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Flowers for the Sea Lover

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 04, 2017

I love just about anything connected to the ocean including the sand, surf and all wildlife crawling about the shores.  It’s a place in my life where serenity is naturally cultivated by the sounds, scents and views saturating every inch of canvas making the seaside my number one destination for retreat.  I’m assuming I’m not alone and perhaps you feel the same way about your annual summer visits to the beach.   Being in New England, unfortunately our time spent there is fleeting due to the fact we only have a few months to enjoy it.  I know I can admit to having serious withdrawals once September rolls around since I know it’s not long before the warmth is replaced by the bitter realities of winter.  It’s hard to say goodbye to somewhere you love when you know it will be another nine months before it’s time to pull out the umbrella and towels once again…

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If you’re like me and have experienced this depressing moment of truth, maybe I can give you a bit of advice on how to resurrect the blissful ocean ambiance until the new season calls upon us?  There are a lot of helpful tips including adding scented candles to your home, making sand terrariums, listening to wave recordings, or painting rooms in similar shades of blues and seafoam green.  All of these ideas are great suggestions and are bound to help you through the snowy months of the calendar but might I suggest another coping mechanism to get you over the chilly hump?  

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photo via aboutflowers.com

Flowers make excellent props for setting a similar beach scene within the comfort of your own home and will also provide you with the perfect dose of aromatherapy to boot!  Yes, certain species of plants and blooms will give the suggestion to your brain that you can still experience the attributes of the shore while you’re still bundled up inside.  Check out this list of sandy shore flowers, which will enhance your mood and senses until you’re back in the ocean swimming again…


Beach Flowers:


Beach Roses American Beach Grass Eastern Showy Aster


Rose Hips Beach Pea Columbine


Hydrangea Black Grass Lavender


Golden Rod Heather Beach Plum

Tags: Floral Design, Beach, Summer, About Flowers

Beachy Blooms

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Aug 18, 2016

The summer is coming to an end and hopefully you’ve enjoyed several fun filled days enjoying the warm activities that this time of year blesses New England with.  My favorite destination spot are the beaches on the north shore that never disappoint with their crystal clear waters and beautiful rocky landscape.  One feature that I particularly love is the stunning blooms that grace the seashore with tranquil color and sweetened fragrance.  Being a gardener myself, I have often tried to replicate this “beachy” scene within my own backyard, trying to use the same if not similar varieties accustomed to the ocean habitat.  Truthfully, it’s not easy because if you’re like me who lives inland with forestry surrounding their home, it can be difficult to succeed within our compromised growing conditions.  For one thing, our soil does not drain as well as sand so it’s imperative to find plants that can adapt to both potting environments.  The second factor is the lack of salt in the atmosphere, which beach flowers typically thrive on.  The third issue can be a lack in sunshine or direct light if your beds are hidden underneath branches or enlarged shrubbery.  Although this seems like a depressing abundance of obstacles, I assure you that there are some species of flowers that will do A-okay if you can tweak your gardening regime just a bit.  After some trial and error, I’ve found this list of successful bloomers that will bring the ocean essence to your backyard no matter where you live.

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Photo credit Lisa Greene via Flower Factor

Hydrangea

Hydrangea is one of those flowers that are always associated with the beach, particularly in shades of blue.  Like many of their seafaring friends, they adore the sodium (NaCl), which makes them bloom happily well into the fall season.  If you’ve visited Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll no this to be true hydrangeas can also be planted in other areas, too.  As long as the soil is soft and well watered, this bushy flower can flourish in yards or as part of a summer garden.  Hydrangeas also prefer a little bit of shaded area so for those of us whose backyards are overgrown with trees, that’s really no problem for this variety to survive within.

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photo credit - Lizzie Borchers via Flower Factor 

Beach Grass

Beach Grass is a fairly prevalent shrub that grows along our coastline with little to no maintenance necessary.  I have planted several of these bushes on my property and with the exception of watering them during dry spells; they really require little effort on my part.  One tip to make them grow larger each year is to cut them at the base when October arrives to ensure a healthy return the next spring.   


Summer Asters

I love these little beauties because they represent a “wildflower” appeal that can be grown not only close to the seashore but also in meadows, forests and almost anywhere else you can think of.  If you have raised beds, then the soil will stay a bit warmer which they’ll thank you for during the colder winter months of the year.

Tags: Floral Design, Hydrangeas, Flowers, Beach, Summer

Best Swim Suits for Summer 2016

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, May 15, 2016


You’re headed for a beach vacation and you’re making a list of must haves to fully enjoy the getaway.  Beach pails check!   Sunscreen, check!  Towels and hats check, check!  T-shirts, shorts, underwear, flip flops, check, check, check, check!  Now it comes down to the most important thing you must remember for the seashore, bathing suits of course!  Now we know you’ve been working hard all year to whittle down that waistline and eat healthy so now it's time to show off your hard work!  After all, you know you’ll be taking your annual family photo so you’ll want to look your best.  Well, as luck would have it, stores are carrying fabulous new lines of swimwear that are flattering for every shape you’ve been gifted with.  Here are a few hints on how to choose the perfect suit right for you and another couple of tips on where to find them.

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photo credit: athleta.com

Body Type:  Short and Curvy with a Well Endowed Bust Line

The possibilities are endless for you if this is the shape you possess because manufacturers are realizing that most women have real curves.  Thick straps with bra inserts or underwire are a great option and bottoms with low lengths over hips provide a nice silhouette for voluptuous lines.  If your are looking for a bikini, try a crisscross design and if a one piece it was you desire, try solid colors with a thicker fabric for extra support.



Body Type:  Tall and Lean with a Petite Bust Line

If this is your category, you’re going to want to flock to the string bikini department and look for tops with large patterns or ruffles.  Extra fabric designs that extenuate your bust will give a larger illusion.  Full piece suits should have a high cut hip line as well as thinner straps over the shoulders.  Stay away from strapless though since these are designed more for fuller chest body types.  



Body Type:  Medium Build with Broad Shoulders

There are women with this body who are frustrated with trying to find the right suit but actually, you have the opportunity to browse some pretty cool and contemporary designs!  For one pieces, search for solid with patterns up the side of the rib cage that will draw attention away from the shoulder area and create more of an hourglass appeal.  You can also get pretty funky with straps and neck lines by doing crops, triangular or square shaped cut outs.  Athletic prototypes are just what you need to show off the strength of your body!  


Top Swimsuit Sites


  Athleta.com         JCrew.com         Venus.com        Malliamills.com     Victoriassecret.com

Tags: Beach, Fashion, Summer, Trends

Spring Break Destinations for Adults

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Mar 16, 2015

It’s finally March but if you’re living in New England, there is still a ton of snow blanketing the ground and things are still looking a bit depressing.  Everyone knows spring will eventually arrive relieving us of this ice dam, blizzard infested winter season but we want to know when!  For some Bostonians, the warm weather hasn’t arrived soon enough and hopping a flight to a steamier climate is starting to look like a better and better idea.  Sure, we’ll survive the temperature gage that hasn’t read higher than the teens in weeks but why can’t we reward ourselves with some pre-season sunshine in the meantime?  I know you’re thinking its too expensive with all the repairs you’ll have to make to your home after all of the snowstorms and booking a last minute trip will only bring headaches of inflated air flight tickets and hotel rates.  I’m in that same leaking boat as many of us are but what about taking a gander at a few hidden gems that might not break our wallets or trample us with extensive credit card debt?  Believe it or not, there are options available to any budget so here are a few to help find your tropical winter getaway!

 stlucia

Saint Lucia is becoming more and more popular for east coast travelers during the months of January and February and there is a good reason why… The island is very small and comparably to many other destinations, relatively easy to get to with a direct flight of 4 hours and 36 minutes.  The vacation locale also maintains several resorts including Ladera Resort, Sugar Beach, The Landings and Coconut Bay.  Many of the luxurious hotels offer all-inclusive deals such as the Sandals Grande St. Lucian, which promotes daily deals and special offers.  I have personally visited this beautiful destination and can only applaud the warm and friendly island atmosphere and delicious foods that both the dining resorts and restaurants provide.  One other tip if you’re thinking about booking a trip to Saint Lucia, make sure you sign up for the banana field and tropical rainforest tour.  The cost is minimal and you wont believe the natural beauty that this island has been blessed with.   There is no beating their banana daiquiris! 

 Punta_Cana_01                      photo credit: destinationsguide.copaair.com

Punta Cana is another option if you desire a quick travel experience for low expenditure.  Located on the most eastern tip of the Dominican Republican, this area is most famous for their beaches, which have been said to resemble silky granules of gold.  Unlike many other warmer resort destinations, Punta Cana is famous for attracting sun seekers who are uninterested in other activities such as site seeing.  Although it manifests spectacular ocean shores and skyline views, this tropical paradise holds other few attractions to tour.  These resorts are designed to satisfy every desire of replenishing both the physical and mental demands that Boston winter weather may have compromised.  We’re talking massages, sun bathing, dining and sleep-the key ingredients to curing the snowbound blues.   Tortuga Bay, Sanctuary Cap Cana and Casa de Campo all put on a terrific spread with all-inclusive deals encompassing all of these amenities and fluctuate little during the course of the year.  Have fun and don’t forget your sun block! 

 

Suzie Canale,

Westwood MA

Tags: Beach, Travel, vacation

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!

Bretton_Woods_Resort

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

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