Your Valentine's Day Outfit Inspiration

IMAGE SOURCE: GAL MEETS GLAM

IMAGE SOURCE: GAL MEETS GLAM

Whether you have reservations for a fancy dinner or you’re grabbing a casual brunch this Valentine’s Day, there’s tons of trendy directions you can take your outfit in this year! Blush is super in right now, so add the tone into your look! Mix a classy white blouse up with an adorable pink peacoat and some light-wash boyfriend jeans. The distressed look is so on trend right now, but if you want to dress it up a little, opt for more classy accessories, like blush booties and some dainty rings. If you’ll be spending the night outside, add a knit scarf or beanie to stay warm and cozy!

Try out a red or pink satin top with the same distressed denim if you want to get a little bit more festive. Layer some simple necklaces for an elegant and classy touch against the denim, and style your hair with some tousled beach waves and a messy braid. The unexpected textures make for an original and charming look that’ll definitely impress.

If your date night plans involve something a little more elaborate, skip the plain dress and step out in something bolder. Slip on a little black dress with embroidered rose details, or pick up something with a flirty pattern, like pin-stripes or anything floral. A timeless pair of red heels and an oversized wrap coat will tie everything together effortlessly! Don’t be afraid to mix a little pop of red in with your pink, or vice versa. It’s a holiday after all, and the combo looks adorable! Make a bigger statement with your pink outfit with a bold red lip or red tassel earrings, or add an extra Valentine’s touch with a pink mani-pedi!

Valentine's Day Dessert

chzcake 3.jpg

The perfect way to end your homemade Valentine’s Day dinner is, of course, a homemade dessert! We wanted to again stray from the traditional and bring you a cake that is easy to make, but also takes time and love! This New York Cheesecake with Graham Cracker/Pretzel Crust and Salted Caramel Sour Cream Top is sure to wow and satisfy!


INSTRUCTIONS

Adjust a center rack and preheat the oven to 325℉. Line the bottom of an 8” round spring form pan with parchment paper.

FOR THE CRUST Pulse enough pretzels in a food processor to get 1 cup of course pretzel crumbs and remove the pretzel crumbs. Pulse enough graham crackers in the food processor to get another cup of crumbs. Put the pretzel crumbs back into the food processor along with 12 tbsp. cold butter (chopped in tbsp. sized pieces) and ½ cup granulated sugar. We used vanilla sugar from our leftover crème brûleé recipe! Put on high until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour crust into the pan and push flat (use the bottom of a measuring cup to get the edges!). Slightly toast the crust in the oven for 10 minutes.

FOR THE FILLING While your crust is toasting, make your filling. In the food processor cream 1½ lbs. (3, 8 oz. packages) of room temperature cream cheese on high until smooth. Add ¾ cups granulated sugar and mix until combined. Slowly add your 5 eggs, one at a time, and 1 tsp. vanilla  (or ½ tsp. vanilla if using vanilla sugar) until combined. With the food processor on low, slowly pour in 1½ cups of heavy cream. This will completely fill your food processor so just be careful the lid is on tight!

chzcake 2.jpg

Scrape the edges of the processor to make sure there are no lumps and mix for 30 seconds more. If your filling still has lumps, strain through a wire mesh strainer. Pour the filling into the warm pan with the toasted crust. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and cool in the oven to room temperature with the oven door cracked slightly. This prevents the cheesecake from splitting. Once at room temp store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

FOR THE TOPPING To make the caramel sauce, heat 1 cup granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns just golden in color. Stir until all the sugar is melted and turns amber in color. Turn the heat to low and add stir in 4 oz. unsalted butter until melted. Add ¾ cup heavy cream 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt and mix until it all comes together, about 8 minutes. Don’t stop stirring! Pour the caramel sauce into a glass jar and let come to room temperature before refrigerating. It can be kept up to two weeks! When the cheesecake is ready to serve, mix ¾ cup sour cream and the salted caramel together and spread on top!

FOR THE GARNISH If you would like to garnish your cheesecake, line the top edge with pretzels! If you feel like you’re missing some color, feel free to serve with a raspberry sauce! Simply combine ½ cup sugar and 6 oz. raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has melted and the raspberries are a liquid like consistency. Mix often. Strain the raspberry mixture through a mesh strainer into a small cup or pitcher. Serve warm for a more liquid texture, or refrigerate until cool for a thicker texture!

chzcake 1.jpg

Recipe & Image Source: The Kitchy Kitchen


Set the Scene for the Perfect V-Day Proposal or Engagement Shoot

Image Source: Wedding Forward

Image Source: Wedding Forward

Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year. Why not cap it off with a picture perfect proposal or engagement shoot?! We love the idea of a swoon-worthy act of romance to play off of the holiday festivities and show the one you love just how much you care! Reds, pinks, hearts and flowers… utilize the stereotypical Valentine’s Day symbols for a statement sure to sweep your guy or gal off their feet in a day they’ll never forget.

The Complete Guide to Hosting Galentine's Day

Image Source: Glitter Inc.

Image Source: Glitter Inc.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for romance anymore, thanks to Leslie Knope, we have Galentine’s Day to think about too! Galentine’s Day is all about spending a fun, relaxing day catching up with your girls and sharing the love with one another. Are you in charge of hosting or planning this year’s event? We’re here to help make the day perfect for you and all your ladies!

Outfits

Stick with the holiday theme for your Galentine’s Day outfit. Think reds, pinks, and hearts galore! For a more formal look, opt for a fun, whimsical dress. If you’re planning on a more low-key and relaxed day, or just looking for a warmer option, stick with a cute and bright festive sweater instead.

Tablescapes

There are so many directions you can take your tablescape in, and it really depends on your style and the feel of the event! Keep it more neutral with a brown bag runner covered in X’s and O’s and pops of color in additional decor. Or embrace the holiday to its fullest and carry on the reds, pinks and hearts throughout the decor! We love pulling in the sparkles with different accent pieces too!

Food

Food should be tasty and fun! Our pick is to stick with snack-y finger food and desserts. Think Chex mixes, kabobs, and pretzels. There are so many fun and easy ways to add the holiday feel and festive colors into your snacks. You can even turn decorating your snacks into a party activity! Dip pretzels and fruit into chocolate and coat in pink sprinkles… whatever your heart desires!

Gifts

Show your ladies some love with a little something special. Whether you want to go big and buy everyone something sweet, or create your own DIY gifts, this extra touch will be appreciated by all! Not that Galentine’s Day should be about presents, but the simple gesture of giving a nice, thought out gift really illustrates just how much you care about your favorite gal pals.

Our Favorite Valentine's Day Date Ideas!

IMAGE SOURCE: STYLE ME PRETTY

IMAGE SOURCE: STYLE ME PRETTY

There is always added pressure to get your Valentine’s Day date right; it needs to be the most romantic date of the year, but sometimes it’s hard deciding what to do! To help, we’ve rounded up a bunch of date ideas sure to create memories, romance, and an atmosphere for your love to grow!


Stay in if you want - no one ever said Valentine’s Day had to be glamorous! Do the opposite of what you and your significant other always do. If you’re the kind of couple that stays in and watches Netflix in your old Christmas pajamas year round, try that new restaurant in town that everyone’s been raving about instead of the same old takeout! If you’re the kind of couple that’s always moving, always on the go, and you never get the opportunity to unwind together, then an easy movie night in could be the best Valentine’s date ever.

IMAGE SOURCE: ELANALOO

IMAGE SOURCE: ELANALOO

IMAGE SOURCE: SHOP STYLE

IMAGE SOURCE: SHOP STYLE

If a night in isn’t for you, be spontaneous! Head to a city or town nearby that you’ve never been to. If you want to avoid V-Day crowds, consider making it an earlier day and check out the local breakfast places. Romance doesn’t have to be a candlelit dinner with flowers galore - coffee works, too! Take the time to walk around and enjoy being in an entirely unknown place together. Window-shop the stores you come across, and enjoy exploring somewhere new with your love hand in hand!

If you’re not feeling confident about your cooking skills but you still want to impress your S/O with something homemade, check out the cooking classes offered in your area. They’re not too expensive, and not only will you learn something new, but you’ll get to do it with your love and eat a delicious meal afterwards!

IMAGE SOURCE: MELISSA JILL

IMAGE SOURCE: MELISSA JILL

IMAGE SOURCE @WAHOOBAYBEACH

IMAGE SOURCE @WAHOOBAYBEACH

You might feel a little guilty indulging in a massage for just yourself any other time of year, but a couple’s massage or spa day is the perfect environment to get the two of you relaxed. And get that facial you’ve been dreaming about while you’re at it! You’ll be feeling confident, stress-free, and ready to enjoy the night together.

For a little more romance, recreate your first date, or take it back to where you first met. If you spent it at the movies, go to the same theater and get the large popcorn you were too nervous to get on your first date. Take a walk around the park that you met in, or enjoy a nice meal at the restaurant you first fumbled over conversation in. Reminiscing can be very romantic, and chances are, your S/O will be impressed with all the thought that went into it!


Unique Valentine's Day Gifts For Him

IMAGE SOURCE: CROSLEY RADIO

IMAGE SOURCE: CROSLEY RADIO

Struggling to find your man the perfect gift? You’re not alone! Every year Valentine’s Day approaches too quickly, and us girls have no idea what to give our hubby who seems to own everything. To help prevent further panic, we’ve come up with 10 gifts he is sure to love and appreciate!


STAR MAP

If you’re looking to do something even more romantic than a mixtape, a great option is a star map from the night you met. The Night Sky is just one company that offers tons of different looks and customizable options that anyone would love, all from the exact date and location of your choosing. You can add the constellations, pick from different color schemes, and add a little message. Not only will your gift be super sweet, but it’ll look great hung up on the wall, too!

SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

An adorable way to remind your guy that you’re thinking of him is a subscription box. There are tons you could treat him to! The beauty of subscription services is that you could buy him a few months worth, or you could treat him to one month of a few different ones, so he can see what works best for him! Dollar Shave Club is a great one if your guy is a little too obsessed with his beard (or doesn’t seem to care for it at all). Birchbox Man is another great idea if you want to go beyond just razors, since it features everything from cologne to skincare. Or, if you want to be super sweet, you could deliver some chocolate right to his doorstep with Candy Club!

PERSONALIZED GIFT BASKETS

If you’re not too sure about committing to a candy subscription box, but you don’t exactly want to settle for a cheap box of random chocolates, a great option is to hand-pick a basket of sweets that you know he’ll love! Toss in a gift card to grab that new video game he’s been talking about, too - it’s thoughtful, affordable, and his man cave will be stocked with his favorite treats.

OLD-SCHOOL VINYL MIXTAPE

Mixtapes are a classic Valentine’s gift, especially if your guy loves music. So why not kick it up a notch with something a little more unexpected, like a mixtape on vinyl? Freestyle Vinyl will totally personalize a record for you - they’ll even buy all the songs so you don’t have to! Impress your guy with some of his favorite songs, or make a custom mix of the ones that remind you of him with an adorable sleeve featuring the two of you!

SPORTS GEAR AND EXPERIENCES

If your guy is more into sports games than video games, a pair of tickets to his favorite sports team’s next game isn’t only easy, it’s also bound to be a fun date night for the two of you, too! Grabbing some last-minute tickets is a win-win, but it can also be expensive. If you’re trying to be more conservative with your budget this Valentine’s Day, grab him a new jersey sporting his favorite player’s name. There’s some really unique limited edition ones out there, too, like the NFL’s new Salute to Service line, that he’d definitely appreciate.

QUALITY SUNGLASSES

Anyone who does a lot of driving (or vacationing on the beach) needs a good pair of sunnies, but chances are your S/O doesn’t have a nice, quality pair that’s also on trend. Treat him to a new pair of sunglasses for Valentine’s Day! QUAY Australia is just one affordable brand that always has the best up and coming shades, so shop around with one of their many discount codes and pick what you’d like to see your guy in!

DESIGNER SMARTWATCH

Everyone seems to have an Apple Watch now, but if you’re looking to treat your S/O to something a little more professional with all the same capabilities, pick him up a designer smartwatch - the Michael Kors ones are gorgeous, and usually on sale. Men will always appreciate a nice piece of jewelry, especially when it doubles as a notification center and fitness tracker.

YETI COOLER OR MUG

If your guy is a big fan of the outdoors, consider picking him out a top-of-the-line YETI cooler for his summer camping trips! If you can’t justify splurging on a cooler, grab him a YETI mug to keep his coffee hot at the office, and his drinks cold at the beach!

COLOGNE

Chances are, your S/O probably already has his own staple scent. A no-hassle gift is to stock him up on his go-to cologne! If he hasn’t found one yet, head over to Sephora, try them all, and pick for him. You could even get a small starter kit that lets him sample a handful, and offer to pick up the full size of his favorite.

AN UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCE

If you’re looking for something completely different, Cloud9 Living has tons of deals for some of the craziest experiences out there. Treat him to something he’s always wanted to try, like indoor skydiving, or make a romantic date out of it and book a helicopter ride at sunset over your city!


Spanish Paella is the Valentine's Day Dinner You'll Love

IMAGE SOURCE: STYLE ME PRETTY

IMAGE SOURCE: STYLE ME PRETTY

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and you probably have no idea what you and your man should do for dinner. This year, opt for a satisfying and intimate meal at home instead of a fancy and overpriced restaurant! We wanted to stay away from the stereotypical spaghetti and meatballs or steak dinner, so we chose a dinner that is just as delicious and rich-- paella! This Spanish paella dish is spicy, flavorful, and bold! Cook it together or surprise him with a romantic dinner, either way you both will love it! (Recipe adapted from Food Network)


RECIPE

Servings: 2

Total Time: 2.5 hours

Combine ½ tbsp. smoked paprika and 1 tsp. oregano in a small bowl. Rub over 1 lb. of cubed chicken breast and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

IMAGE SOURCE: SAINSBURY'S

IMAGE SOURCE: SAINSBURY'S

Heat 4 tbsp. oil in a paella pan, or large skillet, over medium heat, and sauté 1 chorizo sausage (thickly sliced) until browned. Remove and reserve. Add the marinated chicken, a pinch of salt and pepper, and brown until cooked through. Remove and reserve. In the same pan sauté ½  diced yellow onion, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, and a bunch of chopped fresh parsley for 2-3 minutes.

Add ½ can (7-8 oz.) crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp. smoked paprika to the skillet and cook until the flavors combine. Fold in 1 ½ cup short grain Spanish rice and add 2 cups broth (chicken or lobster are our choices!) and juice from half a lemon; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. If the rice has absorbed the liquid too quickly feel free to add more broth ¼ cup at a time.

Add the chicken, chorizo, and a generous pinch of saffron threads to the skillet. Tuck ½ dozen scrubbed mussels and ½ lb. jumbo peeled shrimp into the rice mixture and let simmer until the mussels open and the shrimp cook (about 5 minutes). Add ¼ cup sweet peas (frozen and thawed) to the skillet, mix, and take off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

Add more salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and lemon juice to taste! Enjoy!


How are You Spending Your Valentine's Day?

The most lovable day of the year is quickly approaching: Valentine’s Day! Whether you want to put on your favorite heels and go out on the town, or slide into your comfiest slippers and enjoy a cozy night in, we have fun ideas for both date nights for you and your loved one!


Time to strap on those heels and get fabulous! Although cliché, going out to a romantic dinner for two is a great way to celebrate this day of love. Add a festive pop of color to your look with some deep red lipstick shades and a bright red statement skirt. Split a bottle of wine and end the night with some delicious dessert! If you want to stray away from the typical dinner date, slip into something cute but more comfortable. While still adding some color to your outfit, try a deeper shade of red skirt matched with a long sleeve shirt to keep that flirty look! Sign up for a cooking class and create a meal together or attend a paint bar night, where you can enjoy that bottle of wine all while making masterpieces together.


Don’t feel like making reservations or spending much money? No problem! Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the comfort of your own home. Instead of taking that cooking class, try making a meal at home together. Keep it festive with a pizza in the shape of a heart or learn something new by making your own sushi rolls! Kick your feet up and enjoy each other’s company in something cozy yet chic, such as leggings and an oversized cardigan matched with some natural, softer makeup tones. End your night watching some of your favorite films together while snacking on some yummy homemade desserts like chocolate covered strawberries!  


Pondering what to make for your date night in? We have got you covered! Spicy Clams with Spaghetti.

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 18 littleneck clams (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon thinly sliced stems

1. Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Increase heat to medium-high and add clams. Cover and cook just until clams open, 4 to 5 minutes. Discard unopened clams.

3. Stir in butter and parsley leaves and stems. Add pasta and toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is loose and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe Source: Martha Stewart

Valentine's Day Wedding Inspiration

What better way to celebrate saying “I do” and bonding the love between two soulmates than having a Valentine’s Day inspired wedding? In the love-filled month of February, your wedding day will shine as a romantic occasion by highlighting the iconic Valentine’s Day colors of red and pink, beautifully bloomed roses, and a classic candle-lit atmosphere.

In addition to the popular red and pink color palette, nothing describes “classic romance” more than lace and pearls, deep reds with hints of gold, and bow & arrow décor scattered throughout the venue. Let your guests feel and indulge in the romantic atmosphere with their own candle lit dinners at the reception and enjoy a fun and classy background of roses for photographs. To end the perfect night, share a toast with your guests with glasses filled with gold-flaked champagne. Spread the love, while celebrating your own love with that special someone on this intimate day!

Rose Redemption

So the V-Day chocolates have been eaten, and the bottle of wine is dry… but the vase of roses are still sitting pretty on the kitchen table. Now I don’t know about you, but I feel extra special anytime I’m lucky enough to receive some rosy reds! Here are 2 creative ways to make your bouquet last even longer, so you can enjoy them time and time again! Get ready to be pampered!

Rose Petal Bath Bomb

If you’re familiar with the magical store called LUSH you’ll know how important this first idea is… DIY rose petal bath bombs! Although amazing, bath bombs from LUSH can be a teensy bit pricey, so here is a great way to incorporate your V-Day flowers into a decadent bath time treat!

Product image courtesy of: Lush USA

Product image courtesy of: Lush USA

 
Product image courtesy of: A Pumpkin and A Princess

Product image courtesy of: A Pumpkin and A Princess

These all-natural bath bombs dissolve into a fizz when dropped in water to turn your bath into a full-on spa experience.

 

1 cup baking soda

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup corn starch

¼ cup dry milk (this will make your skin super soft)

3 tbsp. Epsom salts

1 teaspoon water

Handful of dried rose petals

15-20 drops of essential oils for scent (rose oil recommended)

3-4 teaspoons of almond oil (olive oil will clog your drain)

Silicone mold (to shape)

Step 1: In a large bowl combine baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, milk powder, and Epsom salt. Cut the rose petals into small pieces and toss them into the mixed ingredients.

Step 2: In a small bowl stir the water, almond oil and essential oil together.

Step 3: Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. You can test the mixture’s consistency by grabbing a handful and making a fist. If it holds the shape of your fist it is ready to mold. If it crumbles in your hand, lightly spritz it with water until you can form it into a shape. Trust me, if it’s too dry your masterpiece will turn to dust once its done!

Step 4: Compress your mixture into its shaping mold. This is where your creation can become unique! You could try chocolate molds, silicone ice cube molds, cupcake tins or even ornament molds. Choose whatever you like. For the truest LUSH bath bomb shape use the ornament mold. Don’t have one? Simply cut a tennis ball in half and use the shell as a mold! So easy! This mixture should get you 3 full sized bath bombs or about 8 small bath bomb fizzies.

Now if you are compressing two halves into one shape you need to make sure both sides will stick together. This is important if you’re making the true bath bomb shape. I would add a spoonful of the mixture between the two halves and compress them against each other (this will be easy if you’re using an ornament mold).

Step 5: Voilá, the PERFECT bath bomb!! Let both sides of the molds dry with one on top of the other. Let the bath bombs dry overnight before removing it from the mold. Once removed, allow them to dry on a towel for a few hours before using or wrapping them as a gift!

Thank you to A pumpkin and A Princess for the recipe!

Rose Infused Body Scrub

This idea is so simple yet super luxurious! Use this scrub do exfoliate dry skin and get ready for your next hot date!

There’s one a few things needed for this one:

1 cup fresh rose petals

1 ½ cups sugar (white sugar will give you a baby pink colored end result)

¼ cup baby oil

Food processor/blender

Mason Jar

This is how simple this one is – throw all of the ingredients into the food processor, pulse until the ingredients are evenly mixed and pour into a jar! This smells super pretty but looks even more amazing!

Image courtesy of: Smart School House

Image courtesy of: Smart School House

Have fun making these post-Valentine’s Day bath time treats!

Valentine

Here are three easy, fun and a little naughty V-Day dinner ideas, all in which use red wine as a main ingredient.

Recipe and photo courtesy of: tastyeverafter.com

Recipe and photo courtesy of: tastyeverafter.com

Start your night off with a little red wine sangria. Fresh, fruity and flirty! All you need is 1 bottle of red wine, and fruit of your choice! Apples, oranges, citrus, berries - the combinations are endless! For the best taste let the fruit and wine sit in the fridge overnight. This will infuse the fruitiness into the wine. For a spritzer, pour ¾ glass of sangria mix and ¼ glass of seltzer. So delicious!

Give this recipe a try: instead of boiling your pasta in water, try red wine. I LOVE this twist! Cooking the noodles in red wine gives them a different kind of sweetness, perfect for V-day. Just grab your favorite red; the wine you choose doesn’t have to be a cooking wine. Whatever tastes good to you, use it!

Photo and recipe courtesy of: abeautifulmess.com

Photo and recipe courtesy of: abeautifulmess.com

photo and recipe courtesy of:butterlustblog.com

photo and recipe courtesy of:butterlustblog.com

What you’ll need:

  1. 1 cup of sugar

  2. ¾ cup water

  3. 1 bottle of a fruity flavored wine (Merlot or Zinfandel would work great)

  4. 3 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)

In a medium saucepan, bring all of the ingredients to a boil, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved.  Once all of the sugar is dissolved remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture steep for 1 hour. Once fully cooled, pour the mixture into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Once processed there will be quite a few seeds in the mixture. All you have to do is pour the mixture through a mesh metal strainer and into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for overnight or until thoroughly chilled. The final step - scoop, serve and enjoy this beautifully delicious V-Day dessert!!!


These dishes are great for you and your loved ones to create together, whether it’s your hubby or your gal pals! Try them each one their own, or have all three – just make sure you’re not operating any heavy machinery this Valentine’s day ;)

DIY Valentine's Day

As many of us have experienced, sometimes it's easy to fall into a Valentine's Day rut. In the past have you gone out, sat in a crowded restaurant and spent too much money on an evening that ended up being a little lackluster? We'd like to propose an alternative - STAY HOME!

We've assembled a shopping list of items that will bring the romance back where it belongs, just between the two of you!

 

week-1-valentine's-dinner.jpg