First things first, a quick disclaimer: I am not a big Valentine’s Day person. I love love, and love celebrating it, but it’s always seemed more like Hallmark Day than anything else. That said, I’m game for any excuse for romance.
This week, instead of featuring a cocktail, I’m featuring an “experience”, and it’s not a traditional Valentine’s Day outing. You can go out for a fancy dinner date any day, and it’s likely going to be much cheaper and significantly more enjoyable if that particular date night is scheduled nowhere near February the 14th.
Here’s what I’d suggest instead: Buy a bottle of wine (or three), and stay in. If you’re anything like my husband and I, spending quality time together at home, with no plans, no distractions, and nowhere to be is something that rarely happens. When it does, it’s always the best. Therefore, I’ve come up with the world’s most simple 2 step guide to an awesome at-home date night:
Step 1: Buy wine.
There are many tried and true ways to go about this. Josh and I use a couple of strategies. Our most preferred, is judging. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can buy a wine for its label or its name.. and we do that… frequently. Most of the time, if you’re not picky, it pays off. Our recent favorites include Battle Axe Malbec and anything from Josh Cellars – for obvious reasons.
Also, don’t be afraid to buy for the price. I’ve had wines I’ve really enjoyed that I snagged for $5. I’ve also have had superb wines that ring up at $50 a bottle (okay, only like… once did this happen). Spend what you’re comfortable with – no need to shell out extra dough to try an impress anyone, especially if they already like you. In my experience, you’re much better off buying 3 bottles than 1 fancy expensive one. That said, if you want to splurge and it makes you happy, go for it!
(Second disclaimer: I am not a wine expert, nor do I pretend to be. In fact, I have seriously limited knowledge. Therefore, this is the perfect “wine buying guide” for people who like to drink wine, but don’t care about flavor profiles, maturity, or the difference between hints of oak and earthy aromas.)
Step 2: Plan something fun and/or relaxing… but do it together.
Valentine’s Day at home should be fun. Do something silly, and keep it simple. Watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see for ages but haven’t made the time for. “But Taylor, that sounds like any normal weekend thing… what’s so special about that?” Well… there is always a way to silly-fy your movie night. My favorite? Make it a sleep over! Here is a secret: At-home sleepovers are the best. If you have an air mattress, a bunch of cushions, blankets, or anything else fluffy and comfy, set yourself up with a mini-fort right in front of your TV and stay up late watching garbage TV or ridiculous movies. Trust me, it’s great. Make sure you bring popcorn… and all the wine.
Looking for more romance than silly? I get that – romance is good too. In that case, I’d recommend outfitting yourselves with a copy of All About Us by Philipp Keel (which you can easily get for under $10). Think about it almost like a workbook for couples, but don’t worry. It’s a a fun, non-threatening workbook. It’s not about improving your relationship, and it’s not any sort of therapy. It’s truly an adventure and when you couple it with all of the wine I suggested buying in step 1, it can be quite hilarious. (Warning: there are also serious questions – which are actually really great – but you can always skip those and go back to them at a later date.)
And that’s it. 2 steps. 1 awesome evening. Feel free to ad-lib on step 2 and do whatever makes you happy – heart-shaped pizza, puzzles, or video games – just do something together. That’s really all there is to it.