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Embrace the Cliché: 10 Traditional Valentine's Day Essentials

Valentine's Day itself is pretty clich    champagne and strawberries, roses and lingerie, sweet nothings and big romantic gestures. Whether you choose to see Valentine's Day as a holiday designed to sell cards and candy or you really go in for all that mushy stuff, why not indulge whole-heartedly in the clich  and live it up on Valentine's Day? Show your sweetheart that you can't live without her, and let your significant other know just how significant he is. After all, regardless of the reason, you'll never be sorry you expressed love to a loved one. Here are some (mostly traditional) ideas to get you started.

Nothing is more traditional than flowers on Valentine's Day. There's a reason for that   they really are the perfect way to express your love for your Valentine. You can order flower delivery online or over the phone with companies like 1-800-Flowers. Bright Gerbera Daisies can brighten up a day at the office, and an arrangement of rich-colored roses adds to a luxurious mood once you're both home for the evening. Or you can pick up your sweetheart's favorite flowers at a local florist and deliver them yourself.

Chocolate and Valentine's Day go together like, well   like flowers and Valentine's Day. If you're going to surrender to the typical trappings of the day, you might as well surrender with the best. L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates offers all kinds of cocoa goodness   from cakes and cookies to dipped fruit and chocolate fudge. Most of the chocolates are made with pure dark chocolate from beans grown in South and Central America, giving them a rich quality and flavor. Best of all, you can order these chocolates online.

Express your love and satisfy your sweet tooth with custom messages on M&M candies. Think conversation hearts, but on chocolate with a candy coating. Hershey's offers a Romance Gift Box, in which you'll find three bags of custom-made M&Ms. When you place your order, you can choose three candy colors and add up to four custom messages. Hershey's will even put images on the candies for you. Make your messages as sweet or as saucy as you like.

Even if you'd be challenged to find a rhyme for the word cat, you can still express your love in poetry   because there is, indeed, an app for that. The Love Poem Generator draws its inspiration from more than a million poems to generate lines of romantic poetry automatically. If you don't like a particular line, tap the arrow next to it and the app will pull up a different one. With some practice, and some luck, you may come up with something to rival Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee" sonnet. Even if what you end up with is corny and syrupy, it will be a love poem   and who doesn't love to hear a sappy love poem on Valentine's day?

It has been said that music is the language of love   or maybe that was French. Regardless, the right music can really set the mood for a romantic Valentine's Day. The first step is to create a playlist perfectly suited to you and your partner   whether you both enjoy the smooth, mellow sound of artists like Chris Botti and Michael Bubl  or you prefer something with a little more rock. The second step is to let that playlist create the ambiance for your evening. Even the best playlist is only as good as the speakers is plays through, though, so in preparation for the big night, look into securing a top-notch iPod dock, such as the Altec Lansing InMotion Compact IMT320. After all, perfect romance requires the perfect soundtrack.

There's nothing like nice massage to release the tensions of the day and induce total relaxation. While a professional massage is nice, the do-it-yourself variety is a perfect Valentine's Day activity. By spending just a little time online, you can learn the basics of giving a good massage and even some advanced techniques. A ceramic, handheld massager such as the Contour M is an ideal tool because it can be heated or cooled depending on the effect you want to create, and the ceramic material will hold the temperature throughout the massage. Add some candles and scented oils and you're ready for a relaxing and intimate Valentine's Day celebration for two.

Jewelry is the quintessential Valentine's Day gift. A heart-shaped pendant, a ruby ring, diamond earrings, stylish cufflinks, a high-end wristwatch   the possibilities are endless. The beauty is that most top jewelry stores allow you to shop online, so you can browse their selections with your significant other to find the design she'll most treasure, or you can shop late at night after he's asleep, ensuring a great Valentine's Day surprise. One of our favorite online jewelry stores is Zales, primarily because of its extensive selection.

If you're looking for even more romantic ideas, check out Gregory Godek's book  1001 Ways to Be Romantic." The book is indexed and filled with suggestions ranging from the ABCs of romance to Zen shopping. Granted, not all of the ideas will fit all couples, but you're sure to find some gems that are just perfect for you and your soul mate. And what's more, the pages of this book may get your own creative juices flowing to help you come up with the perfect gesture that will make your special someone melt on Valentine's Day   or any other day, for that matter.

Remember making out in the back of the theater as a teenager? These days, a theater full of people might not feel like a very romantic spot, but a movie night at home on the sofa can be. Whether you fire up your DVD player or sign in to your Netflix account, a movie night is really just a good excuse to grab a cozy blanket and snuggle up together on the couch. You can stream her favorite romantic comedy or pop in his beloved action flick. It doesn't matter   you won't be watching the movie anyway.

A romantic night in is all well and good, but if you have children, Valentine's Day at home may not provide the romantic oasis you're hoping for. If you choose to make your Valentine's Day celebration a night out on the town, you'll need someone to watch the kids. But who's watching the watcher? Make sure your children are safe by installing a nanny cam. We particularly like the Streetwise Security DVRDMDC Alarm Clock. This affordable camera is disguised as a functioning alarm clock, so you can covertly monitor the goings-on in your home while you're not there. Or you may choose to tell the sitter about the camera; knowing they're being monitored may motivate some caregivers to take extra care with your children. Either way, you'll add peace of mind to your evening out   and peace of mind can be pretty sexy.