The Ultimate "Treat Yourself"


I have only been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day once in my life. My then-boyfriend sent me chocolates in lieu of actually spending time with me (he lived an entire 50 minutes away if you can believe it), and I sat alone in my dorm room while eating the whole box in my underwear. It was awesome. Spending time alone indulging in something sweet was more satisfying (you can interpret that however you’d like) than spending time with a college boy. So much so that when I found myself the next year in bed with a box of Godiva instead of with Geoff from the all-male acapella group, I thought to myself: “Oh Ariel, you’re on to something good.” So I made it my annual tradition to, how shall I say, “treat myself.” A phrase I did not coin but certainly embody each 14th day of February. What am I planning for this year? Good question; happy to answer.

Breakfast in bed

There is, I am sure of it, nothing better in the entire world than drinking coffee in bed. Thursday morning I plan on skipping my morning workout (so weird how this keeps happening!) to sip French press coffee in bed while watching YouTube interviews with Timothée Chalamet. Who needs breakfast in bed when that boy is such a snack? No, stay, please! I won’t say anything like that again. I’ll be lighting this candle, putting on Kim Johnson’s favorite mask, and having myself a 20 minute spa morning. I’m usually makeup-free at work because I sleep too late, but I’ll be wearing a red lip Thursday because I deserve to look in the mirror throughout the day and go “OK!”

Midday spa break

There are many lessons I have not successfully learned in my six years as an NYC resident: leave 15 minutes earlier, check to make sure your train is running before leaving the house, pack a granola bar, don’t date male comedians...these are just a few. Here’s what I have learned: When in doubt, there isn’t much a 10 minute chair massage can’t fix. I will be heading to my favorite local nail salon to pay a man in white scrubs to knead into my back as hard as he can for 10 minutes straight. Later that day, when people ask, “Ariel, are you spending Valentine’s Day with anyone special?” I will smile, put a hand on my neck, and say “I already did.”

Surprise flower delivery

I work in reception, so I imagine I’ll be receiving some flowers and other such deliveries throughout the day. You better believe one of those is going to be to myself from myself. I love to keep fresh flowers in the house because it makes me feel like a woman of means who doesn’t constantly pull socks out of the hamper because “no one can smell feet when they’re in your shoes anyway.” When my UrbanStems arrangement arrives at the office I will yell “But I’m single, so this must be from a secret admirer!” When no one bites, I will yell it again, and louder. Then I will explain that the secret admirer is, indeed, myself. Everyone will ask me to be quiet because they are all trying to work, and that, is self love.

A night of dancing

Well, for me this means going to the Throwback Thursday SoulCycle class my pal Madigan teaches every Thursday night. Personally I get my kicks from ripping off my shirt and tapping it back to The All American Rejects on a stationary bike, but if you want to go to a bar or club that’s also an option.


Once I’m home, showered, and covered in various oils and lotions, it’s time for the main event… buying myself gifts. No one knows me better than me, and I’ve got my eye on simple gold jewelry like this and these. Bury me in delicate gold chains and hoops! They’re all I want. I know jewelry is a grand romantic gesture, but I’ve been dating myself for years and I think it’s time to take this step.

Emergency kit

Even after all of this self indulgent goodness, there is, of course, a very small chance that at some point during the day I’ll realize that I would perhaps like to find love in this bleak, cold world. For this I’m already prepared. When I told my friend Ali Oshinsky that I was writing a piece for Valentine’s Day, she responded by sending me this mask with the note “If u cry.” She knows me well, so I’ll keep it on hand just in case. But I probably won’t need it.

—Ariel Gitlin

Photo via ITG