Put a Spin on Valentine's Day

By Paulina Garza

If chocolates and a teddy bear make you cringe on Valentine’s Day, here are some creative ideas for your significant other to show them you love them.

The idea is to think outside the box and come up with something different and unique. Yes, expensive jewelry and exotic flower arrangements might cut it for a girl, but many would enjoy receiving something that involves more than just swiping a credit card. If you're ready to go the extra mile this year and surprise your honey, keep reading.

A Valentine’s Day card is a must, but it doesn't have to be blase. According to Statistics Brain, 180 million cards are exchanged this time of year.  You buy a love you note and sign it with something along the lines of "Love, Sarah".

How does writing on a crayon why you love him/her sound for replacing the typical, boring, red and pink Walgreen’s card?

Elizabeth Fernandez, a Marketing junior at the University of Texas-Austin, explains how she wrote 48 reasons why she loves her boyfriend on crayons:  “I ran out of ideas by the time I reached the 20th color, but my boyfriend had a lot of fun reading each and every one,” Fernandez, says.Crayons

Fernandez wrote the reasons to match the color of the crayon. For the blue one she used blue ink and for the magenta she used magenta. She cut and pasted the reason on the color with a glue gun.

Fortune-ize it Pastries are another big part of Valentine’s. Who doesn’t like to eat brownies and red velvet cake? What about fortune cookies? We normally only get them at restaurants, but this year we’re getting them Feb. 14. Put on your cooking smock and get ready to shake and bake: fortune cookies are easy to make.

The tricky part is placing the paper inside the cookie and folding them into  shape. If you take your time you will end up with something that not only tastes great, but looks great. All it takes is flour, sugar and vanilla. It’s like baking a cake. Sound familiar? Place mixed ingredients in oven and check for brown edges. Remove one cookie at a time, place personal message in the center, and fold in half. Then fold the ends of the half into a horse shoe shape and your fortune cookie is ready to go. For more details, Maria Arizpe recommends this site.

Arizpe, a student at St.Edward's University, also recommends using red, food coloring to match the occasion. “Besides satisfying your boyfriend’s sweet tooth, you get to write a little cute something in each cookie. I did 14 and a huge one with a letter inside,” she  says.

Fruity Business 

Strawberries are also a must during this time of the year. Their sexy, red color makes them extra juicy and tasty. Besides strawberries, watermelon and jicama make a great combo together. Jicama is a Mexican fruit, available in every local market.

Fruits are easy to carve and decorate. Jaquelyn Cook, an Architecture major at UT-Austin, says she  carved “TKM” ("I love you" in Spanish) into a jicama and hearts into a watermelon. For the hearts, she simply used a heart-shaped cookie cutter. For the jicama, she used a plastic knife to design the letters and a sharper knife to cut them out. The melon pieces were used to add color and variety. The bottom part is full of chocolate covered strawberries with almonds and nuts. She also added “Tajin” (Mexican Chilito available in most local markets) to the jicama.

Fruit Arrangement

Toothpicks are needed to hold the fruits in place. Long ones are preferred. Styrofoam must be placed at the very bottom in order for the toothpicks to stick and hold everything together. Any type of fruit can be used to make this arrangement. The vase can pretty much be anything, depending on the size. ‘It’s like an edible flower arrangement. It looks pretty and it tastes even better,” Cook, says.

Pillow Talk 

Who doesn’t like to cuddle? But if it's Friday night, you’re watching a movie, and your significant other is not around to hug you, why not have a pillow to take his place?

All you need is “foamy paper,” glitter, paint and some thread, according to Ana Zavala. It takes five seconds to choose the color of your cover and from there everything is pretty basic. It sounds harder than it is.

Cut out the “foamy” with whatever you want it to say and sow it into the cover with thread. Make sure to turn the cover inside out, so the stitching is on the inside part. Once the stitching is done, it is really up to you to decide what you want to add. It all depends if you want it to look stunning or feel comfortable enough to have it actually be used.

Photos look great, glitter makes it stand out and the paint can be used to write a quote or a romantic message. In this case “Te Amo” (I Love You) was written with red paint at the end of the cover.

Pillow Cover

Don’t go for the typical teddy bear and Hershey’s candy bars most of the world is receiving.  Plan ahead and surprise your special someone with either one of these great ideas or something you come up with on your own. It might take longer but the results are mightier and worth it.