Love Actually — Heart-Warming Valentine’s Day Gifts
Whether you’re treading through the giddy, “Teenage Love Affair”-worthy territory of a new crush or you’re basking in the commitment-ready, forever-and-ever, “At Last” stage of your relationship, you know to cherish every heart-swelling moment in the journey known as love. Valentine’s Day, then, provides the perfect opportunity to take a cue from Adele and offer our honeys a warm embrace to make them feel our love. And, of course, if we can put a smile on our lovers’ faces with some thoughtful tokens of our affection, all the better!
If you’re a single gal, you don’t have to pull a Liz Lemon and book a root canal on Valentine’s Day to avoid the entire holiday. Cease the boycott and, instead, focus on spreading the love to your friends, family members, and co-workers via perky gifts and keepsakes. Another great idea: appoint yourself your own sweetheart, then indulge yourself and splurge on a shiny new gift. You deserve it!
Stacy Ray LA Gray Bullet Heart Sweater, $40. Available at StacyRayLA.com
Bring in Valentine’s Day with a kiss, kiss, bang. Stacy Ray’s lightweight Bullet Heart sweater, made of 100% cotton, features a relaxed, slouchy, lounge-ready fit, a generous scoop neckline, and thick cuffed sleeves. The heather gray color gives the sweatshirt a worn-in feel that makes it seem all the cozier and, at the piece’s center, you’ll find the outline of a heart made of black bullet casings (because, hey, love is a battlefield). Another reason why this Stacy Ray LA piece is number one with a bullet: 20% of the proceeds from its sale are donated to the Los Angeles School District, thereby supporting our nation’s beleaguered education system.
Deepa Gurnani Clutch, $248. Visit DeepaGurnani.com for more info.
After launching her namesake hair accessories brand in 2006, New York-based, Indian-born designer Deepa Gurnani is channeling her flair for beadwork (she perfected her skills embellishing couture gowns for the likes of Emanuel Ungaro and Alexander McQueen) into new ventures like scarves, belts, and clutches. The above-pictured, envelope-shaped clutch, for example, features a rounded bottom edge that gives the piece greater weight and dimension, as well as slim rows of gold sequins running vertically down the bag’s front, juxtaposed against vertical columns of wavy sequin trim creating Moroccan window shapes and revealing the hot pink fabric underneath.
beautyADDICTS SweetLIPS Lip Gloss, $17 each. Available at BeautyAddicts.com
All your sweetheart needs, to quote Prince, is “some extra time and your kiss.” Make it a yummy smooch by giving your pucker a touch of color with one of these beautyADDICTS SweetLIPS glosses, which feature a bit of delicious vanilla. Packed with vitamin E and jojoba butter, these glosses hydrate, soften, and protect lips, while providing a subtle, sheer wash of color. If you like understated hues, try the Express shade, a sheer peach cobbler hue, and the Motivate color, a sheer lilac pink with bluish white glitter particles. Check out swatches of the Express and Motivate glosses!
Lisa Hoffman Madagascar Orchid Candle with Agate Coaster, $46. Available at LisaHoffmanSkincare.com
If you’ve ever been blessed enough to smell Lisa Hoffman’s Madagascar Orchid perfume, then you know how it transports you to a lush tropical landscape thanks to the dewy floral notes: from the key white orchid note to the sheer jasmine, ylang ylang, and pink peony that harmonize with it. The Madagascar Orchid candle allows you to disseminate the soft, tender, romantic scent and have it fill the room, so you can bask in all its aromatic glory. For Valentine’s Day, when you purchase one of these 9 oz. candles, you’ll also receive a semi-precious agate coaster from Brazil featuring concentric rings in magenta, fuchsia, light pink, and crystal clear tones.
Leslie Greene “Marry Me” Message Pendant, $3290. Available at LeslieGreeneStore.com
Who wants a message in a bottle when they can get a secret note inside a shiny pendant? Jewelry designer Leslie Greene allows suitors to speak via their choice of tokens, with 14k gold “secret message pendants” carrying notes like “Children,” “Love,” and “Marry Me.” The barrel-shaped, intricately etched pendants feature hinged top lids that can be opened up to reveal the messages hidden inside.
Rebecca Minkoff “The BF” Pouch, $295. Available at RebeccaMinkoff.com
Say hello to your new BFF. You don’t need OK Cupid! to tell you that you’re 100% compatible with Rebecca Minkoff’s “The BF” pouch, a cross-body style featuring a front pocket secured by two belt buckles with pyramid-shaped light gold buckles and arrow-shaped belt tips. The Minkoff cross-body bag measures 9″ in width, 7″ in height, and 2″ in depth, and it features a 22″ gold chain strap with red leather braided throughout its length, along with a tassel accent featuring leather fringe. And that vibrant red color? It’s enough to light anyone’s fire!
Tweezerman “Lips” Zip File, $5.50. Available at Sephora.com
If you’ve ever tossed an emory board file into your purse and groaned when it re-emerged looking soiled and ragged, you’ll appreciate this genius Tweezerman offering: a compact nail board packaged inside a retractable plastic case that allows you to slip the nail file in or out with just a flick of your thumb. Each file features an 80/120 grit side for shaping and a softer side for smoothing nails. And, for Valentine’s Day, there’s a special lip print zip file. Spread the love and gift one of these clutch-friendly files to your co-worker, homegirl, or sister.
Nissa Jeweled Link Earrings in Coral, $175. Available at NissaJewelry.com
These free-spirited, gold-plated earrings feature sculpted, paisley droplet-likes shapes that seem to caress the lobes and which are decorated with perky coral-colored stones. Curb chain strands measuring 2.5″ in length dangle from the earrings’ center, along with a single strand of coral stones, for even more of a Bohemian vibe.
Gucci GG 3157/S Sunglasses, $245. Available at Gucci boutiques, Bloomingdales at select Solstice Sunglass Boutiques. Visit SolsticeSunglasses.com.
These oversize Gucci shades are the perfect conduit for a demure but nautical look, as they feature oversize square rims with rounded edges and slim arms with blue-and-red stripes against a white backdrop
NYX Cosmetics The Runway Collection 10 Color Eyeshadow Palette in Velvet Rope, $11, and NYX Cosmetics Soft Matte Lip Creams, $6 each. Available at NYXcosmetics.com
If you’re gonna be the star of your own romantic tale, you have to look the part — and that requires come-hither bedroom eyes and plump-looking, magnetizing lips. The 10-Color Eyeshadow Palette in Velvet Rope (pictured above) features a bouquet of purple, lilac, plum, lavender, navy blue, dusky black, mauve and cool, light pink tones. When you think of a velvet rope being lifted, you imagine gaining access to an exclusive, posh venue. There’s a sexiness to the velvet rope, then — which is why Janet Jackson explored the moods and sentiments associated with the image in her smoldering Velvet Rope album. With this palette, you’ll look so irresistible, you’ll never have to belt out “I Get so Lonely.” Just click here for swatches of the shades in the top row, and then click here for swatches of the shades in the palette’s bottom row.
Moving onto kissable lips, NYX’s new Soft Matte Lip Creams go on like glosses with a nifty sponge tip applicator, but the richly pigmented color is creamier than most lipsticks and, most importantly, boasts a matte finish so the color looks natural on your pout. Eleven shades are available, including London, a blue-toned nude beige, and Monte Carlo, a full-bodied red with purple undertones. Check out swatches of the London and Monte Carlo shades and decide which destination best suits your lips!
Sydney Evan Diamond Script Love Stud Earrings, $1230. Available at Ylang23.com
It’s hard not to break out singing Ashlee Simpson’s “L.O.V.E” when you look at these 14k yellow gold stud earrings which are encrusted with tiny diamond studs. One earring says “lo” and the other “ve” so that, together, they spell “love” in classy, cursive lettering. You’ll literally be surrounded by love when you wear these!
Piret & Tamara Lip Slips, $25 each. Available at PiretandTamara.com
There’s no glossin’ over Piret & Tamara’s Lip Slip colors. These paraben-free glosses feature a moisturizing shea butter base so that lips stay hydrated and smooth, making them an even canvas for the color deposited with the brush applicator. Check out a swatch of the Strawberry Lip Slip hue, a punk-y neon pink reminiscent of Illamasqua’s Indulge gloss.
Links of London Limited Edition Valentines Friendship Bracelet, $225. Available at LinksofLondon.com
Remember the friendship bracelets you once made with safety pins and braided strands of thread or yarn? You took the act of making these bracelets so seriously, presenting them to your best friend with a sense of both excitement and reverence. As a nod to these childhood tokens of affection, Links of London developed its immensely popular Friendship Bracelet series. For Valentine’s Day, the brand has revealed a special bracelet featuring a row of cylindrical silver bars woven in fuchsia pink and ruby red thread. The center strip is framed by two braided pink ribbon lengths secured by a faceted, heart-shaped toggle that allows you to adjust the piece’s length as needed.
Knock Knock You Deserve A Medal, $16. Available at KnockKnockStuff.com
If you’ve been through a few romantic skirmishes, then you’re familiar with the hazards, booby traps, and landmines one must navigate in the field of love, as well as the triumphant taste of victory. This quirky book commends those valiant enough to embark, time and again, on this romantic quest with illustrated “medals” for countless scenarios. There are medals to celebrate navigating a “friends with benefits” scenario, for acing the first meet-the-parents event, for being persistent in searching for love online, for successfully migrating one’s toiletries into a mate’s bathroom, and much more. Some of the funniest entries include the Six-Month Involuntary Abstinence Cross, which is described as a medal “originally minted from pure unobtanium but now issues in a quietly resigned alloy of aluminum and tin.” We wouldn’t suggest wrapping this up for your significant other, but it’s a fun gift option for your girlfriends, co-workers, and female family members.
Yogamatic “Lip Service” Yoga Mat by William Cawley, $89. Available at Yogamatic.com
With this perky mat, every time you move onto floor exercises and stretches, like when you face downward, sitting back with your hips resting atop your bent legs, all the while stretching your hands over you lowered head and pressing your palms on the mat (a relaxing stretch known as Child’s Pose), you’ll think of your lover’s kisses fluttering all over your sculpted, toned, lean, yoga-strengthened body.
Marc by Marc Jacobs MMJ 200/S Sunglasses, $98. Available at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s stores.
Slightly retro and completely playful, these sunglasses feature a translucent, light peach acetate along the arms , nose bridge, and top arch, and thinner, clear acetate along the bottom edges, surrounding the gradient lenses. Tiny star accents against the cherub-like pink add just the right amount of coy, playful flirtatiousness.
Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Oil, $28.95, and Dr. Hauschka Rose Body Moisturizer, $39.95. Available at Store.DrHauschka.com
Long-stemmed roses rapidly wilt, losing their initial splendor, but Dr. Hauschka’s rose-packed products last months, producing increasingly radiant skin as time elapses. The ultra light and milky Rose Body Moisturizer (our fave!) features rose extract, rose flower wax, and rose essential oil, which tone skin and work as natural antiseptics, as well as softening, moisturizing jojoba and almond oils. Not only will your skin feel more supple, but the ritual of applying this lotion will feel indulgently sensuous.
Boden Heart Cardigan, $50. Available at BodenUSA.com
Remember the days when you stole a glimpse of your crush in the school hallways, hoping he would offer to carry your books to class? This 100% cotton, carnation pink cardigan sweater will remind you of your student days (or of your fascination with Grease‘s Sandy Olsson), with its slim cut, V-shaped neckline, trimmed front pocket accents, and asymmetrical white heart motif (cleverly placed on the left-hand side, right by where your actual heart is located).
Rebecca Minkoff “Heart Cory” Wristlet, $65. Available at RebeccaMinkoff.com
When you hit the dance floor, you don’t want your moves to be hampered by a bulging shoulder bag, so your best bet is an unobtrusive pouch that can accommodate the essentials: credit card, ID, keys, cash, and lipstick. Any girl, then, can appreciate this adorable leather pouch, which measures 5.25” x 3.5″ and features a haircalf heart detail in a dalmatian-like pattern along the front, a zippered top closure, and a detachable wrist strap.
Edmundo Castillo Spark Open-Toe Slingback, $650. Available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
After stints as creative director at Sergio Rossi and Santoni, Puerto Rican footwear designer Edmundo Castillo is once again reintroducing his namesake brand. Footwear fanatics will take a cue from Carrie Bradshaw and say, “Hello, lover!” to Edmundo’s sexy yet elegant designs. The peachy pink Spark Open-Toe Slingbacks feature demure triangle-shaped cut-outs along the sides and a bodacious heel that curves voluptuously at the top then tapers off into a thin stiletto heel.
Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint in Peony, $9.99. Available at Target stores and Target.com
If you prefer cheek stains to traditional powder blushes, you’ll love this liquid tint from Sonia Kashuk, which you can blend directly onto cheeks for a natural flushed look. One pump will more than suffice for both cheeks, as the tint is so richly pigmented that a pea-sized drop can cover an expansive amount of skin surface.
Neff Anne-Flore Marxer Beanie, $23.95. Available at MiloSport.com. Visit NeffHeadwear.com for additional store locations.
These cozy beanie hats, featuring heart shapes that look practically pixelated for a funky retro twist, are favored by female snowboarder Anne-Flore Marxer. The two-toned pom-poms at the top of these winter hats add a sense of whimsy that will brighten up even the dreariest of days.
Kris Nations Tiny Heart Necklace, $39. Available at KrisNations.com
This itty-bitty heart necklace, made using recycled metals by eco-conscious, jewelry-designing sisters Kim and Kris Nations, can be worn on its own or layered with heftier pieces for a Boho chic look.
Davines LOVE Lovely Smoothing Shampoo For Harsh & Frizzy Hair, $22. Available at Davines.com
This shampoo’s lively, grapefruit-laced aroma will awaken your senses as you work it into your dry, unruly tresses, and your mane will get a much-needed do-over thanks to the formula’s smoothing, moisturizing properties, which will boost shine, increase manageability and keep frizz at bay. What’s not to love?
Jee Vice “Moody” Sunglasses in Red Silk, $290. Available at Shop-Online.JeeVice.com
These show-stopping shades are modeled after the “Fabulous” style Vanessa Williams wore on Ugly Betty, but the frames’ flat sides have been replaced with angled ones, so that they feel slightly more eccentric and avante-garde.The Red Silk colorway meanwhile, has a Chinese dragon flair that’s both mysterious and enticing.
Emily Elizabeth Jewelry “Hugs and Kisses” Studs, $30. Available at EmilyElizabethJewelry.com
“X” and “O” are more than fillers on a tic-tac-toe chart — in the language of love, these letters represent universal gestures of affection, referencing hugs and kisses. With these stud earrings, you can shower earlobes with a bit of tenderness.
Orrefors Ceremony Pink Votive Candle Holder, $60.99. Available at Overstock.com
Set an intimate, Sade-ready, Barry White-approved mood with these Orrefors votive holders, which feature thin glass stems measuring 12.375″ in height and culminating in magenta-colored, bulb-shaped tops measuring 4.75″ in width.
Mighty Fine “Kissy Kissy” T-Shirt, $38. Available at WeLoveFine.com
Relive the days when you sat in front of the TV set, longing to join the rank of Mouseketeers singing the “M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E” club march with this retro-looking cropped tee, which features dark gray sleeves with white polka dots, a matching trim along the neckline, and a heart design at the center with Mickey and Minnie embracing. The best part: Mickey’s face covered in Minnie’s delicious kisses.
TOUS Valentine’s Day Ring, $139. Available at Tous-Shop.com
As if the sweet sentiments engraved into this heart-shaped ring’s golden surface didn’t tip the adorable factor scale, TOUS’ trademark bear appears as a tiny charm dangling from the top arch of the heart shape, elevating the ring’s cute status to unprecedented heights.
Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi-Use Blush Stain in Enchant 211, $28. Available at VapourBeauty.com
Give your visage a natural-looking, flushed appearance with Vapour Beauty’s creamy Aura Blush Stain in Enchant, an apple red hue that, when blended on cheeks, yields a just-pinched look.
Little Purple Cow Antique Key Collection Pendants, $45 to $195. Available at LittlePurpleCow.com
“Open your heart to me, baby/ I hold the lock and you hold the key/ Open your heart to me, darlin’/I’ll give you love if you, you turn the key.” The lyrics to Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” perfectly capture the sentiment behind Little Purple Cow’s Antique Key Collection of pendants, which consists of antique-looking drawer, bureau, chest and diary keys in varying sizes.
Steamcream Wraparound Cream, $18. Available at Steamcream.com
In the past, we’ve raved about STEAMCREAM, an all-natural cream packed with soothing oatmeal and lavender oil, toning orange flower water, softening almond oil, and moisture-locking cocoa butter and jojoba oil. Thanks to the steam infusion process used to create the cream, the formula’s ingredients are better absorbed by the skin. The emulsifying moisturizer can be used on face or body and comes in a series of reusable tins with funky graphics, such as the Wraparound design pictured here, with its lively heart pattern.
NEST Fragrances Scented Bar Soap, $16. Available at Amazon.com
Indulge your loved ones’ nesting instincts with scented bar soaps from NEST. Best known for its aromatic candles, Laura Slatkin’s home fragrance brand has now expanded to include French-milled soap bars in classic scents like Moss & Mint, Orange Blossom, Bamboo, Grapefruit, Wasabi Pear, and Moroccan Amber. The almond oil ad shea butter in the formula moisturize and soften skin, while vitamin E protects skin from free radicals.
TKEES Glosses Sandals in Pink Lemonade, $48. Available at Singer22.com
TKEES sandals have more caché than a pair of chunky rubber Havaianas thanks to their slimmer, more streamlines silhouette and thinner straps, but they’re as comfortable as they are sleek. The above-pictured sandals have a glossy, slightly mirrored sheen and come in this lovely new Pink Lemonade color that’s pitch-perfect for Valentine’s Day.
Heart of the City: Nine Stories of Love and Serendipity on the Streets of New York, $14.04. Available at Amazon.com
Turns out there is some truth to all those Nora Ephron and Woody Allen films set in NYC. This book tells the true stories of nine married couples who met in one of New York City’s most well-known spaces — among the the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, and Central Park.
X Rated Fusion Liqueur, $25.99. Visit XRatedFusion.com to locate a retailer near you.
You may not think of vodka as the sexiest of spirits, but that will surely change when you taste the fruity X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, an ultra-premium French vodka blended with blood oranges from Provence and mango and passion fruit flavors. Get a taste of the tropics by sampling X-Rated on the rocks or try mixing the liqueur with some pineapple juice for an easy mixed drink. If you’re planning a V-Day soirée or preparing an intimate dinner for your boo, up the ante with a sexy cocktail like the X-Rated Kiss, which also incorporates a splash of Skyy Vodka and a drop of raspberry liqueur.
Up To You Toronto Wish Frame, $41 CAD. Available at UpToYouToronto.com
Forget wish weeds! This recycled cardboard frame features a honeycomb pattern along its center panel, so that each cubby-like hole can safely hold a rolled-up sheet of colored paper on which you jotted one of your brightest hopes and most pressing dreams. The Wish Frame comes with a box of 500 blank, colored paper pieces, so you’ll have plenty of sheets on which to scribble those wishes. Think of it as both a symbol of hope and a time capsule, since you can always go back and re-read earlier notes.
Shameless Heart of Gold/Gold Digger Necklace, $150. Available at ShamelessJewelry.com
This irreverent, gold-plated dog tag necklace is meant to explore a woman’s dual nature, the naughty and the nice, the nurturing and the conniving. To that end, then, the rectangular pendant has the words “Heart of Gold” etched on one side and “Gold Digger” etched on the other.
Jessica Custom Nail Color in Scarlett, $7.50. Visit JessicaCosmetics.com to order.
Take a cue from Betty Draper and the Mad Men ladies by coating your nails with a true red like the timeless, irresistibly chic Scarlet shade from Jessica’s new “Be Your Muse” Fall 2010 collection.
American Glamour Badgley Mischka Leather Tote with Chain Detail, $329.90. Available at HSN.com
Walk the line between strong and sexy, tough and tempting, classy and coarse with this crackled leather tote from Badgley Mischka’s line for HSN, American Glamour. This tote features a thick center strip with two angled zipper details along either side creating a “V” effect, a hefty chain strap with a buckled leather trim for an urban warrior look, and vintage-looking gold-toned tags and hardware details.
Sonya Renee Pearl Cluster Earrings, $45. Available at SonyaRenee.com
Johannes Vermeer’s masterpiece, “Girl With A Pearl Earring,” captures the elegance, intrigue, and restrained sensuality of a simple freshwater pearl worn on a naked lobe. These Sonya Renee earrings modernize the age-old pearl earring look by clustering sterling silver-plated cubic zirconia crystals and round white pearls, creating a bouquet-like explosion of stones.
Danya B 9-Piece Heart-Shaped Fondue Set, $19.95. Available at Overstock.com
This kitschy ceramic fondue set comes with four white 6″-long forks with red trimming along the bottom edges; a pair of 1.5″-deep, heart-shaped dishes with red exteriors and white interiors; a red heart-shaped fondue pot measuring 5.5″ in length, width, and depth; an a matching stand bearing heart cutouts along either side.