Valentine's Day tips from a diehard romantic

Valentine's Day tips from a diehard romantic

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays since I am a complete and total romantic. I've loved it since grammar school when we all had to craft little Valentine's Day cards with crayons and drawing paper and then hope and pray that the little boy/girl you had a crush on would accept it.

I know this day also puts a lot of pressure on people trying to decide what to buy, what to do, where to go, etc. I feel their pain. For years, I would fret over these things too and, most of the time, I would screw the entire day up because I was so nervous trying to make it "perfect."

What I've learned as I've become wiser is that it's the little things that matter the most. A dinner will be digested and gone but if you've written a poem, penned a lovely message or just scattered rose petals across the bed, well, this is something that will never be forgotten.

I remember one Valentine's Day, I came downstairs to find sheets of paper leading to the kitchen spelling out "Happy Valentine's Day, I love you so much" from Chuck.  I've saved each and every piece of paper and cherish this memory.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with going big on Valentine's Day. It's just that these days, with the economy crunch, sometimes less is more. So here's my 5 top tips on how to make your Valentine swoon:

1) Be creative--even if you aren't, TRY!  We clip out "Love Is" cartoons from the paper and save them for an appropriate moment.  I've written Chuck poems and he's done the same. Neither one of us is Edna St. Vincent Millay but we sure try!  We've also returned to our favorite little restaurant where we had our first date which made for a very special night.

2) Plan ahead--Restaurants will be packed so maybe it's time to try something completely different! FullSizeRenderRecently, we took a fabulous helicopter ride over the Chicago skyline at sunset on a Chicago Helicopter Experience Tour (CheTours.com). They have a really cool couple's package for $398. (Read about it here)

3) Flowers are always nice....but, how about this cool idea that will last forever? A Waterford crystal rose for only $68! (Available at Bloomingdale's,  Neiman Marcus and online here)

4) Make it personal.  A beautiful card can be found at any Walgreen's but make sure you personalize it. Add your own verse about your loved one, remind him/her of a special shared memory, add a photo of the two of you and glue it inside...and make sure you date it. I have most of the cards Chuck ever gave me, all dated.

Waterford crystal rose

Waterford crystal rose

5) Start a tradition and continue it every Valentine's Day. I love the old fashioned bracelets that held a charm for every special occasion. I cherish the one my mother wore. She had a tiny gold trolley from a trip to San Francisco with my stepdad and a little gold airplane that designated her time working at TWA.  Start your own tradition and continue it every Feb. 14.

I hope your day is special and memorable and that you have a loved one who will appreciate all you do!

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