MY VALENTINE’S DAYS are mostly my fantasies—dinner by the fire—boeuf bourguignon— a bouquet of French tulips scenting the room and decadent Belgian chocolate truffles for dessert. Never happens. The closest I got was a reservation for dinner and an overnight at the Inn at Little Washington, except I got the flu and had to cancel.
The thing about Valentine’s Day, though, is that it has morphed from giving gifts to romantic partners to doing something sweet for friends (Galentine’s Day), neighbors, even pets. It’s become an everybody-is-included holiday that celebrates different kinds of affection.
In these deeply divided times we live in, the message this February 14: Be kind to others—and to yourself.
Below, small and larger tokens of affection:
LEFT: Got a glass-half-empty friend? Send her a message to look on the rosy side with John Derian’s decoupage, handblown glass dish ($95). ICYMI: A New York Times article reported that “recent long-term studies linked greater optimism to a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” as well as improving longevity. RIGHT: Kaja’s Heart Melter Lip Gloss Stick ($17, Sephora) combines a hint of color, the shine of a gloss and the benefits of a balm (infused with argan and plum seed oils). The heart-shaped applicator fits in the Cupid’s bow. Wish yourself a Happy Valentine’s Day.
ABOVE: Surprise your favorite pizza lover with a heart-shaped pie. From February 11 to 16, California Pizza Kitchen will make any of its pizzas (almost any, only those with a thin crust) into a heart free of cost. Beginning Feb. 12, they’re also offering a “Sweet Deal for Two,” which includes one appetizer, two entrées and a dessert for $35.
LEFT: This made-in-Portugal Love Soap ($28) is scented like fresh lotus (which represents love and compassion in some Eastern cultures). Packaged in a handmade wooden box, it makes a lovely little something for someone special. RIGHT: Remind someone you love to take their vitamins, etc., with this pretty-in-pink Pill Organizer ($6, Urban Outfitters). The heart-shaped container divides into four compartments to store all vitamins, prescriptions, etc.
ABOVE: Kate Spade’s 3d Heart Crossbody (available in hot chili, shown, and pink rococo, $298) lets you wear your heart on your shoulder. Constructed of Italian leather with a suede lining, it zips all the away around. Prefer to use as a clutch? Slip the chain inside.
LEFT: Heaven scent for a lavender lover. This Lavender Heart Wreath ($59.95) sends love all year round. RIGHT: Accent a Valentine’s Day dinner—or any other— with this practical, powder-coated aluminum Red Valentine Heart Trivet ($16.95). It protects tables and countertops from hot pans, and foam feet prevent scratches.
ABOVE: Who do you love? Your pup! Your dog can chew to his heart’s content with this Red Heart Rope Dog Toy ($14, Terrain), which is kind of like doggie dental floss. Manufacturer Jax and Bones is devoted to the well-being of animals and donates a portion of its proceeds to rescue organizations.
LEFT: French women swear by facial massage. This Facial Sculptor ($58, Net a Porter) is made of rose quartz, a healing stone said to ease tension and anxiety and promote feelings of emotional well-being. Who couldn’t use that? RIGHT: This Heart Cleansing Sponge ($10, Terrain) could make your skin-products-obsessed pal actually get a little fun out of her exfoliating ritual.
ABOVE: We cheated a little on the shape here, but this Winged Heart 3D card ($13, Lovepop) says “You make my heart flutter.” Aw.