Valentine's Day is here, and no matter what you’re planning, there are always tricky logistics involved. Fine dining, or take out by the fire? What to drink? Who's going to watch the kids? And getting the gift that says, “I know you so well,” instead of, “ehm, what were you thinking?” If you're doing some last-minute planning, I’ve selected some of my favorite tech tools to help you make tonight special.
Gifts for you. If you’ve had it with feigning appreciation for the gift you didn’t really want (“Oh honey, those Ultimate Fighting tickets are perfection!”), then it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Wishpot (see video above) is a simple way to create an online wish list that, with the push of a button, adds any item you’ve been eyeing online. Then, drop your Valentine a not-so-subtle hint by emailing him your Wishpot, complete with links to every handbag and bangle you’ve been lusting after.
Gifts for him. Your Valentine is a card-carrying metrosexual. But that doesn’t mean he always knows his Vince from his Varvatos. Luckily, Park & Bond is here to provide the ultimate man-ual. Part magazine and part men’s store, Park & Bond is packed with advice and inspiration, so you know what he should wear and how to wear it. Shop for everything from clothing and accessories to shoes and vintage watches. Now, you’ll both know whether or not lace-up loafers are still in style. (Spoiler alert: Yes!)
Make dinner plans. There’s no question more daunting than, “Where should we have dinner?” on Valentine’s Day. Where to dine when all the local haunts just aren’t special enough, but you can’t afford to eat like the one percent? The Ness Dining Guide takes on the challenge of finding you the perfect restaurant with a few social twists (cause, yes, lots of apps do that first part). Begin by swiping your way through the gorgeous interface, rating restaurants you’ve eaten at. Once you’ve rated a bunch, Ness learns what you like and starts making recommendations to other establishments you might enjoy. Link your Facebook or Foursquare account, and now you can see what restaurants your friends have eaten at or “checked-in” to. Send them a message on the spot to ask what they think, and if you like their recommendation, you can send them a thank-you note from within the app.
Choose the wine. I prefer meatballs to merlot, but my husband is a true oenophile. So I always jump at the chance to boost my wine-choosing confidence, though I refuse to ever talk of “jammy notes” and “woody mouthfeel”. Thankfully, the Blush for Wine app speaks my language: Run through a simple quiz, then Blush offers up suggestions perfectly suited to your taste and budget. Best of all, it will show you where you can get the wine at a store near you, so you can have it chilling in the fridge by the time he gets home. If you’re at a wine show and want a little extra insight, scan a bar code and find out if you’ll love the Chardonnay as much as you love the Chateaubriand.
Stash the kids. Call me crazy, but sometimes a couple just has to ditch the kids and have a romantic dinner for two— y’know, so they can remember why they ended up together in the first place? (Hint: it’s not cause you love to apologize to neighboring diners while you pick projectile Cheerios up off the floor.) But what to do with the little ones? Thank goodness for Sitterscout, an app with a simple, yet critical mission: To tackle the logistical nightmare that is arranging for a babysitter. Just add your roster of go-to sitters, and when you’re ready to hit the town, Sitterscout will text message your favorites to see if they’re available. If none respond, or if they’re all too busy having a life, “Round 2” sitters will be contacted to heed the call. The first sitter to respond gets the job, and you don’t have to spend all week on the phone arranging for one night out.