Valentine's Done Right

Valentine’s Day Done Right

St. Valentine’s Day. Always on Feb. 14 and always involving love, red, chocolates, and flowers. Like it or not, this romantic holiday is right around the corner. Here are some ideas for you and your special someone, whether they are your significant other or even just a friend.

The first step in deciding what kind of date you want to plan, is to reflect on your relationship. Is it you and your gal pals celebrating your love for each other or is it a burning crush on a classmate? Once you have done that, think about the other person’s personality and what they would want to do. If you can’t think of anything, food is always the answer for everything.

Go to their favorite restaurant, but call ahead with a reservation and or a special request.

You could go to this restaurant any other day, however, asking to see if the chef can change a dish slightly or for printed reservation cards would add to the night and show your significant other that you have tricks up your sleeves.

Sometimes eating at home can be even more romantic. Ask your love interest to dress up and to arrive when you wish, just in time for dinner. Since you are not eating out, it is important to create the environment you want.

Candles and flowers on the floor leading to the cloth covered table, your kitchen island, or even your dorm desk can be the basic romantic notes that keep the night singing love. Pre-plan the food. Homemade? Take out? Heart shaped pizza? Maybe the two of you could whip up a meal together. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are master chefs.

We all may not have the money or ability to do a hot air balloon ride with chocolate and champagne, but there are still other avenues. If your partner has an interest in the arts, art galleries can do the job, especially if it’s their favorite kind of art or artist. A private ceramics lesson could also be fun to create something together, besides the fact that you’re basically Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze from Ghost.

For nearby, try some art galleries in Asbury Park or if your tank is full, make your way to the heavily acclaimed Whitney Museum in Manhattan or the interactive Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. For theatre, Papermill Playhouse is known to generate both raw talent and standing-ovation worthy performances.

When going out, the world of romance is your oyster. The options are limitless! If the weather permits this year, a picnic at Weltz Park in Oakhurst or even at Sorrentino Park down the street from campus would be fine. Decorate with balloons of your choosing, make sure to use a tablecloth of some kind, or a vase of flowers and LED lights. More unique ideas include playing classic retro games with your date, or a friend, at Yestercades.

Stop at the local animal shelter to share love with cats or dogs. At the Monmouth County SPCA, the both of you or your group of friends can receive some short training to socialize with these furry animals. Let’s be honest, it is also so heartwarming to see your partner petting an animal.

For more community service inspiration, maybe purchase a meal for a homeless person. It is always great to give back to the community. Another interesting date would be going under the pretense that you and your significant other are an apartment or home seeking couple. Probably recommended for more serious relationships or those who can make the most out of it. Together you can dip your toes into domestic life affairs and spend the day across towns doing something you may never have done.

Consider heading to a local thrift store and put together wacky or rather fashionable outfits under $10 to add a competitive edge to the date. Also, let us not forget our college loans; Groupon is your best friend!

If your boyfriend or girlfriend is far away this time of year, have no fear, long-distance relationships can sometimes be even sweeter than others. Plan their day. Seriously, you already know their schedule and where they are, so plan something cute. Send them an itinerary what to do, what to wear, where to go. Maybe you both clicked together over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; ask them to make and eat one with you as you video chat.

More props if you send them the ingredients to cook a dish or order their favorite takeout meal to them, it is all about what you can do to make the day more romantic and special. Maybe there is a scenic view nearby, ask them to head over in that direction to show you. You can even reach out to their friends to help out with forming a scavenger hunt of love notes from you.

Try to send out a physical Valentine’s Day card in time. Another virtual date idea would be to play video games if you both are gamers or watch a show in sync using the app Maybe start and end your day together with a similar note by watching the sunrise and sunset in each of your surroundings. Part of what makes long distance relationships sweet is the anticipation to be back together, consider brainstorming a bucket list of things you want to do together. Remember, distance makes the heart grow fonder and that the same moon and stars you see each night, are what your love see each night before going to bed. The possibilities are endless!

If you are into simplicity, keeping things low key, can be the key to someone’s heart.

When asked about the basics, “Grabbing a Slurpee to sit at the corner and discuss life” is the answer from junior computer science student Emerson Hidalgo. Knock off a movie from your never-ever ending list or catch a new flick at the theater. Recreating your first date would not only bring back memories of when everything was exciting and sweet but can have both of you reflect on how much as a pair you have grown.

Bookworms, here is one for you; read a book to each other taking turns or even highlight lines that stood out to you and have your significant other read them. Fill out a “How well do you know me?” quiz you each created. Sometimes the basics are all that you need to celebrate the day. It is, after all, just another day with your partner.

Some lovely add-ons to make the day more memorable are to ditch the typical Hallmark’s Valentine’s card, pick out a love letter written by those from the past like Napoleon or lines from Shakespeare’s plays as your card. “We just write each other a letter,” assistant professor in art history Corey Dzenko stated with a smile. If you are a couple who don’t mind a break in routine or are simply adventurous, try or do something new altogether. Make sure to do something tasteful and in tune with your partner.

College students gather round! Head to the dollar store, pick up a deck of cards to create a personalized “52-Things-I-Like-About-You”. Other simple DIYs can be found on Pinterest as well. With even leaving a lovely note in a place they might not expect will always be a pleasant surprise. “Creating a playlist is always good, even for my friends,” sophomore art student Diana Richard recommends. Let it be known, flowers and candles are always a nice touch. And always vocalize your feelings!

Any of these dates and gestures are totally up for grabs for any other day you spend with your love, what makes these suggestions or other ideas of your own is how you customize the date to send love sparks. The thought you put into your significant other will show. Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

PHOTO TAKEN by Campbell Lee