Monday, March 27, 2023

Secrets To A Successful Marriage ❤ | Mistakes Single & Married People Make

International Romance Author, Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku, provides advice on how to have a successful marriage, and the mistakes singles and married people make.



Monday, March 20, 2023

5 best international wedding destinations - Written by Sneha Das

These international destinations will offer you the perfect backdrop for a dreamy wedding.

Destination weddings are on a roll ever since power couple Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli got married in Italy in 2017. Following the trend, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone also tied the knot in Lake Como, Italy in 2018. If white sandy beaches, picturesque mountains, and dreamy vineyards also fascinate you, check out these five international for your big day.

Muscat in Oman

Photo by Emily Sherwood

The largest city of Oman, Muscat is one of the best places to host your wedding celebrations amidst mighty mountains and golden desserts. Performing all the ceremonies on a dreamy beach with scenic views of mountains as a backdrop is nothing but surreal. There are many stunning resorts here where your guests can stay. The guests can also explore the mesmerizing mosques here.

Tuscany in Italy

Photo by Josh Hild

Located on the west coast of Italy, Tuscany is the most idyllic wedding location surrounded by green valleys, vineyards, rolling hills, olive groves, and 15th-century art and architecture. You can get married in one of the ancient castles or wine estates here for a rustic yet romantic feel. Include some local specialties in your wedding menu like mushrooms, sheep’s milk cheeses, and super-fine wine.

Vail in Colorado

Photo by Thomas Ward

If you are looking for an adventurous destination wedding, Vail, Colorado is the perfect place to visit. Located at the foothills of Vail Mountain, this small town is ideal for a winter wedding amidst picturesque settings. Here, your guests can also enjoy several thrilling activities like snowboarding, skiing, golfing, fly fishing, and hiking. This hidden gem also organizes several cultural festivals throughout the year.

Miami in Florida

Photo by Elvis Vasquez

If you want a spectacular beach wedding amid silky white sands and blue ocean waters, then Miami, Florida is a beautiful destination to consider. The unique architecture, mind-blowing skyline, and vibrant art scene will add to the wedding ambiance. The Magic City is also known for its exciting nightlife and toothsome food, which means your guests will be happy throughout.

 Mackinac Island in Michigan

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Another underrated international wedding destination, Mackinac Island in Michigan is a quaint, car-free island that is set between the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas near where Lake Michigan and Huron meet. Known for its frozen Victorian vibe and architectural style buildings, this national historic landmark is full of charm. You can book a Colonial Revival-style waterfront hotel or a Victorian-era mansion for the wedding.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Great Mysteries, Thrillers and Suspense Written by Remarkable Storytellers By Vivienne Diane Neal

Following are stories that will leave you wanting more. To purchase, just click on the title. Enjoy!


Dr. Glass (A Psychological Thriller) by Louise Worthington - A psychologist receives an ominous letter base on an article she wrote regarding filicide.


The Wrong Kind (Hannibal Jones Mystery Series) by Austin S. Camacho - A mother, living in a shelter, hires a private investigator to find her missing daughter who may be in danger.


Looking for Henry Turner (A Mo Gold and Bernie Mysteries - Book 1) by W.L. Liberman - A mother hires two private investigators to find her son who has been missing for 8 years.


Liar, Liar by L.G. Davis - A promising writer, with a dark past, discovers her husband is having an affair and creates a diabolical plan that will have dire consequences.


Not Guilty by Linette King - A successful talk-show host believes her husband’s mother does not like her because of her race.


Blood Rites: Rise of the Best by C.Y. Marshall - An enslaved, husband transforms into an avenging entity when a brutal owner kills his wife.


Acts of Betrayal by Sekinah Jackson - After almost hitting a man with her car, a successful owner of a lip-gloss company becomes infatuated with him, believing she has met her soulmate.


Professor Law by Jonathan D. Rosen and Amin Nasser - A successful divorce attorney, found dead from an apparent suicide, may be just another victim of foul play.

Monday, March 06, 2023

How Indonesia's New Sex Laws will Affect Tourism

Photo by Lalu Fatoni

As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, international travelers have been going back to the popular resort island of Bali, hoping that Indonesia’s beaten tourism industry is on the road to recovery.

Recently, the parliament passed new laws banning cohabitation and sex outside of marriage. The laws apply to residents, foreign expats, and vacationers in the country.

Although the changes are not expected to kick in for at least another three years, the new criminal code could put foreigners off visiting that country and hurt its global reputation, starving it of vital tourism revenues.

A Turnaround for Travel Operators  

“From our point of view as tourism industry players, this law will be very counterproductive for the tourism industry in Bali, particularly the chapters about sex and marriage,” said Putu Winastra, chairperson of the country’s largest tourism group, the Association of The Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies (ASITA).

The new laws are a response to rising religious conservatism in Muslim-majority Indonesia in recent years, with parts of the country enforcing strict Islamic codes. In Bali, the population is predominantly Hindu and, as a result, has had a more liberal social environment that appeals to Western tourists.

Indonesian lawmakers have defended the new laws, saying they were an attempt to satisfy “public aspiration” in a diverse nation. Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said that it was not easy for a multicultural and multi-ethnic country to make a criminal code that “accommodates all interests.”

Winastra says that the new laws caught him and others off guard because they felt the government had been very enthusiastic about increasing foreign tourist arrivals. “Now there will now be rules and laws that will burden tourists and the industry,” he added. Like most major tourist hotspots around the world, Bali suffered significant economic turmoil during the COVID-19 pandemic. From over 500,000 foreign visitors each month, arrivals slumped to as low as 45 for the entire year of 2021.

However, with the pandemic in retreat, government and tourism industry officials had been forecasting a healthy revival, potentially bringing in billions of dollars of revenue for the Indonesian economy.

The World Travel & Tourism Council, a global industry body, forecast annual growth of 10% for Indonesia’s travel industry over the next 10 years, predicting the sector would contribute nearly $118 billion dollars to the country’s GDP while creating over 500,000 jobs each year for the next decade.

Local guide Ken Katut told CNN Travel he believed things were “progressing in the right direction” in the tourism industry after G20 leaders held a summit in Bali last November. Hotels were bustling with delegates, Ken said, and he was “thrilled” to be busy ferrying tourists around the island. “The G20 was great for us who had been out of work during the pandemic,” he said. “It really brought Bali back to life.” Now, some worry the momentum will lessen just as it was picking up again.

What Now?

Under the new criminal code, anyone – Indonesians or foreigners – found guilty of adultery or premarital relations could face 12 months in jail. It is not yet clear how these laws will be enforced.

“Do tourist couples (visiting Bali) have to prove that they are married? Should we be asking them if they are married or not?” wonders Putu.

“Now foreign tourists will think twice about traveling to Bali because someone might jail them for violating the laws.”

Rights groups have noted how the laws will disproportionately affect women and members of the LGBTQ+ community, and added that they could “provide an avenue for selective enforcement.”

Hotel operators have also objected to the laws, saying it would be difficult for them to enforce.

“Asking couples if they are married or not is a very private area and it will be an impossible task to do,” said Ida Bagus Purwa Sidemen, Executive Director of the Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Association (PHRI).

Sidemen feels that the Indonesian government will review the laws following a public backlash. “We just can’t be asking every couple about their legal marital statuses. It will create huge problems for us,” he said.

“But what is going to happen to us now if the new laws scare tourists off? Will we go back to how we were during the pandemic?”

“The government can’t want tourists (revenue) and enforce these laws that will scare people away. It just makes no sense.”

Monday, February 27, 2023

Breakup Lines That Will Leave You Spinning By Miss Know It All

Miss Know It All

Breaking up with someone means the relationship is over. It is the end of a precious bond that you have put your heart and soul into maintaining. The ending can be a blessing in disguise or an upsetting occurrence. Either way, most of us have gone through a breakup and have heard some of the most baffling lines that people have used. With the onset of social media and various apps, the breakup has become even more outlandish. Maybe it is my age. There was a time when a telephone call, a face-to-face conversation, a Dear John Letter, or a note by snail mail would have sufficed.

What can be annoying are the reasons folks give for breaking up. Some are hilarious while others are downright confusing. Therefore, without further ado, the following are some breakup lines that will leave you wondering, “What the devil was he or she really saying?”

Photo by cottonbro

It is not you; it is I - This is one of the most commonly used and very corny ways of saying. “I really did not want to tell you how exhausted I am with our relationship, yet, I did not want you to feel terrible about it. Really?


I need to focus on my profession right now - We all have thoughts about our careers, but that is something you should have made clear before wasting each other’s time.


We are better off as friends - I am a firm believer that you should become friends first before getting into a serious relationship, but what this really means is that the person is not really into you. This is one way of saying, “I am a friend zoning you and do not wish to date you. I really see you as one of my associates.”

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

I am not ready for commitment - These words are just bad. If being in a committed relationship is not your aspiration, do not make it a reason for not wanting to put the effort into maintaining that relationship.


I do not want to hurt you - Unless you are a sadist or masochist, I cannot see anyone wanting to be in a tactless relationship. After all, love is not supposed to hurt.

Photo by Jack Sparrow 

I think we are moving too quickly - The message means the person is not planning to be with you for long and is likely seeing someone else.


You deserve better - The individual should have realized that before forming a relationship.


These are just some of the breakup lines tossed on social media. If you know of any breakup lines that left you reeling, send them to and we will post them soon.

Monday, February 20, 2023

News for Travelers


Photo by RODNAE Productions 

News from Travel Noire

You Can Now Buy Your Own Private Jet Membership at Costco - Learn More

Dinner Reservations Just Got Easier, Thanks to Uber and Open Table - Learn More

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

A Cautionary Tale Against Souvenir Stamps in Your Official Passport, What To Do Instead - Learn More

Lost Your ID Right Before Your Flight? Here's What To Do - Learn More

Brazil's Paradise Beach City Is The First Digital Nomad Village In South America - Learn More

Photo by Curtis Loy 

Tips To Help You Navigate Your First Nude Beach Experience - Learn More

Dubai Ranked Gen Z Favorite Travel Destination On TikTok - Learn More

Monday, February 13, 2023

Why African Marriages Break Up in the Diaspora


Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku, an international romance author, shares her reasons why African marriages break up in the Diaspora.

Monday, February 06, 2023

Bumble Reveals Dating Trends to Expect in 2023

You can say in 2022, dating has been a stormy ride. So what is in store for our love lives in 2023?

Photo by Abdullah Alsaibaie

Over the past year, relationship priorities have shifted, with people favoring increased vulnerability and mindfulness, as well as giving sober (curious) dating a whirl. A new trend called Winter Coating has emerged, whereby people reach out to former partners and exes to rekindle an extinguished flame so they will have someone to keep them warm during the winter. The cost of living is also having a major impact on dating habits, with many opting for "cash candid dating" — increased transparency over their finances (and money worries) in the early stages of dating. Environmentally conscious singles are opting for "green dating" and eliminating potential matches not aligned with their views on climate change.


Dating app Bumble has released its annual predictions for what we can expect in the New Year. Warning, emotional needs are high on people's list of priorities.


Photo by cottonbro studio

Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s vice president for Europe, said, "2022 was a formative year with the return of travel, the drastic increase in our social lives and commitments, and several turbulent global events." She added it left many people feeling exhausted and overwhelmed in response to these changes. "In response to this, we’ve seen that people on Bumble are now prioritizing, identifying, and clearly articulating their boundaries. These boundaries can be emotional, like being upfront about what they want or recognizing red and green flags, physical, like ensuring they don’t over commit themselves, or financial, encouraging candid conversations about previously taboo topics." 


New Year - New Men - In a survey of 14,300 Bumble users around the world, seventy-four percent of men say they have looked inward and analyzed their own behavior more than ever and have a clearer understanding of toxic masculinity. The term toxic masculinity refers to a set of beliefs and behaviors, including hiding your emotions or distress, using violence or "tough-guy" behavior as a way of showing power, and exhibiting an appearance of "hardness". Fifty-two percent of people on Bumble are actively trying to challenge the gender stereotype men should not show emotions out of fear of seeming "weak". Over a third (thirty-eight percent) of people now talk about emotions more openly with male friends, and half of the men think that dismantling gender roles in relationships and dating will benefit them.


Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Guard Railing - Setting boundaries is essential in all kinds of relationships — whether you have just started dating, you are at work, or in any other situation involving interactions with other human beings. Sixty-three percent of daters say they are clearer about emotional needs and boundaries, and fifty-nine percent are more thoughtful and intentional about how they put themselves out there, with fifty-three percent aiming to not over-commit to socializing.


Love-life Balance - Many people have been redefining what work and professionalism mean to them in 2022. It makes sense, therefore, that people are also inspecting the values they seek in romantic partners. Looking good on paper and prioritizing professional success are not at the top of everyone's list these days. In what people are looking for in a partner, fifty-four percent of people surveyed care more about their work/life balance than their career status. One in ten people will no longer date someone who has a very demanding job, and fifty-two percent of people are actively trying to make more space for rest in their life.

Photo by Kampus Production

Open Casting - One in three daters is now more open to considering dating beyond their "type". In the UK in particular, fifty-two percent of daters are expanding their horizons beyond what they would typically go for. One in four people is less pressured when meeting other people's expectations of whom they should date.


Ethical Sex-ploration - Let us talk about sex. Forty-three percent of daters are navigating sex and intimacy in a more exploratory and open way, while fifty-three percent believe it is paramount to express sexual wants and needs early in a relationship. Over the past year, twenty percent of daters have explored their sexuality more, and one in eight people are considering ethical non-monogamy. These figures do not mean people are having more sex. However, in the UK, forty-two percent of daters surveyed are currently not having sex, and they are fine with that, and globally, thirty-four percent said the same.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Wander Love - Thirty-three percent of people on Bumble is now more open to having relationships with people not in their current city. With more jobs allowing for flexible work arrangements and even "digital nomad" arrangements, fourteen percent of daters have explored the prospect of becoming a digital nomad and dating people from far-flung destinations.


Dating renaissance - Many of us know someone who had a pandemic breakup. Per Bumble's data, thirty-nine percent of people on the dating app ended a marriage or serious relationship within the past two years. These individuals are not entering a second chapter — a renaissance if you will — and some of whom (thirty-six percent) are using dating apps for the very first time.


If 2022 was anything to go by, we are in for more changes in 2023 — hopefully positive ones, like those listed above.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Women Share What Made Their Valentine’s Day So Memorable

St. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you are still wondering how to make this holiday memorable for that special person in your life, we got you covered. The following women share what made their Valentine’s Day unforgettable:

Photo by Michelle Leman

“People normally want to go all out for Valentine’s Day, but my favorite dates ever have been the simpler ones. We made dinner, watched some movies, and talked about how much we cared about each other. I even got him to take the Love Languages test!” Ariti, age 32.


“A few years ago, my now-fiancé and I were planning a trip to Montreal, leaving the day after Valentine’s Day for a long weekend to celebrate. Since we were young and broke, we did not have money to go out to a nice dinner, so instead, we went to Burger King. Now it’s still our tradition to get fast food every year on February 14th.” Caitlin, age 25.


“My first actual date with my high school boyfriend was on Valentine’s Day! Obviously, we did not really plan for it to be a V-Day date—it just happened that way. However, he still showed up that night with a single red rose for me. Some might call that a little over-the-top, but I thought it was incredibly sweet.” Alexandra, age 26.


“My boyfriend and I rarely celebrate Valentine’s Day because our anniversary is only a week later. But one year I wanted to do something special, but still keep it low-key, so I ordered in a bunch of sushi and surprised him with a little at-home V-Day date.” Elizabeth, age 25.


“My ex and I both loved going out to eat. However, since we went out to pleasant restaurants regularly, it would sometimes feel even more special to spend a night in. On our first Valentine’s Day together, he cooked an amazing meal for us at his place and we just enjoyed a romantic evening in.” Elissa, age 28.


“I have a major sweet tooth, which means my favorite V-Day tradition is the post-Valentine’s Day candy sales! Regardless of what I do and/or who I happen to be dating on the actual day, I always plan a full day of me-time for the 15th, featuring as much discount chocolate as my heart desires.” Julia, age 32.


“We went to my favorite band’s small little venue concert, picked up fish tacos on the way home, and baked cookies together that night.” Jaylon, age 21.


Photo by Tim Samuel

“This was, like, ultimate bougie, but my girlfriend and I went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. We told the hotel that we were recently engaged (we were not), but they decorated our bed every night with rose petals and a bottle of champagne. Go big or go home, right?” Alyssa, age 28.

“I found myself in a bit of a Situationship with this girl around Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago and was not sure if we were official or not, so I was not really expecting to celebrate V-Day with her. (I did not want to get my hopes up.) Well, she ended up surprising me by not only making plans with me but also cooking a very fancy dinner with pasta, bread, salad, and some of my favorite desserts. Like, she did not cook regularly, so this was a Big Deal. It was so sweet because it was her way of showing me she cared, and we became official that night.” Michelle, age 25.


“My favorite Valentine’s Day was cooking a new recipe together (Louisiana chicken pasta, which was just as good as it sounds), drinking a little too much wine, and falling asleep in their arms on the couch. Sometimes it’s the little things.” Haley, age 26.


“My best Valentine’s Day ever happened last year when I was single. I had the ultimate ‘treat yourself’ day and got my favorite lunch, a mani-pedi, and then bought my favorite coffee. Instead of being sad that I was alone, I created an opportunity to celebrate the love I had for myself. I even made it a promise to myself to do it every year. Even though I have a boyfriend this year, I will still do it!” Catherine, age 25.


“My boyfriend jokingly used to complain how men don’t get the same treatment as women on Valentine’s Day by receiving cards and chocolates, so I surprised him by making an edible arrangement of bacon roses and gave it to him in the morning before waking up so he could have breakfast in bed. I also gave him a card where I wrote the biggest surprise of all: tickets to a helicopter tour of our city. Ten years later, we are still together, got married, and that is still one of the best Valentine’s Days we’ve ever had.” Rachel, age 29.


“Several years ago, my boyfriend at the time (now husband) earned major points on Valentine’s Day. First, he dropped me off at a salon to get my hair and nails done. Then he picked me up, brought me to his place, and made me dinner. From there, we went to a comedy club and laughed the night away. It was such a thoughtful date that I will remember forever.” Jacqui, age 28.


“The cutest Valentine’s Day idea that I had was making a time capsule for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. In three years, we get to open it up and we’ll get to relive so many glorious memories.” Alyssa, age 31.


“My partner’s birthday is the day after Valentine’s, and our anniversary is just two weeks later, so for our first Valentine’s together, I wanted to do something special. I am a firm believer in more is more, so I surprised her with a trip to New York. I booked an incredible dinner at this cute Japanese place in Brooklyn. We hit MoMA, had Sunday brunch; it was really fun. The only bad part was it was below 10 degrees the whole time, but the rest was a blast!” Elizabeth, age 29.


Photo by Marko Klaric 

“Last year, for Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend and I celebrated a little differently than most. We are both individually very serious about getting out of student loan debt in one to two years, so we added an extra couple hundred dollars onto our February debt payments so we could get that much closer to becoming debt-free. To me, it was so sweet because it’s so us!” Joanna, age 23.


“In college, my boyfriend went out and bought a bottle of champagne, two glass champagne flutes, chocolates, and flowers for me. I got him cigars and chocolate cigars. We still lived in the dorms, but his roommate had moved out, so we took both mattresses and put them side by side on the floor to make one giant super-bed. We drank champagne, ate lasagna, and watched A Walk to Remember from the floor on the super-bed. All these years later, I still have the boyfriend, the champagne flutes, and the cork from the bottle that night. We use the flutes every Valentine’s Day.” Rebecca, age 26.


“We’re broke and in our early 20s, and we do not spend much money. However, on Valentine’s Day, we like to go out to eat for dinner, wherever we want, and buy whatever TF we want. Our normal $30 to $40 bill is about $120 with multiple drinks, apps, main courses, and desserts. We just treat ourselves, and I love every minute.” Santina, age 22.


“My girlfriend at the time surprised me with a staycation in our own city. She booked a hotel downtown, reserved seats for us at the rooftop bar, and had our bed decorated with rose petals and champagne when we returned.” Alicia, age 36.


“The guy I was casually hooking up with—not even really dating—surprised me by making a reservation at a trendy restaurant in our city. The weather that day was extremely cold, but we layered on coats and went out, anyway. When we got to the restaurant, they lost our reservation and did not have any available for a few hours. We went to a dive bar around the corner, shared some beers, and had a super-laid-back dinner at a restaurant with a prix fixe menu and open seating. It was all super, unexpected, and just being together, even if we were hungry and freezing, made me realize this was significantly more than a hookup thing.” Caitlin, age 25.


“One of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories is when my boyfriend made a home-cooked meal. He surprised me with a dozen roses, a giant fuzzy heart with chocolate inside, and a handmade card. We had little money back then, and he still lived with his parents, so he brought up a bunch of chairs to his room and used his nightstand as our table. He also lit candles, put on Frank Sinatra, and opened a bottle of Moët. We spent the rest of the night watching the first movie we ever saw together and playing video games. It was the best.” Riley, age 20.


“One year, my girlfriend surprised me with a super-romantic wine-tasting tour. It was such a shock because I never even thought about wineries being open during the colder months, but many are! We had such a fun time getting tipsy and drinking delicious wine together, and then we took the train home, watched a movie on our laptop, and had a nice dinner together. And I got to be in bed early, which is honestly my favorite thing.” Sarah, age 27.


“You really can’t go wrong with breakfast in bed, which also is the best Valentine’s Day I ever had. My husband makes me chocolate chip pancakes with extra chocolate chips just the way I like them, and I do not get up until noon. I look forward to this day literally all year!” Tina, age 30.

Photo by cottonbro studio

“The best Valentine’s Day I’ve had was the first one with my boyfriend. We knew it was supposed to snow later that day, so we had to alter the plans we had previously made to go to an extravagant dinner at a fancy restaurant, instead went out to brunch, and spend the rest of the day at home. We exchanged gifts after brunch and spent the afternoon simply being together and enjoying our uninterrupted time. That night, we made a delicious dinner at home and watched many corny Valentine’s Day movies. It was perfect because it was simply us spending time together and enjoying the love between two people.” Rachel, age 21.


“We started the evening by cooking a meal together and it was amazing. Getting to create something romantic together was beautiful. After we finished dinner, he brought us to the same place where we had our first date, Hyde Park, and we held hands while we walked around. At the end of the night, he surprised me by booking a hotel room. When we got there, he had my favorite chocolates lying out on the bed. It was so simple, yet so perfect. Best Valentine’s Day ever.” Isabel, age 20.


“My long-distance boyfriend was too busy with his new job to visit me regularly, but on Valentine’s Day, he mailed me a plane ticket and told me to come and visit him. He even rented a hotel, so we could be alone without his roommates. When we got there, he had laid roses all over the bed and there was champagne and a fluffy robe. We ended up ditching dinner reservations and staying in all night with room service. It was like a movie.” Amanda, age 21.


Photo by RODNAE Productions

“My girlfriend surprised me with a downtown tour of our city. It is hilarious because we have both lived here our whole lives, but we got to see the city from a tourist perspective and learned things we never knew. It was cheesy, but that’s what made it so freaking fun.” Russia, age 28.


“My boyfriend at the time had left the cheesiest teddy bear in front of my dorm room on Valentine’s Day along with a note that said, ‘I’ll pick you up for dinner at 6. Dress warm!’ We ended up having a super-romantic peanut butter and jelly sandwich dinner with a bottle of wine on this giant hill that overlooks our campus. It was probably the sweetest date ever!” Kelly, age 20.


“My high school boyfriend asked me to come over to his house on Valentine’s Day weekend to help him with chemistry homework, which I thought was really weird because he was taking chemistry classes and I was obviously not, but I didn’t hesitate to come by. I went to knock on his front door and there was a note saying ‘walk in’ on it. I walked into his house and heard my favorite sappy love song playing, and [there was] a huge trail of rose petals leading into his living room, where he was sitting with all my favorite things. There were candles, and Disney stuffed animals, and it was so romantic. Even though we’re not still together, it will definitely be in my top Valentine’s Day memories!” Jessica, age 21.


Photo by Lisa Fotios

“I was out of town on business for Valentine’s Day and it really bummed my boyfriend because he had this whole big thing planned. When I came home a week later, he ended up making a whole Valentine’s Day meal and celebration, anyway. He cooked steak and even bought a super-sweet cake that said ‘Happy (kind of) Valentine’s Day.’ He also got me flowers and chocolate. It was so sweet, especially because he sucks at keeping secrets and I did not know he was planning this.” Sally, age 23.


“Last year was the first Valentine’s Day my long-distance boyfriend and I got to celebrate together in person. He came to visit me on Valentine’s Day and we went on an amazing hike. When we got to the top of the mountain, it had a beautiful view and we got to sit down and eat a late lunch together while watching the incredible sunset. Before we hiked back down, he grabbed my hand and told me he wanted to be together forever and gave me a promise ring. I was so surprised!” Lauren, age 21.


“My boyfriend and I had made plans to go out for dinner, but we waited too late to make reservations. He told me to leave it up to him and that he would find us a place. The morning of Valentine’s Day, he showed up at my house with roses, and bags full of groceries, and told me he was making me dinner instead of going out. I was hesitant about his cooking because he had never done it before, but it turned out pretty well. He made some yummy enchiladas, and best of all, I did not even need to get dressed up. Afterward, we cuddled and watched a movie. It wasn’t the most extravagant date, but it was the sweetest.” Michelle, age 22.


“The most memorable Valentine’s Day was when I showed up at my boyfriend’s house and he led me downstairs to his basement, where he’d prepared an indoor picnic. He knew I was tired from my week and did not feel like going out, so we stayed in. He does not really cook, so he went around buying all my favorite foods from different restaurants like chicken and beef skewers, Indian bread, and chicken Caesar salad. I was so surprised because I had never actually told him my favorite foods, but he had figured it out from the times we went out to eat. Then for dessert, he made chocolate-covered strawberries. We ended the date by watching the movie we watched on our first date. It brought back memories of when we first started dating and we were both so nervous that we did not hold hands until the very end. There were no dimly lit mood candles or expensive presents, but it made a lasting impression on my heart.” Kim, age 21.


“My boyfriend’s birthday is only a couple of days before Valentine’s Day, so usually we skip celebrating V-Day. A couple of years ago, we went up to the Hudson Valley for the weekend to celebrate. There was a big snowstorm, and we were trapped inside, but the house was beautiful and we got to snuggle and escape from the world. It was magical. I tried to surprise him by wearing some new lingerie too, but when I came out of the bathroom wearing it, he had fallen asleep! It’s been an inside joke of ours since.” Emily, age 25.


“I know it sounds so simple, borderline tacky, but the most wonderful Valentine’s date I ever had was spent in a dorm room. We picked a movie we both loved, and to surprise each other, we each ordered a Seamless delivery with the food we thought the other would love most. It was lazy and comforting, but still cute and romantic!” Tara, age 23.