Valentine Romance: Alive and Well

Some pessimists will tell you that chivalry is dead, gentlemen have vanished, and romance has one foot in the grave.  It may very well seem like it, sometimes, but Valentine romance, at least, is certainly very alive and well.  You’ll see it a lot over the next few weeks, but it will be especially obvious on Valentine’s Day itself.

What makes Valentine’s Day so romantic?  Well, there’s nothing romantic about the day itself.  In fact, at first glance, it’s so commercialized that there doesn’t seem to be much romance there at all.  What’s romantic about those cheap plastic cupid decorations, the overpriced greeting cards with their sappy poetry, or those candy hearts that taste like chalk?  The trappings of the holiday really don’t amount to much.

It’s what your significant other does, and the personal touches he or she adds, that make the holiday so romantic and perfect.  Sometimes, this means acting like a gentleman by holding the door or pulling out your chair for you.  For others, the romance comes in the little things, the way he holds your hand or the sparkle in his eyes when he looks at you.  Maybe it doesn’t even involve doing anything special—some people can have a very romantic evening staying home, cooking a frozen pizza, and watching TV.  It all depends on what you consider romantic.

Valentine’s Day is the one day out of the year when men pull out all the stops.  They plan a fancy dinner, order flowers, and generally go above and beyond to make you feel special.  From the moment he hands you the single red rose or leads you to the horse-drawn carriage ride around the park, you know the Valentine’s Day romance is still going strong.  Don’t let the pessimists get you down—this Valentine’s will be romantic and special no matter what he plans!

Planning for Valentine’s 2012

It’s February!  That means it’s time to get your Valentine’s Day plans cemented before it’s too late.  In fact, if you’re hoping to score a table at one of the most popular restaurants, it may already be too late.  People have already been making their dinner reservations, and popular places fill up very quickly.  If you haven’t already planned your romantic Valentine’s date, don’t waste any more time.  Follow this helpful list of things to do so you don’t end up taking her to McDonald’s.

First, you need an idea of what you’re doing that evening.  Are you just going out to dinner, or are you going to a concert or other event?  If you’re doing something after dinner, that will affect your schedule.  Plan for at least an hour and a half for dinner and thirty minutes to get from the restaurant to the event location.  Remember that the restaurant is likely to be very busy, and even though they will probably have extra staff on hand, it still may take a bit longer to get your meal.

TO DO:  Make sure reservations now, and buy your tickets for any event you’re attending.

You also need to order your Valentine’s Day flowers soon.  Most women expect roses or their favorite flowers on the 14th.  Even if they don’t expect them, you should still get them flowers.  While florists will do their best to fill every order, they don’t have an infinite supply of flowers.  If you get your order in now, they’ll reserve the flowers you want and deliver the arrangement on Valentine’s Day.  It’s especially crucial that you get your order in early if you want popular flowers like red roses.

TO DO:  Order flowers ASAP for delivery on Valentine’s Day.

The same is also true with gifts.  If you want to get her jewelry, you should be shopping now.  Jewelry stores also often run out of popular items around this time of the year.  Even if all you want is a cute stuffed animal, shop now.  Otherwise, you may find yourself facing empty shelves and a few left-over, ugly little critters as your only options!

TO DO:  Select your Valentine’s Day gift and buy it/put it on reserve.

These are the main things you need to do to make certain your Valentine’s Day goes off without a hitch.  A few other things to consider: what to wear (be sure to let your date know, too); be sure to buy wine and a dessert if you’re going back to your place later; and include traffic in your time-table.

If you still need to order flowers, we can help.  Order now and we’ll deliver your Valentine’s Day flowers in Mclean, VA on the 14th!

Plan a Romantic Weekend

Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year, which means most people will be celebrating on the Saturday or Sunday before.  But instead of picking either the 12th or the 13th to be your Valentine’s Day, why not plan an entire romantic Valentine’s weekend?  This is the perfect opportunity to do something really special for the two of you.

If you have the money, you can get out of town and take a small mini-vacation.  Plan to leave Friday evening or, if you can, take off work on Friday and make it a three day weekend.  You don’t have to go far, but you can if you want.  Booking airline tickets now may not be cheap, but if you fly standby or look for last-minute offers, you might be able to get a really good deal.

Where do you go?  Anywhere!  Well, a weekend get-away to Paris may not be possible, but there are romantic destinations just about anywhere.  Go to the beach, head up to a cabin in the woods, or go to New York City and take in a few shows.  No matter where you go, plan a few romantic activities but give yourself plenty of alone time in your hotel, too.

Another good Valentine’s weekend idea is to go to a bed and breakfast.  B&Bs typically are smaller and more personal than hotels.  It’s almost like spending the night at someone’s house.  You get a cozy bedroom, home-cooked meals, and the chance to make new friends. 

If you don’t want to leave town, that’s fine.  You may want to get a hotel room anyway.  Sometimes, a change of scenery is just what you need to get your romantic weekend off to a good start. 

Hotel rooms can be expensive, though, and it may just not be in the budget.  That’s OK—you can still have a romantic Valentine’s Day weekend at home.  You might want to attend one of the many Valentine’s events going on in your city on Saturday, then plan on Sunday being your cozy, spend-the-day-together day.  On Saturday, do the expensive restaurant dinner before the event.  Then on Sunday, spend the morning lazing around in bed.  For lunch, maybe go to a little café or somewhere special that has meaning to the two of you.  The afternoon might be spent doing an activity you both enjoy or spending time outdoors.  Finally, Sunday evening is the chance for another nice meal or, alternatively, the chance to order in and spend the evening cuddling before it’s back to work on Monday.

Here are a few other things to help turn this weekend into a romantic Valentine’s celebration:

If you have kids, pack them up and send them off to the grandparents or to a friend’s.  This weekend is about focusing on each other, and it’s hard to do that with the kids around.

Turn off the cell phones and put away all work!  This is a vacation of sorts, so don’t let yourself or your spouse spend it working or even checking email. 

Don’t fall into your usual routine.  If you regularly spend Sunday afternoon watching TV, plan something else for this weekend.  It’s supposed to be special, not simply another afternoon watching sports.

Make sure people know you’ve got plans.  If you have a friend who regularly calls and chats on Saturday evening or have usual plans with others, let them all know you’re busy this weekend and will have to reschedule.

Have a good time—this is your Valentine’s Day get-away!  Enjoy it!

And why should you send Valentine flowers on Friday, Saturday or Sunday this year?

1. You’ll set the mood with an early delivery.
2. Let her be the center of attention for the weekend.
3. Show her (and her co-workers) that you thought ahead.
4. Tell her you just couldn’t wait!
5. Rack up the extra points & get $10 off!   (Use promo code VPB on www.MyFlorist.com)

Valentine Events in the DC Metro

With only two weeks before Valentine’s Day, it’s time to really buckle down and get to planning!  Dinner reservations, tickets to events, and even gifts are quickly being claimed, and if you don’t want to be left out in the cold, you need to be getting your Valentine’s Day schedule locked down.  Here are some great events in the DC metro that you might consider.

Chris Botti will be performing at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Valentine’s Day.  He’s one of the top selling American jazz instrumentalists.  Since his debut, he has won a Grammy and released four top selling albums.  If you or your date is a jazz lover, this is a great event to attend.

On the other hand, if opera is more your things, the restaurant Tuscana West has teamed up with the Washington National Opera for the Weekend of Love.  On Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th, various artists will perform love songs, many from popular operas, while guests dine on Tuscana West’s fine entrees.  Reservations are, of course, necessary.

Get wooed at the zoo on February 11.  The National Zoo will offer this free event for couples looking for something a bit different.  During the evening, you and your date will learn about animal mating and reproduction—it’s fun and educational!  In addition to the program, hor d’oeuvres and a free treat are included, plus there will be a cash bar.

There are several different outdoor ice skating rinks in the DC metro, and many will be turned into romantic wonderlands on Valentine’s Day.  After dinner, why not step outside and enjoy skating under the starlight?

Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas for the DC Metro

Plan a Romantic Event for Valentine's Day
Plan a Romantic Event for Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up very quickly.  While it may seem like you have plenty of time to make plans, you really don’t.  This is especially true if you need to make reservations somewhere.  Restaurants often fill up very quickly, while events are sold out days or weeks in advance.  If you need an idea for something to do this Valentine’s Day, here are some events in the DC metro.

Dinner, of course, is always an option.  There are some great restaurants in the area that have Valentine’s Day specials.  Again, you really need to make reservations ahead of time—make them now if you can!  Restaurants in the area having specials include 2941 Restaurant, 701 Restaurant, Bangkok Joe’s, Art and Soul, Bastille, Asia Nine Bar & Lounge, and Bourbon Steak.

If you want to add a little spice to your dinner, you can take a dinner cruise on the Potomac River.  There are several different cruises, including ones on the Spirit of Washington and the Odyssey.

The National Museum of Crime and Punishment may not seem like the ideal place for a romantic date, but their “Crimes of Passion” event is actually geared towards romantic couples.  From February 11 until the 15th, visitors get handcuffed together and then get to explore the different special exhibits exploring crimes of passion.

There are a few concerts going on this year in the DC area, including Valentine’s Day-themed concerts at the Strathmore Music Center and at the Kennedy Center.

For a more interactive event, you and your sweetheart can sign up for the Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts.  This amusing search sends participants into an art museum to search for nudity and answer entertaining questions.  Note that reservations are required.

These are just a few things going on in the DC area this Valentine’s Day.

Last Minute Romantic Valentine Ideas

Valentine Romance
Valentine Romance
You procrastinated when planning a romantic Valentine’s Day this year?   And now all the best restaurants are booked and the limo services aren’t even answering their phones.  It’s not too late.  Order the flowersToday.  Then plan some quality romantic moments for tomorrow.

Here are five great mix and match ideas for saving yourself and enjoying time with your partner.   Keep in mind that you need to plan an experience, add the element of surprise, and, above all, be totally focused on your dearest.

Enjoy a picnic.  Choose the location.  Your living room floor, your backyard, at the park or public garden, anywhere you can spread a blanket will do.  Choose the time.  Breakfast, which might include your bringing a favorite cereal, bowls, spoons and milk.  Lunch, which can be already put together sandwiches and chips on paper plates with soft drinks.  Or you can order takeout from a favorite restaurant for a dinner picnic and include a bottle of wine and wine glasses.  If it’s late enough, you can lie back on the blanket afterwards and stargaze and talk about life and each other. 

Walk or hike.   Walk downtown and window shop,  holding hands and allowing yourselves a small budget to spend on each other.  See if you can buy something without the other’s knowledge and surprise him or her.   See a matinee or take a local bus tour.    Or, if you have access to wide open country, go for a hike.  Take along water and a small sack lunch.  Plan ahead and think of everything so your partner can relax and enjoy.   It’s always a good idea to have a surprise gift tucked away in your jacket or backpack to present while you are resting.

Gift a spa day.  Giving a spa gift certificate is great, but not as romantic as being the masseusse yourself.   You can provide a much more relaxing treatment at home and reap the rewards yourself.  Usually a spa day would include a bubble bath, a massage, and a facial.   Chances are you have all the supplies you need already on hand.   Clean towels, bubble bath, a soft robe, a place to lounge, massage oils (protect fabric with a clean sheet if you are using massage oils), a mud mask, candles, and hot teas or decaffeinnated beverages are the basics.  Put on some relaxing mood music.  For more ideas, read Give Yourself a Spa Day.  Don’t get bogged down in the details.  Choose two or three things that you would feel comfortable doing, and keep it simple and easy so you are both relaxed.

Have a day of fun.  Your partner’s idea of fun, that is.  Spend the day doing what he or she likes and be gracious and fun.    Take your camera or cell phone along and have strangers take your pictures as a couple throughout the day.   Be spontaneous or prepared, based on what you know about your partner.  

Plan a romantic dinner at home.  The food is not as important as the work you put into it.  Setting the table, putting on music, lighting candles and adding a few roses can make macaroni and cheese seem like a banquet.  If you don’t want to cook and be worried about cleaning the kitchen, order takeout or delivery.  Just remember to make it a surprise and look deep into your partner’s eyes during dinner.   

And, some nice romantic touches that can add to any of the above experiences include:
  • Flowers – arranged to have them delivered at the beginning of your romantic efforts
  • Chocolate dipped strawberries or champagne
  • Tickets to an event that your partner will enjoy
  • A love letter or short, romantic texts – check out some love poems online

 

We wish you all the best this Valentine’s Day!

Copyright 2009. MyFlorist.

 

What Women (and Men) Want for Valentine’s Day

What Women Want
What Women Want

What Women Want: A Foolproof Guide to Valentine’s Day Gift-Giving

Among the laundry list of things most men don’t understand about women is the utterly confounding Valentine’s Day gift. The importance women bestow on the perfect Valentine’s gift is a mystery tantamount to men’s inability to understand women’s obsessions with five-inch heels, puppies and going to the bathroom in groups. But whether or not you understand it, Valentine’s Day gift-giving is a fact of life, and an important one at that.

Women consider gift-giving nothing short of an art form and when you add in the fact that it’s a day dedicated to displays of affection and love, most men give up before they even try and opt out for the standard flowers and chocolate. And while every woman loves her 70 percent cocoa Godiva and two-dozen red roses, the majority of women prefer something a little extra. The secret formula goes a little something like this:

25% unique (to show her you “get” her) + 25% sweet (to show you have a romantic side) + 25% thoughtful (to show her you value her) and lastly, but definitely no less important + 25% presentable (newspaper wrappings and shoeboxes need not apply).

With this formula in mind, here are five more tips to help you get started:

1. Listen.
The most important piece of advice anyone can give when it comes to choosing the right gift is to listen to your lady. Though most women won’t come right out and say what they want, choosing, instead, to constantly drop hints about their likes and dislikes. If you stay tuned in to the little things, you’ll likely be inspired or at least get some direction to help you get started. Catch her fawning over a fancy clutch in the latest issue of Vogue? Peek over her shoulder, take note of which one she likes, and if it’s within your budget buy her the exact one and if not, buy her a similar, more reasonably-priced version. This will score you MAJOR brownie points. Not only did you buy her something of the clothing/accessory variety (a path men rarely venture down), but you paid attention to which one she liked. This speaks volumes—trust me. 

2. Think outside the box.
Chocolates or flowers aren’t bad as accompanying gifts, but one lonely box of even the most expensive chocolates isn’t a winner in most women’s book and a bouquet similar to those she receives for her birthday and your anniversary will likely not make her Valentine’s Day totally complete.  Do something a little different with chocolates, i.e. making homemade bon-bons with her favorite Scharffenberger chocolate or hand-picking her individual favorites to make a “personalized” box of chocolates. It’s all about creativity!

3. Presentation is key.
Even the least materialistic woman in your life will view your gift as a greater representation of your feelings towards her. And the simplest of gifts can truly look like a million bucks if presented and wrapped properly. This doesn’t mean you should saunter over to the gift wrapping counter of your local department store; rather, take a shot at wrapping the gift yourself. Even if the sides of the wrapping paper come up short and there is a full roll of tape patched all over the box, it will show more thought and consideration than a gift wrapped by the clerk at the gift-wrapping station. The real kicker? A hand-written card.

4. The devil’s in the details.
Chances are her most cherished gift from you isn’t necessarily the most fancy, extravagant or expensive, but the gift that had the most thought behind it. Over-the-top luxury gifts that show no thought are, for most women, no more appreciated than a simple gift that is straight from the heart. Sounds cliché and seems like common knowledge, but often times men get so caught up in the hype that they think they need to overcompensate and go for the overdone $300 necklace. In reality, however, a well thought-out, meaningful gift will melt her heart faster than any run-of-the-mill heart-shaped necklace.

5. When in doubt…
If you’re strapped for time and/or ideas, pick from one of the following tried and true options that are consistent crowd-pleasers and come straight from the horse’s mouth:

  • Chore stubs/coupons, i.e. you buy the groceries for a week; you walk the dog in the mornings, etc.
  • Tickets to a concert or other event you can enjoy together
  • Accompany her on a shopping “spree” (no need to drop $5K in a day, just treat her to a few items and offer to go along with her—no sulking, heavy sighs or pit-stops at the men’s lounge allowed)
  • Surprise weekend getaway 
  • Buy her membership to a wine, or fruit-of-the-month club (this is the gift that keeps on giving)
  • Engraved piece of jewelry/watch (it takes standard jewelry to the next level)
  • A photo album of pictures of you as a couple
  • Perfume (she’ll think of you whenever she puts it on – just make sure it’s her fave.)
  • A surprise gift a few days before Valentine’s Day
  • Do something you hate but she loves…there’s no better day to be selfless

Adapted from Allison Johnston’s great article.

 

What Men Want for Valentine’s Day

Eighty-Five Percent of Men Want Gifts This Valentine’s Day

When it comes to gift preferences, men like gifts that represent personal recognition or admiration from their partner, while women want gifts that represent a public display of affection and one that
reinforces the couple’s identity. Men look forward to receiving:

  • Jewelry with personal engravings
  • Items related to a favorite hobby or pastime
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Video Games
  • Electronics

Women, on the other hand, hope to receive flowers that are delivered to their work or another public place, as well as items that can be showcased to family and friends such as new clothes, jewelry, or special photographs of them with their significant other. 

“What we’re revealing is that Valentine’s Day is a two-way street — a time and opportunity for lovers to express and receive special sentiments,” said Dr. James Houran, chief psychologist at TRUE. “But men and women crave different sentiments from their partners. ”

New Research From TRUE(TM) and ‘Psychology Today’

How to Buy Roses for Valentine’s Day

Hi, My name is Brad Parker and my company is MyFlorist and we are in McLean, Virginia and what we want to look at now is helping you choose just the right arrangement for Valentine’s Day. The number one choice and the right choice in the majority of the cases is a dozen long stem red roses.

Why? Well, roses for centuries have been symbolic of love more than any other single flower and particularly red roses and it’s also an American tradition on Valentine’s Day and for many women it’s the lifelong dream to receive a dozen long stem red roses on Valentine’s Day. So my first choice would be to suggest a dozen long stem red roses.

Now, first of all, what is a long stem rose? Roses are graded in three different lengths. 40 centimeters are considered short, 50-60 centimeters are considered medium and 70-80 centimeters are considered to be long. For Valentines Day you want a dozen long stem red roses, such as these. When you have the long stem roses, you get a much fuller showy arrangement. So, that’s one thing. It’s not just a dozen red roses, but you want a dozen long stem roses that will really show well. Secondly, you want a good quality rose.

Roses should be in this stage when you receive them. You don’t want them completely tight. If they are completely tight and they haven’t started to open, it’s what we called in the industry a bullet. They may never open. On the other hand, you don’t want a rose that’s completely wide open. Those roses would be old and they won’t last that long. So, you want a rose that is maybe 20%-30% open. It will take another three to five days to fully open and another two or three days before they finally expire. So, you want the long stem roses and you want the right quality of the roses.

Next point I would like to make is that you want these long stem roses well-designed and with a nice complimentary flower. In this particular arrangement, the complimentary flower is what we call Baby’s Breath or Gypsophilia.  It’s a beautiful pure white color and the red roses seem to just float on top of them and of course the contrast between the red and the white is absolutely lovely. It really completes the arrangement.

So you want something that really shows well. That’s part of the whole affect for your Valentines Day flowers. Now, some people want to know what should you expect to pay on Valentine’s Day. Again, you want a quality long stem dozen roses and it’s going to depend a lot on what part of the country you are purchasing the roses. It’s going to vary between $75 and a $125 on this holiday. If you are in the big cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco you are probably going to pay up around a $125. If you are in Middle America and rural America, you are going to probably about $75.

Now, you may know that you want to send roses, but you don’t want to send red roses, there are other options and perhaps the person that you want to send flowers to – you know that their favorite color may be pink or white or yellow and there are many different colors in roses for you to choose from. Here is one of my favorite: these medium pink roses – absolutely lovely for Valentines Day. Pink is feminine, it’s sensuous and it’s romantic. It’s one of my favorite colors for this holiday.

So you don’t have to just send red roses. Many different colors are also available and again, you have the sending of roses, which is such a traditional message on Valentine’s Day of love. So, now that we have talked about roses perhaps you are one of those people who knows they want to send some flowers, beautiful flowers for Valentine’s Day, but you know you don’t want to send roses and that would put you in the category of about 25% of people on Valentine’s Day.

We are going to talk about that in our next segment. It’s exciting because you have lots of options.