5 Things I Love About Valentine's Day

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Wiser-Living/5-things-i-love-about-valentines-day.aspx

GinaI love Valentine’s Day. I don’t know what it is about February 14. It may be the overarching theme of love, the overwhelming display of reds and pinks, the scrumptious sweets or the gorgeous bouquets that decorate store windows.

Take part in a few of the things I love the most about Valentine’s Day, whether you’re spending the day with a special sweetheart, close friends or treasured members of your family.

Chocolate

Who doesn’t need another excuse to eat chocolate? The Herb Companion team recently discovered Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates. These delicacies are simply delicious. Most importantly, these chocolates are USDA-certified and use fair trade cocoa. My favorite flavor was Milk Chocolate with Almond Butter. Don’t miss out on their other flavors such as Dark Chocolate with Mint, Dark Chocolate with Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Lavender. Also, check out their Valentine's Day collection and their vegan assortments.

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Courtesy Sjaak’s Organic Chocolates

Valentines

I’ve always loved receiving and sending sentimental valentines. This year, avoid the trip to your local drugstore and make your own heartfelt cards. I discovered this how-to for botanical prints and am eager to try it. This project is perfect for a valentine card. Simply extract the natural dyes from herbs with a hammer and a few more tools. Visit Build/Make/Craft/Bake for detailed instructions. Try getting creative with the design of your print and form the leaves into fun shapes.

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Photo by riptheskull/Courtesy Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vintagehalloweencollector/

Bouquets

Herbs are simply beautiful. As much as I love roses, send your loved ones a beautiful assortment of lemon balm, mint, parsley or rosemary.

Check out these instructions for a no-fuss tussie mussie, which is a small, round bouquet of herbs and flowers with symbolic meanings.

Check out Suzy Bale’s book Garden Bouquets and Beyond (Rodale, 2010) for seasonal inspiration. The book’s beautiful photography and helpful instructions, which go beyond the basic bouquet, make this a great addition to any coffee table.

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Love Potions

I love essential oils and any excuse to mix an intoxicating combination. An interesting study, published in Kathi Keville and Mindy Green’s book Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to The Healing Art (Crossing Press, 2009), revealed which scents turn on women and men. The results, courtesy of Alan R. Hirsh, MD, were very interesting.

It turns out that 40 percent of men are turned on by lavender and pumpkin pie spice; 31.5 percent of men enjoy licorice and doughnut scents. (I guess food really is the way to a man’s heart.) The study also revealed that 13 percent of women are turned on by licorice or cucumber; 11 percent of women enjoy lavender or pumpkin pie spice.

The book also publishes an aphrodisiac blend that uses lavender, although it is not considered an aphrodisiac. The blend, which is very basic, uses the lavender to relax and uplift. Simply combine essential oils of sweet almond (4 ounces), lavender (10 drops), sandalwood (10 drops), ylang-ylang (2 drops), vanilla (2 drops), cinnamon (1 drop) and jasmine (1 drop). Dab on pulse points and you’re good for an evening out on the town.

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Macaroons

To put it simple, macaroons are pretty and girly. They are so colorful and there are so many different kinds –they stand for everything I love about sweets. Bake lavender macaroons for your honey this Sunday or invite over friends to enjoy a plate full along with a cup of tea. This recipe, from Canelle et Vanille, makes about 4 dozen lavender and orange macaroons. Also, check out these beautiful lavender macaroons by Mad Baker.

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Photo by Daffydil/Courtesy Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/daffydil/

What do you love (or dislike) about Valentine's Day? Leave me a comment!