(photo credit:  Vafa-Coffman Photography)


I am crazy about my husband.  He’s my best friend, my soul-mate and so completely a part of who I am that I can’t even imagine a world without him in it.

But he is also a terrible planner of home-based events. (Work is another story.)  So if we need someone to come and cut the lawn, or to make reservations at a restaurant or, you know, find a place to live…Mike’s not your guy.    Even gift-giving puts him on shaky ground.  If Nordstroms happens to have awesome stuff in stock, right next to the door closest to where he parked,  on the SAME DAY HE NEEDS IT, then, you know, the gift is good.  If not….

Let’s just say I’ve always been a fan of Nordstrom’s amazing return policy.

And since my birthday is at the end of January, by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, Mike and I are both usually suffering from gift-giving burnout.

So this Christmas, I was very clear:

  • Nothing from Nordstrom
  • Nothing – from anywhere – bought the same day you are giving them
  • Your gift must be something we do together
  • It must be planned in advance
  • It must include all the proper components of advanced planning:  reservations, tickets, whatever

And while the man can’t help being a smart ass (“Babe?  Do you happen to know which restaurants don’t take reservations?  Just…wondering…for no reason.”  Ha, ha….ha Mike) when Christmas rolled around he KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK.

On Christmas morning, I opened these:



You are looking at a set of photo magnets on my fridge.  One represents the massages Mike booked for us at a spa.  One is a restaurant we’ve been unable to get last-minute reservations for, one is an image from the ballet we’ll be seeing, and the last magnet shows that he’s picked out a cozy spot for after-ballet drinks.  He has it all planned:  tickets bought, reservations made, a sitter booked.

This insanely magical all-date day will occur the same weekend as Valentine’s Day.  And?  I’ve had the gift of looking forward to it since December.

Best. Gift. Ever.

So.  My pick for Valentine’s Day?  Pick a date.  Pick a restaurant or a venue or an activity.  Then book ’em (and a sitter) and surprise your other half with the gift of anticipation by using this seriously awesome way to show off your hard work.  (And I’d throw in a few cute pictures of the kiddos, too.  I’m totally obsessed with these photo magnets.)


The photo magnets (and a whole host of other seriously awesome photo gift ideas) can be found on Pinhole Press







  1. Wow, what a wonderful idea! I’ve been asking/begging my husband for YEARS to just take the initiative and PLAN something for us. And then he showed me and bought one of those time-share presentation specials at a hotel… and said “YOU wanted me to surprise you with a trip! I thought I did good!” *sigh* So yes, I swoon over your husband’s sweetness. =)

  2. Yes! This is what A and I do and it’s the best. So much better than guessing what to get him.
    The addition of magnets is genius.

  3. Not much of a comment-er here, but I am a long-time reader. Just wanted to say that the photo of you and your husband is absolutely precious! What a beautiful, charming frame-worthy moment.
    What a wonderful gift your husband planned for the two of you to enjoy. Sure does beat receiving a new outfit, perfume, kitchen appliance (ha!), or any other tangible gift any day of the week. You were so smart to lay out the rules!
    One request… will you write a post about your outfit choices for the big date? I never know how to pull it together for the night out. I usually just wear a variation of the same thing and I need a little inspiration. Thank you!
    Enjoy your time out celebrating your love!

  4. Oh, he’s good…holding out on you for all this time to make this even more special! Gotta love it! I absolutely love the pic of you and your hubby, too! What are you going to wear?!

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