Ever since the days of poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343–1400), February 14th or Valentine’s Day has been associated with courtly and romantic love. By the 18th century, English men were presenting their sweethearts with flowers, candy and elaborately handwritten greeting cards, or valentines. Their European counterparts gave Saint Valentine’s keys as a way to “unlock” their lovers’ hearts. The saint presiding over all this love-centric activity was Valentinus. As the somewhat mysterious hero of several martyrdom stories and tales, he was rumored to have been imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers and later healing his jailor’s daughter just prior to being executed. Legend has him signing his farewell missive with Your Valentine.
Who knows, really, but what we do know is that Valentine’s Day is a fabulous reason to celebrate the sensual side of things – literally – by engaging all five senses: sight, taste, hearing, smell and touch!
So this Valentine’s Day, why not do something different and…
…SEE an interesting art exhibition!
Image via Alexandra Schwartz, curator, Montclair Museum
Our pick: Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s, opening February 8, 2015 at the little-known Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey.
The show’s curator, Alexandra Schwartz, was profoundly influenced as a Harvard undergraduate by the Whitney Biennial of 1993. Considered shocking at the time for forgoing traditional sculpture and painting in favor of videos and installations that explored thorny themes of AIDS, sexuality and race instead of aesthetics, the show is now considered one of the most elite of the super-historic exhibitions. Indeed of the 50 most influential exhibitions of contemporary art ever held, many occurred during the 1990s. Curators began breaking away from a strictly scholarly approach to craft exhibitions that delved into topical themes: social, political, intellectual and cultural. In the process, they transformed the way the public and art interacted and interrelated.
Come As You Are is named for the title of the song by 90s mega-band Nirvana, which hailed from Seatlle, the grunge capital of the decade. Bookended by the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and the attacks of September 11, 2001, the exhibition examines the impact of the digital revolution using works by Julie Mehretu, Sharon Lockhart, Kara Walker, Andrea Fraser, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Elizabeth Peyton and “nearly forgotten Internet art” by Mark Napier, Mark Tribe, Aziz + Cucher, and Prema Murthy.
Check out www.artnews.com for exhibits in your area.
…TASTE something as delicious as chocolate but more unexpected!
Image via L'Artisan Gourmet Parisian Macarons
Chef Alexandre Trouan pours the rich culinary tradition of the South of France into his exquisite creations. A graduate of the National Education Academy in Toulouse, France, Trouan studied under many of the world’s top pâtissiers, including the legendary Pierre Hermé. The happy result is his signature macaron, made from scratch using only the highest quality, freshest ingredients – no chemicals nor preservatives need apply! His sophisticated sweets variously include the juice and zest from lemons and oranges, ripe fruit puree, roasted pistachios and housemade nut paste. He and his team even make their own food colorings using spices, herbs and vegetables. “The French macaron is unequaled by any pastry,” notes Chef Trouan. “Although it consists of less than a handful of ingredients, it is all about skill and above all else, love.” The French sure know for love. They love macarons. Therefore, macarons = the perfect way to show your Valentine the love. At least that’s our story and we’re sticking with it!
…LISTEN to a timeless anti-romantic-but-romantic classic!
Image via Kievrus
Our pick: Mood Indigo from Frank Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours (1955). Available at amazon.
Having had his heart broken by the gorgeous Ava Gardner, Sinatra poured out the pieces into this bittersweet, end-of-the-affair concept album. Age 40 at the time, he loved his sharp suits, living up to his Chairman of the Board moniker in high, mid-century sartorial style.
…SMELL an interesting take on the tuberose!
Image via L'Artisan Parfumeur
Our pick: Nuit de Tubéreuse by Bertrand Duchaufour for L’Artisan Parfumeur
Duchaufour is one of the most innovative, creative noses working in perfume today. And this rose scent definitely ain’t yo’ grandma’s…unless granny happened to be Parisian, impossibly chic and possibly quite racy. This addictive juice opens with spiky pink pepper, clove and mandarin. The heart is a voluptuous tuberose softened by ylang-ylang but given oomph thanks to the freshness of mango. It then drys down to an alluring base of precious wood, aromatic musk and balm, all the while conjuring up visions of starry nights in Paris…but less sappy and romantic and rather more unexpected. Compulsive, even. In short: a towering classic fragrance every fashionista should spritz on at least once.
…TOUCH something sensuous on your wrist, fingers, neck and ears!
ISHARYA Orchid Goddess Collection
Our pick: The Isharya Orchid Goddess collection
This new collection is luminous, romantic, and has a magical quality and sophisticated allure guaranteed to catch your lover’s eye…and keep it. Plus, wearing supremely romantic and flattering undertones of pink, purple and fuchsia near your face is almost better than blush.
Show us how you spend your Valentine’s day with #Isharya.
No matter what, Happy Valentine’s Day!