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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide Part I — Love Is In The Air!

Okay, ladies, Valentine’s Day is less than three weeks away, so you know what that means: time to start dropping hints! Sure, you don’t want to pulverize your man’s wallet, but there’s nothing wrong with making a few off-hand references to V-Day wish list items. You may not want to go over-the-top and sketch out maps for the poor fella, but it’s only right to help the clueless male species so none of these chaps make the critical mistake of waiting until the eleventh hour and then dashing home with some scrawny chocolates and wilted flowers. As for my fellow single gals, let’s not do the grouchy, Scrooge-y, “bah humbug” thing this year, okay? Let the lovebirds have their day. Besides, February 14th is also a day to celebrate family and friendship, so you can always redirect your energy towards snagging some tokens of affection for all those people who hold you down throughout the year.

Here, some V-Day gift options so great, you’re bound to pronounce yourself your own Valentine just so you have the excuse to indulge!


Matina Amanita ‘Heartbeats’ Rings, $95 to $138 each. Available by Special Order at Poole Shop in Charlotte, NC. Call 704.553.8868.

The whole concept behind Matina Amanita’s Heartbeats collection is endearing. The collection was named “Heartbeats” because, as we all know, when we’re infatuated, our heart tends to race as we gaze upon the object of our affection. Each of the six gold plated rings in the collection, then, features gilded metal, cubic zirconia and enamel details and motifs, and each is named after an HR (heart rating). Since the heart details on each ring are of different heights, the pieces look best stacked atop one another. Doesn’t the sight of these make your own heart flutter a bit?


Lacoste x Married To The Mob Sneakers, $120 each. Available at Lacoste boutiques in Houston, Las Vegas and New York, and on Lacoste.com the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Leah McSweeney is a girl after my own heart. Her Married to the Mob brand has been at the frontlines of women’s streetwear for years now, offering bold and funky apparel that conveys both strength and femininity. For a while, it seemed like the fellas had all the choices when it came to urban-flavored apparel that was still sophisticated and edgy, but Married to the Mob is among the brands that has helped to steer the course of things and give us ladies something to talk about (and wear proudly!). Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Married to the Mob collaborated with Lacoste to create these hi-top sneakers, which feature a black floral lace motif. I haven’t been this excited about a pair of kicks in a while, so I may just have to make them my own V-Day gift!




Juicy Couture ‘The Lolita’ Sunglasses, $98 each. Available at JuicyCouture.com

These playful, heart-shaped frames remind us of the silly glasses we wore as children, and yet it’s that innocent coquettish quality that seduces onlookers. “Lolita, light of my life”? Maybe so!

Villains & Vagabonds ‘Love Hurts’ Tee, $34. Visit VillainsAndVagabonds.com

Sure, you wouldn’t necessarily buy this Villains & Vagabonds tee for your beloved (that would send off some really strange signals!), but it’s the perfect shirt to get your sister, cousin, or friend — especially if she’s on prowl mode or celebrating her newfound independence after a torturous relationship and break-up.


LUZ ‘Flirt’ Charm Bracelet, $3,110 for Sterling Silver, $6,560 for 18K Gold, and $18,040 for Platinum; LUZ  ‘Lust’ Charm Bracelet, $3,550 for Sterling Silver, $7,320 for 18K Gold, and $19,360 for Platinum. Available at Neiman Marcus stores nationwide.

LUZ, a provocatively artful high-end jewelry line, recently launched a collection of rings, bracelets, charms, and pendants that focus on different experiences, feelings, actions associated with love: among them Flirt, Lust,  Anger, Love, Cheat, Enigma, and Obsession. The charm bracelets pictured above are available in sterling silver, 18k gold and platinum. The slightly gothic, mysterious letter shapes add a fascinating, almost sculptural quality to each piece. Let there be luz!


Jo Malone The Red Roses Fragrance Chronicle, $95. Available at JoMalone.com and specialty stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

I love a dozen long-stemmed red roses as much as the next girl but here’s the reality: even the most enduring blooms won’t make it past the week. So, if you want to capture the romance and passion associated with red roses, there’s no better way to do so than through a refined fragrance such as Jo Malone’s Red Roses Cologne. The exquisite scent was actually introduced on Valentine’s Day in 1996 and became a huge hit thanks to its blend of seven types of roses. In celebration of the fragrance’s 14th anniversary, Jo Malone is introducing the Red Roses Fragrance Chronicle, which allows perfume lovers to customize their fragrance by combining the Red Roses cologne with any of the following three different accords: Moroccan Mint Leaf, Ice Rose, and Honeycomb. I personally love mixing the Ice Rose with the original fragrance — it makes your perfume take on this refreshing, tantalizing quality that’s at once elegant and sensual.

Martin Katz 13.09ct Natural Red Spinel 18k White Gold Ring Set with 309 diamonds, 54 Spinel, and 149 Black Diamonds, $98,000. Visit MartinKatz.com for more information.

Clearly, I wouldn’t suggest any guy spend close to 100K on a second date present, but if the guy in question has deep pockets and is blessed with a woman who has stood by him through thick and thin, then he may want to consider giving the love of his life something that will make her eyes sparkle with excitement. With its red spinel center stone, enclosed by a perimeter of diamond stones, and a band encrusted with white diamonds and red spinel stones and lined with black diamonds, this Martin Katz ring looks even grander than what Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman character found inside her jewelry box before her night at the opera.


Lalique 2 Anemones Flacon, $1290. Visit Bloomingdales.com

This flacon, which can be used as a perfume bottle or vase, was originally designed by Rene Lalique in 1935 using clear glass. The modern-day reinvention, however, features a clear crystal vessel and a top made of black crystal with hand-applied white enamel. The inspiration, however, remains the same: the anemone, a flower that is said to symbolize anticipation.


Nancy Gonzalez CR103589-01 Oversized Clutch With Detachable Strap, $3350 at Saks Fifth Avenue stores; and Nancy Gonzalez CR103629-01 Oversized Clutch With Detachable Strap, $2295 at NancyGonzalez.com

Nancy Gonzalez never leads me astray. Like all Nancy Gonzalez handbags, the clutches pictured above were constructed using the finest animal skins, and their versatile shapes and rich, bold colors emit a youthful vibrancy that makes them all the more enchanting.

Robindira Unsworth “Juicy” Bangles, $450. Visit RobindiraUnsworth.com

This trio of hammered 22k gold bangles features carnelian, citrine and garnet stones that make any woman feel like she’s found that beautiful place over the rainbow.

Whiting & Davis Heart Minaudiere, $135. Available at WhitingandDavisBags.com

Stylish women can go beyond wearing their heart on their sleeves and start carrying it in the palm of their hands with this mesh-covered, heart-shaped Whiting & Davis purse, which features a metal frame with a ball clasp closure and a 24″ drop-in snake chain.

Erica Anenberg LOVE Block Twosome Ring, $98; Erica Anenberg 14K Plated White Enamel Love Twosome Ring, $86; and 14k Plated Cherry Enamel Heart Medallion On Red Patent Leather Cuff, $88. Visit EricaAnenberg.com

All those two-finger rings you’ve been seeing? Erica Anenberg is one of the OGs of this trend, having spent years creating multi-digit rings with edgy motifs ranging from rows of crystals to messages in block letters. If you’re looking for a striking, flashy option, the “LOVE” block twosome ring will make any fly girl feel extra fabulous, while the 14k plated ring with the word “Love” carved out is a slightly daintier choice. Or, for a bracelet that will appeal to urban fashionistas and classic stylish mavens alike, there;s the red patent leather cuff, which features a golden heart on a cherry red enamel button.


Electric Visual ‘Detroit’ in Red Wild Things, $69.95, and Electric Visual ‘Bullitt’ in Vinyl Red, $169.95. Available at Zappos.com

Forget Sienna Miller’s red Ray-Ban Wayfarers –Electric Visual’s Detroit frames in Red Wild Things have the type of fearless, punk-ish attitude that would make any gal feel like Blondie at the height of her career. And, for those who prefer aviator styles, there’s the Bullitt shades, which feature a cherry red metal frame.

291 ‘Love Is All You Need’ Tee, $84. Visit 291Venice.com for more information.

Every time I look at this tee, I just want to start singing Mary J. Blige’s “Love Is All We Need” at the top of my lungs. From the newspaper-like feel of the black lettering to the ink-like splatter details, this tee has a downtown, I-live-in-an-artist loft edge to it.


Candela Beads Flats Red Sandal, $225. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Adding a bit of red to your wardrobe is key on Valentine’s Day — and you can never go wrong with a sassy pair of shoes. These red leather sandals, with their satin ribbon and covered bead details, make me want to go for a stroll in Miami Beach, then dip into a salsa club for some sultry dancing. They really are red hot!

Samantha Thavasa by Tinsley Mortimer ‘Baby Love’ Handbag, $296. Available at Samantha Thavasa (965 Madison Ave, NY; 212 535 3920) and at SamanthaThavasaUSA.com

What’s not to love about this Samantha Thavasa handbag? I was sold as soon as I saw the three zippers along the exterior — I mean, the zippers actually look cool, and those compartments are beyond handy for gals like me who carry way too much stuff in theri handbags. But what really closed the deal was that flirty bow detail, which is saved from over-the-top daintiness thanks to the all-over, rock-n-roll style gold studs. Forget baby love — I’m in puppy love with this one!

Kimberly Baker Grace Necklace in 14kt Gold Vermeil over Sterling Silver, $210. Visit KimberlyBaker.com

I love when designers put some serious thought behind their work — and Kimberly Baker knows just how to make designs that are rooted in history, mythology, pop culture, and personal history, while still being accessible to those not acquainted with the pieces’ back stories. Her Grace necklace, pictured above, features an anchor motif inside two intertwined hearts — a symbol utilized in Victorian times to represent long-lasting, enduring love that could withstand the strains of time and distance. Now that’s a romantic notion.



Yak Pak Liberty Bowler in White Tulip Print, $22, and Yak Pak Basic Student Backpack in Pink Heart Argyle Print, $25. Visit YakPak.com for retailer information.

Sure, you may love wearing a haughty, ladies-who-lunch satchel but there are bound to be times when you need a sturdy, casual bag that still has some fashion appeal. If you’re in college, the pink heart argyle backpack will bring you back to the teenage love affair days of notes passed in class and pictures pinned inside lockers. And if you’re looking for a slightly more adult option, the roomy  Liberty Bowler bag pictured  features a fun tulip print that makes you want to reach for some markers and start filling in the blank spots!

Smashbox Heartbreaker Collection: Smashbox Lash DNA Mascara, $19; Smashbox Heartbreaker Liquid Liner Pen, $24; Smashbox Heartbreaker Lip Shine in Berry Hot and Melon-Drama, $19 each; Smashbox O-Glow Intuitive Cheek Color, $26; Smashbox Heartbreaker Eau de Parfum, $22; Smashbox Heartbreaker Eyeshadow Palette in Kiss ‘N Tell and Hot Date, $34 each; Smashbox Heartbreaker Rollerball Lip Gloss in Pink Sugar, $21; and Smashbox Heartbreaker Baked Fusion Soft Lights in Starlight, $32. Visit Smashbox.com

The new Spring 2010 collection from Smashbox is so perky and youthful that it makes Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker” video seem sobering. Among other goodies, the collection includes a coral and fuchsia lip gloss, two eyeshadow palettes in pretty, spunky hues, and kaleidoscopic compact featuring various shades of pink, bronze and terracotta cheek color to give you a rosy look. Stay tuned for some eye shadow swatches!



Christofle Malmaison Wine Carafe, $1012, and Malmaison Wine Server, $660. Visit Christofle.com

Any woman would be excited to break out the Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio when she has these phenomenal pieces to adorn her tabletop as she plays the role of perfect hostess.

Cole Haan ‘Ali Travel Zip Wallet,’ $198. Available at Cole Haan stores. Call 800.201.8001 or visit ColeHaan.com

A wallet is a perfect gift option for friends, co-workers, and relatives — after all, we tend to go through wallets so fast that, chances are, there’s always room for a new one. Besides, the angelic pale pink of this Cole Haan wallet conveys the innocence of a schoolyard crush.

Robindira Unsworth Champagne, Black, and Charcoal Druzy Necklaces, $330 each. Visit NewTwist.com

You’ll feel like the style of an Arabian Nights fairy tale with Robindira Unsworth’s Druzy necklace (available in champagne, black, charcoal and white), which was inspired by the domed shapes in Istanbul’s architectural gems.

Isabella Fiore Watermark Sara Clutch, $495. Visit IsabellaFiore.com

Generally speaking, I’m not big on patchwork designs, but Isabella Fiore’s Sara clutch might just make me a believer again.The clutch features python skins in various sunny shades like saffron yellow, cornflower blue, and wine red.

Swarovski CRYSTALLIZED Paired Necklace, $70. Visit Crystallized.com for more information.

This simple, ladylike Swarovski Crystallized necklace features a sterling silver heart charm and two heart-shaped Swarovski crystals that add some sparkle to your decolletage.

INCA Leather String Bikini, $225. Available at SwimwearBoutique.com

This metallic four-way stretch bikini, made of 80% nylon and 20% spandex, is designed to recreate the look of leather, so that a gal can feel like a powerful Catwoman type while she’s frolicking in the beach.


Nippies ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Hot Lips’ Nipple Covers, $15 each. Available at Bristols6.com

Are you planning a romantic dinner with your boyfriend, husband or boy toy? Then you may want to consider how to end the evening with a bang. What if you give him a little striptease and, instead of complicated undergarments he’ll want to rip with his teeth, you opt for some funky heart-shaped nipple covers in lipstick-covered prints or red sequins? Let’s just say you’d have quite the bedroom romp.

Radley ‘Flower Power’ Umbrella, $50. Visit Radley.co.uk

Sing Jill Scott’s “Love Rain” and be prepared for a romantic downpour with this classic yet feminine Radley umbrella, which practically ushers in spring.

Gaggia 12700 Red Espresso Machine, $282.55. Visit Overstock.com

Think about all the intimate stories you can exchange over a cup of coffee, and now imagine making that experience all the richer thanks to the assistance of this handy appliance. The Gaggia 12700 Espresso Machine features: a high-pressure, 15-bar pump; a stainless steel boiler; a heat-absorbent, chrome-plated brass portafilter; a Pannarello frothing wand to froth milk; and a cup warmer to keep those coffees piping hut until you’re ready to take a sip.

Caswell-Massey Fresh Cut Flowers Collection: Fresh Cut Flowers Diffuser, $50; Fresh Cut Flowers Natural Soy Candle, $35; Fresh Cut Flowers Soap Dish and Luxury Bath Soap, $30; Fresh Cut Flowers Luxury Bath Soap (Set of 3), $35; and Fresh Cut Flowers Luxury Guest Soap, $7. Visit CaswellMassey.com

This collection smells so fresh, any gal who gets one of these items won’t be singing, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” any time soon. The Caswell-Massey Fresh Cut Flowers collection features soap sets, a reed diffuser, and a soy candle. I’m particularly fond of the candle, which smells like a dewy bouquet of green flowers mixed with a hint of tuberose and vanilla.

Amanda Pearl Roll Clutch in Dianne, $995. Available at AmandaPearl.com

This long, barrel-shaped clutch features a silk duchesse satin exterior and a pearl-like rock crystal cabachon closure. Measuring 8 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ and featuring a touch-up mirror along the inside, the Amanda Roll clutch is the perfect way to finish off that date ensemble.

Avanessi 14K White/Yellow Gold Love Bracelet, $649. Available at Avanessi.com

Avanessi’s “Love” bracelets have always been a thing of beauty, but its new Valentine’s Day collection will be particularly appealing to amorous sorts everywhere. The dainty bracelet pictured above features  three 14k yellow gold “love” pieces, with each one featuring a diamond “o” accent, all woven together with 14k white gold chain links.


KC Los Angeles ‘Amor’ Tee, $25, and ‘Love Me Amor’ Gift Set, $30. Visit KCLosAngeles.com

Spread some love en español with these cool pieces by fellow Boricua Karen Crawford, founder of KC Designs. Keep it simple with an “Amor” tee or add a naughty wink-wink with the “Love Me Amor” gift set, which includes a tee with word LOVE and a matching thong with a heart symbol bearing the word “amor.”


TOUS 18K Yellow Gold Heart Pendant, $539. Available at Tous.com

It’s all about the details with this 18k yellow gold heart pendant. At first glance, it may look like beautiful but not necessarily remarkable pendant but, upon closer inspection, the wonders start to reveal themselves — from the gold’s sleek finish to the words “I Love You” etched along the curve of the heart, and the bear-shaped cut-out through which two diamond-studded hoops were woven. Together, they create the ultimate “vouler Tous” situation.

Harajuku Lovers Cherub Girls Candy Satchel, $84. Visit Zappos.com

The Harajuku Girls are already cute enough to deserve a spot on any Valentine’s Day-themed merch, but dressed up as flying Cupids as they are in this handbag’s print, you just can’t help but fall in love.


Timex ‘Camper’ Watch, $35. Visit Timex.com

This sporty watch features a durable nylon strap with three vertical pink stripes, a petal pink dial and even mauve-ish pink numerals along the dial.

Bitossi Cyclic Big Vase, $550. Available at Yoox.com

This sculptural vase is a design masterpiece, with its pretzel-like shape and sleek surface. The fact that you can actually tuck flowers inside it? Well, that’s just the cherry on top.

b.tempt’d by Wacoal Coquette Bra, $38, and Thong, $22. Available at BareNecessities.com

Lingerie is always a good get for Valentine’s Day, and these pieces are sexy but versatile, so that a gal can wear them on an ordinary day and still feel comfortable.

K-Swiss Surf & Sand Hi, $55. Available at KSwiss.com

This new limited-edition hi-top sneaker, dropping in early February, is available in several pastel colors (yellow, pink, green and purple), as well as a jet black hue.

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