Valentine tips for one and all

Chavon Webster

With the most romantic holiday of the year just around the corner, you may find yourself scrambling to find the perfect gift accompanied by the perfect date. Having trouble getting prepared for the special night? Here are a few tips on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day, for everyone.

On Campus Love:
Are college books and housing deposits draining your pockets? No problem. Get creative and personal.
Planning Valentine’s Day on a college budget gives you a chance to spend more than the usual five minutes in CVS. Steer away from routine and pricey gifts such as Hallmark cards and heart-shaped chocolates. Instead, make a romantic meal at your place. Set the mood with unscented candles purchased at your local Dollar Store and add a little romance with artificial rose petals.
Don’t have a kitchen? No problem. Take the shuttle down to Hamden to the supermarkets delicatessen section and purchase an already prepared dinner! Before strolling into the checkout line, grab a bag of ready mix salad, a bottle of dressing, and some sparkling cider. For dessert, chocolate covered strawberries are a staple. If you’re feeling creative, make an assortment of chocolate covered fruits together. After dessert, put a comfy blanket on the floor and surround it with rose petals, fluffy throw pillows and candles. Get cozy and watch “The Notebook” or “Serendipity.” Both are tear-jerkers, so be prepared to get close.

Long Distant Relationships:
Finding it hard to send hugs and kisses through the post office? Despite the distance, love travels. Let’s see how close you feel after trying these ingenious V-Day suggestions.
Music invokes memory and creates a calming feeling. Remember the first song you danced to? Recall the last dance at the prom? The ringtone that goes off each time they call? Recreate these moments by making a mix CD of all the love songs that bring back memories of your relationship. Add a visual touch by putting the music behind a CD of your favorite photos together. Personalize the CD case with a Valentine printed CD sleeve from Jo Ann Fabrics.
Do you save every movie ticket and dinner receipt in a box under your bed? Put these memories to good use and create a mini scrapbook with things signifying your past dates together. Scrapbooks can be purchased inexpensively at your local Jo Ann Fabrics or craft store in the stationery department.
Think scrapbooking is too boring? Drive around filming places that document your time spent together – the restaurant you went to on your first date, the first place you kissed, and so on. Add your own commentary to the video by confessing the butterflies you had when he first asked you out or how you begged your dad to take his Lexus instead of your 94′ Honda Civic to impress her. Get creative with it!
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? To tantalize his taste buds, prepare your own box of chocolates or bake him cupcakes. Take a plain white gift box leftover from Christmas wrapping, decorate it with paper hearts and a big red ribbon and seal it with a kiss. Voila!
Not a fan of Betty Crocker? Send your special someone a glass jar of Hershey Kisses. Every time they think about you they can eat a kiss. Once they reach the bottom of the jar they’ll find a personalized message from you with love.

New Relationships:
Too soon to tell if its love? Here are couple ways to turn up the romance factor without uttering those three infamous words.
The initial hook up – yelling your phone number above the DJ with a cell phone backlight flashing in your face is not very romantic. This Valentine’s Day, go for a long romantic drive through the back roads in Hamden. Really get to know each other on a more personal level. Discuss past relationships and your feelings on taking the connection to the next step. Snap pictures of each other falling on the ice while ice skating or sign up for a cooking class together. Activities that induce teamwork and bonding give you an opportunity to get to know each other better without having a sit-down talk.
Still feel like it’s too soon for too much one on one? If you want to get the OK from your friends, make it a group evening. Go on a double date and share the evening with your closest friends and their dates. Take the time to feel out how your new flame interacts with your friends. If they like him/her, you’re in! According to the February issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, when he says “My friends loved you when they met you!” he means “I think I may love you too.” Score!

Daddy’s Little Girls and Momma’s boys
As a little girl, when every boy in class had the ‘cooties’ for Valentine’s Day, you could also count on your dad to surprise you with a teddy bear and chocolates. Now that you’re away at college, you may fear losing that connection as you get older. However, no matter how old you get, to him you will always be his “little girl.” Show him that he’ll always be your No. 1 valentine with these sweet reminders.
If he spends most of his time in the office and is computer savvy, send him an E-Card. It’s free and you can hit “send” without having to run to a post office. Send him a personalized framed photo with a childhood picture of you and a recent picture side by side. Just knowing that you thought of him (despite the lacrosse jock you’re seeing) will bring a smile to his face. But, if dad doesn’t have an e-mail set up, make him a homemade card and personalize the message. By showing the time and effort spent to customize your own card, it will definitely keep you close although you’re miles apart. As a treat, order an Edible Arrangement and ship it home.
Mothers tend to be easier to please. A simple call saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” is enough to make her cry. But let’s put in a little more effort this year. Send her a traditional bouquet of roses and a box of Lindts Chocolate just to say “I Love You.” If she’s not a chocolate fan, give her something to show off to her friends by personalizing a gift at “Things Remembered.”

Did Cupid miss the target this year? Forget Singles-Awareness Day! Who needs a valentine when you have a group of beautiful single roomies? If your girlfriends are anti-love or getting over a recent breakup, start a tradition to celebrate being single.
During the day, pamper yourself. Make an appointment to get a manicure, pedicure and a massage. Nothing beats a day at the spa. For the evening, plan a single ladies night out. Dance the night away at the club or opt for a traditional dinner and a movie. Make a group reservation at a fancy restaurant and head to the theaters to see “He’s Just Not That Into You” (Feb. 6), “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (Feb. 13) or “My Bloody Valentine” (Feb. 13). Don’t tuck your heels away in the closet because you’re lacking a date. Get dolled up and strut your stuff, you deserve it.
Feeling like you have a big sign that reads “single” on your forehead while dining in a restaurant infested with love struck couples? Have a movie night in with your favorites. Make chocolate fondue together and heart shaped Funfetti cupcakes. Rent sappy holiday-appropriate movies like “10 Things I Hate About you” and “Down With Love.” Get carried away watching the seasons of “Sex and the City” while drinking Cosmopolitans.
Too Sappy? Make your roommates a “Valentine’s Day Survival Basket” filled with all the essentials you need to survive the lovey-dovey holiday single. Sample fillers: a cocoa bathing indulgence set from Hershey’s, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Kleenex, yellow roses symbolizing friendship, books that help with break up’s like “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo or “I Hate Valentine’s Day” by Bennett Madison, broken heart cut-outs, and a copy of Cosmopolitan Magazine.