Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Pic Of The Day #1763

Looking forward to Valentine’s Day 2022 (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

Chocolate Elves Save Valentine’s Day

If you sell wings or beer, or deliver pizzas, Sunday’s Super Bowl is huge.

If you’re Le Rouge Chocolates, the next day — Valentine’s — is your Super Bowl.

Aarti Khosla — owner of the popular Main Street shop — spends months preparing for the holiday. She stocks up on ingredients and takes orders. But she can’t begin making her wonderful creations too early. She and her employees gear up mentally for a very busy few days.

Less than 2 weeks ago, a fully trained chocolate maker stepped away due to health issues. Another left for personal reasons.

Ten days before her biggest day of the year, Aarti had absolutely no help.

There was no way even the indefatigable owner could make nearly 10,000 truffles, mendiants, almond Rochers and chocolate covered strawberries by herself.

So she did what chocolatiers have done for centuries: She posted about her predicament on social media.

Longtime customers — and others who recently found her — responded. After work and school, they poured in to help.

A trio of helpers.

“They packed. They organized. They kept my sanity,” Aarti says.

Ten years after opening, Aarti is still awed by this community.

“The best part of this journey is the sense of belonging,” she says.

“A lot of these women have high-powered jobs. They’re lawyers and executives. But they take time out of their super-busy schedules to help.

“They say it gives them pleasure, because no one goes away unhappy from a chocolate shop. When I try to thank them, they say it’s because of what I put out in the universe. But we all know that not everyone is as lucky as I am, to receive it back.”

Sealing the deal.

And speaking of giving it back: Aarti keeps paying it forward.

Ten percent of all sales this month will be donated to local food banks.

(Kudos to Aarti’s helpers: Westporters Alison Angus, Joëlle Berger, Lisa Marriott, Jennifer Wolter and Keelin Wolter; Westonites Laura Shepard, Meredith Shepard, Debbie Mergerg, Susan Moch, Dawn Watson and Pat Weist; Monroe residents Theresa Shields and her sons Owen and Liam, and Joli Gross from Greenwich.)

Roses Are Red, The Supply Chain Is Blue …

Valentine’s Day could not come at a better time. Roads are slushy, nights remain too long, the fresh breath of spring still elusive.

In fact, all of us should think of flowers, all winter long.

Michele Sinacore does.

Michele Sinacore

A year ago — under the grand name Bloom + Stem Floral Design — she was creating Valentine’s florals in her Greens Farms basement. Masked (and socially distanced) volunteers helped her prune, water tube and wrap roses; they added messages of support from donors to each,

Michele delivered them to frontline employees at Connecticut and New York hospitals, and The Residence in Westport. All were among the first healthcare workers to receive vaccines.

Blossom + Stem, in Sconset Square.

Michele just opened her second Blossom + Stem store in Sconset Square. Beyond supplying custom bouquets, seasonally fresh arrangements and floral tablescapes of all kinds. for all occasions, she surprises blooms for both “buddies” and businesses.

Those are bouquets, delivered randomly, on Fridays to unexpected recipients. A mom with 4 kids — all home with COVID — received flowers, and cried.

Blossom + Stem also donates to the Norma Pfriem Breast Center, and partners with local businesses like Allium Eatery and Winged Monkey to boost their own customers’ moods.

Michele has done it all despite a very uncertain global supply chain. (Look outside: See any fresh flowers there?!)

Most people don’t think about flower farmers around the globe who are short of staff, or dealing with weather extremes, canceled freight flights, wildfires or vases stuck on cargo ships.

Michele does. The joy that fresh bouquets can provide keeps her going.

So, she warns Westporters: Order early for Valentine’s Day. Red rose shortages are possible.

Don’t be left out in the cold.

Michele’s roses.

Pics Of The Day #1398

Happy Valentine’s Day, from a dog at Winslow Park Animal Hospital …

… and a cat … (Photos/Rowene Weems Photography)

… and a creature on (of course!) Webb Road (Photo/Molly Alger)

To Cesar Batalla School, With Love

If you’re like me, you spend time sitting in Riverside Avenue traffic wondering what goes on behind those mysterious windows above Arezzo restaurant.

bonnie-marcus-logoTurns out it’s a design studio, home to the Bonnie Marcus Collection. Launched by Diane von Furstenberg’s former right-hand woman, it’s where 10 very talented people — all local moms — create illustrations for bridal shower, wedding and party invitations; greeting cards; calendars and more.

Bonnie has developed licensing deals with some of the biggest companies in the world. Her designs are found in more than 50,000 retail and online stores.

But today her studio concentrates on one school, in nearby  Bridgeport.

Bonnie’s cards often feature hand-painted sparkles. So Westporter Nicole Straight — who volunteers at the Cesar Batalla School, and is a big fan of Bonnie Marcus Collections — came up with an idea: Give every student there a chance to make a sparkling Valentine’s Day card for someone special.

Westport middle school student Sydney Gusick helped package goodies at the Bonnie Marcus design studio.

Westport middle school student Sydney Gusick helped package goodies at the Bonnie Marcus design studio.

It could be a parent, sibling, teacher or friend. The key is for kids to have fun making their own cards.

Today, Nicole is delivered 1,200 sparkle pens to the school.

Plus Valentine’s gifts for each teacher: A calendar, filled with color and creativity, for every classroom.

Bonnie and the rest of her team enjoyed plenty of smiling faces at Cesar Batalla today.

Who knows? They may find a future designer there too.

(Hat tip: Robin Gusick)

Making a valentine, today at Cesar Batalla School.

Making a valentine, today at Cesar Batalla School.


Desperately Seeking Valentines …

… or something!

Lynn U. Miller caught these folks last night at CVS:

Valentines 1 - Lynn U Miller

Unfortunately for them, the candy shelves were pretty bare too:

Valentines 2 - Lynn U Miller

Interestingly, a few “Luv Boxers” remained:

Valentines 3 - Lynn U Miller

As well as these even odder gifts:

valentines 4 - Lynn U Miller

(Photos/Lynn U. Miller)

 Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you’re making it through unscathed!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

With love to Westport
From photographer Betsy Phillips Kahn, and “06880”

Valentines Day - Betsy Phillips Kahn