THE MANY SHADES OF LOVE
Is it me, or do we always notice Valentine’s Day more when we’re single? Before I met my husband, I was always painfully aware of Feb. 14 looming on the calendar. But now that I’m married with three kids, I can’t remember the last time I went out for the holiday. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Maybe it’s time for a broader, more inclusive way to celebrate love. Valentine’s Day is framed around romance. The hearts, the flowers, the restaurant reservations — so many of these trappings scream, “This day is for couples!” But should it be? Couples already have moments like anniversaries, when they can honor their relationship on their own terms. Why alienate those who are single or separated? Why constrain Valentine’s Day to a single definition of love? At the risk of competing with every poet in the English language, I will say love is prismatic. There are so many varied and brilliant hues making up this single word. Just as we might say, “I love my partner,” we also love our family and friends — our loved ones. Chocolate, cards, and going out to dinner don’t have to be just for our amor. Valentine’s Day should be a time to celebrate all the bonds that make our lives vibrant. This is not to say romance should take a back seat. Some may find this ironic, given my legal focus, but I am a romantic at heart. While the end of a relationship may leave people feeling bitter in the moment, I’ve seen the human capacity to find love again. The resilience it takes to restart that journey is a wonderful, inspiring credit to the women I’ve known in my life.
concrete advice on what time is the right time. As a rule of thumb, taking a year for yourself after a breakup or divorce is a good idea, but so much of that depends on you and your needs. There’s a difficult tightrope walk between jumping into something new too quickly and cutting yourself off entirely, and the holiday can make you feel pushed in one direction or the other. If you’re unsure whether you’re ready for a valentine, why not take the day to care for yourself ? A shade of love we often neglect is self-care. As I’ve said in the past, women tend to put themselves last. This is something I’ve seen in the women who raised me and those I represent. Whether through societal pressures, mimicking the women who came before us, or simply self- imposed sacrifice, it’s all too easy to neglect our own needs in favor of others. I’m certainly guilty of this too, but I’m trying to get better. I’ll often buy myself roses just so I can look at them on my desk. So don’t be afraid to be your own valentine this year, whether you’re single or not. Get yourself a massage, find a vase for your favorite flowers, go to that restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, plan a day out with your friends, or just catch up on that show you’ve been meaning to watch. It sounds simple, but this kind of self-love can prove difficult. Remember that giving yourself room for happiness is important, valid, and healthy.
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For those considering dating again, no academic degree or legal experience would allow me to give
“VALENTINE’S DAY SHOULD BE A TIME TO CELEBRATE ALL THE BONDS THAT MAKE OUR LIVES VIBRANT.”
Here’s to all the ways we can love others and ourselves, FloridaWomensLawGroup.com -Heather Qu ick
Dutch chocolate doesn’t necessarily refer to chocolate made in the Netherlands; the name refers to a specific chocolate-making process that uses the cocoa press. Before Dutch chemist and chocolate-maker C.J. van Houten invented the machine in 1828, chocolate was only used in beverages. Dutch chocolate is chocolate that has been modified with an alkalizing agent in order to produce a milder flavor, making it a fantastic option for use in baked goods, candy, and ice cream. German chocolate actually has nothing to do with the country of Germany, either. It used to be called “German’s chocolate,” named after its inventor, Sam German, an American who made sweet chocolate for baking. Adding sugar to the chocolate made it a go-to option for bakers around the world, and the base for German chocolate cake was born. For chocolate to be classified as Swiss, it has to be made in Switzerland, as chocolate- making is considered an art form in the country. Known for its “melt in your mouth” quality, Swiss chocolate uses condensed milk to add a velvety texture. Many chocolate makers outside of Switzerland will refer to their interpretations of Swiss chocolate as milk chocolate instead.
What You Didn’t Know About Chocolate
Fun Facts to Wow Your Loved Ones This Valentine’s Day
Chocolate is a treat savored by people all over the world. What we know as the sweet, creamy decadence that sustains Valentine’s Day actually has greater historical and cultural significance. Fermented chocolate drinks have been dated back to as early as 350 B.C. The Aztecs believed it was the beverage of wisdom, and the Mayans saw it as something to be worshipped. While the history of chocolate is as rich as its flavor, there are some common misconceptions about the treat.
FALLING IN LOVEWITH YOUR FAMILY’S FUTURE Allow Your Present to Be Your Loved Ones’ New Beginnings
While chocolates and flowers may reignite the passion in your heart, you may find it more fruitful to soothe your mind this Valentine’s Day season. Showing your family or significant other just how much you really love them doesn’t have to entail shelling out for all the material gains that Hallmark is banking on. There are more personal and intimate ways of expressing your affection’s longevity that they will be grateful for later. There is never a wrong time to start thinking about estate planning, but there is certainly a right time — which is as soon as possible. Putting serious thought into what would happen if you were to pass away can incite some scary emotions. Humankind has been struggling with our mortality ever since we gained sentience. But what sets you apart from your archaic counterparts is the forethought to do something about your death before the inevitable occurs. You don’t need to make a big show of it — I wouldn’t advise you to pop a bow on your updated will and call it a gift. But the act of estate planning doesn’t need to be as daunting of an experience as many make it out to be in their heads. The process can be as simple as having a conversation with a trusted estate planning professional. Deciding how best to disperse your lifelong possessions to loved ones once you move on is the ultimate form of caring. Your current possessions are the future ones of those who mean the most to you. Even though your passing may feel like it’s a lifetime away, preparing for it should start today. Begin the process with the estate planning experts at The Florida Women’s
Law Firm. Our dedicated team of professionals can offer you the insight and peace of mind that will lend you more room to love today while not worrying about tomorrow.
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Women Speaking Wisely
“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you
are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey
How to Find Love Online For those looking to re-enter the dating world, congratulations! Having the confidence to put yourself out there in the search for romance is a great thing. Of course, the way we go about finding our valentines has changed dramatically in recent years. The rise of online dating sites, like Tinder and Bumble, has provided new avenues and pitfalls for those looking for love. If you’re unfamiliar with these new platforms, here’s a primer on how to use them safely and effectively. When building your dating profile, avoid giving away details that you wouldn’t want falling into the hands of strangers on the internet. Don’t list your full name, your phone number, or even your place of work. If you find yourself wanting to stay in touch after a great first date, consider creating a Google Voice number. This app gives you an alternate phone number so you can stay connected without letting this new person into your personal life too quickly. THE NEWRULES OF DATING LIMIT PERSONAL INFORMATION
a public place, block them. If they ask for personal information or for you to talk to them using a different messaging service, block them. If they try to shame you about your body or goad you into doing something you are uncomfortable with, block them.
FIND THE RIGHT APP FOR YOU
USE THE CHAT FEATURE
One of the best ways to find success with online dating is to make sure you’re on the right platform. Different apps cater to different needs. Some, like Match.com, are geared toward those looking for long-term relationships. Apps like Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel were designed to empower women to take the lead in the dating experience. No matter what you’re looking for, finding an app that supports you is a great first step.
One of the advantages of dating apps is they allow you to vet people before you meet in person. In particular, the chat feature on these apps is generally a safe and effective avenue to get a read on potential dates. While we all put on airs to some extent online, there are some key behaviors that signal trouble. If someone is overeager to meet you, especially if it’s not in
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A More Vibrant Valentine’s
All About Chocolate
Falling in Love With Your Family’s Future
The Dos and Don’ts of Online Dating
Do Therapy Lights Really Work?
THERAPY LIGHTS DoThey Work or AreThey All Hype?
The winter months can be dreary for folks who live in northern regions. The days are shorter and the sky is often obscured by clouds. This bleak weather can lead to seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Depression, moodiness, and lower energy typically affect people with SAD more during the fall and winter months. The disorder has several different causes, but a primary one is a lack of sunlight, which can have an impact on your body’s internal clock. The winter climate can also reduce your serotonin levels, which influence your mood. Low serotonin can bring about feelings of depression. To address this problem, manufacturers developed light therapy devices. Therapy lights, or “happy lights,” are bright lamps that can sit on your desk or end table. They simulate
natural sunlight and are marketed as mood boosters that treat symptoms of SAD. But do these therapy lights actually work or are they just placebos? The answer is both . There are a lot of therapy lights on the market, but they’re not all equally effective. The difference is their output. While most lights attempt to simulate sunlight, some devices have weaker output, which means your body and brain won’t respond the same way they do when in natural sunlight. For instance, some lights are marketed as having “5,000 lux” or “10,000 lux.” There is a big difference between the two. Normal daylight (not direct sunlight), has the equivalent of 10,000–25,000 lux. Direct sunlight can have
anywhere from 30,000–100,000 lux. Average office lighting puts out less than 500 lux.
In order to be effective, you need a lamp with at least 10,000 lux. After about 30–45 minutes of use, you should notice a boost in mood and energy. While therapy lights are safe and come with few side effects, they are not suited for extended use. Many lights come with a warning not to use them for more than an hour at a time. Using them for longer than an hour can cause eye strain, headaches, and irritability. Therapy lights are not a cure-all. They can help, but they’re a short-term solution. If you feel the effects of SAD or experience depression, consult with a health professional to determine what solution is right for you.
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