Last-minute Valentine's Day ideas for lovelorn procrastinators

We know, we know. Another Valentine's Day. The pressure is on. You've managed to wait until the very end to try and land that perfect gift or adventure for your special someone.

Fear not, last-minute lovers. We at the Pulse Magazine are professional procrastinators. We know all about delaying, deferring and distress. We feel your pain and anxiety, not to mention that great motivator: guilt!

Instead of making a mad dash to that picked-over aisle at Walgreens, we have some sure-fire solutions to ease your V-Day anxiety.

 

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou

Restaurants are likely booked solid, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a romantic meal. Many grocery stores have prepared foods that can be cooked or reheated at home; look in the deli or bakery sections. You won't even have to turn on the stove if you pick up sushi, salad bar fixings, exotic cheeses, olives and crusty bread. Get even fancier with frozen cooked shrimp or crab legs, which thaw quickly under cold running water and need only a squeeze of lemon or a dip in cocktail sauce. Spread a blanket on the floor, light candles or the fireplace, open a bottle of bubbly and have a picnic.

 

Get a little cheesy 

If your inamorata has a sense of humor and a taste for mozzarella, Rocco's Pizza offers 12-inch heart-shaped pizzas on Valentine's Day for pickup. Really. The cost is $10.95 for a cheese pizza and $12.45 for pepperoni. Rocco's has more than 300 heart pans and they get a workout every year. The Cuyahoga Falls Rocco's is at 1053 Portage Trail (330-928-3344). The Stow shop is at 973 Graham Road (330-920-1111). Visit www.roccos-pizza.com.

 

Brrrrs and blades

Take your partner to Lock 3 in downtown Akron (200 S. Main St.) to skate the night away to retro-jams at the "Totally 90s" Valentine's night. Bonus points: When said partner flails and falls on the ice, you'll be there to pick him/her up and sooth his/her bumps and bruises. http://lock3live.com

 

Go see a show!

If you can snag two tickets to "Once," jump on them! The collaboration between Beck Center for the Arts and Baldwin Wallace University's Music Theatre program explores the transcendent power of love and music through the story of a Dublin street musician and Czech immigrant. Based on the 2007 movie by John Carney, the musical features the tender hit "Falling Slowly." And all 14 cast members play their own instruments on stage. The Valentine's Day performance is at 8 p.m. (216-521-2540 Ext. 10), or www.beckcenter.org.

Or you could buy your love tickets to the romantic, old-fashioned "She Loves Me,'' playing at French Creek Theatre (4530 Colorado Ave., Sheffield Village). The musical, set in 1934 Budapest, centers around two sparring parfumerie employees who are unknowingly each other's "lonely heart" pen pals. Final performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. (440-949-5200) or metroparks.cc/french-creek-theatre-tickets.php.

 

Family friendly

If "just the two of you" is not an option, bring the kids along. The Akron Center for Art, Music and Performance is hosting "Heart to HeART: A Family Friendly Valentine's Day Show." The event, at 6 p.m. Thursday (118 W. Market St., Akron), will feature refreshments, crafts and games for kids, dancing and live love songs courtesy of Pony Up. Tickets are $5 (online or at the door). akronhearttoheart.eventbrite.com.

 

Love train

Trains lend themselves to a cozy, forward-motion kind of vibe for your relationship. Wine doesn't hurt. Surprise your sweetie with seats on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's "Grape Escape: Romantic Reds and Rosés." The two-hour ride on vintage train cars includes wine samples and appetizers. It departs from Rockside Station in Independence at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. $60 to $90 per person. www.cvsr.org.

 

Hallmark happiness

If your budget is limited, spend the day on the couch with your sweetie and take in a Hallmark marathon. The cable channel has you covered with a V-Day love lineup. At 2 p.m., it's "Valentine Ever After," followed at 4 by "Very, Very Valentine." At 6, catch "My Secret Valentine," then segue into "The Story of Us" at 8, and finally, at 10, pop a cork and snuggle up to "Valentine in the Vineyard." Ten straight hours of Hallmark movies will lead to something (we're just not sure what).

 

Romance AND chocolate? 

If Hallmark is your thing, you could even procrastinate further and push your plans to the weekend when the channel premieres "Love, Romance & Chocolate," starring Lacey Chabert. Chabert is a veteran of nine Hallmark love fests, including "All of My Heart," and "Love on Safari." This time, she plays a busy New York accountant who falls for a Belgian chocolatier (Will Kemp). The world premiere is at 8 p.m. Saturday.

 

Sweets for your sweetie

Speaking of chocolate, you can shop local and pick up a Temo’s chocolate heart filled with handmade candies ($18.95 for 1 pound, $37.50 for 2 pounds). Available at the shop, 495 W. Exchange St. in Akron, or at Acme Fresh Markets. The regional candymaker Malley’s will be selling its coveted chocolate-covered strawberries; find a location and extended Valentine’s Day hours at malleys.com/find-a-store/.

 

Art lovers

Take her or him to the Cleveland Museum of Art's "Pop-Up Open Studio: Valentine’s Day," running from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday. It's free. You'll have a chance to create an original artwork for your main squeeze. The museum is also offering a guided tour at 1 p.m. that explores works in the expansive collection that celebrates love. www.clevelandart.org.

Members of the Akron Art Museum can enjoy a love-themed walking tour of the galleries for couples from 6-7 p.m. Thursday. Hear about the "scandalous, sweet and sappy love stories" behind the artworks and top it off with champagne and chocolates. $10. Register at https://bit.ly/2TLE4cE.

 

Do-it-yourself dessert

Impress your mate by whipping up a delectable dessert. Try Bittersweet Chocolate Fondue, from former local cooking instructor Jennifer Wolfe Webb, which comes together in just a few minutes. Bring 1 cup heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from heat and add 8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes and whisk smooth. Whisk in 2 teaspoons brandy (optional) and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Serve warm with a selection of dippers, such as fruit, cookies or pieces of angel food or pound cake.

 

Museum mayhem

On the other hand, if none of the above fit your profile, or if you never quite get around to celebrating February 14 and your girlfriend/boyfriend/date/spouse decides to dump you, we have a place you can visit: the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Yes, folks. It started in Zagreb, Croatia, and now has a sister location in Los Angeles (www.brokenships.com). Hop a flight and check out items acquired from across the globe along with the dire details of heartbreak stories. The collection includes fake breasts, an axe, dolls, drawings, puppets, gastritis pills, a stiletto shoe and a Frisbee. We're a little worried about that axe.

More: Get additional V-Day tips from Malcolm X Abram (page 4) and Craig Webb (page 14).

Beacon Journal staffers Lynne Sherwin, Kerry Clawson, Craig Webb and Clint O'Connor contributed to this report.