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Valentine’s Day: It’s the Forethought That Counts

Posted Feb 10 2011 1:10pm

This morning over breakfast, the following conversation took place.

“Eric, I’m going to need you to not read my blog today. People have been asking me for Valentine’s Day gift suggestions and the only ones I have are the gifts I am giving you. So don’t read,” I said.

“So let me get this straight,” he said. “Your readers are in agreement with you that Valentine’s Day gifts should be thoughtful and surprising and they don’t want guys to ask for a list or for any help…but then they are coming to you and saying, ‘Hey, I really need some help’?”

I saw where he was going with this and I didn’t like it

“You can ask for help,” I said. “Just don’t ask us for help, is the point. Google, read it on a blog, ask our friends, whatever. But just don’t ask us directly.”

Obviously, right?

He looked skeptical.

“Do you want me to put your point at the beginning of the post?” I said.

Per your requests, I have some ideas for you on what to get your love for Valentine’s Day — once you’ve gotten him or her an amazing card , of course. You can also check out my recent gifting ideas and last-minute gift ideas for some favorites of mine from Christmas that would still work now, but this is what’s currently on my radar…

The first I chose for Eric is something I’ve been in love with for months, but made myself wait to give it for Valentine’s Day. I think artwork is a fabulous option for this holiday, and this print is, to me, the perfect way to do modern romance.

Ork Posters! does “The Heart” in this red as well as cream and black and I just love it. It’s also really affordable, so I’d like to hit up Michael’s tomorrow (custom framing is 50 percent off this week!) and get a great mat and frame for it so he can hang it in his room right away, but going shopping for a frame also might be a great little date activity.

Besides the romantic gift, I wanted to gift something a bit more fun. A couple months ago, Eric and I got into a discussion of hipster/”ironic” things, which led to him sharing how he likes things that are just like slightly too awkward to be hipster and ironic. (Just go with me on this.) We were talking about how loving Chuck Norris became, at one point, the ironic thing to do. And obvious, then. “What is really funny to me,” he said, “is something just awkward like…like a John Stossel iPhone case.”

And I got what he meant. And I totally thought it was funny. And that’s why we’re in love!

We discussed this further and determined that it needed to be done, and I knew that it was now unofficially assignment to figure it out and be the Best Girlfriend Ever. We agreed that some sort of sticker or decal made from a photograph of John Stossel and then apply it to Eric’s current white iPhone case. A few weeks ago, I started researching.

If you want to do this as a gift — and I think a custom iPhone case is an awesome gift! — you have a few options. CafePress does custom iPhone cases that are now 25 percent off for Valentine’s Day.

The only problem with CafePress is that you can’t use a photograph that is not yours. I exchanged several e-mails with their customer service department, arguing that “But John Stossel uploaded this picture to his Facebook page so he clearly meant it for public consumption”…to no avail. But it was all for the best! As CafePress was shooting me down, the designer who had done my custom Snow White MacBook decal through Etsy responded to my e-mail. He loved the idea and was happy to create the vinyl sticker for the iPhone case for me. Here is the mock-up.

Whether you want a cute photo or an awkward photo or just a funny saying, a custom phone case is a win.

I love gifting and get really into it, but Eric’s birthday is in a month so I had to divide my ideas carefully. And then last night he went and asked for one of the gifts I had decided was better fit for his birthday — and I was so pissed. It would still be a good gift, but the “I can’t believe you knew I secretly wanted this!” element has now been ruined. We were watching “Heavyweights,” which we’ve watched several times before, but last night he was suddenly hit with the realization that he wanted a Perkis Power T-shirt .

Which, for the record, has been in my “Gifting” bookmarks folder for a month.

On a related note, the “Heavyweights” DVD was one of the first “just because” gifts I ever gave Eric and one I highly recommend for Valentine’s Day. It really is a classic.

If none of that speaks to you, Julia sent me to Nerd Valentine the other day, which has some awesome options for all you nerds hanging out here. (Don’t worry — it’s a fact we’re nerds, not a judgment.)

Back to the conversation from yesterday on Eric’s request for me to plan my own Valentine’s Day . Monday night I took pity on him and, just like I had for Christmas, gave him a really long list of gift ideas and said, “If you choose one, I will be thrilled.” I only did this because I finally remembered the idea I’d told myself a month ago to ask for for Valentine’s Day — a pair of cute top-siders! I really wanted red, but alas, they do not exist. I sent him several other spiffy options.

I also let him know that I’m not opposed to gift cards for Valentine’s Day, as long as they are to someplace special, and I gave him a list for that too.

In terms of what I actually wanted to do, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t want to do something major. I wanted to have a lazy weekend, but with a bit more structure than other lazy weekends. I wanted to say, OK, let’s make sure we have a good movie from Netflix, a fridge full for the best brunch ever, and some good low-key activities planned. When it comes down to it, I like spending time together almost as much as I like getting gifts. (Almost.)

My only other idea was to do a mini road trip, but that seemed like a big production. If we went to Austin or San Antonio, we’d have to find something to do there, someplace to stay…and really, I prefer the car ride with Eric more than anything. I like packing snacks and having discussions about things like John Stossel iPhone cases, and the best place to do that is on the open road!

Last night in bed, when Eric brought up the road trip idea, fully willing to take me on one, I finally admitted something I’d been really wanting to do this weekend but that just felt so lame and un-Valentine’s-ish.

(Kind of like a John Stossel iPhone case? Why was I even worried about this?!)

“Um, aren’t there outlet malls near here?” I said. “I like…really want to go to them.”

Turns out, he loved the idea. Eric and I tend to like shopping together because it gives us more things to talk about. Seeing teenagers in the mall or a certain book in Barnes & Noble always leads to really good new topics of conversation. Plus these are pretty good outlets, with lots of guy-friendly stores to check out.

So that’s our plan so far! No word yet on how the sex tape is going to factor into all of this, but I’ll keep you posted.

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Any other Valentine’s Day date or gift ideas to share? What are you gifting your man/girl/mom/dog/self this year?

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