Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

LOVEly Gifts for Valentine’s Day

LOVEly Gifts for Valentine’s Day



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Wine, Chocolate, Jewelry and heart! We’ve got you covered with this list of a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day gifts this year.

My absolute favorite Valentine’s Day gift pick is the Alex & Ani special edition Product (RED) bracelet where 20% of the proceeds go to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS. I also happen to also be obsessed with the arrow rings and bracelets the just came out with!!

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Olive & Cocoa is the place to find updated versions of Valentine’s Day flowers, chocolate and gifts.

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I love this “bundle of love” that FEED came up with for Valentine’s Day this year where each purchase provides 35 meals for school children around the world!

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Wine always makes a wonderful gift, especially the wines from One Hope because they each give back to a different cause. These wines are perfect for Valentine’s Day the purchase of the glittery pink bottle filled with Chardonnay goes to fight Breast Cancer and the glittery red bottle of Pinot Noir that  helps fight Heart Disease. There are also some fun for the holiday gift packages like the All You Need is Love Gift Box, the Baker Gift Crate or the Birthday Babe Gift Box.

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Heart of Haiti  Fair Trade products found in Macy’s Department stores are produced in collaboration with Full Circle Exchange and help Haitian Artisans to support their families with their beautiful hand-made crafts.

PicMonkey Collage6In my mind life is all about love.  Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to spread the LOVE, whether it be romantic, love between friends or the love of family. It is a great opportunity to let them know you care. Making someone feel special doesn’t have to be with a gift. The gifts above are fun suggestions, and some of them even give twice by contributing to a good cause, but sometimes a simple note or gesture can make someone feel just as special. I’m wishing you all days full of love, and a Happy Valentine’s Day!




The Silver Lining of My Cloud

The Silver Lining of My Cloud

Growing up I always believed in finding a soul mate, that we would meet each other, and just know that we belonged together. As I neared my thirties and friends, and colleagues began to marry off, I was beginning to wonder if maybe it was not so much about finding “The One”, as finding someone who was a good match, and then just committing to make it work.

At the time I was living in New York City in a fabulous SoHo apartment at the corner of Prince and Thompson. I worked  in film production by day and pursued my Master’s degree in Documentary Film by night. I had great friends in the city and it was in general a fantastic time in my life.  Then we found out that my mother’s breast cancer had metastasized throughout her body, and her health began to fail. She lived alone in my hometown in the house that I grew up in.   I knew I had to move back to take care of her; my brother was married with a wife and baby in another state.  So I left my job, and finished the semester by commuting back and forth from New York to Boston. I was devastated about giving up the life I had built for myself, and moving back into my childhood home, but I knew that in the end, the result of it all was that I would lose my mother, and that the rest I could go back to eventually.  One week in particular she had taken a turn for the worse, so I asked my brother to step in for me while I was away. He noticed swelling in one of her ankles and took her into the Emergency Room that evening.   The young intern who was called down to admit her to the oncology ward caught her fancy.  My mother had been an RN and liked his bedside manner, so she interrupted his questions with one of her own.

Mom: “How old are you?”
Dr.: “30.”
Mom: “Are you available?”
Dr.: “it depends who’s asking”.
Mom: ” I thought you might like to see a picture of my beautiful daughter”.

The Author’s Mother

Here you need to know that my mother was 45 when I was born, so at this point she was 74 years old.
The 30 yr old doctor figured she wanted to show him a picture of her single 50-ish daughter to set him up with, so he replied “let’s get through the medical stuff first, and we’ll have plenty of time to socialize later.”
Her next comment caught him by surprise. “O.K., Your loss” she tossed out, before moving on with the medical exam.

The next morning my aunt who was visiting the hospital somehow got wind of her plan and managed to show him a picture. In that way he was able to recognize me later that morning, as he tells it, swooping into the hospital wing dressed all in black.

He jumped us as I came in and shook my hand, surprising me by greeting me by name “you must be Miss Smith”. Thankfully I did not know what my mother was up to or I would have been mortified, and more so as all through the week she spread her campaign to the nurses.

It wasn’t until the end of the week, when she was about to be discharged to rehab that I came to visit her and the nurse told me she was in the shower room but needed to see me right away.  My mother had been 5’2″ at her peak, she had shrank down to about 4’10” at this point, and when I knocked on the door she cracked it open letting out billows of steam.  Like a swami swathed in white towels she emerged to peak out, and with steam billowing around her  she whispered with urgency, “I need to set you up with my Dr. Atalay!”  I was completely taken aback.

A day later as we said our goodbyes, he moving on to a new rotation, my mother being discharged to rehab, he asked me out on our first date. By the end of that first date I knew that I had been right after all. I knew he was the one.  My mother lived to walk me down the aisle, and to hear the heartbeat of our first child who would be born just three months after she died.

I never did go back to New York, but I finished my Masters Degree in Boston, and produced children instead of movies, and four kids and sixteen years later when I think back to that time, I still think of my husband as the silver lining of my cloud.

      Happy Valentine’s Day!

Card created by Jo Abella of http://www.creativewhimzy.com

Happy Valentines Day! Watermelon Hearts

Happy Valentines Day! Watermelon Hearts
Happy Valentines Day! Watermelon Hearts

The school that my children go to has cracked down on sweets in the classroom, and many parents were up in arms over this decision.  I think they felt that kids would miss out on birthday and holiday celebrations without the cookies, candy or cake element.    Personally I feel that the kids can still have fun celebrations in their classroom without the sweets. I know my kids get plenty of treats in their life, and  I have been determined to come up with fun but healthy alternatives ever since.  The students really don’t seem to mind fruit instead of candy, and are just as enthusiastic when it is presented in a fun way.   These watermelon hearts that I brought in to my daughter’s class today for Valentine’s Day were a big hit, and SO easy to create. I realized that Watermelon is a great substitute since it is naturally sweet, and can be made into any shape with a cookie cutter. I see watermelon in all sorts of shapes in my future! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Blood Orange Granita Recipe: A Perfect Valentine’s Day Treat

Blood Orange Granita Recipe: A Perfect Valentine’s Day Treat
Blood Orange Granita Recipe: A Perfect Valentine’s Day Treat

The Martha Stewart Clementine Granitas from the Magazine

I adapted this recipe for Valentines Day from the fabulous Clementine Granita recipe I found in Martha Stewart Magazine (December 2011 issue). I served the clementine version on Thanksgiving and for a holiday gift swap and it was a huge hit both times with the children and adults.  I am always thrilled to find a healthful but festive dessert to add to my repertoire.  When I saw the Blood oranges I thought their ruby pulp would create a pretty Valentines Day alternative version to our new family favorite.


12 Blood Oranges

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/4 cup water

1/4 tsp Powdered Ginger (the Martha Stewart Recipe calls for 1/2 in peel of fresh ginger but I don’t tend to keep fresh ginger on hand so have only made this with powdered  so far)

1 T lemon juice

Slice the oranges in half, cut around the pulp and scoop it out, leaving the shell. Place the pulp and any juice in a bowl.

Wet the skins and roll in sugar, then place in the freezer to crete tiny bowls for the Granita.

In a pot mix the water, sugar and ginger and bring to a boil. Cool.

Juice the pulp from the oranges, ideally enough for 2 cups, you may need to buy extra oranges to get this amount of juice. Add in sugar water mixture and lemon, and place in a bowl to freeze.

Once frozen (about 2-3 hours) Scoop the granita into the frozen skins, and keep them in the freezer until it is time to serve. Enjoy!

       Happy Valentine’s Day!

Spread the Love: Great Gifts

Spread the Love: Great Gifts
Spread the Love: Great Gifts

You know those people who deck their homes for Christmas with neon lights, bells and whistles, inside and out? They may wear red and green all month, and have little jingle bells hanging from their ears. They lOVE that holiday with all their being. Well, that is how I feel about Valentines Day, I do wear a lot of red in February, but it’s also the American Heart Association campaign to wear red for heart health in February, so I can get away with it.  I also decorate my house a bit, but really how far can you go with the hearts and the red without it taking on the look of a brothel? My complete ardor for Valentines Day may have a tiny bit to do with the fact that it happens to fall on my birthday, but how can you not love a holiday that is all about love?! Because Valentines Day makes me so happy, I truly enjoy spreading the love with gifts and cards for my kids, my friends, and of course the love of my life, my Husband. Here are a few fabulous finds this year for the ones you cherish.


Vosges Chocolates:  I blame this little obsession on my friend Lisa who discovered Vosges when she lived inLincoln Park in Chicago way back as Vosges opened their first boutique in that area. Their packaging is exquisite, so it always makes a great gift to send, and the the contents are sublime!  Their Chocolate  flavors are curated from around the world, like the spicy dark chocolate Aztec collection (my favorite), or the Naga bar with flavors from India like curry and coconut.  Sampling the exotic flavors is an adventure in every bite!



The Best Friends Bangle set by Alex & Ani.  They are an amazing Jewelry company that serves as a great example by giving back to society. How much do you love this bracelet set!?  Their bangles have become hugely popular, and just in time for Valentine’s Day they launched the Best Friends bangle set.  This is a beautiful way to share the sentiment that you care, and 20% of the proceeds from this set goes to The American heart Association to help save lives.  So you are really giving twice with this gift!



The FEED (RED) LOVE 30 bag  is another great gift if you like the idea of giving something that also helps others.  I love the look of  it, and each bag purchased provides about one month of life-saving assistance in food and medication to someone in need.








Have you seen the new Tony Duquette Jewelry collection by Coach!? Beautiful! Any of the brilliant  baubles in this line are sure to please!








Sometimes it’s the little things…at Starbucks if you pick up one of these cute cards in stores now, then on any day between now and Februaury 14th you can bring it in after 2pm and buy one Caffe Mocha or Hot Chocolate and get one free for your friend.


Happy Valentines Day! It is all about love! So share it!