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The month of February is typically characterized by one thing and one thing alone—Valentine’s Day. With this Hallmark holiday staking it’s claim on the first half of this month every single year, it is impossible to ignore the fact that love is certainly in the air and it is something contagious. That being said, this past month I have been inspired by a major symptom of the holiday itself—romance. However, I am not referring to the candy-hearts and chocolate-kisses kind of romance. My inspiration has sprung from something more sensual, dare I say dreamy, and with an irresistible punch of passion that will leave you breathless and give you some different ideas for Valentine’s Day.

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Photos courtesy of (From left to right): Design Love Fest, Rie Elise Larsen via House of Bliss, and Anthropologie

Romance is like floating. Create an indoor escape with decor such as a sanctuary of pillows, a ‘magic carpet’ throw, and a colorful collection of candelabras.

Enchanted Evening

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Photos courtesy of (From left to right): Terrain, Light Locations, and Free People Clothing

Romance is about adventure. Establish a fairytale evening of your own with this woodsy chandelier, an intimate soak, and a dress fit for both the warrior and princess within.

Secret Garden

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Photos courtesy of (From left to right): Harper’s Bazaar via Apartment 34, Confetti Pop, and Darling Magazine

Romance is for indulging. Uncover desire in a lush world of fast cars and feathers, floral toppers for your favorite cake, and flowers in your hair.


In my line of business I am both blessed and cursed with the need to travel. While I love experiencing new places, traveling from one place to the next often proposes some challenges. With the weather being abnormally cold—and snowy and icy—it has become increasingly clear to me how important it is to be prepared for any and every situation when on the road.

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As you can see, the Grove Park Inn and the long road home were both covered in snow. Thankfully, my friends at the Grove Park Inn provided me with a travel kit for my drive home and the inspiration for today’s post. I made it home safely and then immediately made a safety kit of my own to keep in my car at all times.

1. Food

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2. Water: Keep at least 2 liters in your car at all times.

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3. First Aid Kit

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4. Toiletries

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5. Roadside Kit (and a cozy thermal blanket from a friend!)

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6. Cat Litter: Sprinkle around tires to get your car free from the snow.

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7. Ziplock bags and trash bags

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8. Extra pair of clothes (not pictured)

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Happy driving! Be safe!

Take A Chance With Romance.Still022It’s Friday, you can’t wait for 5 o’clock to get here because you have been working like a dog all week long. In fact, all of your hard work has given you a terrible headache so you head to the drug store on your lunch break to grab something to ease the pain. To your surprise, it looks as though the entire store has been hit by a pink and red tornado. Then it hits you—Crap! It’s Valentine’s Day and you have definitely missed the window for making reservations at any decent restaurant. What the heck are you going to do?

Breathe easy, my friends. While dining with your special someone at their favorite restaurant may be an easy solution to your Valentine’s Day dilemma, it is certainly not the most creative. Stop staring at the 99-cent card section, scratching your head, and wondering if, “I forgot Valentine’s Day (again) but you sure do look cute” will make up for being a total dud. Grab some candles, camellia blooms, and something yummy. You are going to save Valentine’s Day (and possibly your relationship) by transforming your living room into a romantic garden party for two!

Take A Chance With Romance.Still023Take A Chance With Romance.Still024Take A Chance With Romance.Still025Take A Chance With Romance.Still026Take A Chance With Romance.Still028Happy Valentine’s Day, you crazy lovers!

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Once again, a special thanks to:
Haley Sheffield for her fabulous photos;
Dynes Media for another outstanding video;
and Kaylee Daily for bringing some style to the blog.

 

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Take A Chance With Romance.Still019Like any holiday or special occasion, what makes Valentine’s Day so exciting is all the anticipation leading up to it. It is those little moments of unexpected sweetness that make your loved-ones all ooey-gooey inside. With only a few days left before February 14th makes its grand entrance, putting all you lovers on display, it is time to start busting out the big guns.

Ladies, show your handsome fellow that all of his hard work has not gone unnoticed by packing him a special Pre-Valentine’s Day lunch with all of his favorite eats. But don’t just let the food do all the talking—put your appreciation onto paper with a handwritten love letter that is sweeter than any dessert.

Take A Chance With Romance.Still015Take A Chance With Romance.Still014Take A Chance With Romance.Still017Take A Chance With Romance.Still020Gentlemen, you’re not off the hook just yet. Show your special lady that you’ve been thinking of her too. Taking time to put together a simple bouquet says ‘I love you’ and ‘you mean the world to me’ like never before.

Take A Chance With Romance.Still013Take A Chance With Romance.Still009Take A Chance With Romance.Still010Take A Chance With Romance.Still011Take A Chance With Romance.Still012Take A Chance With Romance.Still016Now that you are both either melting into a puddle or floating on cloud nine, the groundwork for a perfectly sentimental day is complete. Valentine’s Day is almost here and there is no doubt about it now.

Let the loving begin!

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Once again, a special thanks to:
Haley Sheffield for her fabulous photos;
Dynes Media for another outstanding video;
and Kaylee Daily for bringing some style to the blog.

It is no secret that Valentine’s Day is geared towards a specific group of people—those who are happily paired off into units of two. It is also no secret that Valentine’s Day tends to have negative connotations for anyone left standing in the other group—single, party of one. Having occupied both of these groups at one point or another, I can understand the desire to celebrate your mutual attraction with someone with chocolate and flowers and heart-shaped everything else while also being able to sympathize with those who feel gipped by a holiday that is as unavoidable as it is exclusive—no way in, no way out.

My solution is simple: Make Valentine’s Day about all kinds of love, not just the romantic kind. Sure, if you’ve got it, go for it, but if not, don’t let that stop you! The whole reason I started “14 Days of Love” on Facebook was to inspire new traditions for Valentine’s Day that leave no man, or woman, behind. Why not celebrate everyone you love on a holiday specifically about love? It just makes sense! That being said, today’s post is all about the ladies—married, single, or divorced. The inspiration for this “Galentine’s Day” brunch came from the lovely ladies at Design Love Fest but Pinterest has endless ideas for hosting your own.

Step One: Select Your Sweets

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Top to Bottom: Heart Waffle Sandwiches, Nutella Banana Muffins, Mini Pancake Kabobs

Step Two: Pick Your Poison

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golden girl cocktail

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Top to Bottom: Love Punch, The Golden Girl Cocktail, Classic Mimosas

Step Three: Build Your Booth

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Top to Bottom: Heart Backdrop, DIY Polaroid Frame, Pink & Gold Party Backdrop

Step Four: Find Your Favors

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Top to Bottom: Pom Pom Flower Bouquet, Single Stems for Single Ladies, DIY Flower Crowns

Step Five: Grab Your Gals

Happy Galentine’s Day!

Illustrations: Laura Kay of Diary Sketches

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You are probably familiar with the old saying that suggests the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. While I do believe this to be of some truth, what about us women? We like to eat too! Don’t get me wrong, diamonds and pearls are much appreciated, but a girl has got to eat. Am I right, ladies? And breakfast in bed—that might just be our favorite way to get our fuel for the day. So, there you have it, gentlemen: the best way to reserve a special spot in your ladies heart—start at the stomach. But don’t forget the flowers! Flowers come in at a very close second in the race for your woman’s heart; especially, for yours truly.

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The countdown for Valentine’s Day continues! Only eight days left so make them count. For fun gift ideas, be sure to follow me on Facebook to see my daily suggestions for “14 Days of Love.”

Special Thanks:
the lovely Haley Sheffield for her impeccable photography;
the handsome duo at Dynes Media for their mad videography skills;
and the ever-so-stylish Kaylee Daily for making pajamas look good.

I am thrilled to be sharing our very first giveaway with all of you—a brand-spanking-new pair of Hunter Rain Boots.

Carmen in Red Hunter Boots

It is no secret that, as a gardener, I absolutely adore my pair. They are perfect for quality time spent in the garden. They are also a great friend to have—and a great splash of color—on those grey, rainy days. However, these beauties are just as much of an accessory as they are a necessity. Women all over are finding fun, fashion-forward ways of incorporating Hunter rain boots into their daily style.

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(Top to bottom: Kaylee McCullough of Kaylee Daily in coral; Blair Eadie of Atlantic Pacific in yellow; Lacey Maffettone of A Lacey Perspective in hunter green; Bri Emery of Design Love Fest in grey; Ellie Larsen of A Beautiful Mess in purple; and James McCoy of Bleubird in black.)

While there are so many incredible colors to choose from, today’s giveaway is for a pair of the Original Tall Rain Boots in red.

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All you have to do to enter into the drawing is comment below telling me where you plan on wearing your new boots first. One week from today, on January 30th, one winner will be selected at random and announced on here. You have until next Thursday at noon to submit your comment.

Best of luck!
-Carmen

Hunter is not paying me to endorse their brand. I simply love their products and believe that my readers will also.

Inquire About Your Next Event:

Email: carmen@carmenjohnstongardens.com

Phone: 762-822-7696