Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s the perfect excuse to be extravagant, indulge and practice self-love.
Whether you’re single or in a relationship, whether or not you care about the Hallmark holiday, a Valentine’s Day snap could be just what the doctor ordered. So go ahead and celebrate with reckless abandon. The more overdone and silly, the better.
Here are 18 cheesy ways to get into the mind.
1. Retro cakes are making a comeback, and Cry Baby Cakes, owned by cool, tattooed Toronto girl Brooke Cowitz, are so intricate they’re almost too much nice to eat. They are edible and customizable works of art. She takes orders exclusively by DM (direct messages) on Instagram at @crybaby.cakes, and you can choose from flavors like Toasted Coconut Cream Pie, Strawberry Milk, Lemon Poppyseed and more.
2. Beautify your space with decorations and a themed tablescape perfect for the gram. Bon + Co. Party Studio is a Richmond Hill-based online store that sells one-of-a-kind party and decor items, and it has a section curated just for Valentine’s Day. Owner Carla Bon selects each item by hand. I’m going to eat the aforementioned cake on the “scalloped blush + gold plastic dinner plates”, which mimic porcelain, to imagine my experience. If you’re looking for articles and inspiration, check out his Instagram @bonandcopartystudio.
3. Paint your nails. Grab your favorite shade of pink or red and get your nails done, or book yourself a manicure at Majesty’s Pleasure and TIPS Nail Bar, which offers nail art, so you can choose something apt.
4. Splurge. For me, it’s Moët Rosé. This year, I’m telling you to treat yourself (and drink in moderation). We’re good at finding excuses for why we shouldn’t do something, but a day promoting all kinds of love, including self-love, is reason enough. Chaim!
5. Move your body. For the month of February, Amber Joliat of MisfitMethod is offering an online program called “Elemental Activation,” which consists of 30-minute live movement classes over Zoom. To complement the movement, Trilby Goouch will offer nutritional and lifestyle support through weekly emails. The program is designed to support the four elements: earth, fire, air and water. Need accountability? Get a friend or your partner to sign up as well and make it a month-long challenge for both of you.
6. Wear clothes that spread love. Canadian brand GOGO Sweaters is offering a limited-edition “Jordan’s Rainbows” sweater ($625 for the cropped cardigan, $695 for the long). It is hand knitted, made from Italian wool and the cardigan comes in three colours: bubblegum, snow and midnight, with a large rainbow heart on the back. Ten percent of profits are donated to Jordana’s Rainbow Foundation, which supports childhood cancer research. If the price is a bit high, Indigo has some great items in their online store, like Love & Lore’s blush piped pajama pants.
7. Bake. Get a heart-shaped cookie cutter or a heart-shaped baking sheet and get creative in the kitchen. You can make everything from cookies to cakes, pizza to pancakes, and even heart-shaped grilled cheese at home. For pizza, you can top it with sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, or crush red and pink M&Ms to sprinkle on sugar cookies.
8. Need help in the kitchen? Continental Noodles offers fresh pasta. It has homemade heart-shaped ricotta stuffed ravioli, which comes in a 500g bag for $19.99. If a job in the kitchen isn’t for you, you can err on the familiar and nostalgic side and order Pizza, Pizza’s heart-shaped pizza.
9. Drink sappy love movies. Shout. To laugh. Grimacing. To feel. Then put the next one.
10. Change it. Maybe a change of scenery and spoiling yourself would do you good. Why not book yourself a room or a spa treatment at one of our city’s five star hotels, like the St. Regis Toronto. Its “Local Wellness Retreat” package – designed to promote your physical and mental well-being – includes a one-night stay for two in a luxury suite, a $200 resort credit to be used either at the spa or for food and drink. Bring a friend or lover, put your phone on silent, put on a fluffy white bathrobe and relax.
11. Invest in yourself. If you’ve always wanted to experiment with your look, what are you waiting for? A friend of mine made an appointment at My Beauty Doctor, a minimal medical aesthetic clinic in Bloor-Yorkville, for Valentine’s Day. She and a friend receive non-invasive treatment. The clinic has an ongoing “BFF mini lip promotion.” You and a friend both get a half filler syringe for a natural, minimalist pout ($299 pp). It’s perfect for someone who wants to do something subtle that will have an impact.
12. Buy yourself flowers. If you suggest someone else spoil you, you’ll only be disappointed if they don’t follow through. Take control and choose a bouquet that calls your name. Do you feel generous? Send one to just one friend. A surprise bouquet could make their day. I suggest ordering from Tonic Blooms, a Toronto florist that delivers downtown in less than two hours.
13. Listen to love songs. My favorite lately has been The Blend, an easy listening station on Sirius XM. Hearing Paul Simon sing “Kodachrome” and “Slip Slidin’ Away” instantly transports me to another place and another time. A quick and easy way to change your energy? Chain the ballads. Better yet, get up for an on-site dance party with anyone, pets included.
14. Take out the porcelain. There’s nothing more soothing than steeping and sipping tea. Kitten and Bear offers Afternoon Tea for One ($28), which you can order on their website. The kit includes four tea sandwiches, a buttermilk scone, clotted cream shortbread, seasonal sweets, a tea cake from Bake Shoppe and a packet of Sloane Fine Tea. They also offer a Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed ($46), which includes six mini buttermilk scones, a mini tub of strawberries and chocolate jam, a mini tub of fresh whipped cream, two sugar cookies heart shape from Bake Shoppe with a choice of tea.
15. Make, buy or send chocolate covered strawberries. I like to make my own, pack them up and drop them off at my closest friends. I note a personalized handwritten message on a label which I tie with a ribbon to seal the cellophane bag. (I buy eight-bag packs of bakery with hearts at Dollarama, for only $1.75 a pack.)
16. Are you staying at home? If you choose not to decorate your venue with party supplies, you can always enhance your dining experience by removing the white tablecloth and candlesticks. Whether you’re cooking a favorite meal (yes, KD counts) or ordering from a local eatery you love, this setting will change the tone of your go-to setup.
17. Make a cheese fondue. This Valentine’s season, I’m going to bite the bullet and order a fondue set online so I can treat myself. To add my own twist, I’m going to make a recipe I found on Epicurious that uses Kirsch as the secret ingredient. Cheeky, right? If you don’t want to invest in equipment, Snowy on Dundas Street West has just announced that it offers fondue.
18. Have a shotgun wedding. Did it accelerate quickly? The Bar Mordecai transforms its Vegas room into a chapel of love, “ready to host the elopement of your dreams”. According to her Instagram, each package includes the venue, a legal officiant, flowers, a photography package, an Elvis serenade, a champagne toast for up to 10 guests, and an outdoor winter wonderland micro-reception. If you need a bridesmaid, my DMs are open!
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