6 Ways to Upgrade Valentine's Day
If You're Both Romantics...
Studies have long shown a powerful connection between scent and memory, which may be one reason why nearly 10 percent of people, according to a 2017 Statista survey, give perfume or cologne on Valentine's Day. These Tiffany & Co. fragrances have similar woodsy notes—so they are great alone or paired together.
Buy It! Tiffany & Love for Him, $77, and Tiffany & Love for Her, $105; bloomingdales.com
If Chocolates Are a Must...
Candy is the No. 1 gift for Valentine's Day, according to the National Retail Federation. Whether you're making your own mix—companies like Godiva and See's Candies let you customize a collection—or buying a chocolate box at the drugstore, follow our guide below to get straight to the good stuff.
1. See a treat wrapped in shiny foil? It's either hiding a liquid center (think cherry cordials) or is simply a solid chocolate candy.
2. Oval or round pieces often have soft centers—like ganache or buttercream— because the filling is piped or scooped before being dipped in chocolate.
3. Colorful designs hint at what's inside. Orange dots may signal citrus gelée; white slashes could mean coconut; a sprinkle of green powder is likely matcha.
4. A good rule of thumb: Soft caramels are often square, and chewier caramels are generally rectangular.
5. Nut-filled chocolates are the easiest to spot in the box, with their chunky, bumpy textures.
If Lingerie Isn't Quite Right...
Make it "sloungewear," a.k.a. cute sweats that double as pajamas you'll live in long past Valentine's Day.
Buy It! Lou & Grey Top and Bottom, $69.50 each; louandgrey.com
If Flowers Will Wow...
These tips will get you the best assortment.
1. Order Them Early: Buy online before Feb. 2 and you're more likely to get the best price—you'll pay up to 40 percent less than if you buy closer to the 14th, according to 1800flowers.com.
2. Shop Smart at the Grocery: Red roses are classic, but options like gladiolus (left) and lilies are just as romantic—and particularly long-lasting. (For a modern look, discard other filler like leaves and baby's breath.) Trim the ends and place stems in warm water that you change every other day.
3. Consider Another 'Bouquet': If traditional flowers aren't your thing, try an arrangement of mini glazed donuts ($50, harryanddavid.com) or even Italian, French and Spanish salamis ($50, olympiaprovisions.com).
If You Want a Personal Touch...
Give the gift of a morning pick-me-up with a customized message on a makeup brush. Practical, with a dose of feel-good.
Buy It! NYX Professional Makeup Engraved Pro Powder Brush, $19; nyxcosmetics.com
If You're Staying In...
Turn your bed into the coziest spot in the house with tips from Reggie Bello, director of housekeeping at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World:
1. Pick Linens Wisely: Luxury hotels use white Egyptian cotton sheets with a 300 to 350 thread count. "They have a longer life without compromising the luxurious feel," says Bello. Pick a top sheet that's a size larger than the mattress so there's room to make a "foot pocket" (no smooshed toes!) at the bottom of the bed.
2. Choose a Mix of Pillows: "Using both down- and feather-filled pillows will give your bed that plush look," he says. While large Euro styles are mostly decorative, Bello says they're ideal for propping yourself up while reading or watching TV.
3. Make It Look Inviting: "Our beds are made to look ready to be slept in," says Bello, who uses this trick so beds are picture-perfect: "Fill a spray bottle with water and lightly mist the duvet and pillowcases. Then pull on the sides and the wrinkles will be gone!"