February 01, 2021
February might be the shortest month, but it can feel like the longest one, what with the joy of the holiday season fading into the distance and our New Year’s resolutions no longer seeming new. It’s a time when we naturally tend to get a bit restless. Add to that a year of living with a global pandemic and it’s no wonder we might find ourselves daydreaming of a change of scenery or thinking longingly of warm summer days. All the more reason to make winter’s last stretch a time to be cozy and bright and to focus on the celebration of love—after all, Valentine’s Day is upon us!
Now, you may be thinking, “Valentine’s Day? It’s trivial and too comercial…” But when we look past the clichés of the day and go a little deeper, what’s so trivial about celebrating love? There’s no better mindset for sharing the joy than when we honor those we love and inspire each other to spread kindness.
Think back on Valentine’s Day celebrations past. Some were probably more memorable than others. What made them special? Maybe it was the intimate dinner you enjoyed with your sweetheart, or the handmade glitter card from your child. At partager la joie, we like to think of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to gather and share joy—to create memories with the special people in our lives. We’re dedicating our February blog to helping you make this year’s day of love your most joyful one yet.
Gather around the table with the ones you love. Whether you’re planning a dinner for two or having a few special friends over for tea or cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, spending time together is a beautiful way to create Valentine’s Day memories. Just to add some vivacious fun in February, all our featured recipes this month are variations on the theme of red and pink! Obviously, we’ve curated too many ideas for one day, even if you wanted to spend the entire day eating. Why not plan for an entire Valentine-themed week—or month!—of special treats and loving touches when it comes to your menu?
Belgian Waffles Hearts with Strawberries and Cream
Simply Sweet Scones
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
Raspberry Cheesecake Tarts
Cherry Simple Syrup
Start your day on a Valentine’s note
There’s no better way to make the ones you love feel utterly pampered than by surprising them with a lazy-morning breakfast (or brunch) of heart-shaped Belgian waffles or pancakes with berries and cream, or crêpes made to order. Sweeten the rush of school-day mornings with strawberry smoothies or hot scones with strawberry jam. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to give your child’s toast or bag-lunch sandwich a special touch.
Keep things simple
Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to go all out on an elegant meal, but if your schedule makes it challenging to plan something elaborate in the evening, organize a lunch or an afternoon get-together. Our spinach salad with strawberries is just the ticket for a light, bright lunch with a friend, and our stuffed shrimp are dressed to impress. Raspberry cheesecake tarts are an impressive finishing flourish—or the sumptuous centerpiece for a decadent afternoon tea.
When evening rolls around, unwind with an apéro or cocktail hour. Use our cherry simple syrup to craft a “love potion” cocktail, with or without spirits, to bring the whole family together. Give your favorite sparkling rosé an extra pop with fresh raspberries, or transform any champagne into a French kir with cherry simple syrup. This also works with sparkling water or sparkling cider for a Valentine’s toast for all ages.
Main courses that dish out love
Whether you’re planning a romantic dinner with your special someone or a fun night for the whole family, whether you’re looking to pull out the wow factor, strike a classic note, or just get something simple and tasty on the table and enjoy each other’s company—you’ll find something to please everyone in this list of main course ideas:
For a sweet finish
Delight everyone’s sweet tooth with elegant (and easy) long-stemmed chocolate-covered strawberries or our raspberry cheesecake tarts.
February Design Notes
A beautiful tablescape does not have to be complicated. Start with a neutral base and then let your imagination flower in shades of pink and red. Use craft paper hearts on white dinner plates, handmade Valentines with thoughtful messages, chocolate or candy confections, or a festively wrapped gift to personalize any table or gathering. Use soft striped napkins and bud vases with pink flowers to add color to your table.
Simple, chic flower arrangements with a suggestion of spring are our inspiration this month. Quince and flowering cherry blossoms bring a joyous bundle of pink to a bar area, mantlepiece, or long table. A simple tall vase anchored with a few blooming cherry branches and filled with white hydrangeas, lemon leaf, and eucalyptus makes for a stunning, fragrant arrangement. Incorporate petite vases with simple white or pale pink tulips and a few lavender sprigs to add a little freshness to a tea tray, powder room, or bedside table.
Enjoy Every Moment
Make this Valentine’s Day your most memorable yet. Gather your favorite people together in small groups and let your creativity flow while keeping your preparations simple. The most important part is sharing joy from start to finish!
If your celebration includes children, get them involved in crafting table decorations and personalized place settings as well as making Valentines for each other and the guests. Then delight them with some special treats. Bake and decorate heart-shaped sugar cookies. Organize a mailbox activity about Valentine’s wishes. In a basket, place supplies for crafting handmade cards (for example, construction paper, glue, markers, colored pencils, and red glitter or sequins). Have the little ones write (or draw) their wishes. When they’re done, they can “mail” the note to their Valentine in a mailbox made out of a shoebox covered in pink or red paper.
Giving From the Heart
These days you can grab a last-minute gift for a friend’s birthday without ever leaving home. With all the wonders of the internet world at our fingertips, giving a gift still goes far beyond simply “picking something.”
At partager la joie, we like to celebrate the art of thoughtful giving whenever we can throughout the year. Choosing that perfect something for a dear friend or loved one lets them know you’re thinking of them. A thoughtful gift creates a particular type of joy, as much for the one who gives as the one who receives.
What can you do in February to make someone you care about feel special?
Presentation is part of thoughtful gift-giving
Put some thought into expressing love through gift presentation, too. Wrap your gift in layers of pink and red tissue paper or hand-decorated craft paper. Tuck a fresh sprig of greens or a flower under the ribbon or natural linen cord. For a particularly memorable presentation, prepare your gift using furoshiki: the art of Japanese gift wrapping. The beauty of furoshiki is that the wrapping itself is also a beautiful, useful, zero-waste gift!
When you give a carefully wrapped, carefully chosen gift from the heart, whether it’s homemade or that perfect thing you picked out, 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 bring light to a winter’s day.
When you’re searching something to pamper someone special—including yourself!—take a look at the new products we’re excited to offer you. We’ve sourced beauty elixirs, a lavender neck wrap and lavender eye pillow, rose hydrating mist, and a Rose Quartz Love & Harmony Candle—perfect for rounding out your winter self-care routine. Our luxurious throw blankets, wool pouches, carry-alls, and wool clutch will make you wish winter would last a little longer. A soft leather blush journal and an adorable stripe tee with a heart are perfect Valentine’s Day gifts!
February is Heart Health Month
We tend to put a lot of emphasis on hearts as a symbol in February, but it’s also the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Heart Health Month for raising awareness about heart health and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease. What better way to show love for yourself and the people around you than by embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle as you get ready to transition into spring? Make sure to spend time being active outside, and keep moderation in mind as you enjoy your Valentine-themed menus.
Take the time to gather together and share knowledge as well as joy. Here are some resources for furthering your awareness of heart health.
Make Space to Spring Forward
It’s an old cliché (and a catchy song) that all you need is love. In February, why not make this your motto, in a way that goes deeper than Valentine’s Day fun?
Spend time meditating and doing some focused journaling on what love means to you, in all its different forms. Who do you love and why? How do you feel about the balance between romantic love, loving friendships and family bonds, and self-love in your life? What can you do, moving forward out of winter’s long lull into spring, to strengthen your important relationships and to love yourself more fully? We’ve all been in a holding pattern for a long time now, it might feel, but a thaw is coming and it’s time to get ready for new growth. ❤️, Kristin
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