(Beware...this will be a very cheesy article)

To my very best girlfriends on the planet, this Valentine's Day I am celebrating you!

While off studying abroad, I have had the wonderful opportunity to sit, people watch and reflect on this incredible life that I am currently living in. The people, the places, the food and the love that is shared on this earth truly takes my breath away.

Over the past couple of years, I feel I truly have found "my people". It is exciting walking through this journey and meeting new fantastic people who I couldn't imagine my life without.

My question for you is, why do we only celebrate couples on Valentine's Day? I absolutely hate hearing about "anti-Valentine's Day parties" and "anti-love" because there is so much love and hope to be spread. Let's forget about the "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" word and how about we take time to celebrate the amazing friends we have in our lives that make our heart happier than it possibly could be? This day is for YOU!

Heard of Galentine? I think yes.

Unless you are living in some paradise in February, well then you can totally disregard this thought but where I come from, February is one of the absolute worst months of the year. It is cold, dull and boring. Valentine's Day lightens up the grocery stores with its hot pink decorations and smell of Dove dark chocolate. It is that event that everyone plans for a little too long because they have nothing else to do.

So what can you do with your gal-pals this Valentine's Day? With my new Galentines overseas, we will be going to Fifty Shades Freed (cheesy I know) and will be going out to dinner and buying chocolate. While the motions of Valentine's day are very overrated, it can be something that is fun to look forward to even if you are buying flowers for yourself or your best friend.

Valentine's Day is not a competition, and I feel some people treat it as one. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in the craziness of this holiday to out-shop other couples or to buy the most expensive gifts and I feel that leaves a whole lot of room for disappointment. It is NOT a competition. This is a day I will be sending extra love, compliments and sharing the thankfulness in my heart with my loved ones. All we need is reassurance that you are appreciated. Let's all stop with the crazy and outrageous gifts and focus on the true meaning of love for others.

To my very best friends and people who make me laugh, cry and feel pure joy, this Valentine's Day is strictly for you. All my Galentines out there...thank you so much for being you and for putting such a positive outlook on my life. I cannot wait to tell you all how much you mean to me!


Grace Rigdon