Valentine’s Day

When You’re In A Relationship, Every Day Should Be Valentine’s Day

I’m generally not a huge proponent for Valentine’s Day. If you’ve been following my blog, you know this.

In my personal experience, Valentine’s Day has historically made women feel bad about themselves since about the age of 11, when junior high happens and people actually start “dating.” Valentine’s Day becomes a popularity contest – which girl can come out with the most flowers, candy and cards?

Truthfully, until yesterday, this holiday made me downright sick.

And not just because of how it clearly singled me out from a young age as somebody that guys weren’t doting on, but also because I don’t believe that there should just be one single day where we spoil our loved ones and do nice things for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s absolutely romantic that a man will take the time to send his gal flowers or her favorite box of chocolates. But what about the rest of the days of the year? Does he get a “get out of jail free” card for the rest of the 364 days?

What I’m saying is, I hope all of you are thoughtful ALL of the time. Not just on Valentine’s Day.

Yesterday, my boyfriend surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of long-stemmed red roses, which were delivered to my office [I’m going to sound toooooootally hypocritical here, because I was feeling pretty special that I was the only one in the office who received a flower delivery – I know, I know, who am I?]. He also knew I was getting my hair done, and secretly paid my hairdresser ahead of time. Such a sweet guy.

But, he doesn’t just do sweet things for me on Valentine’s Day. A couple of weeks ago, he brought me flowers and wine because he knew I had a stressful day at work. He makes the bed every morning because he leaves for work after I do, and he knows I feel better if the bed is made every day [yes, I am one of those people].

For my boyfriend, I didn’t really get him anything yesterday. He’s really into Aperol Spritz’s from living in Italy for a semester a few years ago, so I got him a Spritz cocktail book. A silly gift, really, because he’ll probably never make any of the drinks, but I thought it was appropriate. I’m really more into cards [and, to be completely honest, I totally forgot that people do things for each other on Valentine’s Day. It’s been so long that I’ve actually celebrated one with a boyfriend that it completely slipped my mind].

But I try and do nice things for my boyfriend all the time. I try and keep the house clean, I surprise him with buying his favorite foods, or things I think he’ll like, from the grocery store. I leave him love notes when I’m going out of town and won’t see him for a few days; I bake him treats and cook him dinner. I try really hard to make sure he knows he’s appreciated, and he does the same for me.

I’m not saying that it’s not a wonderful feeling to be so appreciated on Valentine’s Day, because it’s an amazing and heartwarming feeling. It’s so much fun to receive flowers and little gifts from somebody who cares. But we shouldn’t eliminate our love and affection to just one day. Don’t be afraid to constantly tell your friends, family and significant others that you love them, and take the time to show them you care. Life is too short to limit ourselves to one day out of the entire year.

On that note, I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. I capped mine off with a lady date [my Galentine – because V-Day isn’t just about the people you date], and a late night cuddle sesh with my guy.

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Made With LOVE

If you read my last post then you know that I’m trying to change how I feel about Valentine’s Day.

If you didn’t read my last post, then here it is, in short: I used to hate Valentine’s Day because, to me, it made the single people feel even more lonely and single and bad about themselves. Now, I am trying to see V-Day as a day to love ALL of the people in your life, not just your significant others.

And so, in honor of this resolution [and also due to the fact that I presently do not have a man in my life], I put together a little something for the ladies in my family.

**SIDENOTE: even if you have absolutely NO artsy creative skills, you can totally do this project. It’s easy peasy – it just takes time and a little bit of moola.

When I decided I wanted to improve my outlook on the Valentine “holiday” [sorry, just can’t quite commit to giving it the FULL holiday status], I decided I wanted to do something nice for my family. So, basically, the women. Because, let’s be real, off-the-market men would probably skip right over Valentine’s Day if given the opportunity.

And the first thing I did, of course, was go straight to Pinterest.

I’ve always been a fan of any mason jar project, and so when I stumbled upon this one, I was sold.

I picked up all my supplies at Michael’s, but you could probably find all of the materials at any DIY, craft or hobby store. You will need:

♥ Mason Jars [Kerr or Ball will work, too]
♥ Acrylic Paint [glossy finish works best on glass]
♥ Paint brushes
♥ Tape [I purchased Washi tape – you want some of the paint to come off so the jars look distressed]
♥ Sandpaper [grit over 100 will work best]
♥ Toothpicks

STEP 1: Paint the jars. I put three layers of paint on each – I’m a bit OCD and don’t like to see paintbrush marks. If this doesn’t bother you then one coat is probably enough. Make sure you let the paint dry between layers of paint and/or before the next step!

STEP 2: Tape the jars. Pick any spot on the jar to start and press a strip of tape from bottom to top. Make sure it hugs all of the crevices as tightly as possible. While some paint leaking is okay, you don’t want them to look TOO messy :).

STEP 3: Paint the exposed stripes. This part is easy – just like step 1. LET DRY FULLY! This could mean several hours, depending on how much paint you’ve used.

STEP 4: Remove the tape. Make sure you’ve let the paint dry before you do this! Otherwise it will be tacky and will pull right off the glass in gummy strips. If the paint chips a little bit it’s okay – you want them a bit weathered. If too much paint comes off, just dab in a little bit of filler paint and let dry.

STEP 5: Roughen up the jars. This part is fun! Take your sandpaper and rub it on the raised surfaces of the jars. If the tape didn’t pull off enough paint, feel free to do a bit of sandpapering to those parts as well. Again, make sure the paint is completely dry before you attempt to distress the jars. Tacky paint will just glob up and you’ll end up with chunks of paint in places you don’t want it.

STEP 6: Paint the hearts. This is probably the hardest part of the entire process because it’s a bit tedious. The easiest way that I found to paint these is to dab two small, paint heavy dots next to each other, and then take a toothpick and drag the excess paint down to make the pointed end of the heart. These don’t have to be perfect – part of the character of the jars is their imperfections.

And that’s it! You’re done! See? Easy, right? I added a little flair to mine with some yarn, flowers, and crafty tree branches [which I made by clipping apart a heart banner and hot-gluing the pieces to empty tree branches].

Happy Heart Day, y’all. Spread some lovin’!

Happy Hearts

Whoever decided to plop Valentine’s Day on the calendar only a month-and-a-half into the new year should be shot. And not by Cupid.

Okay, okay. Maybe not that drastic. But how cruel is it, though? I mean, most of us look at the new year as a clean slate. A chance to make some changes. The opportunity to turn a corner. We’re all delirious from the high that only the promise of a new year can bring.. And then *BAM!* a horrendously rude reminder that, even though you’re sticking to your resolutions and feeling really good about yourself, you are still, in fact, single as fuck.

Oh, and since it’s National Single Awareness Day and you’re now undoubtedly lonely and depressed, here’s several pounds of chocolate candy [in the shape of a heart, of course] to stuff your face with while you wallow in self pity and throw yourself completely off course from your newly implemented new years diet.

Saint Valentine.. More like Cynic Valentine.

I haven’t always hated Valentine’s Day. In fact, as a child, I loved it. I looked forward to decorating my little mailbox into which all the valentines from my fellow classmates would go. I always got so excited to pick out valentines cards at the store – usually it was some Disney princess of some sort. And then going through your mailbox after passing around cards and getting to eat candy and seeing what everybody else picked out for their Valentine’s Day cards – I loved it! It was actually fun. And fair. Everybody passed out Valentines. And everybody received them. Nobody ever felt left out.

And then junior high happened. And Valentine’s Day became a popularity contest. If you didn’t get flowers and candy then you were basically a troll. And that’s about the time that I decided Valentine’s Day was a shitty made-up holiday that was for saps and weaklings.

And since then I’ve really never cared much for the holiday. Even the years that I’ve had boyfriends I’ve adamantly refused to acknowledge the day nor celebrate it in any way.

BUT, despite aaallllllll of the years I’ve devoted to hating Valentine’s Day, I’ve realized in my advancing age [ha!] that being negative is downright exhausting. So instead of expelling useless energy on despising the holiday, this year I’ve decided to embrace it as a day that means recognizing ALL of the people we love, not just the ones we’re spending forever with [or, for some of us, for now].

And, really, we shouldn’t need a designated holiday to remind us to tell those close to us how much we love and cherish them. We should tell them every day. We should do little things throughout the year to show them we care.

See? Even the blackest of hearts can get warm and fuzzy sometimes..

Season of Love

Okay, so it’s not much of a season – more of a day – Valentine’s Day. But it’s based on love, all the same.

And I don’t know about you, but Valentine’s Day always manages to remind me of how lucky I am to have certain people in my life. I have spent 99% of my Valentine’s Days as a single girl, so for me this Hallmark holiday really just represents the importance of loving the people that matter most to me. That’s not to say that I don’t love them the other 364 days of the year, but with a holiday based solely on reminding people you love them by showering them with gifts, it’s impossible to overlook the important ones in my life who truly allow me to shine.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I recently (and currently) have been dealing with a rough patch in my life. While it does bring me down every once in a while, and while it truly tests my strength both as a human and as a woman in her late twenties, I know that I will survive and come out on top. And the reason I know this is because I have incredible people in my life, despite a certain individual who tried to alienate me and isolate me from them. Without them, I know that I alone would not have the willpower or the yearning to get through a lot of the things I come across in my life. And while I believe that it is important and empowering to do things solo (if you couldn’t tell from some of my other posts, I’m a HUGE advocate of individuality), I am finding that there certainly is power in numbers.

And so, despite all of my female empowerment posts, it is time, ladies, to realize that there is also power in friendship and family. Whether or not you have family by blood, having someone or a group of someones that are “family” to you is extremely important.

I don’t believe in God. I believe in the Earth evolving. And evolution, unfortunately, has bred some wacko people who every day walk among us. Some of us, also unfortunately, cross paths with them and are forced to overcome obstacles in their lives that they never even thought they would have to. It is in these times that the people who truly matter will support and defend you. It is in these times that we truly need a support group and a family to back us up. Those of us that have love, and have love above all other things, will make it through. Survival of the fittest. Sadly, so will the crazies.

Darwin broke it down so well for us. And I must say that using animal analogies in this situation suits perfectly. The crazy wack jobs out there are the scavengers. They are the rats, the crabs, the seagulls of the world – the animals that will do anything and eat anything in order to survive. And we, the people with the families and friends and loved ones to turn to, we are the whale pods, the gazelles, the lion prides in the Sahara Desert. We will prevail, we have love, we have strength, we have power. Nothing and nobody will stop us. The only thing that EVER stands in our way is ourselves.

THIS is what Valentine’s Day brings forth in my mind. This is what I think about on the 14th of February every year. I don’t think about how sad I am that I’m not getting chocolates or flowers (because, frankly, I hate chocolate and I hate flowers). I don’t feel sad that I don’t have a boyfriend or a significant other to share a silly, fake holiday with. No.. I think about the REAL loved ones – the people I’m close to, that I’m in touch with every single day. The people who would truly break my heart if they decided to no longer be a part of my life.

I encourage all of you out there to take this time of year to truly appreciate the people closest to you. Even your pets (if you have them). They bring us a joy every single day that even no human could bring. A simple little goldfish brings peace and serenity. The lick from our dog or a sweet “meow” from our cat as we walk in the door after a long day just makes our hearts melt and the stresses of the day fall away. Regardless of what the holiday has always represented (at least, in America), Valentine’s Day is really about appreciating and loving everyone who has always, ALWAYS been there for you, and everyone who always will be.

So, if any of my friends or family are reading this, thank you for being here for me. I couldn’t make it through this crazy, beautiful life without any of you. I love you all to the moon and back (I know, so cliche, but it IS Valentine’s Day after all ;)).