Your life has been hectic and you realize no one made dinner reservations for that special day. You know, the dinner/chocolates/cards and lingerie which turns out to be you, over-stuffing your face and taking a rain-cheque on that sexy one piece you’ve had stored for the “right time” because you’re too full to do the “deed”. Ahem.
The only thing left on OpenTable is the corner taco joint with $4 beer specials which may be great for Any. Other. Occasion. Than. This. One.
Or, perhaps, your babysitter cancelled and your 2 year old is (on most days) adorable but not quite what you were thinking for a romantic date with your man. Maybe you’re saving money to buy in the city (ha!) and spending $300 on one night is not going to happen.
Whatever the case, I have some simple ideas to create a romantic evening in without slaving around the kitchen all day or spending a fortune.
Here are some tips to have a Valentines at home
Start by lowering expectations
I’m not talking about putting in no effort but think about what this day really means. It’s to celebrate love and if you choose to spend Valentine’s at home, that celebration doesn’t have to feel small in the slightest. And, although we should celebrate love every day sometimes we just don’t slow down enough to appreciate it. With that, lower your expectations on what today should be and make it more about appreciating your loved one however you decide to do it.
Bring the Restaurant To You
Dinner is a great time to reconnect. My partner and I love to dine out because we love food but, more importantly, we have great conversations. We communicate without the distractions of cleaning the house, doing laundry or our phones. We sit face to face (or beside each other) and talk. We talk about life, our work, and our ever-changing goals. We talk about trips and things we want to accomplish and (of course) our dogs. Whatever it is. We connect and, therefore, we feel closer.
Take a small table and place it somewhere else in your home. Set it up with candles and make it seem different than the normal spot you eat.
Be it in your living room, a bedroom, or the finished basement; this will give the illusion you are someplace different because you’re not eating at the same ol’ dining table.
There is nothing worse to spoil the mood than wanting to cook a romantic dinner and spending hours slaving in the kitchen. You feel exhausted for cooking all day and have a messy kitchen to clean up. I mean talk about r o m a n t i c.
Instead, opt for take out. Even though restaurants are fully booked, they will still accommodate take-out orders. And, with many companies that offer delivery such as skipthedishes.com and ubereats.com, it’s a no brainer.
Keep the food hot and plate it on real plateware when its ready to eat. In the interim, wrap in tin foil and/or put into the oven that is slightly warm. Go for items that will taste/look good regardless if they’re thrown into a to-go container. In other words, don’t order a steak. Opt for pasta dishes or even delicious quality-made pizza (not from Panago). These items hold up better for longer and, let’s face it, taste delicious the next day.
Set the Tone
We feel with our surroundings. So try and make your home cozy and romantic. How? Well, don’t spend the day cleaning your house like a person gone mad; we don’t want you feeling exhausted and, quite frankly, cranky because you had to pick up clothes off the floor and vacuum. I’m talking dim lighting (which by the way helps hide dirty areas), lit candles and music. Try not to spoil the moment with top 40 (hey we all are guilty of liking it).
Try putting on something more fitted for a fine dining, romantic experience. We are talking jazz, folks. Miles Davies, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday are all good options to amp up the romance.
Lastly, put that phone down. Make a rule that tonight, you leave the phones in another room. Give yourselves the chance to enjoy each other without any distractions.
Plan a Pregame
Dinner shouldn’t be the only thing you do. One of the best parts of going out is having a long time to enjoy each other and what you are doing. So Plan a Pregame.
Arrange a starter like a charcuterie board with some champagne or a cocktail and either talk or play a game.
For example, Texan and I will have candles lit, have a cocktail, munch on some cheese and play a game of crib. No, this does not mean pulling out your Nintendo NES. I’m talking the other old school games; Cards, Scrabble or whatever else. Converse and have fun.
Splurge on the Wine
In my opinion, nothing says special occasion more than splurging on a bottle of wine. For some that could be in the 100’s of dollars, for others, it’s less. It’s not about the cost and more about splurging to your budget. There are plenty of good bottles at various price ranges.
The point is, spend a little extra to make the occasion feel special.
Here are a couple of my favorite wines (in case you are wondering).
- Alesino Brunello di Montalcino 2006 (if you can find it)
- Orin Swift – Papillion Bordeaux Blend – Napa Valley
- Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley
Play the Part
Just because you are celebrating at home, doesn’t mean you can stay in your Lulu’s or Pjs. This is the time to get dolled up. Remember, it’s a date, so you should play your part and get dressed to impress! We all know the better you look the better you feel so don’t be shy, pull out the red lipstick and perfume, ties and sport coats.
Get dressed in different rooms and set a time to “meet” in another area of the house/condo/apartment. This way it feels more like a date and less like you’re getting ready together.
As mentioned, this day is about celebrating love however you end up doing it. Forget the chocolates, forget the gifts – unless you want to 🙂 – and focus on quality time together. At the end of the day, we are all busy but try hard to set time for yourself and each other. Have children? Get a babysitter or set them up with a movie and move your date to another spot in the home. If they’re real little, start your date after their bedtime. Have no time? Pick a couple of the above and make the most of it. Valentine’s at home can be exciting, romantic and fun – I promise. And if all else fails, reschedule your Valentines for the weekend!