kristy holland

S o, you dropped the ball. While it's every girl's fantasy to have an all-out evening of romance on Feb. 14, it's not too late to salvage tonight if you forgot about today's Hallmark-inspired obligations.

Unless a stop by King Soopers is really all you can manage, skip the boring, heart-shaped box of chocolates and bouquet of flowers in favor of something a little more special, that still makes the evening an event:

Do you live in a cave? Forgot to even make plans with your love interest? Maybe your undefined or "open" relationship is too casual for a Valentine's Day event? If you didn't get on her agenda, your gal's probably got some anti-Valentine plans with friends.

But you can still do something super sweet that'll make her swoon. Surprise her with an upscale version of a classic romantic gift: Does she love cards? Skip the cliché, picked-over options at the grocery store and stop by Bliss (1643 Pearl St.; blissboulder.com) for an original, creative selection that may actually make her swoon -- they have out-of-this-world (but affordable) jewelry, too. For Chocolate: I recommend a truffle or two (the Mayan Spice or blackberry cabernet) or the German chocolate-inspired cake pops from Piece, Love & Chocolate (805 Pearl St.; pieceloveandchocolate.com).

Whatever you get, deliver it in person, if you can, while she's on her gal-pal date, or catch her as she's walking out the door... she'll have you on her mind the rest of the night.

If you're the artsy type, get creative. A hand-painted picture, a just-for-her poem, or an impromptu love song is a sure-fire way to melt her heart. If your lady's the artist, but you're not, she'll appreciate an opportunity to shine -- and you can make an event out of being her muse.

Treat her with a night of ceramic painting at Color Me Mine (1938 Pearl St.; boulder.colormemine.com). Expect to drop $15 to $50 on ceramic pieces to paint, then $10 each for the supplies and firing. The studio is open Thursday, but if your relationship is casual and/or you're nervous about a high-pressure V-Day date, go on Friday instead; they're open late for a Valentine's special.

Depending on how well you know your sweetheart, and the nature of your relationship, there's nothing sexier than... well... sex. For sure-fire romance this Valentine's Day, spend some quality time together browsing Boulder's only "adult" store, Fascinations (2560 28th St.; yourfascinations.com). Perusing isles of vibrating toys, edible underwear, super-hot lingerie, movies and other playful toys -- fuzzy handcuffs anyone? -- as a couple isn't just romantic, it shows your lady that you want to keep things interesting. Explore her interests and get a little vulnerable in the name of making her happy. Assuming she's open to the idea and you've got $20 to $100 bucks to throw down for a mutual toy, it's a win-win.

Note: Use your discretion and good judgment before surprising an unsuspecting virgin with this plan.

Kristy Holland writes about date-night ideas once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com