5 Fun and Unexpected Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Lola Rephann

Remember about ten years ago when the Sh*t B!tch Bear came out? It was a cute teddy bear in a t-shirt, but the shirt said “Sh*t B!tch, you fine.” It was the first sign that people were tired of the usual Valentine’s Day tropes.

For people who knew they had to get their special person something but didn’t have the stomach to do the usual flowers and card routine, the SB Bear, available at most chain drug stores across the nation, filled a great niche. I imagine the first few years, the SB Bear was a fun and unexpected Valentine’s Day gift, but like most things in our popular culture, it grew passe and today might even be considered offensive.

Besides, aren’t gifts even a little passe these days? People hunger for experiences, not things.

So here are 5 fun and unexpected ways to celebrate a holiday people love to hate and hate to love.

  1. Sweat together! Nothing gets you feeling closer to someone that shared sweating. You don’t even need to take your clothes off! A challenging heated yoga class, for instance, is a great way to get fit, release stress and get your endorphins flowing. Science also says we release pheromones in our sweat, making us smell sexier (at an unconscious level) to our partners. Instead of indulging in chocolate and wine, get sweaty at one of Yoga in the Heights heated classes. I teach Heated Slow Flow on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and Janel teaches Fun Core Burn Vinyasa on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  2. Sow good karma together. Volunteer to do something good for the community, someone in need, or some animals. Search VolunteerMatch.org for volunteer opportunities on or around Valentine’s Day. You could offer to pack food donations to a local soup kitchen, help clean up your local park, or if you’re really ready for commitment, adopt a dog or cat at your local shelter. Liberty Humane Society (libertyhumane.org) in Jersey City usually offers free adoptions on Valentine’s Day. Check their site as it gets closer to Valentine’s Day and then go early if your heart gets set on a cuddly critter.
  3. Dance the tango. Seriously, what is sexier than tango? No experience, no problem! If you have rhythm, you can start to follow the instructions of the many talented instructors at various NYC dance studios. Google “Valentine’s Day Tango” to find many, many listings for Valentine’s Day events marketed towards novice dancers, just make sure you do yoga BEFORE you tango so you are limber and your breath is steady.
  4. Be all unassuming and suggest a walk to Riverview Fisk Park. Seriously, what a view! Stand and look over at the great Manhattan views. It’s the perfect place to tell someone how much they mean to you. Afterwards, walk to the Hutton Bar & Grill, an amazing new gastro-pub on Hutton Place in Jersey City Heights. If you are a meat eater, you don’t want to miss their amazing Hutton Classic burger. They also have a vegan menu. It’s Valentine’s Day, at some point food has to be involved.
  5. Come to my Partner Thai Massage workshop! I had to save the best for last. There is NO better way to show how much you really like someone than to give them a massage. And who doesn’t like to be touched? But if you have had icky or unsatisfying massage experiences before, this will be different. I’ve taught this workshop to inexperienced massage-givers time and time again and EVERYONE loves it and feels great. It helps people melt their shields and really connect to how much they care for the person they are touching. It helps people feel closer, cared for and relaxed. Now that’s sexy!


I have taught this workshop many times and no one gets left out. Even if you’ve never given a massage before, you will learn how in an un-intimidating and fun way. Register with a partner or come alone and we will find someone for you to work with. Please refrain from eating at least two hours prior to the workshop. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in, like your yoga clothes. Don’t wear anything with zippers, snaps, buttons or belt buckles that could press into your skin and feel uncomfortable. You will be leaving your clothes on the entire time. Thai massage is performed fully clothed on the floor.

Join me on Saturday February 11th from 2-4:30pm for my Partner Thai Massage workshop. No experience needed! Register at www.jcheightsyoga.com/events