A couple days ago I posted about finding a bunch of vintage valentines at the thrift shop, and how I’d been struck by the sweetness of it all. Well – when I bought the whole big whopping sack of them, I suspected there were probably more than I could use, but I hadn’t realized precisely how many until I actually counted them last night. 65. WOW. That’s a lot of valentines. If I use one per year for the next 65 years, I’ll be dead before they are gone.
So I started thinking about My poor dead self – dead. and all those unsent valentines. Sitting unused in some dusty desk – or thrown out in the trash. Or recycled into new 2073 Valentines. And all those choice 1980s sentiments gone.
SO I thought about that for a while last night, while drinking my wine and watching Arrested Development. and noticing how unbelievably adorable Jason Bateman is and how young he looks, like he cannot possibly be 39 because he looks so great and so YOUNG and , and. wow. 65 valentines that is a lot. I could send them all out this year – you know carpe diem, SEIZE THE DAY and all that. It is Valentine’s Day after all and I am ALL ABOUT LOVE. But somehow I think it might be a bad idea for me to send 65 people suggestive cards suggesting that we get it on. What if they all showed up at the same time? That’s a lot of chex mix. Not to mention the fact that my husband is a very jealous man. Just look at him in this year’s Christmas photo.
There aren’t a lot of opportunities for a man to swing an axe living in the city.
So when my blog buddy Hayden commented yesterday asking where she could sign up for some cards – I thought hey, maybe I should do it. Maybe I SHOULD make some Valentine’s Day dreams come true -or at least make somebody’s V-day a whole lot funnier. We need more laughter these days.
Therefore I am officially making the offer to be YOUR OWN PERSONAL CUPID this Valentine’s season. I have 65 “new” (really vintage 1980s) Recycled Paper Products Inc. valentine cards up for grabs. Most of them involve risque humor, not ideal for grandma, kids, or your boss (unless of course you are sleeping with your boss), but some are okay for them too. You can click through and actually view the entire selection HERE. With the help of my husband above, who helped me ever-so-kindly scan them. If you find a card (or cards) that speaks to you, email and let me know. I will be happy to personalize it as instructed by you and mail it to the UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY recipient of your choice, or you can of course opt for poetic license and have me create my own imaginative greeting FOR YOU. Now we’re talking real FUN.
So, in summary, if you would like me to be YOUR OWN PERSONAL CUPID, simply CLICK HERE to select a card, email me with the Title, recipient info, etc. and I will be happy to make your Valentine’s day dreams come true. BUT HURRY – ONLY WHILE LIMITED SUPPLIES LAST!
Sometimes I think fate is out to make me its mistress. Take this thrift shop find: a whole store’s worth of vintage 80s Valentine cards. I just couldn’t resist. Maybe I could have if they’d been the traditional schmaltz, but most of these cards are suggestive. Who doesn’t like a nice racy card? Pretty hot stuff for 1985. Like this one:
Winky eye + smoke coming out of head = Most magically delicious valentine ever
Could there be anything cooler than whipping out a 1980s Recycled Paper Products, Inc. valentine, seemingly out of thin air? These things don’t just grow on trees (I am speaking figuratively here, b/c yes I DO KNOW THEY USED TO as they are composed of 100% recycled paper* obviously way ahead of their time). But you know what I’m saying. Especially if you lived through the 80s. Of course they were stupid and Hideous then, but it’s 2008, Now they’re RETRO.
Remember that TV show A CURRENT AFFAIR? No, I was not suggesting you’d ever watched it either. But I have a card based on it. Other winners include Boynton and the comic strip Cathy. The rest just suggest SEX.
But the greatness of this find doesn’t stop there. You see, my life is all about LOVE. I love LOVE. I enjoy joy. Valentine’s Day was MADE for people like me!! So now I have this surplus of vintage Valentine’s. AND a compulsive inner drive to make others happy. I’m thinking of starting up my own (one-season) seasonal business and I’m going to call it “Your own PERSONAL CUPID”. After all, just last week I posted a whole whopping list of creative, thoughtful, and CHEAP ideas for Valentine’s Day. because that’s just the kind of loving creative thoughtful and cheap person I am. But this idea goes well beyond all that. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to have a completely anonymous stranger act as your cupid? I can write and speak English (and a little French – oh la la! the language of looove). I can come up with interesting, totally spontaneous greeting card messages like “BABY, oh BABY. I am thinking of you right now. Meet me at the train depot at 6 PM tonight. I’ll be the blonde with the suitcase.” Or, “I WANT YOU. AND I KNOW YOU WANT ME. Guess who?”
GREAT stuff , huh?
What could be more titillating than sending a Secret Admirer valentine to someone you have the hots for?? IT IS GREAT.
Think about it:
I send your love a card FOR YOU.
They get it in the mail. Surprise!
He/she looks at the postmark, thinking who the hell lives in Philadelphia? SURPRISE!
He/she opens the envelope to find a HOT!HOT! message, signed with YOUR NAME (WHEN DID THEY GO TO PHILLY??) or NONE AT ALL.
He/she cannot believe it – and WHAT A COOL CARD TO BOOT.
This post was inspired by my blog buddy, Hayden, who just wrote about The Big Day. And it got me thinking. I’ve done lots of sweet things for my husband on Valentine’s Day, I really should share some of them. So whether you lack creativity or money (or both), here are some ideas to make V-day sizzle. JUST REMEMBER: You do not have to spend a lot of money to make someone’s Valentine’s Day the best they’ve ever had. Romance is in the eye of the beholder and thoughtfulness always trumps money when it comes to true love.
Now.. onto the ideas!!
1) I don’t normally toot company horns, but this one is so great, I am making an exception. My husband and I made books – REAL books – as presents for some of our loved ones this year, and they were fabulous. It was beyond easy to do and truly affordable. Go to BLURB.COM and download their bookmaking software for FREE. Then upload photos of you and your sweetheart, personalize everything, and order. Blurb.com does the rest. Choose from soft and hardback styles. We’ve done both and they are simply AWESOME. Your loved one will be touched beyond belief.
2) Not into that? Then make your own scrapbook. I have made several of these for my husband. One with all of the emails we exchanged in college. Sweet and silly. Another with all of our wedding mementos. Another with poems. You get the picture. All that matters is that it’s from you, filled with loving memories of your time together. They will LOVE IT.
3) Make a gift basket filled with treats he or she especially loves. This does NOT have to be expensive! One year, I went to the dollar store and bought a brand new woven wicker trash can, a silk red rose garland, and every single Reese’s peanut butter cup variation I could find – 12 packs, singles, white chocolate, candy bar interpretations, etc. I went home and arranged everything artfully in the basket, wound the garland round the top, then delivered it Valentine’s Day to my husband’s office as a surprise. I cannot tell you how many women SQUEALED IN DELIGHT!! when they saw me coming. My husband was floored when he came back to find this sitting on his desk. They charge a fortune for this stuff online. DO IT YOURSELF. Just vary the basket filling according to what your significant other likes. Candy bars, snacks, health food, fruit, specialty foods, beer, wine, arts & crafts supplies, beauty supplies, sporting goods, you name it. IT’S ALL GOOD.
4) Decorate your bedroom to set the mood. One year I went to the Dollar Store and bought a bag full of party decorations. Streamers, hanging lanterns, hanging hearts, etc. Then I pulled out some white Christmas lights and I decorated our bedroom, weaving the lights around our bed, hanging the hearts above, etc. My husband was so surprised!! And it was so lovely with the fairy lights and everything, it looked like our own private wonderland. We kept the stuff up for weeks afterward it was so nice.
5) Instead of taking him/her out to eat, cook dinner yourself – or hire a friend, family member, someone else to. I dated a chef years ago – he made me dinner one night at his apartment and I still remember the meal – figs stuffed with cheese, softshell crabs. Amazing. But you don’t have to be a professional cook to impress. Check my website for recipes! Heck, email me and I will even talk you through it. Just take the time to show your loved one how much you care. Skip the expense of a faceless meal. Make your own. Or pick up take out food and pretend it’s your own. Still impressive! You can confess later, after you’re both full and happy.
6) Couples massage ROCKS. But you don’t have to pay a professional to touch the one you love. DIY, baby! Buy a bottle of scented massage cream or oil, at home place a clean sheet over the bed, dim the lights or better yet, light some candles, and put on some relaxing music. Invite them to their very own “spa”. Crack your knuckles and work it. They will LOVE YOU for it. Trust me.
7) Make your loved one a card. Hallmark doesn’t know them, BUT YOU DO. What is it about them that you love? Their smell? Their eyes? Their sense of humor? EVERYTHING? WONDERFUL!! If you’re good with words, write your own poem for them. They will never forget this most simple gesture, ever. If you’re not good with poetry, just write out your feelings. That’s all that matters. Even just, Honey, I love you. Always. For a woman this is everything.
I still have the only secret admirer valentine I’ve ever gotten. It was handmade, just a piece of plain white paper with blue pen. 18 years later, I still think it’s one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever given me.
8) Plan a date night out. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE!! Be thoughtful. What does your s/o like? Art – take him/her to a museum. Nature? Go to a local park or arboretum. Sports? Take them to an event. Music? Go see a local live band. And so on. For our first Valentine’s Day together, my husband – then boyfriend- and I were flat-out broke. He took me ice skating along the Delaware River. It was magical and cost almost nothing.
10) Print and frame a nice photo of the 2 of you. My husband framed my favorite picture of us and gave it to me as a Christmas present this year. I burst into tears, it was so sweet. I LOVE IT. And he/she will too.
11) Have a special skill or talent? SHARE IT. Are you good at making things? Then make something for your loved one. Write them a story. Draw them a picture. Build them a birdhouse/ bookshelf/ mailbox. Good at fixing stuff? Fix that broken cabinet that’s been annoying her. Or the car. Or the dishwasher. EVEN If you’re totally talent-less, you can still do something thoughtful. CLEAN THE HOUSE! Or the basement, or the WHATEVER. Do the laundry. The dishes. You get the picture. I know you don’t want to do it, but neither does she, and trust me, she WILL REMEMBER THIS, and in a GOOD WAY.
12) This one’s more for the men out there. Buy something to pamper her, especially something that she wouldn’t normally buy herself. A treat. Is she a waitress, a chef, a nurse or doctor? Someone on her feet all day? Buy her a foot bath, foot cream, and give her a foot massage. Is she an overworked mom? Give her a night of relaxation away from the kids. FOR INSTANCE: at Trader Joe’s they sell gorgeous French-milled natural soaps, with scents like lavender and lemon verbena. Since they go for $4-5 bucks EACH, she won’t splurge on herself, but YOU CAN. Buy her four different scents, along with a new thick bath towel, scrub brush, and a scented candle. Throw in a CD of her favorite relaxation music – I recommend Astrud Gilberto. Chill a bottle of wine for her. Fill the tub. Then take the kids to the park.
13) Are you musical? Write her a song and she will be yours forever. Can’t carry a tune? Then make her a mix-tape of songs that remind you of her. Even if you can’t sing, they can. And that will woo her far better than you crooning the hits if you can’t croon, though she’d probably still like it anyway.
14) This one may take some doing, so it’s good I’m posting this early. Make her a movie or simple video asking her to marry you, or just proclaiming your love. You can upload it to YouTube, or put it on your own website – or even just email it to her. Or you could invite her over for a special screening. Be creative.
***Whatever you do, IT’S the gesture that counts. If it comes from the heart, it’ll be amazing. Just think of the person you love, only of them and what they enjoy. Then imagine how you can make them happy. Can you bring them something? Do something for them? It’s often the simplest things – not the most expensive or elaborate – which mean the most.
For those of you reading through from The Daily Dish, I wanted to do a quick run-down of all the holiday preparations I’ve been working on. Unfortunately, last week had to be written off work-wise due to a bout of vertigo, but this week I’m back in the kitchen and cooking up a storm.
The past several days have been devoted exclusively to holiday standards. Yesterday, for instance, I did a simple roast chicken with sage dressing and homemade cranberry sauce. I plan on creating a second orange-flavored cranberry sauce and another dressing – which I think will be an apple stuffing with raisins. I will be posting all of these recipes in the coming days, so stay tuned.
As for the the turkey, this year I’ve selected a kosher bird, which is much lower in sodium than the standard butterballs. But there are always other options – as I’ve said, roast chicken is a healthy substitute, and many butcher shops have fresh birds that have not been treated with the broth/salt injections commonly afforded the processed birds. I will be cooking dinner at home this year, so we didn’t need an enormous turkey, but my younger daughter picked out a decent-sized one and I just went with it. So I will likely be doing a follow-up recipe or two after the big day focusing on how to use up all those lovely leftovers.
Several days ago, I posted my recipe for pumpkin pie on the site – which is a must-have at our house. But there are some other absolutely delicious pies to consider as well – Squash and Pear Pie and Sweet Potato Pie are particular stand-outs this time of the year. And there’s also my recipe for Apple Cake, which makes an easy and beautiful dessert, and can be dressed up with a little vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
Now, let’s talk sides. The baked apple slices I just posted are delicious with fowl, and are a sure hit with kids. Another idea is topping Mashed Sweets with some marshmallows, baking, and serving as an irresistible sweet potato casserole. Or you could try your sweet potatoes roasted, as in Fingers and Sweets. Standard roasted potatoes are also terrific. Baked potatoes are of course supremely healthy, and can easily be popped in the oven along with the turkey. Simply scrub the potatoes, pierce multiple times with the tines of the fork, wrap tightly in foil and bake. An hour at 350 degrees (or higher) and they’re done. For green sides, I highly recommend simple steaming. Green beans (6-7 minutes), brussel sprouts (15+), squash, are all incredibly easy to prepare, and totally delicious without the addition of butter or sauces. Or, simply boil some baby carrots until fork tender, drain, add a couple tablespoons unsalted butter and brown sugar, maybe a little ground cinnamon, and you’ve got another yummy low-sodium dish. And if you can find fresh corn on the cob, 7-8 minutes in boiling water, perfection.
Since most of us love some bread with our meal, try the simple rolls I made this summer with my daughters. Incredibly easy and delicious – and a great time even if you don’t have children of your own.
Finally, don’t forget beverages! I recommend a nice chilled white wine to complement the meal, but if you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no reason to feel deprived. Try some sweet milky Chai Tea with dinner or dessert.
Just remember, Thanksgiving is set aside as a day for giving thanks for all of our blessings, enjoying friends and family, and celebrating life. So don’t let your kitchen time stress you out so much you lose perspective. If things burn, flop or turn out just plain ugly, laugh and put your feet up, knowing you tried your best. There was always plenty of cursing around the kitchen while I was growing up, and my mom often sat simmering long after the meal was over. But there’s no reason to sweat the little things. So enjoy yourself, and enjoy a big satisfying meal without having to worry about the aftermath.