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Doing Valentine’s Day Right

Brenna Williams | Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and whether you enjoy it or love complaining about “Hallmark making it up,” it’s hard to avoid. If you’re going to have a girls’ (or boys’) night, you want to impress a new fling or you need something new to do for your fourth year of Notre Dating, we’ve got a few ideas to make those you care about feel loved:


Who says Valentine’s Day needs to be about romance and sappiness? It’s a perfect excuse to spend quality time with friends. It’s not what you do on Valentine’s Day that matters; it’s the company you keep.

-Classic: Ice Cream and Movie. Go to the Huddle, get your favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and head straight to the dorm with the biggest TV and comfiest couch. Hook your computer up to Netflix or bring your favorite DVD, and enjoy.Since your friends are likely the funniest people you know, this occasion calls for an awful Horror film or an equally horrible romantic comedy. For instance, “Valentine’s Day” is a laugh a second (and not in the way they intended).

-Something New: Baked Goods. Get inventive for this. If someone has a car, take a trip to the grocery store and get supplies to make baked goods from scratch or borrow some from dorm-mates. It’s easy to get break-and-bake from the Huddle, but the point of this activity is to get creative. Decorate homemade cupcakes or make a cookie cough base and add different candies and mix-ins to change up the batches. It’s soma fun group activity, plus you can bring some of the leftovers to that friend who inevitably gets stuck working on a project all night.

-Creative: Scrapbooking.

Remember the time before Facebook when we printed out pictures? Bring it back! Making a collage or a mini-scrapbook is a fun way to remember great times while making new memories together. You don’t need to be very crafty, just have fun with it! Want to take your creation with you everywhere? Go to Starbucks and pick up a customizable tumbler. For about 12 Flex Points you can get one that you can keep for yourself or give to a friend.

New Fling

Maybe you’re in a new relationship, so it’s a little early to go with the full-on fancy dinner/flowers/candy thing. Maybe you’re just a laid back couple. These ideas will show you care without the formality of the traditional Valentine’s Day date.

-Classic: Flowers. Who doesn’t like flowers? Except for those who are allergic, basically everyone. Here’s the trick for a new relationship: make sure to get your significant other their favorite flowers. How do you find out without blowing the surprise? Ask their roommate. If the roommate doesn’t know, they can find out in casual conversation. Believe me, the espionage will be well worth the work. Can’t make it off campus? Don’t forget that Irish Gardens is in the basement of LaFortune, so there’s no excuse not to show some initiative.

-Something New: Tickets. In a new relationship, it’s important to build memories together. There’s no better way to do that than by going to a sporting event or concert together. Surprise your significant other with tickets to a basketball game (home or close by) or a concert in Chicago. They’ll be happy that you know what they like and it might just expand your own horizons.

-Creative: Go Local. South Bend isn’t exactly a thriving metropolis, but it does have some hidden gems. Dinner on Valentine’s Day can not only be a nightmarish experience, but it can also seem really formal. Instead, explore one of the Bend’s other local businesses. Get coffee at Quincy’s or Main Street Café. Let your sweetie know they’re sweet by getting fondue at South Bend Chocolate Factory, something tasty at Indulgence or fro-yo at Let’s Spoon.

Long-Term Significant Other

Do you struggle to think of creative, romantic date ideas? Let’s face it; South Bend is not the Paris of the Midwest. If you’re looking to do something with your sweetheart, here are some ways to avoid a Valentine’s Day rut.

-Classic: Dinner. If there’s any night to go big, it’s Valentine’s Day. Ditch the chain restaurants though — you want to show your sweetheart they’re special by taking them somewhere as one-of-a-kind as they are. You can try to get a reservation at one of the better restaurants in town like LaSalle’s downtown, Uptown Kitchen or The Mark. For the campus-bound, try out Sorin’s in the Morris Inn, which is always surprisingly delicious.

-Something New: Cooking Together. Don’t feel like going out and fighting the crowd? Stay in! Get supplies for your favorite meal together and get creative in your apartment or dorm. For the campus-bound, I would suggest making dessert since it might be difficult to get dinner supplies at the Huddle.

-Creative Gift: Show off your skills! There’s nothing better than a handmade gift, something that utilizes your talents to make your significant other happy. Hate the corporate nature of Valentine’s Day? Make a card yourself! Draw a picture. Write a poem. If you have a playful relationship, make a “Stuff You Say” video or make it more serious with a “Things That I Love About You” letter. Decorate a cake. Try something new. It’s the effort that counts!

Contact Brenna Williams at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.