I really don't get all the negativity surrounding Valentine's Day. What's so sad about chocolate, flowers, hugs, good food, movies, wine, smooching and cuddling? I could keep going but I'll spare you.

I recognize that Valentine's Day assumes a kind of pressure; pressure to get creative, to spend a lot of money, to become very intense and even pressure to not spend the evening alone. But what's so bad about any of those? It's only one day.

As much as I would love to be able to relieve all of those pressures, I can't, I'm only one person. But I can give you the ultimate Valentine's Day guide for how to spend the day/evening/night in Spokane. I'll even let you take credit for the ideas.

For the "beginners":  to keep things a little more light-hearted I suggest an activity. Ice Skate at the Ice Palace, take a snowmobile tour, snow shoe or give rock climbing a try. Follow this up with a fun meal at the Shogun where they prepare the food right in front of you or switch things up a bit and have breakfast for dinner at Wall Street Diner or Frank's Diner.

For those of you looking for a little more fire I think cooking a meal together suits you better. I love going to Saunders Cheese Market and Chocolate Apothecary to load up on items to make fondue. Main Market and Huckleberry's both have lots of very unique and fun items to create a special meal with. And, at Huckleberry's you can make your own six-pack with an incredible selection of micro-brews from all over the world. After you eat, see a show. The Spokane Symphony is having a very bubbly Valentine's Day Special or if you prefer a movie, The Magic Lantern always plays interesting independent films. I love their smaller, more intimate theatres...very romantic.

Now, if you think you've mastered the art of creative dates, you really haven't. Dine in the private dining room in Masselow's at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Make a scavenger hunt of "sweet treats" from our local specialty shops such as Halletts, Spokandy, Boehm's and Godiva. For a more relaxed experience, try a spa service at Spa Paradiso or Current. Of course you'll want to save the best for last, right? This list of the "Top 14 Places to Kiss in Spokane" will definitely make this Valentine's Day memorable. I remember all 14 locations and it isn't even Valentine's Day yet.

There you have it, some of the most fun, romantic and unique ways to celebrate your significant other (or significant hopeful). No more excuses for a lame Valentine's Day. I pretty much just planned yours for the next five years. You're welcome.