Provisions: Valentine's Day
So. Valentine's Day. This can be a difficult time of year. Single or snatched, the holiday conjures all the feels. Whether you're more "La Vie en Rose" or "Paint it Black" when it comes to February 14th, you'll need to reckon with the day somehow. And the best way out is always through, they say. And hey, haters are a drag. Showing you care about someone or something is a great idea 99.9% of the time.
I suggest you plan a modest, fun few hours for you and your significant other in a way that (1) honors where you're at on the relationship timeline, and (2) doesn't break the bank.
I suggest you ditch anything pink, chocolate, or cherub and plan a modest, fun few hours for you and your significant other in a way that (1) honors where you're at on the relationship timeline, and (2) doesn't break the bank. Mo money, mo problems, ya know?
Stay away from the usual "romantic" meal suggestions out there. Oysters, asparagus, watermelon – strike any ingredient suggestions from Cosmo for sexy-time. Creativity and thoughtfulness are huge turn ons for (most) women.
So here are some no fail approaches (sans grand overtures) and recipe hacks to make it count, however long you’ve been in the game.
So, you just started dating. Maybe it's Facebook official, but things are still pretty new. (I'm starting to feel that fight or flight thing in the belly for you just thinking about the dynamic.) You can't go big (looks smother-y), but you can't do nothing (that's akin to swiping left). Skip a Michelin-starred reservation and casually invite her to your place (clean the bathroom, please) and make a signature cocktail.
No offense to the Old Fashioned, but you don't need to make her one to say, "I like Bourbon, therefore I am man." I will put money on the table that she's never had a former flame make her a Pisco Sour, a drink that at least implies that you know a thing or two about South America, seeing as pisco is Peru and Chile's contribution to the world of liquor.
Take it one step further and whip up this mango-chili riff on a pisco sour. It's spicy, it's sweet... cute, huh? And if egg whites aren't your jam, try something out of the Shake cocktail book. I promise a great ROI.
Whether you're officially living together or still have parts of your closet or bathroom dedicated to your partner's partial tenancy, it's time to step up your breakfast game. And just in time — February lands on a Sunday this year! Start with coffee in bed with some SNL highlights before whipping up a Dutch baby; that is, a light, oven-baked sweet popover pancake served with powdered sugar, maple syrup, lemon, honey, and/or macerated fruit. It's a recipe so easy you'll have it memorized in no time flat.
Breakfast in bed is served. Put on some vinyl and play a few rounds of Rummy.
Go you! You made it legal! You're probably broke as a joke now, so it's time to start saving again. For what, you ask? Maybe a house? A Roth IRA? Bleh. That's all good and important, but Suze Orman says it's ok to be a little irresponsible in the early days *IF* it is building a life you're proud of and that can build you wealth later. (I swear to god! I read it in this book. Suze is a boss.)
So where am I going with all this? Do something a little wild, eh? Resolve to eat cheaply this Valentine's Day (and over the next quarter) to save for your next great adventure. You won't regret the memories you make in these early years.
With that, your prescription for the day is this: a trip to the library to research the entire world. Look for this book if you're the move-your-body types. You'll find solid inspiration here, too. Swing by Costco and purchase a 50-pound bag of jasmine rice ($24.99 at time of this writing) to last you a few months. Remember: frugality is sexy with an end goal.
Feeling called to Southeast Asia? Try your hand at homemade pho for supper to celebrate your intentions.
All coasting from here, right? Not quite. You'll happily scarf and suffer through enchiladas together under the same roof, you've got matching MLB jerseys (go Rockies!), and you're walking out life with your best friend and biggest cheerleader. Your relationship feels cozy, secure, and rich these days. You might even be thinking about the B word: babies. Valentine's Day should be a breeze, right? Doubtful.
Valentine's Day + Married is like the molasses swamp in the Candy Land board game. Along with all those warm, loving feelings you and your partner share, the list has possibly grown longer on the "you always, you never" front. Molasses is delicious but f***ing sticky. Don't. Get. Lazy. This wasn't meant to turn into a self-help column, but seriously — the longer you're on lockdown, the harder you need to work to keep things fresh.
Fresh doesn't have to look like Team Just Starting Out but it does mean conjuring the spontaneity, chivalry, and effort of the early days. My advice: hit the road. Drive somewhere, anywhere! Pack an overnight bag and a toothbrush. Put yourself in the way of beauty. Pick up a couple 40s and fixings for PBJs at a gas station for a simple, soul-satisfying sundowner. Solid, sure, but take that next step (we married ladies love initiative!) and plan for a campfire with some fancy, un-fancy bread on a stick.