In "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things," Julie Andrews sings about the simple things she loves, like brown paper packages tied up with string and snowflakes that stay on her nose and eyelashes. But when it comes to receiving gifts, your own version of your favorite things isn't usually at the top of your partner's list. You're more likely to get a heart-shaped box of chocolates and some discount flowers (still very sweet, partners, I promise!) then the thing you really want. So, you know, why wait? Why not
buy yourself your favorite things on Valentine's Day? (They don't have to be warm woolen mittens, unless that's what you really want.)
I keep a list in my phone — Things I Want — and anytime I see something cute online or something I'd love to own, I jot it down. For one thing, it saves me money, because I don't impulse buy as much as I write things down in a list. For another, it's the perfect way to keep track of items I'd love when someone asks me what I want for my birthday or Christmas. But most importantly, when it's time to treat myself, I already have a list of things I'm interested in. And this list is pretty similar — it's full of all the items your partner probably won't think to get you, even though it's something you'd really love.
Look, I'm a book lover. I love a brand new hardback, I love a weathered paperback, and I love an ancient, crumpled
Reader's Digest. But the best thing about a Kindle Paperwhite is that I can read a book while my kids are playing, and if they interrupt, it's much easier to just set the thing down. Bonus: it's lightweight to take anywhere (including your kid's softball practice), holds a ton of books, and is waterproof.
I am straight up obsessed with The Home Edit, and their line of products at The Container Store convinces me that I can get my entire life together with some cute, handwritten labels and
large plastic bins. Think about a part of your house that's been driving you crazy. Is it your shoe storage in the closet? Is it your under-the-sink cabinet? Is it your desk drawer? Figure out a way to simplify some issue in your house to make yourself feel better, and then pick up the organizing goodies you need to make it happen. (I need all the bins for my pantry, please.)
An Outfit You Can't Stop Thinking About
I'm a big believer in practical, elastic-waistband clothes, but I also am a sucker for a
gorgeous pantsuit or dress I know I might never wear out. This Valentine's Day, cheer yourself up by buying that outfit you can't stop thinking about, even if it's totally unpractical for the PTA meetings.
Every woman has received a random gift basket of bubble bath and bath bombs for Valentine's Day — which is great! — but dude, this little
bathtub caddy that can hold your beverage of choice and that Kindle is pretty perfect. Treat yo' self.
What Good Shall I Do This Day? Notepad
Every person with a child knows the beauty of a to-do list. But it's so easy to get wrapped up in the "what do I need to accomplish" list, so I love this "
What Good Shall I Do This Day?" notepad to change your perspective on getting things done for the day. (Feeding kids some form of food counts.)
A Bag Big Enough For Everything
I hate my diaper bag.
I hate it. It's a backpack-style I was gifted, and it's impossible to find anything in it, and it's just bulky and terrible and not my style. But because I hate the thought of having a purse and a separate giant diaper bag, I'm always looking for a bag that can fit my things and also a few diapers, change of baby clothes, and a few snacks. Gift yourself the bag that will simplify your life.
I love lingerie. I love the way it looks, I love the way it feels, but it is not something I'm ever actually sleeping in. I buy it, I wear it, I have a nice night with my husband where I feel like a confident, sexy woman, and then I stuff it in a drawer and change into flannels. But a pair of
comfy and sexy pajamas is possible, and it's even better than lingerie.
Playing LEGOs with my 5-year-old is like my favorite thing in the world, partly because I also just really love LEGOs on my own. So I would seriously grab myself one of the more
advanced LEGO sets that she's not allowed to touch so I can create an entire Harry Potter scene. Few things sound more satisfying.
Is it weird to say washing dishes and listening to a podcast is my favorite self-care activity? OK, well the thing is, the dishes have to be done and I have a library full of podcasts to listen to, so I might as well enjoy it. Grab your favorite dish soap and these adorable
cross stitch foul language sponges and get to listening. This is one of those things no partner would give you because they'd be terrified of offending you, but I'd love it for myself.
Your Actual Favorite Candy
Dude, nobody wants the Walgreens-brand chocolates in the terrible plastic heart-shaped box. So give yourself
the actual candy you want, whatever it is, in whatever non-heart shape it may be.
That Other Household Appliance You've Been Waiting For
Again, I think every partner has it in their mind that you can't give someone a household appliance as a gift. I disagree. One of my favorite gifts from my husband this year was the vacuum cleaner I had been coveting for months. It mops and vacuums at the
same time. So find whatever thing it is you want — a toaster that heats six slices at the same time, an Instant Pot, a new vacuum — and just go for it. Fancy face cream isn't something you can just pick up any week, so it's the ultimate Valentine's Day gift for yourself. Plus you don't have to explain to anyone the cost of it or why it's so expensive or try to convince them that it's better than a bouquet of flowers.
The Most Relaxing Thing You Can Think Of
It differs for everyone. Do you want a day at the spa? Do you want an hour alone in your own bed with Netflix? Do you want to eat ice cream for dinner and then scroll through your phone until you pass out on your own couch? Then go for it. Whatever is the most relaxing thing you can think of, jump right in and soak it up.