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Not Another Valentine’s Day

Some alternatives to the usual fare.

Roses, chocolates and Hallmark Cards are standard Valentine’s Day fare. Gifts with a personalized element, however, are all the more significant for impressing that special someone.

Unorthodox flowers can engender a feeling of personal connection that can surpass the passion of red roses.

A love poem doesn’t have to be brilliant, just something your friend will be pleased with"

— Kelly Cherry, Virginia poet laureate

According to Saeeda Scarif, a master petal pusher who owns Saeeda’s Blooming Flowers in Arlington, the appeal of unique flower combinations can garner thoughtful conversation starters.

"You can gear a color scheme to a person’s birthstone. When asked why the flowers are blue instead of red you can explain, because you were born in December," said Scarif.

Roses Aren’t Red

In a twist on traditional red roses, consider getting that special someone flowers that have a more personal touch. Find out the birthstone color of your friend or lover and select the corresponding color scheme. For more information and helpful service visit:saeedasbloomingflowers.com.

Love songs also make for unexpected moments of affection. For the vocally challenged, the Potomac Harmony Chorus offers a cappella quartets who can visit the home or office and serenade a friend or lover.

"When wives or girlfriends send quartets to sing at the work place, we find they make sure to notify the secretary so the whole office listens," said Janell Tuttle, a member of the Capital Quartet and assistant director of the Potomac Harmony Chorus. "Men can be surprised and embarrassed, they don’t know quite what to do."

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Janell Tuttle, Sara Rasmussen, Martha O’Brien and Mary Gleason are singers in the Capital Swing quartet, one of six groups that serenade lovers as part of the Potomac Harmony Chorus Valentine’s Day service. The quartets can visit offices and homes in the capital area. For servicing information visit: potomacharmony.org.

In the 22 years the project has taken place, Tuttle has seen her share of tender moments. "One time a boyfriend proposed in the middle of a song and in front of a crowd. We also sang to a worker at a doggy daycare center and at least one dog sang along."

The gift of words can also take a poetic bent. A well thought love poem could seal the deal on the Feb. 14 day of love.

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According to Virginia’s Poet Laureate Kelly Cherry, would-be scribes must take a few parameters into consideration before writing a love poem. In terms of poetry mechanics, rhyming isn’t necessary yet can work if taken less seriously. As for content, love poetry should be focused less on yourself and more on that special someone.

"Keep it clean, unless you’re a master of subtlety," said Cherry. "To be safe, attach it to a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. A love poem doesn’t have to be brilliant, just something your friend will be pleased with."