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Cupid's creative arrow: Delivering a memorable date

If you're anything like me, you're not quite sold on Valentine's Day. Now, before you conclude that I'm the guy who wants to ground Cupid, let me explain: I enjoy "treating" those we love to a special day, but I truly believe the remaining 364 days of the year are equally important. So,I've gathered a few of my favorite ideas to help you elevate this Valentine's Day, and any day for that matter!

Au Natural! Not that kind of au natural! This one's particularly meaningful since one of the most memorable dates for my girlfriend and me was a picnic in Central Park. "But it's February," you're likely saying. Well, true. While this has been an unseasonably warm winter here in NYC, the picnic date might be one you have to save for a couple months. Once the weather's cooperative though, you'll want to pack up the picnic staples: a comfy blanket, a baguette, a soft cheese that's easy to spread (Brie or Camembert, for example), coldcuts or aged salami, water, and a snack-like olives or fruit! Don't worry about packing a five-course meal. The idea is to make it fun, romantic and casual - something you assemble and enjoy together. Also bring plenty of napkins, another blanket in case it gets chilly, utensils and a couple of over-the-shoulder bags to pack-in and pack-out of your picturesque location!

Transform the ol' abode. Get ready to transform your home into a palace of relaxation and memories. Select two or three rooms and develop them into themes from your dating history.

At the front door place signs directing your partner through your home in a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style date. Whether the kitchen becomes your first dinner date all over again or whether the bathroom becomes the candle-lit spa you've always wanted to treat yourselves to - let your imagination run wild!

Book em Dan-o! While this sounds foreboding, there's no criminal plot afoot. Simply gather some photos of you and your special someone and develop a themed album or group photo frame. Whether it's an album of the two of you in vacation spots or cheering together at sporting events, it's sure to strike them with a joyful sniffle or two. Shutterfly photo books make this easy to do online, but if you prefer the hands-on approach there are aisles and aisles of custom possibilities at craft stores like Michael's. For best effect, deliver this item in an unexpected spot, such as under the pillow, in a dresser drawer or tucked inside the morning paper.

Remember, the element of surprise can never be underestimated. So, while Valentine's Day presents the traditional opportunity to showcase your swoon, make sure every now and then to deliver a truly heartfelt and unexpected treat. Now that's something even Cupid could fall for!

What are some surprising ways you've treated your special someone?

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