8 Fun (Non-Cheesy) Valentine's Day Ideas

February 4, 2016

8 Fun (Non-Cheesy) Valentine's Day IdeasDo you have plans for Valentine’s Day yet? This is such a controversial holiday: many people question the legitimacy of this holiday that seems built around marketing, but on the other hand, others feel that it’s a fun, sweet way to celebrate love. I’ve been on both sides. Most of my adult life I was in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, though it never struck me as especially romantic or memorable, possibly because V-Day romancing so easily feels forced rather than naturally flowing.

But a guy friend of mine (who is single) recently told me that he really wants to spend Valentine’s Day with someone this year, and that made me freshly appreciate how having someone you like around on a holiday–any holiday!–is so nice. And you can be cynical about anything, but life is more fun when you participate rather than sit out. If you do take part, Valentine’s Day is so versatile. It’s a good chance to show your friends how much you care, meet someone who is on the lookout (like my friend), or indulge in plain old romance with your partner. Also, I can”t stress enough the fact that celebrating Valentine’s Day gives you an automatic excuse to wear your most sultry, head-turning hair/makeup/outfit. 🙂 It’s like having an extra New Year’s Eve!

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite Valentine’s Day ideas.

1. Get dressed up. 

Like I said, there are very few occasions in a year when you get the chance to express yourself in such a feminine way, style-wise. And the great thing is you can be any type of feminine you want–sexy and sultry, sweet and romantic, elegant and ladylike, or even intriguingly androgynous a la Stella McCartney in a tailored jumpsuit. Go all out and wear your fanciest outfit to a date, or even just rock a perfect red lip/special mani to the office (Friday before Valentine’s Day)–you’ll look all business but still smile inside.

8 Fun, Non-Cheesy Valentine's Day Ideas

Eleanor Dress by Reformation, $248

Doesn’t this dress by sustainable brand Reformation say one part Brooklyn (Jessa in Girls?), one part Jane Eyre / Wuthering Heights, and one part Pre-Raphaelite? In other words, #stylegoals.

8 Fun, Non-Cheesy Valentine's Day Ideas

Rugia Dress by Sandro, $162.50 (originally $325) (Be still, my beating heart)

I have an obsession with dresses by Sandro, and this number on 1/2 off does not disappoint. You can wear this with a blazer to the office–just take the topper off for your romantic dinner or dancing with friends.

2. Cocktails with friends

Speaking of which, Valentine’s Day is one of the best nights of the year to go out with your gals. Though I haven’t experienced this myself, I have it on good authority that men and women alike feel more in the mood to find someone special (or at least talk to an interesting-looking person) on this night. Wear your dancing shoes!

3. Make Valentine’s Day-themed foods.

Red, pink, purple-colored foods are especially fun for Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to do everything in this color–just pick one dish that really shows off your planning skills. 🙂

Amazing French Grated Carrot Salad (Carottes Râpées)

This French Carrot Salad (Carottes Rapees) is one of my all-time favorite salads, and the gorgeous color fits the theme without being fussy.

Raw Vegan Mole Sauce

This decadent (but totally healthy) Raw Vegan Mole Sauce will make your entree sizzle.

Beet Risotto

We’ve talked about the soulful, romantic quality of making a risotto here on PD. Add to that sweet, passionately colored beets, and you’ve got the perfect V-day entree. Vegan GF Beet Risotto by Strength and Sunshine.

Vegan Holiday Recipes: Chocolate Peppermint Granola

You don’t have to feel limited to dinner–make breakfast inspired by Valentine’s Day! This Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Granola is legit amazing–as Jen texted me right after making it. 🙂

Vegan Pink Grapefruit Ginger Smoothie

One of our all-time most popular smoothies! Pretty in Pink Grapefruit Ginger Smoothie.

3. Bring chocolate or other treats to work. 

I can’t tell you how important these little social touches are. Yes, your work involves doing your job, above everything else. But you spend so much time at your office, with these people you see every day, and whenever someone brings unexpected treat on these little holidays, this person becomes office social butterfly. But more than that, it makes everyone smile, even if for a little bit.

Vegan Treats: Hormone-Balancing Chocolate Fudge

This paleo-friendly Vegan Hormone Balancing Fudge is made with superfoods–delicious and healthy!

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes: Double Chocolate Pecan Brownies

Vegan Double Chocolate Pecan Brownies. The title speaks for itself!

4. Read love poetry.

You know that scene in the movie Tristan and Isolde (with James Franco, before he started going a million directions) where Isolde is reading aloud from a book of poetry? That was like the original “Netflix and chilling.” Sit in front of the fireplace (if you can), and read aloud to your loved one. It sounds so obvious, but that’s truly romantic–words have that power.

5. Watch a romantic movie.

If poetry is not your thing, you can do the modern day “Netflix and chilling.” Grab a bottle of wine and snuggle with your date (or with your friends!) for unabashedly romantic flicks. In addition to aforementioned Tristan and Isolde, I also think these movies put your faith back in love: Pride and Prejudice (duh), The English Patient, Anna Karenina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, In the Mood for Love, Marie Antoinette. Maybe just imdb Colin Firth or Keira Knightly go from there?

6. Make something–DIY Valentines, or decoration for your home or office.

Nothing makes my heart quite as warm as receiving a handmade card or Valentine. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to make something meaningful and adorable–here’s our very own tutorial.

Another idea? Make a few sweet decorations for your office (if you have a non-stuffy office)! Try making a repeating cutout in a heart pattern, or ornaments out of pipe cleaners. Again, not only will this make you smile, it’ll brighten everyone else’s day as well.

7. Check out an event.

Check the local listings for free or cheap events around town. Many boutiques, galleries, museums, public parks, wine stores, and restaurants will have events. Bring a friend or a date, or go solo if you’re feeling lucky. 🙂

8. Stay at home for an R&R night.

I think the true nature of romance is being present. You can be painting the town red, flirting with your date or romancing your partner, but if your head or heart isn’t there, is that really romance? Staying at home and getting in touch with your body and spirit can be just as romantic. Try taking a relaxing bath with deliciously scented DIY Latte Scrub.  Your favorite candles, music, a glass of wine, and a new book…that sounds heavenly, no?

Which one of these ideas do you like? What is your favorite romance movie? Any Valentine’s Day cooking ideas? Please share! 

More Valentine’s Day ideas: Vintage Hollywood Hair and Makeup Tutorial

5 Reasons Being Single on Valentine’s Day is Amazing

Top 10 Healthy Vegan Desserts for Valentine’s Day

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Photo: Anthony Delanoix via Barnimages; Reformation; Sandro; PD; Molly Lansdowne; Strength and Sunshine; PD; Quincy Malesvoas; Lauren Arps

Juhea is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling and the author of bestselling novel Beasts of a Little Land. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, @juhea_writes and Pinterest.


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