HALLIE EPHRON: One of my favorite things about Valentine's Day is that it I can cut out hearts. Like snowflakes, even for the coloring-within-the-lines-challenged, hearts are hard to screw up.
When I was little we used to make our own valentines. This involved buying doilies (do they still sell doilies?) and construction paper and glitter. Lots of glitter. And I'd make -- a mess. But oh, was it fun.
Then I went through my crocheting period. (Like Picasso's blue period?) For Valentine's day people I loved got long, narrow (never have had a great attention span) scarves with long fringes (I was good at fringes).
These days, Valentine's Day finds me in the kitchen where it doesn't matter if you can cut straight or color within the lines. What says I love you quite like duck a l'orange and pineapple upside down cake?
How have you evolved as a valentine giver?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, heart-cutting. what a team--yes, I can do it to perfection. (I forgot about that on Monday, when we were listing our skills. I can also do basic origami.)
ANYWAY. I was big on Valentines Day in college, I used to make incredibly elaborate Valentines, envelopes full of HUNDREDS of tiny hearts I had cut out, with instructions to hold the envelope by one corner, and flip the contents into the air.
I love Jonathan but I am not big on Valentines day. Why is this? ("Each day is Valentine's"...you know the song.)
RHYS BOWEN: Valentine's day was not big in England. Maybe that was because most of us went to single sex schools.
I remember getting a valentine's card from a boyfriend and that was lovely. But as for crocheting anyone something--I don't think so. And I'm married to a hopelessly British and unromantic male. About now he'll say "Oh, I suppose you'll want a card or flowers or something."
But we also have evolved to food. A good home cooked meal--rack of lamb or lobster and champagne. This year John doesn't have to do anything, as I'm speaking at a conference in San Francisco.
(Hallie here: I hope that card doesn't offend anyone. I think it's so funny. And of course it's from ages ago...)
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Rhys, are you sure we aren't sharing a husband? Rick doesn't like being "made" as he puts it, to do anything, especially by greeting card companies. He's only ever bought me flowers under duress, so I learned years ago to buy them for myself so my feelings wouldn't be hurt.
Usually I cook a nice dinner for the two of us, but this year we celebrated an early Valentine's Day on Tuesday by going to see a movie at our favorite theater (which includes a yummy dinner, served to you in your reclining seat with your very own snuggle blanket.) Tonight I think we will do our usual Friday night date--Chinese/Thai takeout and movies at home in front of the fire.
I suppose when you think about it, that's more romantic than flowers and a card once a year...
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh my gosh, I hope you aren't sharing a husband! What a rhubarb that would be if one of you finds out...
Hallie, I'll take the pineapple upside down cake too! We never go out on VD--because it seems like the same thing they do on New Year's, raise the prices and decrease the quality.
This year we've already celebrated with food too--upstairs at Louie's Backyard, which is a lovely, but expensive restaurant that has a second floor serving tapas. You would swoon over the truffled French fries with a cheese dipping sauce! And Asian short ribs to die for...and roasted cauliflower...and lobster pot pie.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: The only Valentine's Day card I really want is season two of Netflix's House of Cards.
The husband is teaching three weeks of puppetry masterclasses in Australia, but even if he were around we'd keep in low-key. My view on V-Day is that it's a commercial holiday used to guilt people into buying flowers and chocolates and overpriced meals. However, I'm not completely anti-Cupid — a fun part of being a mom to a younger kid is helping make the homemade valentines and decorating heart cookies with pink and red frosting. (A few of which I will be eating during House of Cards...)
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I am the unromantic one in the family. If it were up to Ross, Valentine's would be flowers and dinner out, but my attitude tends to be "I know we love each other, why do we have to spend money (plus the extra places and florists charge for the holiday) proving it?"
I'm writing this while sitting in our mechanic's waiting room; I think I'm going to tell Ross he's getting a tie bar replacement and alignment for Valentines. Nothing says "I love you" like a well-maintained car.
In past years, I would be sitting in the kitchen helping Smithie/The Boy/Youngest with their cards for classmates. We didn't do homemade cards - I'm not that kind of mother, I'm afraid - but there were always stickers to stick or candy to tape on. I recall one year when I picked up this...cardboard contraption...that folded into a box into which you put a Hershey's kiss. Of course, it was too complicated for the kids, and I wound up folding 40+ tiny boxes all evening. Maybe that's what killed the romance for me?
Oh, and Hallie, I think "One of my favorite things about Valentine's Day is that it I can cut out hearts," would make a GREAT opening line for a serial killer book!
HALLIE: ICK! Wouldn't it, though!?
Are you a heart cutter or a card maker... or do you say it with flowers and a nice dinner out? (Love the card on the right - perfect for mystery authors, yes? It's from NobleWorksCards.com.)