You Will Love Better #Inthe419

. February 7, 2017.
Local users using #Inthe419 on Instagram.
Local users using #Inthe419 on Instagram.

The bitter might say that Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday, but we don’t care. If 2016 taught us anything, it was the value of the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it”— and if the rule works for politicians, it should apply to holidays.

Our readers selected these cutest couples.
Single? Mingle. In love? Celebrate it. Make Valentine’s Day about who you have, not who you’re missing. If you’re flying solo, spread your wings. Toledo is full of lovebirds.

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Amanda Beaver
and Preston Houston

Development Associate at United Way of Greater Toledo;
Student at St. George’s University, in Toledo, on rotation.

Describe your partner in three words:
(Amanda) Always something new.
(Preston) Independent. Dependable. Compassionate.

How did you meet?
We’ve been together since October of 2014. We found each other on Tinder and went on a date. While we were walking to Ye Olde Durty Bird for drinks after dinner, he asked if I had been in Toledo my whole life and I told him I was originally from Massillon, Ohio. He laughed and told me he was as well! We had gone to rival high schools and he graduated with my step-brother! Instead of being out for an hour, like I had planned, we had a three-hour first date and have been together ever since!

What’s your favorite
Valentine’s Day memory?
We’ve only spent one Valentine’s Day together so far and it will probably be the most memorable. That evening, he said he would make a nice dinner for us, then we could go downtown for a drink. I walked into his apartment to a terrible vinegar and fish smell. Turns out, he had made a “seafood medley” that may or may not have been going bad. I laughed so hard because I had complained about the smell before I realized what it was. He had us eat in the dark so there was no chance I would see it and refuse! Needless to say, we ended up getting food somewhere else later that night. We still laugh about how awful it was!

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Vallie Bowman-English
and Ian English 

Toledo Municipal Clerk of Court;
Judge, Lucas County Common Pleas Court

Describe your relationship with Toledo:
(Vallie) I was born and raised in Toledo. They say home is where the heart is. Toledo is my home and my heart!
(Ian) I was born in Toledo. I proudly attended Toledo Public Schools. I have three degrees from the University of Toledo. I would say that makes me Toledo proud!

Describe your partner in three words:
(Vallie) Resilient. Wise. Compassionate.
(Ian) Crazy. Sexy. Cool.

How did you meet? I was sent to recruit Ian for a scholarship to Ohio Northern, College of Law. He turned down the scholarship, but he later made it up to me by taking me to a Pistons game.

How long have you been together? Together 20 years, married 18 years.

What’s your secret to a successful relationship? Listen. Love. Forgive.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? One year, our church had a Valentine’s retreat at a hotel. We danced the night away at the banquet on Saturday night, then overslept the next morning and missed the Sunday morning church service.

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Tracy Plumb-Ruiz
and Andrew “Roux-eez” Ruiz

Chef/Owner Chef Tracy 419 LLC and Menu Collaborator at
Yer Mom’s House of Eats; 
Soup Ninja at Yer Mom’s House of Eats,
bike delivery personnel for Chef Ruiz on the Go, Toledo Flavors’ spice blender.

Describe your relationship with Toledo:
(Tracy) I am a die-hard “You will do better in Toledo” girl
(Andrew) Toledo is my cool older sister who gave me my first beer and took me to the symphony.

Describe your partner in three words:
(Tracy) Handsome. Talented. Hilarious.
(Andrew) Gregarious. Philanthropic . Stunning.

How did you meet? Culinary school.

What’s your secret to a successful relationship?
Kind, supportive conversations in the most difficult of times.

What’s your favorite way to share a romantic evening?
Going for a bike ride, or to see a movie, then getting ready together to go out to a nice dinner (that someone else cooks) and enjoying a drink, laughing and just being together.

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Amy Jo and George Cole

Nail tech at French Twist Salon; Industrial sales

Describe your relationship with Toledo:
(Amy Jo) I love Toledo! I think it’s the perfect place to raise our family, we have so much fun, and there’s always something to do.
(George) Toledo is my roots! Having lived other places,Toledo pulled me back, and I’m blessed with great friends and family.

Describe your partner in three words:
(Amy Jo) Thoughtful. Funny. Handsome.
(George) Independent. Understanding. My girl.

How did you meet? We met working at the Kroger on Monroe St. I was the salad bar girl and George stocked the shelves. I needed to have a jar of olives opened, and he happened to be at the right place at the right time! Ha! Needless to say, he got it opened, and that led to him asking for my number, in the awkward way of a 16-year-old.

How long have you been together? We will be married 17 years this year, and together 10 before that.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? Valentine’s Day is very simple for us. We do cards, or a fun family meal. I’m pretty lucky, Mr. Cole regularly buys me flowers and he will drop a card off on his lunch break, just because. He makes me feel loved everyday.

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Brook and Max Reddish 

Director of Marketing at The Collaborative Inc.;
Real Estate Agent at Danberry Realtors

Describe your partner in three words:
(Brook) Passionate. Courageous. Handsome.
(Max) Strong. Wise. Beautiful.

How did you meet? On a boat! We met while water skiing the Maumee River on a mutual friend’s boat.

How long have you been together? Three wild and fast years— wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re expecting our first child in July, so watch out Toledo!

What’s your secret to a successful relationship? We try our best to work as a team. Good communication and having each others’ back helps us maintain trust and a bond.

What’s your favorite way to share a romantic evening? We prefer to get out to a place where we don’t know anyone and maybe somewhere we’ve never been before. If there’s good food, music, maybe a pool table or two and some reckless dancing, we’re going to have a good time.

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Karen and Carl Byrd 

Substance Abuse Counselor; Co-Owner of Jamaican Spice Restaurant

Describe your significant other in three words:
(Karen) Ambitious. Giving. Driven.
(Carl) Beautiful. Loving. Smart.

How did you meet? We met at a Jamaican cabaret that my father was promoting.

How long have you been together? We have been together 15 years.

What’s your secret to a successful relationship? Being committed to our relationship and family has been the secret to our success.

What’s your favorite way to share a romantic evening? We set aside alone time together, which may be a quick trip to the Dominican or going on a candlelit dinner date.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day memory? Our favorite Valentine memory is when I proposed to my wife.