What’s Lovely on Valentine’s Day

The authentic self is soul made visible
— Sarah Ban Breathnach

If you’ve checked out my post, Valentine’s Day: Away from B.S. and Back to Basics, you know I’m all about authentic displays of affection – displays that come from a place of genuine appreciation. I’ve been thinking about the season less in terms of manufacturing romance and more in terms of savoring and appreciating the life in front of us, which I’ve found, often results in being romantically inclined anyway. What’s Lovely on Valentine’s Day? Freeing ourselves from anything that falls short of authenticity. Here’s a list of things that will help us keep the love real.

Hearts by freestocks.org

Hearts by freestocks.org

Self-love. It all starts with self. You cannot give what you don’t have. Period. Let’s kick-off this season’s love fest by reflecting on what we appreciate about ourselves and our lives. Let’s also do something special just for the one looking back in the mirror. I am totally watching Pride and Prejudice…alone…with wine. That way, I can sit silly-smiling at the TV and mouthing the lines along with Lizzy and Mr. Darcy with no one judging. It’s my absolute favorite movie.

Beauty. What other holiday allows for unfettered loveliness? I am absolutely indulging and making a beautiful breakfast. I am planning heart-shaped pancakes and sparkling apple cider for the littles served in flutes on a bed of pink and white rose petals. I did the flutes for an event I put together – Dinner and Dessert in the Dark – and the display turned out beautifully. Update: Here is the spread I put together. Breakfast for dinner and kombucha instead of cider but lovely all the same. :-)

Heart-felt communication. If there ever was a day to communicate genuinely, this would be the day to do it. A few days ago, I kicked off the season of appreciation by sending my family something I wrote to them a while back about how they saved me when my daughter was born prematurely. It was raw and beautiful and it felt so good to really acknowledge them, thank them, and share how much I love them all. As an added bonus, it turns out that praising others not only makes the receiver happy, it also adds some serious joy to your life as well, according to Shawn Achor, happiness researcher. What a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift to others and to yourself. Also, the love season might provide a perfect opportunity to dust off the stationary and paper goodies. if you’ve seen my post, The Art of Communication, you’ll understand why I think analogue tools sometimes more readily allow for authentic communication. I’m sharing something hand written with my husband and also crafting some proper valentines with the kiddies.

Updated Tradition. Let’s be honest. The heart-shaped boxes of toxic chocolate could use a bit of updating. Am I right? Chocolate, seen as an aphrodisiac, was all about setting the scene for romance. I think it could be used equally as effectively to accommodate my new approach to Valentine’s Day of savoring and appreciating. Chocolate could easily set the scene for reflecting on and appreciating all of the sweetness in life and it’s easy to enjoy. Nothing like a hot beverage to assist in reflection so this year, I’m doing hot chocolate made with organic almond milk, TJ’s dark chocolate, and decent marshmallows (I’ll deal with the sugar-crazed kids later). On my list for V-Days to come? Chocolate art – either buying or taking a class. Think Vosges Haute-Chocolat or Guilt Chocolate. I would also love to do a proper chocolate and wine tasting again. My husband and I did a spectacular tasting in Napa Valley at Rutherford Ranch and it’s been too long since I’ve done something similar.

Simplicity. I’m excited about my V-Day plans and even more excited that they’re coming from a place that resonates with me. That said, I know the magic will quickly dissipate if I let myself get frenzied. In order to stay stress-free during this holiday (and all the others, for that matter), I’m keeping things simple. My activities are going to be spread out over a few days, rather than trying to cram everything into one day and make it all perfect. I’m also about having people help out wherever possible. There may be fewer carrot sticks and more PB&J’s if my husband handles lunches, for example, but that will give me a chance to focus on other holiday activities. The mister and I have also decided to keep our alone time simple too. We’re doing french fries and drinks at a restaurant bar in the bustling metropolis of Dayton, Ohio! That’s where the babysitter, errr grandma, lives. We’re going to forget the fluff and just enjoy each other’s company! Win!

So there’s the list. What would you add?

Love in all things,

April Eileen

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our other V-day posts - Valentine’s Day: Away from B.S. and Back to Basics and February’s Quotes from the Classics - for more love!