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Six Sizzling Suggestions to Make Valentine’s Day Last All Year

Six Sizzling Suggestions to Make Valentine’s Day Last All Year

    It’s that month again.

    Does your heart leap at the prospect of astonishing your partner with a date that will set their world on fire? I didn’t think so.

    All that pressure to be romantic focussed on one little day can feel like more of a burden than anything else. You can sulk all you want but declaring that you don’t believe in the whole consumerist conspiracy rarely gets you off the hook unless your beloved shares that same philosophy.

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    It is possible that you are so romantic all year round that your partner feels sorry for the poor schmucks who are waiting for their annual dose of hearts and flowers. But by following these sizzling suggestions, next year you might actually achieve that goal.

    1. Think outside the box (of candy)

    Take the road less travelled. As I mentioned in my post on how to buy awesome holiday gifts, one of the keys to giving gifts is to think about what your partner appreciates as opposed to just giving what is traditional or expected. While my personal opinion is that one can never get enough flowers, I would far rather receive a back rub than a box of candy. More appreciation and less money spent. It’s a win-win. Plus you always get points for appearing to have put some thought and effort into what to get, even if you might not succeed in procuring the perfect gift.

    2. Express yourself

    If you feel like saying, “Screw you, greeting card manufacturers. I’m not your bitch,” go right ahead.

    You don’t have to buy a card if you don’t want to. However, you could make one. If you’re a parent you can steal ideas (and crayons) from your kids; it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, the deployment of well-intentioned yet artistically challenged art skills can be pretty charming. Of course, you could always delegate by commissioning a card from your nearest kindergartener if you don’t want to do it yourself. You can even dispense with the whole card completely and write a poem or a letter of appreciation instead. But not a virtual one and certainly not a Valentine’s Tweet, please.

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    3. Check please

    While it’s traditional to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, who really appreciates paying through the nose for a set meal in a very over-crowded restaurant? I’d certainly rather go there on another night when the choice of reservation is better than either 5pm or 9.45pm — perched precariously on a high top which is what I was offered today.

    4. Budget bistro

    Just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean you have to give up the idea of a romantic dinner. How about cooking instead, maybe even together and splurging on a really nice bottle of wine? You don’t have to worry about driving (or parking).

    Can’t cook? Not a problem. Have you ever thought about hiring or bartering with a friend to do it for you instead? If you know another couple, you could even do a trade off where you guys take turns cooking, serving dinner and doing the dishes for each other.

    5. Afternoon delight

    You always hear relationship experts tell you that you need a date night, but after a long day of work plus kids and by the time you have been out to dinner and movie, sleep is probably the big S on your mind. Avoid this issue by changing your Valentine’s date night to daylight. Pick a weekend day and if you have children, arrange play-dates or hire a sitter to take the children out of the house for at least three hours. With the house to yourselves, take advantage by having a romantic indoor picnic together. To spice things up even more, how about taking things into the bedroom? Bring a blindfold and take turns feeding each other for a taste test to rekindle all your senses.

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    6. Strangers in the night

    This is quite the fire-starter, especially when you have been together for a long time and/or are married. Arrange to meet at a bar that neither of you have been to, a hotel bar is ideal for the purpose of this exercise (plus it gives you extra options about what you do next!).

    Without discussing any details beforehand, you are each going to invent an alter-ego, complete with name, age, etc. Venture outside the box a little and experiment playing the role of someone who has a little different lifestyle to your own. For example, if you are a stay-at-home mom, you might pretend to be a traveling sales executive and power dress in heels and a business suit – perhaps with racy lingerie underneath.

    When you arrive at the bar, pull up a stool, order a drink and wait to be approached by a handsome, mysterious stranger. Play hard to get or flirt like mad, the choice is yours – what’s even more fun is when the guy on a business trip sitting next to you is eavesdropping on the conversation and just can’t believe what he’s hearing – especially when you decide its time to leave together!

    Hack Valentine’s Day

    It’s hard to conjure romance on demand. You would think that the better you know somebody, the easier it would get, but conversely it often seems that the longer you have been together, the harder it is. Added to the fact that we are all so busy and pretty tired, pulling off the date of the year on a school night can seem like a tall order.

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    But fear not, my lovelies. You came to the right place. Try these suggestions and you will hack Valentine’s Day; in fact you may just find the romance lasts all year.

    (Photo credit: two valentine’s paper hearts via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

    12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

    15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and black tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here:

    11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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