What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Check out "Katie" today at 3 p.m. (EST), if you want to see a segment where I talk all about how rad it is to be single on Valentine's Day. And you know what? I really mean that, too.
I've actually been going on a lot of fun dates lately -- and not just through Tinder, OKCupid and Match. I just started using "The Dating Lounge," which is an invite-only dating community connected to your Facebook so it even weeds out sketchy married guys and means no more date-Googling.
But, honestly, I'm loving singledom lately -- and the sense of possibility I feel at this point in my life. And if you're single? I hope you love that sense of possibility, too.
Lately, I've been really into the idea of how love doesn't have to come just from romance but can be filled through so many different outlets. I love sex and courtship as much as the next person, but honestly, the love that I feel from doing something nice for someone else or getting closer to my family often makes my heart balloon even more than a weekend away with a boyfriend.
And here are 20 more ideas that I came up with -- and other XO-er's contributed their killer ideas, too, for how to enjoy your Valentine's Day:
1. Make an anti-Valentine's Day karaoke night party and upload playlists at Spotify. (Here's a great article on how to do so!) My suggested songs: Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know"; Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done For Me Lately,"; Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
2. Do a good deed and babysit for a stressed-out couple that never gets out. You can rent your favorite classic kids movies from Netflix or Hulu to show what life used to be like -- and turn them on to the wonder of "The Karate Kid" or "E.T." or whatever your favorite is. For extra sweetness, make the couple a card about how beautiful their love is and surprise them when they come home. Honestly, you will feel so great, and your karma will be off the charts.
4. Hold a party with girlfriends and play communal Tinder Roulette or upload reviews at onlulu.com. Write down all the qualities you don't like about exes and burn them symbolically, then make S'Mores. Add in hot chocolate or spiked dessert-y drinks to make it all the better!
5. "House of Cards" Season 2 debuts on Netflix. Hold a costumed viewing party! This is kind of my favorite idea because I love the idea of everyone eating Freddy's Ribs and trying to approximate their best Zoe Barnes.
6. Treat yourself and buy yourself a gift! Find something nostalgic on Etsy that reminds you of your childhood or something that represents your hopes and wish fulfillment for your future.
7. Send flowers to your nieces and nephews!
8. Go shopping with a girlfriend and both of you buy yourself outfits you know your ex would hate. I've never dated a man who liked bright red lipstick. Presto, lipstick time.
9. Get yourself an extravagant piece of costume jewelry to wear. Hell, get a damned tiara if you want. Look around on eBay or Amazon if you don't find what you like in the store.
10. Buy the most over-the-top pair of stilettos you can find. Go shopping at stilettostyle.com. If I bought myself a pair of 4-inch stilettos, I would be exactly 6'6". HELL, YES.
11. Unplug the whole day using a productivity app like macfreedom.com -- but before you do, book a day with girlfriends at the spa through Groupon. For those with pets, get them pampered, too, and find a great spot on Yelp.
12. Help out at a local school or mentoring program. Find great options at iMentor.org! Trust me, making shy students feel great will make you feel incredible.
13. Go camping with your nieces and nephews or your friends' kids and tell them about life before Facebook. You can make it a scary ghost story!
14. Surprise your grandparents with a homemade scrapbook all about your love for them. You can put it together at scrapbook.com.
15. Take a new class with your friends or family. What have you always wanted to try that boyfriends never wanted to? Dancing, cooking, filmmaking? Find great classes at timeout.com!
And here are even more suggestions from the xoFamily:
16. "Volunteering, especially with animals! No man will ever love you like a dog loves you." -- Marianne
17. "I have sent flowers to single and hitched pals alike. It's a good excuse, it's unexpected, and it definitely makes me feel connected to people I really care about. I also love me some theme dressing. Pick a theme, any theme. The flowers also bring up an excellent point: Being of service to others is ALWAYS the cure for feeling down and blue about your life." -- Alison
18. "My housemate and I are putting on super-femme outfits and going out dancing -- not with the intent of meeting dudes, but because it's been so cold and dreary neither of us has gotten out of our fleece-lined leggings in literal months. I am also treating myself to staying home on Saturday, drinking really nice beer, and reading my favorite books, because being alone is actually a blast." -- Kate Conway
19. "Indulge in all the weird quirky entertainment that you love and that nobody else loves as much as you, whether it's a bizarre dance performance you couldn't drag anyone else to or a 'Dance Moms' marathon or a documentary film where you are the only one in the audience (I love that)." -- Jane
20. "Write a love letter to yourself. Or get wasted and bang some random dude. That advice is free. You're welcome." -- Daisy
What about you? Any ideas? Any plans you want to share? Also: HOW FREAKING EXCITED ARE YOU FOR SEASON 2 of "HOUSE OF CARDS"?
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.