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Such is the will of Venus
   ('Tis but a cruel joke)
To link unlikely people
Beneath a brazen yoke.



Dear Friends,

From one look at this month's front cover, it's obviously no surprise that we've immersed ourselves in the various aspects of love and romance. Physical/sexual love, lust, romantic fantasies, new love, young love, desires, fetishes, familial love, and love of one's fellow man.

In part we were inspired by Valentine's Day, which has become, at least here in the States, a holiday mostly dreaded. Dreaded by men due to the anxiety that weighs upon them to make sure they buy just the right level of romantic gift. A gift of a household appliance could mean instant death. Here in New York, you see men, faces tight with tension, waiting on long, long lines in flower shops, in expensive chocolate boutiques, and other such lovey shops. The holiday is dreaded by women because of the fear that they may not have a Valentine, or receive a gift or card, or that their significant other may forget, or fall short of expectation. All that stress really helps put everybody in the mood.

Regardless, we decided that it was time to have fun with Valentine's Day, make love a theme for the month (it's a short month after all, even with the leap year), and go with it. In these frigid days (it's been bitterly cold in New York), frivolity is the antidote.

Our cover story is a countdown of the Top10 Hunks from the great state of Texas, and we've also included five runners-up -- so there are 15 men to pleasure your eyes.

Our clothing designer for February is Liz Collins, an innovative creator of some very beautiful and unique designs. Her inspiration comes from romantic tales and visions of women and heroines, and her body sculpting clothes celebrate the female form.

We have two shoe articles this month, and each will appeal to different tastes, and the different aspects of ourselves. We feature the racy and daring Sergio Rossi, the Ferrari of shoe designing, for mega sex appeal. We also feature the French shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, whose whimsical shoes reflect a more sedate sexiness.

Next we asked readers and friends of Fashion Finds to tell us about their first kiss. You will find their reflections funny, poignant, romantic, sad, and wonderfully forever young.

Have you seen the new animated series on the Fox Family Channel called Angela Anaconda? Well, if you haven't, Fashion Finds is introducing you to this marvelous show about a third grader, Angela Anaconda, and her trials and tribulations, her joys and triumphs, in her suburban world of Tapwater Springs. We talk to Angela's creator, Joanna Ferrone, who shows us a little girl's point of view from the inside.

Our Buying Beauty column in this issue tests the prowess of voluminous mascaras. We compare four brands: two drug store lines, and two department store cosmetic lines. Check out which fares best. After all, for the love month, you need extra long lashes to bat at that special someone.

Our intrepid columnist, Kathy Martinez, braved the inclement weather and chose adorable, hip, chic, and cool items from Guess?, Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. Don't miss the fun things you can wear to get noticed.

In our Indulgences column we went all out with luxe delights from L'Occitane, Francois Nars, and Shu Uemura -- all upcoming spring items, by the way, to get you psyched for the nice weather.

What's more romantic than poetry? Please enjoy Dai Crowther's splendid poem Benediction in the Parnassus column.

In our Books You Must Read column, Miss Billings fills up your reading list with lots of romance.

On a more personal note, I'd like to mention that this month I celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary (I was a child bride, of course!). I can't believe so much time has fled since we stood in the living room of our home and exchanged vows, and then went on to celebrate our honeymoon in the magical Venice. I am very blessed to be married to a wonderful, loving, witty, understanding, patient, and so very handsome man. I am very lucky and I am thankful for him every day. I hope for many more decades together. This issue is dedicated to my husband.

All my love to you too, my dear readers, who have contributed always, and even more this month, to the success of this magazine. And again, another welcome to all the new registrants who have joined since the beginning of the year.

Blessings and joy,

Our Venetian puto by Dan Cooper.
Heart paintings by Clare S. Goodman.
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