Valentines Day Recommendations: Ready, Set, Go!

In true fashion, mass retailers have reminded us since New Years that Valentines Day is right around the corner. I don’t really mind them jumping the gun on this one…red and pink? Together? I accept! I LOVE love, so this is one of my favorites – making little treats and special gifts for my family and friends to say “you are so incredibly special to me”. But as this is mostly celebrated as a romantic holiday, I thought I’d throw out a few recommendations that fit nicely for a date night, just in time for February 14th. So…GET READY!

1) Tarte Lip Gloss – Using the same method as I pick out nail polish, I generally choostartee my colors just because of their name – if “Amused” and “Bombshell” aren’t worth picking, than don’t bother painting your lips, right?! I LOVE this stuff because 1) it lasts, but it isn’t sticky (I hate when my lip gloss is so gooey it catches lint and random particles floating through the air) 2) it has mint infused into the gloss. I‘m ready for a fresh minty kiss at all times.

2) Orofluido Argan Oil –Just as most argan oil is typically scented in orofluidoa warm vanilla, this light, comforting scent follows suit. I put a quarter size amount in my palms and rake through damp hair before I blow-dry leaving my hair with a smooth, silky, shine. I also use before I walk out the door to tame fly aways and give my hair a little extra scent that I can only hope says “bombshell” just like my Tarte lip gloss 😉

3) Shellac Studio White –I recently read that gel manicures are not good for you. Eek! I wish you could just unread some things because I love a gel polish on a Saturday morning. Shellac brand in Studio White might be the most feminine, classic shade you can possibly get (for those of you polish junkies it’s similar to Essie’s Waltz). I feel like I should sip tea with my pinky up and keep saying the word “lovely” or get my shoes shined or something. I walk out of there on a gross January day, in my workout clothes and still feel darn near bridal.

4) Fly Barre – Trying to squeeze into a little Valentines Day outfit? Well, you still have some time to tone your toosh and sculpt your shoulders – especially if you live near a Fly Wheel. While I know first hand that its critical to combine both cardio and weights, I’ve always taken athletic conditioning classes where I used 10-12 pound free weights. I enjoyed them and felt like I was in shape. Then I started taking Fly Barre classes. Oh. My. Word. You never lift more than 3 pounds, use your own body resistance and stretch continually to create sexy lean muscles, not any sort of bulk. I’ve lost inches and I’m still toned. I have never seen results like this before – problem spots I’ve worked on for YEARS are noticeably starting to take shape.

5) Lilly Pulitzer Worth Jeans – I hate wearing jeans. I don’t know why – I guess I’ve just 8099124_fpxnever been able to find a brand that really works on my body type. Until now (thanks to Fly Barre ;)). And as luck would have it, not only do these “jeans” fit like the comfiest glove, they also come in a seasonally evolving rainbow of colors. Of course I have them in electric blue, Kelly green, bright coral and fire engine red. Next up: pineapple yellow. Lilly doesn’t make boring blue jeans and I wouldn’t wear them if she did! Pair with some colorful jewelry and big girl heels and they make a fabulous dressy-casual go-to date night choice. Side Note: a certain someone casts his vote for the fire engine red pair.

Now that you’re ready….GO!

6) Good Food on Montford –For all of my non-Charlotte readers, I hate to be so geographically specific. But know this: if any of you out-of-towners care to try this recommendation and invite me, I’ll probably pick up the check. This restaurant is not gfom_logo-150px-10much to look at from the outside, but inside trust me when I say it’s the coziest little date spot in the Charlotte area. Tapas style, figuring out the dishes to share is a fun ongoing conversation which I always make a game out of. The ever-changing menu is a flavorful taste of seasons and there is always such a diverse selection that a gourmet foodie and a traditional bar-menu pallet can both walk away raving about their shared meal.

7) The Prisoner – Now, I’ve recommended wine before and with every post I’m slothe_prisonerwly moving up the price per bottle, so refer to earlier posts for recommendations that are more “every day”. However, if you are ever looking for a great “I got a raise!” or “it’s our 2-month anniversary” (I’m kidding!) red blend (51% Zin), this is a wonderfully smooth yet full-bodied wine – smoky and fruity at the same time, it pairs wonderfully with a cheese plate or a rich chocolate ganache. Yum.

8) Kate Spade Stationary– Whomever took you out on the town clearly needs to be 316385thanked for their kindness! The “signed sealed delivered” gold postal box embossed print from Kate Spade couldn’t be a more adorable way to say Thank You. Complete with a nautical inspired envelope, I feel like I’m saying “thank you” just by sending the notecard, regardless of the words of thanks I’ve written. Certainly a splurge, but if someone splurged on me, why wouldn’t I want to go all out and thank them in style?

As long as I’m in the business of making recommendations I have a few more things up my sleeve that are not V-day related. You know that a Proverbs 31 woman is not all about looking good and going to parties – she is a fabulous home maker too, so heaven forbid I short change you!

9) Chicken & Black Bean Enchilada Casserole – An easy, make ahead, weeknight IMG_2304recipe that anyone with an interest in Mexican food will be sure to give “2 thumbs up.” (recipe here) I actually substitute green enchilada sauce as a preference over the red in the recipe (I use the Frontera brand), and I add extra pinches of cilantro throughout (err…maybe handfuls). It also makes fantastic leftovers (if there should be any). A Pinterest find!

10) LuxeFinds – Speaking of Pinterest, LuxeFinds might just be my favorite follow. Generally, I find myself just pouring over all of their beautiful home interiors but they recently they have expanded recipes and party themes as well. I haven’t even bothered re-pinning – it would literally be every one of their pins. I just visit their boards for ideas and inspiration.

11) Mini FrotherI hesitated to share this because it’s such a cheap little trinket. But it’s AMAZING. If I himg85badn’t seen my sister unpack hers on Christmas morning, I never would’ve known it existed and if I had, I probably would have said “Ridiculous! Silly waste!” And then I saw it in action and had to have it. I now froth just about everything….because why wouldn’t I? It’s just a quick push of a button and all the cocoa mix is perfectly blended and cream is perfectly whipped.

12) Knowing God by J.I. Packer – Lastly, I can’t say enough about how rich this book has been in my life this past month. I’ve read a chapter a day since 1/1/13 and put it down every day truly knowing God a little better, a little deeper. Written 20 years ago, it’s not new or flashy, just packed with details of the attributes of God, leaving you in awe of who it is that knows you and loves you. My favorite line might be “God…guides our minds as we think things out in His presence.” I’ve done some thinking in His presence lately and I dare say He has guided my thoughts. Pick up a copy and sit still with it.