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.

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One of my Dad’s favorite expressions was “Youth is wasted on the young.” So, I see now, is lube. Teenage boys have been using it for years. Lube. Olive Oil. Banana peels. Or anything else Portnoy could think up. And they used it unapologetically. And in copious amounts. They used it because it felt good. Full stop. So what happened? Did they think the girl wouldn’t like it? Were they embarrassed to bring it out? Unfortunately for us girls, the closest thing we got to lube was KY-Jelly at the gynocologists office.  And you know what? We could have used lube then, and we can certainly use it now.8c741e45-65b8-bd7b-dd8a-bda07faad7c3

Lube has this strange stigma attached to it for women. Like if we aren’t self lubricating then somethings wrong with us. We’re not turned on. Or we’re post-menopausal. None of which are true. Sometimes, sports fans, we’re just dry. And sometimes, even if we are wet, poking something dry inside can still be painful. Lube has not gender. Lube has no age. Lube is a all round player in the world of pleasure. So pour it on!

For teenage girls it would certainly make self pleasuring a lot less painful. We girls all know what I’m talking about. And for lovemaking, it’s always a plus. It doesn’t make things too slippery. It doesn’t effect intensity for the man. It just smooths everything out. For everyone. If there’s pain, let there be lube. Even if you’re pouring like Niagara.

And for my menopausal ladies — you should have this on your bedside stand like you do your lotion. Dryness is a big issue post-menopause. And sex can be painful — for lots of different reasons. But a good lubricant can take care of a good 75% of the issues. Really. And, it enhances his pleasure as well. There is no need for pain in pleasure (unless you so desire it).

Besides, lube is fun in other ways, too! Great for hand jobs. And is a great way to get your man to soften his touch. Try it on your nipples, for a little massaging. Though not a substitute for massage oil as it absorbs more quickly and differently, it is fun to try on different erogenous zones to create a smooth, soft touch. Just for a minute. And then no messy, oily residue to deal with! My favorite is Kamastra’s Love Potion. It’s silicone. I know. But it’s light and it lasts a long time. And, yes, you could use olive oil, but it doesn’t absorb the same way and you wind up smelling like a salad.

So why the diatribe on lube? Because 75% of the people that walk into my store don’t use it. And at least half of them again, return to thank me and buy more. So go ahead. Buy it. At the very least, it’ll bring up some fun high school memories to get your evening off to a memorable start.

We’ve all heard it: It’s what’s on the inside that really counts. But if you’re not happy with outside than you’re not happy are you?

I totally agree. As a large woman I get this. Now, I can’t help being large. I’m 5′ 10″. I’m never going to be a petite, little thing. I’m of average weight, vacillating between a size 10 and 12.  I’ve struggled with not fitting the image of beauty, but I’ve never really let it get to me. I live in the land of reality. No amount of dieting is going to make me 5′ 6″ and 125 lbs. But you know what, that’s just fine with me. And it was more than fine with a gorgeous visitor to my shop today.

She was a curvy girl to be sure. By our standards she was fat. And she knew it. She called herself fat. But she loved her body. And it showed. The way she carried it. What she wore. Okay, some people might have thought she should have rethought the outfit. Not too tight, but definitely showing every curve. And she was showing a lot of skin. I loved it. And I loved her. She sat here with her daughter in tow, telling me about how she always goes for the hottest guy — and a lot of time gets him. Because she loves who she is. She loves the freedom her zaftig body gives her. And I loved that she embraced it.

Then I took out some boudoir photos I had done of myself a couple of years ago. I was maybe 10 lbs less than I am now. But as I looked at them I couldn’t believe how beautiful I was. So confident of who I am as a woman. You could see how beautiful I felt but just the way I stretched my body across the couch. I could be an exhibitionist and post some photos of myself from that shoot. I’m not shy, but it feels a little self indlugent somehow. But I will remind us all of what real beauty is: Women who are completely comfortable in their own skin. And who, I might add, would be my peers in body weight today. So let’s just take a look at what we call curvy can do to a lens. I dare Jennifer Aniston or Giselle to make sensual beauty look this good. And note, I didn’t pick the studio shots. I picked the ones of women, being women.

I hate to break it to you. But after all the classes, seminars, workshops, books, internet searches, I’m learning more about flirting and how to get your man from my new seven week old kitten, Gwyneth, than the thousands of dollars I’ve spend perfecting my skills.

First of all, Gwyneth totally flirted her way into my arms. I was clear on what I wanted after my old friend Hamish died last year. Another male, orange tabby. To go with my other male, orange tabby. This is not an easy task mind you. They can be a little harder to find. But I did. Too late. Males gone, gwyneth7wks2only females. And a calico. Don’t want the calico. Save me an orange female. Get there, out pops the calico. Making a case for herself. Quiet, sweet, purring. Not overacting. Just being herself. Very cute, but I want the orange one. The orange one finally makes her way out. And she was not working it. Now I could have left and held out for another orange kitten. But the calico wouldn’t let me leave. She just sat there loving me. She picked me. And she was patient while I talked about the orange one. She just snuggled with the next person staring at me. And so she won, she came home with me.

Now we had to deal with Malcolm and his 14 years and 14 lbs to her 7 weeks and 1.5lbs. And he was not amused. So I followed the rules. Put her in another room. And she quietly sat in there while we went about our business. Occasionally a little meow to let us knows she was there and when the door opens — pure joy to see me. Purring. Working it. Over the course of the next three days she’s not made a major play for Malcolm. No jumping from under the bed. No attacking the tail. No hissing. No swatting. In fact, she’s barely acknowledged his existence. But she knows he’s there. And this is making Malcolm crazy.

He’s following her. Pretending to be disgusted. And when she turns to call him on it. He acts like she was tailing him.  Incredulous at her turning around and calling him on his own trick. He spits, he hisses, she just stares, holds her stare for the extra second and jumps away to play.

She is self amusing. Alluring. Independent while knowing that she needs help at times. She is coy whilst, she is brazen. In her first 50 days, she’s learned more about how to work than I have in my 44 years. Do it with confidence. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  And make them come to you.

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.

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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.