The Royal Petunia: Happy Birthday, Queen Rania, and Spotlight on The Jordan River Foundation

Today marks the 45th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. I have been looking forward to writing this post for a very long time, as my experiences within The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and my connection to the amazing family entrusted to represent and protect it, are deeply and uniquely personal.

To many, the thought of Jordan provokes images of camels, deserts, ancient customs and a very different culture, and indeed, many facets of this description are true. But to me, Jordan represents peace, serenity, love and home. Jordan is the jewel of the Middle East--a warm and welcoming country that is firmly rooted in tradition, yet ever-changing, modern and exciting. It is a melting pot of cultures, faiths and ideas. Nowhere on Earth have I experienced such hospitality, or witnessed such devotion to God, King and Country.

 Since the untimely death of His Late Majesty King Hussein in 1999; his son, King Abdullah II along with Queen Rania have continued an enduring legacy of love and commitment to the Jordanian people, region and global community. They have sought to be an example of excellence and both work tirelessly to set "The HKJ" apart as the shining star is it. They are friends, allies and partners in peace.

 For over sixteen years, Queen Rania has been the epitome of style, a powerful voice for women and children and a staunch supporter of education. She is also the "Queen of the Connection," launching her very own YouTube channel, as well as being active on Facebook, Twitter (you can find her under "the mum with the really cool day job") and Instagram. She is very easy to relate to, down-to-earth and approachable. First and foremost, she resonates a beauty that comes from within, and shines ever so bright and lovely.

One of the causes close to my heart is the Jordan River Foundation. Established in 1995 by Her Majesty, JRF is one of the leading foundations in the works of child safety and community empowerment. JRF champions "a Jordan where solutions are homegrown, where the opportunity to prosper is for all and where the well-being of our children shapes our future."

On this special day, I invite you to learn more about not only JRF and Queen Rania, but Jordan as a whole. The Jordan I know and love. A country of compassion, a country of hope and a country of peace.

"Role models can inspire. Campaigns can motivate. But if we want all girls everywhere to rise up, then we must find them, befriend them and support them."
--Her Majesty Queen Rania



Wadi Wonderful: The Jewelry Edit

For the final installment of my tribal chic week, I bring you these inspirational jewelry picks. I love all of the amazingly bold statement pieces--exotic and different, yet deeply rooted to nature. Perfect stand-alone and wearable art.

One of my favorite jewelry designers is the talented Jordanian Lama Hourani. I have been wearing her jewelry for over a decade and always get compliments on her eclectic designs. Shop her  collection here.


Rock The Casbah

As promised, here are my favorite accessories with a tribal vibe. I love the blending of colors (especially the scarves!) as well as the bold patterns. Great items to add to your wardrobe...whether you're riding a camel through the ancient rose-red city of Petra, or hunting for treasure in a North African souk (and with that being said, why not add some "tribe vibe" to your coffee table with this inspirational book.)


Petunia Picks: Tribal Chic

With autumn arriving soon, I find myself gravitating towards what I call "tribal chic," an eclectic mix of bedouin and native prints, patterns and textures. I have included one of my favorite dresses twice in this grouping, J. McLaughlin's Lola--which is so very flattering (I just wore the middle one this past week!) I think that this style is such a mature and polished look (with a hint of flair!) Warm and inviting colors abound--as rich as the hospitality and heritage it represents.

In keeping with the theme, expect to see my favorite tribal chic picks in jewelry, accessories and shoes within the coming days. Make sure to leave comments and let me know some of your favorites.


Autumn in Paris: The J. Crew Style Edit

If you live in Florida, you understand how delighted I am to be approaching the crisp, cool months of autumn (okay, let's be honest, it's still going to be hot...but a gal can dream, right?) Here are some of my favorites from J. Crew--I'm especially a huge fan of their beautiful coats. Last year I bought both the Wool Melton Swing and a Pea Coat in my signature color, yellow.


Life, Love + Elephants: Spotlight On The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

"The world of life, of spontaneity, the world of dawn and sunset and starlight, the world of soil and sunshine, of meadow and woodland, of hickory and oak and maple and hemlock and pineland forests, of wildlife dwelling around us, of the river and its well-being--all of this [is] the integral community in which we live." 

Today is World Elephant Day, and nothing makes me prouder than my partnership with The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. DSWT is one of the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programs in the world. They are also champion conservationists in the protection of wildlife and habitats of East Africa. To date, DSWT has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has helped effectively reintegrate these beautiful creatures back into the wild herds of Tsavo. Sadly, Kenya's threatened elephant and rhino populations suffer on a daily basis against the threat of poaching, human population pressures, deforestation and drought--which is why DSWT is so passionate about educating us, the global community, about these subjects dear to their hearts.

I was introduced to DSWT and their beloved foster program through actress Kristin Davis (one of their greatest advocates here in the USA!) and since then, I have become a very proud foster mama to ten. Five girls: Ndara, Mbegu, Kamok, Godoma and my angel Ashaka (who passed away suddenly earlier this year) and five boys: Ndotto, Enkike, Simotua, Olsekki and Rapa (the delightful little fellow in the first photograph.)

Today I invite you to foster through DSWT. Once you pick your elephant, you will get progress reports on a monthly basis as well as a lovely watercolor painting delivered to your inbox. You will also receive an official fostering certificate. 

Love knows no boundaries. Be a part of the healing.

...and for those of you who would like to know more about the history of DSWT, I highly recommend the book Life, Love and Elephants: An African Love Story by Dame Daphne Sheldrick.



Petunia Picks: Lilly's Garden

Whenever I am in Palm Beach, I love driving by Lilly Pulitzer's home. As featured in one of my favorite coffee table reads, Essentially Lilly: A Colorful Guide To Entertaining, Lilly's backyard is reminiscent of a wild jungle--full of blooms, waterfalls and the cutest animals this side of the Everglades!

The new collection shares this theme, with prints like "Toucan Play, Bamboom, Pack Your Trunk and Lilly's Lagoon." Heritage is such a significant part of this brand, and celebrating Lilly's "wild side" this summer is the perfect tribute to Florida's most beloved fashion designer.

Can't get enough Lilly? Shop here!