Here is an article that we wrote for The Great Unbaked’s Blog – Confections of a Chocolate Lover just in time for Valentines Day. We think it has some pretty good tips, so we wanted to share it on our site as well. Enjoy!
4 Alternative Ways To Celebrate Valentines Day
We love the concept of Valentines Day. A day dedicated to showing someone special how much you care about them. In recent years however, the true purpose of Valentines day has become overshadowed by commercialization. Instead of rekindling the bonds that united us, we are distracted by overpriced roses and long wait times at restaurants. For those of you who share in our plight, here are 4 alternatives to the cliché Valentines day traditions.
1. Learn Together
Image: Finishing A Vase – The Glass Forge
A relationship is composed of the memories that created it, so why not celebrate by creating another memory together. While it may require a little more effort to arrange than going out to The Cheesecake Factory, we guarantee it will be well worth the effort.
Here in Southern Oregon, we have a broad assortment of artisans and skilled craftsman that love to share their trade. One of our favorites is The Glass Forge who offer classes where you learn to blow your own glass ornament or bowl. With a little searching, you can find a local artisan near you that will be able to help you and your significant other create a new memory.
If you don’t know where to start, a stop at your local tourism board or chamber of commerce should produce a good list of options. If you live in a bigger city, you might check Groupon for deals offered by someone just getting started. Here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing
- Painting – oil or watercolor depending on your preference
- Pottery (if you can’t find anyone local, Color Me Mine might have a location near you.)
- Photography – photo scavenger hunts usually make for a good time
- Woodworking – learn to carve, inlay, or just take a tour.
- Glass blowers – an art that traces it’s origin back to Venice, Italy. Combine it with a scoop of gelato for the perfect Italian night out.
Image: Delicate Arch At Night – Flickr – Arches National Park
We can think of no better way to escape the typical Valentines Day shenanigans than to hike away from them. So bundle up, pick up some headlights (here is one of my favorites Black Diamond Storm) and head into the hills. There is something liberating about exploring the outdoors. Nature served as the inspiration for the works of Thoreau and prompted the naturalist John Muir to say
“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
Surrounded by fresh air and freed from distraction, you might find yourselves saying we should do this again.
Heading into the hills might not be the most enticing option for those who don’t live in the more temperate climes of Southern Oregon, so we’ll suggest some alternate adventures below.
First, take a look at Things To Do for your area on Trip Advisor. You might find some good hikes, skiing & snowshoeing, or a unique attraction like The Safe House in Milwaukee. Pick something you’ve never done and go explore.
Image: Boston’s Community Service Day – Flickr – Digitas Photos
Last but not least, lending a helping hand to those in need has a unique ability to bring people together. Whether you join a mission trip to those in need or volunteer at a local food bank, you will find that your own problems melt away while you serve others.
There are great options to serve no matter where you are and often you don’t have to go very far to find them. We recommend JustServe.org as a starting point to find a service opportunity near you. You can also check in with you local hospital, food bank, or homeless shelter for other opportunities.
Let’s face it, we love chocolate, even if it is cliché for Valentines Day. We love chocolate so much, that last year alone, the average American consumed 9.5 pounds of chocolate. 1 What we don’t love are muffin tops and thunder thighs.
Unfortunately, years ago, some diet diva decided that chocolate was the enemy to a trim figure. The problem is not the chocolate itself (pure chocolate is actually very good for you) but the additives and fillers that now account for majority of what you consume in a bite of “chocolate”. The magic of “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand” consists of waxes or gums, refined sugars, palm oil and other fillers that change chocolate from a healthy snack to a diet killer.
M&M’s Nutrition Facts Label Listing Sugar as the #1 Ingredient. Notice the other artificial ingredients including flavors, colors, gum, lactose and soy.
So we suggest you leave that heart shaped box of Russell Stover’s “chocolate” at the store and seek out something that will actually qualify as chocolate. Warning, shameless plug: May we suggest one of our Raw Chocolate Truffle Samplers. Sure, our chocolate costs more but our handcrafted chocolates are made from scratch without any artificial additives. We uphold raw food values and as such, the antioxidants and micronutrients contained in our chocolate have not been degraded by the processing heat used by other chocolate manufacturers. end shameless plug
We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.
- http://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2015/07/22/the-worlds-biggest-chocolate-consumers-infographic/#47906a5e12b8 ↩