Saint Valentine

I’ve been making a Valentine’s Day splash ever since my sophomore year at UCLA, the first year I had my own apartment, a two bedroom one bath apartment behind fraternity row that I shared with three other girls, including my great friend Karen Cope.

It was wonderful being out of the dorms and having a place of our own. We’d cook, we’d try to entertain and then late at night around midnight after too much studying, we’d just get silly. Really silly. So silly that we’d turn our bay window into a stage for what became the ‘Karen and Jane’ show, a not exactly nightly revue of giddiness and really bad stand up comic–as well as horrific song and dance–routines.

That year I decorated our apartment for Valentine’s Day, with red hearts on the kitchen windows, red hearts and red and pink streamers over the kitchen table and a big pot of red tulips on the table itself. We had our own Valentine’s Day party for just us girls and I’ve had my own party every year since. Valentine’s Day isn’t about romance and isn’t merely for lovers. Valentine’s Day came from Saint Valentine and it’s message is to love and cherish others, and just as importantly, to love yourself.

Far too many of us don’t really like ourselves, not deep down, not where it matters, and Valentine’s Day is a chance for us to remind ourselves that we matter, and that we need to treat ourselves better. No more personal put downs, no more negative self talk, no more beating ourselves up.

Today, before it’s officially the 14th, go out and buy yourself some beautiful flowers, even just a couple bunches of red tulips and buy some of those shiny red heart cut outs and put the hearts out where you can see them and enjoy the flowers and be your own Valentine.

Say good things to yourself. Use Valentine’s Day to laugh. Rent a great movie. Think about all the blessings in your life. Focus on joy, on all that is good, and on gratitude itself.

Make yourself a yummy treat, something that will taste good but also give you a chance to be positive, and happy, and maybe even silly.

One of my favorite sweets I make for Valentine’s Day is a twist on the fantasy fudge recipe we see at Christmas:

Jane’s Valentines

3 c. sugar

3/4 c. butter

1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate pieces

1 (7 oz.) jar Kraft marshmallow creme

1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, butter and milk in heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla. Beat until well blended, pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Cool at room temperature, but instead of cutting into squares, use a small heart shaped cookie cutter and carefully cut into little hearts. Decorate the hearts by using pink, red or white tubes of icing to write fun sayings like Too Cute, Hot, Luv U, or Be Mine. These little chocolate hearts make a great Valentine to take to give to others. But they�re also a great way to say something nice to yourself.

So remember, Luv U. It’s important.

Happy Valentine’s Day. May you use the day as an excuse to throw a little party with flowers and hearts and lots of love for yourself. Life’s far too short not to.

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