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How to get creative on Valentine's Day

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Valentine's Day is nearly here. And you know what that means - Cupid is drawing his bow.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET'S GET IT ON")

MARVIN GAYE: (Singing) Aw, baby - let's get it on.

RASCOE: If you're thinking of relying on the cliches - flowers, maybe a candlelit dinner out - our next guest is here to remind you that you can shake up that old, musty, dusty Valentine's Day routine. Brigitt Earley is a freelance journalist. She joins us now. Welcome to the program.

BRIGITT EARLEY: Thanks for having me.

RASCOE: OK. So can you tell us about these alternatives to the heart-shaped box of chocolates or a fancy dinner? Not that we're saying that those things are bad, but what are some things you can do if you feel like that's a little played out?

EARLEY: Yeah. So I actually want to throw you a curve ball with my first suggestion - a rage room. It's basically an empty room filled with things that you can smash - old electronics, barrels, furniture, anything that you might put in a dumpster otherwise. They give you a hard hat, safety goggles and a bat or a mallet, and then you just go to town.

RASCOE: My only concern would be if you start throwing things at each other (laughter).

EARLEY: I hear you there. But, you know, maybe you're working on a big project or you have a teenager who's testing your limits every day. In everyday life, a lot of times it can feel like you're working against each other with these things. But I actually think in the rage room, it kind of turns things upside down. And now all of a sudden you're working together, and you're just smashing things. You can let out that rage.

RASCOE: So for those who are maybe a little less energetic - they don't want to work their back too much smashing things...

EARLEY: Sure. OK. Yeah. So I want you to think back to your teenage years. Like, what would you do on a Friday night? Maybe head to your local mall? This activity is something I actually did with an old boyfriend. We got dressed up, we went to the mall, and we picked out an outfit for one another. We set a spending limit ahead of time. It was a really fun challenge where we just sort of, like, got excited browsing the racks. Of course, we shared a lot of laughs along the way about, like, gag-type items that actually wasn't our style, but we both walked away with an outfit that we really loved.

RASCOE: I like that. So the weather has been a little warmer in some parts of the country. So for couples that like to - they're a little outdoorsy, what recommendations do you have for them?

EARLEY: I am suggesting painting rocks. There's a project called Kindness Rocks, and essentially it challenges you to paint positive sentiments on rocks and then just sort of leave them randomly along a pathway in your neighborhood. And when somebody walks by, they might see a rock that says, like, keep smiling, and it might totally change their day.

RASCOE: Yeah. And so what about those who are like, I don't want to get dressed. I don't want to go out. I just want to have a romantic night in. Like, what do you suggest for them?

EARLEY: I suggest hiring a documentary-style photographer. There's an app called Shoot, and it lets you book 30 minute mini photo sessions with a professional in your area. You can just invite them over, have them take your picture with your partner in the space that you're most comfortable in, you know? I had a friend who recently did this, and she had the photographer just take snapshots of her and her partner eating pizza, snuggling on the couch. And it's really cute.

RASCOE: You can get those little interactions with each other, yeah, and not posey-posey (ph). What I can take away from all of these suggestions is that it's really about creating memories.

EARLEY: You really just want that quality time with your partner or even yourself. I mean, how often do we just sort of sit on the couch next to each other scrolling on our phones? And so this is really about putting our phones down and connecting with one another.

RASCOE: Brigitt Earley, a freelance journalist - thank you so much for joining us.

EARLEY: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe
Ayesha Rascoe is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and the Saturday episodes of Up First. As host of the morning news magazine, she interviews news makers, entertainers, politicians and more about the stories that everyone is talking about or that everyone should be talking about.