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Editorial February 2007:
Valentine's Outside the Box

By Martina Bexte

Practical Handbook for the BoyfriendLet's face it ... Valentines Day is a big event for lovers of all ages, especially for the woman in a relationship. Traditionally, she gets the biggest thrill from lush flower arrangements, decadent chocolates, or slinky lingerie that her guy presents to her. Such Cupid's starter gifts are sometimes followed up by an evening out at a favorite restaurant. It's icing on the cake if her lover accidentally drops a sparkling token into her glass of bubbly (best not to swallow it though!)

If your significant other is romance-challenged and needs hints to actually do some of the above, then give him A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend by Felicity Huffman & Patricia Wolff. It's a good, lighthearted read, full of ideas.

But what if the two of you are tired of the usual and eager to celebrate Valentine's Day outside the box? These books offer varied avenues of romantic exploration ...
Romantic Dinners for Two
Learn how easy it is to whip up four course dinners in the comfort of your own home in Romantic Dinners for Two, a book and DVD combination that proffers 'the key to opening the door to Romance, Passion, Fine Dining, Friendship and Love'. Chef Robért & Barb Catherine coach readers and viewers through varied romantic and gustatory scenarios.

Looking for a faster circuit to his heart? Try Margie Lapanja's Food Men Love: All-Time Favorite Recipes from Caesar Salad and Grilled Rib-Eye to Cinnamon Buns and Apple Pie - including Tom Cruise's zesty clam linguine, Michael Jordan's Peckytoe crab sandwich and Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir's hot and spicy grilling sauce.

Hot chocolate is my ultimate indulgence, and you'll never look at the steaming confection in the same way again after you and your lover share the gourmet creations in Fred Thompson's Hot Chocolate: 50 Heavenly Cups of Comfort.

But chocolate is only one of many aphrodisiacs. In Botanica Erotica: Arousing Body, Mind, and Spirit, veteran herbalist Diana De Luca shows how to use safe, available herbs in ways that enhance sensuality and explore the realm of the erotic through your entire being.
Love Letters
Moving on from culinary seduction, let's work with words. In How to Write Love Letters, Michelle Lovric offers samples, historical examples and practical advice to help you write eloquent and inspired love letters for all occasions - from morning-after lover and anniversary lover to the frustrated lover or the neglected lover.

That doesn't work for you? Then, world famous kissing coach William Cane suggests the Art of Kissing Book of Questions and Answers: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Perfecting Your Kissing Technique. This playful guide shows you how to pucker up and master everything from the neck kiss and the slider kiss to the life saving kiss.

Still need ideas? In today's hectic world, Gregory Godek's I Love You coupons may be just the ticket for you and your lover to heat things up. Godek shows how to make time for candle-lit dinners for two, an evening out dancing, or a fun weekend shopping spree.

If you're both movie buffs, then 52 Great Romantic Films by Lynn Gordon and Karen Johnson will be a blockbuster hit. These cards summarize '52 touching films that have helped define what romance is today' - from Bergman and Bogart to Streisand and Redford.

Ballroom DancingHave you fallen under the ballroom dancing craze? Then The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ballroom Dancing (book and CD, 'packed with tracks you can really dance to') may give you that extra nudge to sign up at the local dance academy. Jeff Allen offers step-by-step photos, footwork illustrations, and instructions covering all the common ballroom dances, to get you both into the swing of things.

Ah, the allure of wide-open spaces, snow capped peaks and the heady scents of pine and cedar! Elizabeth Claire Flood's Snow Country: Mountain Homes and Rustic Retreats will inspire you to follow through - rather than just dream about - getting away, with an insider's tour of winter hideaways in Colorado, the Sierra Nevada and Whistler Canada.

Prefer to stay indoors? Drs. Lana Holstein and David Taylor unwrap the secrets of lasting passion in Your Long Erotic Weekend: Four Days of Passion for a Lifetime of Magnificent Sex, an intimate workshop that the two of you can enjoy at a cozy bed-and-breakfast, a seaside resort, or in your own bedroom.

If none of these appeal, then leaf through 10,000 Ways to Say I Love You: The Biggest Collection of Romantic Ideas Ever Gathered in One Place - for tons more ideas that are sure to inspire Valentine's creativity outside the chocolate box.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

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