Relationships


Remember what Valentine’s Day was like back in 2nd grade? I do. I gave everyone in my class a Valentine. I didn’t discriminate. The goal was to make everyone feel special. I loved those paper Valentine’s. Just buying the box from the local Caldor filled me with excitement. The joy of bringing a little piece of love to everyone. And feeling loved in return. It was so simple. And no one felt left out. At the age of 7, all love was distributed equally. Okay, maybe you gave that one extra big valentine, that came in every box, to your best girlfriend, or your boy crush. But it was still about acknowledging every person in your class.

It was expectation that got in the way. How come Annie got more big cards than I did? Why didn’t Joe sign mine? Did Beth get more sweetheart candies? Jealousy and envy started to rear its head. And why didn’t Deacon give me one at all? I thought I was his best girl friend? All the acknowledgment was gone and now it was about who got more love than I did. And there is the bane of Valentine’s Day. It’s rooted in acknowledgment, cut down by expectation. And I’m here to tell you to let it all go. Because , it’s true, Joe didn’t sign my card. But he didn’t sign half of them because he thought the whole Valentine thing was weird anyway, so he just stopped signing, stuffed them all into the little white envelope, took the class list and wrote each name neatly on the front. He made sure everyone got one. Because even though he might not “like” you, you were his friend. Even peripherally. And that counted.

And here I am. A grown up. And here’s what I still know. It’s not a about presents. It’s not about dinner reservations. It’s not about being part of couple. And it is not about being lonely. When Valentine’s Day is done right — it’s about acknowledgment of time and love well spent. It’s not filled with expectation about how you want to be appreciated. It’s so much simpler than that. It’s about giving from a place of real heart. It’s about receiving with grace. And it’s about remembering how the glue tasted on those sweet little white envelopes as you sealed each and every one with just love and acknowledgment for time well spent.

Okay, everyone. Calm down. It’s just Valentine’s Day. And by calm down I mean leave the expectation at the door and just settle in and remember what’s important. The desire to feel loved.

Sure there are lots of ways to do this according to Hallmark and DeBeers. But I’m here to remind you what Valentine’s Day is all about acknowledgement. You thought I was going to say appreciation, didn’t you? But appreciation, on this particular day, gets all wrapped up in candy and jewelry and really expensive dinners at overly crowded restaurants. Appreciation implies expectation on the part of the person hoping to receive it, e.g., I hope s/he appreciates this. But for just his one day, I’m asking you to leave appreciation, and expectation, at the door. Why? Because this is what appreciation looks like the day after Valentine’s Day.

“Oh, Betty Sue, you have to see the diamond tennis bracelet Dick gave me for Valentine’s Day. He took me out to Chez Overprix, we drank champagne and then this appeared under my napkin when I came back from the ladies room. I can’t believe how much he spent on me. I can’t believe how in love we still are after all these years.” Betty Sue panics, scrambling for some fabulous story she can conjure to replace the fact that she got flowers and thank you, albeit a lovely one, from her husband, Jock, for being his wife and loving him so completely followed by a very romantic evening in the boudoir. Flowers? Are you kidding me? Jock makes more money than Dick!

Betty Sue got acknowledged. But was undermined by Diamond Lil’s “appreciative” husband. Because she didn’t really understand what just happened. Let’s go deeper and see who comes on top in this little scenario courtesy of Mirriam Webster

Appreciation 1 a : judgement, evaluation; especially : a favorable critical estimate b : sensitive awareness; especially : recognition of aesthetic values c : an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude 2 : increase in value
Acknowledgment 1 a : the act of acknowledging b : recognition or favorable notice of an act or achievement 2 : a thing done or given in recognition of something received 3 : a declaration or avowal of one’s act or of a fact to give it legal validity

And there we have it. Would you rather be judged for your aesthetic values or recognized for your achievement? Favorably critiqued, or validated through avowal? Appreciation may sound sexier but acknowledgement is sexier. These are important differences on this a confusing enough of all days. I’m just here to give you a little something to ponder before you drop a wad of cash. Just think before you spend. Look at actions rather than receipts. And make whoever that person next to you is feel like you can’t live without them by telling them rather than selling them.

Well you know what I’m going to choose. But can we talk about ‘nice’ for a minute? Christmas is all about virgins and children, and anything less than that is considered de rigeur. Really? Immaculate births? Where’s the fun in that? And while we’re so busy making memories for the “family” (read: children), we need to remember to take a little bit of time out for the adults.

It’s time for the to take back Christmas. And make the memories that yet another cashmere sweater can’t manage.

I know. When? Too tired. Too stressed. Too frustrated. Well, guess what. A good sleigh ride takes care of all those things that make the holiday time not so jolly. So here are a few good reasons to put some holiday jolly at the top of your Christmas list.

  1. Sex relieves stress. One good healthy release of endorphins is more than enough to take the edge off.
  2. Sex boosts your immune system. Who knows what germ warfare you’re under while you run yourself down with shopping and partying — all while standing behind the new H1N1 incubator.
  3. Sex boosts self esteem. Why does this matter? Ask me that again Christmas Day when your mother is telling you that you’re making the gravy all wrong. Or when your brother has just trumped your $25 American Express Gift cards with a $100 ones for iTunes for all the nephews (true story).
  4. Sex helps you sleep better. The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep. And you need it to help you with #2.
  5. And if none of those worked for you: Sex burns calories! What a great way to fight off the holiday 5. Without having to hit the gym.

So turn that Ho, Ho, Ho into a Ho, Ho… Oh. Go ahead and be naughty. And leave ‘nice’ to the stressed out, sleep deprived virgins.

Oh and no partner to relieve stress with? Then try clicking here.

The challenge: Mistletoe. Everywhere. Starting now.

Mistletoe is Santa’s way of giving you permission to makeout at the drop of a hat. Okay, not with your mother-in-law, but with your partner. Every second of every day you have permission for blatant and unapologetic public displays of affection all because of a little green shrub cutting.

If this sets you into an anxiety ridden panic, then guess what, this challenge is for you. Because mistletoe is Kris Kringle’s little marriage booster. This is a stressful time of year. Kids. Parties. Too much eggnog. It can be a nightmare. And it’s also the time when you lose total connection to what the holidays are all about. Family. Love. And peace on earth, or at least your household.

So what if all this were challenged with mistletoe. Because mistletoe can handle a multitude of holiday problems.

  • Exhausted? Mistletoe. Kissing generates endorphins to wake you up.
  • About to get in a fight? Mistletoe. Carry it in your pocket and hold it over his head to shut him up with a kiss. He’ll forget what he was mad about if done correctly.
  • Kids driving you crazy? Mistletoe. It makes excellent child repellent. They’ll run screaming to the other room.
  • Need privacy? Mistletoe. A chain around the bedroom door. Double strand. No child will dare enter, and there’s no way you can enter without thinking about kissing and what comes after.
  • Hint for extra loving later? Mistletoe. Put it as a garnish on the dessert plate. Eat that.

Mistletoe is more than a useless piece of shrub that some clever arborist figured out how to sell. It’s a message. It’s a lot of messages. And it’s a way of making holiday memories that will have you smiling and checking in with the local flower shop daily come December. Think of it as Father Christmas’ gift to all lovers. Think his cheeks are red because he’s been on his sleigh nipping too much brandy to stay warm? No, it’s because he can’t stop thinking about Mrs. Claus under the mistletoe.

I’m here, hanging at the shop, getting ready for a first date. I love first dates. They’re bursting with possibility…. like spring. And, well, it’s far from spring-like out. Or what I like to think of as spring. You know, the days like yesterday where it’s so beautiful you can taste summer. But not today.

  • It’s a cold — 50 degrees.
  • It’s rainy. Nasty Spring rain. Wet. Cold. Drizzly. (My hair doesn’t stand a chance for this date, let me tell you.)
  • It’s dark and gloomy. Not inviting. Not warm. Just dreary.
  • However…. pansies are the flower box. Crocuses are flooding front lawns all over Fairfield County. Daffodils are bursting themselves with the first early bloomers — big and bright. Robins are afield, looking for food.

But I did think about, given the circumstances, what would a perfect date look like on a night like tonight? Not my date tonight — mine will be one of those slightly uncomfortable ones, sitting at the bar, hoping we get along as well as we did on email and phone. But if I flashed forward to a year from now — providing things went well (no pressure) — what would my date tonight look like then. It looks like this:

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It’s Spring. April is the month of possibilities. Everything has potential in April. Everything is new and fresh and bright and filled with the urge to be bigger, more beautiful. Even on this cold dark day, I’ve only to walk to the front of the boutique, catch a glimpse of my purple and yellow pansies and I’m a happy girl. It’s a sensual month to be sure. And a month were everything, despite itself, continues to grow. Through the cold, the wet and the dark.

So I can think the date above, but I can’t quite have it yet. So I’m giving it to you.

Build the fire. Dim the lights. Put on J’ai Deux Amours by Madeleine Peroux. Pour some Fourplay wine (it’s all in the name). Listen to the rain. Savor your partner. And see what blossoms.

We all know that sleep is an essential part of our overall health. It reduces stress, aids your body in repairing itself, and improves overall performance during your day. But there is more to the bedroom than a good night’s sleep – and it all adds up to a healthy lifestyle.

Sex isn’t just a nice to have when it comes to health. It has been proven to boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular health to name but few benefits. But more importantly, a healthy sex life can boost your self esteem, improve intimacy with your partner, and, let’s face it, improve your mood exponentially. It’s great exercise for your body, mind and soul.

Sleep and sex make the bedroom the most important room in the house. It should be relaxing, but it should also be a rejuvenating and private space built for intimacy. Think of it as sensual haven for your desires. That means creating a space that is warm, inviting, sensual and made for two (even if it’s just you right now). It means no TV, no kids, no family photos, no outside influence that takes you outside of yourself. You must create an intimate oasis that invites you to feel safe, sexy and sensual.

Create a room using warm tones that speak to your personality and passion. Leave beige to the living room. Invite rich, but subdued tones into your room. Deep earth tones are my favorite, coupled with sensuous bedding and evocative lighting. Declutter your space. Keep it open to possibility. And find a signature scent that transports you as you walk into the room. Evoke passion. Not just good night’s sleep. And even if you’ve got nothing going on in there right now, it’ll harbor some lovely dreams until you do.

There is a reason I don’t sell king size bedding in the store. I don’t believe in the king size bed. It’s too big. You might as well be sleeping in separate beds. And what’s the fun in that? I have an adage: “Full size. Queen size. King size. Divorce.”

This is one of the 80’s phenomena along the lines of ‘the bigger the better.’ Well, it’s not. The benefit of having a partner to sleep with you is that they’re there. You can feel them. Hear them. Reach over and touch them during the night without having to get up and walk over. Proximity is a big part of intimacy and a king size bed is simply a barrier to it. Any bed that allows you can spread your arms and legs and not touch the person next to you is a problem.

couple_bed

I’ve heard all the arguments. Kids, dogs, too hot, he/she kicks. Whatever. My response? Kick the kids and dogs out of bed (they shouldn’t be there anyway!) Buy lighter blankets. And you’re going to get kicked anyway.

Nighttime is the only time you get to be so close for such an extended period of time. And if you can’t, or don’t want, to lie that closely to your partner during the night, you’ve got bigger problems than the size of your bed. My parents slept in a full size bed until I was in my early teens. When they finally purchased a Queen, the only plus my father talked about was that his feet didn’t hang over the edge. When people suggested that a king bed was even more luxurious he responded, “I don’t want to be that far away from my wife.” I loved that.

So if you’ve got an unstoppable yearning for a king size bed, maybe you should rethink your relationship, not your bed.

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