Inexpensive and Simple Romantic Ideas

Whether it's Valentine's Day, your anniversary, a birthday or just a run of the mill day, pampering your loved one is always a hit. Scoring brownie points doesn't have to cost a lot of money, either. 

Start the day with flowers. This takes a little planning but is well worth the effort. Who says you have to buy a dozen roses at marked up prices from a florist when beautiful flowers from your garden are blooming just outside your window? Or stop by the grocery store on your way home from work the night before and pick up a bouquet of fresh cut flowers. Store them in the garage in a bucket of water overnight.

When your partner is asleep, find your flowers and arrange them in a lovely vase with water and place on the nightstand. Program your coffeemaker to start first thing in the morning and fill it with an exotic blend of coffee.

When your sweetheart wakes up, bring up a mug of hot coffee, fresh cream and the morning newspaper. Either make breakfast or go out to a favorite restaurant. Your day just got started with a bang. Make extra sure to hold hands and plant an extra kiss or two.

Oh no, you think you're done? You're not getting off that easy. You still have work ahead of you. Jump in the bathtub and scrub it down until it sparkles. This goes for the entire bathroom. Once clean, place candles throughout the bathroom, on the countertops and bathtub. Next set up a boombox or CD player somewhere safe - away from water and electrical outlets. Put in a romantic CD and check the volume so it's not too loud. Ditch the old towels and washcloths and replace with fresh ones, preferably the most luxurious ones you own. Set out bubble bath, oil or any other special bath products. Close the door and place a sign on it saying, "Spa opens at 7:00 PM" (or whatever time works best for you).

Wash and dry a basket of strawberries. Make sure the berries get dried off well, otherwise the chocolate won't stick as well. Next, melt a bag of chocolate wafers in the microwave. Check the grocery store's cooking aisle or a craft store's candy making section for melt-able chocolate. Dip the strawberries in the melted chocolate and let cool on waxed paper. By now, your lover will have figured out that something's up. That's okay. It's better if you can pull this off as a surprise, but watching you hard at work enhances the anticipation.

Chill a bottle of white wine or uncork a bottle of red wine to let it breathe. Either cook dinner or order pizza in. When it's time to do the dishes, pull out a favorite new magazine or romantic book with instructions for your love to go hang out on the couch and read. When the dishes are done, it's time to make one last item.

In a food processor, blend two ounces of fresh avocado, one teaspoon orange juice, one teaspoon honey and one teaspoon of molasses. Put this in a pretty bowl, grab the chocolate covered strawberries and wine, and sneak into the bathroom. Fill the tub with warm water and bubbles, start the CD and light the candles.

Announce that the spa is now open for business and let your sweetheart soak it up. Once settled into the tub, offer the avocado facial mask with instructions to leave it on for 30 minutes. Take the towels and fluff them in a warm dryer. Return in a half hour with the warm towels and use a washcloth to help remove the avocado face mask. Be sure to rinse this in the bathroom sink rather than the bath water.

If all goes well, you'll be offered a glass of wine and be rewarded for your romantic efforts.