February 04, 2022
This month at partager la joie we’ve got love on our minds and our menus! Have you ever noticed how many songs out there involve love? Don’t deny it, you often sing along with them. So do we. What is it about love? How astonishing is it that we use the same word to describe how we feel about our nearest and dearest and how we feel about our favorite snack? It would certainly seem to be a central force in our lives, and definitely the foundation for our joys, big and small. If love is such a fundamental part of what our lives are woven out of, we ought to be celebrating it every day, not just on Valentine’s Day. So why dedicate one month of the year to focusing on it as our theme?
Well, our answer at PLJ is because it’s fun! And because putting special emphasis on who we love and why can deepen those important, joyous relationships. February might be the shortest month, but it can feel like the longest one, with the sparkle 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. All the more reason to make winter’s last stretch a cozy, bright time. So let’s spend February celebrating and strengthening our circle of love.
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. 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
Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Spirals❤️
Grilled Fish Tacos❤️
Love Potion (mocktails or the real thing!) made with our Strawberry Simple Syrup
Hot Fudge Super Fudgy Healthy Brownies
Celebrate What You Love to Do
Do something you love—or learn to love something new! 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. Here’s an idea: since February is Heart Health Awareness month, what about brushing up or learning how to perform simple but life-saving CPR? People with basic CPR and AED training are most likely to use those skills on a loved one or close friend. So check out the American Heart Association or the Red Cross to find a quick, easy course near you. Take it as a family for a heart-themed bonding experience!
Take Good Care of Yourself and Loved Ones
Speaking of heart health awareness, we tend to put a lot of emphasis on hearts as an emotional symbol in February, but let’s not forget that according to the WHO, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. At partager la joie we like to renew our focus on heart health in February, and we 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 as you get ready to transition into spring? Get the family together (with plenty of healthy snacks on hand) and ask everyone to brainstorm at least one idea to put better heart habits in place for February. We’ve been brainstorming, too. Filling our diet with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, getting some cardiovascular exercise daily, making time for adequate sleep, and reducing stressors are 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
Flowers we love
Simple, chic flower arrangements that hint at spring are our inspiration this month. Quince and flowering cherry blossoms bring a joyous bundle of pink to a sideboard, mantle, or the center of your dining table. A simple tall vase anchored with a few blooming cherry branches and filled with white hydrangeas, lemon leaf, and eucalyptus makes for a fragrant and stunning 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.
Set your table with nature’s blooms
Incorporating nature into your tablescapes during winter months adds brightness and a sense of warmth 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. This is a simple technique if you follow these steps.
In addition to our favorite simple paperwhites, amaryllis, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths are also great choices for an indoor winter garden
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, 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.
Follow us on social media over the coming months to see how we’re transforming a traditional formal living room into a bright, modern, transitional space.
Celebrate 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. It may help to draw this circle and put some names in it. 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… It’s so vital to us, as human beings, to share our sorrows and joys with people who are positive, share similar interests and values, and focus on taking care of each other. Now this is not to say we should avoid those people who need our support, who ask more of us than they can give back, or who have a hard time rising above negative aspects of their lives. These friends and family are important and need our love and support. 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.
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, along with super-cute winter caps and gloves and cozy, luxurious loungewear to wrap yourself right into spring. For those blustery days, we’ve got stylish faux fur separates and charmingly practical wool pouches and carryalls. Give your table a little love with Belgian linens and olive-wood accessories. 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, soft leather blush journals, and leather date night bags make perfect Valentine’s Day gifts! Shop PLJ
Put some thought into expressing love through thoughtful gift presentation, too. Wrap your present in recyclable paper or with a sentimental quote or poem. Tuck a fresh sprig of greens or a flower under the ribbon or natural linen cord. Prepare your gift using furoshiki, the Japanese art of wrapping a gift in a large cloth square. 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.
Sometimes 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 self-care date to do something that makes you feel good, body and soul, and maybe a little bit pampered.
New Growth for Love
Spend time thinking about and journaling on what love means to you, in all its different forms. How do you feel about the balance between romantic love, loving friendships, 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?
Remember how our “forced” bulb opens from earlier in this blog? A better explanation to describe it might be that it is “encouraged” or “nurtured.” This month, let’s nurture ourselves like that bulb. As we care for our hearts and gather our loved ones close, let’s give ourselves all the right conditions to love and be ready for new growth.
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