One of the most romantic Valentine’s Day gifts I ever received was in the form of time, effort, and a home cooked meal. Bryan and I had just been dating for less than five months and by the time I arrived home from work, he had snuck into my apartment in Hoboken to prepare a beautiful meal complete with butternut squash soup and a vegetarian risotto. He pulled out my chair, he filled my glass with wine, he gave me a handwritten love letter.
To date, it was one of my favorite gestures—so simple, so meaningful.
I understand the hatred that comes with the most commercialized Hallmark holiday of the year. Believe me. I spent many years alone on the couch with a bucket of ice cream and an endless parade of screaming housewives on Bravo. I WAS the living, breathing stereotype of a single gal jaded by love. And then there were also many February 14ths filled with laughter, drinks, and the best friends and I realized it is always what we make of it. Single? Have at it—go have FUN. In a relationship? Celebrate each other and honor your relationship.
In the spirit of the 14th, I’ve compiled a list of things that are budget-friendly and would be appreciated by the recipient—because these are experience gifts and things you can enjoy together.
- Recreate your first date. Sit at the same table. Order the same food. Walk your significant other through the thoughts that were going through your head when you first met!
- Make a meal at home for your loved one. Bryan and I recently discovered Mochidoki ice cream, which is mochi made from all natural, simple ingredients (the best part? They deliver!). We tried it over the weekend and it is DELICIOUS. Some varieties are heart-shaped, making it the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. I mean, look at this delicious thing! This is salted caramel; look at their full menu here.
- Take your date to a burlesque show! Sexy, sensual, and artistic… This is the kind of date I imagine both men and women would enjoy.
- Afternoon tea! I’ve never even watched an episode of Downton Abbey but I’m obsessed with the idea of getting fancy and going out for tea. Ahem…
- Go to the spa. I can’t imagine there are many people out there who would turn down the opportunity at a massage. If money is an issue, however, find a Groupon OR look for local massage schools where students charge as little as $25 for a full hour!
Though I wouldn’t necessarily suggest going out for dinner on the 14th (unless you don’t mind table flipping and subpar service), getting dolled up every now and then is a treat, too. This picture was taken several years ago when Bryan and I had a fancy dinner at Todd English’s Olives restaurant in the W Hotel in Union Square, NYC. SO so good.
Of course, if flowers are your thing, check out Flowers Fast – they are now offering 10% off orders over $60 (use code 10OffFlowers60) plus same-day delivery. This time? Change it up and order something different—how about some sunflowers?
What are some ways you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Don’t forget to enter the PinkboXstudio sweatshirt giveaway going on now! Good luck 🙂