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When someone mentions Valentine’s Day, you probably find yourself lost in a daze of cheesy heart-shaped boxes full of toothache-inducing chocolates and The Shining-esque maze of  overpriced red roses everyone seems to poop their pants over. Or you’re thinking of how you’re going to out-do last year’s $200 dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s place (and how the fuck you’re going to pay for it). Yeah, we’ve all been there. We know exactly how cheesy, thoughtless, and/or expensive Valentine’s Day can be. And for that, we have found a solution. Ballin’ on a budget? Want to change things up? HAVE NO FEAR! ANON IS HERE… with a better-than-Buzzfeed list of places and ideas to make your Valentine’s the best it can be.

However, you should keep in mind that the reason for the season is L-O-V-E. So it is totally okay if you can’t afford any grandiose or not so grandiose gift for your partner. The most important part of this holiday is that you have someone to share it with – that’s all that really matters!

 

1. A Heart Shaped Box

… or rather, any box. It has recently been discussed [read: engulfed my newsfeed] that Kurt Cobain had a private box (heart shaped, nonetheless) in which he kept memories, knick knacks, personal items – sentimental shit, basically. It was where he drew a lot of inspiration for his songs.  But what does this have to do with Valentine’s? Well, my dear friend, bitches love sentimental shit. Dude bitches, girl bitches, bitch bitches – literally everyone. Why? Because it shows that you really care… so much, that you held onto that movie ticket from your first date five years ago, or went out of your way to find your significant other’s favorite knick knacks from all over the city. A gift like this is going to take some deep thought and a little effort, but trust us, your partner is going to love the shit out of this gift.

What you need to do:

  • Step One: Find a box – roughly the size of a shoebox.
  • Step Two (optional): Decorate the box with things that remind you of your S/O or just things they like (i.e.; their favorite color, drawings of their favorite cartoon, etc. Mod Podge is great for this part).
  • Step Three: Fill that box. No, this is not where you put your dick in a box (unless you’re gifting a dildo). You can even put a theme to it – a sex box full of sexy games and gadgets  that can be used year-round; a box full of love letters/journal entries you’ve written about this person; a box of their favorite things – candy, lip balm, small piece of art, toys, etc; or even a box of things that remind you of them. I actually had a friend who would always find something small, no matter where we went, to give to her husband as a little reminder that she was always thinking of him. Kind of sweet, right?

 

2. A Homemade Picnic

With fast food chains and restaurants being hella abundant in every city and suburbs these days, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from it all. A homemade picnic will allow you to be in a close romantic setting with your partner without having to deal with lines or screaming children from the booth over. Plus, preparing a homemade meal can be a LOT cheaper than trying to get a table at the fanciest place in town. I once had a guy surprise me with a picnic in a park after a stressful day at work. It wasn’t anything special – just sandwiches, a fruit salad, and a piece of pie, but it was perfect. As we sat there eating, he pulled out a film camera for us to remember the picnic, and then brought out his guitar and sang my favorite songs, as well as songs he had written about me. It was extremely romantic without being stressful or pricey, which is always nice.

A side note: Make a rule that phones must be left in the car, so there’s no time spent browsing Facebook or Reddit. You’ll have each other’s full attention, which isn’t always easy to come by on a day-to-day basis.

What you’ll need to do:

  • Step One: Get a large blanket(s)/table cloth to sit on. If you don’t have one, hit up your local Goodwill or thrift store. It’s just for sitting on, so it doesn’t need to be fancy. You’ll also need a basket or cooler to put everything in. You may also want to pack a camera – disposable, polaroid, lomo, whatever.
  • Step Two: Prepare a meal. You’re in charge of the menu – you know your skills, budget, and preparation time, so those should all be considered when deciding what to make. Suggestions: a bottle of wine or a thermos of his/her favorite drink, fresh cut fruit, your S/O’s favorite entree, and a homemade dessert such as cupcakes or cookies.
  • Step Three: Just because the meal is over doesn’t mean the evening has to come to an end. Take a walk in the park, play some songs on your guitar, or just people watch and talk to one another.

 

3. A DIY Spa Day

Spa days are nice because you’re able to relax and be pampered, but with Valentine’s around the corner it’s likely that prices have skyrocketed and there’s already a wait list forming. But lucky for you, you savvy reader of ANON Magazine, we’re here to help. This isn’t just a spa day for your S/O, rather, it’s a spa day you can do together! There’s two ways it can be done – depending on time, money, and location for some folks. If you want to make the spa completely DIY, be prepared it could get a little messy, but also super fun. This would involve making the products you’re going to use. For those of you that may not have an entire day or weekend to devote to this DIY spa, there are still options!

Side note to make it extra hella special: buy flowers and lay the petals down in a path to the bed or to the bathtub. You can also use the petals in the tub (I wouldn’t suggest throwing petals from the floor into the tub though). Candles are also cool for setting the mood.

What you’ll need to do for the COMPLETELY DIY Spa Day:

  • Step One: Figure out what scents your significant other likes and if they have any allergies. Then search for recipes for DIY products that fit their likes and needs. Here is where Pinterest comes in handy. Some suggestions for things to make: a body scrub, a bath bomb, lotion, face masks and massage bars. You may have to prepare some things ahead of time or use them the next day, so keep that in mind when planning your weekend!
  • Step Two: Gather the ingredients ahead of time! Valentine’s Day (or the night before) is when everyone’s husbands hit up the supermarkets to buy any Valentine’s scraps that may be left lying around, so you’ll definitely want to avoid that mess.
  • Step Three: Once the bath and body products have been made, use them! Give each other a massage, or take a bubble bath together. This is the part where BOTH of you get to enjoy a spa day!

What you’ll need to do for the PARTIAL DIY Spa Day:

  • Step One: Figure out your S/O’s likes and dislikes regarding scents, types of products, etc, then hit up places like Etsy or Lush (AHEAD OF TIME) to order the products you’ll be using for this lovely spa day.
  • Step Two: Use the products! Give each other a massage with a massage bar, or watch a movie together while taking a bubble bath. And, since you won’t be spending a lot of time preparing the products, you can use that time to cook a romantic dinner or put something fun together, like fondue.

 

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4. Sex Painting

If you’ve got sex on your mind for Valentine’s (who doesn’t?), then there’s no faster way to get there than to create a sex painting. You have to have sex in order to make the painting happen, and then when you’re done, you’ve got to shower off, which could lead to sex again. YAY SEX. Anyway, what’s great about this is: A) you get to have sex, B) you get a cool painting out of it, and C) you and your partner can have a good giggle every time you have people over that ask where you got your cool new painting.

What you’ll need to do:

  • Step One: Go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and pick up a large plastic tarp (or two). You’ll need it to be large enough to give standing space around the canvas, as well as provide a path to the bathroom or shower. While you’re there, you’ll also need to grab a canvas drop cloth (it’s best to get one with a protective leak-proof layer on one side). If you do intend to hang up your sex art when you’re done, measure the space you wish to hang it on so you know how large of a drop cloth to purchase.
  • Step Two: Hit up your local craft store and get some cheap water-based paints. I would get at least two colors, but no more than five.
  • Step Three: Set it all up and let the fun begin! If you use sexy toys or lube while doing the sex, then I would be sure to place those nearby. You don’t want to run around your house naked and covered in dripping paint, especially if you have roomies. Also, be cautious not to get the paint in/on your sexual areas. Common sense, y’all.
  • Step Four (optional): If you like psychedelic things or enjoy dabbling with psychedelic substances, take the painting to a whole new level by using neon water-based paints and a BLACK LIGHT (which can also be found at Home Depot)!

 

5. Volunteer Together

Daily life can get busy, and things that you always say you’ll make time for can get put off on the wayside. Valentine’s Day, especially falling on a Sunday, can be the perfect way to spend time together, and doing something that actually means a lot to the both of you. Do you both have a passion for teaching kids? Does your heart melt thinking about the day you’ll adopt a dog or cat? Use this Valentine’s to volunteer together in something you care about most!

What you’ll need to do:

  • Step One: Whether you have a non-profit or volunteer organization that’s been on your radar, or you’re looking for one to get involved with, there are plenty of choices no matter where you live! You can search volunteer options in your city or town, or go directly to the organization’s website to find out how you can get involved. This can also be a good time to stir up conversation with your partner about what topics truly matter to you both.
  • Step Two: Be sure to plan ahead for this one, since you may need to sign up for some programs beforehand or go through some brief training before the actual volunteering starts.
  • Step Three: Volunteer! Whether it’s something brief like donating blood to those in need, an all day activity like teaching a mini class on something you’re knowledgeable about, or something on-going like being a foster mom or dad and providing a great home for sheltered pets, this one’s guaranteed to bring your closer to your partner and feel like you’re making a contribution to something near and dear to both of you.