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10 Valentine Ideas You May Not Have Thought of

10 Valentine Ideas You May Not Have Thought of

Valentine’s Day is approaching once again, and people all over the world will be scrambling for gifts to give their special someone. Whether they’re gifts for spouses, lovers, friends, or family members, these gifts tend to run the usual gamut of plush toys, roses, and candy. Consider something a bit more unique this year—it’ll certainly liven things up, and will stand out in the recipient’s memory far more than that box of chocolate will.

valentine ideas

    Here are a few ideas that you can do to make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one:

    1. Put Together a “Date in a Box”

    date in a box

      No, it’s not suggested that you package up your partner, but rather that you create a gift box/basket full of all the things that would make a perfect date night; either for you and your date, or for a couple that you can give it to as a gift.
      For movie-lovers, the parcel could include a couple of DVDs and some popcorn with gourmet toppings to sprinkle over it. Wine aficionados could indulge in a bottle or two of their favourite wine, along with some cheeses, bread, olive oil, and candles. If the recipient’s ideal dates fall into the realm of fly-fishing tournaments or furry conventions, you’re on your own for ideas.

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      2. Sponsor an Animal

      Sponsor an Animal

        Love doesn’t just have to be expressed towards other humans—it can be directed towards caring for any species. If you love animals, consider making a donation to a charitable organization that helps to care for those in need.  You could choose to donate to a local pet shelter or wildlife rehab center, or any number of care facilities worldwide that offer medical care and sanctuary to animals like elephants, dolphins, sun bears, wolves, and countless other species.
        Donations are tax-deductible, and you’d be ensuring that an animal in need receives gentle care and compassion. You’ll often even receive pictures of the animal(s) you helped, and regular updates on their well-being.

        3. Make Chocolate “Sushi” Together

        ChocolateSuSh

          Don’t yarf: these faux sushi bites are absolutely not a mixture of fish and chocolate, so there’s no need to run screaming. Though it may sound bizarre to have dessert in the shape of maki rolls or nigiri, it’s actually a lot of fun, and will undoubtedly surprise the person you’re sharing it with.
          Making these is fairly time-consuming, so don’t leave your preparations to the last minute. The “rice” can be made a variety of different ways, but the most common ones seem to be either grated white chocolate, shredded coconut, or crispy rice and marshmallow mixture—the kind that’s used for squares. The “nori” is made of strips of dark chocolate, and you can use a variety of fillings and toppings to emulate anything you like. Try pieces of mango or pineapple, and use crushed raspberries in lieu of tobiko.

          4. Name a Star After Your Sweetheart

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          name a star

            This one might not be completely legit, in so far as you can’t really prove that the star you’ve named hasn’t been named for ten thousand other people and you’ve just been billed for it, but it’s a cute gesture. You can expand on this idea by getting the star’s coordinates etched into matching jewellery that only you two share.

            5. Have a Midnight Picnic

            125035__walk_l

              This is a really cute, low-key thing that you and your beloved can do together that’s low-cost, silly, fun, and can be put together from stuff you have at home. You can either wake them in the middle of the night to surprise them with a picnic spread in the middle of the living room, or you can tell them ahead of time so you two can plan together and nap as needed so you don’t fall asleep onto your sandwich in the middle of the night.
              This is also fun to do with your kids, if they’re old enough to appreciate it and won’t end up howling and miserable the next day.

              6. Make some Hair Jewellery

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              hair jewelery

                Okay, this one’s a bit weird and might appeal most to the goths out there, but hair jewellery was really popular in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and can be quite beautiful. Though it was mostly worn in remembrance—crafted as it was from the hair of dead loved ones—these brooches and rings can also be created while your sweetheart it still among the living.

                7. Take a Dance Class Together

                dance class

                  Nothing says “I love to be close to you” than forced, awkward togetherness in front of strangers. There’s such a wide range of dance classes to choose from that you two can be flouncing around the dance floor together in no time. Salsa, tango, swing, or ballroom: whatever would encourage you and your partner to have a ridiculous amount of fun together would definitely be a way to celebrate in style.

                  8. Grow a Tree to Plant in the Spring

                  grow a tree

                    Winter really isn’t the time to go planting things in your yard, but you can get seeds and nuts started indoors in a little pot of soil. Consider getting yourself a tree-growing kit (or just be experimental with a nut or pit of your choice) and see if you can coax a tree into growing for you. Once the weather has warmed up and your tree is sturdy enough to move outdoors, transplant it into the ground where you can watch it grow for years to come.

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                    9. Have a Marathon of the Worst “Romantic” Films Ever

                    worst movie ever

                      There are some spectacularly bad romantic comedies out there, and few things can make a couple appreciate how good they have it as watching some of the cheesiest, heart-stopping dreck that the film industry has put out. Make a big bucket of popcorn, pour some drinks (you’ll need them), log into Netflix, and enjoy. The groaning and wincing will bring you closer together.

                      10. Do Absolutely Nothing.

                      sit and do nothing

                        You could always choose to go against the grain of forced, expected displays of affection on this day: take a cue from the “Un-Birthday” party from Alice in Wonderland, and make this an “Un-Valentine’s Day”. Don’t do anything special, don’t make any big fuss… and instead, do something sweet and adorable on each of the remaining 364 days ’til the next time V-Day rolls around.

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                        Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                        7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                        Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                        For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                        Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                        1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                        A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                        It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                        It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                        How it helps you:

                        If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                        Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                        2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                        Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                        Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                        How it helps you:

                        Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                        Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                        If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                        Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                        3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                        Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                        Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                        How it helps you:

                        This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                        For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                        Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                        A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                        4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                        To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                        A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                        How it helps you:

                        One word: hierarchy.

                        All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                        In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                        If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                        5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                        Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                        Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                        How it helps you:

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                        Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                        If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                        This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                        6. What do you like about working here?

                        This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                        Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                        How it helps you:

                        You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                        Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                        Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                        7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                        What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                        As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                        How it helps you:

                        What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                        First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                        Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                        Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                        Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                        Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                        Making Your Interview Work for You

                        Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                        Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                        More Resources About Job Interviews

                        Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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