Lavish And Elegant Italian Bistro

Italian cuisine is truly loved the world over. From mouthwatering lasagna and spaghetti to scrumptious manicotti and pizza, there are so many delicious dishes available. These platters are cooked to perfection by some of the top chefs in the world, and they truly capture the allure and essence of the old country. Whether for lunch, brunch, or dinner with family and friends, there is simply something for everyone when it comes to this wonderful and popular food.

The Italians are also masters when it comes to pastries and confectioner items. In fact, the canola continues to be one of their most adored and loved desserts across the world. There is also ice cream, along with cakes, pies and so much more. Each dessert is made with wholesome products that will definitely dazzle your taste buds.

Many restaurants also offer convenient outdoor seating with lavish and elegant decor. In fact, many themes capture the spirit of great Italian cities, including Venice and Florence. There are even outdoor caf├ęs and restaurants that feature choice Sicilian and Sardinian seafood dishes. From linguini and shrimp scampi to the finest selection of wines and spirits, there is nothing like dining at an Italiano ristorante.

Pizza is made from brick stone ovens and always piping hot. Personal pies are also available at restaurants, and are part of adult and children's menus. Sicilian slices are a bit thicker and usually have heavier crusters as well. These are made to perfection and great for carry out, inside dining, or even lunch and dinner buffets.

There is always a wide array of dishes available. This includes minestrone, which is simmered to perfection and served with scrumptious bread sticks and Mediterranean style salads. Calamari is another favorite that countless people enjoy across the globe. In a nutshell, Italian venues offer the best dishes and appetizers from back home. They also feature continental cuisine for those that do not like cheesy dishes or platters.

Whether for corporate lunches, family get together, or birthday parties, local restaurants feature convenient banquet and dining halls for all occasions. There is usually classical music playing, along with soft tunes to really set the mood. They say Italian is also the language of romance, so what better place to spend quality time with your loved one then in a fine and exquisite restaurant.

Take out items are prepared with true tact and precision. They are also kept hot until you pick up your order or it is delivered. From spaghetti and meatballs to fried clams and even sausage and peppers, each spoonful is guaranteed to melt in your mouth. This is why so many people love foods from Italy, and especially the convenience of having these meals delivered to your home or office. From fine restaurants to local pizza parlors with signature dishes, the choice is simply unlimited. …

The Symbolic Meaning of the Earth Touching Buddha Statue

A mudra is a motion or gesture of the hands and body to express a feeling or thought. Buddhist meditation rituals are based on the use of mudras. One prominent mudra, is the Bhumisparsha mudra. Translated from Sanskrit it means ‘earth touching.’ The earth touching pose (or mudra) is most often seen in statues of Buddha and is also referred to as the earth witness mudra.

To perform this mudra, the hand is placed on the ground with all fingers touching and reaching toward the ground. The palm faces inward. It is symbolic of the moment when Buddha summoned the Earth goddess to witness his attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. For this reason, the pose is also known as ‘Summoning the Earth Goddess to Witness.’

Buddha statues in the earth touching mudra have the right arm resting on the right knee with the fingers of the hand extended downward. The statue shows the Buddha with his left hand resting in his lap with the palm skyward in the meditation mudra (dhyana mudra). The combination of mudras is intended to symbolize the union of wisdom and method, Nirvana and Samasra. Buddhist teachings tell the tale of how Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, assumed the earth touching pose to resist against the temptations and distractions of the demon Mara who sought to lure the Buddha from his spiritual life.

Mara existed in many incarnations in Buddhist lore, from all powerful, evil creature to impish nuisance. This demon was a symbol of temptation who summoned beautiful temptresses to distract the Buddha from his spiritual journey much like the sirens of Greek Mythology

The second of the Five Great Buddhas (Five Dhyani Buddhas), Akshobhya, is depicted in the earth touching pose. Akshobhya is a manifestation of strength, confidence and determination and the use of the Bhumisparsha mudra is a reflection of that. The concept of the Five Great Buddhas was an evolution of the Buddhist theology. Initially only two existed, wisdom and compassion.

Akshobhya sits in the Eastern position and is thought to possess the mirror wisdom that converts anger to wisdom. He is associated with the element water, mirror-like itself and symbolic of Akshobhya’s ability to help people see things as they truly are.

The simple beauty of this mudra is a welcome reminder that temptation can be confronted by strength. A popular Asian decor accent, the earth touching Buddha statue can be a constant symbol of strength and resolve in the home.…

Save Money And Refinish Your Hardwood Flooring

One of the reasons why people don’t start home improvement projects because of the presumed cost of the project. Refinishing your wood floors doesn’t have to be expensive. As a matter of fact, if you have some time, you can save yourself several dollars over what professionals will charge you.

The first step in refinishing your hardwood floors is removing all furniture, rugs, and mats that are on the floor. It’s also a good idea to wear a dust mask as you are going to be stirring up quite the dust storm as you go about your business.

Your goal in refinishing your hardwood floors is to turn back the hands of time to when your hardwood floors were first installed. In order to achieve this feat, you will need to start by renting a heavy-duty sander to smooth out any rough spots and to remove the current stain that is on your floor. Move the sander in the direction that moves with the lines on your hardwood floor, paying particular attention that you do not apply more pressure anywhere. It’s important to make sure that you apply equal pressure to all parts of your floor as you want to avoid creating ‘pits’ in your hardwood floor, which will require more sanding. Do not move across the hardwood floor lines, especially if you have small grooves or beveled edges.

Once you’ve finished with your initial sanding you must sweep and vacuum the dust from your floor and lightly wash it. This part is often not given the proper care it deserves and is very important when refinishing hardwood floors. The reason it is so important is that the tiniest speck of dirt and dust will show up when you stain the floor. It is also important that you use only a damp mop for washing the floor rather than a wet mop. If there is too much water in the floor that has been sanded it will cause stains.

Once your stripped hardwood floors are dry, its time to stain your floor. Depending on the type of hardwood you have, and taking into consideration the room’s current decor, you can choose either a darker stain, a lighter stain, or go natural. Another popular option that protects and coats your floor is polyurethane

While refinishing hardwood floors is time consuming, you do not have to move out of your home in order to accomplish it. The stains and protective coatings do not have harsh fumes so they are not dangerous to breathe. You do want to take care not to walk on your floor until it is completely dry. If you do not wait you will have wasted all that time and effort and have to either start over or try to hide the footprints.…

How to Create a Magical Appeal With Contemporary Window Treatments

Traditional draperies have now been successfully replaced by means of contemporary curtains. One of the main reasons is that contemporary draperies are quite light-weighted but the traditional ones are heavier in weight. Heavy curtains cannot be maintained and installed easily rather they are very much hectic to control and this is why maximum house-owners are choosing contemporary options.

Contemporary window treatments have been designed on the basis of advanced technologies and thus they can be managed easily and conveniently. Window treatments should be chosen carefully otherwise your objectives will not get fulfilled. Lighter fabrics have been used for creating contemporary draperies and the designs are simply outstanding. These treatments add special effects to the decor of your room.

Both formal and fashionable styles are available in contemporary draperies. International standards of draperies are being efficiently abided for enforcing guaranteed quality and satisfied designs. A careful and perfect procedure is being followed in these kinds of window treatments. Both comfort and privacy are being managed with efficiency with the maintenance of these treatments. Material strength and colour patterns are versatile in nature.

There are many people who become quite sceptic for choosing contemporary window treatments mainly due to higher expenses. But if you want great quality and texture with higher longevity, then you should not think of the cost. If ideal conditions are not being created then it will be quite difficult to deal with these kinds of window treatments. Less fabrics are required by these draperies and the do not have any lining. These draperies are mainly well-known for their simplicity and outstanding appeal.

What to consider in contemporary draperies?

• Heading styles: Heading styles differ from formal curtains to informal ones. These styles mainly hold-back the attractive features of these draperies. If the display is improper then the beauty of the draperies cannot be thoroughly enjoyed by the viewers. Pleats will decide the heading styles and some of the most prominent options are Goblet, Euro, French and Pinch. You have to choose the most relaxing style that not only cater you the maximum relaxation but also suits the decor of your house.

• Desirable length: Improper lengths of contemporary draperies might hamper the grace and beauty of the walls and windows and thus the accurate lengths need to be chosen. Approximate length should be maintained for getting an absolutely sober and simple look. You can take the assistance of the manufacturer so that correct length can be maintained without any inconveniences. Excessive length can also spoil the overall look and thus be careful about the same.

• Mounting hardware: Mounting accessories are to be looked upon so that hanging curtains can be easily installed without any troubles. Simple mounting rules are to be followed so that perfect installation can be made. Desirable puddling is to be chosen for supporting the mounting procedure. If the windows are larger in size, then you might face a bit of difficulty in making the installation but right mounting materials can make your task …

Kitchen Decorating Ideas

More and more today, the kitchen is the most popular room in the house. No longer just the place where food is stored and prepared, it has become the focal point of home life. Kitchens used to be closed off from the rest of the house with walls and doors. Today, however, both in new homes and in remodeled older style homes, you can see into the kitchen from the living room, the family room, or both. Since the kitchen is constantly on view, kitchen decorating is an important part of home decor.

Some kitchens are treated as completely separate areas in plain view. Others are carefully decorated to blend in with adjoining spaces. In both cases, kitchen wall treatments are key to decorating this busy room. Paint continues to be a popular choice, but the range of "kitchen" colors has exploded. Cornflower blue, butter yellow, bright reds and vivid greens are commonly used as a base for French country or Tuscan kitchen decorating themes. Wallpaper options run the gamut from contemporary designs to Americana. In addition, slate, saltillo and ceramic tiles once used exclusively on floors are being used on walls to add texture and visual interest.

Part of decorating a kitchen is creating an organized space. Whether you have a specific decorating theme or not, you'll want to give some thought to which kitchen accessories stay on the countertop and which are hidden in cupboards and drawers. Many cooks find a tall cylindrical container to hold frequently used cooking utensils that keeps them from frantically rummaging through drawers. Appliances that get regular use, such as toasters and electric can openers are a good choice for countertop position, although most can be mounted under high cupboards.

Major appliance manufacturers recognize that their merchandise is a major visual element in any kitchen. Instead of just offering a choice between white, black, harvest gold or green, they produce an amazing range of "looks." From gleaming stainless steel, to retro 1950's look to standard white, you can choose refrigerators and stoves that blend with your kitchen decor. Some manufacturers can even help you match your appliances to your countertops for a seamless look.

As in any room in the house, it's the little touches that pull your kitchen's look together. Choose a "punch" color (usually contrasting to your walls) for window treatments and a throw rug. A tiled sink backsplash in this shade will add an extra bit of pizazz. Do not be afraid to add ornaments to the walls of your kitchen. Framed family photos, or even a collection of cookie cutters will add personality and warmth. …

Affordable Vacation Vacation – How To Pick An Affordable Vacation Package

Ever since the Walt Disney World was created in Florida in 1971 with just the Magic Kingdom, it has grown tremendously and today is among the top preferred holiday destinations. And today, most of the people who visit here do their planning and reservations online through the Disney website or other companies offering competitive prices.

Since the minimum time required to enjoy the entire Walt Disney World is at least a week, one can pick up a 6days, 7nights packages, each with its own share of facilities. For those looking for cheap Disney Vacation Club, they can take the value package and for others there is the moderate and deluxe category of accommodation and attached amenities. There is also something called Magic your way deals, but these are available only in the Animal Kingdom lodge and in Wilderness lodge, so if you are ready to spend your days and night amidst animals and nature, this is perfect for you.

Apart from these, there are the private villas at Boardwalk, or resorts at old Key West to suit your tastes at crash prices during off season. They are all fully equipped with kitchens, dish washer and spacious bath areas. You can even make this your own unique discount Disney Vacation Club.

The Saratoga Springs villa is situated across from downtown Disney and is close to many shopping options and restaurants. The hill side, beautifully landscaped gardens and the springs themselves captivate your senses making you enjoy your holiday much more. As you make your way in your rented car or the shuttle you catch a glimpse of the looming Walt Disney tower that get you all excited and ready for some fun.

Make sure to pick up park entry passes at the resort at cheaper rates, else you will have to wait in line. If you have been reading about the Discovery Island, then head straight to Disney's Animal Kingdom and The Tree of Life theme park to begin your joy ride. It is no ordinary wildlife park, here you can take safaris to watch animals in their habitats or enjoy river rafting for that rush. This is where you see the towering tall tree of life, from where you begin your Discovery Island trail. You can walk through the foliage, catch a glimpse or two of the exotic bird and raise your eyes on various other species of animals and birds. The Pizzafari and Flame Tree Barbecue are popular dining areas in this part of the park. The decor of the place will be done to suit the theme of the park with murals of wildlife and nature.

After this you can watch the best musical of Finding Nemo in Dinoland USA, an almost real enacting of the characters in the movie by the same name. With colorful puppets and an outstanding performance, you will be transported into Nemo's world for that 40 minute duration. Check your Disney World map to know when the shows are played and do not …

Tropical Wedding Favors

If you are looking for a great way of celebrating the warmth of the season, along with the celebrating your upcoming wedding day, then a tropical wedding theme may just be the right idea for you. Your guests will appreciate the relaxing feel to the day, something that isn’t always present on a day that takes so much planning and preparation. Even if you can’t have a wedding at the beach, you can try and bring the beach to your guests through your choice of decor and the food that you will serve. A great way to get a start on your tropical theme is to choose the right wedding favors. Tropical wedding favors will not only be a nice reminder of the ceremony, but they will also make for a nice decoration to someone’s home.

Instead of giving someone the standard wedding favor picture frame, a frame decorated with sea shells will bring that tropical vibe you are looking for. Starfish designs will also add a nice touch to the normally mundane gift item. One of my personal favorite items is a beach pail candleholder with palm tree designs on the sides that allow the candlelight to beam through. That one is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Another great idea is to take a small item such as candies or flower seeds and place them in tropical themed boxes. Why stop at the beach though? Why not go out into the deep blue sea and use designs from the many wonderful creatures that it has to offer? Dolphin designs, a personal favorite of my wife, are very popular and a nice choice. Homemade cookies in the shapes of whales or starfish are another idea. You may want to stay away from sharks though; they probably do not fit the mood! Unless you really like sharks, if that’s the case then why not?

There are many possibilities in the world of tropical wedding favors to explore. Some may be as easy as choosing items that have soothing, water based colors. Hawaiian flower themes would be a great choice for decorating anything. One of the best things about all of this is that the color schemes are both relaxing and vibrant. Tropical wedding favors are simple, yet also stunning. Guests will be more than happy to accept these items as a thank you, and will be even more likely to display them due to their colorful nature long after the big day has come and passed.…

The Importance of Garden Decor

The Quest for Significance

People are looking for ways to add significance, peace of mind, a quality experience, and an escape from the “rat-race” in their lives. Stated differently, people want to add depth and meaning to their lives. One way to accomplish this, it is asserted, is to make or purchase decor for your garden.

Make Your Garden Unique

Garden decor, along with things related to gardens, provides a return to nature, a sense of spirituality, and a return to the earth as people journey on their quest for significance and ultimate meaning. Moreover, through the use of decorations, gardeners reveal their quirks and shortcomings, their wit, their creativity, and their desire to make their gardens unique.

Transform Your Life

Gardens and their ornaments are symbols of enchantment, of mystery, of meaning, and of ultimate being. Another way of looking at this is to see that gardens and garden accents provide the power to transform one’s mood and one’s life. To be sure, garden accessories can become symbolic reminders of life’s blessings as they encourage people to enrich their surroundings by transcending the mundane.

The Gardening Imagination

Garden ornaments help people take an active stance in their lives by enabling them to create a niche in the world that is in concert with their values and their dreams. Indeed, it is this “gardening imagination” that provides people with the opportunity to select meaningful objects that speak to their senses, to their experiences, and to their lives.

An Invitation to Add Garden Decor to your Life

Websites that sell garden decor can be viewed as invitations for people to experiment and let their imaginations run free so that they can, with conscious effort or with playfulness, select the accents that they like–decor that speaks to their dreams and to their soul. With this in mind, look at the different products that are sold and select garden accessories that help elicit childhood fantasies. Examine the different garden accents and choose ornaments that speak to your inner self.

Let Your Personality Shine Through

Garden decor helps calm the spirit, soothe the soul, and delight the senses. By letting your individuality shine through as you select your decorative accents, you will transform your garden into one of the most meaningful experiences in your life. The challenge is to capture moments of wonder, joy, and inspiration and experience the lasting pleasures of beauty and the splendors of nature by decorating your garden in a way that is congruent with your noblest thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.

Your Garden Sanctuary

Strive to decorate your garden with ornaments that magically call you to return to your garden sanctuary. Look at different garden products and decide on decorations that motivate you to tap into your playfulness or into your artistic bent as you contemplate how you will decorate your garden. In a word, you can add richness, depth, and a sense of discovery to your garden with different garden ornaments.

Summary

In conclusion, garden decor is significant because …

A Brief History Of Tuscan Decor

Tuscan interior decor begins with an understanding of Tuscan architecture. Even a cursory page-flipping through the history books of Tuscany and its architecture reveals two impressions: Strength and Grandeur.

In the minds of modern day homeowners, these concepts seem to have translated into ‘security and permanence’, and ‘nobility of design’.

The book and subsequent movie, Under The Tuscan Sun, seem to have awakened a long dormant desire for the rustic, simple beauty found in the hill towns of Tuscany. Often described as voluptuous, sensuous, and seductive, this region of Italy has experienced an unparalleled awakening in both the European and North American consciousness.

The power of broad facades, massive stones, and symmetrically aligned square windows are once again the fashion of the day. Perhaps we are drawn to such strength of design if our own country of origin and its heritage are so young, so unrefined, and so seemingly impermanent when compared to Italy and the ancient Etruscan and Roman societies.

Thankfully, the ‘throw away’, ‘use it once and toss it’, light weight, impermanent mindset of recent decades has been abandoned in favor of enduring quality. The stark simplicity of contemporary design seems to have gone cold and lifeless. All now replaced by a quest for homes designed with a sense of history, luxury, rustic strength, and an air of permanence.

Tuscan decor says, “I’m here, I’m of the earth, and I will be here forever.”

The brilliance of using what we have –

Out of necessity, Tuscan architects utilized readily available materials, such as stone from local quarries. They adapted dwellings to the warm climate, and incorporated depth and strength of walls during warring times. Hence, we see massive stone facades, the most easily recognizable feature of Tuscan architecture.

There also seems to have been an innate love of simplicity and symmetry. This appreciation for beauty, evidenced in even the most humble buildings, is no doubt born of daily exposure to the pure elegance of the Tuscan countryside. Endless vistas of undulating green hills, gracefully thin cypress trees, lush olive groves, and intertwined grape vines have slowly evolved into the Tuscan decor so loved today.

Early Etruscan architecture was easily recognizable by its massive stones, the square forms of their edifices, and their heavy projecting beams, even when later embellished with Greek or Roman design elements. Often called Mediterranean (a broadening of the geographic area of design elements), Tuscan decor brings to mind sun washed colors, liberal use of stone, metal, square windows, and symmetry. Intricate details are often found that soften the strong, masculine features. There is always present a meticulous attention to quality craftsmanship, and stones marry with precision.

Even during the time of Michelangelo, who frequently combined rustic with polished, old with new, and Etruscan with Roman, builders faithfully retained the original elements of Tuscan decor. Before Michelangelo’s day, the earliest Etruscan architects, while originally designing almost solely for strength and defensive integrity, later gave way to including details that added nobility.

It’s no wonder that …

Does The Mother of the Bride Carry Flowers?

When I got married 30 years ago, my mother wore a small corsage that was made of the same flowers as the bridal bouquets. It fit her outfit perfectly. That was the trend at the time and wearing a corsage happened to work for the outfit she wore, but what about today?

Wedding Flowers for Mother of the Bride and the Bridal Party

First, let’s talk a little about flowers at the wedding. (That’s a whole topic in itself!) The bride’s bouquet is the ‘centerpiece’ of the wedding. This bouquet is what should receive the most attention and be the most elaborate and beautiful.

The flowers for the mother of the groom, bridesmaids, grandmothers and other female relatives of the bride and groom should be smaller and more simple than the bridal bouquet.

Flowers are given to the other bridal party members as a gesture that they, too, are important to the bride.

Giving flowers to the mother of the bride is a sweet gesture that notes the importance of the mother of the bride, all of her contributions to the wedding planning and her presence at the ceremony. She should be part of picking out the arrangement that she either wears or carries since it will affect the overall look of her outfit that day.

In order to make the most of this gesture, the mother and the daughter should discuss what would work best with the wedding decor, the featured wedding flowers AND the style and color of the mother of the bride dress.

Mother of the Bride Dress Also Determines Her Flowers

Depending on the dress, the mother may still choose to wear a small corsage, of course, or she may choose to carry a small bouquet of flowers during the wedding. She could also choose just to carry a single flower such as a rose. As I mentioned, the mother of the bride dress will dictate what’s best for her as well as her own personal style.

Another unique idea (once again, depending on the dress) is to pin a small corsage to the waistline sash where a sparkly brooch might go.

If there is a step-mother at the wedding, it would also be a nice gesture to present her with flowers as a kind, sentimental touch.

Bridal Flower Choices

Ultimately, the size and make-up of the floral arrangements and the people that receive them are up to the bride and what fits with her style, the theme of the wedding and her sentiments.…