By Daisy Whitney
It's Valentine's Day again and that means, wait, let's guess. Cards, flowers, candy. Hmm.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. And in fact, those may be the perfect gifts.
But for this year's Cupid Day, how about dialing up the romance, sizzle and sweetness that this holiday is all about? Whatever gift you give – be they cards, flowers, candy or something else -- give your all to make your loved one feel loved.
We polled several gift and love experts for their advice on how to make this the most artful, heartful Valentine's Day ever.
For those lovers seeking the most romantic Valentine's Day ever, Mary Zalmanek, author of "Art of the Spark," offers these tips.
Put it in Words: Write a handwritten love letter telling your beloved why you fell in love in the first place.
Extend the Holiday: Let your sweetheart feel loved every day leading up to Valentine's Day. Find new ways every day to show your love that you love.
Double Your Pleasure: Plan two special evenings in February. Celebrate one night in a public venue, like a restaurant or theater, and the other in the privacy of your own home or a secluded hideaway. On the day of your dinner date, tell your sweetheart the time of the date and then send a brief instant message or call to say, "Meet me at our favorite place for martinis." Keep the message short and sweet. For your romantic date at home, opt for an elegant presentation with good dishes, candles and your sexiest attire. Or plan something fun like an indoor picnic. Spread a blanket on the living room floor. Feed each other. Toast marshmallows in the fireplace.
The Present is in the Presentation: It's often not the gift so much that matters as how you present it, Zalmanek says. "Lead your beloved on a treasure hunt to find the gift, or plan an activity around its use," she says. Write a personal note about the gift describing why you bought it or how you imagine it being used and then read the note out loud. Don't be afraid to use the secret language of your love. For instance, "If your gift can be inscribed or engraved, include a brief message that only your beloved will understand the significance of, like "TTLOML" or "Happy 25th Anniversary of Your 21st Birthday," she says. The message and the memories they conjure will be known and understood only by the two of you, making them even more special.
You can also plan a romantic getaway or adventure. If you do that, keep in mind that every day loving features build the foundation for these special romantic times. Zalmanek's advises: