VALENTINE’S DAY… A Reminder Why Every Day Should Be (Even in 2021)

VALENTINE’S DAY… Why Every Day Should Be.

It’s become a yearly tradition for me now, so I’m back again this year to extend my personal take on Valentine’s Day. Luckily enough for me, my wife feels the same way as I do. So, as always, I’ve added a bunch more pics from this year’s travels (which has become quite a lot the past few years now), but with the same message… Every day should be a day of expressing love and appreciation, not just once a year on a Hallmark-generated Holiday.

We actually were able to avoid the masses the day after Valentine’s in 2019 at the JW Marriott in DTLA.

Let me start right off by saying that as we’re now into the year 2022, following a devastating 2020 and even most of 2021, celebrating isn’t the easiest. But it is also a time to be reminded, you don’t need to go out on the actual Valentine’s Day to show the one you love, just how much you do. In fact, after all, we’ve all been through, these days it’s even more important, and appreciated.

For over half the year here in the LA area, in 2020 into 2022, just going out to enjoy a nice meal was close to impossible. Luckily, when we could, we supported restaurants the best we could while enjoying time together.

Since I started this blog some years ago now, normally my wife Nicole has been the one to look them over before I upload them to correct my endless bad grammar and spelling. I know, can you imagine a writer not being an English major? Luckily, I’ve never claimed to be. Needless to say, when I originally wrote this, I couldn’t have her edit this particular blog since I wanted it to be a bit of a surprise as an ode to her on Valentine’s Day…

Our first Valentine’s Day together was back in 2008. We started out with dinner at the old Morton’s in Beverly Hills then on to The Magic Castle in Hollywood.

so excuse any of my writing errors. Hopefully, I’ve learned to improve my skills some over this past couple of years now and there will be quite fewer mistakes than when I first started my writing.

I wouldn’t be where I am today in my world of business if not for Nicole. Here we are on the red carpet of the Bonzo Bash event during the NAMM Show Convention in January 2015.

So then why am I releasing a special blog on Valentine’s Day if I basically don’t believe in this so-called Holiday? Why also am I placing this in my “Journey” category? Well, as far as the “Journey” part, I’ll cover more of that in just a bit.

My favorite single spot in the world is standing in Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans with the grand St. Louis Cathedral behind. It meant so much that Nicole & I were finally able to make it back twice in 2021.

As far as Valentine’s Day, I’m not against any excuse for showing anyone you care about your love for them, it’s just a shame it took a card company to create a day most do that now because they feel obligated to or else.

The place of our 1st date… Hollywood’s oldest private club, The Magic Castle. As a member of over 20 years, here we are enjoying Friday afternoon “members only” brunch in January 2016. Sadly, it was closed for basically the entire 2020 and most of 2021 and still has been closing here and there.

Take Nicole and me; I’ve always treasured the little things we do daily since we started dating, from moving in together, to getting married. We always give each other a kiss and say “I Love You” as the other heads off to work. We try to stay up waiting for the other to come home from work (which isn’t as easy now that we’re no longer spring chickens), whether she’s closing down her restaurant or I’ve got a show…

It seemed like an eternity getting back to Italy, but we made it happen on my actual Birthday, at the Colosseum in Rome, nonetheless, September of 2018.

We always chit-chat after each other’s work when we’re done, day or night. We always text each other while at work if we can, even though we just saw each other a few hours ago. THOSE are some of the little things that couples don’t always do, that frankly, we couldn’t live without.

At least every year, we spent some wonderful times in Palm Springs and the surrounding area. But the past year we managed to get out there almost every month. Here we’re enjoying a drink, overlooking the Coachella Valley at our favorite hotel out there, The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage.

Heck, we’ve been guilty of even sending cute love texts (and maybe some comical memes too) to each other when we’re on opposite sides of the couch watching TV. Those may be the best of all!

As a Foundation Club member, there’s no better view than the one at the top of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It’s a must when we visit, as it was here in August of 2009.

Yet, there’s no card for that, no flowers for that. Speaking of those Valentine traditions, I can’t remember a time I did those “traditional” things for Nicole… because the best time to give a card or flowers is ANYTIME! I love just being at the local Farmer’s Market and seeing some beautiful flowers, and of course getting those for her, “just because.”

You want Romantic… how about a Gondola ride through the canals of Venice, Italy? Yeah, we had that covered this October 2018.

The same while stopping at the drug store, passing the card aisle, seeing some cute ones, and thinking she will get a kick out of it, and again, getting it for her… “just because.”

Cruises have always been one of our favorite times spent together. Especially when you spend a day in places like George Town in the Grand Cayman Islands. Here we are back in November 2009.

Then there’s the scramble to find a place for dinner on Valentine’s Day. That guilty need to take your loved one to a restaurant they’ve always wanted to go to. WHY then on this day? Well, Nicole and I are a bit of “foodies” as they’ve coined it these days, which is even more of a reason we do not like to wait for a special day to go somewhere we’ve always wanted to try.

Since Nicole and I first started dating, The Stinking Rose in Beverly Hills had been a go-to restaurant of ours. Naturally, on our Anniversary in 2019, we had to drop in. (Sadly it fell victim to the pandemic and is now closed).

So then why be that way with someone you love or are who you are wanting to spend time with… just go.

Stepping back in time for the night at The Cicada Club in Downtown LA back in March of 2008.

Make any day special that way. Especially with Nicole and I always working, we’re lucky to get literally one night off together a week, so we try to go out to either dinner that night or brunch that day.

Nothing like High Tea at The Huntington Gardens, as we stopped by for the full layout in April 2019.

Either to try a new place we’ve heard about or one that holds a warm spot for us. Fancy or mellow, it doesn’t matter, because WE ARE TOGETHER. Crazy concept huh?

Our first visit to the La Quinta Resort in the Coachella Valley was during the summer of 2021. Talk about romantic!

Ever hear of the term “Date Night?” Of course, who hasn’t? That not only applies to couples going out just as much as people just starting to date, but remembering there are nights other than just Friday and Saturday.

Our first date was The Magic Castle and 14 years later we’re still enjoying Magical times there. Here we were back in July 2018.

There are seven nights in the week, all with something you can find to enjoy together. A concert, a play, a movie, a comedy show… you get the idea, finding something to do with each other.

We’ve enjoyed countless concerts together over the years, seeing our friends Guns ‘N Roses probably more than any other band. Here we are backstage after their “Not In This Lifetime Tour” at Qualcomm Stadium in August 2016.

Lastly, as Valentine’s Day falls this year on a Monday, I’ve seen so many scrambling to figure out what they’re going to do on this DAY. Well, why just this day and or night? Why not on the weekend?

The most Romantic city in the world… Venice, Italy! OK, so maybe not a quick weekend trip away, but worth planning for, that’s for sure! This moment here, cruising through the Grand Canal in October 2018, was simply breathtaking!

Maybe it’s too late now, but Valentine’s falls on a Tuesday in 2023. So maybe plan on taking your loved one away for a surprise romantic weekend before or even after next year’s Valentine‘s Day?

By far, one of the best getaways this past year was making it to San Francisco for the first time together. The Golden Gate Bridge was just one of many wonderful moments we had,

Especially if it’s harder to get out during the week if you both work, what a great excuse to go away for the weekend… JOURNEY!

Goofing around during Carnival in Cozumel, Mexico back in January 2008.

Anyone that knows Nicole and me, knows we live to travel. It holds the trifecta to my blog… “JOURNEY.” Nowhere have we had more romance than in our travels. Our second date was to San Diego & Mexico… yup. Nicole took me to Scottsdale, Arizona for my Birthday when we first started dating, then once on a mid-week cruise out of San Diego to Cabo San Lucas for another Birthday. I even proposed to her on a jetty on a secluded beach in Jamaica.

The newly engaged couple on the beach just below Dunns Falls outside of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. In the background is the jetty I proposed to Nicole on, in November of 2009.

We were married at a private estate on the beach just outside of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

The newly married couple, with the sun setting on the bay of the sleepy little town of Bucerias, Nayarit. A short drive from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in March 2011.

We spent our 1 Year Wedding Anniversary and belated Honeymoon in Puerto Rico.

On our 1 Year Anniversary in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico with the Castillo San Cristobal behind us, March 2012.

Though we had a huge trip planned in Europe for our 10 Year Wedding Anniversary this past year, the pandemic squashed that, so we made memories in New Orleans instead…

There’s nothing more romantic than balcony views overlooking Jackson Square, especially from Muriel’s Restaurant. March 2021.

having such amazing times, we’ve now decided to spend the Holidays in NOLA every year…

The food in New Orleans is the best anywhere in the States, and being at the famed Ralph’s On The Park during the Holidays this past December, was even more magical.

Did you know, on our very first date, I asked her wherein the entire world she would like to travel to, and she said one day she wanted to see Tuscany. So for our 2 Year Wedding Anniversary, we spent 2 weeks in Italy, starting off in Rome,

One of the most awe-inspiring places ever, inside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, June 2013.

then off to Tuscany in Siena and Florence…

Nicole & I and Jennifer & Tracy, just enjoying a little after-dinner gelato in Florence, Italy. June of 2013. Spend time with friends, create moments with others too!

and then ending up in the most romantic city in the world, Venice.

My third favorite visual spot in all the world, though not from this angle, Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. Here on another gorgeous day looking into the Piazza, not out to the canals, my favorite view, in June 2013.

Best of all with that trip? We did it with our best friends Jennifer & Tracy who had never really gotten a chance to do a real honeymoon, and other than going to Puerto Vallarta for our wedding hadn’t been out of the States. Now the travel bug hit them, and they’ve been traveling and discovering what two people seeing what this world has to offer together is all about.

We truly do Eat to Live as well as Live to Travel. Dining at Arnaud’s in New Orleans is the best example of that. Our favorite place in The Big Easy was a treat again back in November of 2019.

Yes, those are some pretty big trips. But there were endless small ones done in between and we continue to do at a moment’s notice. Simply heading into Orange County…

Even quick jaunts down the coast to Huntington Beach became a meaningful excursion, during these past couple of years.

with the countless trips to Disneyland,

One of many visits to the Happiest Place on Earth… Disneyland, back in October of 2009 for the yearly Halloween fun.

the drive’s out to Palm Springs…

Yes, PS “we” Love You! So many incredible memories there, especially this past year’s time.

and the rest of the Coachella Valley…

Our go-to overnight quick trip… Palm Springs. Here in September 2009 taking the boat to dinner at the Desert Springs Marriott.

and I did mention friends? Well, there are animal friends too…

We make animal friends everywhere. From the Brennan’s Turtles in New Orleans to the Flamingos of the Desert Springs Marriott.

making memories in San Diego to the south of us,

Little did we know that heading to San Diego in January of 2020 would be the last trip basically we would take for quite a while. At least we ate like royalty at Lou & Mickey’s in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter.

plus jaunts up north to Santa Barbara and Ventura,

Enjoying a beautiful June 2018 day strolling around Ventura Harbor.

a little more up the coast to quaint Solvang,

One of the cutest places ever is the little Danish town of Solvang. It was so worth the 3-hour drive from LA in April 2018.

and even a bit farther to the Bay Area, in San Francisco and Sausalito…

The Bay Area was a beautiful place to visit this past year, especially Sausalito.

Las Vegas, quick boat rides to Catalina Island, weekend cruises to Mexico, and in our own backyard attending Los Angeles Dodgers games all summer long.

As Vin Scully always said… “It’s time for Dodgers baseball.” This means another fabulous day or night for us at Dodger Stadium, which sadly was our last game, in August of 2019.

We’re in Los Angeles, and if you are too, take advantage of that, or wherever you live, go out and do more with whomever you care about. Take your next day off or two together and go overnight somewhere, JOURNEY… “just because.”

Not the easiest of quick trips to do for Nicole with her & boats, but when we finally get there, Catalina Island is always such a wonderful place to be. Another beautiful day here in September of 2012.

I’ve been lucky enough to have someone like Nicole to share my life in this way, and I know I can’t be the only one. Use this Valentine’s Day to remember you actually don’t need Valentine’s Day to either say “I Love You” or to show someone just how much you care about them.

We made it to Denver for our first time this past year. Even enjoying the afternoon at the Denver Museum of Science and Natural History.

Do it whenever, for no reason other than, “just because”… just because you do love and care about them.

One of my Top 5 visual places in the world… Piazza del Campo in the medieval town of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. Here we are in June of 2013.

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