Happy February, Alpharetta

Attending a cooking school recently at The Swag resort in the Great Smoky Mountains of  Waynesville, NC, I learned NOT to flip a crepe, season from high above the pan and to hold a sharp knife on the blade between my pointer finger and thumb. Chef Bledsoe taught our small and enthusiastic class how to score and sear a duck breast and poach a pear in port. Sous Chef Jake Osburn shared his secrets for piping perfect rosettes of goat cheese mousse. I was inspired to cook all the masterpieces we learned for my family. Someday. Not yet, though. In the meantime, we cook our usual favorite dishes and dine out often. And, why not? We are surrounded by amazing restaurants and chefs. We asked a few to help us pack a picnic for a Valentine’s Day and our associate editor Darce Richardson put it all together. Christy Lee shot the picnic at the historic Mansell House. We love the idea of grabbing take-out food from a favorite restaurant (call the friendly staff at Colletta and get a pizza with fontina, apples, pecorino romano to go!).

Make your own picnic magic (and share a few photos with us on our Facebook page)!

Sean OKeefe Events made some magic for us with his gorgeous tables for two, introducing a new flower delivery club . Readers can subscribe to receive a unique arrangement each month from local floral designer, Marty Helling by visiting SeanOkeefeEvents.com. Atlanta pastry whiz, Shirley Hughes, created the dreamy desserts. She is opening her second location of Sweet Cheats off Franklin Road in Marietta this spring.

In other news, Lifestyle Publications is proud to announce our collaboration with the one and only American Cancer Society, as media sponsor for the upcoming third annual Hope Ball on April 30 at the Delta Flight Museum, honoring our friend, cancer survivor Jeff Wigbels. We’re working on a fun contest to help you win tickets, but encourage you to consider sponsorship opportunities by visiting HopeBall.org.

Here’s hoping your February is full of love and giving.