With only two days to go until Valentine’s Day, hopefully you’ve already hammered out the details of your plans. But even if you’ve scored the perfect present, booked the ultimate candlelit dinner reservation, and found an amazing outfit, there's still plenty you can do to take the night from simply sweet to out-of-this-world. And who better to give V-Day advice than a pair that constantly gives us #relationshipgoals on Instagram?
If it isn’t clear from a quick scan of their PDA-packed feeds, Australian model Shanina Shaik and her fiancé, DJ Ruckus, know a thing or two about romance. And when it comes to Valentine’s Day, they celebrate in style. “For me, the perfect Valentine’s Day would be just being with my fiancé, having a romantic dinner and spending the night with him,” Shaik tells InStyle. “We both travel so much for our jobs that our time together is rare, so just being with him and doing something romantic makes me happy.”
Same goes for Ruckus. “Valentine’s Day is all about spending quality time with your loved one, whatever that entails,” he says. “Whether it’s dinner and a couple’s massage or just hanging out and watching a movie, it’s all about spending that quality time together.”
We asked the couple to share their Valentine’s Day do’s and don’ts. Scroll down for their tips for celebrating the most romantic day of the year.
1. DO: Relax together.
“We really like to do a spa day,” says Ruckus. “We've done couples’ massages in pretty exotic places. One time we were at a spa in Melbourne that had a private room and bath. The massage was incredible, and it was probably my favorite Valentine's Day ever.”
2. DON’T: Go to a loud restaurant.
“Find a quaint restaurant that has a nice mood and where it’s not too busy so you can actually talk to your significant other and have a real conversation,” says Shaik. “In New York, there are so many cute little Italian and sushi spots which aren’t usually rowdy. Stay away from the busy and clubby spots, because it's hard to get to know someone there. It's really nice to have a meal with one another and not be surrounded by noise.”
“If you do go to someplace busier, try to get a table off to the side so you can pay attention to each other,” adds Ruckus, who suggests Ladurée in New York City or Nobu Malibu as top V-Day spots. “Or go to a hotel bar—they’re always romantically lit.”
3. DO: Switch things up.
“We might rent a hotel room somewhere fun to kind of change the atmosphere and not necessarily be at home,” says Ruckus. “We like the Gramercy Park Hotel so sometimes we go there. We'll probably find another hotel that we've never stayed at this year.”
4. DON’T: Be too cheesy with your outfit.
“Wearing all red is way over the top,” says Ruckus. “It ends up looking like you're going to a Valentine's Day party, so I'd definitely avoid that. If you're trying to be subtle about it, a better way to wear red is to wear red-bottom shoes because you can't really see them when you're walking around. So definitely some Christian Louboutins."
Of course, if you’re into the cheesier aspects of the day, Shaik thinks it’s ok to indulge a little. “I feel like if you like the cliché stuff you can do it!”
5. DO: Wear something that makes you feel good—physically and mentally.
“I like Shanina to wear things that are soft to the touch, because you want to canoodle as much as possible, right?” says Ruckus. “Try to wear cashmere or velvet, because it’s comfortable and soft.” Comfort is key, according to Shaik. “Wear something that makes you feel pretty and sexy but still comfortable,” she says. “My go-to is a cute little LBD, which you can't go wrong finding online at Reformation or Revolve. You can also do something special for your partner or your crush, like wear jeans and a t-shirt if you know they really like that.”
6. DON’T: Wear too much makeup.
“I don't like to wear a lot of makeup, and my fiancé doesn't like me to either,” says Shaik. “For Valentine’s Day, I’ll just do the bare minimum and wear a bright lip. My favorite color from Maybelline is called Seductress, which definitely goes along with the idea of the holiday. I also like the Nars lip stain pencil in Dolce Vita—it’s matte and kissing-proof. If you wear something too glossy, hair gets stuck in it and then you know when you give a little kiss it might stain, which is probably a guy's worst nightmare.” Ruckus agrees with Shaik’s mostly natural beauty approach. “I'd rather her wear zero makeup at all,” he says.
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7. DO: Smell nice.
"Armani Prive is my go-to, because it has a very sexy smell," says Shaik, who likes to help choose her fiancé's scent, too. "I buy him Tom Ford all the time, and he knows that if he wants to make me happy when we're going out, he'll wear Tom Ford. The scents are all just so delicious."
When he's not wearing Tom Ford, Ruckus has another favorite fragrance. "I like Gucci Guilty, which Shanina bought for me a while back as a Valentine's Day gift," he says. "I still wear it often, and it's probably my favorite."
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8. DON’T: Eat anything that could backfire later.
“Stay away from anything that gives you bad breath,” says Shaik. “Definitely garlic, and maybe stay away from onions, too.” Ruckus offers another suggestion in terms of food to avoid. “Don’t eat hummus or Mexican. Flatulence—the least sexy thing in the world.”
9. DO: Go all in on dessert.
“Desserts are probably my favorite part of Valentine’s Day,” says Ruckus. “Neither of us eat dessert often, so this is a special day to do that. Chocolate lava cake is the best, but Shanina likes Ghirardelli and Toblerone chocolates, too.” Another of Shaik’s faves? “Chocolate covered strawberries are always really yummy,” she says.
10. DO: Listen to mood music.
“I’m a little bit older than Shanina, so we have this eternal battle of old vs. new music,” says Ruckus. “I always like things that are older, and I’m forever a D’Angelo fan—he has a very ‘Valentine's Day’ sound. D’Angelo, Aaliyah, and Miguel are probably our three top choices when it comes to that.” Of the three, Shaik has a clear favorite. “Anything Miguel,” she says. “His albums are all very sexy and set the mood.”
11. DON’T: Forget the flowers.
“Every girl deserves some flowers on Valentine's Day," says Shaik. "I love white lilies but I don’t think you can go wrong with red roses."
12. DO: Get playful with gifts.
“Chocolate is also an easy present that will definitely put a smile on her face," says Shaik. "If you know your partner well, you can't go wrong with like a piece of jewelry or something that you know she'll really love, like pajamas or sexy lingerie." Sexy lingerie is a gift that everyone can enjoy. “In terms of a gift that I’d want to get, it would be something she’d wear under her outfit for the evening, like lingerie or a garter belt,” says Ruckus. Of course, it's important to know when that's an appropriate gift to give. "If you're seeing someone new and you go all the way out there and give them Agent Provocateur lingerie, that's a really weird place to be put in," says Shaik. "Just do something romantic and easy.”
14. DON’T: Let distance get in the way of romance.
“I was away working overseas one year and I wasn't actually with him, but when I got back to my hotel room, there was a huge bouquet of white lilies waiting for me,” says Shaik. “It had a post card with lyrics from a song that we both love and said he was thinking of me and couldn't wait to see me again. That moment of him being so thoughtful and spontaneous was pretty special.”
15. DO: Express yourself in writing.
“We never write anything anymore, because we all just text nowadays. But just get a nice piece of stationery and write something nice to each other—even if it’s just a long note about everything you've thought about that day or what makes you so happy about that person.” Adds Shaik, “A card goes a long way. When you show your feelings in a card, you can keep it for the future as well. For memories.”