It’s the time of year for cards with red hearts, chocolates, lame teddy bears, flowers, heart shaped boxes of candy, forced dinner dates, and public demonstrations of pure admiration. As you can tell, I have mixed feelings towards Valentine’s Day. Ya I know, how novel… a 30-something year old, independent woman that doesn’t like a day about couples and LOVE. Oh stop. No, I don’t sit home alone, belting out the new Ariana Grande album eating ice cream with a dozen cats. I don’t like cats; And romantic hardship isn’t my reason for feeling blah about the holiday.
Very much like why the Grinch hated Christmas, my dislike for Valentine’s Day evolved at a young age and in a very similar fashion. I’m sure many of you remember back in grade school, when we would all get that annual art project— decorating a cute little folder or box to collect our Valentine’s day cards…awwwww. You would cover construction paper in hearts and excessive amounts of glitter, while dreaming about your crush that you planned on planting a kiss on in the back cloakroom.
Later that evening, you would head to the store with mom to find that perfect box of cards featuring Carebears, Scooby-Doo, Mr.T (“I pity the fool who falls in love”), Star Wars, NKOTB , or whatever really floated your boat in those days (or god forbid you actually had to make them from scratch). You ripped out the perforated pages and filled in the blanks with your favourite classmates names, your crush, and the obligatory card for your teacher; and then of course, spent hours giggling with your friends at recess about who was special enough to receive one. Although in the end, you knew you were going to be forced to give a card to everyone on the LIST. Yes, the class list, the one that would be sent home in every student’s backpack so you didn’t leave anyone out…
February 14th would then arrive. Dressed in your best red frilly holiday outfit, with a matching over-sized hair bow (why, mother… WHY!?), you would put the decorated folder out on your desk in anticipation for the little love notes to arrive, as everyone scurried about the classroom delivering all of the Valentines, and then returning back to your seat to see just how many crushes and admirers you had. Well one year, Grade 2 to be exact, young, innocent, big-eyed and poofy-haired, little Miss. Amanda Bay sat at her desk with a curious grin. Looking inside the folder, to her dismay all she found, was ONE single Valentine, signed by her COUSIN! (Thanks Justin).
There was no escaping the tears. Nobody cho-cho-chose me. Enter Grinch mode- Rip the folder into pieces, stomp the feet, pull the hair “I HATE VALENTINE’S!!!” Well, it didn’t quite go like that (the freak out), but let me tell you, the scene in the Jim Carrey Grinch movie really hits a cord with me- Valentine’s day was ruined forever. I found out later that day from my teacher, that because my name was at the very top of the class list- nice excuse- it somehow managed to not make the cut. My name wasn’t on the list.
Fast forward two decades, I angry-scroll through all of the red and pink Instagram posts every Valentine’s day. Not to say people haven’t tried to redeem my joy in the holiday with really cute gestures. Cupid has been good to me over the years, but I think I have to try a different approach in dealing with the arbitrary occasion. In 2019, I’m taking back February 14th, deeming it as a day to celebrate our most under appreciated admirers of all- ourselves. I mean, we are made to believe it’s a time to focus on our relationships—so what relationship is more important than the one you have with numero uno… So I say, Treat. Yo. Self.
It’s really irrelevant if you’re married, single, dating… make the day about spoiling yourself. You don’t need the affirmations from others to enjoy it, because really, getting bent out of shape about Valentine’s Day is like getting annoyed that someone else gets presents on their birthday… right?
Here are some local ways that you can treat yo fine self this Valentine’s Day:
- Treat Yourself in the Name of Self-Love Package- Botanica Luxury Salon & Spa: A true Galatine’s event running Friday and Saturday. Pamper yourself with a Lovely Body Pedicure, Shellac Manicure, luxury lunch, a rose and chocolate covered strawberries. Best day ever! If you haven’t checked out this new spa in Thunder Bay, this is the perfect occasion. You will love all of the little details including the self-serve candy bar!!!
- Cutie Cake – Milk & Water Baking Co.: It’s that good you won’t want to share. This new addition to the oven at the Thunder Bay bakery, is an alternative to cupcakes coming in a variety of flavours including persian, vanilla nutella, pecan butter tart and mini egg. You never know what Ellen will whip together next. If you are going to eat an entire cake, it’s definitely the day to do it.
- Yoga Class- La Luna Wellness Studio: Bring a friend on Valentine’s Day and they will get in for free. The yoga studio has a super awesome new location located in the old Crocks/Office building on Cumberland St. Get your best friend, gal pal, neighbour, partner OR just come solo, and come out to unwind, destress and visit Paula and her pup Luna.
- Little Soap Hearts-Lovely Body: These conversation soaps smell just like the actual candy. Draw a bath, get a glass of red wine and read a book you don’t want to put down. The little sayings on the soaps will make you smile, because hey, you rock.
- Cinnamon Heart Mocha- UpShot Coffee House: I love cinnamon hearts. The yummy Cup of Joe will help you power through the day. With a rich chocolate and spicy cinnamon flavour, you will be wanting another.
- Heart Shaped Pizza- Eat Local Pizza: Pizza is my comfort food. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It brings joy to my soul, and it’s even better in the shape of a heart. There’s just something about the combination of cheese and carbs that gives you happiness. Everyone loves pizza and if you say otherwise, I’m going to assume that you’re lying.
- You Make My Heart Beet Pasta- The Pasta Shoppe: A lot of love went into this homemade pasta. You deserve pink pasta in your life. All natural, vegan friendly, and made with a simple blend of beet puree, water and semolina flour.
- Cheese Lovers Valentine’s Day Basket-Cheese Encounter: Locally made sea-salted chocolate dipped caramels (these are actually my favourite chocolates EVER), seven of the most romantic cheeses on the planet, almonds from Valencia, Spain (oooh fancy, who doesn’t want almonds from Spain), Canadian Ice Wine Jelly, assorted crackers. Cheese, please!
These Thunder Bay treats make V-Day seem like a slice of heaven. Also don’t forget that all the candy goes on sale the day after. Now go, Bay Awesome. Xo
PS Check out my Facebook page to find out how you can be the lucky Valentine to receive the Bay Awesome Treat Yo’ Self Package that includes: A pedicure from Botanica Luxury & Spa, heart-shaped pizza from Eat Local, a yoga class at La Luna Wellness Centre, a Milk and Water Baking Co. Cutie Cake, Conversation Soaps from Lovely Body, and Pasta Shoppe You Make My Heart Beet Pasta.