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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

The Most Popular Late Summer Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 24, 2015

Summer Loveliness


One of the most glorious aspects of summer are the beautiful blooms that reflect the very essence of the season.  Varieties tend to be fragrant, bright and silk textured making them high in demand for Boston party planners busy scheduling New England weddings and soirees. Centerpieces for these events often set the theme so it is of the utmost importance that the right texture, color and scent be utilized correctly.  Height and width of these pieces are also detrimental in pulling off the perfect summer look and consist in a wide array including low and dense designs to high and wispy.  Depending on the client, designers can materialize millions of different creations using the plants customary to the northeast region during this steamy fragment of the year.  From the Cape to the Vineyard, tourists and natives will be impressed by the efforts of some of Bean Town’s most stylish florists.  Here are some of my summer favorites that have graced the tables of fancy and not so fancy New England partygoers!


Simple Sunflowers

Sunflowers should be your number one consideration if you’re looking to put together something for August whether it is a casual gathering for barbecue or tea or formal cocktail party or matrimonial affair.  For one thing, they come in a variety of shades including brilliant yellow and sexy red.  You can even find some that have tones of greens where you can mix and match the different types to make a stunning yet natural allure.  Glass bubble bowls are just right to set off the cheery heads that wont distract with complicated shades and styles.  Hosts will also love the added bonus of affordability.  Remember, summer is about being easy going and fuss free so let your wallets take a vacation too!


Grandma’s Garden Roses


There is a short amount of time that we can enjoy New England’s native growth so take advantage of what we have to offer during the months of July and August.  My grandmother took extreme pride in her rose gardens, which only got more and more breath taking as the years rolled on.  Ask your florist for tea roses that not only reflect a sweet and dainty appeal, they also have an aroma that is sure to be a people pleaser.  There is no shortage of color selection either where you can pick deep shades of pink and red or soft tints of cream and baby yellow.  Another bonus of garden roses is that you don’t have to intermix them with several varieties of different flowers.  They are great on their own cut either low or high in large bunches.  


Lavender Loveliness


Lavender grows like weeds around the Boston area during the summertime and we are lucky because it is a fabulous plant to use either cut or in planters.  If you are having a luncheon for example, take a few sprigs and stick them inside the napkins for a nice added touch.  Boutonnières are another great way to show off this flowering herb and look lovely when paired with ivy geranium or nasturtiums (which by the way is another summer stunner).  Lavender can also be put in a vase by itself if they are arranged in large clumps with varying species.  Explore the English, French and ivy varieties that are available to you!

 

Tags: Garden Roses, herbs, Flowers, Summer, Sunflowers

Activities For The Dog Days of Summer

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 18, 2015

Summer days are winding down but we still have a few precious weeks to fill before our kids are back on the busses and headed to school.  The end of August can sometimes be challenging for parents to find activities that are both affordable and entertaining for their children.  After all, we want them to have fond memories of summer 2015 so it’s our job to figure out a plan before its too late!  Fortunately, we live in a wonderful city chalk full of things to do and New England in general has a plethora of hidden haunts perfect for family fun.  Don’t let the dog days get you down with boredom and pick one of these great places to visit before autumn arrives!


Zoar Outdoor

7 Main Street / Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)

Charlemont, MA


If you haven’t been here yet-now’s your chance to rip down the rapids of Deerfield River in canoes, kayaks and rafts!  If the fast track isn’t your taste, rest assured that they also offer zip lining and biking through gorgeous trails.  The breathtaking view of cascading mountains and edge of your seat excitement will make this a favorite summer time spot for years to come.  


Quassy Amusement Park

2132 Middlebury Road (Route 64)

Middlebury, CT


Massachusetts has many amusement parks that are filled with wild rides but if you’re looking for something a little quieter, you might want to check out Quassy Amusement Park of Middlebury Connecticut.  This charming festival of fun is rated on the low-key side with traditional rides that are suitable of younger children or those with sensory issues.  Carousels and a Ferris Wheels are some of the attractions as well as a full list of delicious carnival foods.  


Ogunquit, Maine

Along with our lobster and clam chowder, New England is also famous for its stunning coastal waters.  From the Cape to New Hampshire, each state has a long list of pristine beaches to visit.  One of our favorites is Ogunquit Maine where dunes line silk strewn sandy shores.  Bring your appetite too because this area also offers a multitude of seafood eateries that are top notch and live up to their reputation for serving fabulous cuisine.  

Tags: outdoors, Outdoor Living, Summer

A Summer Book Recommendation for a Real Plant Lover

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Aug 11, 2015


It’s summertime and this season tends to be the time when we put a little extra “oomph” into reading more.  Although our schedules slow down and we’re apt to take some vacation time, it’s the perfect opportunity to stimulate our minds with material that we can enjoy and learn from!  Mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, historical, sports and a thousand other genres pique the curiosity of avid book lovers which all offer the gift of both educating, entertaining and exciting whoever browses through their pages.  Ordinarily, I’m a James Patterson or Elin Hilderbrand fan but lately I’ve been experimenting with dramatic fiction including the titles, “Lost in the Sun”, “Fangirl”, “Eleanor and Park “ and my recent conquest, “Sure Signs of Crazy”.  This last one I really enjoyed (although the others are fantastic too), because for one thing, it was incredibly well written (author’s name is Karen Harrington) and second, the main character’s best friend just so happens to be a plant!  If you’re confused I’ll fill you in a bit…


Sure Signs of Crazy” is a story about a twelve-year-old girl named Sarah who struggles with the tragic truth of having a mentally insane mother.  Ten years ago, she was institutionalized for murdering Sarah’s twin brother at the age of just two by drowning him in the kitchen sink.  The main character survives the incident but is now left with an alcoholic father who is vacant at best and incapable of realizing his daughter’s need to come of age.  That all changes during the summer going into seventh grade when our heroine takes control and forces her family to cope with the past and move on.  Now this might seem a little depressing but here’s the interesting part…


Having incredible writing skills (Sarah pens letters to Atticus Finch from “To Kill A Mockingbird” for a school assignment which ends up being therapeutic to her deeper understanding), she lacks ease with verbal communication and naturally befriends a plant.  Now you’d think the plant would just sit there and wilt but the author brilliantly personifies it to have opinions, likes and dislikes.  Harrington introduces situations where the plant is exposed to alcohol and feared to become “sick” as well as neglected and “lonely”, all things we know a pe plant was a real person.  My favorite example of this is seen when Sarah attempts to run away but is fearful of the needs of her plant.  She decides to dig a hole in the ground for her friend and describes this procedure where she clearly identifies with the plant as having human physical features:


“I placed her into the hole and pressed the old dirt around her waist.  I kneel at her new spot and try not to cry.  Tell her all the cool things she will be able to see from this view.”  (page 225-226)


As the book continues, she begins to open up to more person to person connections including her neighbors, grandmother, father and even her mother.  We learn through unpeeling the layers surrounding the little girl’s life that she is not the meek character from the beginning and in fact is a strong young woman who the world eagerly awaits to read her own words.  The reader is probed into believing that her friendship with the plant is at least partly responsible for this breakthrough.


Try “Sure Signs of Cralant is incapable of feeling.   In several passages the plant disagrees with Sarah and at other times, requests its caretaker to turn it around for appropriate sun as” for a fun yet intriguing read this summer!

Tags: Books, #EXFL, Plants, Summer

Gardening Calendar for August

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jul 31, 2015

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Tags: Garden Calendar, Summer, Perennials, Tomatoes, August

Flowers that Thrive on Heat Waves

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jul 29, 2015

 

New England has its fair share of blizzards but lucky for us, we also get to experience the warmer side of the weather spectrum during July and August.  Although temperatures in the metro Boston area commonly subside within the mid to low eighty’s, we can sometimes experience the occasional heat wave.  Since most of us are more accustomed to the chillier days of the year, a day of ninety-degree weather can sometimes make us a bit uncomfortable and dare I say-anticipating January and February once again.  But did you know that our flower and vegetable beds crave the heat causing seedlings and fruit to germinate at a healthy rate.  With the necessary watering, gardens can boom to three times the expected size during a season of muggy humidity.  Still not sold on the importance of steamy July and August months?  Take a look at these varieties that will make you thank Mother Nature for an extra fiery summer in New England!



Amaranthus


This is a fantastic flower to grow during the blazing New England summer months because it is both draught and heat resistant.  They are best started by seed indoors and then can be transplanted to a regular garden once the fear of a frost has passed.  When they’re ready, make sure you place them in a full-sun location since they’ll only grow taller and bigger with this type of environment.


Cosmos


Cosmos are the #1 first choice for my garden because even if I’m having a lousy growing season, I can always depend on cosmos to be spectacular!  Having the capability to re-seed itself, they can grow extremely tall so staking the stems may be necessary.  Be sure not to over water and allow full sunshine to increase bud productivity.


Lantana


Lantana is the answer to your prayers if you have a place in your yard that has difficulty providing the right outer elements for successful growing.  Craving little moisture, this fuss free plant is a knockout in the scorching temperatures and comes in a wide variety of stunning colors.  Another bonus of this plant is that critters such as rabbits despise the scent so you will find it beneficial to place the flower around your vegetable crops.


Tags: Gardening, Plants, Summer, July, August

Festive 4th of July Desserts for Kids

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 29, 2015

Independence Day is filled with red, white and blue food including delicious desserts for kids! Not only can we utilize the yummy berries that are finally in season such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries but our pastry chefs all over Boston are whipping up scrumptious creations that are sure to please the whole family.  While some foodies suggest high calorie desserts with extensive ingredients (not to mention extensive sugar), this selection offers easy to prepare directions as well as fuss free diet restrictions.  With these delightful treats, you’ll be able to ring in the 4th of July with a bang!

 

Freeze Your Own Popsicles

 bomb_pop

Making your own popsicles is a simple way to invent a fast snack while still being able to control the sugar content by selecting a preferred juice.  Flavors that work the best for a red, white and blue theme are cranberry, fruit punch, grape, blueberry, white grape and lemonade juices.  Most of these varieties offer a low calorie and reduced sugar version so your kids will be able to cool off while slurping down a healthy Popsicle.  If you really want to get fancy, you can freeze them in three separate levels by placing one layer on top of the other just as long as you freeze them one at a time.

 

 strawberry_shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

 

Okay, so this sweet may not be on the healthy side but honestly, who cares!  You can make this dessert an essential dish at your 4th of July barbecue table just by place a huge scoop of whip cream on top of a piece of shortbread (store bought is fine).  Once you’ve started piling on the good stuff, add red and blue berries  (strawberries and blueberries work best with shortcake) that will finish it off perfectly.  Don’t be afraid to substitute when needed such as replacing the cream with a high quality French vanilla ice cream.               photo credit: MarthaStewart.com

 

Strawberry Bombs

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                         photo credit: thefreshfridge.com

This is so great you’re going to want to make these year round!  Just take a strawberry and clean out the insides with a spoon delicately.  Fill the middle with whip cream and top with one ripe blueberry.  Place in the refrigerator overnight to allow hardening so the cream doesn’t spill out.  Serve before, after and during your barbecue and watch that plate disappear within seconds!

 

Tags: Dessert, July 4th, Chef, Kids, cooking, Summer, July

Top Red, White and Blue Flowers for the Fourth of July

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jun 22, 2015

The 4th of July is about celebrating independence, fireworks and showing our red, white and blue pride for our country!  Along with sparklers and waving flags, Boston florists are planning to show their spirit through a stunning spectrum of floral color.  Now, I know we’ve seen this color palette annually but rumor has it that some of this city’s top designers have invented a fresh and contemporary approach to this summer holiday’s festivities.   It’s not that the traditional white carnations, red roses and blue delphinium don’t still hold their appeal but isn’t it time to use a little imagination to present more options?  Here’s what the flower aces are building in their studios to make this year’s 4th of July a spectacular success!

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                             photo credit: Flower Factor / Aboutflowers.com

Red

Red is the strongest hue in the color combination, standing for “hardiness and valor”.  It can be utilized throughout many varieties including gerbera daisies, hypericum berries, hibiscus, astilbe, celosia, zinnias, poppies, ranunculus, dianthus, begonias, dahlias and even some breeds of hydrangea.  All of these flowers are garden ready during this time of year so they should be available from your florist.  If your green thumb is up to it, try cultivating your own selection of red plants and flowers to be used at your holiday party!

 

White

In respect to the American flag, white represents the country’s “purity and innocence”.  This shade can be found within thousands of beautiful buds that are native to Massachusetts during the summer months or can be shipped from other parts of the world by your floral representative.  The top choices for 2015 include white hydrangea, lily of the valley, alliums, spiaria, beach roses, lilies, calla lilies, anemones, lilac, clematis, Queen Anne’s Lace, bearded iris, and even daisies.  The purpose of the white is to mesh the bolder colors together so don’t be afraid to go with a simple and dainty choice for your bouquets.  July offers some of the most gorgeous weather for wild flower growing so get your clippers and get snipping!

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                                      photo credit: Flower Factor / Aboutflowers.com

Blue

The blue segment of this holiday trio is also important which means “vigilance, perseverance and justice”.  Typically, you’ll see a lot of delphinium for this shade because in all honesty, there used to be limited choices.  A good thing for us, agriculturalists are getting clever with their crops allowing us a broader variety to select from.  New varieties of blue include hydrangea, jasmine, grape hyacinth, bachelor buttons, dandelion flower, clematis, morning glories, blue star, balloon flower and aster.  If you really want to wow your guests, order a bunch of blue dyed roses or phalaenopsis.  They might be a bit pricier than your other options but you wont be disappointed by the reaction you’ll get!

Tags: Floral Design, Flower Arrangements, July 4th, Flowers, Summer

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