By Charu Suri
(Linda Ripoll and Tami Yu also contributed to this article)
Some consider it a “Hallmark” plot. But many sweethearts look forward to Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to express their love with as much spice, innovation and bravado as possible. Here are some of the hottest gifts to give this year (chocolate lovers, check out the “Chocolate Gift Guide”).
If you are heading out for a rendezvous, don’t forget to dress the part! Leave that flirty dress alone – try the informal yet “˜sexy as a kitten with a thick purr’ cashmere top and jeans combo from Joe’s Jeans (www.Joeseshop.com). Valentine’s Day was not necessarily made to be formal! I think the cashmere sleeveless wrap kimono top in strawberry and a Jenny Rocker jean in white will amplify the swoon factor in any man. These pieces are chic without trying too hard to please, and perfect for the cool winter-like LA evenings. The cashmere sleeveless wrap retails for $217 and can be found at Fred Segal Fun in Santa Monica (Phone: 310-394-9814), and the Jenny Rocker jean retails for $158 and is available at Fred Segal Ron Herman in Los Angeles.
If you want a more casual look, try the racer back tank, which is available at Jamie, in Malibu, CA (310-457-6724). (Charu Suri)
Intimate apparel does not have to be a gift. But sleek undergarments can boost a girl’s self-confidence better than a job promotion! Imagine the look on his face when he sees you in something so appealing. Here are two intimates boutiques that fill the bill for sexy, great-fitting undergarments that will definitely take his breath away.
Faire Frou Frou is a Studio City boutique with a superb array of lingerie, outerwear, jewelry, and loungewear that will fit virtually every mood ““ even the playful ones. It’s a girly girls place with a well-edited assortment of great intimates that will reflect your LA style. (818.783.4970; www.fairefroufrou.com; 13017A Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, California 91604) (Catherine Rigod)
If you happen to be on the “other” side of the hill, check out East 13, a “must see” boutique in Pasadena. Featuring silks, satins and laces in super luxe lingerie, or essentials like pajamas and robes, you will find everything you need in this treasure box of a store. Even the décor oozes glamour. Once he sees you in East 13 intimates, both of you will be hooked for life–we promise. (East 13, 356 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91101; 626.795.9386; www.east13.com) (Catherine Rigod)
For the girl who wants to get a little bit flirty this Valentine’s Day, how about trying out the fabulously naughty BootyParlor Starter Kit? Packed with everything you will need from a peppermint lip gloss to a sexy condom, this kit is a definite must if you need to rev things up before dinner and after dessert. ($65 – www.bootyparlor.com) (Linda Ripoll)
Pucker up and perfect your kisser. With Pout Love Perfectors Gift Bag* in your beauty arsenal this Valentine’s Day, you can guarantee he’ll be stealing kisses all night. The kit comes complete with the Pout’s newest Forbidden Fruit Pout plumping lip gloss and Pout Bustier Cream for a lovely combination. ($30 *online Exclusive www.victoriassecret.com) (Linda Ripoll)
100% Pure Love. Worship your body by indulging in 100% Pure’s mouth-watering vegan body scrubs! With scrumptious flavors such as Chocolate Mocha, White Chocolate and Vanilla, they literally are good enough to eat. Buff away your dry rough spots with natural soothing ingredients such as Belgian chocolate, espresso beans and macadamia nut oil. So yummy your skin will scream for more! ($13; Available at Bath and Body Works Flagship Stores, www.sephora.com and www.puritycosmetics.com) (Tami Yu)
Now Angelenos can bring the best of the “Big Apple” home with Bond No. 9′s “˜Bon Bons’ that capture the neighborhood essences of America’s second-most beloved city (We love LA ““ Thank you Randy Newman!). Available in all 24 scents, these slim 2.5-inch, 7 ml. sprays are refillable and perfect for all occasions. Wrapped like candies in their signature foils, it’s the perfect treat for travel, gym or that illicit rendezvous! ($35; select Saks Fifth Avenue stores) (Tami Yu)
For a tropical spa getaway, gift your darling with LaLicious’ Passionfruit Lime collection. Caress your body head to toe with their body wash, sugar soufflé scrub, body oil and body butter. Natural oils help pamper and hydrate, easily penetrating skin layers without being greasy. The sugar scrub is less abrasive than salt, so you won’t have irritated skin, just the natural glow of your gorgeous skin! ($20 each for Body Butter & Body Oil (both 8 oz.); $16 for 8 oz. Body Wash; $32 for 16 oz. Sugar Souffle Scrub; www.lalicious.com; Pure Beauty stores.) (Tami Yu)
If you have something to say, wear it on your tee! This Valentine’s Day let the wise words of Fortune Tee be your guide with cute expressions about love and romance. Made with high quality cotton and scripted with a Chinese fortune cookie feel, you’ll be the center of attention in these sweet tees. ($35 for Tees- Sizes S-XL and in 2 colors www.fortunetees.com)(Linda Ripoll )
Who knew laptop carrying your laptop could look so chic? This is the ideal gift for that CEO in training who desires a little flair. Made of supple leather, the Gina B International Capriccio bag blends both fashion and function for a cool look that will keep her looking stylish from her desk to dinner. Some additional features include sleek silver hardware, back zippered pocket and a deep enough interior that will accommodate most 15″ laptops.(Reg. $250- Sale Price $199.00 www.ginabinternational.com)(Linda Ripoll)
Wearing lockets may be passé, but wearing sentiment on your finger certainly isn’t! If you’ve been dying to inscribe some part of that Shakespeare sonnet or love poem into a fine piece of jewelry for Valentine’s day ““ yet fervently resisted turning into a sap ““ then try the “Treasure Ring” created by Tammy Takohl, which allow you to be elegant designer and lover in one. The jewelry designer created the rings (which have hidden latches) after she received an inscribed locket from her grandmother. Eager to capture the spirit of a memento for the finger, she turned the tiny powerhouse of an accessory into an object of desire, coveted by celebrities including Renee Zellweger, Christina Applegate and Helen Hunt.
You can select the style of ring (choose from nine platinum ring styles), inscription, and gemstone; the message is hand-engraved inside. So unlatch that poetic instinct in you and inscribe that heirloom. Rings start at $990 and are available at Del Mano in Los Angeles (310.456.8677), TOPS in Malibu (310.456.8677), or by visiting www.treasurering.com. (Charu Suri)
She’s always in a hurry and spends ages hunting for her lipstick and gloss in her handbag. For just $99, here is a stylish statement that won’t have her fumbling at all. “Glamorist” wristwatch creators, Richard Parnes and Sandra Dufay, were inspired to combine compact and watch in one piece when they saw women rummaging through handbags for their makeup at a Paris fashion show.
About the size of a silver dollar, the watch dial is surrounded by Swarovski crystals and the straps are genuine croc-leather. Push the small clasp at the base of the dial, and a compact replete with mirror, applicator and gloss pops open. I was amazed at the elegance and simplicity of the watch design. The lipstick and shimmering lipgloss were extremely easy to find and apply, and their flavors are mint-licious. They come in several shades including Nude, Pink, Bronze, Coral, Plum and Red. The watches are outfitted in ten different styles. To order, visit www.glamorist.com. (Charu Suri)
A Unisex Gift Selection
Skip Hallmark this Valentine’s Day. Instead of sending a card with those flowers, why not send three elegant messages filled with mints? The “Send a Note” mints from Mark come on three flavors: cinnamon, peppermint and chocolate, each in their own clever little “envelope” shaped box. The boxes have three distinct messages on them”””Be Mine” (Cinnamon), “It’s Love” (Peppermint), and “Kiss Me” (Chocolate). These notes will not only put Don Juan to shame, but will also last much longer than candy or a love note. To order, visit www.meetmark.com (Charu Suri)
Candles are the ideal way to set a mood. How about setting a mood and creating romance with D.L & Company’s luxuriously opulent with an attitude votive set? In a gorgeous black satin box are packed six votive candles in six signature scents, Thorn Apple, Cobra Lily, Angel Trumpet, Lady Rhubarb, Pink Pepper and Absinthe. Take your romance to luxurious new heights with this cult fave gift set. (D.L. & Co Votive Set of Six candles – $125 www.dlcompany.com; Barneys New York; www.Luckyscent.com; Scentbar) (Linda Ripoll)
A Reve-de-Vivre (Dreams of Life) candle is truly “scentual” in that they capture the most unique elements of a single experience and pour them into one amazingly fragrant and opulent treat. Featuring three collections that are essentially a “scent-ual” journey, there is definitely a candle fragrance for every taste. East collection is a journey to the Orient. Forest collection is a trek through forests, mountains and meadows. Youth collection revives memories of childhood. Each candle is as luxurious exploration into your imagination. The BNLA choice: Forest collection Black Currant Candle. ($58 www.barneys.com or www.revedevivre.com) (Linda Ripoll)
Who doesn’t enjoy a deliciously decadent piece of cake? This Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to a basket of Cake 2 Go’s sinfully rich cakes. From Death by Chocolate which is destined to send you into sugar shock, to Lemon Burst which will satisfy your sweet tooth for days to come, Cake 2 Go promises to become a Valentine’s Day tradition for you and your sweetheart. Featuring a menu of cookies, brownies, cakes and gift baskets guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth, be prepared to put Cake 2 Go on your speed dial.(www.cake2go.com; $60-$230, 8″- Full Sheet) (Linda Ripoll)
A great gift that will keep you both refreshed, rejuvenated and rejoicing for all things oceanic, Caswell Massey’s Gifts of the Sea Hair and Body Wash combines the coarse granules of fresh sea salt and the cooling properties of kelp gel. Perfect as a wash or a shampoo, Gifts of the Sea Hair and Body wash leaves skin and hair feeling fresh and clean. (6.6 oz tube $10 www.caswellmassey.com or a Caswell-Massey store near you) (Linda Ripoll)
You’ve got the flowers and candy covered, but what about the music? Download up to 480 of her ““ or his –favorite songs onto the Sansa Sandisk e140 MP3 Player to show how much you care. Don’t forget to throw in the red leather case since it’s totally in the spirit of the day. Since they’ll only set you back about $100, you can stock up on a few more presents! (www.sandisk.com/Products for the MP3 Player; www.sandisk.com for the red leather case)
Meet the sexiest way to take photos. About the size of a packet of Orbit chewing gum, the world’s smallest digital camera from Oregon Scientific comes in lipstick red and weighs only 1.4 ounces. And what better way to debut this sleek gadget than Valentine’s? Snapping pictures is easier than sipping Chardonnay, and you have the option of appending a flash drive for those dimly lit areas. The image quality is 1.3 megapixel and the camera has 16 MB of internal memory. Works like a charm, and retails for $59.95. Shop at shopping.discovery.com (Charu Suri)
The CVS One Time Use Digital Camcorder is the perfect budget gadget to record those Valentine’s Day memories. For under $30, you receive a camcorder the size of an iPod, weighing less than 5 ounces. It can capture 20 minutes of digital quality video and can also delete segments, on a 1.4 inch color playback screen. The quality of the recording is as clear as spring water, and it’s so easy to use that you don’t even have to go to film school to get your movie director credentials. Just return the used camcorder to the CVS Photo Center and they will give you a DVD of your memories (plus a video download to share). Available at CVS stores nationwide. (Charu Suri)
Gifts for Him
If he lives for the green and can’t wait to tee off, give him a gift that will score big with Caswell Massey’s Briar Golf Essentials Toiletry Kit. The set is a miniature replica of a golf bag that includes a fresh, green scented Aftershave Balm and a lightly scented SPF 30 Lotion. ($73. www.caswellmassey.com or Caswell-Massey store near you)
Inspired Silver has the ideal ring for the man in your life. Called the O ring because of its modern open design, it was inspired by a design worn by A list celebrities, it’s an ideal gift that won’t break your bank and will give him a bit of celebrity cache! (www.inspiredsilver.com) (Stevie Wilson)
Men will love the ZVUE 200A video MP3 player, the most inexpensive one in town. The gadget boasts a full-color 2.5″ screen and is ready to receive video and music downloads. Plus it retails at an unbelievable $99! This MP3 video player comes a $50 certificate worth of free downloads from the ZTV Web site as well as 4 AA alkaline batteries. It can be purchased at Wal-Mart and online retailers. Plus it is accessorized with two earphone jacks for two users. Now that’s high-tech love. For more information and local stores, visit www.zvue.com (Charu Suri)