Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day gift ideas

Storyboard land

All right, I admit it, I am doing this Valentine’s Day thing to death. Just one more, I promise.

Trend Hunter, which had all those zany gift ideas I told you about on Saturday, is offering a dozen or so ideas—storyboards, actually—for proposing marriage to your sweetheart today.

I trust that, if you were going to pop the question on Valentine’s Day, you would have planned it by now. But perhaps you’re impulsive and need the right creative inspiration for how to do it. If that’s the case, you’ll find everything from a talking engagement ring to saying it with sneakers to creative deployment of social media.

One thing these ideas have in common is that it’s all about the storyboard, even if it’s illustrated in one’s mind rather than physically laid out on cardboard or in a graphic design program. How will you stage the ultimate ask (don’t you hate “ask” as a noun?), what effects will help you build up to the big moment and, most important, what steps will you take to ensure the desired response?

I was proposed to on Valentine’s Day. Allow me to share the storyboard.

First, you must know a couple of things about us. One, he was, is and always will be a big fan of the N.C. State Wolfpack (remember, it’s college basketball season). Two, he and I were big fans of the then-popular sitcom, Newhart, in which that week’s episode featured the exchange of Valentine’s gifts.

If I recall correctly (it’s been 26 years), loveable but slightly dimwitted handyman George Utley, played by the avuncular Tom Poston, was advising one of the characters on how to make sure his sweetheart liked her Valentine’s gift.

George suggested, “First give her a box of coconut candy,” to which the man responded, “But she hates coconut candy.” George said, “I know, but then, when you give her the real gift, she’ll be happy,” or something to that effect.

That’s how it played out. Guy gives gal coconut candy. Gal says, “Thanks, but I hate coconut candy.” Guy says, “I know, that’s why I got you this,” gives her the second gift and she loves it.

Back to the storyboard. On February 14, 1985, he invited me over for a Valentine dinner. Even though the Wolfpack was playing, when I got to his apartment, the television wasn’t even on. Instead a Linda Ronstadt album of love songs—might have been Lush Life—was spinning on the turntable.

We ate spiced shrimp and drank champagne. After dinner, we exchanged gifts. I gave him a coffee mug. He gave me a bag of Mounds bars.

I said, “Thanks, but you keep it. I don’t like coconut candy.”

He said, “I know, and that’s why I got you this.”

I unwrapped the box and found inside a diamond engagement ring.

Great storyboard, superb execution, happy ending. 

I wonder if the ’pack is playing tonight.


Filed under Family and Friends, Food, Holidays, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Movies, Television and Radio, Music

My edgy Valentine

At the risk of OD-ing on the whole Valentine’s Day thing—after all, it’s just one more in a long list of  over-blown occasions—I’ll offer one more resource for procrastinators who can manage to get a hold of one of these by Monday. Otherwise, consider them gift ideas for next year.

I’ve happened upon an addictive retail site associated with Trend Hunter magazine. At my age, I could always use a little extra help in hunting trends.

My favorite in their line of Valentine’s Day greeting ideas are the sarcastic holiday sentiments, tagline: The Snarky Valentine’s Day Cards, Skip the Sap.

If you have a naughty Valentine, consider the vulgar stuffed animals and sweets. Otherwise, there is close to something for everyone:  anti-Valentine’s Day toys, anatomical cupcakes (shaped like the human heart), flirty, lip-shaped fashion accessories, even tasty treats for your favorite Muppet fan.

It boggles my mind to see the hundreds of products available for a holiday that, early in my lifetime, was honored simply with a candy heart etched with “be mine” and punny cards, illustrated with puppies and fruit for classmates. “You’re dog-gone right, you’re my Valentine.” “You’re a peach and I’m plum crazy about you.”

Ah, the good old days.


Filed under Holidays

My mundane Valentine

What do dirty dishes, Chris Rock and Valentine’s Day have in common?

It seems that the release this week of Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage & Dirty Dishes, is timed to answer the practical person’s—or couple’s—Valentine’s Day gift dilemma.

Does your mate have an allergy to chocolate or a drawer already bursting with red silk delicates? Have you spent so many Valentine’s Days together that there isn’t a creative gift idea left to be hatched? Do you wish Cupid would swoop down and deposit just one practical solution for life’s daily grit?

Then it could be that Spousonomics is the treament for your it’s-the-Friday-before-the-holiday-and-there’s-nothing-left-on-the-shelves-and-besides-I’m-not-in-the-mood-anyway blues. Co-written by journalists Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson and recommended by Freakonomics co-authors Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Spousonomics applies economic principles to addressing the mundane challenges of marriage. Division of labor, incentives, trade-offs, moral hazard and, ahem, supply and demand are a few examples of the analogies the authors apply to the common conflicts facing the common couple. Dirty dishes, shoveling snow, dealing with the kids, it’s all in there. Oh boy!

The authors have also set up a blog, which might suit you if you’d like your advice in bite-sized pieces. Be forewarned. It includes a disgusting clip of Chris Rock’s take on the differences between men and women, which the blog could have done without. As a woman of taste, I recommend not clicking.

I confess, I’ve only read a few excerpts. There might really be something substantive there. But trust me, if you decide to buy this for your Valentine, you might want to have a box of Godiva truffles handy as a back-up.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll let you in on some more fanciful gift ideas.


Filed under Family and Friends, Hearth and Home, Holidays, Reading

Hearts and smarts

If the pinky-red glow emanating from Seasonal aisle at your grocery or drug store hasn’t gotten your attention, allow me to be a killjoy and remind you that there is one shopping month left until Valentine’s Day.

As you mull your options, might I suggest a gift for the wordie in your life? How about a four-pack of instructional grammar posters? You don’t even need to set foot in the Hallmark store.

I’m not quite sure how to describe The Oatmeal, except perhaps as an online treasure chest of satirical entertainment—blog posts, cartoons, quizzes and musings on assorted topics, including grammar and punctuation–and great merchandise.

For the reasonable price of $32, you’ll be sure to get a juicy Valentine smooch with a quartet of 18”x24” posters, including “How to use an apostrophe,” “How to use a semicolon,” “10 words you need to stop misspelling” and “When to use i.e. in a sentence.”

Or, if you’re expecting and haven’t chosen a nursery theme, this is the best thing to come along since Baby Einstein. Really, what’s the baby going to find more useful later in life, the theory of relativity or there/their/they’re?

Each poster includes a detailed and annotated diagram walking the viewer through the logic of the assigned topic.

If grammar isn’t your thing, you probably aren’t reading this blog, but consider The Oatmeal’s posters on other useful topics such as “15 things worth knowing about coffee,” “10 reasons to avoid talking on the phone,” “Why it’s better to pretend you don’t know anything about computers” and “6 reasons bacon is better than true love,” though you’d want to save that one for another occasion.

I’m thinking about ordering one for my home office: “Why working at home is both horrible and awesome.”

But the grammar pack is calling…


Filed under All Things Wordish, Holidays