Be My Valentine

There are hundreds of ways to say ‘Be My Valentine,’ get things started with two classic and elegant love songs: 

1.  “My Funny Valentine,” a show tune from 1937 is now considered a jazz standard and has been recorded by over 600 artists.  Take your pick on this one but I’d probably go with Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan or Barbara Streisand.  You can’t miss.

2.  ” At Last!”was written in 1941 for a musical film and became the signature song of blues singer Etta James.  On January 20, 2009, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were serenaded with a remake by Beyonce Knowles and danced to at least 9 other versions throughout the night at official balls honoring his inauguration.   

“At Last” cover

 

Sweet Gifts for your Valentine

1.  Crate and Barrel comes through again with these colorful malted milk balls and heart shaped lollipop.  A fun and colorful way to give sweets to your sweet. 

2.  Elegant Cheese Cakes of Half Moon Bay California has gotten well deserved press for over 10 years for their beautiful confections.  Take a look a how well dressed these cheesecakes are. 

Hugs & Kisses Box

3.  Harry and David always delivers right on time with the perfect combination of good taste and presentation.  This is the Hugs and Kisses box for $29.95. 

4.  Kosta Boda’s ‘hearts’ collection has become somewhat of a classic.  The hearts flutes are perfect for a toast on an extra special day.  Cheers!

5.  Surprise your sweetie with these easy s’mores:

Ingredients:

  • graham crackers
  • chocolate bars
  • marshmallows

Preparation:

Place graham crackers on a baking sheet.  Put 1 square of chocolate on each cracker.  Place a marshmallow on each piece of chocolate.  Place in preheated oven at 350° for 4 to 6 minutes, just long enough to melt the marshmallow and soften the chocolate.  Remove from oven and place another graham cracker on top to make a sandwich.   Quick, easy and perfect!

Try this recipe with organic ingredients and gourmet chocolate for an extra special treat. 

 

Get ready for one sweet Valentine’s Day!

 

Reference:  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Funny_Valentine

www.amazon.com

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Sweet Things

A Brief History of Valentine’s Day :

Valentine’s Day was declared a holiday around 498 A.D. by Pope Gelasius.  How St. Valentine’s Day came to be is a bit of a mystery historically but has been celebrated in February for centuries and contains traces of Christian and ancient Roman tradition.  The day is said to be named after 3 different martyred saints named Valentine or Valentinus.

One legend suggests a priest by the name of Valentine who served during the 3rd century in Rome was put to death for defying Emperor Claudius II for continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret after it had been outlawed.  The emperor believed single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. 

It is also suggested in stories that Valentine may have been put to death for attempting to help Christians escape torture and beatings in harsh Roman prisons. 

One legend says that Valentine sent the first ‘Valentine’ greeting himself.  While in prison, it is thought that Valentine fell in love with a young girl who may have been his jailor’s daughter.  Before his death, he allegedly wrote a letter signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression still commonly used today.  Even though the history behind the Valentine legends remain unclear, his appeal as heroic, sympathetic and as a romantic figure made him one of the most popular saints in England and France by the Middle Ages. 

While it is commonly believed that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in mid-February commemorating the death or burial of Valentine, others claim the day may have been chosen as a way to ‘Christianize’ the celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival.   In ancient Rome, February was the beginning of Spring.  The Lupercalia festival began on February 15th and was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture and to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.  

During the Middle Ages, it was a common belief in England and France that February 14th was the beginning of birds mating season, adding to the belief that the middle of February should be a day for romance. 

The Oldest Known Valentine

The oldest known Valentine in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while imprisioned in the Tower of London after being captured in battle.  It is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.  Several years later, it’s believed that King HenryV hired writer John Lyndgate to compose a Valentine to Catherine of Valois. 

In Great Britain , Valentine’s Day began to be celebrated around the 17th century.   By the middle of the 18th century friends and lovers of all classes commonly exchanged small tokens or handwritten notes of affection.  Printed cards began to replace written letters by the end of the century because of advances in printing technology and cheaper postage rates.  

Americans likely began exchanging Valentine’s Day greetings in the early 1700s.   These greetings would have been hand-made.  In the 1840’s Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced Valentines in America.  She is know as the Mother of the Valentine. 

Modern Day Valentines ♥

The Greeting Card Association reports and estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent annually.  This makes Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending day behind Christmas.  Valentines’s Day is also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.   

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day arrives on February 14th and often sends friend and lovers scrambling to find the perfect way to say I love you, be my Valentine or just plain Happy Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day is the second largest flower-sale day in the US with roses being the predominant  flower of choice for expressions of  love and friendship.  Many will express love and appreciation through the traditional purchase of chocolates and flowers along with a Valentines’s Day card.   Others will arrange for a romantic time out on the town, purchase expensive gifts and lingere or simply give a card and a kiss.  There is no end to the ways lovers and friends will choose to show they care on this centuries old day of love and friendship.   

If you’re into breaking tradition, instead of the traditional ways of expression, here are 5 unique ways to show you care this Valentine’s Day:

1.   Hand-write a heartfelt note or letter in lieu of a store-bought card and read it out loud.

2.  Arrange to cook a special dinner together.  If you aren’t comfortable cooking , make gourmet sandwiches or a salad instead.

3.  Make a list of get-to-know-you topics and find out interesting things about your new or lasting love.  For example:

  • Where in the world would you like to live for 6 months and why?
  • If you could have dinner with 3 people living or not who would they be and why?
  • Would you prefer to be a famous writer, singer or painter and why?

4.  Make plans to spend time together on a volunteer project.

5.  Give your loved one a retro goody bag with reminders of his or her childhood.   This might require a little investigation but will surely be memorable.

Whether you will be celebrating this holiday with a lover, a friend or thinking about your love to come, keep it sweet and honest and all about giving. 

Happy Valentine’s Day !    

Reference:

 http://www.history.com/content/valentine/history-of-valentine-s-day

Now Til Christmas 2009

The 2008 holiday season has come and gone.  After Christmas sales were aggressive and by all appearances consumers racked up on merchandise discounted almost immediately to 75 – 90%.  I’m guessing more than ever that Christmas 2009 will be celebrated with merchandise purchased after the 2008 holiday season with some well thought out additions.  Smart shopping is always in season and my fellow bargain hunters were out in abundance snapping up great buys for the upcoming year. 

Here are some of the items I picked up at discounts of  70% – 90% to be used now, in goody bags, as stocking stuffers and to give as gifts for Christmas 2009:

1.  Christmas themed kitchen towels, table linens and a super cute cut out tree from Crate and Barrel

2.  Ornaments, tea, hot chocolate and sugar cookie mix good until 2010 at Cost Plus World Market

3.  Ralph Lauren cashmere sweaters, boxed cards for $1.99, ornaments and Godiva chocolate toffee popcorn at Macys

4.  Fair Winds Trading barkcloth drum ornaments, gold Maasai wedding necklace ornaments and red 11 inch long beaded icicle ornaments, all for .99 cents at Macys.com

5.  Annual festive bottle stopper and beaded cover with coordinating coasters at Pier 1.  Great for festive events year round.

6.  Popular Christmas music CDs for .69 cents each at Target.

A set of  hobnail red mercury glass votives that shine brilliantly when illuminated are two favorites purchased locally and will be used on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year.  They’ll be great for small floral arrangements.

Great bargains don’t end when the after Christmas sales are over.  Opportunities for similar discounts come around at the end of every major holiday.  The same is true for end of season sales and merchandise.  Now is a great time to buy cozy and stylish sweaters and pajamas at deep discounts for the 2009 winter/holiday season.

Here’s to fabulously wise shopping  in 2009!