This post was written by Lauren Appelwick and Charlie Kaplan of Netted by the Webbys, a daily email that harnesses the collective wisdom of The Webby Awards to discover the best online tools that make life better, more productive, or just more fun. The views expressed herein are theirs and theirs alone. Keep up with their discoveries on Facebook and Twitter.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the pressure is on! Whether this is a first attempt at romance or a valiant effort to one-up last year, we could all use some tips for crafting a special day. But never fear. Netted is all about discovering the best tools the web has to offer, so we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to make this Valentine’s Day your best one yet.
Step 1: Get the Gift
1. Blurb. A card can’t hold what you’ve got to say about your Valentine? Then why not make a whole book? Whether you’re writing poetry, a dedicated novel, or putting together a photobook of memories, Blurb is the easiest-to-use service out there. Simply upload your photos, art, and/or text, choose from one of six book sizes, and select from various paper qualities and cover types. For a limited time, you can even get 20 percent off your order with promo code NETTED456.
2. RedStamp. If you are going the card route, don't limit yourself to the selection at the local pharmacy. Instead, check out RedStamp, the most versatile card service out there. Hop on the site or the app and design a card using your own pictures. RedStamp will deliver it either by snail mail or through a multitude of social channels — Twitter, email, Instagram, you name it.
3. Scroll Kit. Make a quirky online Valentine with Scroll Kit, a site that lets you create a customized web page with whatever your heart desires. Add and move words, upload pictures and backgrounds, embed videos, and add special effects or hyperlinks for a unique way to say “I love you.”
4. The Bouqs. It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Save yourself a trip to the store with The Bouqs. For $40, you can have a gorgeous arrangement delivered right to your door. Choose from a single bouquet, a monthly subscription, or a bouquet sent at the same time every year — like, for example, Valentine’s Day 2014, 2015, 2016… (you get the idea). For a limited time, use promo code NETTEDVDAY to get 10 percent off your order, or sign up to possibly win and give the gift of flowers for a whole year!
5. Nowcation. Maybe you blanked on booking that romantic getaway three months ago, but your Valentine doesn't have to know! Simply log on to Nowcation, a site that specializes in finding the cheapest flights departing in the next month. You'll be a hero of romance, yet.
Step 2 – Figure Out Dinner
6. Blue Apron. There are few more romantic ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day than cooking up a homemade candlelit dinner. Unfortunately, that requires some things — like, for example, the ability to cook a homemade candlelit dinner — that might be beyond your ken. Never fear: Just check out Blue Apron, which provides delicious ingredients plus awesome recipes delivered straight to your door. You’ll be sent a box with the ingredients to make three meals designed by top chefs. There’s no need to shop for groceries, pick the best recipes, or struggle over sketchy instructions; Blue Apron takes care of it all.
7. New Italian Pantry. Perhaps no dinner is as classic as a glass of red wine and some delicious Italian food. Get some help from renowned Italian chef Sara Jenkins, whose new app helps you stock your pantry and fridge with the essential ingredients it takes to make her signature dishes. The app includes beautiful photographs of everything you’ll be making, informational videos, automatic timers, and instant shopping lists — in short, everything needed to make this romantic dinner thing a snap.
8. Kitchensurfing. Still not in the mood to cook? Get the local pros to make dinner for you. Kitchensurfing lets you find the best local chefs —either professionals or talented amateurs — to come to your kitchen and whip up a meal (though it’ll cost you a pretty penny).
9. OpenTable. As this chart so eloquently demonstrates, if you're not planning a romantic homemade meal, then reservations are a must on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re planning a dinner six months in advance or you need to find a place to eat the morning of the big day, OpenTable is your all-in-one reservation tool. Just tell it where you want to eat and it’ll give you a current list of open slots.
Step 3 - Set the Mood
10. LIFX. Ambiance can make or break a Valentine’s Day date. Be prepared with LIFX, wirelessly controlled light bulbs that can dim to a variety of romantic tones at the touch of your smartphone. No really. We're serious about this one.
11. Pandora. The Pandora we all know and love has come to the rescue yet again. It’s unlikely you’ll have time to make a playlist what with all the romance you're, and who wants to get up every three minutes and thirty seconds to pick another track? Let Pandora’s “Love Songs” station handle the DJing duties. It's loaded with artists and songs bound to set a loving mood.
12. Hotel Tonight. We know it’s comfy and all, but your couch might not achieve quite the level of romance you're going for. Ditch your normal digs and plan a staycation on the fly with Hotel Tonight. Using their app for iPhone, iPad, or Android, you can book an incredible room at the last minute, discounted up to 70 percent off.
Step 4 - Slip into Something More Comfortable
13. iCondom. Okay, so it's a slightly racier interpretation of “slipping things on,” but we’d like to take this opportunity to forgo the “Birds and the Bees” talk and just remind everyone out there to practice safe sex. Even if you’re out of stock, iCondom (an app from MTV Staying Alive) can locate condom venders nearest you.
14. Flint and Tinder. Fancy underwear isn’t just for the ladies! Kickstarter phenomenon Flint and Tinder is offering premium men's undergarments, all made in America and guaranteed to have superior comfort and fit. They deliver quickly, so there's still time to stock up. Plus, the code NETTED20 will knock 20% off your order — or try to win a full supply for free.
Step 5: Propose, Already!
15. Gemvara. Maybe this isn’t just another Valentine’s Day — maybe this is THE Valentine’s Day. (In which case, you probably should have planned this proposal a while ago). And of course, no proposal is complete without the ring. Thanks to Gemvara, it’s possible to skip the jeweler and design the ring yourself. Customize the gemstone, color, metal, and size, and add a personal engraving for free. Unsure about ring size? No problem. Just hop on over to the ProposalPro on-screen ring sizer. It’s an app feature worth its weight in gold (or white gold, but that’s up to you).
16. Blueprint Proposals. Worried that you'll be outdone by all those proposals on Youtube? No problem; just get in touch with Blueprint Proposals. They’ll plan every detail of your proposal with you, making sure you absolutely nail it. After all, you will (hopefully) only do this once!
What are your go-to resources for romance? Have you tried any of the ones on this list? Share in comments below!