Love, Actually

Girl holding balloons - photo by Jodi Miller Photography

Love might make the world go 'round but it also has the tendency to drive us mad.  In highschool, I remember crushing on a guy so intensely that I cried myself to sleep for the better part of 2 years because I 'loved' him so much.  When we finally went our first date, he ate with his mouth wide open, bragged incessantly about his massive biceps and called me 'babe'. Crush turned to crushed, and that epic one-sided love story exploded in a fiery crash.  Then there was my first real boyfriend, who was a genuinely great guy but at 21, his Greek family was way more intense than I could handle. 'You marry my son, go to Greek school, make lots of babies. Done!'  Um, next?

I'm finally married to an incredible guy with two heartbreaking beauties and have experienced more love than I could imagine in the past few years.  And while I do love the odd OTT romantic gesture (see below for the ultimate), I've had a bit of a grown-up epiphany.  Love isn't all Tiffany boîtes and butterflies, and it isn't even about Ryan Gosling-style makeout sessions in the rain. Tiffany boxes mean we can't go out for dinner for the next 2 months, and kissing in the rain? I've tried it - bit of a mojo-kill when the kids are staring at you, pounding on the windows from the confines of their carseats.  Love is a rollercoaster of open bathroom doors and unwashed dishes punctuated by the occasional fizzy champagne pop on a Wednesday night.  It's about little Post-its left on the kitchen counter with those 3 little words.  And really, in the end, trite as it may sound, it's about loving yourself because once you can do that, everything else somehow falls into place.  

This little gift guide is all about treating you, with perfectly lovable presents you can buy yourself or oh-so-subtly suggest to your +1 (click on the thumbnails below for where to buy deets) Happy Valentines y'all! Whether you're single, hitched or somewhere in between, hope you're feeling the L-O-V-E x