6 Dinner Ideas for Your Valentine!

February may be a cold month (at least for this ex-southerner) but it’s got a heartwarming holiday to look forward to! While a box of chocolates and a rose are great classic ideas, I’ve sifted through the internet to find some really special meals that are a little more out of the box. Hopefully, this inspires you to try something a little different for that special someone! If you do something cool that isn’t listed and you’d like me to check it out, please tell me about it in the comments!

There is nothing wrong with taking your sweetie out for something sweet to eat, but there’s something special about having your S/O cook for you. I usually cook at home, but when Amin cooks for me, especially if it’s something he knew I would like (seafood or pasta instead of chicken) it’s an easy way to make me swoon. I get to chill out and relax or just talk to him and watch him run around the kitchen (extra points if he cleans up the kitchen after). P.S. It doesn’t have to be valentines for this to happen…just sayn’ but if you’re low on ideas, here are some valentines themed recipes that look as good as they taste!

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My TOP Valentine Manicure Ideas!

I love to do my own nails which you probably already know if you’ve seen my “End of Summer Nails” and my “How to do a Manicure at Home” posts. I really try to make it a self-care ritual, by buffing, letting them soak, doing my own hand massage with some nice lotion and giving them a nice fresh coat of paint. Within the last year though, I have started investing in some nail stamps by a company called Mo-You London. Their stamps seem to work really well, and they’re reusable and can work with your own polish so long as it’s heavily pigmented like OPI’s stuff.

There are so many options for Valentines nails, but for me personally, I love how pink looks and considering how cold it is up here in Massachusetts during February I wanted to use the MoYou London Nail Stamp Called “Festive #06”. It has two really cure heart stamps that look like they should be on a sweater!

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How I Survive New England Winters

8 years ago my husband and I (with our two cats) all jammed into our car and made the long drive from Tampa Florida to Boston Massachusetts to start a new life. We arrived a week before Christmas and our Christmas tree was one of the first things we unpacked. Several days later we experienced our first Blizzard (the first of four that came by in a row). We were not very well prepared. I can remember shoveling our car in jeans and sneakers. I had grown up in Florida from the age of two and anything under 50 degrees seemed unbearably cold, so that first winter really put the fear of winter in me.

So, how am I doing 8 years later? Better. Much better. Here is what I do to Survive the New England Winters.

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Why Art and Fear Should Be Required Reading for All Artists!

I am a self-taught artist. My parents were both artists, but that doesn’t mean they were supportive. To be honest, they were only supportive if I was helping out my dad finish his commissions. While I’ve been drawing all my life, I didn’t really see it as anything to be invested in until I moved here to Massachusetts. I’ve come a long way since my first bottle of Acrylic craft paint from my local craft store. I’ve learned about perspective, lighting, and color theory, but there was something that isn’t really taught.

Being an artist is a highly emotional endeavor and if all you’ve been told over and over is “it’s not a real job” or that you’re going to be the proverbial “starving artist” then you’re going to feel fear despite enjoying your passion. I am no different.

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Bird Box and the Missing Hero

It seemed every time I got online I would see images of a blindfolded woman in the woods and the name of Bird Box popping up over and over. So I had to check it out…after all, that’s how I learned about Stranger Things and that was an awesome show, so I decided to watch it. What started off as watching a simple movie, turned into a much deeper lesson in how our culture views what being a hero is, and I think that on its own is pretty disturbing.

I guess this is a good time to say ***There may be spoilers in this post so proceed at your own risk***

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The Best Chili Mac for a Cold Winter Day

My husband and I got married at the age of 22. I know it was young, but honestly, we had been dating for five years at that time and we REALLY just wanted to be married. After the honeymoon when Amin and I were opening our wedding gifts, one of the people I had invited had got me the Betty Crocker “Bridal Edition” Cookbook.

I can honestly say that besides the silverware that someone else got me, it’s been one of the most used gifts. 11 years later, I still pull it out. It taught me everything from how to devein shrimp to how to make chicken broth for chicken soup when Amin had a cold. The recipes were also fairly cheap to make which was a plus since after we returned home from our honeymoon we endured some serious poverty.

While I’ve moved on to some more challenging recipes lately, I usually pull out this book Every November when I’m doing batch freezer meals for the winter. One of our absolute favorite meals is a chili which I throw over pasta and add cheese and sour cream too. It freezes amazingly well and I often cook it in bulk. I can’t tell you how comforting it is after a day of shoveling snow to be able to pull this out and warm it up and dinner is made. It’s also cheap so you have more cash for your holiday shopping!

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How I Planned for Resolution Success!

I LOVE the New Year. It’s actually my favorite holiday. There’s something cleansing about a date on which you can focus a new start on. There’s a lot of discussion on whether New Year’s resolutions are worth having. A lot of them don’t last very long, and honestly, I can admit to a lot of BIG DREAMS That fizzled out a week later. I personally think how the resolutions make you feel has a lot to do with whether or not you should have them. I also think that sometimes people start off with great ideas of what they want to do more of, like “being happier in the New Year” but they don’t actually know what that looks like. This is why I really enjoy the concept of making S.M.A.R.T. goals. If you don’t know what those are I highly suggest that you read up on it HERE.

I’m going to share a few of my resolutions for 2019.

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End of Summer Nails

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While technically October is the month that begins fall, I find that people often think of August as their chance to really enjoy true summer since school starts back up in September.

So I decided to do a really fun nail tutorial! Teal is close to my heart because it was my wedding color, and dark blue has always been my husbands favorite color. So I decided to use both of them to creative this fun, ocean like ombre nail. It may take some practice, but these nails will definitely get you noticed! Read more

How to Make Okonomiyaki

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I am sadly not Asian…unless you want to count the family rumor that my grandfather’s grandmother was Mongolian. Asian culture has always been an interest to me and my husband. I wouldn’t say we’re complete ‘weeaboos’ though. We understand there’s more to Japan than it’s anime. We love to watch Basho (Sumo Wrestling) and I often keep up on Japanese news through the NHK channel. Strangely, Eastern art in general has found it’s way into our home- through lanterns from Marrakesh to Japanese wall hangings of cranes in our dinning room. A few years ago, we even got to enjoy an 16 hour layover in Tokyo where we went to Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku (that trip is for another blog post entirely). Read more

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe

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I am a long time fan of Alton Brown. He doesn’t just throw a recipe at you, but rather takes the time to educate you about the way food works and explain exactly happens when you do certain things to your food. So when I was looking for a new dessert to try and make I found his Alton Brown’s Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe on the Foodnetwork.com website. I served it actually yesterday for my Halloween party that I threw, but it is a wonderful fall dessert and easy to make in comparison to other things I’ve cooked. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer. I hope you enjoy it. Read more