How to Have the Best Valentines Day Ever


Who says that Valentine’s Day is all about getting? If you really want to feel loved on February 14, try giving it away.


A few years ago I was Little Miss Lonely Hearts, living in a city where men drove pick-up trucks with gun racks. The trees were bare, wind howled, snow fell and the dreaded V Day was approaching. I knew I had to do something drastic to get myself through it.


I slipped and slid on mountain roads to the nearest Ingles (California’s Safeway), bought 10 boxes of cake mix, frosting and some of my favorite candy hearts. Do you remember them…the ones with the messages that you carefully selected to give to those cute little boys and girls in your class that you “loved”?


I baked all day and half the night and had 240 cupcakes with those messages of love on top. On Valentine’s Day, I took to the streets where I knew the homeless hung out during the day when the shelters were closed. I found them huddled near buildings, under blankets…women with small children and men whose lifetime of struggle could only be made better by a swig of cheap wine in a crumpled brown paper bag.


The look on their faces was all I needed that Valentine’s Day to help my pathetic self remember what love is all about. Faces of children who didn’t even know what day it was suddenly remembered. Old men who were once in elementary school laughed when they read the messages on those candy Valentines. And they all were the embodiment of grace.


This year if you are without a date or a partner on Valentine’s Day, try giving your love away to those who need it most. Take some cupcakes or those sweet little Valentine candies down to the Salvation Army or a local shelter. If you feel the love for animals, take some toys or doggy treats to your local SPCA. Share the love!


Would you like to bake cupcakes with that special someone next year?

Let’s talk about how you can find Love in 90 Days!


Donna Bailey, MS

Dating and Relationships Coach for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair


Big Red Chair



A New Way of Loving

I am on the most wonderful and terrifying writer’s retreat!  Living, eating, drinking and thinking only about love can make one a bit crazy…a good kind of crazy. While I work, my posts will be snippets of what I have learned and continue to learn about love and how we can all find it and enjoy every minute of learning about ourselves and another. Here is a poem that inspired me today and I hope you’ll find something beautiful to think about on your journey of love…




To have without holding


Learning to love differently is hard,

love with the hands wide open, love

with the doors banging on their hinges,

the cupboard unlocked, the wind

roaring and whimpering in the rooms

rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds

that thwack like rubber bands

in an open palm.


It hurts to love wide open

stretching the muscles that feel

as if they are made of wet plaster,

then of blunt knives, then

of sharp knives.


It hurts to thwart the reflexes 

of grab, of clutch; to love and let

go again and again. It pesters to remember

the lover who is not in the bed,

to hold back what is owed to the work

that gutters like a candle in a cave

without air, to love consciously,

conscientiously, concretely, constructively. 


I can’t do it, you say it’s killing

me, but you thrive, you glow

on the street like a neon raspberry,

You float and sail, a helium balloon

bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing

on the cold and hot winds of our breath,

as we make and unmake in passionate

diastole and systole the rhythm

of our unbound bonding, to have

and not to hold, to love

with minimized malice, hunger

and anger moment by moment balanced.


                                           Marge Piercy

                                           The Moon is Always Female





Married or Single…What’s the One Thing That Will Make a Relationship Work…or Not?



You may have your own word to describe this quality in someone you love or the someone you want to find to share this chapter of your life. My word is humility. A relationship cannot survive and thrive unless both people have this quality.


Humility is a complex word with many definitions that span from “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people” to a spiritual take, “…a quality of being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity. Rather than, “Me first”, humility allows us to say, “No, you first, my friend.” Humility is the quality that lets us go more than halfway to meet the needs and demands of others.”


The most important quality you can have in a relationship with someone you love is humility. You see, no relationship will ever be without disagreement, conflict and simple differences of opinions and points of view. What does that mean but the ability and willingness to compromise and to communicate, listen, stay open and drop the ego! You’ve heard the saying, “You can either be right or be married”. Even if you don’t marry, and you are just starting a new relationship, it will require that both people have humility.


What does it feel like when someone we care about doesn’t seem to have to ability to see their part in issues that arise? Have you ever been with someone who always seemed to find ways to make the problems all about you? Someone with whom you try to talk about your feelings and he or she cannot or does not hear you? It’s easy to recognize these kinds of people by how crazy you feel most of the time. You can’t always identify just how every disagreement becomes something about you, but never about them because they can weave a web so dense and complex that you feel powerless to get out of it. And the way you know is how you feel when the burden of blame piles up over time.


Without the ability or willingness to have humility and step into our partner’s shoes, someone’s voice disappears. And even if your relationship continues, like the game of “Whack a Mole”, the results will pop up elsewhere. Perhaps sex disappears. Sunday mornings get quiet. Someone gives up and finds what they need elsewhere. There is no Plan B for the lack of humility.


If you are looking for love, first and foremost look for humility. The moment you know it isn’t there, make a beeline back to yourself and take a deep breath before you begin the search again. If you are in a relationship and this sounds familiar, seek some professional help. Life is too short to live without your voice.


Please post this on your social media site so that someone you know can better understand what is making them crazy.

And, if you are in this pattern in your search for love, call me for a Strategy Session to get moving in a different direction.


Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair