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Martin Luther King’s Peace Garden

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 11, 2016

On January 18th, 2016, we will celebrate Martin Luther King Day, a holiday dedicated to remembering his nonviolent peace movements in the quest for equality.  Observed to honor his birthday, (which really lies on January 15th ) President Ronald Reagan signed the bill making it an official holiday on November 2nd , 1983.  The country will hold several reenactments of the reverend’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream” as well as thousands of Americans gathering in the place where a piece of his memory is held dearly.  


Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site honors King’s life work in spreading the idealism of peace throughout the country.  Along with precious artifacts and mementos of the hero’s lineage kept inside the museum, a second tribute marks the sanction, displaying a beautiful garden holding 185 varieties of roses at the visitor’s entrance.  The stunning presentation is one of the “International World Peace Rose Gardens” containing thousands of blossoms with eclectic colors and aromas.  Structured in a design similar to a starburst, the beds are planted entirely with roses, the United States official flower.  Landscaped in the month of March in 1992, the garden is visited by millions of people wanting to learn and pay homage to the man who spent his life crusading for a nonviolent world.  Dr King and his wife are also buried close by.


The configuration of the design and the varieties that grow within King’s International World Peace Rose Garden hold specific significance.  The starburst shape was created to mirror his brilliance and ambition of unity throughout mankind.  The plush pink roses in the center are symbolic for his wife who continued her husband’s teachings for years after his death.  The red band of roses that swerves in and out of the circle represents African Americans and their contributions made to the world and the white blooms are banded around the ring to exemplify King’s similarity with Ghandi within their peace movements.   The splash of multi-shaded roses placed within clumps is reminiscent of the world filled with a beautiful array of different cultures and ethnicities.  The assortment of several tints and color tones also represents King’s vision that peace should run throughout the world for eternity.   The garden is said to be one of the most powerful displays created in Martin Luther King’s memory and remains the number one site to honor and remember him by.  

Tags: Martin Luther King Jr., Roses, January, MLK, Garden

The Beauty of Terrariums

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 06, 2016

This year my favorite present was a stunning terrarium built with glass, copper and iron and boy have I been having fun with it so far!  If you’re an avid gardener like me, you can sympathize with the fact that winter is unbearably depressing when it comes to waiting for growing season to return.  As the now continues to fall, most green thumbs are waiting in anticipation for the thaw to arrive so that they can resume their passion of vegetable and flower harvesting.  


Terrariums solve this winter woe by allowing you to foster seedlings or even tropical beauties from the sanctuary of your own home!  


Built to capture heat and light, this ingenious vessel works to keep your seedlings safe while nurturing them as if they were in a real greenhouse.  All you need is a window with ample sunlight and a few plants to get started.  If you have already began searching online for the best price and model, you’ll find that there is a huge array to select from with choices on different sizing, materials, height and price.  


The best plants to use can be anything your little heart desires as long as the compartment is large enough to store it.  Cacti and orchids are fantastic options as well as Airplants, which are awesome to hang from the ceiling and sides.  Don’t forget your cucumbers, carrots and squash this spring to get them ready for future outdoor plantings!


If you don’t want to spend a bundle paying for a terrarium, you can actually make your own at home.  All you have to do is reuse an empty egg carton or other appropriate container and place plastic or saran wrap over the top.  There’s a million different ways to do it so be sure to browse Pinterest for some other cool and affordable ideas!  Happy Winter Planting!  

Tags: Gardening, January, winter, Plants, Terrarium

Tips to Survive Winter Blunders

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 04, 2016


The other day I got into my car to drive to a doctor’s appointment in the first real snowy day of the New England season.  I was pretty excited because afterwards, I would be having lunch with two close friends-one of which came all the way from California for a visit.  So anyways, I was on my merry way when I heard a BANG” ricochet from the front of the car.  A few moments later the “Thump, thump” made me suspicious of damage caused by whatever it was that I hit in the road.  Luckily, I barely made it into the parking lot, found a space and turned off the ignition to go and went to investigate the problem.  A flat tire.  A really flat tire during the worst winter weather we have experienced so far, making the situation all around a disastrous one.


Thankfully, I had prepared myself for a mishap similar to this and was able to resurrect the situation without any severe grievances (although I did miss that luncheon with my friends).  It made me realize how important it is to fully stock your car with items that will come in handy during situations like these or unthinkably - even worse.  If you haven’t stocked up already, keep in mind these tips that will assist you safely through your own winter blunders.


Always Store In Your Trunk…

  1. Bottled Water- Even if it freezes, water will always thaw and its important to stay hydrated in freezing temperatures.


  1. Fleece Blankets- If there’s no heat in your vehicle then it’s imperative that you store a few warm blankets just in case your tow ride takes longer than expected.


  1. Extra Clothing- This goes without saying that you should pack extra clothing to add layers if needed.  Sweaters and waterproof jackets are highly recommended.


  1. First Aid Kits- You never know when you might need a Band-Aid or other necessary medical supplies if you’ve been in an accident.  Having the right materials just may lessen the impact of an injury incurred so make a stop at CVS or Walgreens to stock up!

A SPARE TIRE!!!  You would be amazed how many people are driving around without a spare tire in their trunk!  Now’s the time to check and make sure because if you get a flat tire like I did, you don’t want to be stuck empty handed and ill prepared

Tags: Snow, January, winter

Tightening the Budget in the New Year

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 01, 2016

So now that we’ve blown our brains out on buying gifts for the season, it’s time we tighten up the budget to refill our empty piggy banks.  I know-its like the worst hangover ever when we check our bank statements and see a depleted amount of resources.  Instead of tearing your hair out, cursing that it’s the last time you spend so much money on the holiday season, take a deep breadth, relax and listen to a few tips that are guaranteed to put a spring back in your savings step.  I get the anxiety- I really do because like many people, the January financial reality always makes me a bit panicky, too.  I like to see a nice cushion in my wallet in case disaster strikes where it really is necessary to spend the wad.  I learned long ago that if you can follow a few simple tricks, you’ll soon see those numbers start to climb back up, if not only to be in time for next year’s holiday shopping sprees.  By even taking on one or two of these principles, you’ll begin to see some positive change just by tweaking small areas of your lifestyle.  Good luck and get saving again in the year 2016!


Money Jars

Money jars are the best way to start because most people have at least one penny to empty out of their pockets at the end of the day.  Grab a clear vase, cup or Mason jar, and place it in an area of your home where it’s easy to utilize.  If you really want to have fun with it, choose a holder that isn’t opaque and at the end of the year you’ll be shocked at how much doe you’ve accumulated!

coca cola cans and hydrangea

photo credit: Flower Factor

Return Bottles and Cans

This one is a no brainer because not only will it help you regain your losses, it’s a real benefit to our environment!  Get an old trash barrel and toss in those coke and ginger ale empties.  Find a redemption center at a grocery or liquor store and receive your .05 rebate fee!  You might not think it’s much but if you put it aside in a account, the truth will become clear.  I’ve even paid for a significant part of one summer vacation just by using my recycling money.


Eat in More (That Includes Your Coffee Order)


Do you know that on average, Americans spend almost 35% of their paychecks on take out?  From fast food burgers to fancy sit down dinners, we are literally burning our bread by buying food made in someone else’s kitchen!  I know that we all get tired and need a night out at times but if you shave off half of those occurrences, you’ll see how much money you’ll still have left at the end of the week.  If you’re a coffee fiend, you might want to brew your own since most pre-paid coffees go cold half full (not to mention the triple cost as opposed to an at home coffee maker).  Oh, and did I mention the fact that your waistline will thank you, too?  By cooking on your own, you know exactly what’s going into your food, discarding many of the empty calories and unhealthy additives typically found in restaurants.  

Tags: New Years Resolutions, cooking, January

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

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


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

Trendy Flowers for January Holiday Parties

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 19, 2015

Christmas has come and gone but many New England companies have decided to bring the merriment into the beginning of the New Year.  Holiday parties used to be thrown solely in the month of December but with soaring costs and limited time within bustling schedules, many corporations have taken it upon themselves to change the rules a bit.  By arranging employee get-togethers after the traditional season, management departments have found that, attendance higher and party expenses drastically decrease.  Do you know that the rate to book a room in a hotel or restaurant for events in Boston decreases by 25-30% during the first few weeks of the year?   Let’s face it- it’s worth the wait. 



One factor does change, though, with this decision because different flowers are available during different months of the year.  Red, white and green are the number one shades for request during Christmas but do we really want to drag that into a January party?  I don’t think so.  There are ways to incorporate a holiday theme without duplicating the look.   Try using some of the previous seasonal colors with those new to your inventory now.  Some florists attempt to slip in items that didn’t sell for Christmas and in an effort to eliminate them, will place them in your event décor so keep a watchful eye for fresh and contemporary details.  Silver and gold make a wonderful impact since they can be celebratory of New Years but still remindful of previous holiday festivities.  Try to stay away from ornaments, wreathes and trees as decorations, they’ve been done to death at this point.  Select items such as white lights, sparklers and soft shades as accents for linens and dishware.  By using a delicate palette sans the sharpness of green and red, you’ll uplift your guests without weighing them down of memories associated with Christmas colors such as overspending, anxiety of family reunions and ridiculous seasonal tasks.  Leave it where it is and move on. 


There are great options for flowers in the month of January so don’t forget to spend an adequate time investigating your Boston florist.  White in particular, is seen in expansion within tulips, roses, lilies and freesia.  If you’re looking for a bolder look, think about using a mixture of cream and purple to create a dramatic appeal within your arrangements.  You’ll find that amaryllis is grown in deep shades of maroon and is still available during the colder portion of the year.  Gerbera daisies, alstroemaria and Asiatic lilies also offer a comparable presentation but with a lesser cost.  Another idea is to go for a blue theme where you can ask for stems of delphinium or hydrangea to fill the table vases.  Blue is an excellent color that gives centerpieces a “pop” and is representative of the pleasures that the New Year will bring!

RICK_SUZIE Suzie and Rick Canale, Westwood, MA December 2014

Suzie is already planning her garden for this summer.

Tags: New Years Resolutions, January, winter, Flowers

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in Boston

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sun, Jan 18, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a celebration honoring the birthday of one of America’s most beloved icons.  Celebrated on the 3rd Monday of every January (although his birthday is officially on the 15th), the nation pays homage to King’s detrimental efforts towards the civil rights movement against racial discrimination.  The act to officially observe Martin Luther King Day came after King’s assassination in 1968 but it wasn’t until 1983 when it became a federal holiday.  Signed by Ronald Regan who initially opposed the bill, the act became effective after the president realized that he was severely outvoted by the House of Representatives. Although the bill had been mandated, there were still a few states, which were reluctant towards calling the holiday by its legal name, and instead, combined Martin Luther King Day with other nearing holidays.  It wasn’t until the year 2000 when all 50 states came together and agreed to reserve the event solely for Martin Luther King, Jr.  


People around the United States choose to participate in this occasion throughout many ways including re-listening to his infamous speech, “I Have a Dream”, which still emanates the strength, courage and determination within the words that have said “to appeal to the most sacred touchstones that there are in the United States”.   Bostonians, too, have the opportunity to engage within events set up around the city that propel Mr. King’s profound symbolism of “Let Freedom Ring”.  City officials have elected to put forward great efforts within erecting more and more opportunities for both children and adults to learn the importance of understanding who Martin Luther King, Jr. was and what he stood for.  Check out your local paper and to find events thematic of this special day honoring the momentous leadership efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Boston Holiday Highlights

Dr. King lived in Boston for several years studying for degrees received at both Harvard and Boston University so you know that there will be lots of events to attend honoring this special day!  Here are some that have already been listed:


“Free At Last Sculpture”

Boston University



Boston University Annual MLK Commemoration

1 pm 775 Commonwealth Ave, Boston University



Museum of Fine Arts MLK Day

Speeches, films, exhibits,

Free Admission


Museum of African American History

Beacon Hill Walking Trail


suzie_giving_tree Suzie Canale, Westwood Public Library, 2014

Visit Suzie in the children's department of the Westwood Public Library for children's books about Martin Luther King Jr.




Tags: Martin Luther King Jr., Boston, Holidays, #EXFL, January, MLK

A January Poem

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jan 15, 2015

The holidays are over,

It’s the start of a new year,

Time to make our resolutions,

And really kick them in high gear.


For some of us, we’ve promised,

To shed those extra pounds,

Or form a stronger backbone,

By standing firmer on their grounds.


We promise to be nicer,

To our neighbors and our friends,

Maybe try to be more neater,

By taking care of odds and ends.


But whatever deals we make this time,

Remember to have fun,

This should be what we all put first,

On our lists as number one!


So as we start the first month,

And attempt the unforeseen

I wish to you a healthy, happy,

And exciting 2015!

orchid delivery boston photo credit Flower Factor /

Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA 


Tags: Poetry, #EXFL, January

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