Valentine’s Day crept up, didn’t it?? I’m pretty sure it’s in 2 days, and I’m pretty sure I’ve been single the last 847 Valentine’s Days, until this year. Which renders me extra clueless about what people get each other on the sweetest day of the year. I mean, when I was in 4th grade going steady with Gabe Ratliff, I knew what to expect: I would get him nothing, and he would leave the big red heart-shaped box of candy with a Valentine on my desk in the morning before I rolled into Mrs. Wickersham’s class. BANG, done.
23-or-so years later, I don’t think it works this way anymore… I think you hafta reciprocate a little bit. But I DO not think you have to go buck wild, spend a fortune or stress too much over what to get your significant other. I think it’s just a good occasion to show your loved ones some love. So if you’re at a loss for what to do for the guy (or girl) in your life, here are some DIY’s that are just as easy as they are sweet:
1. MAKE HIM BREAKFAST - and put your heart-shaped cookie cutters to good use.
2. MAKE LIKE AN 8TH GRADER AND MAKE HIM AN OLD SCHOOL MIXED TAPE.
You know what songs are personal to you guys – I don’t – but here’s a playlist I may or may not have used on a certain someone who’s name rhymes with Schmatty last year:
To Kingdom Come – Passion Pit | Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding | Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon | West Coast – Coconut Records | Head Over Heels – Tears for Fears | Come As You Are – Nirvana | Little Lion Man – Mumford & Sons | Boys of Summer – Don Henley | Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Bob Dylan | Vultures – John Mayer | Kids – MGMT | Walking On a Dream – Empire of the Sun | Don’t Look Back in Anger – Oasis | Push It – Salt-N-Pepa | Cherry Bomb – John Mellencamp | Regulate – Warren G | Mr. Jones – Counting Crows | California Sunrise – Dirty Gold | Pictures of You – The Cure
…and maybe pepper in some Air Supply, Adele or Ray Lamontagne since it’s V-day & all.
3. MAKE HIM A HOMEMADE – NOT STORE BOUGHT – CARD.
I’m talking, get yourself to CVS and collect some construction paper, rubber cement… maybe even some glitter. I did this once in high school for a boy and after I made it, felt like it was kinda silly and juvenile, and was hiding it under my coat… and one of said-boy’s best buddies (who was normally a REAL pill) saw it and – in a moment of lucidity and kindness – gushed that it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen, and that girls should never stop doing stuff like that, because guys actually do love it. So I’m sticking with Sammy D on this one.
4. MAKE THAT BOY A STEAK.
And don’t fuss too much over trying to make it fancy with bearnaise à la whatever at home. If I’ve learned anything from cooking for my Pops and for Matt, it’s to keep it simple and buy a great cut of meat (I’d go highest quality filet I can find) and use a simple marinade – the flavor of the steak will hold its own. My favorite marinade is this:
I use more like 5 Tablespoons of basil instead of just 1, and toss all that in a mini-food processor, then transfer contents to a Ziploc. Throw your filets in there, zip, smoosh around and make sure they’re good and covered, then refrigerate for a few hours. It’s money, I promise. You can serve with something like a mushroom risotto, and/or some roasted lemon asparagus.
Ah – and getcherself some good vino too. A few that never fail me are Saldo, Stags Leap 2008 Cab, and anything from Cakebread’s baller vineyard.
5. MAKE HIM A DECK O’LOVE. If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen this floating around in a variety of forms. It’s dripping with saccharin, but it’s a pretty cute idea. Click here for DIY instructions.
AS FOR THE LADIES… I think I speak for all of us when I say you fellas can also do ANY of the above, and that would make us pretty happy. Especially the heartfelt gooey stuff. Flowers also do not suck. Ever. I know red roses are the V-day go-to, but if you really wanna rock out and get some extra brownie points, I would try to branch out a bit… in the form of hot pink roses, tulips, or (gasp!) peonies. DesignLoveFest did a good little round-up the other day on unconventional V-day flower choices you can check out here.
Hope that helps! And if you’re single, I say grab a bottle of rosé and go whoop it up with your girlfriends – or boyfriends. There is nothing, and I mean n-o-t-h-i-n-g wrong with being single. Better to be happily single than unhappily attached, if you ask me. Plus, it’s a choice, right? Just like being in a relationship is a choice, so whichever you choose should be relished. Because one day, you won’t get to do whateverthebeepbeep you want, whenever you want to do it. You’ll wake up to a toddler jumping up and down on your head at 6am… you’ll have other people to consider… and that’s great too, except it probably means you won’t be able to watch The Bodyguard with a face mask on and one hand down your pants while you pound frosted sugar cookies with the other hand. In peace. So whatever your sitch is this year, I say celebrate it and be glad to be where you are. There’s good stuff everywhere.
Happy early Heart Day!