The Rockwood Files: 6 sweet favorites for Valentine’s Day

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

The sky is blue, the snow has melted, and the Covid home tests are once again negative. Hallelujah! My family and I have thankfully recovered from the virus, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The only remnant of Covid is a tickling, nagging cough, like respiratory graffiti left behind just to prove it was here. But after getting through this viral kick in the teeth, I’m finally feeling good again and remembering how many things there are to appreciate.

I won’t put my favorite people on this list because you have your own list. Love them well. But here’s a list of six things I’m loving this month. (Keep in mind I’m not compensated in any way to love or mention any of the things on the list. I just like what I like.)

Super immunity: If the news reports I’ve read are accurate, the combination of my vaccinations, booster shot, plus my recent breakthrough case of Covid have left me with so-called “super immunity.” So, I think that means I’m as protected as possible from infections in the near future and also highly unlikely to infect anyone else. Does this give me permission to dance naked and maskless through the aisles of my local Target, breathing in raw air like a daredevil? This might be my one chance to do something wild and reckless. If you see an extra pale woman streaking down the laundry detergent aisle, just avert your eyes and know that super immunity has made me crazy with power.

Hot tea: Over the years, my Minnesota-born husband has turned me into a hot tea snob. Neither one of us drink coffee, which means we’re probably weird, but we do love tea. I think Tom has tried nearly every type and flavor out there, but I’m a girl of simple tastes. Lately, it is a steaming cup of Celestial Seasonings Earl Grey Crème that sits on my desk, soothing the tickly cough mentioned earlier. Try it with honey, and thank me later.

Burt’s Bees Watermelon Lip Balm: I never met a lip balm I didn’t want to try at least once. There’s usually a collection of them at the bottom of my purse, on my desk and beside my bed. But lately I keep coming back to my main squeeze over and over – Burt’s Bees Watermelon Lip Balm. I’m sure it works fine, but I think I’m secretly addicted to the smell and taste, which reminds me of the Hubba Bubba watermelon gum I chewed in the 80’s. Ah, memories.

Voluspa candles: Whether you’re sick or well, there’s something soothing about cozying up next to a candle. I light at least one candle every night when we’re watching television or hanging out in the kitchen. My current favorite is a brand called Voluspa, partly because they smell so good and also because they come in such pretty, embossed glass jars. Once the candle is gone, you can clean it out and re-use it as a small flower vase or a storage container for things like pens or paper clips.

SugarBee apples: My hair stylist gave me a tip to try a certain type of apple called the SugarBee. They are sometimes hard to find at the grocery store but well worth the hunt. They’re crisp, sweet and make the perfect dance partner for peanut butter.

Personal security force: Did I mention I have my own security detail these days? Mac the Goldendoodle and Cooper the Corgi are always nearby, sitting at my home office window in the hopes of seeing a squirrel or a leaf blow by so they can launch into full alert. I’ve explained to them how annoying and distracting this is, but they’re committed to their jobs.

Last week, after snow blanketed our cul-de-sac, I let the dogs out in the front yard, and they immediately started barking and flanked left into the neighbor’s yard. When I went to investigate the threat, I found both of them growling viciously while standing 10 feet away from the snowman the neighbor’s kids had built that morning.

It was a tense standoff, and that snowman never flinched. (When it comes to a staring contest, snowmen are virtually unbeatable.) But our dogs gave that frosty freak the barking of a lifetime. Then they trotted back to our front door, satisfied they had sufficiently warned him not to invade our territory.

From my home to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click hereTo check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.