Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Hawaiian Flowers and Leis

Hawaiian Flowers, Leis, and Gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Think outside the heart-shaped chocolate box when shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift. Bring some of Hawaii to her (or him) with a special delivery from With Our Aloha.

With Our Aloha is an Hawaiian company commited to its local heritage. They responsibly use the island’s resources to enhance their local economy. Extra attention is given to special orders and custom requests; their customer service is top-notch.  (Read some of their customer’s compliments on products and service here)

My Hawaiian orchid was carefully packaged (wrapped & staked) and I received it by FedEx next day delivery. It was just beginning to bloom.

Hawaiian Blooming Orchid


‘Pacific Matriarch’


a few days later


Below are their two most popular Valentine’s Day choices:  

Aloha (Love) Tropical Flowers Assortment

Aloha (Love) tropical flowers assortment anthuriums and orchids

and the Deluxe Pampering Sampler Gift Basket For Her.

Hawaiian Women's Spa Gift Basket

With Our Aloha has lots of gift-giving options for your Valentine. Show your love… direct from Hawaii

Notes From Dawn received a beautiful live ‘Pacific Matriarch’ orchid from With Our Aloha in exchange for an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

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At Least You’re In Tuscany 

Jennifer Criswell

Gemelli Press 


Kindle Edition, 220 pages

Book Description

When dream meets reality. . . 

Endless fields of flame-like poppies. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The sweet, rhythmic chime of church bells. 

Months upon months of unemployment? Struggling to communicate with locals? Duvets frozen on the clothesline? 

Jennifer Criswell’s move from New York City to Tuscany was not supposed to go like this. She had envisioned lazy mornings sipping espresso while penning a best-selling novel and jovial group dinners, just like in the movies and books about expatriate life in Italy. 

Then she met reality: no work, constant struggles with Italian bureaucracy to claim citizenship through her ancestors, and perhaps worst of all, becoming the talk of the town after her torrid affair with a local fruit vendor. 

At Least You’re in Tuscany is the intimate, honest, and often hilarious tale of Jennifer’s first year in Montepulciano. During that time, Jennifer’s internal optimist was forced to work overtime, reminding her that if she were going to be homeless, lonely, and broke, at least she would be all those things–in Tuscany. 

Through all her small-town bumblings, though, Jennifer’s mantra, along with a healthy dose of enthusiasm and willingness to learn about Italian culture, helped her not only build a new, rewarding life in Italy but also find herself along the way.

About the Author

Jennifer Criswell is a lawyer-turned-writer who chucked her legal briefs to pursue her love of writing after a life-changing trip to Italy in 2001. Jennifer lives and writes in a small hill town in Tuscany with her sidekick of a Weimaraner, Cinder.

At Least You’re In Tuscany is a great “get-away” read.  Jennifer’s telling of her first year in Italy was really enjoyable. Having moved a few times – although not out of the country- I can relate to the experience of changing location and lifestyle. A very optimistic book as suggested from the title.

Truth be told, laundry was a nightmare. My washing machine, with the unlikely brand name of Candy, may have sweetly served a mid-century housewife but now was so ancient that all it has left to offer was the dyspeptic sound of water trickling in and out and the vague memory of a more vigorous time. I’d learned I needed to manually spin the inner metal cylinder a few times during the two-hour cycle if I wanted all of the clothes to get wet, and mostly ended up reaching in to hand wash them myself. The process lent new meaning to the word agitation.

Then there was the drying. Prior to my move, my only experience with hanging anything outside to dry was an occasional beach towel flung over a hotel railing on vacation. In my dreams of Tuscany, I imagined this sort of back-to-basics thing would be fun. But let me disabuse anyone of that notion. Wrestling sopping wet duvet covers onto thin wire laundry cords perched outside the was was never, not for one moment, fun. Dangerous? Often. Time consuming? Definitely. Challenging? Yes. But fun? Not so much.

Italian words and sentences are used, sometimes with a translation but other times without. I think it was a nice touch but it could put some readers at a disadvantage as I was a few times.  A glossary would have been a helpful option.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was provided, by Gemelli Press through Net Galley, in exchange for an honest opinion. No other compensation was received.

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