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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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                        Catherine Winter

                        Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                        Last Updated on May 28, 2020

                        10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

                        10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

                        Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

                        You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

                        Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

                        You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

                        Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

                        1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

                        If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

                        Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

                        When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

                        Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

                        So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

                        Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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                        2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

                        Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

                        Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

                        • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
                        • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
                        • Answer a few Superpower Questions

                        Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

                        3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

                        Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

                        The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

                        You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

                        Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

                        Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

                        4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

                        The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

                        Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

                        To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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                        This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

                        5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

                        Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

                        Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

                        • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
                        • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
                        • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

                        The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

                        Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

                        6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

                        I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

                        To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

                        Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

                        A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

                        Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

                        Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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                        7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

                        Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

                        Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

                        What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

                        Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

                        8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

                        Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

                        Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

                        What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

                        These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

                        9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

                        Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

                        This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

                        Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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                        “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

                        10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

                        Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

                        Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

                        You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

                        You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

                        Final Thoughts

                        Eleanor Roosevelt said,

                        “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

                        Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

                        By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

                        If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

                        This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

                        Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

                        More About Success in Life

                        Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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