By Vanessa

Scenario 1: The pressure is on. Valentine’s Day is near. That expensive restaurant you had your heart set on is fully booked. Is all hope lost?

Scenario 2: Perhaps you find yourself riding solo this Valentine’s Day. Is one the loneliest number?

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Resolution: Fret not, your love guru is here! I have created a list of the BEST Valentine’s Day Date Alternatives to improve even the most dire VDay situation!

Right Picture Credit:

Right Picture Credit:

1. Cook Dinner TOGETHER | Save yourselves from the crowds and the price gouge and make dinner at home… TOGETHER! Cook your favorite comfort meal, something romantic like oysters (an aphrodisiac, btw) or something sweet (dessert for dinner). If you guys are not great in the kitchen, let a service like Plated do some of the work for you. With Plated, you choose a recipe and they send the ingredients to your door with step by step cooking instructions. The key to this is cooking together. Have fun, be playful, make a mess. It’s about spending time doing something together.



2. Go CAMPING | Grab a tent and some bug spray and hit the open road. Camping gives you the opportunity to distance yourselves from work, friends, family and all of the other noise that keeps you two apart. Bring some playing cards, burgers for the grill and a bottle of wine and just relax. The key to this is turn off the outside world. Try to stay off your phones and make memories together.


3. Go on a STAYCATION | We live in a gorgeous tourist destination. Take advantage with a weekend vacation right here in Tampa Bay. St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach and Siesta Key are all just a short drive away from anywhere in Tampa Bay. Find an inexpensive motel (a CW44 co-worked suggests dog-friendly Baywaters Inn on St. Pete Beach), book for the weekend and enjoy. The key to this is to turn off the outside world. Look at Tampa Bay from a different point of view, away from work and stress, with the one you love.

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4. Do YOU, Together | Choose 1 activity each and do it, no questions asked. For instance, in the case of my boyfriend and me, he would choose go to the shooting range and I would choose spending the day on the beach. We could either split a weekend – Saturday for my activity and Sunday for his – or split up the day with what we BOTH want. The key to this is going into either activity with an open mind. Give your boo the opportunity to pick whatever they want and take it on with a positive spirit.


5. BATTLE of the Sexes | This could work for singles or couples. Invite your single friends OR your favorite couples over for a game night. Most singles don’t want to spend Valentine’s Day with couples who can’t keep their hands off each other, so be mindful of this. Buy the board game Battle of the Sexes, split off into men vs. women teams and let the games begin. If you’re the creative type, make up your own Battle of the Sexes challenge (maybe an obstacle course in your backyard or a sexes-based trivia challenge). The key to this is to build friendships and with like-minded people. Keep the booze and snacks flowing and just have fun.


6. The ANTI-VDay Date | Honesty time! Valentine’s Day, while fun and romantic, is complete hogwash. It’s a made up “holiday” that many people put way too much stock in. For those who feel Valentine’s Day is for the birds, I suggest an ANTI-VDay Date. If you’re spending the day alone, celebrate yourself. Go shopping, do an all-day Netflix marathon, eat cake, play video games, spend the whole day doing whatever you LOVE doing.  The key to this is remember that Valentine’s Day is fun and games, not a serious holiday. Enjoy some ‘you’ time and forget what your calendar says.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Vanessa Rao | CW44 Tampa Bay