Adventures of the Heart
Mary Zalmanek
Issue 11 - Romantic Holiday Tips

During this holiday season, we all wonder which gifts we give will be treasured most ... or returned.

"Treasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished."  -- Og Mandino

Wise words from a wise man.  How do we apply that thought to our own lives this month?  Here are a few suggestions:

10 TIPS FOR ROMANTIC HOLIDAYS

1.  SEARCH TOGETHER FOR A SPECIAL ORNAMENT
Every year, make it a tradition to add one special ornament to your collection.  Find something that represents a significant event, or an ornament with a secret meaning only the two of you understand.

2.  TRIM THE TREE
If it's only the two of you decorating, make it romantic. Set up the tree and bring out the boxes of lights and ornaments.  Light candles, play Christmas music, and dress in sexy lingerie or silk boxers.  There's only one twist: you're not allowed to touch each other until the tree is trimmed.  This will assure a playful, enthusiastic helper.

3.  VENTURE OUT FOR CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Attend a concert or parade.  Look at festive lights downtown, at the botanical gardens or at the zoo. Hold hands as you ooh and aah at the twinkling lights. Sing Christmas carols in your neighborhood.

4.  REVIEW THE ROMANCE IN YOUR YEAR
Write a Christmas letter only your beloved will read.  Review the romantic and intimate highlights of your year. Print it on festive holiday paper, slip it inside a
special card, and mail it. 

5.  GIVE A BOOK... AND THE GIFT OF TIME TO READ IT
Does your sweetheart like to read?  If the answer is "Yes, but who has the time?" here's a solution.  Along with a book by his or her favorite author, give a "reading day," a day that you agree to take on all domestic responsibilities so that your beloved has nothing to do but read the book from cover to cover in one sitting. 

6.  PREPARE A CHRISTMAS BRUNCH FOR TWO
Sometime during the holiday season, find time for an intimate breakfast or brunch.  Get up before the kids, or find a time when they're busy with friends.  Currently, my favorite brunch menu is Smoked Salmon Hash, scrambled or poached eggs, and champagne.

Smoked Salmon Hash

5 new potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, chopped
? green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp olive oil, more if needed
? lb smoked salmon, torn into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

For best results, brine the salmon in 1/8 cup salt and 1/4 cup sugar per quart of water for 3 hours. Use 1 quart brine per 1 pound of salmon. Smoke the salmon
using alder wood chips.  You can also use commercially smoked salmon, but it tends to be dry. (I haven't tried lox, but I suppose that could work, too.)

Sauté potatoes, onion and bell pepper until potatoes are golden brown.  Mix salmon, onion, capers, sour cream, horseradish and mustard in bowl.  Stir in salmon mixture and cook until heated. 

You can cook the potatoes and prepare the salmon mixture the night before.  In the morning, mix them together and heat.

Serve the meal on your best dishes. Make a toast to your sweetie.

7.  MAKE GIFT OPENING A TREASURE HUNT
Get the ball rolling - or unrolling in this case - while everyone is nestled all snug in their beds.  Start with a ball of red yarn, attach one end to a gift somewhere in the house or garage, lead the yarn to love notes or small "stocking-stuffers" hidden in other rooms, and extend the end of the yarn into the bedroom a few feet. Shut the door.  When your loved one wakes up, follow the cries of delight and discovery as the tracker finds the hidden cache.

8.  CALL A ROMANTIC TIME OUT
When you make your holiday to-do list, include dates with your beloved.  Protect this intimate time from holiday distractions.

9.  MAKE DINNER AN APHRODISIAC
If you're into romantic meals and you don't have InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge, it's a must. Included are
delicious recipes, sensuous photographs and romantic stories for foods considered to be aphrodisiacs: chocolate, asparagus, chilies, coffee, basil, grapes, strawberries, honey, artichokes, black beans, oysters, rosemary, edible flowers, pine nuts, avocados, libations, and figs. 

10.  PRIVATE GIFT EXCHANGE
It's fun to open gifts with the family.  By all means, continue your familiar traditions.  But save a special gift to open when it's just the two of you.  This is the time to bring out the more intimate gifts: lingerie, romantic board games (An Enchanted Evening is a good one), and sentimental mementos.

CHRISTMAS GIFTS

This week I ran into a friend who'd given THE ART OF THE SPARK to her daughter-in-law for Christmas last year.  She reported the couple loved the book and had put the ideas into practice -- with memorable results.  It's a perfect gift for all those people on your list who are in love and want to stay that way.  If you order books online from me, I'll personalize them to your gift recipients.

IN-HOME WORKSHOPS

You can host an ART OF THE SPARK workshop in your home.  If at least 5 couples attend, the cost is $25 per couple, which includes 1 copy of THE ART OF THE SPARK, a $16.95 value.  The hosting couple attends at no cost and receives a free book.  Scheduling is a mutually agreed upon time.  Please plan for 3 hours. 

Additional sessions can be scheduled at $20 per couple for 5 couples if you decide you want more time.  Session One covers the basics. In the second session we plan a customized adventure. My husband often comes with me so we can break into two groups and plan surprises for our partners.

SPEAKING SCHEDULE

Sunday, February 4, 2:30 to 4:30
Mile Hi Church
Tea Talk
9079 W. Alameda Ave.
Lakewood, Colorado
Details to come

Saturday, February 2
An Open Book
Greeley, CO
Details to come

RADIO INTERVIEWS

Saturday, January 20, 3:20 - 3:55 p.m. MST
"Life Changes! with Laurie" Radio Show
Featured on the following Radio Colorado Network stations:
1.  KRCN AM 1060 in Denver/Boulder/Longmont
2.  KKKK(K4) AM 1580 in Colorado Springs/Pueblo
3.  KVLE AM 610 in Vail/Aspen/Eagle County
4.  KSKE AM 1450 in Buena Vista/Salida

UNTIL NEXT TIME

That's it for the December edition of this ezine.  Next time we meet it will be 2007.  What are your romantic resolutions?

Wishing you a life of romantic adventure,
Mary Zalmanek

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