Ben and I have never been big on Valentine's Day. It falls only two weeks after our anniversary and we aren't usually looking to spend more money on hotels, dinners out, or gifts. However, for all my disdain at that red and pink bonanza that fills grocery stores and websites, I always love coming home to a pretty bouquet of flowers on the coffee table. I thought I'd share a few tips for a low-key, personal Valentine's Day for the couple that doesn't love Valentine's Day!
1. If his love language is liquor, buy him a bottle of his favorite spirit, preferably local! If you're in Portland, I love Bull Run Distilling and their American whiskey and bourbon are in almost every liquor store. I'm also obsessed with Aria Gin. It's likely to convert even non-gin lovers!
2. If he's more motivated by quality time, plan a favorite outdoor activity for Valentine's Day. I know Ben would love it if I'd agree to go on a hike with him out in the Columbia Gorge. Or perhaps an "I promise to play frisbee for over 20 minutes, outside" IOU.
3. If he has a sweet tooth, what about chocolate for him? And not a Whitman sampler or a box of Safeway truffles. In our house, I love salty and Ben loves sweet so we usually have totally different cravings. Ben is obsessed with ultra dark chocolate. In the past, I've gone to a gourmet grocery store and selected about three to five 60-85% cocoa bars (try the local Moonstruck chocolates!) and wrapped them up! It makes for a great tasting panel of different chocolates. This'd work for any sweet or snack - gourmet popcorn, cured meats, cheeses.
1. There's nothing I love coming home to more than a clean apartment. When Ben wants to say sorry (or surprise me), he tidies the house. It takes about 30 minutes to load the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, fold up the blankets, and clear off the coffee table. But it takes all of my stress away. Seriously guys, it's a free, but extremely effective gift!
2. Ben has made me hand-dipped strawberries for most Valentine's Days we've celebrated. Though it's a bit of a Valentine's Day cliche, homemade chocolate dipped strawberries are far beyond any store-bought version. It's also fun to make them together! Here's an easy recipe.
3. My love language happens to be wine and a simple bottle of wine goes a long way in making me feel happy and loved. Pick up a bottle about $5-10 more than your normal price range (for us that'd be a $20-25 bottle) so that you don't break the bank but still make the bottle part of your special occasion. I'd recommend, again, going local. I'd love to try something I haven't had before, like the Evolution bubbly from Sokol Blosser or an Evashem Wood Pinot Noir!
How do you make a day characterized by giant floating mylar balloons, cheap teddy bears, and forced sentiment unique and romantic to you?