Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin, Dinner Holiday Menu

beef tenderloin

Christmas Dinner At My House

christmas dinner

Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.

We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say “Christmas” to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.

I want to share some of the foods we love with you, and the menus we have enjoyed as a family.

Sharing the holiday meal together is one of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas.

Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal stay woven within our hearts. Foods that create a part of a celebration together are an important part of that experience.

Dream Of An Old Time Christmas?

Memorable recipes are a time honored way to create a special experience that combines tradition, nostalgic memories, and fresh new excitement into your celebration.

The act of sitting around a table that is decked out in a beautiful setting is quite an unusual thing for many of us. Making it simple, special, and homey recalls old time ways of gathering family together for a memorable meal.

Eating Our Christmas Dinner
pear/pomegranate salad
Our first course fo pear/pomegranate salad.

A Festive Christmas Menu

While it is my favorite for Christmas Eve dinner, consider this meal for special times from New Years Ever to Valentines day, and beyond. Anytime you wish to have something to impress your family and guests.
Simply customize the serving amounts.

So what’s on the menu this year?

  • Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
  • German style fingerling potatoes
  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
  • Cardamom Rolls

(The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I’ve had it online with other Christmas recipes I make….)

Why Choose Beef Tenderloin for the Main Course?

Tenderloin is very easy to cook

An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year! An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

I know this cut of meat is costly, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix (hard to mess up), and everyone loves it… you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.

It is usually accompanied with a cranberry relish for Christmas, but I sometimes skip that dish , depending on the rest of the menu.

We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual; and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.


Follow the link for Cardamom Rolls.

Or learn more about the spice, All About Cardamom.[/one_half_last]


Holiday plate
Holiday colors

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

This has become our family’s all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.

Make Ahead Tip

The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated up to 4 hours before roasting.


  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 -1/2- to 3-lb. beef tenderloin roast, with excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. How to make…
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
  4. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
  5. Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare,or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
  7. Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.
  8. The original recipe was from Fine Cooking magazine.
  9. ————–
  10. I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds, myself. since I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche.
Crème Fraiche

1 ½ cups whipping cream

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk

Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Besides being used for the beef:

Use it as a dessert topping, too. Very good added to vinegar and oil dressings. Delicious over fresh fruit and berries.

How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin

If you have never prepared this roast for a meal before, you may gain confidence from viewing the how-to video.

German-style Fingerling Potatoes

German style fingerling potatoes
This is an easy recipe to make, for something a bit more involved, but extremely tasty, try Fine Cooking’s Glazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette. This was the original recipe I used;  if you have the time it is excellent with the beef.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 6 (6 cups)


  • 2 lb. halved fingerling potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • a little chopped parsley
  • bacon can be substituted for the proscuitto


  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
  2. Sauté prosciutto in oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad

– Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy

pear pomegranate salad
Pear-Pomegranate salad

This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.


  • 3 pears thinly sliced – two red pears and one Asian
  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • dark green lettuce leaves


  1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
  2. Toss with lemon juice to coat.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
  5. Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min

Whole Green Beans – Simply delicious

  • 3/4 lb whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard


fancy whole green beans
fancy whole green beans
  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.

Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.

Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods

Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.

Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can’t do without for our holiday repast… usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).

Christmas Holiday Cookbooks

Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.

How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.

Holiday Settings – Festive Table Trimmings

Christmas Oldtime Dinner

Whether it is a few hand-picked pieces or an entire set of china dedicated to the trimmings of the season, it really brightens the table setting to have plates or serving pieces with iconic Christmas trees, bright ribbons, or snow scenes. Spode and Lennox are just a few of the companies which are famous for Yuletide dinnerware designs.

My sister has a complete set of dinnerware for the season, while I tend to pick up bowls and platters from after Christmas sales. They add a cheering note of pretty color to my all-white stoneware. When fixing a special meal like beef tenderloin, this servingware really showcases the special foods, economically.

Christmas table setting
Christmas table setting


Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother’s table.

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery.


Not Christmas Yet?


When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.

Originally published by Ilona Erwin on 05/10/11

Gingerbread House

Christmastime gingerbread houses

Use this icing recipe to construct Gingerbread house and decorate with candies.


Beat together:
1 1/2 cup Warm water
12 Tb. Meringue powder
4 lb. Powdered sugar
1 tsp. Almond extract

Beat until icing loses it’s shine and stands in peaks.
Beat water and meringue powder until frothy. Add as much p. sugar as necessary. Continue beating until icing stands in peaks. Color as desired.
Icing should not be stiff or house will not hold together as long. Add more water to thin the icing if necessary.
Makes enough for 2-3 houses. Can half recipe.
Icing will keep about 2 weeks unrefrigerated or may be stored in fridge for months. Seal very tightly so that it doesn’t harden into lumps. (Tupperware or similar container is very good container)
Requires heavy-duty table mixer*
Any bit of oil will cause this icing to become soupy and unusable.
Icing should not be stiff or GB houses fall apart a lot sooner!
You might want to add 1/4 ts Cream of Tartar for additional icing strength.

The Prettiest Nail Polish Trends

Who doesn’t like pretty nails?

A woman’s love for shoes is well known, but what about the beauty of those feet inside the shoes? The finishing touch for a pedicure, the toes peeking out from sandals, and otherwise unadorned feet on the beach all deserve a little attention that comes from pretty polish.

Top Trends for Spring

In spring and summer those sandals shod or otherwise bare feet are on full display.

FOR fall/winter 2017

During the winter season, hands take center stage with bling, deep color, contrasts, and matte looks..

What colors are trendy? Which ones are classic? Nothing is easier to change and experiment with than nail polish.

So I thought I’d gather together a few of the thousands of choices available.

Whether you give yourself a home pedicure, or book a professional salon, these are the colors and looks to get for this year.


My Favorite Nail Polish Color

What is your favorite manicure style?

photo by lloria
photo by lloria

Trendy Colors

What’s The Newest Fashion?

For 2016, gray and metal have gone to chrome. Ombre is taking the Pantone duo of Serenity blue and Rose quartz and mixed them one into the other. Yellow appears for spring.

Going into fall, matte looks and geometrics with bling are on trend. Take the ombre idea and make it matte with your fav wardrobe colors.



There are always seasonal changes, deeper colors for fall/winter and lighter ones for spring/summer, but what about fashion forward trends?

The buzz: BLUES are big. For 2015, it was cobalt, specifically. Freshen up your blues with this strong color that fairly sings (like a bluebird?). It will make you feel happy.

Autumnal shades are also a beautiful look. Try them in sheers or marbled looks.

Then there is the true gray color that has the same effect as the Gothic black (which is still popular), but looking newer.

For Spring?

Look for pinks, gray and neutrals, pastels on a sheer base for an almost nude look.

found on topteny.com
found on topteny.com

Lots Of Matte Look

Some say adding eye shadow or cornstarch to polish gives you the effect. For 2016, it is back to black


These were the Top Ten looks for 2016:

  1. Navy with sparkles
  2. Milky white, Creamy Beige opaques
  3. Unusual French Nail Colors
  4. Nail art.
  5. Silver Metallics
  6. Apple Red
  7. Seafoam Green
  8. Glitter
  9. Gloss finishes
  10. Geometric and Abstract designs

For 2017: Keep the Navy, Get Edgier With the Art

Found on wewomen.com: this deep blue was popular for 2015. Update the design with vintage or geometric asymmetry.
Found on wewomen.com: this deep blue was popular for 2015. Update the design with vintage or geometric asymmetry.

Past Looks, Which Will Stay?

How it looks in 2016:

Gorgeous Red takes on a pure red apple look.

Nail Art goes to the art museums for abstracts, 3D, and geometrics.

Nudes with flat beige.

Marbled went to “Oil Slick”.

Compare this years spring looks with the slightly weird stuff of 2014

For 2015: Gorgeous Red…. Dreamy Creamsicle Orange…. Super Natural…. Ballet Pink….

Get the picture? Classic reds, chic corals, soft pastels, and nudes are 2012’s colors. For 2013, the reds are tempered with art effects: half moon, racing stripes, and blood dripping art.

Get with 2015 and use sheer colors, tribal or marbled painted look. Or sophisticated gold stripe across every nail.

Nudes which are strongly blush pink and milk white, nail art.

Black is still strong …Pearl effects …Skin matching …Racing Stripes … the verdict is IN.

New Looks

Pantone’s color of the year: Rose Quartz

Blues are navy.

Grays are charcoal.

Greens are seafoam.

Reds are apple.

Matte is Strong for 2016/17

DKNY matte nails
DKNY matte nails

Green Tips

green nail tips
Monique Lhuillier, IMAXTREE

French Manicure – Is Back! But Different

The look of a French Manicure is classic and elegant. A natural colored nail with a white tip that is given a satin glaze.

The History of the French Manicure

Some stories tell it that Max Factor invented today’s “French Manicure” in the 1930s for Hollywood stars. It is one of the most requested nail designs.

This polish style had fallen out of favor with fashionistas, and the natural nail or black nail replaced it. The variation of the “American nail” with an off-white tip is considered more fashionable than stark white tips, today. And this is the basic way it has re-emerged.

For some, it was always be the favorite choice, and they will be happy this year.

The newest way to use a French nail look is with the edge stripe in pastels of green, blue, or pink. Fantastic art effects can also be found.

In 2016

It takes a new tack: tips are done in color. Emerald green made an appearance…

Give yourself a manicure?

The Frugal Way To Be Fashionable

Gather together:

  • Pack of cotton balls
  • Paper towels / Makeup removal pads
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail polish
  • Emery board
  • Nail trimmer
  • Cuticle remover

LUSH has some of the most delicious products that are good for you and smell heavenly.

  1. Soak hands in warm soapy water
  2. Remove Nail Polish
  3. Trim your nails
  4. File your Nails
  5. Remove Cuticles
  6. Apply 2 Coats Nail Polish
  7. Apply Lotion

A paraben-free formula with 14 natural oils including Jojoba oil, Almond oil, Evening Primrose oil and now Argan oil and Borage oil. Zeva creates this luxurious emollient in a convenient pen applicator.

Keep your cuticles cared for – These are the best beauty buys for nails

Reading the advice of top manicure experts, you will no doubt come across recommendations for the best nail care products. The implements and time saving ways to keep your nails in top form. Take some time to look over these selected nail care products for gift ideas or to give your own nails the care they deserve.

Best way to Accessorize?

Cute manicures and pedicures!

Sanitation Is Important

At home, but especially when using a salon, remember to keep implements clean and sanitized for good foot health.

When was the last time you had your nails done?

Maybe its time to get a pretty pedicure

Maybe you are like me and tend to forget about your nails until there is a special event… like a wedding or a vacation where you will wear sandals, and you think, “Oh no, I need to do something for my nails!” Now, with all the pretty nail polish colors available, and the relaxing experience of a pedicure or a manicure, maybe it is time to put an appointment with a salon on your schedule a little more often. It isn’t a big thing, or an expensive thing, but the time spent grooming and painting your nails can add a little good feeling into your day.

photo by Multiple fragments of tissue
photo by “Multiple fragments of tissue”

More than just a chance to pamper yourself, it can be a part of your health regimen. Cleaning with proper cutting and clipping of the nails can prevent ingrown toenails and infections. This is doubly important if you suffer from a condition like diabetes. If you opt for the professional pedicure or manicure, a massage is often included which improves the blood circulation.

Probably the most important concern is not the choice of a pretty polish color, but of the sanitation practices of the salon. You can always bring your own polish color, but the conditions of the facility is far more important for the health of your feet.

Body Toolz Deluxe Manicure/Pedicure Kit

Blue – Can still be found, but the newest trend is Navy

Pretty Colors From OPI

Love their colors, their quality, but admitting that their whimsical color names have something to do with it,too!

Look for blushy pinks, matte neutrals, and bold metallics

Try their “local” color collections: Hawaii, San francisco, New Orleans…

Best Colors in a Mini Collection

No need for a big bite out of your budget when you want to experiment with the trends in nail color.

Small sizes of polish give clear opportunity to try out a look before spending money.

Prettiest summer colors including trends of the right red and the new green.

Vintage Trends through the Years

Polished with Color or Natural? – Which manicure would you opt for?

Which do you think is better? Polished or natural nails?

How to Manicure Your Nails

When Only Sexy Deep Red Will Do – A dark red nail may be the classic sultry look

Oxblood is still IN. You might want to step up the brightness to an Apple red for summer and in keeping with the latest fashion looks.

What if you want to go lighter, but still give your nails a rich color? The color of the year is “Rose Quartz”, which is a dusty pink. Consider giving it some glitter or opal effect.

A color that will take you far this summer is the new beige or a charcoal gray.

Take a look at your wardrobe colors and pick a trend that is a versatile harmony with the colors you will be wearing this summer.

Gypsy Style Belly Dancer, Costuming and Gift Ideas

I took bellydance lessons and performed, then became interested in costume. The historical relationship of dance and culture is fascinating. Let’s examine the way we think they look, with swirling skirts and ethnic jewelry.

Discover Gypsy’s performance art and their colorful costuming, then borrow the look for your own, for performance or Halloween dress-up.

Gypsy Dance, Colorful Costumes, Fiery Passion

A Gypsy Garb

We call them “Gypsies”, they call themselves “Roma” or “Rom”.  They are a colorful people with a long history, who inspire a romantic view and enrich our cultures with their costume, crafts and dance. The first part of this post looks at the way we can put together a costume with Gypsy flavor; secondly, it is filled with gift ideas for the dancer in your life; winding up with examples of the styles of costume and dance.

This is a brief look at how their dance influences other cultures and costuming, because we all know that it is a favorite look whenever there is a costume party!

Picture Yourself

Immediately we think of a wild melange of color, but what are the essential elements?

Depending on which shape-shifting variation you wish to present:

  • Belly dancer…
  • Eastern European …
  • Flamenco dancer

Why Put Together This Style Costume?

If you attend Renaissance Fairs, take part in dance performances, (or that most loved time for dressing up) attend Halloween events, the costume ideas are all valuable.

Each of these occasions call for one of the variations of this highly identifiable outfit.

Whether it is for your own dance performance or for the classic Halloween costume, “The Gypsy” look is fun to put together. The common denominator is plenty of flash and color.

Costume Ideas from Gypsy Dancers All Over the World

The Quintessential Coif: Long Dark Hair and a Scarf

What do you think of when picturing a gypsy? Long black hair warn loosely, a bright scarf to wrap it up and gold coin jewelry.

What do you think of when picturing a gypsy? Long black hair warn loosely, a bright scarf to wrap it up and gold coin jewelry.

Don’t have the long dark hair that is a signature style for under the bandana? Simply use a wig, many dancers do. If you find the idea of extensions too troublesome and costly, especially if just wanting to costume for a single event like Halloween, use an inexpensive wig just for the purpose.

Common Elements of this Mode of Costume

  • The jewelry: hoops, bangles, strands of beads, coin decorated scarves.
  • Scarves: for head and hip, and over the shoulder, as well
  • Skirts: full and colorful, combining prints and bright colors in a uniquely individual way.
  • Boots, high heels, stylish footwear, if possible. Take your pick.
  • Blouse that is full and feminine- peasant style.

Put Together Your Own Version

Gypsies brought their culture to many countries

Gypsies brought their culture to many countries

Gypsy-Style D-I-Y Ensemble

Many parts of belly dance garb have been lifted from the wardrobe of performing Gypsies. The intention was to draw attention and impress with vivid and spectacular design. This makes for an impressive performance.

Except for real gold jewelry, it doesn’t take much wealth to produce an eye catching outfit.

Anyone wanting to make a splash in their Halloween plans can borrow these costume ideas. It isn’t hard to put together this ensemble.

Nowadays, we don’t need real gold to create shine and sparkle, anyway. There are plenty of costume jewelry choices: chandelier earrings, strands of golden metal and beads, fake coins, and ethnic looks.

Add them to beautiful skirts and blouses, and further outfit with heeled boots.

Voila! You’re done, with a more or less authentic look that brings theatre onto the scene.

Skirt Style and Accessories: Get the Look

  • Whether short or long, a skirt that flares and swirls is part of the traditional gypsy look.
  • Tiers of colored ruffles or one skirt over another, with the outer one hiked up to reveal the underskirt.
  • A full peasant blouse, sometimes with a wide neckline. Sometimes a bolero vest.
  • Set off the waist with a hip scarf or wide belt.
  • A headscarf and big hoop earrings. tie on bandana style
  • Bling, bling, bling when it comes to necklaces and bangle bracelets.
  • Dangling earrings bring more bling

Performance Costuming

Most of the bellydance performance bras and belts can be quite expensive, and must fit exactly, but there are plenty of stretchy and adjustable tops, and hip scarves that will work for almost any size. Look for those to give as a gift- they will be very welcome as most of the time a belly dancer spends dancing is practicing in a studio or at home.

While any dance-wear works, those with fringes and coins make the dance more fun and help visualize he way the movements look.

Fringed Coin Bra Top

Gift Idea

This is the ideal gift- a practice or tribal performance coin decorated top. Enough fringe to accentuate those important rolls and drops.

Any belly dancer would love this for an authentic feel when practicing and doing classes and rehearsals.

Dance Photographer – Brendan Lally

Gifts Ideas for your Favorite Belly Dancer

It is easy to shop for someone who discovers belly dance, they have all sorts of costuming and makeup ideas they want to try. But maybe it isn’t quite as easy for you to figure just what thrills the heart of a student of Oriental dance, and that is what this lens is for… to open the world of Middle Eastern souks, the exciting accessories of the look of the Orient, and suggest the perfect gift choices for a Belly Dancer.

It can be a birthday, it can be Christmas, or any special holiday that you wish to use to shower a dancer in a show of appreciation. With these suggestions you are sure to find something that thrills a special someone who loves to shake and shimmy to her favorite Raqs Sharqi music.

The Key To A Great Gift Choice

That is what a woman wants: to feel beautiful and cared for.

Find out what those key things are and you know what to give as a gift she will remember. As well as your thoughtfulness.

For a woman who enjoys the Baladi dance form, part of the fun is the feminine way it makes them feel, including the chance to dress up and use exotic makeup. Exploring other cultures through the music, and even a bit of the history is part of the entire experience.

Clue into these things and you will have a treasure trove of ideas that will make the perfect gift, unlike any others.

Jewelry Is Always A Welcome Addition

For dancing performance or anytime she wishes to dress up, there are some fun costume jewelry ideas here. There are lots of different styles – some with coins, silver tone, gold tone, some that totally different … but all are fun and add sparkle.

For any woman on your list, jewelry might be a safe bet for a welcomed and enjoyed gift, but the Belly Dancer is just a little bit different.

She not only likes lots of jewelry, she adores the sparkly, kind that is strung with coins, and makes a great show when she moves.

That is why eye-catching items such as slave bracelets, Cleopatra bib necklaces, and chandelier earrings are favorites. If you really want to get the perfect gift of costume adornments, check the colors of her favorite outfits to see if gold or silver are the metal color for her.

Gift Inspirations

  • Tribal jewelry is always welcome, because it can be used anytime. Artful and fun, tribal jewelry gives any outfit a unique and fashionable look. Ebay is the perfect place to pick up great pieces that any belly dance aficionado would love.
  • Chandelier earrings, bib necklaces, armbands, all these types of jewelry are used to give an exotic flavor to an outfit, or in a dance performance.
  • Spa gift cards are guaranteed to make most women happy, but especially when a dancer wants to look her best. Manicures, pedicures, facials, even a massage is a great way to give a gift that will be appreciated.
  • There is always room for one more coin hip scarf!
  • Dance wear for practice and workouts can be a unique gift.
  • Belly dance slippers
  • A 3.5 yard length of silk for a dance veil, hem the ends and it is a beautiful gift. Great for all sizes.

Fabulous Tribal Gifts

To find something truly authentic with a degree of craftmanship that is rare, try online auctions.

The beauty of some of these tribal pieces is sometimes astounding in the way they add to an outfit or a stage costume. Don’t miss out on the chance to get a gift that is beyond the run of the mill mall purchase!

Feeling Beautiful is Really Important

Spa gifts, manicure and pedicure sets, creams and lotions…

Cosmetics And Fragrance Gifts Are Classic

This classic combination is a good choice for any woman, but look for the cosmetics that are recommended for the stage. Mac or Stila brand eye makeup, Glittery eye-catching powders… things like that.

Gifts of cosmetics and fragrance can be the best kind, so long as they are the right kind. Do a little sleuthing, or get something a seasoned bellydancer recommends.

Try to find the type of eye makeup your belly dancer prefers, or any beauty treatment or luxury skin treatment is a welcome present.

Common Elements of Gypsy Dance and How It Influences Other Cultures

The history of the Roma and their dance is intertwined. A common denominator in many of the belly dances, folk dances and the Flamenco of Spain, are hip and hand movements. All these dance forms share some of the same movements and steps.

Today’s fusions have proven a little harder to “pull off”, because while the movements create a common bond, the other factors such as feeling and manner are much more difficult to meld well.

What are the elements of Gypsy dance?

Take a video tour of a few examples and enjoy the entertainment that Gypsy people have perfected in their artistry of music and dance.

Romani Style Belly Dance

Turkish Dance

Eastern European Dance Fusion

Making the Dance Moves

Pay attention to specific movements in this dance form.

What makes this style dancing so enthralling?

It is enthralling for one reason: the performance is infused with passion and intensity. The most technically well-articulated gypsy dance leaves the viewer flat if it does not vibrate with the emotional intensity of the Gypsy soul.

That is just part and parcel of this style of dance.

I am not sure if the dance can be separated from the music and interaction of the performers. It is an art form of inner fire, but also a response to the musicians and the story that is being portrayed. But like any particular cultural performance style, there is a vocabulary of movement and gesture that can be understood and appreciated by the audience.

Gestures, hand bumping, and skirt gestures might have meaning in certain cultural forms, but they are usually used as a way to accent percussive sounds in the music. Some of the gestures are obvious references to everyday activities like washing clothes or baking, etc.

Emotions Expressed

Happiness may be expressed by the dancer touching her fingertips to her forehead, or placing her fingertips just at the top of her ear.

For instance, an Egyptian gesture, “Al Assal”, is made with the dancer’s fingertips to the side of her chin, meaning “as sweet as honey.”

Flamenco Style

Spanish Gypsies, An Example of Culture and Costume

Arising from Spain, flamenco brings together many aspects of Gypsy culture, and is a particularly sophisticated costume. One of the most famous dancers, Carmen Amaya, demonstrated that the dress wasn’t always stereotypical.

Greatest performances

Connections with Flamenco

Flamenco dances, from the gypsies of Andalusia, are considered to be of fairly recent origin. It is believed these dances preserve many of the traditional characteristics of Spanish dancing.

“One can hear the strong Arabic influence in flamenco music….the dance moments in flamenco with the hips and the portrayal of strong emotion and passion are essentially Arabic.” -Hossam Ramzy

Spanish Styled Costuming

red is a classic color choice for these dresses

Red is a classic color choice for these dresses

Elements of the Flamenco ensemble for women include:

  • Ruffled, colorful skirts
  • Large flower in the hair
  • Large hoop or chandelier earrings
  • At times, a long fringed shawl
  • Mid heeled dress shoes
  • Sometimes a version of the men’s style

Men’s styling:

  • Bolero jacket
  • High waisted trousers
  • Boots, usually short.
  • Decorations such as braid on the jacket

My Favorite Dance is….

Which is your favorite Gypsy influenced dance?

Cheerful Strawberry Décor For Any Place In Your House

Cheerful, with the attractive red, white and green palette, strawberries are beloved motifs for fabrics, furnishings and decorative objects. 

Strawberry Fields Forever

Everybody probably has some sort of design motif that is their favorite, whether it derives from its colors, or shape, or other connection to memory or loved object. Maybe a motif is as simple as a pattern that has an unconscious resonance for us with harmonies in nature.

For me, I somehow have always loved strawberry plant designs. I even gravitate toward the red, green and white color combination in home décor choices as a sort of default.

This hub is for all those, who like me, love the humble strawberry… in fruit and in flower.

Kitchen Strawberries

Beautiful interpretations of the brightly colorful strawberry

Strawberries, perhaps because of their cheerful appearance- those bright red berries with golden little polka-dot seeds and beautiful green leaves, are cheerful. Is that why we are drawn to decorate with them in painting them on furnishings or printing them on fabrics?

Equally attractive when framed with black or a white background, they are common in tole painting projects and often are popular with kitchen accessories. After all, what is more at home in the kitchen than a bright luscious strawberry design? The colors the delicious food motif, bring a bright note to many styles of kitchen decor.

Imagine your everyday meals dressed up with this cheerful strawberry decorated dinnerware.

Take a look at just a few of the examples of kitchen products that employ the cheerful strawberry:

Wild Strawberry Special Occasion – Delicate Strawberry Flowers and Runners

The delicate strawberry flowers bring a completely different feeling of pastel prettiness to many famous designs, such as the Wedgwood chinaware.

Wedgwood Wild Strawberry 5 Piece Place Setting

Wedgwood Wild Strawberry 5 Piece Place Setting

One of the prettiest designs possible. A beloved design from the famous Wedgewood pottery.

Would You Like to Learn to Paint Strawberries?

Strawberry Tole Designs – Folk style painting

Toleware – A favorite decorative paint method

As pretty as they are, you know strawberries will show up in decorative painting! One of my favorite forms is the tole painting method. It is a method that can be easily learned and there are many tutorial books and classes available to learn from.

Start with a watercolor tutorial and then experiment with acrylics and oils.

Strawberry painting tutorial

It is traditional to use methods of painting fruits and flowers on wood and tinware, but if the metal work of antique lamps or chairs have lots their color- there are ways to restore the bright berries and leaves. All much simpler than you might have imagined.

Cultures with decorative painting techniques: Norwegian and Swedish Rosemaling, Pennsylvania Dutch Tole, Russion Khokhloma.

Russion Khokhloma

“Khokhloma is an ancient Russian folk handicraft which appeared in the 17th century in Nizhny Novgorod. This is a decorative painting of wooden utensils and furniture in red, black and goldish color. Green and yellow paint is occasionally used. Traditional elements of Khokhloma are red juicy rowan berries and strawberries, flowers and twigs.”
– Wikipedia

Khokhloma History:

“Khokhloma craft is over three hundred years old. It first appeared in the northern part of the Volga region and originated from icon painting. In the 17th century the craft developed near Khokhloma village of Semyonov district. Thus, wooden painted plates and dishes became known as Khokhloma utensils. And the craft itself acquired the name of Khokhloma.”

Norwegian or Swedish Rosemaling

Rosemaling technique of folk painting is better known and centers on the rose as a motif, but there are a wide range of flowers and fruits which are painted into the swirls and scrolls of this exuberant and colorful folk decorating technique.

The the three main styles are Telemark, Hallingdal and Rogaland, named after the regions where they originated. There are five basic brush strokes, the C and reverse C (or parentheses stroke), the S curve, the O (or circle stroke), the straight line and the dot, and from these are built quite intricate designs.

Tole Painting

“Tole painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture. Typical metal objects include utensils, coffee pots, and similar household items. Wooden objects include tables, chairs, and chests, including hope chests, toyboxes and jewelry boxes.

The practice began in 18th century New England, and was also extensively carried on among German immigrants in Pennsylvania.” -Wikipedia

Khokhloma – Russian Strawberry Motif Tole Painting

Khokhloma Russian Nesting Doll 5pc./4" by Golden Cockerel
Khokhloma Russian Nesting Doll 5pc./4″ by Golden Cockerel

Strawberry Decor Bits and Bobs

Strawberries Everyday – Happy and bright colors

Red, White, and Green Cheers Up The Room

Strawberry Decor

Strawberry plants and their fruit are most often a theme for country style décor. It is a natural motif for kitchens, whether on wallpaper, as accents in dishware, kitchenware, or towels and table linens.

Joie 3-Piece Strawberry Colander, Huller and Slicer Set A colander like this is fun and decorative- makes time in the kitchen cheerier.

Berries Outside the Kitchen

Strawberry Fabrics – Brightens up everyone’s day

“Strawberry Thief” by William Morris was one of his most popular textile prints. It was also one of the most expensive to produce using the painstaking method that arts and crafts revived. Designed by Morris in May 1883, it is still printed in shades of green, blue and pink on a deep blue ground.

However, when an artist like William Morris created his famous fabric pattern, it was obvious that the humble red berries could be planted as easily on living room or bedroom furnishing to bring a bright note to rooms that were full of flowery chintz.

The bright red color and simple outlines could be with a bit of imagination, utilized in modern, more minimalist environments.

Red is often a popular accent color in modern interior design. So, if you love strawberries, don’t feel that they have to remain in the kitchen!

Strawberry Pink

This pink is warm, with a definite tint of yellow, while still registering as a true pink.

In interiors it is most often seen in little girls rooms, or as an accent with pastel color schemes.

Bursting With Ripe Color

Strawberry Kitchen Accessories

Aprons or bedspreads, towels, or curtains, chair covers … if you have a strawberry fabric design there can be strawberries wherever you like.

Using a fabric ribbon with the design of berries can be applied to curtains, edging shelves, or trim for solid placemats.

I’ve seen ideas that include using decals to create your own strawberry pattern on kitchen appliances, decorative boxes, and even kitchen cupboard doors.

People do such creative things with bits of fabric and a needle and thread.

  • Strawberry Tray
    A very nice tutorial with pattern and illustration for painting a strawberry design

Embroidered Strawberries

Embroidered Strawberries
Embroidered Strawberries

The Meaning and Mystery of Emerald Green

The Emotional Meaning Of Green

Eemerald Green Interior
How does emerald green make you feel?
Revealing the mystery of Emerald, the clear green  jewel hue. Pantone colors track the trends in fashion and interior decor and chose this as one of their colors of the year.

What this Shade Does for Our Psyche

Green has taken on a whole additional layer of meaning as it has become the catchword of all thing environmental and ecology-minded. But that is only natural as it is one of the most common colors of the world of plants. When we see green we think of nature, but is that the main feeling we get from Emerald Green?

The pure vibrant tone of Emerald skips the more negative meanings of a yellowed green, and goes to the heart of prosperity, harmony, and youth.

A feeling of being wealthy and richness is attached to the emerald gem, along with the lush luxury that a deep jewel color conveys.

Green is happy and fresh and clean and classic.

– designer Sally Steponkus

Relax and Keep Calm

All greens tend to be relaxing psychologically and give ideas of peace and calm.

Mid range greens like clear Emerald serve to increase appetite. It can lift one’s spirit and dispel depression.

Personality traits associated with green are understanding, being adaptable, sympathetic and compassionate, generosity, humility, and of a romantic nature.

Green represents safety.

How Do They Choose Color Trends?

At Home: Freshen up your interiors with a touch of green

Bright color of emerald pairs perfectly with black and white.

Trends In Home Furnishings

Chosen For 2013, But Still Going Strong

I am still seeing plenty of Emerald green in home and clothes products as we close the year 2015 and go into 2016. Trends are not “fly by night” fads, rather they are slowly growing movements toward a popular feeling that people have for , say, pastels, or brights, or seasonal colors.

Buying furnishings is a longer term investment, so trendsetters try to alert the buying public to what kind of colors and designs will give them something stylish for their homes.

Entrancing Emerald takes the Lead

Don’t be green with envy, go emerald for a gem of a color trend hue. A deep jewel color, what makes emerald new, starting in 2013, is the way it is used in tandem with other brights, especially yellow gold.

How is this shade described?

  • Lush, taking cue from nature’s growing plants.
  • Brilliant, in homage to its jewel origins.
  • Luxurious, which denotes how it makes us feel, emerald green velvet, anyone?

Follow this yellow brick road to the Emerald City of Pantone’s swatches to learn more of what emerald green could do for you.

Lush… Brilliant… Luxurious

How You Feel When You See This Hue

Those descriptive terms paired with “Emerald” can give you a clue about what styles your home might express with this color, where and how to use it.

There is always a posh element to emeralds, and they are certainly items of luxury. Silks, satins, velvets, upscale furnishings, fine antiques… all those elements certainly go with the emerald green trend. But what if you are more a whimsical, retro, or modern type? What are the ways you can use emerald green for a lighter, brighter feel? Go lush with it.

Inviting Emerald Into Your Home

The use of deep green for home goods might be best in those things that best show off the depth and sparkle that makes this color great for accents.

Think of crystal and glassware highlighted with Emerald, or a table runner for a dining room accent. Cushions or an occasional chair, slipcovered if a permanent change isn’t desired.

This is a color that give formal notes to an interior decor.

Sparkling Glass Crystal From Waterford

Waterford Crystal Snowflake Wishes for Courage Emerald Flute, 2nd Edition
Waterford Crystal Snowflake Wishes for Courage Emerald Flute, 2nd Edition

Waterford is one of the finest names in crystal, and this sparkling gem of a flute can mark a special occasion or commemorate one.

Emerald Green Bedroom – Fit For A Queen

Emerald Green Bedding
Emerald Green Bedding

Keep Calm

Since this hue is calming and tends to lift the spirits it is a good color to wake up to …and go to bed with, so consider giving touches of restful green to your bed furnishings.

Although the Pantone Emerald Green is a more saturated color, home materials might be toned down and desaturated, while taking cue from the tonal green to green-blue hue.

Green Is…

Green is the fresh emblem of well founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander, but in green it can rest

– Mary Webb.

Lush Emerald Fashion

Blue and Green Are A Classic Combination

Fresh touch of emerald in unexpected places brightens up blue jean fashion uniform.

To get a similar exciting look for summer try out these look-alikes. The combination of cobalt and Emerald is bright and fresh, and it can’t go wrong when matched up with the classic white t-shirt and blue jeans. The pairing of the bag and shoes in unmatched deeply saturated color brings a new look to the outfit which is casual, but eye-catching at the same time, The colors bring zing.

Designers carry the Emerald green banner into their fashions, and created some shining examples of how good this color can look in accessories.

The splash of an emerald colored accessory is probably the most brilliant use of this color for personal fashion.

Add it as a surprise color accent, keeping fashion forward without a big budget investment.

Fashionable Color

Pair the Pantone emerald green “with other bolds, such as royal blue, fuchsia, or purple jewel tones,” says Christina Pierce


The queen of Egypt covered her neck in emeralds. The emerald was her preferred jewel.

Trivial Emerald Green Facts

  • The favorite color of George Washington? You guessed green, you were right.
  • The human eye is most sensitive to and able to discern the most shades of green.
  • A green flag signals the start of a car race.
  • A green light means approval.

Touch of Emerald Links

  • Emerald Green – The New Colour for 2013
    Okay when I read the colour of the year was emerald, I thought , okay, hmmm….. well gardens are green. All things considered I like every colour in the garden and plant whatever I want. Not much of a fad person here. …


Arabian Halloween Costume Ideas From 1001 Nights

Aladdin and Arabian Nights

Not 1001 different costumes, but a range of them plucked from the stories of the 1001 Arabian Nights. Those timeless adventures of Sinbad, Aladdin, and told by the clever Sheherazade. Travel on this magic carpet ride that imagines there is a rock band that decides to bring and Arabian fantasy to the stage, you are part of the band! Which part do you play? Which costume brings out your inner Rock Star?

Need a group plan for great Halloween costumes? Consider boy band meets the Arabian Nights and don’t forget Scheherazade makes her debut here, too! Great outfits and makeup tutorials.

Borrow the Johnny Depp look
Borrow the Johnny Depp look

Dress Up As Aladdin, A Sultan, Or Princess Jasmine For Halloween

When outfitting four members of a group (like a sixties era rock group), each has different desires for their showy, yet easy to complete, outfits.

…You might need something along the lines of a thousand and one fantasy stories to create looks to make everyone happy.

A Girl in the Group? Scheherazade!

Arabian Princess Scheherazade look or a troup of backup dancers, the Middle Eastern Harem yields a bevy of outfit designs and colors.

What about those Guys?

The spooky one and the clown both ought to express themselves.

Sounds like we need to get the old Genie out of the bottle and find out what’s available for some all-out fabulous costumes. Plenty of good ready-made costumes are available online. However, if you want to make your own, there are easy patterns to create everything from Turbans to Turkish shoes.

I have ideas for putting together a rockin’ look right here.

Open Sesame– chock full of costume inspirations for a Rockstar Halloween event.

Make a Rockstar Entrance

DIY Arabian Costume

Johnny Depp has a signature look for his role of “Captain Jack Sparrow”, which is similar to the look of Aladdin and other Arabian Nights heroes.

The Easy, Laidback, Handsome Aladdin Look

A Renaissance-style shirt is perfect. Loose, but still swashbuckling… in fact, borrow some of the “Jack Sparrow” look, minus the three corner hat. Loose Arabic look pantaloons, and slippers instead of leather boots.

Now you have a look worthy of the Arabian Nights Aladdin.

Johnny Depp will not be happy with this comparison, I know… but stay with me. The shirt, the vest, and the sash will all work and look dashing as well. You need a little more head wrap for the turban, and a single circle clip-on earring to make it look Arabian and not Caribbean Pirate.
How to wrap a turban.

Muslim Shoe Pattern

Pointed shoe pattern
Pointed shoe pattern

Costume Patterns and Tutorials – Aladdin Breeches, and other costume ideas

Sew Your Own Arabian Nights Outfit

  • Sew an Aladdin Hero Shirt
    Pattern and directions for the hero’s loose shirt.
  • Make Breeches
    Pattern and sewing instructions fro making your own pants for any of these men’s costumes. Use it for Medieval, Middle Eastern, or Pirate looks.

Acting Inspiration

Johnny Depp or Johnny Carson? Keith Richards or Rudolf Valentino. There has to be some way to get into the act and create a memorable character for the party.

Basic Arab Party Costume

Cuterole Adult Men's Halloween Aladdin Costume Fancy Party Cosplay Costume
Cuterole Adult Men’s Halloween Aladdin Costume Fancy Party Cosplay Costume

Start out with this basic outfit, then add the necessary turban,earring, or props to complete the part you will play this Halloween.

The Wild and Crazy Sinbad the Sailor

Are you the wild and crazy guy of the group? Adventurous? Flamboyant and restless? You are Sinbad.

Make A Sinbad Outfit

  • Get the turned up shoes,
  • The vest that reveals the tattoo on your chest (doesn’t need to be real- use henna, but you might have one of your own, who knows?)
  • Huge sash- because you are that swash buckling.

The Handsome Sheik – Swap in the Turban for Sinbad

Handsome Sheik is competition to any Rudolf Valentino. Romantic and dashing look, yet comfortable basic costuming that lends itself to dressing up in a myriad of ways. Great look for Big Men.

The Scary Gjinn/Evil Sultan

Keith Richards Inspiration
Keith Richards defines wild and crazy

He has to have one earring- that is a given.So if not a pierced one, find a large gold hoop to clip on one ear.

A great big curled up black mustache- every scary guy needs a mustache. A muscle shirt and some tattoos, but with an armband of metal so he doesn’t simply look like a motorcycle guy from the sixties.

Pop an easy-to-make vest over the shirt, too. No scary Gjinn guy wears a pastel vest, especially if it is decorated with glitter… so make it black, or leather or both if you can’t stomach the light, bright colors.

A turban would fix that problem too- and it isn’t too expensive.

You might go for the “Gjinn” look (just another word for ‘Genie’). Shave your head and put temporary small tattoos like the genie in the movie. Remember the earrings… but try not to look like Mr. Clean. Use a temporary goatee.

Loftus Adult Arabian Prince With Feather Costume Hat, Gold, One Size

The perfect Aladdin accessory, the profile of an Arabian prince.

Clown It Up with Carnac the Magnificent Costume

There has to be a clown in every group. The 1001 Arabian Nights has to have one, so consider the Snake Charmer costume. Oversize turban and a sense of fun is mandatory. No head banging, though.

Snake Charmer Costume - Standard - Chest Size up to 42

Remember Johnny Carson’s hilarious “Carnac the Magnificent” ? Give repeat performances with this great ( literally!) turban and Arabian outfit.

Forum Novelties Snake Charmer Costume, Blue/Purple, One Size

The Charmer Who Plays The Blues


Grant their wish and show up in this Genie costume. Don’t forget to add the earring that all genies seem to have!

Here Is The Look For Aladdin – He is the Paul McCartney of the Band

Rubie's Costume Sultan Complete Value Adult Costume, Black/Red, One Size
Rubie’s Costume Sultan Complete Value Adult Costume, Black/Red, One Size

The Heart Throb, Aladdin is the good guy that sings lead, the front man of the group.

A Necessary Prop

Pirate Cutlass

A prop like this scimitar make all the difference in a costume, a theatrical secret. When trying to portray a certain character give some clues, in this case the sword, or maybe a “genie” lamp.

Theatre Idea For Aladdin

  • Costume Designs – Aladdin
    Sketch of a costume by Colin MacNeil for Aladdin and his wonderful lamp, by Miles Rudge. Citizens Theatre, Glasgow,

Magic Genie Shoes

Many costumes can have interchangeable elements- it just is a matter of putting it all together and accessorizing the right way. Change a hat and choose pointed slipper footwear, instead of boots… the pirate becomes Aladdin.

Gold Genie Shoes
Gold Genie Shoes

Instant Genie, just slip on these golden pointed slippers.

Truly a fun part of the outfit. Of course, you could make your own, but these will quickly finish the look with a glint of gold.

Johnny Depp Makeup Look

It is well known that Depp based much of his ‘Jack Sparrow’ on the idiosyncratic Keith Richards. Richards who played Sparrow’s father in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’ might have more of the dark ‘Scary Gjinn’ look.

Here are Arabian looks for the guys. Jack Sparrow look is the closest I could come to ‘Arabian’ and the guy is just plain entertaining:) Johnny Depp was actually inspired by the Arabian Berber look! Who knew?

Evil Sultan – Classic Arabian Nights Figure

Keyboard Player

-But watch those sharps

Get a sword prop, but don’t really hurt anyone, OK? Become a dashing warrior from Lawrence of Arabia fame to be the coolest of the Desert revolution band. People who use music to make a revolution change the tune, dress up to make a statement. Give the Keyboard player a solo act and see.

Adult-Costume Sultan Adult Costume Halloween Costume - Most Adults
Adult-Costume Sultan Adult Costume Halloween Costume – Most Adults

Headpiece, under-robe and robe are included, you will have to supply your own saber. One size fits most people.

Sail Away On Arabian Tales Of Adventure

Vintage poster
Vintage poster

A Wise Choice – For an Arabian Nights Look

Not for Halloween only, some of these Sultan costumes can double for dressing up as wisemen for the Christmas play!

Forum Novelties Royal Sultan Costume, Black/Gold, One Size
Forum Novelties Royal Sultan Costume, Black/Gold, One Size A complete costume set gives a real fantasy look for any Middle Eastern performance.

Barbara Eden Lookalike

India Genie Ornate Aladdin Lamp Incense Burner
India Genie Ornate Aladdin Lamp Incense Burner

Ornate Aladdin Lamp add authenticity to the look. Where does a genie go when it is time to say “Goodnight?”. And how does Aladdin get places and open sesame without his trusted oil lamp?

Speaking of Dreamy Jeannie Genie

“I Dream of Jeannie” outfit is a stand-in for Scheherazade.

If you take your costuming seriously- you want to visit my articles on Bellydance costuming – they have all the costuming details for the real look.

The Mandatory Background Singers

They are not really “background”

The dancers make the show, and belly dancer or Arabian princess are favorite Halloween looks. I have hubsdevoted to getting the look (or you can buy a quick costume from this page).

Get the harem pants, the vest, and the choli top, but dress everything up with the right jewelry, and accessories and you have a dynamite look.

Scheherazade – The Muse

There would be no show without Scheherazade

Being the master storyteller who creates the whole scene, Scheherazade is happy to ignite imaginations for a fantastic costume party event.

Bellydancer, Jasmine, Any Female Arabic Costume

An eye makeup tutorial for parties or stage, for eyes that will complete the look and captivate your audience.

Scheherazade Eyes

Choose Your Arabian Nights Makeup – Mysterious Eyes

The Arabian eye make up look for women….

Go to Magnetic Arabic Eyes, for Women’s eye makeup tutorials, after you choose your costume.

Coordinate your colors.

Dreamy Genie Adult Costume
Dreamy Genie Adult Costume

All Dressed Up and Ready To Party

The story of the 1001 Arabian Nights takes place in the court of a Persian King. Gone mad with bitter jealousy he kills each new wife on the day following their consummation. Scheherazade, the newest bride, engages the Sultan’s fascination with her storytelling which ends with a cliffhanger ending… to be continued the next night… The collection of stories changed over time, and comprised of folk tales, with elements of poems, riddles, songs and more. Today we are familiar with such stories as “Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp”, “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and “The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor”.

Get Inspiration – 1001 Arabian Nights In Action

The Arabian Nights movie from 2000 can inspire your costuming. Take a look. Or read about the original tales of the 1001 Arabian Nights.

Also, check out Johnny Carson’s Carnac for some laughs.

  • Tales of the Arabian Nights Inspires Art
    The romances of the East woven together over time have enthralled generations. Here is a glimpse into the story about the stories and some of the art they have inspired.

Watch The Arabian Nights For Inspiration

Flattering Fall Fashions For Women Over Fifty


Great Looks For Fall

When I passed the fifty year mark, did I lose all fashion sense? Sometimes it appeared so, but the actual fact was that I had changed and the style that once was becoming no longer fit the person I was now.

What looks good with my gray hair, my less than svelte figure, my need for comfort? It was time to investigate fashion from a different perspective. As I waded through my wardrobe -weeding out those pieces that were ill fitting, I realized that it was time to start sprucing up my rusty wardrobe!

I wasn’t ready to be an old lady (even though it felt like it), so I started looking at role models. Women who knew how to look vibrant and attractive into their senior years.

Some of my favorites are Helen Mirren and Jamie Lee Curtis, but there are now plenty of examples of aging gracefully and dressing with panache.

Hopefully, the tips and trends gathered here make dressing attractively and in style a cinch.

It’s All About Denim This Year

It’s All American and it’s big for fall. Even Paris is saying so

The darker denims are slimming and very wearable. All denim gives a long line which is so friendly to the more mature figure.

I like to match denim with either stripes or lace, stripes for more of a sporty look and lace for those times when in the mood for something girly.

Fall Denim And Stripes

Combining two of 2016's top trends.The longer length blazer is flattering, with wider leg jeans and low heeled boots. A great looking scarf to keep your neck warm!

Combining two of 2016’s top trends.The longer length blazer is flattering, with wider leg jeans and low heeled boots. A great looking scarf to keep your neck warm!

Stripes Are Everywhere This Season


Pin stripes are always a sharp look for the city, and make the transition from office to dinner date.

With such a wide variety of fashion cues, choose one or two that strike a chord for you. Investigate the style that presently personifies you at this stage of your life. If you were once comfortable in an Artsy-Bohemian style, revisit whether that is best for you now. Maybe the Southwestern style is an updated look that still incorporates the elements of the Boho look.

Or maybe you were once strictly Classic, and now you could use some dramatic color and stronger details to give the look some “kick”. Scan the trends for updates that fit your basic fashion style.

Classic Always Works, But What Are The Trends?

For 2016, a few things to look for this coming fall:

  • New Animal Prints… this has been a story for quite a long season, but now it looks like prints of lynx or fox. Try something new and unusual.
  • Urban and sleek. You know how to do this!
  • The hoodie. Yes! I’m ready.
  • More print, more color.

Highlights for the Coming Seasons


Some fall fashion trends I can see women my age wearing….

This year the fashions are flattering for women of a certain age.

The long lines of an urban pantsuit, silky animal print dresses with highlights of strong dramatic stone jewelry (from Calvin Klein) and casual wear with comfy, but great looking hoodies are easy to incorporate into a wardrobe.

Be sure to update some of those animal prints, a surefire way to add some style.

My Gray

Gray is one of my favorite colors now that my hair is silver. It is flattering to my silver hair, and much less harsh than black for daytime wear. A neutral that mixes quite well with bright colors (OR pastels, if that is the color tone best for you), it automatically creates a versatile wardrobe piece.

My favorite way to wear gray? As a monotone, lengthening and slimming, outline.

I also like to wear Charcoal rather than black. For those “seasonal” color complexions, the Autumns (I was one) and Summers, it is a better choice than stark black.

Gray still goes with your black accessories, so it is a win-win addition to an over-fifty wardrobe.


Fall Fashions

Great Shade For Gray Hair

Electric Blue is very flattering for a more mature complexion and especially as a foil for gray hair.
Electric Blue is very flattering for a more mature complexion and especially as a foil for gray hair.

Electric Blue NY

Electric Blue

The Electrifyingly Attractive Color


This is one of best colors for me since the hair color turned to silver, electric blue has so much vibrancy and always gets compliments.

It has been a popular color for several seasons running, and looks to have legs for a number in the future. One good bet with a striking color such as this on is to invest in accessories that will work with other colors should the tides change (as they inevitably do in the fashion world.

This is one of those shades that belong to certain “season” color groups. If you have been typed as one who has “Autumn” or “Winter” coloring, the electric blues will work very well for you no matter what the trends may be.

It brings skin tones alive, unlike some of the drab navy blues that are common in clothing fabrics.

Navaho Print Inspired Infinity Scarf
Navaho Print Inspired Infinity Scarf

I absolutely LOVE the colors in this scarf. It would be one of those wear everywhere accessories. Truly flattering.

  • Look for leather in unusual places : as loose skirts, shorts, even shirts.
  • Elongated silhouette with soft monotone color. Neck to toe color.
  • Blue- denim blue and deeper blues.
  • Blazers are back. Pant legs are wider.

What’s Your Style?

Boots and Booties

Tall, tall, tall… over the knee, and Granny boots that lace.

There are still lots of tall boots and booties everywhere. I find this style of footwear both comfortable and good looking. PLUS It looks fresh, young, and fashionable.

Is Southwestern Still A Trend In 2016?


If you live in the Southwestern states, it is a classic which never goes out of style. Elsewhere it has been paired down to the “All Denim” look.


If you have long dangly earrings or large hoops in silver, turquiose, or other Southwestern favorites these will definitely work with fashions now. Add them to any off the shoulder tops or striped shirts you are now wearing.

Instead of the blanket pattern jacket, go for a blazer instead, since blazers are making a comeback.


Nature colors or theme, or a spiced up version that swings with Southwestern accents and style. Go for an entire outfit or simply update with jewelry and some accessories like a handbag or scarf.

Turquoise color and gems are a few of my favorite pairings with Gray hair. Silver mirrors mature coloring in a beautiful way, so the trending Southwestern fashion style is ideal for maturing skin and hair. The clothes are often tailored for comfort, too. I love the casual look of it all because my personal style tends towards the more casual types with a dash of classics.


This is the classic look for casual weekends, for Sporty and Casual personalities. It is one of my favorites for most of my lifestyle situations. Especially useful when I travel out West, of course, but it has become a classic look just about anywhere.

Natural Leather and Southwestern Detail

Women's Handbag: Western Elegance Faux Leather Handbag by The Bradford Exchange

Women’s Handbag: Western Elegance Faux Leather Handbag by The Bradford Exchange

This is one really good looking handbag- it makes a statement with the silver embellishments. This is the type of bag that dresses up denim.

Add A Southwestern Accent

Keep the denim shirt, purse, and wear with blue jeans. The booties are still in fashion, as well as the jewelry.
Keep the denim shirt, purse, and wear with blue jeans. The booties are still in fashion, as well as the jewelry.

Take Notes From Parisian Women

They have a basic black wardrobe, adding color and high fashion accessories. They also keep everything well groomed, a good beauty hint for more mature women.

Taking Trends And Making Them Our Own


Luckily this fall has an unusual infusion of pastel colors, lighter shades of colors are kinder for mature complexions.


Combine the pastel trend with head to toe line of all the same color and it is very attractive look.

Black And White Is Still Big

Look also for cypress green, winter white, and aurora red. Radiant orchid (Pantone’s color of the year) makes a showing, as well.

How To Wear The Black And White Trend

Add One Really Versatile Accessory – Put color in your handbag

Fossil Pink Leather Turn Lock Crossover Purse Handbag

Fossil Pink Leather Turn Lock Crossover Purse Handbag

Fossil- one of the best handbags I’ve ever owned. This pink color matches one of the pretty looks for fall. Pastels for Autumn!

Colors For Fall


You can go pale pink like Ralph Lauren does or with this luscious raspberry. Monotone makes it happen for you!

Rose Quartz is one of the pair chosen for this year. A cool, pale pink that was matched up with a Periwinkle blue called “Serenity”.


Color is arriving for fall, but black and white remains strong, as does a neutral palette. Go both ways by getting some color included in the new prints.

Neutral With A Bold Touch

"Comfy Tribal" Daytime Look, featuring a silver bracelet bangle.

“Comfy Tribal” Daytime Look, featuring a silver bracelet bangle.

Natural and Earthtones

Always a refined look for older women, Classics, business, and warm climates. If you love the look it is easy to expand your wardrobe, if you only need it for business wear, the pieces are useful mixed into other wardrobe themes of color.

Tribal is usually thought of as patterned and colorful… and hard to match up with anything else. This neutral color combo ( which is classic by nature) simply borrows the pattern in the form of textures. Bold jewelry, strong texture will help give a tribal feel to an outfit.

Making It Boho

One way to make good use of trends is to tweak them to become fashion forward. This tribal look could as easily become Boho. Add patterned scarf and change out the white blouse for a tunic. Use an artsy necklace that harmonizes with the bracelet… you get the idea.

Buy Quality and Fit

No matter what the trends are make sure the garment fits well and has quality materials. Some trends are classics, like the Southwestern accents. Even if you aren’t sure about wearing a blanket pattern jacket, give it a try. Silver and turquoise jewelry never go out of style. Use a scarf to try out the new colors and patterns in your wardrobe, before you commit.

Former Color Of The Year: Marsala

"Creamy Wine hue" warms up autumn sweaters and slacks outfit. I prefer it to the 2016 "Rose Quartz"
“Creamy Wine hue” warms up autumn sweaters and slacks outfit. I prefer it to the 2016 “Rose Quartz”<


This warm wine tone is fabulous with pink. It was the 2015 color of the year, and you can bet it will be a favorite for the seasons to come, especially the cooler seasons.

More Fashion Tips For Older Women

What trends are in your future

I Will Wear…

My 2016 “No-no”s

High heels are making a comeback, but not for me. Sheer skits are being seen, but not in my closet.

Trends I Will Avoid


  • Tiers of material- adding ridiculous bulk to my silhouette? No thank you.
  • Too much wild pattern.
  • Sheer skirting. An awkward look that can seem top heavy with a jacket-covered upper body. Plus you need perfect legs that are showcased beneath the filmy cloud of skirting material.
  • Bulky leather and big boxy shapes. Personally, I think this would make my more matronly figure look like a small tank.
  • Ditto for heavy layering.
  • Futurist. Even though this trend showed a mature model displaying the clothes, it is a harsh look for many older women to carry off well. You can try it, I’ll pass. Anything with overdrawn angles can accentuate the years, instead of the woman.

Artful Garden Teapots

antique teapot


Artful Garden Teapots

Tea and Gardens Seem To Go Together

Something about the idea of tea in a garden whispers of zephyr breezes, blue skies, white fluffy clouds on a summers eve. With the soft waft of a rose’s fragrance, it is a perfect time to sit with a garden patterned teapot brimming with hot, amber colored tea and take a quiet break from the busyness of daily life.

Perhaps it is that connection in the mind between the pleasant quiet of a garden and the calming influence that comes with the warmth of the tea, but any day can seem like one that , however briefly, transforms into this early summer scenario.

One of my favorite ways to decompress and relieve stress is to sit down with a pot of hot tea made in a pretty pot, then pour the tea into one of my favorite teacups. Tea things don’t have to match , but I like the pots to handle and pour well, and for the cups to harmonize in style with the teapots.

This post is dedicated to taking a short time of repast with a pot of freshly brewed tea, perhaps a green or an Earl Gray; to step out into the garden and listen to softly buzzing bees, think creative thoughts, and experience the an oasis of time away from demands of tasks and obligations.

A welcome solitude, or an interlude with friends, but a time of refreshment and renewed perspective.

Chinese Garden Teapot

Chinese Garden Teapot

Teapot Thought

Strange how a teapot

Can represent at the same time

The comforts of solitude

And the pleasures of company

From Famous Franz Porcelain

This brand of porcelain work is noteworthy for its beauty of color and artistry. The teapots immediately draw attention because they look like works of art, and not for daily use. But for those who love to bring beauty into their homes, this is one of those kitchen items which serves as both art and use.
Franz Porcelain Lily of the Nile Teapot, FZ02616

Franz Porcelain Lily of the Nile Teapot, FZ02616

  The company was founded by Francis Chen in Taiwan. There are accomplished artists who design and create many of the special collections.

Franz Porcelain Van Gogh Almond flower teapot Franz Fine Porcelain
Franz Porcelain Van Gogh Almond flower teapot Franz Fine Porcelain

  Many of the designs are inspired by nature, so garden themed ware is frequently found in their collections.

Franz Porcelain Bamboo Song Bird Design Teapot
Franz Porcelain Bamboo Song Bird Design Teapot


Franz Porcelain Long Tail Hummingbird Design Teapot
Franz Porcelain Long Tail Hummingbird Design Teapot

 Birds on Franz porcelain may not be the ones found in your garden, but they are in a paradise type of garden somewhere in the world. The long tailed sylph hummingbird is a denizen of South America, in countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Their unusual feathers in such jeweled color makes the design a real standout.


Polish Garden Teapot – Polish Pottery

Colorful and decorative, this will bring a warm, bright spot to your decor. Made from Boleslawiec white clay. There are a number of different flower and colors in this line. They have the bright and cheery look of a grandmother’s garden. The decoration reminds me of spongeware for some reason; thought the painting is clearly done by brushwork..

Sunshine Yellow For Morning Teatime – Whimsical Hand Drawn Flowers

Yellow, kitchens, bright daisies – these are so cheering, which is what a breakfast cup of tea ought to be. The flowers look like they were hand drawn on a whim.

Porcelain Whimsical Flower Teapot for One Adorable Gift
Porcelain Whimsical Flower Teapot for One Adorable Gift Golden yellow and whimsical – a bright spot of garden sunshine for a summer morning spot of tea.

The Teapot for One

For many of us, our teatime consists of sitting down on our own with a good cup of tea. A tea for one sized pot is just what we need for the way most of us order our days.

These pots, many made with their own matching teacup perched handily on board, hold just the right amount of tea for one sitting.

Do you collect teapots, too? I’m a little surprised how many do. Maybe you have a number of different types of pots all in one theme like the collection on this page.

I personally just like teapots, and use all mine in one way or another. There aren’t any special themes other than appealing to me because of the design or the special way they are made. I have some Japanese Tetsubin pots that are among my favorite.

I hope you enjoy this online “museum” of sorts as much as I do. Really, the art and variation of teapots even in one theme is astounding.

“All well-regulated families set apart an hour every morning for tea and bread and butter.”-Joseph Addison, 1711

Yixing Tea Pots – Chinese Garden Style

Yixing is pronounced “Yee-Shing”, and signals a very special kind of teapot. They are composed of zisha clay, a rare type of purplish clay found only in Yixing, China.

Yixing teapots are individually sized, so a person may have their own pot. the different colors of the designs are created through the addition of mineral pigments.

These are considered to be one of the finest tea brewing pots in the world. I had no idea about that when I bought one for my son and daughter-in-law. The subtle colors and the artful lizard as a lid handle are what intrigued me. The proportions and ornamental touches make one of the most aesthetically pleasing teapots of the many types found worldwide. At least in my estimation.

Over time, use will it impart a “tea brewed within tea”. This is due to the fact that Zisha clay is extremely porous and will absorb the flavor of tea and the insides of the teapots are left unglazed. Other qualities of this clay are an ability to retain heat, a freedom from toxic materials like lead, arsenic and cadmium ( sometimes found in other clays), and its ability to form the tight fit of the lid. The composition of this clay is mainly of quartz, kaolin, mica, with a high volume of iron oxide.

Made in a myriad of designs , many have a garden theme, some with charming little garden creatures like frogs, and lizards.

The Japanese Tea Garden – A Brief Overview of the Tea Garden Culture

Tea in the Japanese Garden by moonlightbulb, on Flickr
Tea in the Japanese Garden by moonlightbulb, on Flickr


The Japanese developed a brilliant art form that unites a refinement of serving tea, the repose of a serene garden, and the calming effect of following ritual that creates a beautiful culture custom and an intriguing garden style.

The tea room (chashitsu) and the tea garden (roji) are a space for holding a tea gatherings. [1] In the tea garden, guests pass through the kuguri entrance, a small and narrow space. From there they follow a stone path which has a measured sequence to encourage thought and mindfulness of their progress. Continuing through a carefully landscaped space they come to a tsukubai, which is a stone wash basin. After washing their hands, the guests enter a low roofed teahouse. It is designed to replicate a traditional home, here the guests sit on tatami mats.The host pours ceremonially made tea for them in this calm and serene place.

The tea garden is called a roji, and it is a very important part of the tea ceremony. The Japanese name for this ceremony is chanoyu.

Tetsubin teapot – Japanese beauty, subtlety, and utility

I have two Tetsubin teapots. One is a black hobnail and one is a pink cherry blossom design which my son gave me for Christmas. I didn’t know that the designs had symbolic meaning, but Teavana has listed the meanings. My cherry blossom pot is the National flower of Japan, and it is a symbol for beauty; the hobnail design stands for strength. Strength and beauty! Those make a fine combination in my estimation.

The Tetsubin teapots are made of cast iron, and they should only be rinsed clean and wiped dry with a clean cloth. Like the Chinese clay pots they can retain tea flavors over time which add to the cachet of the teapot.

I find them to be an eye pleasing and well designed teapot, a joy to use and they pour beautifully. The cast iron retains heat and mine came with their own basket infusers for the loose tea which is brewed to perfection within them.

More history of the Tetsubin teapot from Teavana

Square Cast Iron Tea Set Dragonfly Black #ts6-06bk
Square Cast Iron Tea Set Dragonfly Black #ts6-06bk


Take Care of Your Teapot

Instructions For Cast Iron


Directions For Chinese ‘Purple clay’:

Tips For Ceramic Teapots

Vintage teapots


“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” -Henry James

As long as the teapot is there on your shelf, learn to brew tea that goes into it properly. It isn’t difficult, it just takes some attention to the details, especially measuring amounts and getting the timing right.

How to brew a proper cup of tea:

Use fresh water each time you prepare tea.

Choose good tea.

Use 1-2 teaspoons per 8 ounce cup.

Heat water until it reaches a boil, let it cool just slightly then make your tea.

Tea leaves are steeped in the water for 1-3 minutes when making green or white teas. Five minutes for black teas.

Another set of instructions, here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who like P.O.D products like Zazzle:

If you design your own teapot, remember there are several products that can be matched to produce a set. There are mugs, plates, and a candy jar that could just as well be used to store tea or sugar.

In my home, there is a loose collection of teapots, not because I try to actively collect them, but there is just something I love about a teapot. Maybe it is the marriage of aesthetic form and usefulness. Or maybe I just think they are cute, and I enjoy pouring myself a hot cup of tea from a decorative pot.

Do you collect teapots?

Garden Theme Wedding Invitations

Garden Wedding

Using a Garden Theme for Your Wedding?

Botanical inspiration for a garden theme creates flowering ambiance from the moment the save-the-date announcement arrives right through to the thank you notes after the big even is over.

Here is an array of invitations, stamps, and everything for your wedding correspondence from Zazzle, and some beautiful accessories from Amazon’s expansive site.

Botanical art or photography can make beautiful invitations that set the tone for the coming event with a garden or conservatory theme or venue. Every color combination is possible although green just says “plants and flowers”. The botanical prints have a vintage look to them and fit in beautifully with the vintage look that is very popular for wedding theme designs right now.

Wedding colors

The default hue for garden themes is green, since one usually thinks of leafy green from the many plants lushly growing in a botanical garden. But what sort of color theme might you imagine which harmonizes within a conservatory filled with fabulous plants? I think of many …Tropical tints, tender pinks, gorgeous reds and oranges? Greens, purples?

The vintage primrose print gathers burgundy, navy, gold, and biscuit beige- imagine what you can do with that!

Besides the obvious garden wedding theme, or botanical wedding theme, what other ones might use botanical flowers for their wedding stationary?


Here are a few theme ideas which might use botanical wedding correspondence as the chosen design.


Koi fish might be a theme of its own or it may be a subtext in an Asian themed wedding. My daughter’s wedding actually had the Asian theme, but was held in a Conservatory, and the motifs all work well together.

Suggested colors: tomato red, mango orange and sun yellow


The melange of plants, the delicacy of fine old lace and the many decorative elements of a botanical garden were made for each other.

Suggested colors: cranberry red and ivory


What is more natural than a green, environmentally responsible theme inside a place filled with plants? Recycled paper for the paper wedding correspondence.

Suggested colors: Natural paper and greens, soft white

Flowering Set of Invitations and Cards

A Botanical Theme

The colors for your invitation will reflect the colors you have chosen and your theme. This past year Honeysuckle pink was very popular. You may wish for trendy popular colors or you may have something that is special to you even though not in the fashion forefront. The important thing is that the details all add up to what makes you happy. It is so easy to customize your wedding to what you want with services like Zazzle!


The Look of Watercolor Paintings

Watercolor designs have taken over as one of the top wedding stationary trends. They are beautifully done in print, looking like each was hand painted and crafted. The soft pastel look is right in sync with the tones that are at the top of the fashion colors of powdery blues and blush pinks. They also harmonize with woodland, floral, and green themes.

calla lilies
Source: Brimberg & Coulson

The Look of Real Flowers

Rustic, garden, and vintage themes can all incorporate lots of realistic flowers in the accessories and invitations. It is a lush look which serves contemporary themes just as well. The secret is in the blooms themselves, whether sleek and elegant like Calla lilies or romantic as Old Roses, the blossoms bring romance to every venue.

If you love Calla lilies, more bridal tips and suggestions can be found in Calla Lily Wedding Flowers.

The Look of Stylized Flowers

Wedding stationary with retro feeling, modern upbeat mood, or iconic themes may be represented with the form of the flower without being buried in detail. Sophisticated or fun this is the design to look for when a strong design look is desired.

More Colors in Botanical Invitations

Not simply green, the botanical motif stationary can be composed of any color combination you can dream up. So many flowers of the world are illustrated either stylistically or in gorgeous realism that the options are infinite. Find your favorite flower and you can build your botanical theme around it, if you wish, or match the flower to your chosen color scheme..

Things To Know About Wedding Stationary

I like the quality and the idea of customizing the invitations that is offered on Zazzle, although there are many Wedding stationary choices. The fact that I have my own storefront there makes me more familiar with the possibilities available there, so I thought this would be a useful set of details for brides to plan everything with ease.

What are the costs?

In general, it is quoted as about $450.00 for invites, reply cards, save-the-date cards, and postage in the average wedding. This amount may be compared with other info from updated searches:

$1,000+ for a custom wedding invitation suite.

The amount paid for your stationary suite from Zazzle would be around the lesser quoted costs, but this could range depending on the design, paper, and whether discount coupons were available at the time you order. What seems most consistent is the high level of satisfaction that most customers express about their orders.

Thinking About Custom Zazzle Wedding Stationary?

Invitations on Zazzle:

  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed
  • Invitations made in 24 hours
  • Thousands of free templates
  • 13 sizes and paper types
  • Up to 60% off bulk orders
  • Vibrant, full bleed color printing
  • Zazzle offer invitations in 5 sizes (can be used horizontally or vertically):
  • Oversized: 6.5 x 8.75 inches
  • Extra Large: 5.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Large: 5 x 7 inches
  • Medium: 4.5 x 6.25 inches
  • Small: 4.25 x 5.5 inches
  • Plus RSVP cards: 3.5 x 5 inches (these will fit inside all other invitation envelopes)
  • All invitations come with white envelopes.

All are available on the following card stocks:

  • Basic: 110lb cover weight, matte surface. Contains 50% recycled content. Color: White
  • Felt: 100lb cover weight with embossed finish. Color: Cream
  • Linen: 90lb cover weight with embossed, laid lines. Color: White
  • Recycled: 100lb cover weight, 100% post consumer recycled content. Color: White
  • Metallic: 110lb cover weight. Colors: Champagne, Silver, Gold, Ice

Choosing Your Style

The formality of your wedding will influence the style of your invitations. a more formal look in the invitation and wording will indicate a formal wedding style and attire.

No matter how formal or informal the wedding is, it is a time for the couple, and especially the bride, to express individual style.

Choosing Wedding Invitations Guide

Butterfly Garden Wedding Favors

Butterfly Garden Seed Favors "Sow Seeds of Love" Set of 25 Individual Packets
Butterfly Garden Seed Favors “Sow Seeds of Love” Set of 25 Individual Packets

This idea for favors is not only perfect for garden themes- it is very welcome to most everyone. Different from the usual candies or more expensive candles, etc. Help make the world a better place for butterflies with seeds for the flowers they love.

Garden Theme Colors from Palest Pastel to Jewel Tones

Whether classic white or exciting deep tones, today's printing can give you the look you envision for your Wedding Event.
Wilton paper products

Whether classic white or exciting deep tones, today’s printing can give you the look you envision for your Wedding Event.

Wilton Tropical Floral Invitation Kit

The levels of formality and their invitation style for weddings can be seen in this table

Wedding Invitations Decorations
Formal Style Engraved invitations


reception cards

Lavish decorations,

pew ribbons,

aisle runner,


abundant flowers

Semiformal Style Engraved informal

or printed

Similar to, though less

extravagant decorations

than formal weddings

Informal Style Informal printed

or hand-written

Very simple
Most brides opt for the semi-formal wedding for a variety of reasons.

Botanical Invitation Themes

The stage is set when you send the invitations, and even before as the Save-The-Date cards are sent out. Use the colors and motifs that will ignite expectation in your guests of the event to come. Everything does not need to match, but a general feeling and color palette will make your entire wedding memorable.

A garden theme may be an outdoor wedding, but the sense of a place filled with flowers and the feeling of such a place can be created in any venue.

This particular motif of flowers and foliage isn’t limited to just one theme, either, it can range from modern to vintage, from Hawaiian beaches to indoor conservatories. The only rule is your love of flowers.

Botanical Wedding Invitations – designed by me

Vintage Primrose Save the Date by ilonagarden

Primrose botanical save the date

Primrose botanical save the date

Vintage Primrose Wedding Invitation by ilonagarden

More Garden Wedding Theme Ideas

Cake in Botanical Theme

Cake in Botanical Theme

Lavender florets to throw

Lavender might have a flower language meaning you don’t like, but the plant itself is lovely. Throwing lavender with ts light fragrance is a nice concept.

Maybe its alternative meaning of “devotion” is quite appropriate for wedded bliss, but whatever the meaning of lavender, it is a good choice for both garden wedding themes and botanical ones.

Zziggysgal 9 French Lavender Sachets in a Beautiful Keepsake Box
Zziggysgal 9 French Lavender Sachets in a Beautiful Keepsake Box

Individualized packets all ready for the wedding toss as the new Mr. and Mrs. exit the Church. Fragrant good wishes!


Wedding Checklist

  • Save The Date Cards or Engagement Announcement
  • The Wedding Invitations
  • RSVP Cards
  • Information Cards
  • Order Of Service
  • Guest Book
  • Menus
  • Table Number Cards
  • Thank You Cards
  • Photo Albums

Zazzle Wedding Invitations

  • Zazzle-ing Beach Wedding
    Zazzle has many products that will outfit your wedding, your way. Whether you choose something from an artist or make your own design, the products are great and can be customized. That means you could be planning the perfect beach wedding right now!

Columbus Ohio Day Trips, Family Activities, Food, Fun

Family Activities Out And About In Central Ohio

From ice cream taste treats in flavors like salty caramel or brambleberry crisp to Mediterranean favorites such as chicken shawarma with the signature hummus, there are destination places to eat. With a world class zoo, a children’s science museum, and a beautiful botanical conservatory, there are lots of things to see and do.

Here is the quick tour over some of the highlights that make Columbus Ohio a fun place for families to visit and explore.

German Village Draws Tourists

German Village Bookshop, tucked among delicious restaurants,intriguing gift shops.

German Village Bookshop, tucked among delicious restaurants,intriguing gift shops.

Find The Fun In Columbus Ohio Parks

For those who love low-cost adventures, there are lots of parks to hike around in and many reasonably priced places to eat. Let’s explore some of those parks first, and then we will probably work up an appetite for what Columbus restaurants have on the menu.


Strolling through a wisteria arbor into a garden of herbs, entering a rock garden with a tinkling stream, or sitting on a park bench listening to a summer concert while the scent of roses lingers on the air, this is some of what you might experience in some of the Metro Parks of Columbus.

My family’s favorite parks have beautiful gardens attached. The two best parks to visit inside the city of Columbus are Whetstone Park of Roses and Inniswood Metro Park. Both of these places have manicured gardens with things in bloom for the entire season, although for the Park of Roses the peak bloom is in June.

Inniswood Metro Park has a children’s garden that is worth seeing. It combines a nature preserve with several developed perennial gardens that were created by the Innis sisters before being given to the city.


Columbus has a large park system, all are free to visit. Families with young children are going to love Slate Run Farm. It is a living historical farm and always has events and animals to fascinate visitors. Costumed staff go about their chores and share the stories and welcome the participation of visitors. Heirloom animals, old time skills, and an experience of another time await.

The parks have shelter houses, well maintained trails, and are a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Each park has its own flavor and features. When visiting a certain area of Columbus, be sure to give the park located in its vicinity as visit.

See all the parks within the Central Ohio Parks System to find the one near you.

Inniswood’s Secret Garden

Beautiful gardens Inniswood photo copyright Ilona Erwin
Beautiful gardens Inniswood photo copyright Ilona Erwin

Changing displays Inniswood copyright Ilona Erwin
Changing displays Inniswood copyright Ilona Erwin

Summertime concerts Park of Roses photo copyright Ilona Erwin

Summertime concerts Park of Roses photo copyright Ilona Erwin

Whetstone Park Of Roses

3923 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43214, USA
[get directions]Whetstone Park and The Park of Roses

Slate Run Farm

Winchester Southern Road, Canal Winchester, OH 43110, USA
[get directions]Living historical farm

Inniswood Metro Park

940 South Hempstead Road, Westerville, OH 43081, USA
[get directions]Two Sisters made a beautiful garden and nature preserve and gave it to the City of Columbus.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43205, USA
[get directions]Indoor and outdoor garden displays and botanical collection.

Battelle Darby Metro Park

1775 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway, OH 43119, USA
[get directions]One of the largest parks, now a visitor center has opened with informative exhibits and a viewing area of real Bison!

The Canal Ride at The Zoo

This ride was so much fun

This ride was so much fun | Source

Columbus Zoo Is Famous

Colo's Story: The Life of One Grand Gorilla (Columbus Zoo Books for Young Readers Collection)
Colo’s Story: The Life of One Grand Gorilla (Columbus Zoo Books for Young Readers Collection)

The most famous gorilla’s story for children.

Entertaining The Family


One of the places that kids will love is COSI, which stands for Center of Science and Industry. Yes, it will cost money for the entrance fee, but it is worth it. Shows and science events, all sorts of hands-on ways to experience science for yourself. It’s a blast- but in a safe way.

It was awarded the honor of #1 Science Center in the country by Parents Magazine in 2008, and it will provide a full day of discovery and entertainment.


The Zoo: Christmas, Summer, Anytime

Animals, all seasons in a natural habitat.
Animals, all seasons in a natural habitat.

No list of fun in Columbus is complete without the Zoo. The zoo has different portions that add up to fun all by themselves, like “Zoombezi Bay”, which is a waterpark. But I must say, the part I always like is the main zoo with the animals and beautiful botanical plantings!

Jack Hanna spearheaded the development of this zoo to make it one of the finest anywhere. The animals live in beautiful, well cared for, environments and the Aquarium is a great spot to watch aquatic animals up close. Sharks, Stingrays, Oh My! I just love it.

The zoo is always changing for the better and has lots to see. It does cost a fee for parking and entry.


This is a great day trip for the children, but it is as much for the adults as for them. Walk through the climate environments, enjoy the live Butterfly exhibit during the spring and summer, and let the beauty of the plants impart their beauty and feeling of serenity. There are plenty of activities throughout the year, as well.

Besides the plants, there is quite an exhibition of Dale Chihuly glass to behold. Most are permanent installations of his colorful glass sculpture, and the special art exhibitions that the Conservatory hosts are spectacular, in my opinion.

Entry fees are charged.



Some people just love museums- like me! Columbus has an Fine Art Museum, located in Downtown. The Columbus Museum of Arthas hours every day except Monday, and Sundays are free. You can enjoy a small repast within the cafe and shop in the delightful gift shop area.


The Ohio Historical Center at 800 E 17th Ave. next to the Ohio state Fairgrounds is filled with interesting exhibits ranging from prehistoric to modern times. You will enjoy the natural history, Native American artifacts, and a walk through the replication of old-time, small town America.

Kelton House is a small museum in Downtown, 586 E Town St. Combine it with your trip to the Art Museum and enjoy the architecture and journey into Civil War era history.

While in the downtown area, what about boarding an actual replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria? Yes, you can see what this authentic museum quality ship is like first hand, while learning lots about history. All the info you need to plan your day is on the ship’s website .

Yes, I ate this fabulous Sundae
Yes, I ate this fabulous Sundae at Jeni’s

My Short List Of Top Foodie Delights

I think these places will please those who love good food. Most of them are located in areas that have shopping and in the vicinity of day trip destinations. Dublin is in proximity to the Zoo, German Village is full of interesting shops and home to Schiller Park.

Family and Budget Friendly

Mediterranean food has quite a presence in the city, but try ‘The Olive Tree’ in Hilliard for Israeli, Greek, and Turkish delights. The Olive Tree Menu

Lavash is another good choice for Med. food, located in Clintonville on the North side of Columbus

For the best ice cream in incredible flavors go to one of the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream locations. Jeni’s locations

Breakfast pastries at Pistacia Vera in the German Village. Serves brunch and fine bakery tortes and other goodies. The Pistacia Vera

We have Mellow Mushroom Pizza Restaurants!
They are my favorite and it is a great place to hang out with family and friends.

Donato’s Pizza is here, and yit is the local favorite. Try one of their thin crust specialties. Located in many places around Columbus.

Vegetarian delight in the Whole World Restaurant, where I had my first taste of healthy vegetarian food! Consistently rated highly. Another good choice is NorthStar cafe with several locations around the city

Areas With Great Food Places, And Sights


Go to German Village, a historical area with lively restaurants and cute shops.


Grandview is another wonderful neighborhood with shops, restaurants, and coffee places. Vibrant and artsy.


Speaking of art, an area with great places to eat and things to see is the Short North. The attractions are more for adults than families with young children, with gallery hop and many bars along with a higher price tag for a meal.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
1 West Bridge Street, Dublin, OH 43017, USA
[get directions]One of several locations in the city.

The Olive Tree
3185 Hilliard Rome Road, Hilliard, OH 43026, USA
[get directions]Great Israeli/Mediterranean food

Pistacia Vera
541 South Third Street Columbus, OH
[get directions]Delicious pastry and baked goods, brunch, and a selection of coffee and tea drinks

Mellow Mushroom in Dublin
6505 Dublin Center Drive, Dublin, OH 43017, USA
[get directions]Delicious pizza, mellow sixties atmosphere and fabulous hoagie sandwiches.

Lavash Cafe
2985 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43214, USA
[get directions]

Report On Slate Run Farm

View the Parks

The Columbus Zoo Is Famous For Its Gorillas


Columbus Also Has These Great Places

  • Bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park!
    Showcasing the visitor center at Battelle Darby Park
  • Ohio Renaissance Festival
    This is an easy drive from Columbus and promises all day fun for the whole family. My kids of all ages loved it, but the teens were really into it.
  • Ohio Caverns | America’s Most Colorful Caverns
    Ohio Caverns, located in West Liberty, Ohio is one of Ohio’s most popular tourist attractions.
  • Denison Museum [Denison University]
    The Denison Museum in Burke Hall . The collections of 8,000 objects from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and Central America. Located in scenic Granville, Ohio, just 27 miles east of Columbus
  • Home
    Historical American Greek Revival museum and private venue; tours, programs and community events. Open May-Oct: Wed-Sun 1-4 Located in Granville. (740) 587-0430
  • The North Market
    While going to the Short North, don’t forget the North Market. Gourmet foods await.
  • Olentangy Indian Caverns
    Tours of this limestone wonder are offered daily April 1- Oct. 31 and there is a little Indian village area.
  • Ohio Historical Center
    The Ohio History museum is interesting and varied in its topics. Exhibits of geological forms, to early native American history, through the pioneers, into the Industrial age. A very pleasant place to visit, and educational, as well.
  • Columbus Museum of Art
    This art gallery is a day trip for those who love art. It has a wide variety of art exhibited within its classic interior, and an intimate cafe.
  • Polaris Fashion Place
    For people who love malls, this will be the one you want to visit. Located just north of Columbus, in Delaware county. Easily accessible from I-71 & US 23 on Polaris Parkway. Features over 150 specialty stores, many are brand new to Columbus.
  • Anthony-Thomas Candies Co.
    Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. holds free factory tours are every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 am. to 2:30 pm.

Hocking Hills copyright Ilona Erwin

The Great Outdoors


Old Mans Cave site

If you love to hike in the great outdoors, then a trip to the Hocking Hills is just the daytrip you may have in mind. Old Man’s Cave is beautiful and is an interesting climate pocket that holds unusual plants for this part of Ohio.

There are other caves and cliffs in this part of the state, but Old Man’s Cave is probably the most popular. Others are Cantwell Cliffs, Ash Cave, and the Rock House.

This is our family’s favorite outing and we go at least once a year, and try for more.


Dawes Arboretum site

Located in Newark, Ohio to the east of Columbus, is this wonderful arboretum. It has a children’s discovery center, an extensive walking tour through the gardens, a historical house ( for a fee), and a driving tour that is ideal for those who have difficulty with walking or time constraints. Dawes Arboretum has a beautiful set of gardens and tree exhibitions, with a genuine Japanese garden with teahouse.


A Mall Can Be Fun

The best Mall is probably Polaris Mall, which is located off I71 going North to Delaware. Many great restaurants (which are kid-friendly) and the second location for Mellow Mushroom is in the area.

A smaller mall which I like is Tuttle Mall located between Hilliard and Dublin- which is handy if you are staying the many excellent hotels in the Northwest area of the city. Easton on the Northeast is a shopping spot, as well.

Many seasonal attractions with a busy child playground center in the lower level of each of these malls.

A little further out- Springfield

Further Afield

Springfield is a little west of Columbus, Dayton is 65 miles west, and Cincinnati is to the South. Cleveland to the North is on Lake Erie and there are many different fields trips and sights in that region of Ohio.

Filled with many parks, and nature preserves, it is rich with outdoor activities, so consider mapping your way around the State after exploring places of interest inside the city of Columbus and its nearby regions.

Hot Autumn Decor Creates A Cozy Home

Autumn Colors Are Welcome Any Time Of Year

family room walls
Hot orange walls bring vivid warmth and make an inviting statement in rooms where people like to mingle. Consider this color for a family room.

For almost anyone, the autumn season is a time to add pumpkin orange, crimson red, golden yellow, and nut browns to the decor, but for some there is nothing more homey than the harvest colorings of Fall for the entire year round.

No matter which colors you prefer for your home’s rooms, see if there are autumn additions that would lend the season’s richness and warmth to your indoor palette. You may be surprised how a touch of autumn color brightens up otherwise neutral rooms without too much expense or commitment.

Autumn inspired palettes

The Colors of a Golden Afternoon

living room art
Lazy Autumn Afternoon

There is something clear, and yet soft, about the light of autumn days. The combination of yellow, gold, and oak leaf brown can create a most welcome environment that surrounds one in cozy and inviting color. The color yellow has notes of cheer and energy , while brown gives an earthy, grounded look. Deep charcoal accents can bring out the dramatic side of such a color pairing.

Many people like to use a favorite painting to garner their color combination, and the grayed teal that gives the effect of a residual fog might be the perfect foil to the warm hues of yellow,gold, and brown.

Warm the atmosphere even more

When orange is added to yellow the feeling becomes festive.

Consider some of your favorite seasonal foods or harvest decorations: bright orange pumpkins with golden and green bi-colored gourds; the orange and golden yellow of maple leaves; bittersweet berries with their golden caps.

Golden Yellow, Vibrant Orange

Bittersweet Berries Inspire

The colors of bittersweet berries ignite ideas
Oriental Bittersweet postcard on Zazzle

The colors of bittersweet berries ignite ideas…deep red orange with orange-gold and moss greens, a blue gray gives just a bit of contrast and pale yellow ochre makes an ideal background wall color for the bright sparks of color.

Make it rich and earthy

As autumn matures the colors turn earthy. If you like a rich, subdued background for your bedroom, this might be the color harmony that most comforts and nurtures you.

When deep brown is added to oranges and harvest yellow, an inviting and cozy room is easily created. Especially in combining that leather brown color with burnt orange, it becomes a song of Autumn.

It is a color scheme that a man is comfortable with. I like the cheerful creamy yellow on the walls, but Navaho white or picking up that deep orange on just one wall could be as effective.

Toned With Browns

deep rich colors and textures say luxury
Combine deep autumnal color with luxe fabrics and get supreme comfort for body and soul. Silky satins, damasks, and tapestry textures bring out the depth of color .

Traditional Colors and Textural Earthy Materials

Use a mix of textures for these rich colors

Whether it is burlap or velvet, texture highlights the colors of fall, and they look best with something that makes use of the saturated depth of the hues. The harmonies of green, gold, and orange with the addition of browns brings out the autumn feeling of this palette, although you don’t have to stay inside that guideline. Purple is also an autumn color!

Purples and Violets Simmer

Violets are part of the season's color palette
via Pinterest is a reminder that violet shades are part of the Autumn landscape, and in their subtler tones look gorgeous with deep red orange ( purple and orange are secondary harmonies on the color wheel).

Violets are part of the season’s color palette


Autumn Lamp Looks

This color theme lends itself particularly well to the oriental cloisonné look and to leather textures. Lamps that incorporate those elements are often the best accents for a harvest season look.

Warm Wood And Nubby Texture

Autumn Decor Lamp – Beautiful Painted Autumn Scene

An amazing focal point in the room, the attention arresting shape and color harmony of red autumn hues with black frame is warm and sophisticated at the same time. This is no ordinary table lamp, but literally a work of art.

Kichler Lighting 70772 Vivido Autumn 24-Inch Portable Table Lamp, Aged Crackle Decoupage Finish with Linen Oval Hard Back Shade
Kichler Lighting 70772 Vivido Autumn 24-Inch Portable Table Lamp, Aged Crackle Decoupage Finish with Linen Oval Hard Back Shade

It is hard to imagine a more artistically beautiful lamp than this. It is a focal point piece, that has character and elegance. The look of a fine antique.

Creating An Atmosphere

Honey Oak Finish Harmonizes Nicely

Dunhill Bed in Autumn Brown/Honey Oak by Fashion Bed Group
Dunhill Bed in Autumn Brown/Honey Oak by Fashion Bed Group

Honey Oak Queen size bed harmonizes with any of the autumn colors you might choose for your walls and linens. A romantic traditional style with black metal ornament. Old French Quarter feel to the style.

Bedroom Furniture – With a warm brown finish

Imagine this chocolate brown leathered look bedstead with a green coverlet as base for the terrific coordinating accessories that make you feel like you are spending the night in a forest lodge. No crackling fire necessary, but welcome. Warm and homey, but with an understated elegance that you will love all year.

Pumpkin Color Inspiration

pumpkin pie
One of my favorites: the color, aroma, and taste of spice laden pumpkin pie.

Autumn Braided Rug – Warm brown traditional floor covering

As homey as a slice of pumpkin pie.

Homespun and Rustic

Salem Autumn Retreat Rug Rug Size: Runner 2'3" x 9'
Salem Autumn Retreat Rug Rug Size: Runner 2’3″ x 9′ Brown braided rugs hark back to traditional America crafts where woolen dresses and coasts that became to worn for use were frugally cut into strips and braided into very serviceable and good looking rugs. We don’t have to do the work of saving rags and braiding them, but we can have the look of these wonderful area rugs today.

Home Accessories

The Tints and Aroma Of an Autumn Day

Yankee Candle Autumn Leaves Crackle Collection Tarts Wax Potpourri Warmer
Yankee Candle Autumn Leaves Crackle Collection Tarts Wax Potpourri Warmer

The Motifs of the Fall Season

Traditional Motifs For This Time Of Year

In Japan, the idea of seasonal words that are identified with seasons are called ‘Kigo‘ (season-related word).

Kigo for Autumn haiku poetry might be dragonflies, full moon, chrysanthemums, colored leaves, fallen leaves, maple, mushrooms, deer, harvest, sunset, .

Harvest, Leaves, Squirrels, Acorns, the list goes on

Every season has its motifs, those objects that we identify in a symbolic or iconic way. Autumn seems to take us back to nature in a way no other season can… we revel in harvest themes and celebrate nature.

My Favorite China – Lenox Autumn

Lenox Autumn Gold-Banded Fine China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1
Lenox Autumn Gold-Banded Fine China 5-Piece Place Setting, Service for 1

This is one of the most exquisite china designs ever designed.

Falling Leaves

The icon of fallen leaves
The icon of fallen leaves




Welcoming Kitchens

Orange brings warmth and conviviality

If you want a welcoming and cheerful kitchen, autumn color might be just what you are looking for to decorate the kitchen. In the sea of white and metal, there are times we are hungry for color, and no colors harmonize quite so well with good eating as orange and yellow. They are colors that invite you to sit down and enjoy the food.

Orange Kitchen Appliances:

Some things like kitchen appliance must have shiny surfaces, but autumn is not usually shiny or metallic in nature.

Still, in those accessories that might be made of metal, a burnished metal would probably match up better than a bright shiny one.

Think of bronze or wrought iron, or the brushed metals instead of bright brass. Again these aren’t “rules”, just suggestions.

Autumnal Candle – Bring seasonal scent and color into your decor

Do you love candles? Especially candles that scent the air with delicious reminders of everything you love about the season? I do, too. Here is one to try…

Wicks With The Sound Of a Crackling Fire

Woodwick Candle Autumn Sunset Large Jar
Woodwick Candle Autumn Sunset Large Jar

Woodwick candles bring a pleasant crackle to the air, besides their seasonal scent.

Not everyone wants to do a complete decor in Autumn colors, although I hope this post gives you plenty of reasons to consider it.

Even so, almost everyone likes to add a little seasonal accent during harvest time. Candles, table decorations, table cloths, and the scents of the season are a few ways to add the warmth and hospitality that seems to infuse the the fall.

Anything that brings some of nature indoors, with a little of those happy memories of, glorious changing leaves, the first fire in the fireplace, and abundant apple harvests can be incorporated into the home decor.

Some DIY Ideas!

My Trip to Maui

maui sunset

A visit to the beautiful island of Maui holds so many possible experiences. I want you, Dear Reader, to see highlights of my travels there a few years ago. Perhaps put them on your itinerary.

How To Have A Great Time There


It is sort of a joke to say “just another day in paradise” when on Maui… but it really is. Paradise!

I had a chance to visit there a couple years ago, and I would love another chance to go! I tried to do as many things as possible, but there were still so many possibilities that another trip could be filled with all new things to see and do.

Going there? Ideas for highlights you don’t want to miss. Or just visit vicariously with me..

Lots to see on this small, but richly diverse island.

Iao Valley

Iao Valley
Iao Valley


Fishes! Corals! Cool Place

Maui Aquarium
Fishes, Corals, Cool Things!

The Ocean Center

Pricey, but definitely worth it

This is an exciting Aquarium that showcases ocean life in a way that is rare for landlubbers like me to see. After viewing the fish, corals, and ocean life… the gift shop is the place for great souvenirs and gifts in a wide range of prices and beautiful selection. I loved that gift shop!

Restaurant Reviews
Restaurant Reviews

The List of Favorite Food Stops – top places for great food

Not always at a restaurant, sometimes from a shop, sometimes in a grocery, but good food is to be had on Maui. I like food that tastes good, and prefer a reasonable price and healthy ingredients. That is how I judge how good a place is for a meal.

Several are included in my Yelp reviews.

7 Favorite Food Experiences

What tour guide is complete without a list of great food destinations?

  1. joys place: Small,casual place with a spirit of joy to go with the healthy cooking. I had the daily special which happened to be a fish taco- generous and delicious.
  2. Hawaiian Moon Natural Foods: I really enjoyed everything about this small grocery. Great tuna salad and pastas at the salad bar, with lovely wrap sandwiches in the refrigerated case at the back. My absolute favorite thing was the Tahitian limeade …. wow
  3. Leilani’s On the Beach: The big draw here is the fantastic view and open air dining right on the beach. For dessert shared a hula pie which is like a luxurious fudge covered Sundae.
  4. Eskimo Candy: Good battered and fried fish, pretty good fries on the side. I also had a serving of fried oysters. Small place that was quite crowded.
  5. Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant: Great food and fun atmosphere, we were seated in bench seats open to the breezes, air area right next to the water. Recommended.
  6. Cheeseburgers Island Style @ Shops At Wailea: So-so food, but great wait staff and quiet open air seating under a cool canopy. Great to get a bite to eat and have a good conversation during your shopping rounds.
  7. Koho’s Grill & Bar: The great food is the draw, while the eating area is crowded and a bit noisy. I liked to order and take out.
Top Maui Restaurants 2012: From Thrifty to Four Star: Independent Advice from Experts Who Live, Play & Eat on Maui

Tropical Plantation Daytrip – fun, great gifts, educational

Maui Tropical Plantation
Maui Tropical Plantation

Be sure to take the tour! We were riding in an open tram to see a plantation of sugarcane, coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple, papaya, mango, guava, bananas, with stops for a coconut husking demo and a few minutes in a macadamia nut grove, with explanations of this important tree.

A lot of fun for a reasonable fee.

A restaurant is on location, which you might enjoy. I didn’t get a chance to try it, but heard it was good.

Maui Tropical Plantation

Special Items To Take Home

This place is a real highlight of things to see. It is a farm extraordinaire. Several little shop areas are included in a setting of gardens, with a stroll around a lagoon.

Leis made and demonstrated in one hut, Hawaiian coffees in another.

The main souvenir shop had a fine selection of some of the best Island mementoes, including:

Lonely Planet Look At the Island


Island History

Polynesians and Whalers

The Iao needle is a pinnacle of 1,200 feet, a famous landmark in the state park set aside because of its historical significance. In the late 15th century Hawaiian nobility made this their burial grounds, and it was here that the great battle for Hawaiian island unity was fought and won by Kamehameha the Great.

It is a beautiful site, with a small recreated village area. It is the natural beauty of the place that makes such an impression, and the walks are easy to navigate. It rains a little more here, due to the elevation, so even if dry further down on the island, you might want to be prepared for some sprinkles.

Read up on the history before you go, there aren’t many plaques or other ways of being aware of the impressive story of this significant place.


This was the residence of the highest chiefs and the first capital of the new Kingdom of Hawai’i. A giant Banyon tree is at the center of the tourist area. Museums and many things that hark back to the old whaling days when up to 550 whaling ships harbored in the Lahaina port.

Hana Road


Hana Road Waterfall
Hana Road has many scenic waterfalls to view.

the long and winding road…

It would be a crying shame if you visited Maui and never ventured along the Hana Road. Breath taking scenery and death defying hairpin turns in a tropical forest of waterfalls, lush greenery, and stops for small hikes.

Remember when driving (if you don’t take a tour bus) to use Island etiquette and allow the other driver right of way, giving the hang loose hand signal at bridges, etc. Courtesy is always appreciated, but on Hana Road it is a safety measure. The shaka sign shows “Aloha Spirit,” a gesture of friendship and understanding- like “Aloha itself. You honk before taking the turns to alert oncoming drivers.

Not very many places for eating, so eat before going or take your own snacks along. There are fruit stands at certain junctures.

The scenery is unbelievably gorgeous. People find their way along “Mile Markers”, and a map of desired sites to see and stop at is a good thing. Be sure to include Ke’anae Arboretum on your list, it is free and holds many interesting specimens of trees.

Hang Loose

The hand signal, shaka sign, meaning “hang loose” “go ahead” etc, is the thumb and little finger extended and the other fingers folded down while a wiggle or two is given.

Botanical Garden at Kahanu Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA

Kahanu Garden -- National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hana, Maui (HI) October 2014

I walked through here

Botanical Garden at Kahanu Garden is lovely and serene. I learned about some of the tropical trees and plants in this quiet place.

The intense sunshine means good eye protection is a must, and flip flops are probably the only footwear you need. But they are important to keep your feet comfortable walking across the sand -especially black lava sand!

Things To Pack For The Island

Sun Protection Is A Must

Bolle Sport Recoil Sunglasses (Shiny Black/Polarized TNS)
Bolle Sport Recoil Sunglasses (Shiny Black/Polarized TNS)

You will certainly need and use a good pair of sunglasses. The sun shines a lot here 🙂

Hawaiian Ice

Addictive stuff. Be sure to have the flavor you like topped with Maui Cream (coconut milk)

A number of places to find it, I liked a little shop in Kihei, close to a boardwalk.

Pocket Beach
Example of a Pocket Beach

The Many Beaches

They each have their own attraction

Pick any beach in Maui and it is an experience of bliss, but whether it is the black sand in the south or the sugar sand of the west, or the North Shore wild surf beaches, every view is of the deepest blue water imaginable and a day in paradise.

Visiting a beach is my idea of what is the absolute most fun for a vacation. So my bias is to implore you to get to the nearest beach and enjoy the sand, sun, and the ocean. Save the shopping and dining for in between a great day at the beach. Well, maybe not everyday of the vacation, but most days!


I don’t surf, so I spent little time on the North Shore. Beaches found there are named, “Baldwin Beach, Ho’okipa Beach, Paia Bay, Tavares Bay, Kanaha Beach Park”, and others. Those who love these beaches do so because they are far from resorts, the chance to find a 50-foot monster wave, and watch the surfers brave enough to ride these waves.

The North Shore To See Surfers

Honolua Bay, Maui
Honolua Bay, Maui

Many Beaches, Different Sides of Maui

South Kihei

I love the beaches of Kihei, that is where I saw native Hawaiians having their cookouts and a general good time. Kalama Beach Park is where I went to eat my luscious sandwich from nearby organic food place,joys place. Don’t miss trying out their food ( also now available at the Kahului Whole Foods, which wasn’t there yet at the time of my visit). I shopped at the Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods, which was perfect. Their Tahitian Limeade is the perfect Hawaiian refreshment.

There are a line of very nice beach parks in this area. I thought they seemed family-friendly.

Polo Beach and Makena

Further south, past Wailea and the famous shops is Polo Beach. I didn’t discover it until almost time to return home. A very lovely beach with nice facilities and parking. I would have liked to have visited it more often during my visit. Further south yet, is Makena, with Big Beach, and the black sand beach. At this point you have to turn back around since the roads beyond this area are unsafe to travel- prohibited by the rental car company.

Be sure to wear hat, shades, and coverup, since the tropical sun is intense. And turn your body to expose different sides… I got a little overcooked on one side while talking with my friend one afternoon.


  • Black Rock Beach is where my daughter and her friend went snorkeling. It is a nice beach next to resorts with great eating and shopping places nearby. This beach was much more crowded than any of the web photos usually show; it is a very popular place.


Kaanapali beach
This advertises one of the best beaches

This advertises one of the best beaches

Seven Sacred Pools

Maui Has More

Sights to See

More fun!

‘Ohe’o Gulch on the Hana Highway. The Seven Sacred Pools are beautiful to see, flowering plants, and stone steps … at the time I was there there was no swimming allowed.

They are part of the Haleakala National Park. Many people drive up the Haleakala mountain to view the dawn rise. We attempted that, but my friend wasn’t well that day and had to turn back. Dress as for a cold fall day with a jacket for this trip if you take it. The elevation makes the temperatures much cooler than you might expect. Many beautiful lookouts on the roadway to the top.

Driving up the mountain can be a long trip, with many curving turns ( but none as sharp or difficult as the ones on the Hana road).

Be sure to visit the Seven Sacred Pools, in the Kipahulu District.

Informative Tour Of Maui Island – An overview of all the main sections of the island

A quick moving, pleasant tour of the different parts of Maui and what each is known for, I liked this video as a quick way to discover highlights to be sure and see on any person’s trip, here.

Travel Tip: Rent A Car

It is well worth it, easy to travel around the Island, and if you have an economy car the gas mileage is affordable.

Travel Guide

  • Maui Guidebook
    a complete site with categories of the different parts of Maui

There is so much of interest ion this Hawaiian island that a good guide book would be really helpful. Not everyone can be toured around by a friend who lives on the island and likes to show the best of Maui to visitors (like I was privileged to experience).

Hilo Hattie: She was a singer, hula dancer, actress and comedienne of 100% Hawaiian ancestry

Aloha Prints Go Everywhere on the Island

Hawaiian print shirts look great while shopping, dining, or on the beach. They are breezy and look good in a wide variety of venues.
Hawaiian print shirts look great while shopping, dining, or on the beach. They are breezy and look good in a wide variety of venues.

Maui Clothing and Souvenirs – Great Summer Wear Anywhere

Hilo Hattie is the biggest souvenir shop, but there are loads of others. My absolute favorite place for shirts, dresses, and souvenirs? The Maui Tropical Plantation Shop in Wailuku.

If you go on the Hana Road, be sure to buy some trinkets from the roadside stand up there. Mahalo!

Can’t make it to Maui this year? Order some of these for your summer wardrobe, a bit of Happy Hawaii colors and casual ease.


Great cover up for the beach or fun little dress for daytime jaunts. I bought one for my daughter.

There are many styles and prints available in the souvenir shops. You will get a lot of use from your Island wear- the cotton prints are comfortable and always manage to look in style on Maui.

How To Dress


The Island look is laid back along with the lifestyle. Sandals and flipflops, loose shirts and coverups, breezy prints and natural fabrics will make you comfortable and help you fit right in.

The Souvenir styles featured here are clothes you will actually wear around the entire Island.

Queen Ka’ahumanu Center

Queen Ka'ahumanu Center
Queen Ka’ahumanu Center

Great Mall and Good Eats

Queen Ka’ahumanu Center is a fun mall just because it is all open air -like being in a giant tent, which is perfect for Maui weather. Jamba Juice was a big plus for my teen daughter, her friend, and me. And I loved walking around looking at the shops, even though they aren’t really special. However, the lady who sells Island jewelry in a kiosk stand was very nice and had a great selection of shell items.

I really liked the food at Kona’s Grill, and recommend it.


Bad Ass Coffee shop was my favorite on the Island. Truly great coffee at reasonable prices.

It is an intimate old fashioned cafe with a personable owner and the perfect place to enjoy a cup of fine Hawaiian coffee.

Maui Coffee Company 100% Maui Coffee (Whole Bean), 7-Ounces (Pack of 3)
Maui Coffee Company 100% Maui Coffee (Whole Bean), 7-Ounces (Pack of 3)

Most coffee lovers know about Kona, but this island also has top quality distinctive beans that make a delicious cup ‘o joe.

Maui coffee is excellent even though it doesn’t have the widespread reputation of Kona. Most Hawaiian coffee sold on the mainland is “Kona”, which is from the Kona mountains on the big Island. Try the Maui Company coffees listed and compare!

Maui Jewelry

From beach glass to Pacific pearls to shell earrings and bracelets, there are plenty of choices to buy to give your summer wardrobe the Island look. Pearls and coral are gifts of the sea. More information about Beach Glass and jewelry made from it.

I bought souvenirs of beach glass earrings for one of my daughters. Beautiful and unique and easy to pack.

More Maui Info

Map of the Island available at AllPosters
Map of the Island

Unique Hawaiian Culture

The islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai make up Maui County. There is a ferry to Moloka’i Island from Lahaina.

The Halawa Culture experience is located on Moloka’i Island, but the history includes Maui and all the Islands