If all the pink and red fluffy hearts of Valentine’s Day leave you more sick-to-your-stomach than happy-in-love, we feel you. But, certainly a national holiday dedicated to love can be celebrated creatively, even if it was invented by Hallmark. Whether you’re in a relationship or want to celebrate your love for your awesome, single self, the tech-lovers and creative forces at LadyBits have put together this handy guide on how to do V-day up right. So, ditch the stuffed animals, expensive dinner reservations, and chalky candy this year, and instead check out our tips for making February 14th awesome.
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Instead of cruising the grocery store card aisle for a card to express your sentiments, put some personalization into your paper gifts with a variety of cool new startups. Prinstagrams is a company that prints your Instagrams for a reasonable price, so you can pop them into an album or get them framed. If the apple of your eye is super internetty, get them an IRL GIF from http://gifpop.io/, which uses lenticular printing to make cards come alive to with emotion (as GIFs do).
For the ultimate intersection between dead plants and high-tech, BloomNation lets you peruse the stock of local artisan florists throughout the country and pay for your transaction with Bitcoin.
If you’re like us, there are some techy items you can’t live without even for a day. Getting your love (or treating yourself to) one of these essentials is a sure way to ensure you’re always on their mind. A never-fail option is an external hard drive (we like the Rugged Thunderbolt by LaCie), and they’ll think of you every time they transfer a file.
Want to spare your sweety from a daily annoyance? Give the gift of ad-free music with a subscription to Pandora One or premium Spotify, and pair it with fancy headphones if you want to really ingrain yourself in those gratifying musical mental circuits. Our faves are these foldable, noise-canceling headphones by Sennheiser, which are perfect for teleporting yourself into your lover’s arms while you’re riding a night train. Or, if cozying up on the couch with a bottle of wine is your thing (I mean whose thing isn’t it though, really?) a subscription to Netflix or Chromecast will ensure more snuggle time.
No snuggle buddy? Look, it’s 2014 and you’ve gotta take care of yourself sometimes. We’re jonesing for a Jimmyjane vibe, but our favorite is still the Revel Body, the maglev of vibrators. You can even use it under water, so draw yourself a lavender-scented bubble bath and be grateful your technology can do things that would drown a mere mortal. For bonus points, set the mood with a color-changing, programmable lightbulb.
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Fitness gifts can feel taboo on Valentine’s day, but these techy picks are cool enough to get away with. Save your Valentine from the slouch with the lumoback posture corrector. Or, get them a snazzy Jawbone or Fitbit Flex to keep them on track. And, to help them stay safe, try these USB-charged bike lights to keep your love (or your BFF) from being splattered across the road on their way to sweep you off your feet.
Instead of the overpriced, overcrowded dinner, this year, go for a better kind of foodie Valentine’s day. Maybe a scotch and cheese tasting, or an anatomically correct box of chocolates.
Or, stay in and cook a meal yourself with a Blue Apron box. You pick the recipes that look good to you online, and they deliver the food ingredients and instructions, and you just have fun cooking. The meals are healthy but tasty, and they have vegetarian options if your love is a lover of animals. And, if your cooking skills aren’t quite up to par, never fear. Kitchen Surfers has a chef come to you. You still have to do the dishes though.
If your special someone is the creative type, it might be time to skip the flowers and go for to the Adobe suite. They can repay you in excellently Photoshopped Valentines next year.
If you’re looking for something fun to do together without having to leave the house, go for a subscription to Dabbler. Every month a handy little project guide shows up in your inbox, from doughnuts to origami to whiskey to kimchi. What’s more romantic than botching a batch of doughnuts together?
If you want a little more direction to your learning, how about taking a class with your crush? Learn to say “I like you” in another language with classes from Fluent City. Or, find some other class your SO is into over at Coursera, where you can browse hundreds of classes in your area.
If your special someone admires handmade goodies, but you’re not quite handy enough to make something yourself, try springing for some Etsy bucks or donating to a Kickstarter in their name. Your Valentine gets a cool reward, and gets to support other creatives at the same time.
But, really though, all these ideas are just icing on the cake for the gift that really matters: someone who cares about you. “I'd just want somebody to unplug/put down the smartphone/step away from the screen and talk to me without distractions,” said LadyBits culture editor Katie DeRogatis. “Someone's full attention would be a pretty rad gift. We all know it's rare.”
This post was authored by Arikia Millikan and Rose Eveleth.
Introducing LadyBits, an ultra-cool collective of tech journalists who look at the world with smart, lady lenses. And, since we're always in the market for the best stuff out there, we'll feature its know-how on the regular.