February 01, 2023
February might be the shortest month, but it can feel like the longest one. It’s a time when we naturally tend to get a bit restless. We’re back into our daily routines, and in colder climates spring is still quite a ways away. But all of the above is what makes it the perfect time to focus on what truly makes us happy. So let’s move forward with joy in our hearts to make winter’s last stretch a bright time and to celebrate and strengthen our circle of love.
Live and love a balanced lifestyle
Make strides with our intention to create more balance in our lives by reflecting on what has been working well since the new year and where we can use a little more focus and direction. Try not to over-complicate things. Overthinking can lead to indecision, which tends to leave us spinning our wheels, right? So let’s lean on the positive side— take advantage of the beauty around us and get out into nature to facilitate our plan for creating a more balanced lifestyle. Fresh air really does help to clear the mind!
To start, take one aspect of your lifestyle you’d like to focus on. Which part is that to you—what would you like to see differently? Now that you’ve identified something you’d like to work on, break that element of your life down even further into small, tangible parts. You’ll focus on one bit at a time—we’re all only human, so be patient with yourself. Let’s take the desire to spend more time with family as an example and look at how we can start to put it into action. Think of a small but meaningful way this resonates with you. Perhaps it means enjoying a family dinner together? Now, divide this intention down even further and create a plan, depending on your family's responsibilities, schedules, commitments, location, etc. This could mean a daily, sit-down meal together for some of us, but it could mean a weekly, monthly, or even less frequent get-together for families who are limited by busy schedules or distance. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is simply more family togetherness in your life, whatever that looks like for you! It’s all about identifying a desire to make your life more balanced by prioritizing a certain element of it, then making and implementing a plan to help these incremental actions become part of your routine.
Celebrate Your Love of Learning
Doing something you love—or learning to love something new can be a fantastic way to sprinkle in a little joy in our lives. Let February serve as an opportunity to schedule some things you either love to do or have always wanted to try. Visit a new place or revisit an old favorite. Learn a new skill or explore something you have interest in. It can be small or if you’re ready to take the plunge into something bigger—we’re with you. At plj we’ve taken this direction to heart in many ways with our love for travel and exploring new places. Inspired by a seaside lifestyle and two sons who are avid scuba divers, we thought it’s time for us to take a dive and learn some scuba skills! Follow along with us on IG— we look forward to sharing our journey and love for learning with you! We’d love to hear from you too—tag us in your February adventures if you’re embarking on something new. Inspiring each other is the best way to grow a community focused on positivity and joy.
Embrace your Circle of Love
Who’s in your circle of love? As part of your February journaling, take some time to think about your circle. Family members will likely fall inside it, but who else? That person you love getting together with because they make you laugh so hard. That person who really inspires you, and maybe you haven’t told them so. That person who genuinely wants the best for you and is always there when you need a little support. That person who always has the best advice, who makes you feel heard and understood. That person who would do anything for you, if you asked for help or companionship…
It’s so vital to us, as human beings, to focus on taking care of each other by sharing our sorrows and joys with people who are positive, who share similar interests and values to ours. However, this is not to say we don’t have people in our lives who need our support and may have a hard time rising above the negative aspects of their lives. These friends and family members are important too and need our love. In fact, all of us lead multi-faceted lives and having relationships with individuals whose personalities and challenges differ from our own can help each of us to learn and grow. However, identifying your inner circle of positive, supportive love and celebrating those bonds is a beautiful way to experience gratitude and nurture each other.
Once you’ve outlined your circle of love, why not celebrate it by writing a “little love note” to the ones who matter most to you? It can be a fun way to make this month’s theme of love more meaningful by creating your own special Valentine sentiments—taking this sometimes overly-commercialized holiday to a deeper level with a true and heartfelt expression of thought and appreciation for friends and family alike.
Take February to Heart
We tend to put a lot of emphasis on hearts as an emotional symbol in February, but let’s not forget that it is Heart Health Awareness month! As you may know, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. At partager la joie we’re always striving toward a healthy lifestyle and we look at this month as an opportunity to renew our focus on heart health and encourage the ones we love to do the same. After all, is there a better way to show love for yourself and the people around you than by embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle? Although we can’t change our genetics, we can make a significant impact on our well being by filling our diet with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, getting some cardiovascular exercise daily, making time for adequate sleep, and reducing stressors—all simple changes we can make to keep our hearts healthy. For more information on cardiovascular disease and tips for a heart-healthy lifestyle, visit the American Heart Association.
Here’s a suggestion—consider taking a class to learn how to perform simple but life-saving CPR. It may not be something we like to think about, but people with basic CPR and AED training are most likely to use those skills on a loved one or close friend. Let’s increase our awareness and readiness to give the kind of help that can save a life. Check out the American Heart Association or the Red Cross to find a quick, easy course near you.
Gather around the table with the ones you love. Whether you’re planning a special Valentine-themed dinner or incorporating fresh new recipes into your menus, you’ll find your heart’s delight in our February epicure. In honor of the month of love, our featured February recipes include heart-healthy ideas (look for the ), some red and pink classics, and a few sweet temptations suitable for splurging on Valentine’s Day—or any day.
Belgian Waffles with Strawberries and Cream
Simply Sweet Scones
Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Spirals
Grilled Fish Tacos
Love Potion (mocktails or the real thing!) made with our Strawberry Simple Syrup
Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Bring Some Love Into Your Home Style
Flowers we adore
Subtle, simple, seasonal arrangements that hint at spring are our inspiration this month. Quince and cherry blossoms bring a joyous bundle of pale pink or white to an entrance, kitchen island, or dining table. Flowering branches alone make a beautiful statement, or you can anchor a few blooming cherry branches with hydrangeas and ornamental greens for a fragrant and stunning arrangement.
Set your table with nature’s blooms
Incorporating nature into your tablescapes during winter months adds brightness and a sense of new life to your gatherings. Flowering branches, potted plants, and assorted fragrant greens or herbs are all wonderful choices. Another way we love to bring in a little spring is to force bulbs to open indoors. Paperwhites, amaryllis, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths are great choices for an indoor winter garden. Follow the steps below for this simple technique—just remember to keep your favorite bulbs in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use them.
Brighten your indoor space
Forage your space, both indoors and out, for unique elements to spruce up your living areas this month. This is a great way to utilize what you already have—something as simple as restyling your nightstand or adding a sprig of greens or a flowering branch to a beautiful vase in your entryway can be just the refresh you're looking for. A freshly painted creamy white wall, changing up the pillows on a sofa, adding a new area rug or a new piece of artwork… These are all easy ways to edit a tired space. Once you get comfortable with this technique, you’ll look forward to adding, taking away or repurposing household decor to set the stage for an exquisite seasonal design style.
Giving From the Heart
A thoughtful gift creates a particular type of joy, as much for the one who gives as the one who receives. At partager la joie, we like to celebrate the art of thoughtful giving whenever we can throughout the year. What can you do in February to make someone you care about feel special? (Think about the people you identified above in your circle of love!) When you’re searching for something to pamper someone important—including yourself—take a look at the new products we’re excited to offer you. We’ve found adorable striped tees adorned with a red heart as part of our chic style collection, luxurious loungewear to wrap yourself in and new dresses and accessories to get you ready for spring. Our travel collection is full with accessories to keep you comfortable on the go and for those blustery days, we’ve got stylish faux fur separates, cute caps and mittens and charmingly practical wool pouches and carryalls. Give your table a little love with Belgian linens as well as our olive-wood and woven accessories. We’ve sourced beauty elixirs, lavender eye pillows, rose hydrating mist, and a rose quartz Love & Harmony candle—perfect for rounding out your winter self-care routine. Our luxurious throw blankets, soft leather blush journals, and leather date night bags and totes make perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.
Love is at the Heart of It
Often the most important gift you can give is your time. Share Valentine’s joy all month by finding time for a date night with your spouse or partner, lunch with good friends, an outing or date with each child. And don’t forget about quality time with the one we sometimes show love to last—yourself! Schedule a wellness date to do something that makes you feel good, body and soul, and maybe a little bit pampered.When you give from the heart, whether it’s a homemade item, that perfect thing you picked out, a meal or treat created with love, or even just that heartfelt love note you made for a special someone in your circle of love, be sure to savor the moment of giving—the look on your loved one’s face, the surprise in their eyes. These are the shared joys that swell our hearts with love for life, that bring brightness to a winter’s day.
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