Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to spice up your relationship.
I don't know about you, but in my relationship, we have a running list of things we'd like to do together. From far-flung locales to visit to nearby restaurants to try, it's exhausting (but exciting) just to think about! I also don't love the whole Valentine's Day shtick - candy hearts, forced romantic dinners and such. Every couple has their own personality, so why not do something that fits you and expresses your love rather than conforming to some cookie-cutter ideal? Plus, this way you can use Valentine's Day as an excuse to cross some items off your "couple bucket list." Here's a list of some non-boring Valentine's Day date ideas you should try if you're looking for something new:
1. Watch A Movie That Requires Brain Power
You know how you and your guy always promise to watch Citizen Kane or some political documentary together but end up falling asleep in front of How I Met Your Mother 'cause your brain is just so fried from work? Since Valentine's Day is a great excuse to spend quality couple time, try cooking up a meal at home and catch up on those great movies on your list.
2. Mix It Up (Cocktail-Wise)
Avoid those cocktail bars with the $15 drinks and mix up your own date drink, right at home. Try this French Martini recipe:
1 ½ oz. Flavored Vodka
½ oz. Liqueur
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with raspberries. Enjoy your own private cocktail bar.
3. Become A Wine & Food Connoisseur
If Julia Child taught you how to cook, Robert Aiudi, "The Language Chef," can school you on how to pronounce your food, properly enjoy wine and more. A language expert who can translate from 27 languages (including three full dialects of Italian), Aiudi provides a free online resource for anyone seeking fun dating, food and language advice. He won't actually join your date, he's just your secret guardian angel before the date, so you can impress your partner. Want to finally learn the difference between a Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Shiraz and Merlot? Here's your chance.
4. Get Crafty
Make some cute stuff together. It's a great bonding activity, and it's cheap! Even if your guy isn't into crafty things -- not to stereotype based on gender or anything -- he'll still appreciate it if you make something for him.
5. Take A Romantic Roadtrip
Think your city is lacking romance and need a change of scenery, pronto? Grab your partner and take off for one of Foursquare's Most Romantic Cities (determined by how often people check in at places deemed "romantic," such as restaurants or flower shops). On the list are obvious ones like Napa, Calif. and Key West, Fla., but did you know that Reston, Va. was also pretty romantic? Maybe you should do some exploring to figure out why.
6. Explore A New Neighborhood
It's hard to leave your comfort zone sometimes -- especially on a weeknight, and Valentine's Day happens to fall on a Tuesday this year -- but holidays like this are an excuse to have an impromptu adventure. So check out Koreatown or some other place you would never otherwise get to: Trying new things together builds lasting memories. Also, don't kid yourself -- if you don't do it now, you might never do it, and then you'll become one of those boring couples who dress alike. You've been warned.
7. Try Every Single Restaurant On This List
Just kidding. (Well actually, I'm kind of tempted to.) OpenTable recently put out its annual list of Most Romantic Restaurants in America. But instead of just going out to dinner at a romantic restaurant (yawn, predictable), why not try a different restaurant for each appetizers, main course and dessert? Just check out OpenTable's list to find your locale's most romantic eateries, and let's hope that they're not all booked up for Valentine's Day! Enjoy table-hopping your way across town.
8. And When All Else Fails: The Date-Saving iPhone App
By now you're probably figured out that there's an app for everything. So on Valentine's Day, should you happen to find yourself with ruined plans -- you got lost on the way to the restaurant and had to give up your reservation, the weather is awful, and so on -- Picksie, "The Date-Saving iPhone App," can help. Picksie is a location-based "discovery service" on which you can get personalized entertainment and dining options based on preferences, location, weather and time. The app will recommend nearby locations to prevent aimless wandering and arguing with your date.
Written by Natalie Gontcharova for YourTango.com.
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