Valentine's Day Inspiration

All right, people! We are nearly inside the two-week countdown to Valentine's Day, and it's time to get serious about making this year's holiday special.  I am a major proponent of giving experiences over material items, and I have rounded up five very special experiences I know you and your special someone will absolutely adore doing together. These are all local San Francisco Bay area events, but if you live elsewhere, let these ideas serve as a springboard for finding something similar in your area.  Or, maybe it's time to plan a San Francisco destination Valentine's Day! It is a pretty romantic place, if I do say so myself. To really get you in the mood, I have outfit suggestions for each of these events.  Happy planning, all!

1. Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont

The Fairmont Hotel sits atop Nob Hill in San Francisco and offers gorgeous views of the City. The setting alone is elegant and romantic.  I took my mother to afternoon tea at the Fairmont for her birthday several years ago and it was absolutely perfect.  It was relaxing and decadent in all the right ways. Make your reservation for tea at the Fairmont here.

If I were going to afternoon tea for Valentine's Day this year, here's what I would wear (pictures all link to sources):

2. Northern California Exotic Car Tour

The San Francisco Bay area has breathtaking natural beauty, and roads that beg to be traveled in style.  Club Sportiva offers two exotic car tours; one of Northern California and one of Southern California. I have not taken the tour, but according to their website, participants get to drive the Ferrari 458, Audi R8 V10, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Nissan GTR, and Lamborghini LP-560 Gallardo. Typically I'm on my bicycle. But for this tour, I might make an exception. Make your reservation for the exotic car tour here.

If I were lucky enough to be taking an exotic car tour this Valentine's Day, here's what I would wear:

3. Our Gourmet Life

A local foodie friend recently told me about something he had come across on one of the blogs he reads. It is a dining experience in San Francisco, and oh la la! it looks racy! Perhaps the best way to describe this dinner event is as an erotic feast for the senses, and a delicious menu as well. This sensual dinner isn't offered every night, and there are various "levels" of dining experience, so best to check the website if you are interested in crafting a very daring meal experience that is sure to be extraordinary to enjoy with your sweetheart this year.  You can make reservations with Our Gourmet Life here.

If I were attending an Our Gourmet Life event, here's what I would wear:

4. Chardonnay Sailing Charters

This date will take you a bit south of San Francisco, to the Monterey Bay. Anyone who has watched the sailboats come into the Santa Cruz harbor at sunset (ok, now there's a free and romantic Valentine's Day idea right there, thank you very much) has probably seen the Chardonnay sailboat and seen the relaxed, jovial crew upon it and thought "whatever is happening on that boat sure looks like a good time!" I myself had this thought plenty of times during my beach bum college years in Santa Cruz.  Several years ago, my mother suggested we take my father on the Chardonnay sailboat for his birthday.  Chardonnay offers a variety of sailing experiences, from whale watching to pizza (seriously!) to local wines. For my father's sake, we selected the Brewmaster Charter, and everyone agreed it was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Be sure to bring a jacket and don't wear heels! This isn't a yacht; it's a little sailboat and you will certainly feel the sea rolling beneath you. Lots of fun!  Make a reservation with Chardonnay Sailing Charters here

If I were taking a Chardonnay Sailing Charter again, here's what I would wear:

4. Four Seasons Silicon Valley

The first apartment my husband and I had together was walking distance from the Four Seasons Silicon Valley. It quickly became our favorite romantic spot for drinks.  The hotel's restaurant, Quattro, is lovely in itself, but the best place to get cozy is in the adjacent bar. And wintertime is absolutely the coziest, when the fireplace is going and the sun sets early. We actually went to a terrific event at the Four Seasons last Valentine's Day, which was a trunk show for a chocolatier, speciality tea maker, and lingerie boutique.  There was a raffle, and I won it! The next day, my sister gave birth to my nephew.  Therefore, that weekend is probably going to go down in history as one of my very favorite Valentine's Day experiences.  Make a reservation at Quattro (no reservation needed for drinks only) here

Here's what I would wear for a Valentine's Day date at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley:

Have fun planning your special day, everyone!