meanings throughout the years and across the globe.


Most famously, the camellia was brought into popularity after it was used as the focus of Alexandre Dumas’s novel, La Dame aux Camelias.  The book became such a huge success that the flower inspired renowned operas such as “La Traviata” by Verdi.  After these masterpiece’s debuted, the flower could be seen worn as lapel bouquets (boutonnières) and became quite trendy within the fashion and floral world.  One of the camellia’s biggest advocates was handed straight from the imperial designer, Coco Chanel.  


Fascinating enough, the camellia’s importance and symbolism varies depending on what country and region you happen to be referencing.  For instance, while the flower means young sons and daughters when discussed in China (also southern China’s official flower), Korea chooses to acknowledge its importance in terms of loyalty and faithfulness.  In Japanese culture, camellia’s mean “divinity” but in England, it is used as a gift to express a romantic interest from a secret admirer.  Can you guess what the camellia symbolizes in the United States?  Not only is it the state of Alabama’s official flower but the camellia means beauty, passion, longing and desire.  

Tags: Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Camellia

Ten Thorny Flowers Worth Getting Pricked For

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 27, 2017

Dark Thorns

 

Darkness,

it seeps through every crack and corner,

gathers up your tears,

never lets you go.

On the other hand,

thorns may do the same,

but you can get past thorns…

 

By Adriana Wilson

Oct 30, 2015

 

In the flower world, there are a zillion different colors, textures, shapes and sizes that give every bloom their unique distinction among the others.  It is due to this fact that people are drawn to particular species which appeal to their personal tastes.  For example, those who are drawn to powerful aromas may opt for a bouquet of lilies while someone else might enjoy varieties that are architecturally interesting.  In this case, orchids would be an appropriate choice as well as tropical breeds like birds of paradise, heliconia and protea.  Whichever way you sway, there’s something for everyone within floral cultivation, even if you’re someone who likes a prickly assortment.

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Flowersthat produce thorns have always received a bad reputation and it is mainly due to the notion that they cause more pain than beauty.  While I admit I’ve had my fair share of “bites” from roses while on the design bench, I’ve learned that thorny blooms really do have a lot to offer.  Bright color, expansive heads and fascinating details make them a welcoming commodity to most importers around the world.  Mother Nature may have tested these varieties by gifting them with “handle with care” stems but the floral industry isn’t backing away.   By wearing appropriate gloves and learning a thing or two about texture and tone, designers are whipping up gorgeous arrangements using some of the prickliest species in existence!  Keep your eyes out for these featured florets that are popping up everywhere in 2017.  

Tags: Gardening, Roses, rose bush, thorns

Romantic Valentine’s Dinners at Home

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 27, 2017

Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year so it may not be convenient for those who have to work early the next day to dine in a restaurant.  For those of you who are night owls, this won’t present a problem but for people like me whose schedules begin at daybreak, I’m planning on celebrating at home.  It doesn’t have to be another boring evening in front of the TV if you’re in a similar situation, heck no!  There are plenty of ways to spice up a Valentine’s Day festivity with your special someone without ever leaving the house!  Believe me, there are some benefits to this strategy such as not having to deal with traffic, saving money and most importantly having the flexibility to be as creative as you want.  There are plenty of ideas you can use to ensure a saucy evening with your honey and guarantee a holiday that neither of you will ever forget.  Try these few tricks of the trade and start preparing a night of unforgettable romance within the comfort of your own abode.

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photo credit via En Vogue

Set the Ambiance

Restaurants aren’t the only ones who know how to set the scene for an intimate ambiance!  Break out some votive candles and turn the lights down real low to recreate the stage in your living room, dining room or bedroom (no one’s judging you).  If you have a working fireplace, spark that baby up too because it’s a well-known fact that flames from the hearth inspire flames of the heart.


Cook a Decadent Meal

It’s pretty important that you devise a menu that will leave your lover wanting more.  Successful dishes that have been noted as aphrodisiacs are oysters, mussels, and other varieties of shellfish.  If you aren’t into these ocean treats, try red-hot chili peppers, which are said to trigger erotic hormones when ingested.  Be sure to also include a tray of fruits like bananas, strawberries and watermelon along side a bowl of melted chocolate or honey.  Let your sweetheart dip these delicious goodies in their choice of syrup and watch how quickly things heat up!

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photo credit via Victorias Secret

Get All Dolled Up

Whether you’re a man or a woman reading this, don’t forget that you are the main dish that’s being served up for the evening.  What I mean is, don’t get tempted by a comfortable pair of jeans or god forbid, your favorite sweatpants as the attire for your Valentine’s Day dinner.  You have the opportunity to wear whatever sexy thing you have hanging in the closet (think lingerie, cowboy boots, boas) and you might even be able to use that imagination of yours to come up with something wild.  You’re in the sanctity of your own home so don’t be afraid to get a little crazy!

Tags: cooking, Valentines Day, Romance, Lingerie

Valentine's Day Essentials in Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jan 26, 2017

If you’re planning on celebrating with a special someone this February 14th, you’re going to have to do a little planning to make sure you have the essentials.  No matter what she says, she’ll be expecting something, some sort of hint that reveals how much you care so don’t blow it!  There’s no need to spend the entire contents of your wallet or try to pull a rabbit out of your hat to impress her if you strategize beforehand keeping in mind thoughtfulness and romance.  Focus on her individual qualities, likes/dislikes and personality and you should have a good feel of what your holiday gifting should be.  If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at this checklist to keep you on track and ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

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  1. Plan a special evening, whether it’s at her favorite restaurant or simply dining in at home.  If you are going to head out for the night, make sure to make your reservations well in advance (at least three weeks) because bistros, cafes and fine dining locations will all be frantic since it is the busiest day of the season for them.  

Top Five Boston Restaurants for Valentine’s Day:

a.) Mooo

b.) Sophia's Grotto

c.) Menton

d.) Delfino's

e.) Ruth's Chris

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     If you’re planning on staying in, be sure to buy your ingredients a couple of days in advance to avoid running out of the essentials because yes- you’ll be the one who does all of the cooking!  Pick up a bottle of wine and select a menu that you know she’ll flip over.  If you really           want to romance her, DO THE DISHES!

  1. Grab a card.  It’s the easiest and least expensive way to tell her you love her.   Hallmark isn’t just a multi-billion dollar company for nothing-they know their stuff!  Browse the stationary section of a CVS and read through the options to see whether a funny or lovey-dovey card is going to fit best for your relationship.  If you really want to get creative, find an old photograph of the two of you and glue it to a piece of construction paper folding it in half.  This is a sweet gesture of how your love has grown and will most likely remain in her keepsake box for years to come.
  2. Don’t be a bozo- ORDER FLOWERS!  Gift with a box of chocolates and you’ve just made her holiday!  Unsure of what variety to pick up?  Here are some options but keep in mind her favorite blooms and preference of color.  Again, don’t wait to the last minute to order a bouquet since this is like Super Bowl Sunday for Boston florists!
  1. Red Roses
  2. White Lilies
  3. Orchids
  4. Black Pearl Roses
  5. Mixed Floral Bouquet.

Tags: Restaurants, Boston Flower Delivery, Roses, Valentine's Roses, Valentines Day, Black Pearl

Can a Super Model Sell Valentine's Day Flowers in Boston ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Jan 25, 2017

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Exotic Flowers in Boston is a proud partner of Teleflora. Our ability to send quality flowers and spectacular arrangements worldwide through their network makes Teleflora a perfect partner for our third generation Boston florist. Teleflora also offers our staff technology and marketing support as well. In 2011, Teleflora partnered with singer Faith Hill. The Faith Hill collection was a huge success for Exotic Flowers in Boston.
Teleflora set the stakes even higher. Choosing to get a little edgier, they enlisted Victoria's Secret lingerie model Adriana Lima to help sell flowers.
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Can a lingerie model sell flowers in Boston ? I think so. At least I know, Adriana can help Exotic Flowers in Boston sell more flowers. Adriana Lima like Exotic Flowers is all about Reaction Guaranteed. 
“The thing I love the most about this ad is that everything happens in a very intimate moment, in a romantic place,” Lima revealed. “Men will learn about the emotions women feel and how important a gift of flowers is to us on Valentine’s Day. I know you guys will like it.”
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Tags: Teleflora, Faith Hill, Valentine's Day, Adriana Lima

Chinese New Year - The Year of the Rooster

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 23, 2017

Chinese New Year begins on Saturday, January 28th 2017 and guess what… It’s the year of the rooster!  That’s right- if you were born in the years 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 or 2017 than this is a blog you should pay close attention to and read.  


Before we go into the specifics about what this means for you, how about we start by talking about the history and traditions associated with the Chinese New Year.  Originally, the holiday started as a way of honoring past ancestors and deities but eventually adapted to include an opportunity to promote luck and wellness for families.  On the eve of the New Year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to ward off past dissenting auras and to welcome new and old friends, family and good spirits.  Doors are also wiped down as well as windows and decorations colored in red are added throughout all of the hinges and frames.   Once New Year’s Day arrives, it is customary to host a large meal consisting of traditional dishes to feast upon.  The gathering signifies “longevity”, “wealth” and general ‘good fortune” where many of the elders give money to younger generations in red paper envelopes.  The beauty of this occasion is the continual renewal of happiness and the hope that all ill- fortune can be swept away with the end of a year and new luck bestowed by a new one.

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So back to the “Rooster”… The rooster is the tenth sign in the Chinese zodiac or other wise known as the year of the “Cock” or “Chicken”.  Now there are a lot of great traits that roosters possess such as hardworking, social, amusing and active overall spirits.  With the good, there’s also the bad, which typically include being too outspoken, easily agitated and almost always overly confident.  With the culmination of these traits, many roosters are in fact talented and seek careers that often guide them to the stage such as acting or singing.  If they can stop bragging abut themselves constantly, they make pretty good friends as well since they are thought to be loyal and honest-sometimes too honest.  Proven lucky colors for this sign are gold, brown and red (feather colors) and favorable numbers include 5, 7 and 8.


Here’s what it get downs to in 2017 for “Roosters”…


I’m just going to put it to you short and sweet… it’s not looking to be the best year ahead for you.  The signs say that there will be a lot of ups and downs, wealth and woes when it comes to your personal and public life.  Right now, you want to play it v-e-r-y safe and make wise decisions that will be more protective of assets instead of aggressively acquiring more.  Forget that 10-1 stock tip your buddy just gave you and instead invest in clipping coupons.  There’s just too much risk when it comes to your financial affairs in 2017 so bunker down and wait for the storm to clear.  When it comes to your career, do yourself a favor and shut your trap.  Your mouth is going to be your worst enemy, so don’t give your boss an opinion if he/she doesn’t ask for it.  I’m afraid your love department is equally off kilter and if there’s been an inner nagging to dump the present lover, now’s the time to do it.  Things aren’t going to get any better anytime soon so onward and upward.


This may not sound like the best horoscope but hey-there’s always next year so hang in there!

Tags: Chinese New Year, Holidays, January, winter, New Years

A Comforting Winter Soup Recipe

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, Jan 22, 2017

It’s a well-known fact that most Bostonians pack on a few pounds once the temperature starts to drop.  Reasoning says that we are just putting on a few layers to help protect from the cold, which is a natural biological response to our habitats.  Humans are not alone either since millions of New England wildlife participate in the same ritual including cats, dogs, birds and bears.  So if everyone is doing it, why feel guilty?  For one reason, many of the foods that we are ingesting contain a higher amount of fat and processed sugars.  These unhealthy additives are what make it a bit tricky when we finally decide to shed those pounds in the spring.  If you think about it, you seldom see squirrels stressing about their winter waddle once the warm weather arrives because their calories needed to be burned are mainly nuts not ice cream and cream puffs.  Does that mean forgo the comfort foods altogether in order to spare ourselves the trouble?  Absolutely not!  We can still indulge in this New England tradition of finding solace and warmth in our food; we just have to do it in a slightly different way.  Try this recipe on for size!

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photo credit via countryliving.com

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is made by a variety of companies and there a few like Progresso and Campbell’s that are in all honesty, pretty good.  The soup is for the most part, healthy so why should you make your own?  In many canned brands, the salt and processed ingredients rank high and may even contain “iffy” ingredients that you can’t even pronounce when reading the labels.  Using real poultry and veggies is always a better way to go where you can control the amounts of seasonings and be sure that your meats are fresh for cooking.  You may not be able to can and shelf your finished product but freezing is a definitely possibility allowing you to re-cook and save for a later date!  Wait to make this recipe after you’ve made a chicken roast so that you can use your own stalk, too.


How To:

Add 4 cups of your own chicken stalk to a crock-pot and set to low heat.  If you couldn’t save this much stalk after cooking your roast, just add water slowly as the soup continues to cook-it will make it’s own broth over the course of the preparation.  Add chicken that has been pulled from the leftovers being careful not to add in any bones or cartilage (it won’t taste good to those you serve and be disruptive to their palette.  Chop roughly 2 celery stalks and 1 small onion and add that to the brew.  Wash 4 large carrots and then peel and cut into circular shapes and then throw them in as well.  Add 2 bay leaves, 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook the soup for 4 hours until the chicken naturally pulls apart and vegetables soften.  In a separate pot, boil water to cook 4 cups of “No-Yolk” noodles.  When done, rinse in a colander over cold water, afterwards adding the pasta to the soup.  If you put the noodles in when they are still hot, they’ll dissolve in the soup creating a funky consistency, so make sure you rinse them first in cold water.  Serve in crock bowls with a fresh piece of Italian bread and bon appétit!  

Tags: Chef, cooking, winter, Health

Floral Light Reflectors

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 20, 2017

As the days get darker, many of us suffer from light deficiency and yearn for the days when the sun stayed out until late evening.  Depression sets in and the coldness of winter blankets New Englanders, turning us into grievers for the warmer weather before.  It’s a real problem if you live in this region.  I know it certainly is for me so I try finding ways of supplementing the depletion of brightness by incorporating substitutions of light and illumination.  Sometimes I buy a new lamp or a set of aromatic candles that I know will promote a sense of joy and delight.  These seem like arbitrary notions but in all honestly, they work okay.  Besides, we all yearn for some sort of comfort until the spring arrives again, don’t we?  

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Recently, I came across an interesting article that introduced a contemporary opinion about the development of serotonin in our blood levels (the stuff that makes us happy), which can actually be heightened by particular varieties of flowers!  They may be your everyday garden blooms but research shows a unique trait that can be quite useful to those who suffer from winter woes.  Is it their color or texture that wards off the grimmer months of the calendar?  Not at all…

It’s the perception that they all reflect light.

How is this possible you might be wondering?  It is a scientific fact that the petals of some blossoms are translucent enough to reflect beams of light.  By acquiring floral pieces integrated with specific varieties, there is a greater likelihood that those who endure seasonal light deprivation will find ease to their symptoms!  Sounds strange I know but truthfully, the theory makes sense when you combine this idea with other floral characteristics.  For instance, pleasant aromas are proven to increase happy cells (serotonin) in a person as well as an eye-appealing visual stimulation.  Flowers already possess these assets so why not elongate beneficial properties to include light?  

If you’re not convinced by this phenomenon quite yet, take a peek at these stunners that are now being utilized in health facilities around the Boston area.  

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You might think that any species that grows in a shade of white will work but tulips happen to be the best!  Part of the reason is behind their color of course, but the texture of the petals is what really seals the deal.  Try putting a few stems in a glass vase by the window and watch the spectrum of light lift your mood to sweeter places.

Garden Lace has been utilized in Japanese culture for centuries as a strong producer of positive energy.  Tinted in soft pink with a yellow center, the petals remind one of tissue paper because of their delicate weight and surface.  If you can’t find this variety, opt for a peony with similar hues since they are similar to one another’s physical characteristics.  

Tags: Snow, Tulips, January, winter

Where to go Skating in Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 20, 2017

It’s one of Boston’s time honored traditions during the winter to slip on a pair of skates and glide across the city’s most romantic rinks.  While ice skating is a great source of exercise during the months when it’s a bit tricky to go swimming or running outdoors, many of us have engaged in this activity as a way to bond with our children, friends and even our love interests.  There are several reasons to adore this activity such as the sounds of the blade pushing evenly across the icy stage, the soothing rhythmic movement that relaxes our bodies and the excitement of completing each circular lap upon lap.  Yes, New Englanders have found great pleasure in this winter sport over the generations where the cost to participate is minimal and the need to be in perfect physical fitness is arbitrary.  This year, the popularity of ice skating is enormous due to the heighten accumulation of snow and the elongated seasonal attributes that have kept us wondering, “when will spring arrive?”  If you are curious to try this fantastic mood enhancer but have no idea where to begin, check out these top ice rinks located in and around the city.  You’ll be surprised of the extra boost of energy you will receive and be relieved once you have found your winter sport calling. While everyone is heading to city hall plaza, let the crowds die down and check out these historic hot spots. 

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Larz Anderson

25 Newton Street,

Brookline, MA 02445

This a wonderful place to visit because of all of the amenities this rink offers to the public.  Located in Brookline, patrons may purchase skates, have them sharpened, enjoy a treat from the snack bar and take a ride throughout the heated pavilion.  They also offer a special Sunday open skate for people in the community with disabilities where professional staff is on site for extra help.  

Skate Rental  $5.00

Entrance Fee Adults $8.00

Entrance Fee Children $5.00


Frog Pond Rink

The Boston Commons

Boston, MA

This is a lot of fun if you are looking to be smack dab in the middle of the city.  Located close to Beacon Hill and the red line, skaters can rent skates and grab a snack all while enjoying the beautiful setting of downtown Boston.  The Frog Pond Rink offers many “Bobby the Seal” skating aid for kids learning how to skate and flexible hours for the busy Bostonian.

Skate Rental Adult $10.00

Skate Rental Kids $5.00

Locker Rental $2.00

Bobby the Skating Seal for Kids $10.00/hour

Entrance Fee 58 inches and over $5.00

Entrance Fee Under 58 inches FREE

Tags: January, winter, Larz Anderson, Frog Pond, Skating

Log Cabin Inspired Floral Creations

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jan 19, 2017

Last weekend, my family and I foraged into the great outdoors to spend a couple of night’s winter camping in Vermont.  There was beautiful forestry with trails all around us, winding roads that led you down miles of countryside and the simple sound of silence that living near a city, we can all take for granted.

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It was spectacular.


All of our surroundings alluded to a natural beauty that made just being there, relaxing and peaceful.  Trees, snow drifts and the scent of wood burning fireplaces set the stage for a place to reconnect with nature without complication.  

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After returning home, I wondered if there was a way to collect and replicate the picturesque aura of Vermont so we could continue the Zen sensation long after the vacation ended.   After a little thinking, I decided to try using flowers as my muse and see if I could come up with a few options that would mirror the “log cabin” appeal.  What I found was that species such as wild flowers and fern like foliage work really well for this style and are easily found in Massachusetts, probably even in your own backyard.  Clippings from your summer garden will also breathe a rustic statement when placed in containers like mason jars or old ceramic watertight bowls and cups.  If you’d like to amp it up beyond your capabilities, ask for the services of your local floristwho’ll be able to transform your home into a cozy, cottage retreat.

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Tags: Flower Arrangements, outdoors, Outdoor Living, hiking, Log Cabin

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