Valentine’s Day is one of those “love it or hate it” types of deals. Like bucket bags, cilantro, and Gilmore Girls, it’s a topic on which nearly everyone under the sun has an opinion—and a strong one too. Personally, I love it. Believe it or not, enjoying Valentine’s Day as a single girl is one of my favorite parts of the year.
I’m not exclusively talking about Galentine’s Day either (but S/O to Amy Poehler and the Parks and Recreation team for inventing that one); I mean none other than the one and only Feb. 14: the day when love songs play nonstop on the radio and chocolate-filled hearts fly from drugstore shelves. Since I was a kid, I’ve been a little in love with Valentine’s Day and all it entails. Maybe it was because of the school parties and the chance to choose a new set of cards to gift my classmates (I always picked Harry Potter or Lizzie McGuire cards). Or maybe it could have something to do with the fact that the holiday prominently features red, my favorite color. Whatever it is, I’ve been hooked on Valentine’s Day since approximately age 10, and I haven’t let it go since.
Admittedly, times have changed since my 10-year-old days. Now that I’m in my late 20s, I recognize that Valentine’s Day is much more about couples and commercialization than it is about love or friendship or any of those warm feelings that sold me in elementary school, yet I still ship the holiday with all my heart, and here’s why:
Why I Love Valentine’s Day as a Single Girl
I love a good theme, and Valentine’s Day is no exception
On the big day, I rock as much red or heart-themed apparel as I can (stylishly, of course). I have a huge pair of bronze heart earrings that I adore, so I usually try to work those into the equation. In years past, I’ve played up the romance with a red skirt and kept it sweet with a lacy pink dress. When Feb. 14 falls in the midst of the workweek, I still make sure the colors of love feature prominently in my outfit, perhaps in the form of a red blouse with pencil pants or a smart pink dress paired with a blazer.
As far as makeup goes, I keep the hues equally rosy. Pinks are my signature on Valentine’s Day, and I often blend a few of the shadows in my go-to eyeshadow palette to go with whatever shade of mauve is currently on my lips.
I bake for friends
After the #healthyJanuary and #newyearnewyou hype dies down, February can feel like the doldrums of winter. To make the midpoint of the month just a little sweeter, I love surprising my friends with Valentine’s Day-themed desserts. Regardless of whether they’re single or in relationships, my ride-or-die squad gets homemade sweets from yours truly. For me, baking on Valentine’s Day is an easy, affordable way to thank my friends for being awesome and doing my part to make their day just a little bit better. As a bonus, since baking is a major creative outlet for me, this is kind of a self-care win as well.
In the past, I’ve whipped up dark chocolate raspberry coffee cake, peanut butter cupcakes, and ultra-fudgy brownies. This year, I have my heart set on cookies and think these browned butter sugar cookie bars would be the perfect, portable sweet when tucked into little bags tied with sparkly red ribbon.
I plan a special meal for myself
As a self-proclaimed foodie, I can’t let Valentine’s Day go by without planning some sort of special meal for myself. Depending on the year, this could mean a dinner out or an elegant setup at home. Admittedly, planning a meal out isn’t for everyone. If you don’t love the thought of venturing into a restaurant filled with couples, this probably isn’t the best option for you. That being said, I promise it isn’t as bad as you might think.
One of my favorite Valentine’s Day dinners was in college when another single friend and I booked a table at an Indian restaurant. Neither of us had anything to do and all our other friends were in relationships at the time, so we decided to make a reservation at a place we’d been meaning to try. We ended up savoring an incredible three-course meal that we still talk about to this day.
On the other hand, sometimes there’s nothing better than opting for a low-key Valentine’s Day dinner at home. If you too are spending Valentine’s Day as a single girl, cook a gourmet dinner for one! This is the perfect occasion to indulge in an over-the-top meal. Speaking from experience, lobster tails are single-serve and surprisingly easy to prepare (pro tip: bake them). For a more budget-friendly option, a bag of Trader Joe’s gnocchi and a single-serve chocolate lava cake sound like heaven (and very possibly are what I’ll cook for myself this year).
I practice self-care
Self-care is an omnipresent notion nowadays, and for good reason. With schedules that move a million miles a minute, we could all use a little more “me time” to stop and take a breath. And what better day to do just that than Valentine’s Day? On a holiday that’s all about love, there’s no time like the present to treat yourself to a little TLC.
Personally, I like taking the DIY route with my self-care routine. After baking for friends and sitting down to a delicious homemade dinner—both of which are part of my treat yo’self ritual, since they get me in the kitchen and help me de-stress—I dive into full-on spa mode on Valentine’s Day as a single girl. With a little music in the background and a candle to set the mood, I start by slathering on a face mask and unwinding in an Epsom salt-filled bath. From there, it’s onto a hair mask and a manicure—with red polish, of course.
Bathroom routine complete, I slip on the coziest pajamas I own and turn on the kettle for a cup of tea. I love a good ginger tea at night; not only does it settle my stomach, but it also puts me right to sleep. Mug of tea in hand, I’m off to flip through a few chapters of whatever page-turner I’m reading.
I get a little cheesy
If there’s any time to get a little cheesy, it has to be Valentine’s Day. While I confess to loving a good Hallmark movie any time of year, Valentine’s Day is when I dive headfirst into every lighthearted romance I can find. Yes, they’re predictable. Yes, they’re unrealistic (Meet-cute in a bake-off? Sure, why not?). I love ‘em anyway. Depending on my mood, I love to rewatch The First Time, The Holiday, and Maid in Manhattan. But of course, literally anything on Hallmark works.
Want to up the cheese factor? *Raises hand* Why not go just a little over the top and treat yourself to a fresh bouquet or a gorgeous new candle to burn at home? I rarely get myself pretty little extras during the year, instead preferring to indulge on truly noteworthy occasions. In my book, Valentine’s Day is definitely one of those times to treat yourself. After all, it’s not every day that I slow down and really appreciate just how awesome I am—and that’s something I’m happy to do every single year, just for me.