Happy Valentine's Day!

Photography buy Arika Shelest

Spray Tans by Tiff Peck

Valentine’s day has always been a huge day in my life. I have grown to realize that a lot of people like to argue about why it sucks or why it’s so overrated, but today I want to focus on why Valentine’s day should be celebrated every year and what it truly means to me.

First, let me preface with a very important fact: When I was growing up, I was basically an only child. I have an older sister who is 16 years older than me, so we both grew up separately and in different homes. I have no issue admitting I was spoiled, but I never took or take that for granted. In fact, I am so blessed to have been raised the way I was, because it has everything to do with why I am the person that I am today. Every year on Valentine’s day, I would wake up for school and have a little basket set up on the kitchen table with cards and cute little gifts from my parents. They made sure to make me feel so loved every year, and that is how I grew to have the mindset I do with Valentine’s day, which I am so thankful for.

Fast forward to dating life: I had a high school sweetheart for 3 years in high school, and made Valentine’s day a HUGE deal for us because that’s what it was in my head. In college, I was single and had multiple Valentine’s days that were all about me. I NEVER had a sour taste in my mouth about it, and it honestly shocked me how many of my girlfriends hated Valentine’s day because they “hated love”. Come on. Who HATES love?! You’re only human, and God created us with the sole purpose of NEEDING love and companionship. It’s nothing to be ashamed of! You should feel PROUD to desire a loving relationship!

I made it my mission to show my girlfriends how special Valentine’s day is. We went all out, and one year in particular with my two college roommates, we celebrated from sun up to sun way down together. It is still my absolute favorite Valentine’s day experience I have ever had, and it always will be. Obviously, I celebrate every year with my boyfriend now and it’s still a very special day for me. I will always wake up on Valentine’s day morning with a smile because I have a mindset about it that I am so proud of. Today is a day of LOVE.

Galentines: Celebrate your friendships today with your besties. Get cards for your girls, go get some pink and red cocktails, go out for dinner or appetizers, or order a heart shaped pizza in and buy a Chick-fil-a heart shaped biscuit for breakfast. Go get a pedicure together and get some vino. Rent a movie and stay in with a face mask and fuzzy socks and sip prosecco together. Don’t hate on the sappy social media posts, but be happy for those people. Celebrate these days figuring out who you want to be and how close you and your friends are. Make each other feel loved because your girls will always be there for you if a divorce is filed. Just sayin’.

Single ladies: Not wanting to spend time with the girls tonight? Or maybe your girls are on dates? PERFECT. You don’t have to do anything!! In my opinion, this is the best time to really show yourself how special you are. As sweet as love and relationships are, you have to have the best relationship with yourself first. That is the most important one, and one that can never be taken away from you. If you don’t love yourself first, how can you ever be in a fulfilling and content relationship? You cannot rely on a partner to make you feel loved. It’s awesome to be shown love and to have a bouquet of roses today from the person you share a home with, but it’s even better when you receive all that love from someone else ON TOP OF the love you already have for yourself! “My cup runneth over” because I filled it myself (with the help of Jesus) and whatever love I am given from others literally runs over. It’s the best feeling, and after being in a relationship before learning to love myself first and then having to go through the process of learning to love myself, trust me when I say there is no love like that. The relationship that forms between you and you can be strengthened every day, but today is so important. Have you been eyeing a pair of shoes? Splurge on them. You deserve to walk around in those pumps! Whiten your teeth so you can feel confident smiling every day. Buy some new lipstick to wear. Go get a massage or a facial. Put on a face mask and have a few glasses of wine by yourself. If you want to watch wedding videos on YouTube and sob, do that. I’ve done that plenty of times; I still do and I’m in a relationship (#noshame) and it is one of my favorite pastimes. Buy The Notebook on DVD if you feel creepy watching other people get married over and over. Today is YOUR day to show YOURSELF how much YOU love YOU.

I have had all kinds of Valentines’ days, and as I mentioned before, my favorite was the one with Em and Ash. My dad is still my OG Valentine and always will be, and I love the bouquets and relaxing plans Mack and I make every year. Also, I always buy myself a Valentine’s present every year. It’s usually something small: last year I got myself a pair of shoes, and this year I got myself chocolate covered strawberries. As long as I am doing something to prioritize myself, I have more energy to prioritize my relationships. And that, my friends, is how to spend your Valentine’s day.

xoxo, jess