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A Last Minute Birthday Celebration

A Last-Minute Birthday Celebration
Posted: Feb 17, 2010 11:35 AM EST
A Last-Minute Birthday Celebration
By Justin Fenner
Edited by Lindsay Wolfe
As printed in Dateline Carolina

If your true love's birthday has slipped your mind, fret not. From food to flowers to how to act, we've got the tips and tricks to make sure your sweetheart's special day goes off without a hitch.

The Gift

Forgot to get something stellar? Blame the economy.

"A lot of people are giving things that are homemade, or services," says Marianne Bickle, director of USC's Center for Retailing. "They're doing things that are more romantic as opposed to things that are ostentatious."

But if you're not going the massage-and-dinner-coupon route, you still have options. Bickle says grocery and mass-market stores are offering a wide variety of gifts for people with less to spend.

"Now you can say I was fiscally responsible, but I actually got a nice gift" at a store like CVS or Target, she says. "You're being frugal, not cheap."

The Food

Making a restaurant-quality dinner at home isn't hard – and it can be a lot cheaper than going out. Sara Novak, who runs The Columbia Foodie blog, recommends making simple recipes with high-quality ingredients.

"For example, make a simple chocolate mousse with high quality Fair Trade chocolate and top it with fresh berries," Novak wrote in an e-mail. "Or make a salad with a good local goat cheese, seasonal pears and greens from the farmers market. Top a great grass-fed filet from Earth Fare with pimento cheese from DiPrato's. Just keep it simple, and in the end it will be a success."

The Flowers

Rushing to your local grocery store for flowers as a birthday or anniversary gift isn't a problem: Making these flowers shine has more to do with how you care for them than where they come from.

"The water is the most important thing," says Stephen Bledsoe, a designer at Rish Florist in West Columbia. "Anything sitting in water, like stems, is going to breed bacteria. Once that bacteria gets in the stem, it's gonna rot."

Bledsoe says you want to have "as little green in the water" as possible – leaves included. And to keep them lasting as long as you can, add a bit of your favorite soft drink to the water.

"That has citric acid, which is a preservative," Bledsoe says. "It'll keep them lasting a little bit longer."

Manners Matter

No hard-and-fast rules govern how you should act on your beloved's birthday. But that doesn't mean you can behave like a Neanderthal.

"Maybe the way we act is more important than what we buy," says Cindy Grosso, founder of the Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette.

Grosso says little considerations can go a long way: Opening a door, pulling back a chair or helping your date put on a coat are all signs you consider him or her an important part of your life.

"What we're really talking about is respect. That's the bottom line," Grosso says.

Posted by: Justin Fenner

Author: Justin Fenner

Source: Dateline Carolina

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