With Valentine’s Day less than two weeks away, most of us have not yet purchased a gift for our loved one(s).
For the sake of originality, here are 20 gift suggestions for those seeking to offer something more original than a bouquet of flowers and/or a box of chocolates:
New York City chocolatier Jacques Torres has a number of playful Valentine’s Day exclusives available. The “Spanker Lollipops” are for the less conservative chocolate fans, while the Champagne Truffles and I Love You Squares ought to appear to the classier of folks. Available at all Jacques Torres New York locations — Hudson Street, DUMBO, Amsterdam Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Midtown East, NOHO, and Grand Central Terminal — and select sweets are available for national shipping online at www.mrchocolate.com.
A bottle of D’USSÉ — a brand with a 200+ year legacy — may be easy to find locally, but the drink itself was naturally-aged at least four and a half years in France’s Château de Cognac. Combining cinnamon, almond, honey and dried fruits in its flavoring, D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac is the rare spirit that is both strong and delicious. And just in time for Valentine’s Day, D’USSÉ has released some great free recipes online; I recommend The Storm, which mixes the Cognac with triple sec, grenadine, cranberry juice and ginger beer.
Few brands are as universally-loved as TOMS, arguably the pioneers of the one-for-one business model. TOMS has come a long way from basic colored slip-on shoes, and its new TOMS X James Goldcrown collaboration is especially eye-grabbing. James Goldcrown is the artist behind the viral Love Wall murals found in New York and Los Angeles, and as released in early January, the new TOMS x James Goldcrown shoes are beautiful, love-centric, and available for both men and women.
A member of The Specialty Foods Association, an affiliate of Fare Trade NYC and a member of the Good Food Merchants Guild, MOUTH is a popular online retailer known for its indie food, drink and gift picks. In other words, curators are choosing the best of what’s new so you don’t have to spend your time researching such. The new raspberry-flavored, hand-crafted X&O Candies? The Bourbon & Tequila Spiked Chocolate Sauce? The Love You Like XO set including Raspberry Rhubarb Goat Milk Caramels? Too many great options — and these are just some of the picks that MOUTH has curated for Valentine’s Day!
If your better half is a football fan, then Ava’s Cupcakes has a new product that will suit both your Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day needs. Helmed by chef Michelle Spell, Ava’s Cupcakes is offered the “Game Day” Sugar Cookie Set, featuring colorful and shaping football-themed cookies. Goal posts, team helmets, stadium, edible platinum trophy…It’s all there! And beyond those special days in February, Ava’s also offers gluten-free and vegan options.
A smart gift may lead to some lip action, so it’s best to be prepared for that. Yes To just released its 2-Step Lip Kit, consisting of Exfoliating Lip Scrub and a Lip Mask. Both parts of the kit smell like coconut and are nearly 100% natural like all Yes To products are known to be.
Other lip-related products to look into this year are H2O+ Beauty’s new Oasis L-Balms and Lip Gels. Each balm is packed with natural beeswax to help nourish and smooth dehydrated lips. Each gel includes a splash of Water Lily extract, leaving lips with a plush texture and a glossy finish. Beauty meets hydration with H2O+.
Snake River Farms’ meat is utilized by many top chefs, including Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Gabriel Rucker, Alvin Cailan and Michael Mina. But unlikely many vendors to top restaurants, Snake River Farms also sells its meat direct to consumers. Hugh Acheson’s Curated Steak Box — priced just under $200 — includes American Wagyu filet mignon and ribeye, one Lodge skillet, one Mercer saucing spoon, 1 Bragard kitchen towel, Jacobsen’s Flake Finishing Salt, and Hugh Acheson’s Steak Cooking Guide. In other words, meat you won’t forget, along with some tools on how to prepare a great steak in the future.
I have observed that make-up is a long-term game, as it is not just about buying brands that are good for your skin, but also about the tools you use to apply it. The Artis Elite Smoke Collection — available at www.artisbrush.com — is comprised of 10 brushes. As an example, the larger oval brushes (Oval 10, Oval 8, Oval 7) are designed for the application of base products. Each of the brushes are made exclusively with CosmeFibre. In turn, expect brushes that are both long-lasting and easy to clean.
For those interested in both grooming and beer, BRÖÖ is an exciting brand and its new Craft Beer Barber Collection is sure to keep its users both clean, refreshed and cool. Beer has long been used as a home-brewed remedy for strong hair and healthy skin, and the products of BRÖÖ are rich in B vitamins and proteins. The Craft Beer Collection includes the 3-in-1 soap-free Hydrating Condi-Shave Cream, the 4-in-1 Shower Session Wash, and the 3-in-1 Hydrating Mug & Mane Lotion. Perfect for the shower and beyond.
PHYTO’s PHYTOLOGIST is the first of its kind, targeting the four attributes of hair-thinning: density, thickness, strength, and shine. Its 99% natural formula is full of powerful plant extracts (e.g. Cacao, Indian Gentian, Scutellaria Baicalensis Georgi). On top of being an effective hair treatment, PHYTOLOGIST is lightweight and can be left in.
Based in the Yarra Valley of Australia, Four Pillars Gin has made major waves in the U.S. since launching here less than a year ago. Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin includes indigenous lemon myrtle, Tasmanian pepper, juniper, cardamom, coriander, star anise, lavender, cassia, and angelica, while each batch also includes eight pounds of fresh orange gins. Beyond being served in a beautiful bottle, Four Pillars numbers its bottles, further exemplifying how this is the rare craft gin that could also appeal to the masses.
The Beachwaver Co. got a lot of press when it was uncovered that the Beachwaver S1 was used by celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa at the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The Beachwaver S1 makes three different styles of curling easy to do within minutes: defined curls, loose beachy waves, and glam waves. The S1 is now being sold for a limited time in white via www.beachwaver.com.
In the case that you are spending your Valentine’s Day with a canine, there are still gifting options to consder. Just in time for Feb. 14, the Lord Jameson Dog Patisserie — which launched in New York last year — is offering its Valentine’s Day Limited Edition Petite Pouch. Its ingredients are 100% organic, vegan and free of GMOs. Also available for sale at Beasty Feast.
Clinique has a new product on the market for waking up your skin: the Pep-Start HydroRush SPF 20 Moisturizer. A long-lasting, lightweight daily moisturizer, the Pep-Start HydroRush boosts collagen. Available at local New York Clinique counters and at www.clinique.com for just under $30.
In this gift set from Maille, Black Truffle and Chablis Mustard is packaged in an exclusive stoneware jar from La Maison Maille, as packed in an elegant black and gold gift box. The rare upscale mustard meant for a foodie. Now sold at both www.maille.com and the Maille Flatiron Retail Store located at 927 Broadway.
A picnic in not ideal this time of year in New York, but this gift box from La Tienda may have you reconsidering that. This Spanish-themed tapas box for two includes La Riojja dry-cured chorizo sausage, Peregrino anchovy stuffed olives, Torres truffled potato chips, and Marcona almonds. It is available for order via www.latienda.com.
This Sonoma County wine has the color of a champagne diamond and is lively and racy with hints of pomegranate, golden delicious apples and wildflowers. It’s perfect for sipping alone, or works well with a large range of foods, including roast chicken, salmon, seared tuna, crab cakes, and ceviche. Or, of course, a Valentine’s favorite: strawberries and chocolate. This treat can be ordered from www.gothamwines.com.
Chocolate is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but perhaps you will be craving some saltiness with the sweet. In that case, the Jacobsen Salt Co. has the Salty Candy Duo box, in which Black Licorice and Caramels are both wrapped up. Williams Sonoma sells these sweets, as does the company via www.jacobsensaltco.com. The brand also offers unique gift sets including Salt Of The Month Club and The Ultimate Pantry.
For those seeking a heavy metal-themed Valentine’s Day, well, Judas Priest has just re-issued its classic 1986 album Turbo as a three-disc set. In addition to the remastered original studio album, the set includes a full show from 1986’s Fuel For Life Tour, as recorded at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. All the Priest hits are played and all the expected stage banter of Rob Halford is included. A wonderful rock time capsule featuring one of rock’s greatest bands.