Fall in love with these romantic films
Stories of romance are as old as love itself. That makes Valentine’s Day an ideal time to indulge in a romantic comedy or classic love story.
Plenty of films can be enjoyed while snuggled up with a sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. The following can serve as a romantic starting point for couples looking to cozy up with a good film, not to mention one another, this February.
• “Casablanca” (1942): Who hasn’t heard the line “Here’s looking at you, kid”? Set during World War II and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, the film focuses on an American expatriate who must choose between love or helping a Czech resistance leader escape to fight the Germans.
• “Roman Holiday” (1953): Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn win audiences over in this romantic classic about a European princess who meets an American reporter one night in Rome. He’s looking for a scoop, but ends up getting a much better reward.
• “Ghost” (1990): While a certain danceheavy Patrick Swayze vehicle is renowned for its romantic elements, “Ghost” shows that love
can continue even beyond the grave. And one especially memorable scene might just inspire couples to take up pottery.
• “Love and Basketball” (2000): Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan star in this story of two neighborhood kids who aspire to be basketball stars. As they grow up, their skills develop and their relationship grows. However, when one’s stardom really skyrockets, it puts a strain on their love.
• “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001): In this modern telling of “Pride and Prejudice,” Renée Zellweger stars as Bridget, who is hopeless at love and falls for Hugh Grant’s lothario Daniel Cleaver. This unfolds as Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy is hiding his affections for Jones behind seeming indifference.
• “Love Actually” (2003): Featuring an ensemble cast, this movie tells the tales of eight very different couples who are providing glimpses into their love lives. The tales are loosely intermingled during the month leading up to Christmas in London.
• “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014): Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley star as two youngsters who meet in a cancer support group and fall for one
another. A film about true love and heartbreak, this one is sure to require keeping a box of tissues on hand.
• “A Star is Born” (2018): Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in this remake of the classic film. Jackson, an alcoholic rock star, falls in love with an aspiring singer, Ally. As her fame begins to eclipse his, Jackson’s demons come resurface.
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Flowers can represent various emotions. Flowers play a prominent role in many and holidays, perhaps none more than Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a busy day for florists. ProFlowers says it accounts for most of the industry’s fresh flower sales. Around 78 percent of the flowers purchased for Valentine’s Day are cut flowers, and men are the top consumers.
Roses are the go-to flower on Valentine’s Day, but shoppers can look to various blooms to send the right message to that special someone in their lives. In fact, each type of flower conveys its own unique message.
ProFlowers and Pickup Flowers note that the following are some popular blooms and the messages those flowers are traditionally associated with.
• Amaryllis: This flower is symbolic of splendid beauty and can be used to indicate worth.
• Aster: The aster symbolizes patience, elegance and daintiness.
• Calla lily: This bloom symbolizes magnificence and beauty, as well as purity and innocence. That is why Calla lilies are often the flower of choice in wedding bouquets.
• Carnations: These are one of the most popular flowers in the world and are generally symbolic of love and fascination.
• Daffodil: Daffodils symbolize regard and chivalry. They also can be indicative of rebirth, new
beginnings and eternal life. A single daffodil can signal misfortune, while a bunch expresses joy and happiness.
• Gerbera daisies: With large, beautiful blooms in a wide assortment of vibrant colors, gerbera daisies are a favorite flower for cheerful sentiments.
• Gladioluses: These tall, striking flowers are eyecatching and make great gifts for significant others. The gladiolus symbolizes honor, infatuation and strength.
• Iris: Irises represent faith, hope and wisdom and are cherished for their big, beautiful blooms.
• Peony: This flower, which resembles a rose, symbolizes a happy life, happy marriage, prosperity, and good health.
• Rose: Roses symbolize love in its various forms, and different colors of roses symbolize different things. For example, yellow roses represent care and friendship, while pink roses are given as a token of admiration.
Flowers are popular gifts come Valentine’s Day. Choosing a flower that best represents the feelings gift-givers want to convey can incorporate even more meaning into a bouquet or basket.
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Valentine’s Day gifts couples enjoy together
Valentine’s Day is a time to bring smiles to the faces of loved ones - particularly the special someone in a person’s life. Gifts that appeal directly to spouses or significant others may be the standard, but gifts couple can use together can bring them closer together. The following are some great Valentine’s Day gifts couples can enjoy together.
• Quirky mugs: Mug sets come in all shapes and sizes and express various sentiments. Some even feature interlocking designs designed to symbolize that couples are two pieces of one puzzle. Kissing mugs, which look like lips touching when they are brought together, are perfect for couples who enjoy their morning coffee together. Look for them at www. uncommongoods.com.
• Matching robes: Plush terry cloth robes need not be reserved for luxurious stays at premiere hotels. Coordinating robes can be monogrammed and worn on lazy days when gathering in front of a cozy fire.
• Charcuterie set: A romantic meal is the start of any Valentine’s Day celebration. Invest in a compact charcuterie board with two matching wine glasses and enjoy the set on date nights at home.
• MasterClass lesson: Purchase a MasterClass instructional (www. masterclass.com) and learn photography tricks or insider tips from established professionals together.
• Travel excursion: Jet set to an exotic locale with a planned adventure.
Parents can arrange for a sitter, friend or relative to look after the children so the trip provides some one-on-one time. This trip can serve as the second honeymoon couples dream about.
• Custom cornhole set: Couples who love tailgating or opening up their homes (and yards) to guests can purchase monogrammed or customcarved bean bag toss boards.
• Fancy coffee maker: Couples who spend more time in take-out coffee shops than they probably should can brush up on their barista skills at home. There are plenty of coffee makers on the market that can help couples whip up lattes, cappuccinos or espressos with ease.
• Wine club membership: Couples who enjoy sampling the latest vintages and flavors may enjoy a wine subscription. Winc.com is just one of the delivery services available. Or couples who prefer to be a little more hands-on can experiment with winemaking kits.
• Hot tub: What can be more relaxing than soaking in a warm bath of bubbling water? A backyard hot tub turns up the heat on relaxation and time spent together.
• Tokens of love: Matching or coordinating bracelets, necklaces or even tattoos can serve as enduring symbols of a couple’s love.
Valentine’s Day gifting may be even more enjoyable when gift-giving focuses on presents couples can enjoy together.
Valentine’s Day ideas
The National Retail Federation indicates Valentine’s Day is the fifth largest spending event in the United States after the winter holidays and Mother’s Day. Each February, people clamber to get gifts for their sweethearts and create romantic memories through fine dining and decadent desserts.
According to Finder, a tool used to navigate complex decision-making processes, Americans were expected to spend a combined $50 billion on gifts and activities in 2021, with gifts averaging $187. Men tend to spend more than women on Valentine’s Day. Everyone may be spending more on Valentine’s Day this year due to inflation. In 2021, used cars and trucks, oil, meats and poultry, airline fares, and women’s apparel were just some of the items that increased significantly in price. Finding ways to be frugal may be challenging this February, but these ideas are a start.
While a card may be the smallest purchase on your shopping list, you can still save an average of $3 to $5 on a card by making one yourself or sending a free digital greeting.
Restaurants are popular options for couples on Valentine’s Day, but they can be busy and prices may be inflated. Many also offer limited prix fixe menus. By making a meal at home and picking and choosing less-costly ingredients, couples can save a substantial amount of money.
Be flexible with jewelry
You don’t have to spend a fortune to make an impression with gifts. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but other stones are often less costly. Try giving a birthstone as an alternative. If gold is out of your price range, many sterling silver options are just as beautiful. In addition, consider warehouse retailers for jewelry purchases, as they may have lower costs.
The cost of roses definitely goes up near Valentine’s Day, so consider giving another flower. Lilies can be lovely or maybe that special someone has a signature flower. A flowering plant, which will cost less than many bouquets and will last far beyond Valentine’s Day if given care, is another alternative to consider.
Save on chocolate
Sweet treats are the name of the game, but many popular chocolate boxes can be pricey this time of year. Plan ahead and keep a stockpile of chocolates from Halloween or Christmas. Then use floral wire or pipe cleaners to turn bite-sized packages into a handmade chocolate bouquet. Otherwise, purchase various chocolate bars and package them with hot chocolate, chocolate cookies and other decadent offerings in a themed gift basket.
Saving on Valentine’s Day comes down to being creative and focusing on the sentiment rather than the price.
Tricks to keep floral arrangements fresh
Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a fresh bouquet of flowers on a special occasion? Flowers traditionally are given for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, and other special events. While a beautiful bouquet can make a lovely gift, fresh flowers have finite lasting power. Recipients of floral arrangements need not fret. Various strategies can help prolong the life of freshly cut flowers. Florists employ certain tricks to keep cut flowers fresh longer. In fact, that’s a person’s best bet to keep cut flowers fresh - purchasing arrangements from knowledgeable florists who have done their part to ensure flower longevity. Here are some additional strategies to consider.
Make fresh cuts in stems
Think back to the last time you purchased a fresh Christmas tree. What is the key to ensuring it gets enough water while on display? You guessed it: making a fresh cut in the trunk of the tree. The same concept applies to floral arrangements. Use a sharp scissor or pruning shears to cut about one inch from the bottom of each stem at a 45-degree angle. Continue this process every three days or so. The 45-degree angle prevents the stem from squishing during the cut and enables it to absorb more water.
Get them in water quickly
Place the flowers in a vase or other vessel with water promptly after making the cuts. Some florists like to cut the stems under water to prevent air bubbles from forming in the stems. Choose an arrangement first, then cut and place the flowers in water quickly. This gives fresh arrangements a good chance to last awhile.
Monitor water temperature
The temperature of the water in the vase should coordinate with the flowers on display. Do not use hot water or the stems will cook. Room temperature is best for most flowers, except for blooms from bulbs that flower during
cooler months, such as tulips and daffodils. They’ll be more likely to thrive in cooler water, according to Consumer Reports.
Chill your arrangement
The experts at FTD by Design tested various theories for keeping floral arrangements fresh, including adding aspirin to the water or using sugar or concoctions that contain vodka. Sugar and vinegar served as a runner-up for long-lasting blooms, but the best solution for prolonging the flowers was putting the arrangement in the refrigerator each night for roughly eight hours.
Prune the foliage
Before placing cut flowers in a vase, remove extra leaves at the base of the stems that will fall underneath the water line. This helps to limit bacteria growth in the water and cuts back on foul odors. Plus, removing foliage focuses flowers’ energy on the main blooms rather than the leaves.
These steps can add life to cut flowers, helping arrangements thrive in any home.