a cozy heart.

I'm not always an easy person to live with.  I'm not intolerable, exactly.  I don't scream or demand perfection. I don't stock an all-white-cashmere-do-not-sit-on-the-furniture-house. or hoard plates and crystal glasses that are off limits. I do believe in everything in it's place, but I also realize how some things are just born to wander, without rhyme or reason, then have a habit of turning up in the darnest places.  Aesthetics aside, it's my unrealistic, romantic expectations, that may, at times, make putting up with me a little challenging.  I have this knack for romanticizing everything. Preferably as pertaining to everyday nonsense. Let's just for the sake of argument call it endearing. Partly it's my upbringing that is to blame. I was cutting teeth on movies the likes of  Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany's and An Affair to Remember. So when it comes to romance, my motto is definitely more is more. It can never be too much. 

But mostly, mostly it's just me.  I'm the girl who saves every note, trinket, ticket stub and sea shell. the one who celebrates in days and weeks, not just the big ones. I can tell you exactly what day and time I meet the hubs. I'm the girl who gives her parents flowers every year on the day they meet and a few more on their wedding anniversary, just for good measure. I'm the early morning walker who sees the moon glowing off the snow and stops and stares, every single time. I'm a hopeless romantic who believes that Rick and Ilsa got together after all. that Rhett really did give a damn. And Yuri and Lara lived happily ever after.

 Well, things just don't always go as planned. See, when I was young I thought it would be all romance, ALL THE TIME! - sure - why not? Well - it just doesn't happen that way. Why not? Well that's because, apparently, life gets in the way. What the heck you ask? Well, believe me, I'm asking the same thing. If we can't find romance in the simple, little things, what's the point. right? I know!? so pardon me, because I need to indulge my romantic side, if even for just a smidge, in everything I do. It's not as though I sip champagne and eat lobster for dinner every night. honestly. It's just that every thing can use a zap of magic.

Fortunately for the hubs me, I also have a minor in Realism, which I try to dust off every now and again. 

Romance is a murky thing with the curious quirk of being describable but not definable. I won't muck up your head with silly little cliches, or suggest that draping a coat over a puddle automatically makes someone romantic. Or how one act or another rates on my romance scale, even though I was born with an innate knowledge of this stuff.  and although romance may not be definable, there are still some hard fast facts you may want to know.

So just to get you started down queasy lane, here we go... Some things are inherently romantic, like hearts. this is a given.  Science fiction is not romantic. Sleepless In Seattle is. Teddy bears are romantic. so are puppies. Roses, absolutely. Bubble baths. Herbal tea and candles also are romantic. picnics. Sunrises and sunsets, ditto romantic. Red but of course! Music is romantic. Chocolate. notes, letters and poetry, all romantic. random acts of housework or kindness. surprise outings. old fashioned keys. small boxes. bookshops. breakfast. and yoga. tres romantic. Practical things can be romantic but are kinda tricky, food processors or mixer, yes. Vacuum cleaners, not so much. looking at the stars. kaleidoscopes. rain. check. check. check. doing something unexpected or out of the box. holding hands. dolphins. strawberries. photo booth pictures. balloons. compliments. just talking. and mooshy greeting cards...romantic! birthday presents also romantic, especially if they are wrapped real pur-dy. Flowers always work. and the ocean is the most romantic thing, e.v.e.r. One of the main required ingredients of romance is your time. yeah, there's just no way around this one, you need to show up. Pet names are cute, but not necessarily romantic. being clean. smelling nice are both romantic, big time.  being polite, sensitive and funny, also get big points. While it would be nice for these things to happen 24/7, I know that is impossible, and I'm cool with that.

Valentine's Day?
DUDE!!! Valentines' Day(!!)? Romantic!
I know Valentine's Day like the back of my hand.  I know how, for one seemingly, boring month, February gives us one truly spectacular day. the likes of which we haven't seen in months. Maybe it's because I'm a pink person.  Probably, it doesn't help that I can't quite resist anything in the shape of a heart. chocolate. sweet nothings. magic. or glitter. ah, glitter. Valentine's Day is the ultimate sparkle fest. As for me, I will be wearing my pink socks, eating heart shaped cheese, sipping pink hot chocolate, blowing kisses to my puppies and listening to songs about love.

so, to me, love is showing how much I care.  doing little things to make someone happy and feel special. leaving little notes around in unexpected places. when someone secretly fills my gas tank. tucking a container of homemade soup and cookies into someone's suitcase. being extra nice when it's been a rough week. getting spoiled when you are sick. or surprised with a pint of your favorite ice cream, just because. love for me, is always striving to make another person happy...because knowing they are happy, makes me happy. Grand gestures of love are nice, but it's the day-to-day actions that truly keep love alive.

Once I thought that love was tempestuous, heart pounding, butterflies in my stomach, kiss me quick! I was wrong. Love is mostly very comfortable. a touch of the cheek. wear your boots. take your vitamins. it is a cozy heart. and what keeps a love cozy? because, every so often love is tempestuous, heart pounding, butterflies in my stomach, kiss me quick! 
just sayin'. 

healthy heart salad

1 pkg Earthbound Farms Spring Mix
1 large cucumber, sliced
2 red peppers, seeded (tops and bottoms removed)
1 bunch radishes, sliced
1 small brick of partly skim mozzarella cheese
10 - 15 small plum tomatoes, halved
1/4 to 1/2 pkg Grab and Go Simply Sesame Trail Mix
1 bottle Kraft Roasted Red Pepper with Parmesan salad dressing

Place the Spring Mix in a large bowl. (If you can't find the Earthbound Farms Spring Mix just use a similar mixed greens blend, about 6 cups or more.)

Using a small, heart shaped cookie cutter (about 1 inch) cut out heart shapes from the cucumber, red peppers, and mozzarella cheese. 

Sprinkle the veggies and cheese over the salad.

Sprinkle with a generous amount of the Simply Sesame Trail Mix. (If you can't find this you can leave it off or substitute with another crunchy salad topper.)

Just before serving, drizzle with your desired amount of Roasted Red Pepper Dressing and toss until equally distributed.

 originally posted on February 14, 2012 


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