Monday, April 23, 2018
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Doughnuts, stuffed goats and more Valentine's Day gift ideas that aren't flowers

We can all agree flowers are fun to receive on Valentine's Day. They're a feast for the eyes. They freshen up your stale cubicle. Someone has to parade them through the office in front of all your spiteful co-workers. What could be better?

Well, a few things, maybe.

This year, we're thinking outside the vase for the big, lovey-dovey day. We've got a giant list of date ideas that will hold up all year, from top-of-the-line fancy to a-few-bucks fun. We're talking everything from indoor skydiving to a multicourse meal with a rose in a bud vase.

DON'T MESS THIS UP: From fancy to thrifty, Tampa Bay date ideas that will cause heart eyes

But Feb. 14 is when you're going to have to really bring it. It's the middle of the week, so your loved one needs you to brighten the drudgery with an expression of love. And while you could spend your spoiling dollars on traditional flowers (honestly, still a great choice), here are some ideas that might make your partner squeal with glee at your originality.

Flowering doughnuts

The Mini Doughnut Factory in Tampa has it all figured out. Make decadent doughnuts, bite-sized so you can eat without feeling bad the rest of the day (unless you eat a whole box — no judgment). The shop has a special offer for the holiday. For $35, score a bouquet of doughnuts mixed with chocolate covered strawberries, speared on sticks to look like flowers. This year they're making just 100 of these rare bouquets, a process owner Patrick Ruddell called time-consuming. But even if they run out, you could still pick up a box of mini doughnuts for bae. Ruddell said festive red velvet will be available. And the usual flavors include Fruity Pebbles, Peanut Butter Crunch and Sweet Pig. To order a bouquet, call (813) 254-5374, send a Facebook message or email [email protected]

A bouquet of tickets

Think about something you and, let's call him... "Norbert," like to do together. Do you and Norbert go to the movies often? Maybe you enjoy regular concerts at a local venue. Maybe it's all about Tampa Bay Rays or Lightning games. Maybe it's WrestleMania (coming to Orlando's Camping World Stadium April 2, just saying). Put together a bouquet with some choice tickets or movie gift cards. Small increments on the latter, attached to one of those clip-in photo holders, would make for a lush display. Or, if it's a single set of tickets to a concert (Bon Jovi is playing Amalie Arena on Valentine's Day, just saying), fill it out with printed photos of Norbert's favorite rock stars ('80s Richie Sambora!) or fighting heroes (Goldberg doing "the spear"!).

A Target dream

Does your partner, let's call her... "Anouk," go to Target with the intent of getting toothpaste and batteries and leave with things no one can explain? Make her a gift basket of big-box glee. The essentials include, but are not limited to: a candle; a summer scarf; a 12-pack of athletic socks; a clearance bathing suit; a 'Live, Laugh, Love' canvas wall hanging; some Neutrogena makeup wipes; a bottle of Yellow Tail pinot grigio; a pair of flip flops; some windshield wiper fluid; a bag of whole grain pita chips; a wallet that can double as a cute purse for a night out; a $4 copy of Silver Linings Playbook. Also, include a Target gift card for a repeat visit, because the experience is half the fun.

A goat

That's right, a goat. "You Goat Mail" is a service that lets you send a cute plush goat to someone with a message inside. Goat styles include "Billy" and "Nubian," both $24.99. I ordered one for someone (NOT SAYING WHO) and the shipping time is listed as 3-4 days, so you may have time to make it for V-Day under the wire. Why a goat? Why not a goat. yougoatmail.com.

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