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 Healthy Homes

February 2010
Home is where the Romance is
Smiti Munwani
 
Whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears, holding hands, exchanging loving gifts and cards, all epitomise romance, more so when it's Valentine's Day. Love sure makes the world go round and Valentine's Day is that special day in your journey of love — a day that can be made even more meaningful by brightening up your surroundings.

If you are a married couple having celebrated many Valentines together, there is one place best suited for love and affection—your own home. You don't always have to go out to a restaurant or a hotel to make it a special event as these places usually lack the warmth your home can provide.

At home you can create a special Valentine's Day where you will have all the privacy you need. Whether it is your dining area or your bedroom, you can set the mood in many ways by adding sparkle to your romance by kick-starting the festivities with zest and effusion.

The Way to a Man's Heart
Take the case of Shailja, a young writer. Married for three years, she is creating an atmosphere that will re-ignite their romance. "My husband loves Italian, so I am making broccoli rabbe soup, penne with Sicilian style pesto, and hand-rolled lasagna. A friend has arranged a special Italian wine from the Tuscany region and for dessert there's Tiramisu," she beams, having strung some wind chimes at the entrance to welcome her loved one.

Like Shailja, there are many young couples who are finding the cosy confines of their home a far more romantic place to celebrate St. Valentine's Day. And they have the right ideas about the décor as well. Besides the food, the dining table can also be made special with a stylish fabric swathed around it. Chikan work, organza and white and gold combinations are very much 'in' and should be part of your romantic evening. In fact, designers suggest white silk and organza tablecloth enhanced with gold tissue appliqué work. This should be complemented with beautifully packed tablemats and cocktail napkins in gold and silver sachets.

The Sound of Music
The house can be brightened up with pink, red and white balloons which sparkle in dim light. Dinner can be lit with candles. No, not the ordinary ones - aroma candles. Choose a set of silver candle stands to enhance their value. However, if silver is not your style, you can opt for something more exotic —hand cut glass, moulded into many sensuous forms because of its fluid shape.

The mood can be enhanced further with romantic music in the background. The songs too have to be special. There's a wide variety to choose from: Let's Talk About Love (Celine Dion), As Long As You Love Me (Backstreet Boys), Can't Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley), I'll Never Stop Loving You (Britney Spears), Nobody Loves Me Like You Do (Whitney Houston).

In fact for the real lovey-dovey mood, have a hot water bath ready, laced with juniper and black pepper oils. And then, head for the bed that has pink or red satin sheet, or even a wicked black one dabbed in frankincense or patchouli oil.

Decorating the House
There are many ways of decking up your home to create a Valentine surprise. Make an adoring statement with flowers. Roses are the royalty among blooms. Romantics have serenaded them through the ages and used them to express feelings, sentiments and emotions that may be hard to express with words. They are a metaphor for love—both beautiful to behold and smell.

Red roses signify joy and love, though they are romantic in any colour. You can either fill a bowl with rose petals as a table centrepiece or buy bunches and arrange them around the room. But why just roses? You could also think of tulips and orchids, which look gorgeous.

The beauty of flowers can be greatly enhanced with vases. A vase full of flowers with creative arrangement adds cheer to the house. Flower vases that often grace entrances of homes not only enhance the beauty of the foyer but add to the romance. In the drawing room, they splash colour and fragrance that brings to life an otherwise austere room full of furniture.

Soft Glow
Illuminate the room with beautiful lamps. The soft glow gives an amorous feel to the surroundings. Windows with soft sheers that lend freshness to the room are a must as are floors scattered with small rugs. Use an innovative interplay between curtains and blinds for that classy look.

But avoid CFL or fluorescent lights at any cost on this day! If you have a dimmer switch on your lights, that may be all you need. Alternatively, you can just use lots of candles to set the mood. You could also switch all bulbs to low wattage pink which will give you mood-lighting extraordinaire.

The furniture too should be special for this special occasion. Designers recommend simplicity, but with elegance. Pastels and dull colours are also out now, so bring in the blues, yellows and pinks to add vivacity to your rooms.

String some wind chimes at the entrance to welcome your loved one home.

Heart shaped candies in different sizes can be placed in a glass bowl. You can even get a heart shaped strawberry and cream cake and cut it together after the romantic dinner. Fresh strawberries dipped in melted chocolate also taste exquisite.

What would be Valentine without chocolates? But be different this time and go for the heart-healthy dark variety. This about-to-be-designated superfood is said to be great for the libido. You can also splurge on champagne or sparkling wine which is available in small bottles. Or you can combine the two and buy premium liqueur chocolates. Your love life will get that extra sizzle to make it a perfect Valentine's!

 

    
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