Valentine’s Day ideas

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be an ever-present anxiety in the back of your mind all February long. With some thoughtful planning and effort you can turn it into an unforgettable night for you and your loved one. Below, The Brock Press staff has compiled suggestions as unique as you are, ranging from tips for anti-social couples, to those looking for more cost-effective ideas for romance. Enjoy, and have a happy V-Day!

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Valentine’s Day certainly isn’t everyone’s favourite day of the year. As much as the holiday is accompanied by the romantic ambience of heart-shaped boxes, red roses and all of the atrociously adorable Instagram posts that come along with them (#ThanksBae), it’s also accompanied by resentment. The bitter eye rolls and scoffs of those who see the day as nothing more than a tacky, commercialized excuse to give and receive gifts, and of course, by those who may not have a significant other with which to spend the day.

Frankly, I think this is a terrible attitude to have towards Valentine’s Day. Yes, we get it; Valentine’s Day is immersed in a consumer culture where the cinnamon hearts and stuffed-animals covered in gaudy pink and red hearts are put out onto the shelves as soon as the Santa-wrapped chocolates are marked down. However, you shouldn’t use your relationship status as an excuse to despise the day. Yes, right now your future spouse is probably out frantically searching for their current beau’s V-Day gift, but until this mysterious stranger accidentally knocks your books out of your hands in the Learning Commons and the two of you fall hopelessly in love, enjoy Valentine’s Day 2015 in all of your single glory.

This day isn’t limited to expressing romantic affection, nor should it be. It’s the perfect day to celebrate all of the people in your life that you care for whether it’s family or friends. Celebrate the way Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation does with Galentine’s Day, and have all of your gal pals over for wine and appetizers. There’s nothing better than spending an evening in the company of all your besties whom you love so dearly. Same goes for all the independent men out there: wine and apps for everyone.

One way to make the most of Valentine’s Day is to take the time to actually write out cards for all of the people that mean the most to you. It’s not juvenile when you take the time to let people know they’re important to you. It’s fun at any age and the recipient will really appreciative (a bag of candy stapled to the card is still recommended).

Last but not least… Fifty Shades of Grey will be out on Valentine’s Day, so I mean, you know, there’s that. Go enjoy it with all of your single friends. It looks like it might be a good comedy.

Just remember, being single isn’t an excuse to hate Valentine’s Day. If anything, appreciate how cute the idea is and just embrace it and always remember that you are a beautiful, independent unicorn, and you’re going to be okay, pal. Much love.

– Celia Carr

Heart_AntisocialThe collective boyfriends and girlfriends of the world are forced to scramble each and every Valentine’s Day for an idea that will please their significant other. Many fight the lines at steakhouses and bars, others fill the movie theatres for romantic time “alone”. That being said, there’s no use in spending a whole lot of money and going through a period of unequalled stress for something that your partner won’t enjoy.

If you’ve got a more antisocial relationship, the type that goes on double dates with Frank Underwood and Piper Chapman courtesy of their chaperone, Netflix, don’t concern yourself with the public spectacle of V-day.

Cooking your significant other a special dinner will make sure that you are able to spend plenty of time together within a calm, safe and intimate environment. That is, unless your single roommates are home. If you plan on cooking, then don’t be afraid to splurge a little bit — the ingredients Avondale offers in its frozen food section probably won’t do. It would still be a lot cheaper than going to a fancy restaurant, so at least give your significant other a break from the mac ‘n’ cheese he or she has eaten perpetually throughout their undergrad.

Furthermore, you don’t need a gift that your significant other can “show off” if they’re the quiet type, so make sure that whatever you give them is hand made. It can be as personal and creative as your imagination allows, and try your best to make it reflect how you feel about them. A painting of your favourite character from The Walking Dead is nice, but maybe you should stick to something that puts the focus on him or her.

If the V-day night life scene doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. So lock the door, board up the windows, and focus on the relationship. Of course, if all else fails, a novel by their favourite author and a kitten will probably work for any hermit out there.

– Steve Nadon

Heart_cheapEvery February presents a time for guys and girls to show their appreciation, love, and warmth for that special person in their life. As students, most people are still broke from the Christmas holidays, and want to do something nice for their loved one, while trying to accomplish it at a relatively low price. Here are three ways you can do that:

1) Go skating, followed by dessert: Take advantage of the cold wintery Valentine’s Day that we always have here in Canada, and go to one of the many ice rinks around for a leisure skate, followed by a romantic dessert.

2) Renting a lodge: Head out on a mini road trip for a couple hours north of Toronto and rent a lodge for a night. There’s plenty of romantic places to choose from where you can relax, and stay cozy by a fire. Some even include private outdoor hot tubs, and ski resorts within a few minutes drive.

3) Dinner and roses: The last option is the cheapest choice, yet still a very effective arrangement. Pick a restaurant that you know the special person in your life would appreciate, and go out for a nice dinner to spend time together. Bringing roses for the person that means the most to you can always be that little extra something to put a smile on their face. Overall, Valentine’s Day is a day celebrated on the calender when you can express all of your love for that very special person in your life, but it easily can be done without an outrageous price tag.

– Justin Bregman

 

Heart_SWEEEEEEEETIs there such a thing in the world that combines warmth, comfort, delight, sweetness and beauty into something that screams perfection? In a word, yes – chocolate!

Whether it’s Hershey Kisses wrapped in red, pink or white foil, white chocolate cheesecake with an Oreo cookie bottom, chocolate covered strawberries or perhaps even chocolate dipped chocolate truffles (for twice the decadence), it’s as if Valentine’s Day was made for the many chocolate lovers out there.

The valuable trick to giving the gift of chocolate this year is that it’s not solely reserved for your romantic partner. It’s as easy as bringing a bowl to the office and filling it to the brim with Valentine’s Day Smarties boxes or buying your mother a heart-shaped box with those fancy chocolates filled with nuts and caramel, just to remind her that you love her—even though you know you should call more often.

Even more so, it’s fun to experiment in the kitchen with a baking favourite. Chocolate chip cookies are traditional and familiar, but surprising your friend or significant other with red velvet cookies with white chocolate chips will surely take this holiday up a notch.

Valentine’s Day should be celebrated in the way that we recognize and appreciate each of our relationships, be it romantic, platonic, familial or professional. What better way to demonstrate this than by giving these people the one of the sweetest desserts out there? But then again, nothing can make you sweeter than you already are!

– Cate Talaue

heart_wineAlthough I’m a huge fan of home-cooked meals with ingredients sought out from the heart, there’s just something about discovering new lounges, bars and restaurants that heighten the senses. Whether it’s through the rich, savoury scent of garlic sautéed in olive oil, the swish of cabernet sauvignon against your glass or the decadent glaze atop your crème brûlée — it’s about experiencing culinary magic with that special someone or significant other.

If the thought of having your dinner date amidst mediocre, over-priced meals, lack of undivided attention from your server, and expected high gratuity is unappealing, book your “Valentine’s Day” dinner close to, but not on Feb.14, which unfortunately, also happens to fall on a hectic Saturday this year.

As a self-proclaimed foodie who excitedly ventures out to new eateries in the big city, and our province’s Capitol almost every weekend, I also frequent a few of my favourite small-town gems in St. Catharines that are surely worthy of you and your Valentine:

Thai: Spicy Thai, Sahla Thai, Green Lotus, Chang Noi and Tôi. They’re all in or relatively close to the downtown area. Surround yourselves in a calm and relaxing Oriental ambience with reasonably priced, authentic Bangkok street food.

Sushi: Wind, East, Seasons, Sushi Ai, Raw Fish and Sakura. All of these with the exception of the latter are your typical, AYCE (all-you-can-eat), iPad-driven sushi joints. Amazing food to satisfy all your salmon sashimi and spicy tempura roll cravings.

Italian: Coppola’s, Lita Linguine’s, Johnny Rocco’s, Big Marco’s and La Scala. Calamari fritti, insalata caprese, gorgonzola or risotto — whatever your choice will be perfection-on-a-plate.

Casual: Merchant Ale House is a great choice for the couple that wants a low-key but nonetheless great dining experience. Equipped with a buzzy vibe, excellent craft beers and unconventional vegan options (their vegan shawarma is fantastic!).

Although I like to advocate local, privately owned businesses as opposed to chains and franchises, the Watermark restaurant atop the Hilton in Niagara Falls offers a breathtaking view one of the wonders of the world, with unparalleled quality and service that’s a bit heavy on the wallet, but sure to impress.

– Sozanny Chea

There’s nothing wrong with being a little traditional this Valentine’s Day. In fact, it just might be the thing he or she really wants this year. As Charles M. Schulz said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt”. In other words, it’s the little things you do for the person you love that really matters. Nothing spectacular or incredibly expensive – some people think and indeed have convinced themselves that money buys happiness, bliss and romance but such people as we know all too well are fools. This Valentine’s Day, try something simple and sweet.

However appealing it is to take your sweetheart out toa $250 dinner for the best seafood and steaks in town, nothing can beat a home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner.

Here are just a few ways you can be conventional, inexpensive but a real romantic for your love this Valentine’s Day.

Find your best suit or dress, play some slow classical music in the background after setting the dinner table; making sure everything is perfectly arranged and set up nicely before you let them in; a couple of inexpensive candles will add a nice touch but an even nicer touch would be a bouquet of yellow and red roses.

What you want to cook for dinner is really up to you, so long as you think it will add to the mood and sweeten the night. Lastly, get him or her a small gift, maybe a box of chocolates or sweetly written letter expressing your affections.

–Stephen Chartrand

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