Today’s Gift…It’s Not Just Another Day…

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The Gift of Time

 

Just got this from a friend.  It’s a special message that someone in your life will appreciate today.  It could be anyone and today might be exactly the right day to send this to them.  Share it…and don’t forget to share the gift with yourself!!

Click on this Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=nj2ofrX7jAk

Enjoy.

Blooming Flowers…Blooming Hearts

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Hot! Guys, you are about to be the most popular guy of the day!! 

English: Blooming weeds Strangle weed flowers.

Blooming Flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If some of the ladies in your life love flowers, now’s the time to read my blog!  If you follow my extremely simple instructions, I guarantee you will be awarded  substantial WOW! (Winning Over Women) Points–today, right now, not tomorrow, but at this moment!! One of my blog followers sent this to me.  Check this out boys.  Click the below link.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/27920977?title=0&%3bbyline=0&%3bportrait=0href=

Ok, so maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t a lady on earth that wouldn’t love this little video clip.  Take my word for it–send this clip to them and you are in for a great day of appreciation and attention.

Who should you send this to?  The special lady in your life can be your Mom, wife, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, executive assistant, secretary, neighbor, friend or new or old flame.  Don’t be afraid–just send it to anyone you want.  It’ll brighten their day and brighten your status in their lives.  Guaranteed.

And if you want to get some at-a-boys, applauds and serious appreciation from your guy friends, tell them to check out this post on http://hotcookingguys.com.  Otherwise, they will be catching up to you for the next week.

It’s pathetically simple guys!  Just do ONE of the following options: Send the ladies in your life:

1.  The link to this post.

2.  The link to this blog with a note to check out the “Blooming Flowers…Blooming Hearts” post

3.  Copy and paste the following link to an email and send it to her.

Hot! Guys, if you really want to make some serious Bonus WOW! Points, send them a personalized note to them when you do one of the above tasks.  Oh! and if you brought home REAL flowers tonight as a surprise, who knows what could happen!!  It might be more than just dinner!  Yesssss!

Have some fun with this guys.  It’ll be a great day.  And I’ll bet the ladies in your life will pass this onto others who will love them for it.

Nymphaea spp. from the San Francisco Conservat...

Nymphaea from the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Romancing the Ride…

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Since beginning this Backroads Tour, I’ve been writing this blog to record some of the daily discoveries on the journey. With this final post, I hope to reflect on a few of the bigger thoughts and impressions with which I return home.

Alaska is a very large place. I remember thinking that the last time I was here. But having ridden 350 miles of it in the saddle of a bike, the thing that now strikes me is less about the bigness of it, and more about the scale of this State. The mountains, the glaciers, the rivers, the waterfalls, the seas, the animals, fish and birds are all on a grander scale than we have in the lower 49 States. Alaska covers more than 663,000 sq miles. Pennsylvania covers 46,000, 14 times smaller. The climbs were long and arduous; the descents long and frightening at times. I just felt smaller, less significant, more vulnerable. I seemed to respect my smallness a lot more there than at home.

The Alaskan environment presents extremes on a daily basis. The rain was harsh, cold and steady. The dreary days are really, really dreary. The sun likes to hide in Alaska–everyone knows it goes into hibernation for several months in the winter. And even in the summer it plays hide-and-seek with the mountains and clouds, never out for more than a few hopeful moments. But when it shines, it makes everything superbly beautiful. The shadows against the mountains, its crevasses and the way it lights up the river valleys and waterfalls is breathtaking. The high probability od experiencing these extremes makes every day an adventure in Alaska. More so than anywhere else I’ve traveled thus far. I’m sure there are other places like this on earth, but Alaska is in the top 5 in the category of dealing with extremes. The upshot is I never went on a ride without over-preparing, ready for just about anything, and sometimes that wasn’t even enough to keep safe from the rapidly changing elements.

Not surprisingly, the residents of Alaska are also prone to extremes. They all seem to drive pick-up trucks. They drive incredibly fast. They bear the weight of some of the most dangerous, life-threatening jobs in the world. And their play time is also hard and even life threatening. One night we listened to the story of a female “musher” who completed her first Iditirod a few years ago. Unbelievable what she went through, just to finish. What I loved was that the majority of the people we met were honest, hard working, unpretentious and forthright. One day, Mary ran out of water while riding. The signal for the SAG van to,stop was to put your left arm out. When Mary put her arm out a passing car stopped and offered her bottled water. A complete stranger. These are the kinds of people you would want at your side if you were in trouble or needed a hand. I hope to,be more like that now that I’m home.

Mother Nature can be pretty cranky in Alaska. There was an earthquake our last night in the hotel. Didn’t last long, but I’m told they have them nearly every day. The mosquitos are absurdly abundant and everywhere. They bite like hell and the itch lasts for days. Snow is always present, always moving in the form of icy glaciers or rapidly moving snow melt. The bears show up at any time, any place. It is very hard to control your personal environment in Alaska. I felt vulnerable to some aspect of the environment every day I was there. And frankly, all the preparations in the world may not make a difference in some situations. But, I learned to pay attention and be keenly aware of my environment every minute–taking nothing for granted.

I’m a decent bicyclist in the flats and on rolling hills, but on the steeper ascents, I’m slow. Some of that is age; some is training, or lack thereof, and some of it is acceptance of my limitations. I honestly appreciate how much some of my riding buddies are willing to suffer to climb steep hills. And I used to try to emulate them. The fact is, I love riding, and I’m determined to climb the steeps even if it kills me. But my ego can now handle having to stop to take a breather half way up, or every 200 yards if needed, to tackle the big ones. My intense competitiveness is beginning to give way to a little maturity, enjoying my challenges a lot more, regretting outcomes a lot less.

Alaskans drive fast, very fast. All the time. Nearly every pick-up truck in the world begins its life in Alaska. They all have at least one. Every pick-up truck comes with a trailer pulling ATVs, or I’m guessing snowmobiles in winter. And they drive fast. In 350 miles of cycling, I saw exactly one speed limit sign. Alaska is a rugged and untamed land, still a frontier in many ways. We are so lucky other people like to live there. It would be hard.

By Thursday, many parts of my body were seriously hurting. I felt my quads, glutes, hamstrings and sitz bones as if they were sitting on the surface of my skin. Somehow though I felt alive, really alive. The fact is many people spend an entire lifetime without testing the limits of their bodies. They’ve never felt the pain that comes from the rawness of stretching personal limits until it hurts and stings. It’s crazy, but all that testing of boundaries and the accompanying pain produces an opportunity to discover the kind of character you are capable of. It also makes life richer. Not everyone likes riding, but every one should have something that stretches their bodily limits. It reminds them what it is to be alive. This past week, I was truly alive and well, even though a few body parts didn’t agree.

The only true failure in life is not trying. Taking risk is a necessary ingredient to feeling our life has had meaning, because without risk there is very little reward or personal growth. Those that take risk and fail are forced to learn how to manage disappointment in a healthy and growing manner. Last year I didn’t fail to conquer the Tour of Colorado, I just didn’t try because I didn’t know how to handle the possibility that I might fail. My trip to Alaska was in many respects a redemption of that failure to try last year.

Well, that’s it for this adventure. I’ve attached a few more pics to wrap up the story. Hope out enjoyed the ride as much as I did.

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An Affair To Remember

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This past Monday I was introduced to a beautiful and spritely lady. I only barely knew her, but immediately was attracted. After only a day of getting to know each other, we became best of friends. By the second day we were having an affair that began to create memories for a lifetime. On the afternoon of the fourth day, I was beginning to feel guilty about my increasing desire to take her home. And today, I’m not with her, feeling an unexpected emptiness.

By now I have your attention, and certainly Kathy is glued to the computer screen. Fortunately, I’m not prone to the thrills of human affairs–I only have them with the bikes I ride.

Of course, I’m referring to the Specialized S-Works Roubais bicycle I’ve been riding all week. The bike was an optional upgrade for the Backroads Tour we were taking in Alaska. They promised a special experience and indeed it was.

You’ve seen pictures of it in some of my earlier posts, but I’ve included a few more portraits of her in this one. Isn’t she gorgeous?

She’s has a lightweight and sleek monocoque carbon body (frame), with a full Shimano carbon Durace cockpit (brakes and drive train). She has compact gearing to keep her in smooth and steady stride. While her legs are of steel for strong support, she has accessorized them with carbon spoking for ease of spinning and aerodynamic effectiveness. She purchased a special pair of shoes (tires) that made sure her ride was secure on all kinds of surfaces: dry, wet or rough.

She invited me to attach the pedals I brought from home, clip in, and get in the saddle, letting me know it would be special. Her arms (dropbars) are perfectly shaped: a thin, flat profile of carbon to make our bond soft and pleasurable.

And when we’re finally engaged in the saddle and moving under my first pedal strokes, she lets me know she is built for speed and thrilling performance, but willing and able to provide comfort and security for the long, adventurous days she has planned for us. She is as excited to get started as I am.

Beautifully draped in a gown of reds, whites and black, her makeup is impeccably applied. On her arms and hands she is wearing black with white speckled gloves (bar tape), attractive and comfortable to hold. She is beautiful to behold, but ready for adventure. I’ve been proud to be seen with her, honored she chose me to share this week, and privileged to be bonded as we explored Her Alaska.

We have had a wondrous affair. I’ve unconditionally loved our journey, gliding through every pedal stroke. I’ve looked forward to our morning coffee, preparations and planning for that days adventure. She was always waiting and ready, never shy about the rain, cold or rough terrain we might face. When we got to a steep incline, she gave her all, lending her lightweight and confident attitude to the task. Whenever I got a little nervous on a long, steep and fast downhill, or when we ran into unexpected rough road surfaces, she reached up and touched me, letting me know everything was OK.

We’ve experienced some beautiful sights and sounds along the way, and enjoyed all that this vast Alaska has to offer. We stopped to take water and food, and to capture pictures to brighten our memories. We rode with others just like her, but none were as artful or beautiful as my Alaskan Princess. Other times, we rode in solitude, deep in the appreciation of how special it was to just be alone, but together. Alaska would not have been the same experience without her. My Princess has made it unique and special: fun, exciting and comforting, all at once.

I invited her to come home with me. No, that is not possible. She reminds me it can only be a summer affair, and as lovely as it has been, it was only ever meant to be for just this week. She tells me how special it has been–that I’ve handled her well, with love, care and respect. But next week she tells me, will be another to share her journey. I just hope he appreciates her as much as I have.

Tomorrow will be our final date, and it will be too short. I will cherish those last few adventurous miles. At the end, I’ll say goodbye to a dear friend that helped create a lifetime of memories along nearly 350 miles of Alaskan wilderness. I will thank her for the journey, and tell her it was an experience of a lifetime.

On Monday, I’ll be back in the saddle of my dearest friend of all–RedRage, my Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3. I’ll confess my affair and she will be curious. She will ask about my adventures in Alaska, and I will tell them. She’ll remind me there is always something romantic about witnessing the world through the eyes of a bicycle, and that she understands how I might get distracted by another along the way.

When I’m done, she will gently remind me of the many years and thousands of miles we have ventured together. She’ll remind me she was my first love, that our memories have no boundaries, that she’ll always be there for me. I will reinstall the pedals that have connected us for all this time. We will re-settle into our comfortable relationship that will soon dim the sparkle I had for Alaskan Princess. She knows I sometimes stray, but always come home to her.

By the time we have completed a few miles on our morning ride, she will have forgiven me for having An Affair to Remember.

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“What Comes From the Heart, Goes to the Heart”

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Heart-shaped cloud

What Comes From The Heart, Goes To The Heart“.  This is one of my favorite quotes.  It comes from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an mid-18th century English poet, romantic and literary philosopher.

In nine simple words it conveys how our best relationships will be touched by a circular connection that is at once intangibly romantic and simultaneously grounded by a positive attitude about how the relationship should be respected, understood, and governed.   It signals there is something special and compassionate between and among the people in a relationship, because it explicitly implies those in the relationship have agreed they are better off together and in the relationship, than they would be apart from it. 

It’s amazing how such a short phrase can so clearly message how we should behave and act towards each other to protect, nurture and grow a relationship.

Here’s a personal story that exemplifies “what comes from the heart, goes to the heart”. 

Garlicky Stuffed Bluefish Drenched In White Wine.

When my daughter was about 7 and my son about 5, we lived in Westport, CT where bluefish was inexpensive and available all year-long.  My kids have never been fussy eaters and they loved bluefish, even though it’s a dark, oily, ‘fishy’ tasting fish.  While Kathy normally prepared it, I volunteered to do it this one night because she had been busy with the kids that day.

Westport

At the time, I was still a rookie cook learning the boundaries of reasonable variation from a recipe.   I   remember thinking that if 2 cloves of garlic were good in the recipe, 6 cloves would be even better.  I love garlic.  I also substituted white wine for the fish stock to moisten the stuffing.  I assumed this  variation would ‘cut’ the oil in the fish, making it sweeter and less fishy tasting.  Funny how at the time those sounded like such great ideas, yet today I would think they were about the dumbest ideas ever. 

When the fish came out of the oven, I opened the packet.  I remember thinking it smelled a little more garlicky than I had expected, but it looked great and the fish was cooked perfectly.  I placed a portion of the fish and vegetables on four plates, called everyone to the table and proudly served our favorite family dinner.  I remember wondering if anyone would notice the strong aroma of garlic in the kitchen.

Kathy came into the kitchen and immediately turned the exhaust fan on.  That was the first sign of a problem. 

We all sat down and began to eat.  When I took my first taste, I was immediately disappointed because it was nowhere near as good as Kathy’s.  The stuffing was soggy, reeked of raw garlic, and the wine had overpowered the entire dish.  All I could taste was the acidity in the wine and a double kick of rawness from the garlic.  Of course, I was too proud to admit we had a disaster on the table [remember, I’m Italian], and assumed the peanut gallery would start chirping at any moment.  Bewildering as it was, Kathy and the kids were quietly eating what had to be the worst thing ever served in our home.  But I caught Kathy nodding her head a couple of times to the kids, as if saying:  “Don’t say anything!  Not a word.”

Kathy knew how sensitive I was about my evolving cooking skills, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t want this total failure to discourage me.  She also knew I had prepared the fish “from the heart” because I was trying to give her a break that day.  So she was simultaneously suffering through the meal, and silently managing the kids reaction to this awful meal, mainly to protect me from embarrassment and heckling from the kids. 

I knew something was ‘fishy’ (pun intended) when Kathy and my daughter began having a discussion about school, which was not in session at the time.  I was just about to admit failure and suggest it wasn’t too late to call in Chinese, when all of a sudden, my innocent and totally honest 5-year-old son blurted out, “Mom, I think Daddy’s fish is not feeling good.  Should we take it to the hospital?” 

Well, that unleashed the dog from the chain, and all of us began laughing uncontrollably.  And the comments began fly.  “Dad, this is the worst fish we’ve ever had!  This stuffing is awful.  What did you do?” came from my daughter.  My son was sticking to his assessment that the fish was sick and needed a doctor, which made us laugh all the more!  Apparently, Kathy’s silent management of my son hadn’t worked so well, and his ‘from the heart’ innocence had called me out as only a 5-year-old can.  And of course he was right, the fish needed emergency transport to the garbage disposal. 

Anyway, we ended up having breakfast for dinner that night—cereal, fruit and milk.  And we laughed and joked about Daddy’s cooking disaster and my son’s hospital comment at every meal that week.   To this day, when one of my cooking efforts goes sideways, the family always tells me nothing will ever be as bad as that Garlicky Stuffed Bluefish Drenched in White Wine back in Westport, CT.   And my son asks if we should call the hospital.  Some quotes never go away in a family.

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember apologizing to Kathy and the kids for the spoiled fish dinner, and promised to make it up to them the next weekend.  I’ll never forget what Kathy said: “Honey, I loved your fish tonight because it came from your heart, and anything coming from your heart tastes good to me.”  Nevertheless, I was crestfallen by the colossal failure of my attempt to cook our family’s favorite dinner. 

Later that night, I made my rounds to say good night to the kids.  They had obviously talked with their mother before going to their rooms.  When I reached down to kiss them, they both wrapped their little arms around my neck and told me my cooking wasn’t perfect yet, but I was already a perfect Dad.  And they made me promise to be careful with the garlic and wine in the future!! 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that night many times. Life is full of imperfectly executed recipes because people are not perfect.  I’ve messed up several dinners over the years, and as a human being, I have several flaws just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults – and choosing to celebrate our differences and flaws—is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

In the context of this blog, you may assume I am trying to set a good example for you.  Therefore, I will urge you to say and do only things that are intended to  cause a positive and compassionate reaction from the people around you.   I will try to not suggest acts that could be interpreted as emanating from self -interest or hurtful sentiments.  I will also assume you will be all about creating the confidence that you will consistently behave that way as often as possible.  I will not be perfect in any of this, but I will try hard to achieve improvement on the journey.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

What comes from the heart, goes to the heart”.   What this quote says most to me is that no matter what you do or say, the special lady in your life will gracefully forgive your mistakes and miscues as long as they come from your heart, with an intention to please and from a caring attitude.  If you can remember this quote and live it, I guarantee you will have a long-lasting, loving, caring and respectful relationship with a soul mate that thinks you are her ONLY Hot! Guy.

Tomatoes, Peaches, Lemons and Heaven

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Peaches (The Presidents of the United States o...

Peaches…one of the goodies in Tuesdays Surprise Fresh Box!

A couple we had dinner with last week informed us they would be out-of-town this week, and unable to pick up and use their weekly fresh food basket from one of the local fresh vegetable cooperatives.  They had told us in the past they had a subscription membership to this cooperative, and we had always wanted to try it out.  So, they invited us to pick it up and use the goodies, and of course we jumped at it!  We had heard our friends talk about the adventure of receiving this weekly surprise basket (it’s actually a box) of goodies every week, because they sometimes got items they hadn’t tried before.  It forced them to figure out what they had and then how to cook it.  Interesting concept.

On Tuesday, I picked up the box and in it was a couple of cucumbers, some mixed butter lettuce varieties in a plastic bag, fresh basil, a small bag of sugar snap peas, two fresh sweet onions with the green tops attached,  a dozen fresh eggs, beet greens (we think), swiss chard (we pretty sure) and 8 small fresh ripe local peaches!  What fun!

We are still making our way through the ingredients, but I immediately latched onto the peaches.  We were heading to the mountains for the July 4th weekend, and I knew there would be farmer roadside vegetable stands full of the early ripening tomatoes.   And I have this very simple salad that is just right for this time of year.  Sure enough, there were plenty of great tomatoes to buy as we made our way to the mountains.

When got to the mountains, we were hungry.  In 15 minutes flat I had this great little salad sitting atop the outside deck table along with some crusty bread, a couple of glasses of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and I ordered up a sunny, beautiful view of the mountains.  Hot! Guys, this is a double doze of Heaven–a great simple salad of two sweet summer treats, ripe and full of taste and I ordered up an absolutely gorgeous view of the mountains.  It just ain’t getting much better than this.  Give this one a shot Guys.  You’ll like it–she’ll love it. 

Fresh Tomatoes and Peaches Simple Salad

 Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Servings: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 medium homegrown or local vine-ripened tomatoes, thick sliced into rounds

    Tomatoes, Peaches Lemon and Heaven–Oh Yeah!!

  • 3 – 4 medium fresh ripe peaches, stone removed, thick sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 sweet (Vidalia) onion, sliced and cut into 2 inch strips (optional)
  • 4 fresh lemons, halved and juice extracted
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • Really good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 – 8 large fresh basil leaves, rolled together and sliced (chiffonade).
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 ounces fresh soft cheese (buffalo mozzarella, Brie, Danish Blue, goat cheese)’ cut into 1 ounce portions
  • French banquette, sliced

Directions:

1. On individual serving plates, arrange tomatoes and peaches in alternating, overlapping layers.

2. Top with a few sweet onion strips, if using.

3. In small bowl combine the lemon juice and sugar to mix well. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture over each portion.

4. Drizzle olive oil over each portion.

5. Sprinkle with sea salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper.

6. Distribute basil strips among each plate.

7. Place 1 ounce of cheese on each plate.

8. Serve with French banquette slices.

Notes:

A. Guys, this is one of those recipes where ‘less is more’. Don’t try to do too much. Keep it simple. I’ve served this with just the tomatoes and the peaches, lemon and EVOO and it’s Fantastic! If the tomatoes and peaches are sweet and ripe. B. Don’t try this if the peaches are not ripe, sweet and fresh because it becomes a tasteless grainy mish mash. C. Serve this with any main course or as a nice luncheon salad with some crusty French or Italian bread and a glass of Sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio. Amazing!

Source:Lou’s Hot! Guys Collection

Another Presentation…Don’t You Love the Plates?

Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

The Top Secret Hottest! Date Ever!

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Ok Hot Guys, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.   In today’s world of high technology gadgetry, romance is frequently  played out in sexting and steamy YouTube minutes.  And to keep things lively and interesting, by all means indulge in those pleasures every now and again.

But, here’s a Top Secret:  most women will never settle for that kind of romance for very long, and its less time than you think!  Yeah Guys, it’s called a ‘relationship’ for a reason.  And take my word for it, Advanced Stage Relationships (ASRs) are a nearly impossible quest using your IPhone or Blackberry. 

Here’ the thing.  ASRs are where you want to be.  When you have an ASR with your lady, you have graduated from the transactional one-date-at-a-time relationship to the rare but valuable position of “trusted” relationship.  Why is this trusted relationship valuable? You know…that’s the place where special perks lie dormant in your lady’s imagination until you have earned that ever so elusive place on her Hot! Guys list–and it’s a very short list indeed.

So you ask?  How do I earn an ASR with my lady?  Bad news, it’s Top Secret! More bad news!  Every lady seems to have a different lock and key to her secret.  The Solution: Hot! Guys need to search for the key by having frequent in-person contact with your lady.

Take hope though.  There are a couple of universal keys to look for.  For example, one thing I know for sure is that an ASR will only grow and develop when it’s not crumbling under the weight of boredom, neglect and the lack of imagination on your part.   Another thing I know is that INTIMACY  (Whoa! A Very Scary Word!) is one of the keys to acquiring the secret.  In fact, I’d go so far as to share that without multiple sessions of talking with her in soft tones in private conversation, the key will be forever in a secret hiding place.  And by ‘talking’ I really mean the Hot! Guy is listening more than talking.  Yeah!  This is really hard stuff!

Therefore, it’s important, really, really important, for you to create imaginative situations where conversation is a main event for the date.  So it’s time for us to venture into the simplest of all ‘cooking’, and turn it into one of the Top Secret Hottest! Date Ever!  You can do this!  I know you can!

It’s called a Picnic!  I don’t know a lady who doesn’t love a picnic, particularly if the Hot! Guy has handled all the preparations, chosen the perfect day, and selected an intimate spot in a park or near a water feature.  And if you make it a surprise, I guarantee you’ll be earning Bonus WOW! Points.

And Hot! Guys, this is a piece of cake.  Just remember the food is not the main event–this is all about getting closer to her heart and gaining some intimacy.  Stay focused on the end game!!

For the ‘cooking’, use your imagination to create a great Menu!!  Stay with me now–I know you’re getting confused but hang in there!!

Go to the local deli, Whole Foods or upscale grocery store and buy 2 or 3 small pieces of ‘romantic’ cheeses like a soft Brie, a piece of Jarlsberg, or a nice chunk of Parmesan-Reggiano.  Buy a few thin slices of really good Parma Prosciutto or Honey-Baked Ham.  On your way over to the produce section to get a mixed selection of berries, grapes or ripe peaches, find some Greek green or Italian black cured olives for the cart.  Next on the list is a fresh-baked French Baguette or loaf of Rustic Italian Bread.  Finally, if you don’t already have them at home (which all Hot! Guys should) buy some Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), a high quality balsamic vinegar and the secret weapon for this picnic–honey.  Stop at the bakery section and look for something sweet you know she’ll love—brownies or chocolate chip cookies are always a hit!! One last thing–and most importantly–buy one YELLOW rose.  Yellow is the color for friendship– trust me –this will be an over the fence home run!

Listen up! Guys.  If your main squeeze is a vegan, not much of the above menu is going to  work.  PS-honey is not vegan.  No problem!  Most stores have a great selection of vegetarian and vegan offerings in their prepared food section.   If she has other food preferences–again  no problem.  Just buy some of her favorite foods, keep it simple and improvise.

On the way home, go to the wine store and pick up a couple bottles of Italian Prosecco.  Don’t worry, it’s not expensive.  It comes in bottles and pops the cork just like champagne.  It’s a sparkling white wine, easy to drink, not high in alcohol and shows you have Hot! Guy imagination and class.

Now go home, get out your cooler to keep the cold things cold and a picnic basket or canvas bag to carry some nice plates (no paper!!) some silverware, a good knife, cutting board and some nice (preferably cloth) napkins.  You’ll need three or four small saucers for the honey, balsamic and olive oil and olives. Come on Hot! Guy…Man up and Just Do It!! Don’t forget a couple of champagne flutes or wine glasses.  Then grab a nice blanket for you and your lady to share, and you are good to go!

Pick up your lady in a clean car or freshly washed bicycle and head out to the selected location to find that special spot.

I know you are proud of your preparations, but don’t pull everything out at once.  Pace yourself. You have all afternoon.

Start with some Prosecco.  Talk a little.  After awhile, pull out some of the cheese and fruit and put out the bread, and saucers of honey, balsamic and olive oil for dipping.  Cheese dipped in honey is an amazing taste, and strawberries dipped in balsamic vinegar is impossible to describe.  Talk (Listen) some more. OOPs, you just answered a call or checked your IPhone—lost some WOW! Points there.  Try a bit harder!!

Now’s the time to pull out the rose, and from your heart, tell her how special this day has been for you, and how much you cherish the friendship you have with her.  If you made it this far, you have put some serious WOW! Points in the bank!! with More yet to come. 

A little later add the meats and olives to the board.  Keep the Prosecco flowing, but only gently.  We are looking for ‘memorable moments’ here, and if she’s ‘tipsy’, she’ll forget about your Top Secret Hottest! Date Ever, and you won’t get the key to her Top Secret either.

Finally, when things are beginning to wind down, pull out the sweets you brought and finish off the last of the Prosecco.  By now the heart has been warmed up but it’s getting a little chilly out there.  If the blanket gets wrapped around the two of you, well…I’m thinking you can take it from here—you Hot! Guy you!!