Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#bringitdowntown: stay all day

I was lucky to be asked to participate in #bringitdowntown again this year. Each year Downtown Fredericton invites local bloggers and social media personalities to "Bring the Love Downtown" to help promote the shops and services in the city's downtown core.  This year we each were given themes.  Mine was "Stay all Day" so a few weeks ago I shot this promo video.

On Saturday I had another "Downtown day."  It started with brunch at the Palate with my sister-in-law and brother who were visiting from Saint John.  A great choice in casual fine dining, this popular brunch and lunch spot may mean a little wait for a table but it's well worth it.  I indulged in the lobster eggs Benedict - so delicious!

After brunch it was time to go pick up my Uncle John for our annual Christmas shopping afternoon.  First up was a stop to visit our friend Luke at Thinkplay and Endeavours.  It was a frigid day but the shop was hopping with people on the hunt for unique toys and top quality art supplies.
I picked up a great metallic pen to make my cards and gift tags shine and I scouted a few ideas for my artist father.  I'll be back before Christmas.

Then it was off to Savour Decor where we are always confident that Janice can help my uncle find just the right thing for my mom and my sister-in-law.

Savour Decor sells a number of locally made products - how cute are these snowmen?
I'm still knitting up a number of Christmas gifts for a stop at Yarns on York was a must for supplies.  Uncle John waited very patiently while I roamed the shelves and shelves of yarns looking for just the right thing.

After that we popped across the street to Urban Almanac where I picked up some festive tea - I needed it to warm up during the weather we've been having!   After a stop at Westminster Books I dropped off Uncle John and it was time to call it a day but not before I stopped by the newly unveiled Memoria Address - a public art piece commissioned by Downtown Fredericton Inc. and the City of Fredericton.  (I wrote about it here)

If you're looking to cap off a great day in Downtown Fredericton, treat yourself to dinner at The Blue Door.  We were there a few weeks ago and their chef and kitchen are firing on all cylinders these days.  For a more casual option I am loving Park's Noodle and Sushi on the corner of Regent and Queen - cozy up in a window booth and watch the city pass by.  

There's a week left until Christmas and you can be sure I'll be out and about supporting Downtown businesses as I wrap up my holiday shopping! I hope you'll show some love for your local businesses this season too!
Dinner at the Blue Door - a Downtown treat!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

welcome back

My Monday surprise from my new boss.
I can't believe it's been five months since I last posted!  Actually I can.  It's been a crazy few months with lots of experiments and lots of changes.  Some successful, some less so.  As a consequence I chose to prioritize on reflection, decisions and my relationships and the blog got a little bit sidelined.  (I still blogged over at Fredericton Tourism so you  can find some of my adventures there!)    But this week I started a new job with a new team and I'm very excited about it.
Now with a new routine and new energy I am ready to share adventures with you once again! 
So what have you all been up to? 

Friday, June 7, 2013


As the lights dimmed in the Playhouse last night, the air was thick with anticipation.  The dull roar that had filled the theatre seemed to hush with a collective intake of breath as the audience waited for the film to roll.  The crowd of invited guests would be among the first to see Copperhead  the latest feature film from director Ron Maxwell (Gods and Generals, Gettysburg ).  The film was shot last summer on location at Kings Landing Historical Settlement about 20 minutes west of Fredericton.   

From the opening strains of Laurent Eyquem’s stirring score we were transported to upstate New York in 1862 at the height of the Civil War.   With its lush rolling farmland and ribbon of river, Kings Landing shimmered like a painting from the Hudson RiverSchool of painters

While the film will almost certainly gain a lot of attention from Civil War buffs,  Copperhead  is a Civil War movie for people who don’t think they like Civil War movies.  I’m included in that.  I don’t typically gravitate to epic battle movies but with Copperhead, based on the 1893 novel by Harold Frederic,  Ron Maxwell has chosen to show us the war at home.   As he explained in a post-screening discussion, when the troops march out of town in most war movies the camera follows.  Copperhead is notable for showing the impact of the war on those left behind without showing a single battle scene.   It’s also compelling because it comes to the much trod territory of the American Civil War from a perspective that I don’t think we’ve ever seen on film before.

Soft-spoken dairy farmer Abner Beech (Billy Campbell) despises slavery but he also despises sending boys into battle to fight what he believes to be an unconstitutional war hundreds of miles away.   Local anti-slavery zealot Jee Hagadorn – played with wild-eyed brilliance by Angus MacFadyen – stirs up the town against him and his family with tragic results.

Because history has generally determined that American Civil War while terrible and costly was ultimately a good and necessary thing for abolishing slavery and maintaining the union, I never really considered that there were good and noble men who opposed it.    While I headed into the theatre looking forward to seeing familiar faces and places (“hey!  I learned to milk a cow in that barn!”)  I mostly wanted I wanted to see a good film.  And I did. 

So how can you see it?  Copperhead opens in limited release in American markets at the end of the month with wider release coming in late July.  Because it’s not a major studio production, the film-makers are really banking on grassroots support of the film to convince theatres to bring it to audiences.  Currently their website offers a “DemandCopperhead” feature for American audiences but they are working to include an option for Canadian audiences as well so stay tuned! 

Together with the stately homes along Waterloo Row and the soaring spire of the Cathedral, Kings Landing is one of my earliest, fondest memories of the part of the province I would eventually call home.  The settlement opens for the season this weekend and I’ll be heading to spend a day there for an upcoming Frederictontourism post. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

it's the weekend: stay dry

If only we could all look as cute as Brigitte Bardot in the rain.

Rain, rain, go away... as much as I hate to complain about the weather the constant grey, drizzly weather we've been having this week has not exactly been uplifting.  BUT it's Friday!  I'll be spending the weekend sifting through all the things I learned from Alt Summit and working on some great round ups of summer activities for the Fredericton Tourism blog.  

To wrap up the week here are some links I've liked  lately:
  • As we all know the world's gone Gatsby mad. I fully support this if it means we get to break out the Prohibition-era cocktails featured on Refinery29.  Is it too early in the day for a French 75?
  • These vintage food poster PSAs from World War II on Brain Pickings are delicious. 
  • Through the magic of algorithms and some resourceful human journalists Times Haiku publishes serendipitous poetry from the New York Times daily.  (via How About Orange)
  • Dreaming of a summer getaway?  Check out New York magazines roundup of amazing summer rentals - working lighthouse anyone? (via A Cup of Jo)
  • Speaking of interesting homes... Apartment Therapy is holding their 9th Small Cool contest.  Amazing to see the stylish spaces people can create with very little square footage.  At 165 square feet (!) I think this home in Italy takes the cake!
How are you spending your weekend?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ira is my homeboy

Note card by 4four
It should surprise exactly no one that I love Ira Glass.  And my love grew even more on Saturday when Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day shared this quote during her Alt for Everyone presentation.  It so completely summarizes I have often felt but never been able to articulate:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through ― Ira Glass

How have you handled this gap between your work and your ambitions? Do you feel you've closed it?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

alt for everyone

Whenever I see the #altnyc or #altsf hashtags start to show up in my social media feeds, I always feel a pang of envy.  The Alt Summits have become the  hot ticket for rookie and established bloggers alike.  Given that tickets to the Alt Summits in New York, San Francisco and Salt Lake City are notoriously hard to get (they cap attendance at about 300) and since my budget is a little lean these days, I jumped at the chance to sign up for Alt for Everyone.  For the first time Alt was taking their summit online.  Over the course of three days I had the chance to hear from some of my favourite lifestyle bloggers and connect with other bloggers from around North America.  
I got to learn from some amazing bloggers including (clockwise from top left): Joy Cho, oh joy! |  Jordan Ferney, Oh Happy Day! | Chris Gardner, and Man Made DIY | Liz Stanley, Say Yes to Hoboken!
It was so perfectly timed!  I've recently cut back my hours as Director of Communications at Theatre New Brunswick in order to pursue other communications consulting work as well as my own projects. Continuing to build and develop The Glad Girl is definitely part of that plan.  I can't wait to work on the tips I got!

I'm also working my through the blog roll of the participants - so many lovely blogs to check out and I hope to share some of my favourites here with you.  I have to give a special shout-out to Crystal from A Bunch of Britts who included The Glad Girl in her Alt roundup.  She's a designer, Starbucks addict and new mom. Go check out her blog!

Monday, May 20, 2013

on the road

It's a holiday weekend and we're on our way back from a whirlwind overnight trip to Nova Scotia's south shore.  I'll be back tomorrow with some impressions of the very first Alt for Everyone. Lots to think about after three days of classes and conversation!

Friday, May 17, 2013

finding fiddleheads

Last week my pal Karen and I spent the day with travel writer Sandra Phinney and fiddlehead expert Melvin Nash  foraging for fiddleheads. The young furled ostrich fern that looks like something from a Tim Burton movie is a spring delicacy in these parts.  You can read all about my adventures on the Fredericton Tourism Town Square Blog and find out more about this dish I prepared with the wonderful Chef Lizzie Stewart of The Blue Door Restaurant and Bar, one of the top 50 restaurants in Canada.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

fiddlehead risotto

Along with ramps and morels, fiddleheads are part of trifecta of blink-and-you-miss-it wild foods of spring.   I had the chance last Friday to go foraging for fiddleheads with a man who literally wrote the book on fiddleheading, Melvin Nash.  You'll be able to read all about those adventures on the Fredericton Tourism blog later this week.   I had been obsessing about the idea of fiddlehead risotto since I first knew I would end up with a few pounds of fresh fiddleheads.  (Actually I spend about 98% of my time obsessing about risotto.  It's only the ingredients that change.)

I found a great recipe Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns on the kitchn and
based the dish on that.   I opted not to include the asparagus giving the spotlight completely to the fiddleheads.

serves 4 to 6
3 cups fiddlehead ferns
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well, and diced.
2 scallions, white parts only, washed and minced.
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
approximately 5 1/2 cups hot vegetable stock
zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Start by cleaning the fiddleheads.  I learned a great technique from Melvin but it involves a stiff breeze and rushing stream.  Assuming your kitchen doesn't have these amenities, use your sink.  Wash the fiddleheads then rub them in a kitchen towel to remove any of the brown paper-like chaff. Trim off any brown ends.  

To blanch the fiddleheads you'll need a pot of boiling water and an ice bath.  Boil the fiddleheads for about 2 minutes and then plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking.  Once they cooled, I chopped the stems and left the furled tops intact.  Set aside.

Simmer your pot of brother, covered, over medium-low heat.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Saute leeks, scallions, and garlic  until tender and almost translucent.

Add rice, and stir until grains are translucent at their edges but still opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. 

Add wine, and stir until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Add the warm stock by the cupful, stirring until rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid before adding the next cup.

When rice is almost done, stir in the blanched and drained vegetables and the lemon zest. Stir in the last 1/2 cup of stock, then add the cheese and remaining butter.

Roasted fiddleheads: I love roasting vegetables.  I think if there was more roasting and less boiling of vegetables people would not be so averse to eating them.  I topped the risotto with roasted fiddleheads and I thank it really made this dish.  Simply toss the clean fiddleheads with oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

We paired it this with one of my favourite wines - Benjamin Bridge's Nova 7 - perfection!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

i and love and harvest

When it comes to bands I could have seen but didn't, I don't hold on to a lot of musical regrets.  But missing The Avett Brothers at last year's Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival here in Fredericton is definitely at the top of the list.   So I was over the moon to learn that I will get a do-over this September!  The darlings of the folk-rock world are part of an impressive line-up announced yesterday for the Festival's 23rd year.   Over six days 400+ musicians will take over six city blocks for 150 performances electrifying our little riverfront capital.

The other act I'm especially excited to see is Michael Franti and Spearhead who make their Harvest debut.this year.  "Say Hey (I Love You)" is actually my warm-up song for my morning jog along the city's waterfront.  I can't even imagine the energy they'll bring to a live show in the Alexander Keith's Blues Tent.

We'll have to wait until September to experience the live event but until then here's a small sampling of what Harvest go-ers are in for!  And don't forget tickets go on sale on Saturday!

Harvest Jazz & Blues 2013 by Heather Allaby on Grooveshark

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

may day! 10 commandments for rescuing myself

And just like that it's May.  I don't often get confessional on this blog so let me just say that this winter was not my favourite time.  There are a lot of big changes afoot in my life and while there are still a lot of unknowns, I am feeling optimistic.  But it's been a bit of a slog to get to this point.  I always find winter a bit tough.  Add in exhaustion and confusion and I wasn't feeling particularly glad, good or brave. Quite the opposite. I've spent much of April trying to take care of myself.  Over the past month I've come up with 10 commandments. Many of them I learned in 4th grade health class but the fact is they're also the first things that go out the window when I'm stressed.

Thou shalt drink water. Like, lots of it.  When I was a very little girl I used to end up in the hospital hooked up to IV fairly regularly. That's how bad I was at drinking water.   But  that sluggishness?  That headache?  Water is gonna help.   If you want to give your water a little punch skip the artificially sweetened additives and toss in some fruit or veg or herbs.  My favourite is sliced cucumber.  And right now I'm sipping on a glass flavoured with fresh ginger slices.
Thou shalt get moving. Just start. Doesn't matter if you're not a natural athlete.  Just move.  Get off the couch.  I get into a vicious cycle when I'm stressed: I don't feel like doing anything.  So I don't.  And then I feel more sluggish and down.  So go for a walk.  Dance in your kitchen.  Take a yoga class.  Shoot some hoops for the first time since high school.  Just do it.

Thou shalt eat more fruits and vegetables.  Because again stress makes for a vicious cycle - I find myself reaching for processed food with empty calories and little nutritional value, which only makes me feel worse... and then I reach for those same processed easy foods. When I was visiting my parents at Easter I was finally starting to feel like I was on the mend.  And I was overwhelmed by my craving for fruit and raw vegetables.  I used to balk at buying prepped trays of chopped fruit and veg - after all, I should be together enough to chop up broccoli, right? But the fact is, when I'm stressed I'm not.  And if it means the differnece between reaching for  fruit and veg or not, then spend the little extra on the prepped tray.   On a related note: Thou shalt take your vitamins.  Consider it your back-up plan.

Thou shalt get fresh air whenever you can.  I would love to be a winter person; one of those rosy-cheeked people out on the ski hills.  I'm not.  I hibernate.  So now that the weather is getting nice here, I am trying to get outdoors as much as possible.  I'm lucky to live in a city that encourages this behaviour with great trails, parks and a beautiful river.  So I'm choosing picnics on the green over restaurants, catch-up walks with pals instead of coffee whenever I can.

Thou shalt review your emotional investment portfolio.  This can be a tough one.  We all have those people in our lives who are high-risk or low-return when it comes to the emotion, time and energy you invest in them.  And when you're already feeling stressed and vulnerable they can stretch your resources even thinner.  I'm not advocating that you just cut people out of your life (although sometimes that's the hard truth about what needs to happen) but you need to be mindful about who gets your time, energy and attention.  Invest heavily in people who inspire, encourage and refresh you.

Thou shalt clean up your messes. One of my favourite Dorothy Parker quotes is: "It's not the tragedies that kill us, it's the messes."  Both literal and metaphorical.  For me a cluttered house only increases my anxiety.  Don't leave dirty dishes in the sink over night.  Hang up your clothes.  Take the 10 minutes to fix that little household annoyance like a wobbly towel rack that bugs you every time you encounter it.  And same thing in your emotional, financial or professional life.  I believe most of us have the ability to rise to the occasion when we're faced with a  serious crisis, it's the day to day messes that add up and wear us down.  Take a hard look at what you need to clean up and start figuring out how to take action. That one step alone can make you feel better.

Thou shalt make your bed. This was my mom's rule.  No leaving the house with an unmade bed.  If you make your bed you won't come home to sloppiness at the end of a long day.  And you will have made order out of at least one messy thing today.  Also run a comb through your hair and put on some lip gloss.  You'll feel better.

Thou shalt get creative and make things.  Make the time.  This is an important one for me.  Again it can feel like there's no time to do this but taking a few minutes to turn a pile of materials into something lovely always energizes me.  And it's a bonus if I'm making something for someone else.

Thou shalt seek out beauty.    Take half an hour an go to a gallery. Take a different route to work.  Create a little corner in your house that makes you smile.  Post pretty images on your fridge or your bathroom mirror.  Give yourself a few minutes a day to look at pretty things on Pinterest. Plug into Songza and treat your ears to new music.  Look at the sunset.  Look at the stars.  Look at a tree. Just look.  Once you start seeking it you'll start to see it everywhere.

Thou shalt practice gratitude.  Write down things you're thankful for every day. You'll be surprised by what you come up with.  And you'll start to notice things more.

I'm lucky that these self-care habits can help reduce my stress and improve my mood but I also understand that for many people who live with depression or anxiety, lifestyle changes might not be enough. I've never understood why we can't move past the stigma associated with mental health issues.  No one judges a diabetic for needing insulin in addition to healthy eating and exercise - no one expects them to 'buck up' or 'snap of it'  - but for some reason we're only beginning to tear down the misconceptions about mental health.  That's why I'm really excited to be headed to A Day in Her Shoes next week with my mom in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association.   The more we can bring mental health out into the open and the every day, the better!

How do you take care of your mental and physical health? 

Monday, April 8, 2013

bananas! simple dairy-free "ice cream"

Faced with a few over-ripe bananas late last week I was trying to work up the motivation to bake up some banana bread.  But it just seemed like so much effort.  Also I didn't have eggs.  (It's been that kind of month around here - I don't have eggs on hand!).   But then I remembered that I had seen a lot of non-dairy "ice cream" recipes on Pinterest so I browsed and found this super-simple recipe.  I whipped up a batch late Thursday night to the delight of my co-workers on Friday a.m.  It was such a hit that on Saturday I whipped up a second batch for a girls' night potluck.   I was really impressed with how well the consistency turned out - rich and creamy and just like old-school ice cream!

This is the recipe based on 6 bananas but it's super easy to adjust based on what you have on hand - I don't even measure.  And you could tweak flavours etc. for a variety of flavours.   Best part is you don't even need an ice cream maker!

what you need:
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup of canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp agave syrup  or sweetener of your choice (I used maple syrup in the second batch!)
Slice the bananas and freeze for at least an hour.    This is the trick to getting the ice cream consistency as opposed to freezing banana mush, I think. 

Combine frozen bananas and other ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  It will now be the consistency of soft serve.  Transfer to a container and pop in the freezer until frozen.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

happy birthday maya angelou

look sharp(ie)

I didn't really need  another reason to love Sharpies but if you spend any time at all on Pinterest you've probably seen lots of pins about using these pens and markers to transform inexpensive dishes.   I hit up a local dollar store to pick up some white dishes and grabbed a couple of my favourite bronze metallic Sharpies.  Then I got to work.   I just played around with designs not worrying too much about perfection although you could definitely plan out more exact designs!  The result is an inexpensive way to dress up a table. I'm planning a spring birthday party with a tangerine and Tiffany blue palette and these dishes will definitely be making an appearance!

what you need:
  • white oven-safe dishes
  • a Sharpie in the colour of your choice
  • an oven
Wash and dry the dishes thoroughly.  Draw a design of your choice on the dish.  Bake in an 350 degree oven for 30 minutes to set the design. Let cool.  That's it. You've got cute custom dishes!

$10 of dishes get a custom makeover

In terms of caring for your dishes I probably won't put these in the dishwasher and I'm not sure I'd necessarily want to do the design on a surface that comes into contact with food but I haven't actually looked into that.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

easter weekend, grand manan

  With the coming of spring, I am calm again. 

Gustav Mahler

This winter's been a bit gruelling and there are a lot of changes ahead this spring so I was glad to get away for a few days to spend Easter weekend on Grand Manan.  Lots of ocean air, good food,  a little beach-combing, a few walks and many, many hands of this with my mom.  I also got to see my grandfather sing in church on Easter morning.  He turns 90 this year and I think this was probably his singing debut.  A great memory! How did you spend your weekend?

I always sleep really well near the ocean so I'm usually up to catch the sunrise over the cove.

A walk down Shore Road to check out the beaver pond. They've been hard at work already this spring adding a second small dam.
Beach-combing yielded a few treasures.
Easter morning at the Anchorage. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

home again

If you haven't discovered Songza yet I can't express to you how much you are missing!  Not only does it supply you with free streaming playlists (based on your mood, activity or time of day!)  but it's a great way to discover new music.   I'm currently loving British singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka and his album Home Again - such a perfect soothing and uplifting spring soundtrack. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

april, come she will

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.
Pablo Neruda

And just like that, April is here.  This was the first weekend where it felt like spring might actually come (or at least it did until I drove back to Fredericton in freezing rain and snow...)   I spent the long weekend on Grand Manan recharging my batteries after a very long winter.  It was a gorgeous weekend of blue skies, ocean and family.  My mom and I discovered that some little yellow flowers were already poking their heads out.  Surely spring and fresh starts can't be far behind?

How did you spend your long weekend? Did you get out and enjoy some fresh air? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

dine around freddy

Wow! where did the past month go?  Lots of changes coming for me but more on that soon!  One of the big preoccupations over the past month has been eating.  Seriously.   Dine Around Freddy started on the 14th.  For two weeks ten restaurants in Fredericton offer up three course meals at a fixed price of $29.   Eight of the restaurants invited me and writer & chef Karen Pinchin to get a sneak peek - taste? - of their menus.  Luckily Karen and I are also good friends so spending several evenings lingering over three course meals wasn't exactly a chore. (Check out Karen's 10 Commandments of Dine Around)

We felt pretty spoiled and I have to say a big thank you to the restaurants that hosted us.  You can read my restaurant by restaurant posts over at the Fredericton Tourism blog

Thursday, February 14, 2013

ps you have to be brave.

I am currently in the final countdown of a major grant application at work but I had to mark Valentine's Day by sharing this absolutely gorgeous bit of writing I recently read.  

Jeanette Winterson on How We Fall in Love

You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)

And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.
PS You have to be brave.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

warm hearts

If you're a knitter in need of a quick and cute Valentine's Day craft, you have to check out Mary-Heather Cogar's knit heart brooch over on Design*Sponge.  You can knit up one of these in the time it takes you to watch an episode of The Mindy Project (Side note: I'm late to the party on this having ditched TV last summer but Mindy Kaling is basically my imaginary best friend. "Best friend isn't a person. It's a tier.") 

For my brooch I actually sized down to fingering weight and 2.5mm needles.  The first one I knit with the recommended worsted and 3.75mm seemed to large for wearing but made an adorable decoration.  How cute would a garland of these be?

And here's a little adorableness from The Mindy Project.