Ah, Valentine’s Day: The time of year when you get to show your boo just how much you care. Paint her a beautiful picture, maybe crochet him a love scarf. How about whipping up a succulent, candlelit V-Day dinner?
Uh, yeah … about that. Maybe you’re not so crafty, or even capable of creating anything with your hands.
No sweat: It’s 2014, and as long as you know how to fire up a computer or a smartphone, you can come up with a perfectly personalized Valentine’s Day gift or loving gesture that says, “Hey, I dig you a ton” all the same.
Here are the apps and websites you’ll need to satisfactorily make it through this Valentine’s Day, hand-crocheted love scarf or no.
Send flowers with the tap of your finger
The Valentine’s Day go-to is certainly a nice bouquet of flowers. With all the different flower-delivery apps out there, you don’t have to go to the market or even hand them to your honey yourself (though that doesn’t seem very romantic).
1-800-FLOWERS and The Bouqs, available online or as iOS and Android apps, both offer next-day flower delivery, with guaranteed delivery for Valentine’s Day. 1-800-FLOWERS will also deliver some packages same day in certain cities.
The Bouqs is be geared more toward guys or gals who want both their choices and prices simplified: Most bouquets ship next day for a flat $50 rate. Packages at 1-800-FLOWERS, meanwhile, offer more floral variety and can be delivered with stuffed animals and other gifts. Because it’s never a bad idea to throw a teddy in for good measure.
Skip the call for dinner reservations
With the OpenTable website or smartphone app, you can make dinner reservations at a number of different restaurants in many of the big cities across the country without dialing a single number. The app lets you see real-time availability for tables in partnered dinner spots and will also give you instant verification for your reserved date and time.
If for some reason you decided not to make reservations (or, let’s be honest, forgot), you might want to give NoWait a shot. This app lets you add your name to a restaurant’s waiting list before even arriving. This way you won’t have to stand in line as long listening to your sweetheart going on and on with the whole “I can’t believe you didn’t call ahead last week!“ thing.
Print your face on a bunch of M&M’s
This one may sound weird, but we think it’s one of the sweetest ways to say, “Happy National Love and Candy Day, baby.”
Simply visit MyMMs.com to pick which colors you like and what phrases or pictures you want to have printed on your personalized M&M’s Valentine’s gift. Then choose your packaging, whether you want them shipped to you or directly to your lady/guy and enjoy the delight you have brought. Results may vary depending on choice of printed content.
Note: Per M&M’s, no “objectionable words and phrases” or “inappropriate images” are permitted. The company says it doesn’t “want to leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.” Oh, behave, M&M’s.
How about a cyber-date?
The best gift for couples in long-distance relationships may just be the chance to see each other’s smiling faces. In lieu of a plane ticket (check Kayak or Bing Travel for those), try spending some quality time together via video chat.
Google’s Hangouts and the Microsoft-owned Skype work across all platforms (desktops, smartphones or tablets) to deliver some high-quality face-to-face; Apple’s FaceTime is the built-in standard for Mac and iOS. Just remember, with these virtual dates, you’ll still want to make sure you’re well-groomed, dressed nicely and have something interesting to talk about. No getting out of all that stuff, we’re afraid.
Stay in, order out and stream it up
If something more low-key is what the love doctor ordered, then you can really sit back and let this special collection of e-services do all the work.
First, order a nice dinner. GrubHub and Seamless delivery, both available in app form for iOS and Android, partner with tons of restaurants in many cities across the country to bring food right to your door, usually in under an hour. Don’t forget dessert.
It’s also not too late to try Goldbely, a premium food delivery service that brings menu items from beloved restaurants around the country to your front door.
(Warning: Michael McDonald and Mexican food is a dangerously sensual combination.)
While you dine, why not stream something lovey-dovey? Try a Kenny G Pandora station, or maybe the Boyz II Men “Love” album on Spotify; on a service called Songza, you can also find the perfect romantic playlist.
After dinner, you can kick back, snuggle up and watch a sappy rom-com. Netflix has you covered here. If you don’t yet have an Internet-connected TV device that offers Netflix, then now, in preparation for your big night in, is a good time to hop on the train. You can grab a Google Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku player, each of which plugs right into the back of your regular HDTV and connects to your smartphone.
(Don’t want to watch a romantic comedy? Season 2 of Netflix’s political drama “House of Cards” will be released in full on Valentine’s Day this year. Have a conniving day with that special someone.)
Oh, you don’t have a Valentine’s Day date yet?
(Pizza Hut is everyone’s backup Valentine’s Day plan.)
With online dating apps like OkCupid and Tinder, all you singles out there may still have enough time to put together a respectable, albeit shotgun-style, Valentine’s Day date by this weekend. Just remember to try to mask your desperation a little, and perhaps follow these scientific tips for making your online dating profile as effective as possible.
Other than that, advice on how to get a date isn’t really our specialty. Once you do, though, we hope all the above tech tips will help you cultivate a perfectly acceptable — perhaps even romantic! — Valentine’s Day. Good luck.