Exotic Flowers in Boston
What kid doesn’t love a great holiday TV special? I myself have fond memories of staying up a little extra late to catch some of my favorites. Reruns were always the best where you could memorize the script and look forward to seeing the part that you couldn’t wait to watch over and over again. Christmas stories are especially popular, adding to the child’s anticipation of Santa Claus to whoosh down the chimney with gifts. It is an enchanting time of year when magic is everywhere, particularly in the movies and shows that we view both in the cinemas and in our own homes. Although there’s no denying the hundreds of great children’s specials played during the last two months of the year, I have my top six that I just have to see to get me into the yuletide spirit.
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (1964)
A reindeer is out casted for having a bright red nose but finds a path straight to Santa when he is chosen to lead the sleigh on Christmas Eve. Saving the day by lighting the way, this story tells a wonderful moral that sometimes the parts of us that are different are the ones that truly outshine us from the rest. The postal service this year commemorates this great flick with holiday stamps celebrating the movie. Exotic Flowers will be using these stamps on all their holiday mail.
Frosty the Snowman (1969)
A snowman comes to life when a magician loses his hat and finds itself on Frosty the Snowman’s head. Trouble appears when Frosty’s companion gets sick from the cold and he must get her to a warmer climate other than the chilly outdoors. Although the beloved snowman melts, Santa Claus promises to have Frosty return every winter to play with the children once again.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
All of Whoville is bursting with holiday cheer but little do they know that a terrible Grinch is plotting their ruin by planning to take their Christmas away. After stealing the decorations, cards, presents and feasts, he is stunned to find that the village still joins together to celebrate learning the true meaning of Christmas spirit can never be broken.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
The Peanuts gang joins together again when Charlie Brown searches for a deeper understanding of what Christmas is all about. Keeping in theme with the anti-commercialism aspect of the holiday, kids will love Snoopy’s rendition of stringing lights on top of his doghouse and Charlie’s sweet adoration for a small sapling tree.
A Christmas Carol (1984)
“Bah Humbug” are the famous words guffawed by Ebenezer Scrooge as three ghosts visit him with visions of his past, present and future. The miser soon learns that he is destined for doom if he does not change his stingy ways and open up his heart to the beauty of Christmas.
A Christmas Story (1983)
This is a fabulous story telling the tale of a typical family celebrating Christmas with one another. Filled with funny bits including feasting on their holiday meal at a Chinese restaurant, the father’s awful taste in leg lamps, bunny rabbit pajamas, getting tongues stuck to icy telephone poles and the famous scene when Ralphie shoots his eye out with a Beebe gun-you will love this movie as it reminds us of the bloopers that commonly occur during the Christmas season.
If you want to just tune in, check out ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas.
Fenway Park, 2014
Suzie lives in Westwood, MA and will be watching these shows with her two boys; creating lifetime memories.
Thanksgiving Day centerpieces can sometimes be a source of worry when planning holiday gatherings. What we choose to put in the middle of our turkey tables enhances the festivities for guests because, for one thing, the color extenuates the other aspects of the meal including linens, candlelight and most importantly the food. Flowers are also wonderful for contributing to the fantastic sense of smell that we all know is essential for a successful Thanksgiving meal. Many people become overwhelmed with the tasks necessary to host a victorious dinner, often feeling anxious as to how they will get everything done and select their floral arrangements for the special day. The tasks of heavy cleaning and exorbitant cooking almost always take the front seat on hosting agendas and many ask, “Who has the time for flowers?” The issue of cost can also be another negative and many times leads to omitting them altogether. Well, you don’t have to. Hear a few easy and inexpensive ways to decorate your table without fret.
The trees in Boston are too beautiful not to utilize within your holiday décor. Reds, yellows and greens are hanging everywhere holding a natural beauty, which makes New England famous for their autumn season. From lovely bushes to towering maples, there are stunning possibilities all around us so keep your eyes open and your clippers close. Effective eye popping arrangements can be as simple as a few maple branches placed strategically in a glass oval vase. This look not only compliments the seasonal aspects traditional to this time of year but also gives your table an interesting architectural dimension of height. Remember, less is more with this design so be careful not to overcrowd your floral vessels!
Some become fixated with the idea that bigger is always better, particularly when talking about holiday events. Trust me, its not. Stunning table arrangements can be as simple as a few cuttings of multi colored coleus from your garden or miniature pumpkins placed at each setting for your guests. Other arrangements can be a straight line of baby green gourds positioned straight down the table creating a sophisticated and uncluttered appeal. Black millet is another idea, which makes a dramatic impact on your table while still carrying the November scheme of design. If these choices don’t seem to strike your fancy, it’s as easy as looking around you and seeing what does excite your green thumb. Visit local farm stands or take a peek in your own backyard. You’ll be surprised as to what New England’s natural beauty may provide you with for this Thanksgiving’s holiday centerpiece!
all photos in this post can be attributed to Flower Factor and About Flowers.
Suzie Canale is a writer, chef, gardener, philanthropist and mom who lives in Westwood, MA.
What’s Thanksgiving in New England without serving up delicious, scrumptious, mouth watering pie? It’s the dish we look forward to from the moment we step up to the holiday table, allured by sweet scents wafting from the kitchen oven. Bostonians are particularly lucky because many of the best pies hold ingredients, which are native to our farms and local orchards during this season. Using native produce within our cooking makes foods even more spectacular, so it’s important to remember to buy or pick within the Boston region whenever possible. Looking for the perfect pie to bring to the table this Thanksgiving but aren’t sure where to start? No problem, here are a few of my best New England pie suggestions to get you rolling the baking pin in no time!
photo credit: Wikimedia
Apple Pie, it’s a classic and there is no denying that it is one of the favorites during the Thanksgiving season, and why shouldn’t it be? Apples of all kinds are plucked from the regional orchards of Massachusetts, holding the crispest, sweetest (and if you prefer) the tartest fruit just perfect for autumn recipes. According to and article featured in Bon Appétit written by Chris Morocco, the three top suggested apples to create the filling for this pie are Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Honey Crisp, which all have varying degrees of sweetness and tartness. Bakers are hinted to taste a sample of each before deciding which variety to use since the selection that is made will drastically affect the taste of the pie once it is completed. Simple recipes can be found on the websites of Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and the Food Network.
photo credit: TasteOfHome.com
I’ll admit it; this is hands down my favorite treat of the Thanksgiving season. Traditional to many New England tables, Rhubarb pie is an interesting concoction, tasting bitter and sweet all at the same time. With every spoonful, the unusual root never fails to delight eaters with a decadent assortment of flavor while being accompanied by only a few simple ingredients of sugar, flour, butter and salt. Many bakers are frightened by the seemingly complexity of Rhubarb pie, but I assure you, there’s nothing to it. According to a recipe found on allrecipes.com, here are the easy steps to making this incredible dessert!
Ingredients: 4 cups of chopped rhubarb, 1 1/3 cups of sugar, 6 table spoons of flour, 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 pre made pastry crust.
Directions: Preheat Oven to 450 degrees. Combine sugar and flour and use ¼ of the mixture to sprinkle the bottom of the crust. Place rhubarb directly over and add remaining flour and sugar over the top. Slice butter into tablespoons and use as the next layer. Cover the top with a pre-made crust and bake for fifteen minutes then lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Finish baking for forty to forty - five minutes and serve warm. Trust me, your guests will love it!
photo credit: Meals.com
Let’s face it. You can’t really say your having a New England Thanksgiving without enjoying a pumpkin pie! This dessert is by far the most popular dish to serve during this holiday and there is a good reason why… Boston is known for their precious patches that reap some of the world’s fines pumpkins. Working in combination with our warm summers that change into chillier temperatures once the fall rolls around, this creates the perfect environment to raise beautiful, plump and most importantly, tasty fruit that bakers just cant wait to get their hands on! Pumpkin pie is also popular for its creamy consistency that always pares well with Thanksgiving’s top star, the turkey. Again, make sure when you begin preparing this dessert to choose a simple recipe where the true pumpkin flavor won’t become over burdened by fancy additives that are just not needed. Select a really great vanilla bean ice cream to top slices with (Haagen Dazs, it’s the best) and you are all set!
At our home in Westwood, my mom always make certain that we have a delicious selection of traditional pies for dessert.
Suzie will be celebrating Thanksgiving with her two sons, husband, mom and aunt at her home in Westwood. Masschusetts.
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we embrace the holidays as a way to create memories and celebrate traditions. Flowers are always a big part of your celebrations, thank you. Memorial Day is a time for celebrating.
Read on for blogger and Boston flower buyer Jon Bornstein's take on grilling versus barbecuing.
So you think you know food, huh? Pride yourself on being able to differentiate between a Rib Eye and a Porterhouse? Aioli and Au Jus? Focaccia and fiddlehead? Impressive. Now that you’ve humbled me as an American and a food buff, maybe you can answer my favorite question on the cusp of the first long weekend of the summer – what’s the difference between grilling and barbeque?
This quandary has been on my mind as we roll into Memorial Day, a time that signifies many things to those of us fortunate enough to celebrate it. Perhaps most importantly, it is a time for us to reflect upon the sacrifices of our fellow Americans who have fallen in service to our country. Memorial Day also serves as the harbinger for a number of lesser events commonly associated with the warmer New England months. Academicians and their charges view the weekend as the beginning of summer break. Cinephiles welcome it as the start of the “tent pole” popcorn flick season (although the starting date for that seems to creep back earlier and earlier each year). Food-obsessed types like myself embrace it as open season on the outdoor grill.
Not that we diehards stop working our Webers when the weather turns cold and unpleasant. Working the grill is a year-round event for us. But the most glorious time to work the smoky hot space that a full grill top creates is when the thermometer heads north of 70 degrees and the icy sweat coming off a cold bottle of beer can cut a refreshing swath across your forehead.
So I repeat – do you know the difference between grilling and barbeque? I thought I did. Well, I pretty much did. But a recent demonstration at Le Cordon Blue institute in Cambridge by one of their talented chefs/instructors brought it all home for me, so let me do the same for you, just in case your sitting there wondering why I keep asking such an obvious question.
Grilling involves cooking something (be it meat, fish, chicken, or vegetable) by applying direct heat via flame, to the foodstuff in question through a grate. The significance of this is that most of us refer to this act as barbecuing, or having a barbecue, and as you will see, it’s not.
Barbeque is the process of slowly cooking food by applying heat indirectly via burning wood. This process can take up to 18 hours, and imbues the food in question with a smoky flavor and juicy tenderness as the long cooking time breaks down the fats and other components of the meat. Barbecue is truly an American style of cooking, and the way it varies from region to region is part of what makes it special.
Wherever you happen to be chowing down on ‘cue, be it somewhere in Texas, Memphis, the Carolinas, St. Louis, or Kansas City, you will be treated to completely different styles of eats. The sauce might be based around tomato, vinegar, or mustard. You might be eating beef brisket, pork ribs, or shoulder. Your meat may even have been seasoned with a dry rub and served with sauce on the side as opposed to being slathered by sauce directly.
The previously mentioned regions of the US view barbeque in the Northeast using the same lens that we New Englanders view college sports with – sure we’ve got it, and some of it is pretty damn good, but we don’t take it nearly as seriously as the rest of the country. And for a long time, they were right. But ‘cue is trending in this part of the country, and if you don’t believe me, ask anyone who’s been to The Smoke Shop at the Seaport or Sweet Cheeks in the Fenway. These places are popping up all over, and people who are serious about their smoke are putting them on the map.
Two favorite long time denizens of the Boston area that I love who’ve been banging out quality ‘cue for quite some time. Any one of these three can walk you through all the styles I previously mentioned to satisfy both your intellectual curiosity and your hankering for something sweet, tender, and smoky.
1) RedBones has been a fixture in Somerville’s eclectic Davis Square since 1987. Pumping out authentic bbq of all styles including jerk, the menu covers meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian options, with numerous tasty sides and a handful of desserts to go with the two dozen microbrews on tap. Did I mention they also have a food truck?
2) Blue Ribbon Barbeque is a multi-location operation whose longevity I’m not entirely sure of, but like Redbones, they do offer a variety of regional barbeque styles for your smoky flavor cravings. They do a nice job, and they’ve got four “Best of Boston’s” to prove it.
So do your patriotic duty this upcoming holiday weekend, and indulge in a truly American pastime by enjoying our native cuisine at one of the fine institutions listed above, or somewhere else you’ve been meaning to check out. And once you’ve done that, please don’t forget to report back! Did I mention this would also be a good opportunity to send flowers to someone you love?
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- Accessorize a large table by placing a long, narrow centerpiece in the center of the table. Add a few small votice candles on each side of the arrangement for an added effect.
- Ask your the staff at Exotic Flowers to create a centerpiece in a treasured family vase or bowl, or in seasonal pieces such as a cornucopia or a utility vase surrounded by dry corn cobs.
- To create a lot of drama and variety, place a topiary at one end of the table leading to a cluster of small potted plants, then two smaller topiaries with candles leading to a tray of votive candles and flower petals, and so on...
- Ask the Exotic Flowers floral designers to use vegetables or fruits as accents in your floral arrangement.
- Garnish your serving trays with flowers and greens.
- Scatter colorful fall leaves, flowers and votive candles along the center of your dining table.
- Float flowers in crystal wine glasses.
- Place a single long-stem rose on each plate to welcome your guests to the table.
- Decorate small desserts with flowers or make an ice ring with flowers to chill champagne or wine.
- Ask the Exotic Flowers floral design team to design the arrangements for your buffet table on several different levels to keep the eye flowing all along the table.
- Place a garland of fruit, flowers and fall foliage over your front door.
These simple tips will not only enhance your meal, but create lasting memories of beauty amongst your family and guests.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and memories. Often times, we end up around the television for football. Leading up to the holiday, Exotic Flowers in Boston is proud to share its top five movies for the holidays.
Starting in reverse order:
5. - Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Because Thanksgiving is about memories, we could not let this Charlie Brown classic escape our top five.
4. Bed of Roses
Our top five movies had to have one that included a flower shop.
3. Scent of a Woman
I attended Boston College (A&S '93) at the same time as Chris O'Donnell; so this one had to make the top 5.
2. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
"Those aren't pillows!" .. need I say more ?
1. Home for the Holidays
This movie is a must see. The movie reminds us that every family has issues, but in the end we are lucky to have family.
" I had the blues because I had no shoes. Until upon the street,
I met a man who had no feet." - Denis Waitley
This quote reminds me every day of how thankful I am for what I have. The people in New York and New Jersey and the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, the civil war in Syria and the economic collapse of Greece all serve as daily reminders of how lucky we all are.
Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday. We celebrate our good fortune with food, flowers, friendly and family. Like most of you all, Thanksgiving Day in my family has many stops, from an early day at work (we are open for hostess gifts until 1pm) to dinner at my house and then to my mother's house for even more feasting.
Thanksgiving is a gateway to the holiday season. The holidays are filled with memories and traditions. It is never too late to start your own tradition. Flowers are a perfect companion to any memory or tradition.
Please know that we are at your disposal and send flowers worldwide.
with gratitude for your loyal patronage and friendship,