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What we really want for Valentine's Day

By Judy Stark, Times Homes and Garden Editor
Published February 9, 2008

An envelope chair backer provides the perfect place to put cards.

You don't have to say you love me

Guys, if you're going to get down on bended knee, no need to proffer a diamond ring; it had better be to scrub the tub. That's according to a survey by S.C. Johnson, makers of cleaning products. To wit:

56% of women ages 35 to 44 would rather have their loved ones dust the house than give them a box of candy.

45% of those women say a clean bathroom beats a bouquet of flowers.

21% would rather have a clean kitchen than a dinner out.

Want to prove your love? Men and women ages 18 to 34 said their significant others can show their hearts are in the right place by ...

- washing dishes, 62 percent

- scrubbing the shower, 54 percent

- cleaning the toilet, 47 percent

Compiled by Times homes and garden editor Judy Stark

Songs from the heart

Consider creating a playlist with these: 

1. Young at Heart, Frank Sinatra

2. Your Cheatin' Heart, Hank Williams

3. Achy Breaky Heart, Billy Ray Cyrus

4. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, Al Green

5. Hungry Heart, Bruce Springsteen

6. You'll Never Get to Heaven If You Break My Heart, Dionne Warwick

7. Heart of Gold, Neil Young

8. Cold, Cold Heart, Hank Williams

9. Heart of Glass, Blondie

10. I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Tony Bennett

Give the right thing


Don't give someone a bouquet of guilt. Lookfor third-party certifications on the cut flowers you buy. They guarantee that flower farms in developing countries (mainly in South America and Africa) comply with stringent U.S. social and environmental standards, including fair wages and protective gear for their workers, most of whom are women. Two labels to look for: FlorVerde (, which covers about half the flower farms in Colombia, producer of 77 percent of the imported flowers sold in the United States; and Fair Trade Certified (, whose flowers are available at online retailers including (order deadline is today) and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM (deadline is 1 p.m. Wednesday).

Al Gore loves these


"Heat Wave," "Sun Shine," "Do Good" ... even the conversation hearts this year seem to be about global warming. The New England Confectionery Co., which manufactures the iconic heart candies, says this year's candy messages "honors Mother Nature and the unpredictability of weather - and relationships." Yeah, right. Maybe "In a Fog" and "Chill Out" are aimed at the presidential candidates. As another of the hearts says, "Get My Drift"?

Isn't it romantic


For $9.95, you can buy carbon offsets to compensate for the auto emissions created by driving to your favorite romantic spot, the electricity emissions used to power your evening and the shipping of chocolates and flowers around the planet. (Even if they are Fair Trade.) BeGreen, a division ofGreen Mountain Energy Co., offers a "Gift of Green" to offset 1 metric ton of carbon emissions by planting three trees in your valentine's name in the Mendocino National Forest near San Francisco. Buy it online at and get a certificate you can present to your special someone.

Hearty appetite


An envelope chair backer provides the perfect place to tuck lacy cards, $14.50. Hugs and kisses plates are $20 for set of four; valentine tumblers, $12 for four. They're all from Pottery Barn Kids, in Old Hyde Park Village, Tampa, or

[Last modified February 8, 2008, 14:07:28]

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