Caring For Silver Charms

Silver charm jewelry looks stunning when it is bright, shiny and new. In fact, there is nothing like the gleam which comes from sparkling clean sterling silver. Although sterling silver is a great metal for jewelry as it is strong and hard wearing as well as looking great, it does have one disadvantage. It tends to tarnish over time if you don't look after it carefully. And if you have to clean something like a charm bracelet full of silver charms, each one very detailed and with many "nooks and crannies" then it can be quite a task.

The best thing to do to prevent tarnish is to wear your bracelet a lot,believe it or not. The more that the silver rubs against skin and clothes the less chance there will be for tarnish to build up.

At least that is true for the parts of your bracelet and charms which are in contact with something. You can still get tarnish build up in the indented parts of charms or bracelet, the parts which do not brush past anything naturally. This can actually enhance the form of the charm and bracelet and show off the 3D effect of the charm. But there may come a time when you want to get things looking like new again. What do you do then?

If you wish to clean sterling silver charms and bracelets, you can clean them gently with a soft cloth soaked in warm soapy water. Rinse your jewelry and dry it by wrapping in a soft towel. If you wish to use a jewelry cleaner always check that it is compatible with sterling silver and with any gem stones embedded in your charms. There are a number of cleaning systems on the market

1. Soft Polishing Cloths

You have to work hard to clean every surface of your bracelet with these but if you prefer the relief effect you can polish some parts of your charms more than others to maintain that effect.

2. Cleaning Foam or Paste

These will clean all surfaces of your jewelry but they can be quite messy to use and are not suitable for all stones which you may have embedded in your silver charms

3. Dips, Steam and Ultrasonic methods

Again check that these are suitable before use and choose ones which do not contain poisonous compounds which may be environmentally damaging.

Storing Silver Charms

Clean and dry your jewelry before storing. Store your bracelet and charms away from the air in special bags which prevent tarnish build up. You can get these from jewelry stores. Alternatively use soft cotton bags. Put these bags inside plastic bags to seal them from the air.

Preventing Loss

The other thing which can go wrong with silver charms is that you can lose them. Make sure they are securely fastened to your bracelet and that they cannot fall off. Check them now and again to make sure. You may find that your bracelet is more secure if you add a safety chain. A jeweler can add one for you if it does not already have one. Having said that, you will surely notice if a bracelet with a lot of charms falls off your wrist!

For more information about beautiful silver charms and bracelets, take a look at Silver Charms Online where you will find details about all kinds of charms, including the new Italian silver charms.

Picking Out Italian Bracelet Charms

Italian bracelet charms are very different from "traditional" bracelet charms. Most bracelet charms you see dangle off of a dainty chain, and are tiny; you need to practically be cross-eyed to see it. They're also frail and are easily broken; one snag on a gate or a door handle and it breaks very easily.

Italian charm bracelets
However an Italian charm bracelet is linked together by the charms themselves. Each charm is on a block of flat metal that is linked to another one directly. Nothing dangles; in fact the charms are the bracelet themselves. Italian charms are usually made out of stainless steel or gold instead of silver, adding to its strength. Silver is a soft substance, and real silver easily bends and breaks. But an Italian charm can survive being dropped, caught on something and sometimes even being stepped on. Its make is heavy-duty, yet it's still stylish.

It's important to note that while silver Italian bracelet charms are available, stainless steel and gold are more practical, and stainless steel is a much more affordable and practical option.

Personal Expressions

A charm bracelet is a personal expression of yourself and your interests. There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of charms to choose from to add to your charm bracelet. You are not limited to one either. People in general usually have endless interests and things that they like, so you can actually categorize your Italian bracelet charms. Perhaps you like music, reading and Disney movies. You can make bracelets out of charms that match all three of these interests, or you can just collect the charms and mix and match them to fit your particular mood.

Personal Fit

Unlike other jewelry, Italian charm bracelets are only as big as you want them to be. You don't have to pick out a size; you can add or take out as many as you want to make it fit however you like. Most people like it snug on their wrist or with a little bit of room to spare, but it doesn't have to dangle.

Custom Italian Bracelet Charms

You can find custom Italian bracelet charms at very affordable prices. Because charm bracelets are such personal items, custom charms were created to further individualize this versatile piece of jewelry. Sometimes these charms can get a little bit wild, with flashing lights, blinding colors and even noises. Other times they can be something as simple as pictures of your friends or family. Sometimes gemstones are added, such as birthstones, or letter charms are used to create your name.


Collecting Italian bracelet charms can be a bit expensive, depending on several factors. For starters, what material is it made out of? Gold and platinum are going to be expensive, while silver is moderately priced, and stainless steel is often times the cheapest. Then, too, it depends on the price of the charm. Some charms run upwards of $400, and some run as little as $4. While there is truly no guarantee that your charm is going to last forever, you should be careful and consider the cost before you begin to purchase charms.

How to distinguish authentic Italian Bracelet Charms, find here some tips, background information and recommendations where to buy the best.

Styles of Jewelry and How to Wear Them

There are as many styles of jewelry as there are styles of clothes and of course it makes sense to keep them in line with each other. You don't often see chunky costume jewelry with a delicate ball gown or a diamond brooch on army fatigues. Although there are no doubt some style icons who could pull that off, it is probably best to keep to conventional mixing and matching of jewelry and clothes if you are not sure if you are a fashion expert or not!

The Real Thing

If you have the type of diamond encrusted jewelry that you keep in a vault at the bank then you probably only get it out for special occasions and that makes perfect sense. However, if you have a beautiful pair of diamond stud earrings or a special watch that you can wear with many clothes, then make the most of these items and make them your signature pieces that others associate with you. You can wear most classic pieces with anything and mix and match with other jewelry although they will always go best with classic and formal clothes.

Fun Fashion Jewelry

The funkier pieces of costume jewelry in the latest fashion trend colors are meant for the young (and young at heart). You will wear one set of colors for a season and then another set will be your favorite by the next. This is fine for disposable low priced items but what do you do with your better pieces in this season's colors. If you buy good quality keep your costume jewelry until those colors come around again. Fashion works in cycles and there are not so many colors that yours will not be the height of fashion again before too long.

Ethnic Mix

Native or tribal jewelry has been very popular for years. With each purchase you are buying a stake in thousands of years of culture and tradition as well as something ornamental to go around your neck or in your ears. Ethnic jewelry is made of natural materials which tend to go best with the natural colors of fall. It is also more likely to go with a relaxed casual type of dressing than with a suit for the office. There can be a tendency to wear too many ethnic pieces at once but it is better to have one or two stunning pieces and let them be the focus for your look.

Jan writes on a site about Silver Charms where she has a number of articles about the many different types of sterling silver charms available and how to use them.

Put Your Jewelry Collection on Display

If your jewelry collection runs to diamond tiaras and precious emerald necklaces then keep your jewelry hidden away in the vault at the bank for security reasons but if you are like most of us then you have a collection of less precious earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces lying around in various boxes that often don't see the light of day. We forget about them as we get ready at lightning speed. We shoot out the door late for work again and miss adding the little touches to our clothes that would make all the difference to our overall look.

Of course, the best advice is to get your outfit together the night before but how many of us are organized enough to do that? Not many I am sure. If you display your jewelry, the exact items you need to add the perfect finishing touch are more likely to catch your eye as you put on your clothes and you will be reminded each time you see them what you actually have so you are more likely to be able to grab the right jewelry in a hurry.

Before I did this I often used to come across items of costume jewelry I had long ago bought and forgotten about. Sometimes I bought new jewelry when I did not need to. Now everything is to hand whenever I am getting dressed. I have necklaces and bracelets hanging on a rack on the back of the closet door and a my collection of rings and earrings in one of those little compartmentalized tool boxes you can get for screws and nails and things with a see-through lid. (A small fishing tackle box would be good too).

You can get so much more pleasure out of your jewelry by wearing it often and ringing the changes with different pieces too. Since doing this I have been encouraged to add to my collection of colorful costume jewelry. I can see where the gaps are and I know the items will get worn a lot and not just for the occasion I buy them for.

Jan is a writer for a site on Silver Earrings where she has a number of articles such as how to find the perfect pair of dangle earrings and where to buy silver earrings to get the best deal.

Adjusting to Being 'Tween-age With an Italian Charm Bracelet

Of all of the ages and stages of growing up, pre-teenage is, by far, the most difficult for a young lady. Dormant hormones are suddenly becoming active. Mood swings are uncontrollable and inevitable. It is a very awkward stage because of physical developments as well as emotional inconsistencies. Girls in this age range are too old for some things, yet too young for other things. They are no longer little girls, but not quite adolescents. This stage is referred to as the 'Tween-age.

Many fashion styles are deemed inappropriate for 'tween-age girls. This goes for jewelry selections, as well. However, I have found that an Italian Charm Bracelet is a very practical piece of jewelry for 'tween-agers, or all ages for that matter. Italian Charm Bracelets are very affordable, yet stylish, jewelry which can be customized to fit every pre-teen's personality.

There are many different Italian Charms from which to choose to design an Italian Charm Bracelet. There are collector's charms ranging from Coca-Cola to Elvis; or Hello Kitty to Disney to name a few.

Brown Football Italian Charm
Brown Football Italian Charm
For the sports enthusiasts, Italian charms for soccer, football, softball, and NASCAR are available. Animal Italian charms could include animals from the ocean, nature animals and pets. There are also numerous fun Italian charms including, but not limited to flip-flops, beach umbrellas, ice cream cones and rainbows. The selections of Italian charms are endless.

Fitting in with peers and being accepted as a member of 'tween society is very important for a young lady. What better way to do this than to design her very own Italian Charm Bracelet. This practical piece of jewelry is so inexpensive, a 'tween-age girl can easily afford to purchase it with her own babysitting or allowance cash, giving her the satisfaction of making independent choices. Designing her very own Italian Charm Bracelet shows off her creativity and gives her the confidence she requires to make her personal fashion statement. Best of all, Italian charms are interchangeable and can easily be changed or added to her Italian Charm Bracelet, depending on her every-changing whims.

Italian Charm Bracelets are an ideal solution to helping pre-teenage girls adjust to living in that 'tween stage. They can show off their creativity in designing them. Girls can gain confidence and be accepted by their peers by wearing them. Best of all, pre-teen girls can practice their independence by being able to purchase her Italian Charm Bracelet with her own money. Yes, this unique piece of jewelry, indeed, can help buffer growing pains 'tween-age girls go through. In fact, Italian Charm Bracelets are so versatile, affordable, and stylish, girls of ALL ages enjoy them!

About the Basics of Italian Charm Bracelets

Italian charm bracelet is made of individual links that are put together to form one single Italian charm bracelet. A usual Italian bracelet contains eighteen links, each of this link has its own design.

You are able to choose from different styles of Italian charm bracelets available in the market today. Design is according to a subject like family, specific color, a hobby or career. But most Italian bracelets are made of combination of different styles.

Materials Used

Most bracelets are made of silver or gold plated with stainless steel as its base material. More expensive bracelets are made of 18 karat gold. It may feature an imitation or genuine gemstone as its design.

Basic sizes of Bracelets

  1. Small bracelet that consists of seventeen charm links.
  2. Medium size contains eighteen charm links.
  3. Large consist of nineteen charm links

You can choose to add more links or even subtract depending on the size you want that fits you right. But mostly they choose the medium size which consists of eighteen charm links.

Italian Charm Bracelet
Italian Charm Bracelet
These bracelets have become popular worldwide. This started in Italy yet you can see its popularity spreading worldwide. These bracelets are quite expensive since it is made of high quality stainless steel with 18 karat gold on the top.

But to make it more affordable to the consumer, manufacturers from all over the world produces similar bracelets using lower quality components to as to make it less expensive.


Prices vary on the quality of these bracelets. A bracelet made of high quality stainless steel and 18 karat gold is often bought on prices from $15 to around $50. You can expect to get it at less price if you get one of those of lower quality bracelets.

Go shop online and you will even find online stores that offer a "bracelet builder" page, where you are able to customize your own bracelets. You will choose the number of links you want and choose designs for your charms. Once you are done, you will see how the bracelet looks like.

Charm bracelets most often are an expression of your feelings and a showcase of your personality. People will always remember you just by looking at your bracelet. That is why customize charm bracelets are most popular today.

People have a way of expressing themselves in their own jewelry collection. There are endless possibilities and great varieties of design to choose from or create our own logo or design if you want to.

You can even add your favorite precious gems or your birthstone to it. Anything is possible and you can customize it to fit your personality. Shop now and start creating your own Italian charm bracelet. It is even a great gift to your love ones.

To learn more about the beauty of Italian charms bracelets try visiting also Italian charm bracelet shop, where you will find this and a lot more tips how to create your unique bracelet by using personalized Italian charms.

Gift Baskets Galore - The Wine Gift Basket Story

The human world has billions and billions of people living in it, so it is not strange that each and every one of us is different in our preference and what we like, this is just how the world works. Therefore this is why it is important to stop and think first before giving someone a gift or present for any occasion. You must do some research first on the person's preference and their lifestyle so you can present them with a gift that they will love and use. In order to do this, you will need to be clear on who the recipient of the gift is and how much is the allocated budget for the gift. In order to choose the best present, take into consideration the person's character and his lifestyle to find out what they will like to receive in their gift basket. If the person that is supposed to receive your gift is an active person and likes to mingle around with different crowds, then he or she would certainly appreciate a nice gift basket with a bottle of wine and other alcohol content product.

The gift basket with alcoholic products should not be limited to being gifts for social individuals only. It can also be a suitable gift for a company's top management personnel. If you are buying a gift basket which is intended for high ranking personnel in a particular company then your allocated budget will be more than wine gift baskets intended for normal individuals. The reason behind the red wine's popularity for gifts and presents lie within the conversation topic that it provides. Each one of the wine bottle has its own story where it begins with where it was made. You can also add some other flavor to the gift by purchasing additional hand-made gift basket that is filled with wide range of cheese products and biscuits, or a customized leather-made tag that is imprinted with a meaningful memorandum, and finally inside the gift basket with a voucher that lets the holder visit a local vineyard where it can make the wine experience even more interesting. Thinking of handling the smaller matters is very crucial since you have to make sure the gift basket looks inviting but it must look professional and business-like. The advantage of using wine in the gift basket is its diversity in the items that you can use to accompany it with.

If the recipient of your gift basket has family members who are also wine lovers, then you can choose to have a more easier approach to them. There is no need to go visit the wine store and find a nice and expensive bottle of wine for the gift basket, but instead find some time to go see the local vineyard and ask them for some bottles of their finest wines, but make sure they have no labels yet. After that, find someone to make some customized label stickers for you where you print your own personal message and the recipient's name on it. Other than the wine itself, you can also put in dairy products such as chocolate, or nice looking snacks such as sweet candy to further increase the attractiveness of the gift hamper. If you prefer an idea that is special which people seldom think of, then instead of just presenting the gift basket you can bring the recipient and his/her loved ones out on a picnic on a location that has a lovely view of the outdoors. For this outing, prepare a gift basket that is made from straw and decorated with bows that are made out from Gingham threads. If you want to organize a French theme picnic, then for your basket color theme choose either red and white or blue and white, either combination would do just fine. Inside the basket, there should be some French loaf and croissants, some Camembert cheese and not forgetting the ever important bottle of Merlot, specially from Bordeaux. The whole experience is first rate and the recipient would surely keep the picnic in mind when he thinks of you.

Using a hand-made one off customized gift basket would be more appealing for the receivers. Picture in your mind the company has directed you to prepare a gift basket that is meant for one of the management personnel at the company that happens to be your largest account now. If this is the case, then certainly a custom made gift basket will do just fine. Decorate the inside of the basket with colorful materials such as satin or silk so the overall look of the basket can be grander. If you prefer, you can also add in your company's name and logo on the inside part of the basket or on a special tag. The company can also make use of the wine gift baskets to be given to employees within the business to further motivate them. Besides the wine bottles you can also include items such as shirts and caps which include the company's logo and slogan to ensure the gift is company orientated. The other items that are to be included inside the wine basket can also be determined by the type of wine in the basket. Following the theme of the origin of the wine such as French or other countries then the gift basket becomes more special and one of a kind.

The reason behind food and wine baskets being superb gift ideas is that you will not have to worry about the suitability of the gift since it can cater to most of the people, plus they are easier to prepare too. The gift would be even better and sincere if you can prepare all the items by yourself, and you can add any items or products that you think that would increase the appeal of the gift basket. Because the wine takes a long time to acquire the exquisite taste it would be a precious gift. Any wine lovers will love the wine gift basket more than any other possible gifts.

The author is a gift consultant for 99GiftBaskets.US that will offer you a chance to give a gift basket for any occasion, including a carefully selected wine gift basket.

Italian Charms - a Little Girl's First Bracelet

Let's face it. Little girls truly enjoy jewelry! I feel lucky that I was able to introduce my young granddaughter to jewelry. I did it by purchasing her an Italian charm bracelet.

Italian charm products are an inexpensive, yet good quality piece of sturdy jewelry that won't break with little hands fumbling around putting it on and taking it off. There are no clasps to be concerned about; simply stretch it over your hand. Italian charm bracelets can be designed in a unique and personal way by choosing from an evergrowing selection of Italian charms to be snapped into place. Italian charms can be interchanged easily to make new and different styles.

In creating my granddaughter's Italian charm bracelet, I kept her young interests in mind. She takes dance lessons, so I got her an Italian charm with ballet slippers on it. I bought her an Italian charm with ice skates because she loves to go ice skating on the family's frozen pond. She also enjoys picking flowers and watching butterflies, so I chose Italian charms with a butterfly and flower for her. She especially enjoys swimming in the summer months, so I was thrilled to find an Italian charm with a floating innertube ring on it.

The cheerful little bracelet that I designed for my granddaughter is the perfect starter piece of jewelry for a perfect little girl. (Okay, maybe I'm a little biased about how perfect she is!) Her Hello Kitty bracelet can grow with her as she grows and gradually change themes as her interests mature. It's a gift that I'm sure will help remind her of me during those times when I can't be near her.

As Laura Weaver points out, you can create your own unique jewelry by choosing from a very wide selection of Italian charm options. You might choose from a Hello Kitty Italian charm bracelet for a child or even an Elvis Italian charm bracelet for an adult.

How Much Do Tragus Piercings Hurt?

One of the initial things many people find out whenever they are deciding to acquire a piercing is often "does this hurt?" Also, more precisely, "how much can it cause pain?" Unfortunately piercings are piercings and that means placing a needle in areas of one's body so as to make one or more holes in which you can potentially wear pieces of jewelry. When having piercings, there's definitely going to be some quantity of discomfort. Nevertheless the total quantity of the pain can vary a great deal based on various factors.

One particular aspect is the skill of one's piercer and just how outstanding they happen to be at completing the particular piercing conveniently, safely but also expertly. Now this isn't really a concern you'll have to be concerned with providing you pick a trustworthy piercing place. You should definitely check that the shop make use of piercing needles and never piercing guns for all the piercings.

One other variable which can often impact the level of pain and discomfort a certain person experiences when getting ones tragus pierced may perhaps be the individual themselves. Pain is truly a very subjective experience and although a touch of pain and discomfort can be endurable to many individuals, other ones might find it extremely difficult to handle. A good deal will depend on the person and their respective pain limit.

The kind of jewelry you chose to have put in when your piercing is completed can sometimes bring about or help save you from a little bit of unnecessary pain and discomfort. A round piece like a captive bead ring could possibly be a bit more tricky to fit when compared with a straight accessory such as a barbell. Therefore it is advisable to go with a straight bit of jewelry like for example a barbell any time you are having your tragus pierced.

The key factor which usually determines just how much pain and discomfort felt due to a piercing often is the site of the piercing. More often than not, a tragus piercing does not hurt very much at all. Nearly all people grade the pain as being 3 to 4 in a scale of 1 to 10, 10 as most unpleasant. For lots of people, the discomfort can be noticed when the needle pierces their skin on both sides of the tragus seeing that the cartilage material inside does not possess any nerve endings. The discomfort can be equal to and in some cases not as much as that experienced when getting your ears pierced, no greater than a bee sting.

A number of people experience a slight dull discomfort or simply a sensation of pressure around or on the tragus shortly after the piercing is finished. This is a sign that the blood is flowing around the area of the brand-new piercing so the body may start the process of healing. It's not really unheard of to see a bit of blood on your piercing soon after but that's nothing you ought to be anxious about provided you keep the piercing really clean according to the aftercare suggestions given to you by the piercer.

Those that would really like a tragus piercing but are particularly concerned about the potential soreness, you should consult with the piercing shop if they numb your tragus for your benefit before hand. Not every piercing place practice numbing, but some do or may on request therefore it is no doubt worthwhile inquiring. Should your particular piercing place not do numbing you could take a look around for a place that can.

Several people claim that you are able to hear a 'pop' when the needle pierces the cartilage of one's tragus however it definitely seems to be a bit of a myth since several people don't hear a thing. So, to conclude, there truly is not a great deal to be concerned about since many individuals who've had a tragus piercing done are really surprised at just how slight this specific piercing hurts. A few people even have to inquire if it's done when it is!

Finally, if you would like to read more about tragus piercing you can visit

Why Handmade Jewelry Is Far Superior to Machine-Made or Mass-Produced Jewelry

When one thinks of handmade jewelry one of the first things that strikes you is how much care and attention was put in by the artisan to create that particular piece. This, in my honest opinion is the number one reason why handcrafted jewelry is better than mass-produced jewelry. Buying a piece of artisan jewelry means you literally get a piece that is unique and in some ways carries a part of the maker herself due to the love and dedication that has gone into making the item. An item that has been created by the artisan's own two hands and not a piece of machinery in some factory.

Earrings Quartz Gemstone Handmade Jewelry
Earrings Quartz Gemstone Handmade Jewelry
Rather than purchasing mass-produced jewelry pieces and furthering large corporations that oftentimes do not look engage in fair trade practices, one should instead support the small businesses of artisans who desire to share their craftsmanship with the world. It takes the artisan a considerable amount of time to create a beautiful masterpiece unlike machines which can churn out thousands if not more pieces a day. Needless to say quality is higher in the artisan's work because it is not made on such a massive scale of production.

Another reason why handmade pieces are preferable is that custom pieces are generally an artisan's delight simply because they have such passion for the work that they do and they relish the opportunity to work with a customer in creating something that he or she has in mind. This of course makes the custom-made jewelry even more special because it has been taken from a conceptual idea in a client's mind to become a reality in the artisan's hands. It goes without saying that machine-made jewelry is all about producing items by the truck load, hence there is no option for a customer to contribute any ideas towards the customisation of what they would like to wear.

Because crafters have an immense love for what they do, they also take a great deal of pride in their workmanship and this means they can remake an item several times with painstaking effort until they are fully satisfied with what they have made. This highlights why only a certain level of exceptional customer service can only be achieved by small artisan businesses because they take the time and the effort to do what a cold piece of machinery could never give in terms of quality of workmanship and the thought and love put into what they create.

Hopefully this article has helped to outline the differences between handmade versus machine-made jewelry. If you are interested in viewing some handmade jewelry pieces visit

Italian Charm Bracelet - The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift

I have just received the most special Valentine's Day Italian Charm Bracelet. I have never worn one before, but have heard so much about them. All of my friends own one or more and rave about them, so I'm very excited about finally receiving one from my husband.

Italian Charm Bracelets are stylish pieces of jewelry that can be custom designed to make a personalized creation simply by adding charm links. The links are available in gold plate or stainless steel to accommodate personal preferences, and matte or polished to match other jewelry finishes in your collection. They are versatile, yet elegant in their simplicity and are the perfect addition to any wardrobe, as they can be worn with casual outfits as well as dressy ensembles.

There are many, many popular Italian charms from which to choose to create a unique design. The one I received has been designed with the Valentine's Day theme in mind. It is romantic, as well, because each charm link has been specially selected by my husband portraying significant events in our life together.

My Valentine's Day Italian Charm Bracelet has a total of seven charms; one for each Valentine's Day we've spent together. The first link is that of a "smiley face" where the eyes are actually two red hearts, indicating that my husband was attracted to me when he first laid eyes on me. The second link is a Cupid's heart and arrow, meaning he fell in love with me. The third is an "I (heart) my husband" charm because that is the year we actually married. The fourth and fifth spell out L-O-V-E and give the universal sign language "I love you" hand signal. The next charm has double pink hearts to represent the birth of our twin daughters. The seventh is so unique and special that it brought tears to my eyes...a miniature photograph of us on our fifth anniversary set in a picture charm.

I will thoroughly enjoy wearing this attractive Italian Charm Bracelet and can see myself putting it on every single day. I truly appreciate the thought and effort my husband put into choosing such a special gift. I can't help but smile to myself every time I look at it. I am eager to fill in the remaining links with additional meaningful Italian charms for our future years together.

Who needs flowers that shrivel or fattening chocolates for Valentine's Day? Who needs diamonds or expensive jewels that can only be worn on rare special occasions? Give me a versatile, yet meaningful gift which can be enjoyed day after day, year after year, forever. To me, my Italian Charm Bracelet is definitely the perfect Valentine's Day gift.

Laura Weaver suggests that you explore a wide selection of Valentine Italian charm options and other Italian charms or an Italian charm bracelet at 

Fruit Baskets - Keeping it Simple For Fall Festival Refreshments

Ahhh...Fall is in the air. Leaves on trees are changing to vibrant reds, oranges, and golds. The air feels cool and crisp. Nighttime temperatures dip to 40-degrees, causing curling wisps with each breath. The full Autumn moon rises over the landscape with an orange glow, eventually lighting the night with its shining brilliance. This is the time of year to get together with others...the time of year mosquitoes and sweltering humidity are nonexistent...the perfect time for an outdoor party!

The party I have in mind is a Fall Festival, of sorts. I've decided to host this event at our sprawling farm, inviting friends and family for a night full of fun. I plan to have a flaming bonfire to provide warmth as well as fragrant wood smoke. Decorations will consist of bales of golden straw with pumpkins, gourds, and colorful pots of chrysanthemums creatively arranged to make the perfect backdrop for Fall photographs of families and friends. Our wagon will be hooked up to the tractor and filled with comfortable, loose straw for a hayride through the plowed fields. Games and activities in addition to the hay ride will consist of carving jack-o-lanterns, competing in a bean bag toss, and bobbing for apples.

Thank you gift baskets
Thank you Gift Baskets
Refreshments will be kept very simple and easy to eat. I can't think of a better refreshment to serve than Fruit Baskets filled with ripe, seasonal fruits, all of which are grown and harvested locally. I place several large wicker baskets around, conveniently located at each of the activity areas, so my guests can help themselves to several pieces of fruit throughout the night. I will fill these baskets with a variety of apples: sweet McIntosh, crisp red and yellow delicious, and smaller sized jonathans. I will add juicy, yellow, sweet, thin-skinned Bartlett pears to each basket. Over all of this, bunches of reddish-purple concord grapes will be placed.

My fruit basket refreshments will be a hit with everyone. I will arrange the delicious assortment of fruit in a colorful and festive manner. This healthy snack will provide nourishment and energy for my guests and is very easy to eat, as well. The apple cores, pear seeds, and grape stems can be discarded into our compost pile to add nutrients to our garden soil or simply tossed into the field for mice and ground hogs to enjoy.

As the night winds down and the temperature drops, we will huddle around the crackling bonfire, making up a continuing ghost story, each person taking a turn adding to it. An example of this storytelling goes something like this: "It was a dark night". The next person adds: "It was so dark that you couldn't see anything at all." The following person adds: "And it was quiet..." And so it goes, with each person participating and adding to the ghost story until the very end.

The comaraderie, enjoying each other's company, spending time together, relaxing, playing and munching on delicious fruit from the Fruit Baskets will make this Fall Festival a success. I predict it will be so successful that this could very well become an annual tradition. It just goes to show, it's the simple things in life that are treasured. What could be more simple than a Fall Fruit Basket?

If you want to send a wonderful fruit basket to a far-off relative or friend, the author recommends an online botique, such as

Planning a Successful Style Show

I have been selected to plan the annual Style Show for our community. This is THE "must attend" event of the year. Ladies scramble for the limited number of tickets available. The anticipation of the Style Show is the highlight of the Spring Season, so imagine the pressure I endure to be successful in this venture.

Luckily, I have been active in past Style Shows. I was a model in one, served on the committee for another, and was the Mistress of Ceremonies for last year's event. Because of my past involvement, I feel like I have ample experience, but want to do a good job for our community.

I have selected several talented and hard-working ladies to serve on the committee for planning the Style Show. Each of these dependable women will do a wonderful job of fulfilling their duties in their particular areas of expertise. For example, Ann will be great at choosing the luncheon menu, as she is a wonderful cook. Jean is very artistic, so she has agreed to take care of decorations, centerpieces, and advertising posters. Esther is in charge of finding the apparel and coercing several gals to volunteer to be models. Aggie, a talented singer and dancer, has taken on the responsibility of entertaining the crowd while the models change clothes. My job is to "pull it all together" and delegate, delegate, delegate.

At our first meeting, we had a brainstorming session and came up with several ideas for this year's Theme. Suggestions were numerous and included ideas such as "Luau", "Spring Fling", and "Country Western". Ultimately, we decided on "Mardi Gras" for our Theme, mostly because all of the committee members had ideas tying in with it, but also because it sounded quite fun. We left this meeting with assignments to return the next week with concrete ideas of "Mardi Gras" for each of the committees.

Our second meeting proved to be very productive, as more ideas were shared and decisions were made. Ann selected a menu of various New Orleans favorites including Chicken Jambalaya; colorful veggie strips of red and yellow peppers, carrots, and celery; a thick slice of French bread; non-alcoholic Hurricane (red fruit punch) to drink; and King Cake for dessert. Decorations would include masks; feather boas; green, gold and purple balloons; and lots and lots of colorful beads. Aggie collected a myriad of jazzy music CDs and has even come across a gentleman who will play the saxophone as the ladies arrive.

The purpose of this event is the Style Show, itself. Esther has done a remarkable job of not only finding several gals to volunteer to model, but has contracted with a clothing boutique called "Razzle Dazzle" to showcase their fashions. This specialty shop couldn't have been more appropriate for this year's theme! Each clothing ensemble is so colorful and unique, the ladies will be sure to gasp with pleasure. Even the handbags are one-of-a-kind.

I have found the secret to planning a successful Style Show is to select a dependable committee, choose a workable Theme, delegate different duties, share the workload with each other, and trust that everyone will have a good time.

Laura Weaver writes about a variety of subjects from gourmet food gifts and fashion to travel and retirement.

Italian Charms Make Perfect Wedding Party Gifts

Our nephew was recently married after months of planning this major event. Of course, every detail was given careful consideration. The flowers were beautifully arranged on the altar. The five-course dinner was thoughtfully chosen, keeping guests' specific dietary constraints in mind. Music, both in the wedding chapel and at the reception hall was sentimentally selected. The actual wedding, as well as the reception, turned out to be a beautiful affair.

Among the important decisions to be made in the wedding planning was to select an appropriate gift for their closest friends, who made up the Wedding Party. After giving this some thought, our nephew and his bride chose Italian charms to give as their token of appreciation for both male and female attendants for having such an important part in their "Big Day".

Italian charms can easily fit into everyone's taste in jewelry. They are stylishly simple, yet meaningful in design choice. The vast selection of Italian charm choices range from fun and colorful to collectibles and sports memorabilia. They can incorporate everyone's interests with a few simple, careful choices.

Our nephew's bride gave the bridal attendants Italian charm bracelets. These were to be worn during the wedding to compliment their bridesmaid dresses, in addition to wearing them whenever the mood strikes. Each bracelet was custom designed with a variety of Italian charms to match the bridesmaids' unique personalities and interests. The Italian charm choices ranged from those that are dance-themed for the Maid of Honor, who was a dance instructor, to those that are beach and pet-related for the attendants who are employed as a life guard and a veterinary technician. All of the bracelets incorporated a gold-toned heart Italian charm to commemorate the special wedding day.

Italian charm key chains were given to the groomsmen by our nephew. The Italian charms he chose were those of professional sports teams. Since all of these friends are die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fans, as well as avid NASCAR followers, our nephew selected Italian charms to support those interests. The Italian charm key chains were not only useful, but acted as good luck charms, as well.

During the Rehearsal Dinner, our nephew and his bride presented their supportive wedding party with these Italian charm bracelets and key chains. They could tell by the enthusiastic responses that their selection of Italian charms was both meaningful and well-liked by their friends. Giving Italian charms proved to be the perfect choice in their token of appreciation for sharing in this memorable event.

Laura Weaver is a freelance article writer who collects Italian charms and Italian charm jewelry choices.

Italy's 8 Greatest Hidden Gems

Any aspiring traveler making their way to Italy knows that the hot spots to visit include the amazing sites of Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, and maybe even Naples. Don't get us wrong, the Colosseum and the Vatican City are a must-see for anyone's bucket list, but these aren't the only places that will leave you breathless. Italy is so geographically diverse that there is no traveling to a different city and feeling like you won't see or learn anything new. The 'bel paese' is full of small nooks and cities that will blow you away, you just have to know where to find these hidden gems!

1. San Fruttuoso

Next time you plan a trip to the Italian Riviera, don't miss the crystal clear waters of the tiniest beach town you'll probably ever see. Don't expect to drive there though, the secrecy of this beach is upheld thanks to the fact that it's only accessible via ferry ride from Portofino. Take a stroll along on the pebbled sand, which will be a whole two minutes from one end to another. That's how small this beach is! Walk through a small tunnel-of-a-walkway and up some narrow stairs to get to the few main streets in the town- you'll think that you're walking into the mountain on your way in. Start up a conversation with some of the employees at one of the three beach cafes- you'll be in awe when you hear that they were born and raised here in San Fruttuoso!

Getting There: Take a ferry from either Rapallo, Portofino, or Santa Margherita. It won't take longer than 30 minutes each way.

2. Civita di Bagnoregio

Some may think it's a bit of a hassle to get to if you don't have a car, but a visit to this medieval hilltop town will be well worth the effort. Civita di Bagnoregio is a tiny town that you can only get to via a long enchanting walkway from the town below, Bagnoregio (hence the name Civita di Bagnoregio). The walk up this floating pathway takes just 15 minutes and once you enter the town, the silence and beauty will leave you breathless. With only 14 year-round residents, you'll feel like you just ascended into the most magical of Italian villages! Wander around and venture down all the town's alleys and arteries to find a different breathtaking view down each path. Although you could probably walk every street of the town in about 20-30 minutes, the pure beauty and photo opportunities around every turn will keep you entertained for a good few hours. There are some delicious local restaurants to stop for lunch in as well.

Tip: You can even spend some time exploring the charming town of Orvieto in the same day by taking the funicular up from right outside the train station. Be sure to climb up to the top of the bell tower for stunning views of the town and the surrounding rolling hills.

Getting There: From Rome, take the 1-hour and 15 minute train ride to Orvieto. To get to Civita from Orvieto, take the bus departing from outside the train station to the town of Bagnoregio, which is at the town directly below Civita. Make sure to check the Bus Timetable before you go, as there are limited buses that run, especially on certain days. From Florence, take the train to Orvieto, just being an additional hour.

3. Procida

Often overlooked because of it's neighbor Capri, you won't be able to keep your jaw from dropping in disbelief when you see this tiny fisherman village. Passersby greet you with a smile and a genuine "buongiorno" as you zigzag through the colorful narrow streets. Be sure to look up at the locals smiling atop their balconies. If you're lucky, you may even get invited in for a cup of coffee.

Getting There: An easy 30-minute ferry ride from Naples. Check out the schedules for "Snav Naples" by searching for it on Google.

4. Brisighella

There's no shortage of amazing views from anywhere in this quiet village in Emilia-Romagna. walking around the town, which spans a whole 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in length, you look up and see a castle perched on one hilltop, a beautiful church on another, and the iconic clocktower on yet another. But the views don't stop from down in the town. An easy 20-30 minute walk up the hills will take you to each site, offering even better views of the them and the town below.

Tip: Don't expect much English to be spoken here, it's a true Italian village. But don't be discouraged, each and every resident will welcome you with open arms, ecstatic that visitors are enjoying the beauty of their home.

Getting There: A quick hour-and-a-half train ride from Florence! The station is right in the center of town, so jump hop off and start exploring.

5. Alberobello

This small southern town, situated on Italy's heel, has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to it's unique and beautiful Trulli architecture. Walking through these conical-shaped constructions will make you feel like you just stepped into a real-life fairytale book. Stop in for a local lunch at one of the family-owned restaurants, serving up traditional Southern Italy fare specific to the Puglia region.

Getting There: Just an hour and a half train ride from Bari Centrale, a round-trip ticket will cost you a mere €9, The center of town is a pretty 15 minute walk from the station.

6. Rapallo

Situated around the corner from Portofino, Rapallo offers a more budget-friendly, but equally as beautiful visit to the Ligurian coast. The facades of the buildings create such a vibrant, colorful atmosphere that you won't be able to stop wandering the streets of this town. The residents of this seaside town Let's not forget to mention their fresh, amazing seafood. With Rapallo as your base, you can take an easy ferry ride to San Fruttuoso, Portofino, and Santa Margherita!

Getting There: Take the train to the Rapallo Station, situated near the center of town, and just a few minutes walk to the bay.

7. Matera

Tucked away along the cliffs of the Basilicata region is the village of Matera, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The unique cave-like homes and structures here are carved out of the limestone rocks, which makes for a stunning landscape. There are two neighborhoods, referred to as "Sassi" that are made up of these stone dwellings. Dating back over 30,000 years (15,000 BC) during the Palaeolithic Period, Matera is the runner-up for being the oldest continuously-inhabited settlement in history, behind Petra, Jordan.

You may recognize this beautiful town, as it was where "The Passion of the Christ" was filmed back in 2004.

Getting There: The easiest way to reach Matera, which, low and behold, does have a train station, is through Bari. Take the train from Bari (not the main station, but the one across the piazza from Bari Centrale, labeled "Ferrovie Appulo Lucane") to Matera Centrale, which is a little under an hour and a half of a ride. From the station, it's 15 minutes by foot to the Sassi di Matera.

8. Cinque Terre

Okay, maybe not so hidden anymore. But five years ago it would have been considered as such. The largest town in Le Cinque Terre, Monterosso is the perfect starting point for a breathtaking (literally) hike through these five colorful towns. It may take you about 5-7 hours, depending on how long you take to stop and take photos, but it is well worth dedicating most of your day to this unforgettable hike.

Make sure you check for closures prior to your trip, as certain routes may be closed due to inclement weather. Don't fret though, you can always take the minute-long train ride through each town, or even a nice ferry ride between each one for a more unique vantage point.

Tip: After your long day's hike, be sure to have dinner at Ciak for some incredible seafood. If you walk by the restaurant, you'll likely see Ciak himself hard at work through a window peering into the kitchen, preparing the day's catch.

Getting There: Take the train to La Spezia. Once there, trains run through the cliffs to each of the five towns.

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