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valentine’s day

Valentine’s Day: 10 Creative Last Minute and Low Cost Ideas

Today is Valentine’s Day and for those of us who are not in the mood to go out and would prefer to stay home, I put together a list of 10 last-minute things you and your significant other can do at home tonight.

  1. Sushi and Movie: Personally, this is my number one pick. I would like an order of assorted sushi, chocalates and wine and to sit in front of the TV in the basement and watch a couple of movies.
  2. Indoor Picnic: If you want a more romantic dinner, consider picking up your or your partner’s fave meal, pull out a blanket and have a picnic in the living room, after the kids go to bed if you have small children.
  3. Candy and Game night: If you are playful and in mood for sweets, pick up an assortment of candy or make your own candy bouquet and pull out the Jenga, chess or checker board, or cards and have a couple’s game night.
  4. Paint and Sip: Head to the local craft store or your local Walmart or Target and pick up a canvas and paint supplies, Grab a couple bottles of wine or your fave spirits and select and image for the two of you to paint while drinking. Have mood music in the background. Don’t forget the tarp or newspapers to catch the spills and mess that is sure to be made.
  5. Basement Dance Party: One thing I love to do is watch YouTube videos of the latest pop and dance hits and dance to them as a form of exercise. If you and your boo are into fitness, that could make a fun indoor activity. And it would burn off all the junk you ate at the office during the day.
  6. Wine Tasting: Get the tiny bottles of wine or liquors from the Liquor store, pick up some fruit, seltzer and other items and host a personal wine or liquor tasting in the kitchen. Order dinner to keep you guys from getting too inebriated and stick to small sips and don’t mix them so you don’t wake up tomorrow with a hangover.

    Photo by Min An from Pexels

  7. Spa Night: If you both like pampering yourselves, why not get some spa masks, loofah sponges, cuticle trimmers and have a pampering bath and spa night. Pop some champagne and relax
  8. Cook’s Cook: If you are into cooking, pick up some ingredients for a dish that takes a while to make and together whip it up and eat. Cooking together is an intimate act, some experts say.
  9. Baker’s Bake: Alternatively, if cooking is just too much, you guys can bake something pretty complicated and see if it comes out good enough to eat! Have it with dinner or with Game or Movie night above
  10. Host Other Couples: Finally, especially if you live in a town house or apartment and have other couple friends nearby who do not have plans, host an impromptu couple’s night. Make it a pot luck and have everyong agree on one movie to watch. Alternatively, you can bring out the games and have a fun couple’s game night.

There you go! Hope these are helpful and if you do any of the above, please be sure to tag me @Bellyitch on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

20 Things to Do for Valentine’s Day with Your Littles

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and it’s not just a time for lovers but also for loved ones so, if you are scrambling for ideas to celebrated this holiday of Love with your offspring(s), here are 20  last-minute ideas of things you guys can do
There are some great at-home activities in here you can do nonetheless, with a few resources scrubbed off the internet!
1. Have an Indoor Picnic in the Living Room
2. Have a Movie Night. Rent movies you both like, pop some popcorn and snuggle under the covers.
3. Make Pizza. Be your own Italian Chef.
4. Go for a Drive to the Country a little way from home and back. Use the time to talk and catch up.
5. Go out for Dinner. Get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant.
6. Go Roller Skating. Have some physical fitness and fun while skating to the hits and oldies at your local rink.
7. Make Soup for the Week. If you live in a climate experiencing winter, whip up several batches of different soups to eat and save for later. You can pick different recipes from online resources or your crock pot cook book
8. Go Bowling. You can never go wrong having a Bowling night.
9. Make Desserts. Cakes, Brownies, Cookies and Decorating fun designs is guaranteed fun.
10. Paint. Roll up the Sleeves, Get out some paper or a canvase and some paint and get creative. Frame your masterpieces and hang them up in your home.
11. Craft. There are loads of crafting projects online. Taking the time to create some crafts is fun and functional if you make some thing that you can use later like an oven mit or a frame.
12. Write Short Stories. Get your creative juices flowing. Get out some paper and pen and write up some fun stories to share or use to enter into writing contests.
13. Have a Game Night. Haul out the Connect Four, Checkers and Monopoly board games and have fun.
14. Head to the Beach. If you live near a beach and in a climate that works, pack a picnic and head down to the beach.
15. Have a Dance Party. Put on the Music Video Channel or Crank up the Stereo and Dance in the Basement or in the living room.
16. Have a Karaoke Night. Find Videos with Lyrics on YouTube and set it up so you can have a performance.
17. Do Puzzles. Get out different puzzles, get on the floor and put together some pieces.
18. Tell Scary Stories. If you’re caught in the storm and without power still, it sucks but you can use that time under the dim lights to tell spooky ghost stories to pass time until the light comes back.
19. Go to Dave & Busters or Chuck E. Cheese. Fun Activity Centers always are good for a fun time.
20. Go to the Movies. Whether a matinee or to the theater that plays dated movies, get up and get out and head to the Cinema.

Good Luck and have fun!

How to Host (Or Enjoy) a Parents Night Out: Valentine’s Day Edition

couples wearing wedding ringsout at date night

There is nothing like having your spouse lose his wedding ring while on vacation. We’d go out to bars on the weekend and young women would hit on him the minute I was out his sight, perhaps because he wouldn’t have a ring on.

Frustrating! A replacement has been ordered and in the meantime, we’re preparing to enjoy this upcoming Valentine’s Day at a Parents Night Out event.

What is “Parents Night Out”: It’s an organized day or nighttime event usually among parents in one social circle, neighborhood block, or your church, civic or other local community organized  which hosts a social event for kids and allow the parents to drop off the kids and have an adult day (or night) out alone.

The day care center I used to send my kids to when they were younger had such an event each quarter.

It’s perfect for young families, new parents and for those who do not live near extended family who can give them a break and let them get out alone once in awhile.

If you’ve ever gone to a movie theater and seen a couple with a baby, toddler or young child at night,  you know the importance of these events like these. They are also sometimes cheaper than a baby sitter.

Right now, if you Google the term “Parents Night out near me ” {<—Click this link}, you’ll get a listing of local events near you to sign up for and ideally, there may still be one available for Valentine’s Day for you and  your significant other to partake in.

And if you love the idea and would like to host one for the parents in your circle or community, here are the steps to get it done:

Step one: pick a theme: Movie Night, Arts and Crafts, Paint party, game night;

Step two: pick a venue: host it at the home of someone with a large basement, a church community room, a civic hall;

Step three: ascertain the cost of purchasing food, supplies, renting space;

Step three: determine how many couples would need to say yes to offset the cost of the supplies and select a price;

Step four: send out invitations or make informal calls, decide a modest fee for the event per child, then collect payment via Venmo, Paypal, Stripe or Zelle;

Step five: hire local teens or solicit some to get school volunteer hours to be chaperone;

Step six: confirm attendees and create an emergency contact sheet with allergy info, doctor’s number, insurance info, permission to administer medicine or transport in case of emergency and send out form to parents;

Step seven: On night of, decorate, set up and accept kids;

Step eight: If you are not going out and on the team to host the night, enjoy the fun with the children participating.

If you are like me, who would likely be the one doing the dropping off of my teens to help out,  and head out with with your husband to the movies, dinner and dancing.

Also, if you’re me and have grown frustrated with your spouse going out at social events without his wedding ring, you will be excited to see him wear the gorgeous Infinity wedding ring you got him from AU-Rate to replace the one lost or stolen last Christmas season and enjoy the fact he won’t be hit on by all the hot young girls looking for a sugar daddy at the bar. ha!

However, you do it! Enjoy the night out!

This post was published in partnership with Nakturnal but all content and opinion are mine.

25 Date Night Ideas for Valentine’s Day and Every Month

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. For those of you with partners or spouses, this day is usually a day for going out on a date.

My husband and I date regularly and routinely all year long so I think this Valentine’s Day could be a great opportunity to make dating more often a priority.

In my opinion, it is essential for keeping the spark alive and making sure you remain a couple even after children start to take precedence over your time, resources and energy.

Whether you are pregnant, have a new baby, or a vet parent, going out with your partner or spouse without the children (if you already have them) is essential to keep the spark in your relationship alive!

Here are 25 Date Night ideas of things to consider for a night soon with your sweetheart!

  1. Go dancing at a night club
  2. Get Dinner and a go to a movie at the cinema
  3. Go shoot some pool and grab beer at a local watering hole and chill
  4. Plan and go out for dinner with other couples
  5. Go see an exhibit at the art gallery and grab lunch afterwards
  6. Find a drive in or second run theater and catch an old movie on the big screen
  7. Go Rollerskating or Iceskating (if its’ winter) at a rink
  8. Go to the Driving or Shooting Range
  9. See an outdoor concert on the lawn when a favorite act comes to town
  10. Go Bike Riding (or Running, Jogging or Kayaking or whatever active sport you both enjoy)
  11. Check out a local jazz club and sip wine while enjoying the performance
  12. Test our your own vocal skills and go to Karaoke night
  13. Go Bowling
  14. Go on a road trip to a nearby town, book a room and stay overnight (if you have a sitter for that long of course)
  15. Check out a Comedy Show, Order the 2 drink minium
  16. Go Miniature golfing
  17. Go Go-Kart racing
  18. Check out a professional sports game like Baseball, Basketball, Hockey or Soccer
  19. Have a picnic in the living room after the kids are asleep
  20. Go for a walk on a beach
  21. Have a movie night in the basement and pop your own popcorn
  22. Use a Living Social or Groupon deal for a cooking class or rock climbing or something else you wouldn’t ordinarily do unless you got it at a really good price
  23. Go RockClimbing in an inside rock climbing center
  24. Go for drinks at a lounge and chill
  25. Find one of the highest elevation points in the city, get out a blanket and star gaze

There you have it! Plenty of ideas to get you thinking! Enjoy!

7 Ways to Do You and Do Valentine’s Day Differently This Year

Valentine‘s Day is just around the corner, and we all have our feelings about it. If we’re dating or (happily) married, we may be excited about the flowers, chocolates, and candlelit dinners. If we are single, we may feel dissatisfied, sad, or annoyed. (We may even retitle the holiday “Singles Awareness Day.”) Either way, is our tendency to define love in terms of romance making us miss a much bigger picture?

Karen McGregor, author of the upcoming book, The Tao of Influence, says yes and offers this list of relatively simple things you can do on Valentine‘s Day—and afterward—to start reconnecting with your pure love-power:

1. Take a Valentine‘s Day meditation break.

Just set aside 15-20 minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, that’s okay: The point is not to judge the thoughts that stream endlessly into your consciousness but to allow them to ebb and flow without getting emotionally hooked.

“Successful meditation occurs when there is no war between your head and your heart,” says McGregor. “This state is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. If you’ve always ‘meant’ to try meditating but haven’t yet done so, Valentine‘s Day is the perfect day to start.”

2. Gift yourself a lovely journal. 

Journaling is a powerful practice that can help you get in better touch with your thoughts and feelings, recognize goals, enhance gratitude, and pinpoint areas in your life that need work.

Find a journal that speaks to you (pick a gorgeous one that inspires you to write). Then set aside some time alone (even just 10 minutes) to write each day.

3. Sing and dance your way to gratitude.

As mentioned, many people keep a gratitude journal. The problem is, it can turn into a mindless checklist that simply creates the illusion of gratitude. If that happens, try singing and dancing instead. I

In his book The Mastery of Love, Don Miguel Ruiz says this is a natural expression of our love-power—which is why little children sing and dance. They haven’t yet developed the filters and fear that they’ll be judged. You can dance and sing in the privacy of your room or as you clean your house.

If you want to take it to the next level, suggests McGregor, consider signing up for a hip-hop or salsa class or joining a local choir.

4. Get rid of something that isn’t serving you.

Often without realizing it, we clutter and complicate our lives with things that create chaos and drama. It can be anything from too much “stuff” in our homes, to too many commitments, to the wrong job or relationship.

A great expression of self-love is to pinpoint something to purge.

  • Do a closet clean out or a social media detox.
  • Turn down a project.
  • Draw a much-needed boundary.
  • Just take one step to simplify your life and free up your energy.

5. Grieve losses.

This may not feel very Valentine-y, but when we’re changing our life for the better, we must first release what was. Otherwise we’ll get stuck and block the clarity we need to move forward.

“Pain can be released through the portal of the heart,” says McGregor. “When you focus on your heart, a desire to release the pain of the past may arise. Even better, your heart knows how to do that without your mind interrupting.”

6. If you’re single, stop searching for “the one.”

It’s common to believe that there’s one person out there who can finally see us for who we really are. But searching for our perfect match is a chase that’s based on an illusion.

“I love romance, but I’ve come to believe that it’s usually founded in the need to be special,” says McGregor. “People search for ‘the one’ their entire lives, never escaping the constant craving for specialness. Never confuse love with specialness. Love supports a life of joy and love-power; ‘specialness’ impedes it.

“In that same vein, it’s time to revisit the definition of ‘soul mate,'” says McGregor. “Soul mates are actually not romantic partners but people destined to help you grow by presenting you with challenging personality traits and actions you don’t like..”

7. If you’re in a romantic relationship, start working toward a cause you believe in, together. 

There is no greater calling for a romantic relationship than to create a better world. In fact, many millennials are moving in this direction.

Rather than being absorbed by one another, they are breaking the old paradigm of romantic co-dependency and choosing instead to be inter-dependent, working together for causes that uplift humanity.

This new paradigm of relationship lets people shift from a state of isolation within their own dramas, fears, and wounds, which are experienced as they get to know their partner, to becoming a presence in the world.

“Talk with your partner and choose a project to participate in,” says McGregor. “Maybe arrange to visit an orphanage to play games with or tutor school children, or plan a fundraiser event to benefit the homeless. Think about the passions you both share and start there. You will be amazed by how deeply a project rooted in love-power can transform your lives.”

While Valentine‘s Day is a good time to think about connecting to your love-power, or even take a symbolic first step, it’s actually a journey you take every day, all year long.

 

 

America’s Fave RomCom by State

Valentine’s Day is next week and to commemorate the impending Holiday, which is somewhat scrutinized by singles as a Hallmark holiday, the analysts at CableTV.com created a national report revealing each state’s favorite romantic comedy film.

Report highlights include: 

  • Over one in every four states chooses Pretty in Pink as their rom-com top choice! All hail, John Hughes.
  • Everyone likes a movie that hails from their hometown: every one in seven states most enjoys movies filmed in their state the most.
  • We found predictable patterns of viewing behavior — clusters of romantic comedies dominate certain areas of the country.
  • Some popular favorites by state enforce regional clichés that are just too good to pass up commenting on:
    • Maine, which has the oldest median age in the United States, goes old school with It Happened One Night.

    • Oregon keeps it weird with Amélie, a quirky French film about an off-beat romance.

    • South Dakota, which rates in the top five highest birth rates in the U.S., gets Knocked Up a little more often.

To determine each state’s favorite romantic comedy film, the Cable TV analyst team used a Google-generated list of top rom-coms and ran them through Google Trends to find out which movies see the most love from state to state.

Check out the complete report here: https://www.cabletv.com/blog/states-favorite-romcom-movie-map/

10 Easy Valentine’s Day Crafts

valentine's day crafts for kids

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and soon you’ll be scrambling to find activities for your little ones to do while celebrating the day together! Here are a few ideas to get you going.

  1. Make heart shaped pancakes – Make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast! Put pancake batter into a squeeze bottle and draw heart pancakes on the griddle! You can also cut sandwiches, deli meats, and fruits into heart shapes using cookie cutters. Creating heart shaped cupcakes or muffins is simple, just drop a marble or rolled up piece of tinfoil between the baking liner and muffin tin before baking to create an indent in the finished product, it will look just like a heart!
  2. Create a conversation heart wreath – Cut the middle out of a paper plate to create a ring. Have your children help you cut out hearts and write short messages on them such as “I love you” or “You rock” and glue the hearts onto the ring to create a conversation heart wreath. Be creative with your phrases and make them special to your family.
  3. Make your own valentines – Younger children will usually have a party in their classroom to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their classmates, so take some time to help your child create their own cards. They don’t have to be fancy, all you need is some construction paper, glitter glue, stickers, doilies, and adhesive to jump start the creativity in your child. Encourage your child to be creative and let them create whatever they want to, the cards don’t all have to be the same as long as there is one for every child in their class.
  4. Valentine’s Day scramble – Post a piece of paper on the wall that has the words “Valentine’s Day” on it and see how many words you can create from those letters, adjusting to the age of the children around you. How many words can you find? You could also add the traditional candy heart phrases and see what additional words you can make using those letters.
  5. Hold a Valentine’s Day dance party – Invite your neighbors over for a fun, family friendly dance party! Decorate the room with streamers and balloons, choose a few fun songs together, and get ready to dance!
  6. Themed worksheets – A quick search online will turn up dozens of Valentine’s Day themed worksheets, from math sheets to crosswords, so you can easily find something meet your child’s needs.
  7. Love themed books – Hit up the library for books with a Valentine’s Day or love theme; most libraries will have seasonally appropriate books on a separate shelf, which makes finding them easy. Check a few out and read them together!
  8. Create coupon books for family members – Talk about what love is and what it means and then discuss various coupons you could create to show family members that you care about them. Offer to walk the dog for free, give a back rub, have one on one time, play a game together or offer to sweep the floor. The receiver can then choose when to redeem the coupons. Coupon books are a great way for kids to be able to give back to the family without a monetary contribution.
  9. Go pink and red! – Create a pink and red theme! Pink lemonade, strawberry milk, cupcakes with pink frosting, watermelon, beets, strawberries, and apples are all great pink and red foods to offer for snack time.
  10. Make a paper heart chain – Use your cutting and gluing skills to create a chain of hearts to hang up in your house! You can either create a chain by cutting hearts out like you would with paper dolls or cut out hearts together and tape or staple them together to create a chain of unique hearts. Hang them where everyone can enjoy them.

Children love to celebrate holidays and Valentine’s Day is an especially fun holiday to celebrate together. It’s a great time to discuss what love and family means and why it’s so important to recognize it together.

reprinted with permission

Which Valentine’s Day Look Are You? CHOOSE!

Valentine’s Day is coming up. Thinking of what to wear? You only have a few days to get it together. Go with what fits your mood if you’re going on a date with your honey or out for a post Galentine’s Day frollick with your girlfriends.

You can get sexy and show off some leg like Style Pantry blogger Folake Kuye Huntoon or Kylie Jenner or be more covered and rock lace or a massive frock Victorian lady like current mom-to-be Chrissy Teigen wore recently.

Valentine’s Day is the day before the much-anticipated Black Panther movie premieres and African wear is in order. Pair two different prints and center them all with a big and bold black belt. You can do the Sex Kitten or Vixen look in a body con dress like the one Taraji P. Henson sizzled in on the red carpet or keep it HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge) with an insanely fierce Victoria Beckham dress. 

For moms-to-be, a fave of ours, Isabella Oliver, sells a pretty cute Red one-shoulder ruched dress that Bethenny Frankel, Sienna Miller, Ali Larter and Brit stars Danielle Lloyd and Myleene Klass others have worn and loved the one shoulder ruched dress in crimson or the Burlington  Maternity dress. 

We hand selected some red dresses and looks to draw some inspiration from using tools from our friends at Shopstyle Collective. Good luck and do enjoy your day!

10 Valentine’s Day DIY Kids Crafts Ideas

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and soon you’ll be scrambling to find activities for your little ones to do while celebrating the day together! Here are a few ideas to get you going.

1. Make heart shaped pancakes – Make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast! Put pancake batter into a squeeze bottle and draw heart pancakes on the griddle! You can also cut sandwiches, deli meats, and fruits into heart shapes using cookie cutters. Creating heart shaped cupcakes or muffins is simple, just drop a marble or rolled up piece of tinfoil between the baking liner and muffin tin before baking to create an indent in the finished product, it will look just like a heart!

2. Create a conversation heart wreath – Cut the middle out of a paper plate to create a ring. Have your children help you cut out hearts and write short messages on them such as “I love you” or “You rock” and glue the hearts onto the ring to create a conversation heart wreath. Be creative with your phrases and make them special to your family.

3. Make your own valentines – Younger children will usually have a party in their classroom to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their classmates, so take some time to help your child create their own cards. They don’t have to be fancy, all you need is some construction paper, glitter glue, stickers, doilies, and adhesive to jump start the creativity in your child. Encourage your child to be creative and let them create whatever they want to, the cards don’t all have to be the same as long as there is one for every child in their class.

4. Valentine’s Day scramble – Post a piece of paper on the wall that has the words “Valentine’s Day” on it and see how many words you can create from those letters, adjusting to the age of the children around you. How many words can you find? You could also add the traditional candy heart phrases and see what additional words you can make using those letters.

5. Hold a Valentine’s Day dance party – Invite your neighbors over for a fun, family friendly dance party! Decorate the room with streamers and balloons, choose a few fun songs together, and get ready to dance!

6. Themed worksheets – A quick search online will turn up dozens of Valentine’s Day themed worksheets, from math sheets to crosswords, so you can easily find something to meet your child’s needs.

7. Love themed books – Hit up the library for books with a Valentine’s Day or love theme; most libraries will have seasonally appropriate books on a separate shelf, which makes finding them easy. Check a few out and read them together!

8. Create coupon books for family members – Talk about what love is and what it means and then discuss various coupons you could create to show family members that you care about them. Offer to walk the dog for free, give a back rub, have one on one time, play a game together or offer to sweep the floor. The receiver can then choose when to redeem the coupons. Coupon books are a great way for kids to be able to give back to the family without a monetary contribution.

9. Go pink and red! – Create a pink and red theme! Pink lemonade, strawberry milk, cupcakes with pink frosting, watermelon, beets, strawberries, and apples are all great pink and red foods to offer for snack time.

10. Make a paper heart chain – Use your cutting and gluing skills to create a chain of hearts to hang up in your house! You can either create a chain by cutting hearts out like you would with paper dolls or cut out hearts together and tape or staple them together to create a chain of unique hearts. Hang them where everyone can enjoy them.

Have fun!

What to Do If You Don’t Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Bellyitch Rewind
Valentine’s Day is around the corner, but not all people celebrate it. Some may not have a partner in their lives and others just might find the holiday too much about consumption and plan to skip it.
Unfortunately for those people, the season is upon us and everywhere they go, they’re seeing restaurant ads, red and pink chocolate and teddy bears in their face. What’s a single or anti-Valentine’s Day person to do!?!Q
We dug back and pulled up this list of links of things to do if you don’t celebrate from years past including:
Some of it is kind of rough because it makes single people appear bitter when many are not. Actually Single Awareness Day on February 15 is an alternative holiday that many single people celebrate to take time to appreciate themselves.