Carrie Allen – What’s love got to do with it?

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Tina Turner asked “What’s Love Got to Do with it?”  Well, pretty much everything.  In honor of this Valentine’s Day week, yes I made that up, I thought it important to reflect on love in our lives.  Every day – not just one day of the year.   There are many forms of love.  The deep, soul-stirring love for your soul mate, best friend and lover (which I am happily blessed with) to the profound love for your children, love for family, friends, and colleagues.  Exchanging kindness, even with strangers, is a form of love. Every person deserves love and wants to be loved and wanted.

Many people do not know the root of Valentine’s Day, some even think Hallmark made it up.  I won’t give a history lesson here but the root of it stemmed with an ancient roman pagan festival and grew into a Christian feast day, dubbed St. Valentine’s Day, in honor of a St. Valentine.  It was in the 14th century that this day became associated with love.

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Ironically it was Esther A. Howland, a female entrepreneur from Worcester, MA, who first started mass producing cards for Valentine’s Day in the 1850’s at the young age of 19.  I think that is noteworthy and pretty cool.  Prior to this handmade cards with ribbons and lace were popular.  Today I prefer handmade anything, but especially a valentine.

Putting aside the present day commercial face of Valentine’s Day, I think it serves as a reminder and opportunity to truly focus on love in its many forms. Sometimes it’s hard to show your feelings or to move past small irritations and to let your loving feelings rise up.  Try.  We all have people in our families who make it hard.  I have dreamed of sending certain family members this book:

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I challenge everyone to focus on love.  Make sure it’s genuine, heartfelt and full of meaning.  Seriously, slow down and hold your loved ones a little closer today, stop and really listen to what people are saying.  This is what life is about.  Connecting with others, feeling loved and letting others know we care.  It really isn’t about racing to your next meeting or the next big thing and thinking how great tomorrow will be.  Make each moment count and make today great.  Make an effort to love more, and as your relationships deepen, your life will expand.  Love is a selfless investment in others with great returns for yourself. I promise.

So, won’t you be my Valentine?

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Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love. Read more about her inspiration here. 

Todd Maul – Valentine’s Day Nectar

I think a lot of people overthink Valentines Day, fancy this or surprise that. I think it is at its core a day to say “I don’t take you for granted”.  Going out to dinner or staying home, simply just saying thanks for being part of my life is going to hold up better than stuff that ends up in a drawer or in a box in the attic.

This leads me to the drink that I would have, as it is a winter wonderland here in the Northeast – I would serve a Frank Sullivan. This classic drink, the Frank Sullivan, does what it is intended to do very well. It is a riff on the Corps Reviver #2 but with cognac. It does everything that a Side Car is supposed to do but better. It says thanks for understanding and drinking the better beverage.

If you are sitting by a fire with your best guy/gal I would strongly suggest listening to Django Reinhardt.

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He was a very talented gypsy jazz guitar player. He played before amplification, and was a big influence on Charlie Christian and Les Paul. He played with a sense of purpose and quiet beauty. Hopefully, these will be the words used at the end of your Valentine evening.

Frank Sullivan

1oz congac
1oz luxardo triplum
1oz blonde lillet
1oz lemon juice

Shake and strain into a large coupe glass – garnish with lemon twist.

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Todd Maul is Co-Founder of Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, MA and an amazing mixologist who has revolutionized the way we see cocktails.