Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tips for Killer Valentine's Gifts

Valentine's is like the cheap, cheesy cousin of Christmas. Having just dropped a load of money on Christmas, your wallet is feeling pretty light when Valentine's rolls around. All of the pink and red and hearts have you feeling festive and romantic. The sultry scent of DIY is heavy in the air. Your Pinterest board is probably full of disjointed ideas for your significant other. How do you tie it all together?! You've come to the right place!

Valentine's gifts can crash and burn quickly because the budget is lower than Christmas. A few uncoordinated gifts can seem haphazard or poorly planned when you may have had the best of intentions. Come up with a theme (and stick to it)! This is a quick and free way to tie your gifts together, for ultimate impact. Now is when I'd tell Ross to stop reading ..if I hadn't already sent him a copy of this to proof like a moron earlier this week. Oopsy!

Picking a Theme...Bourbon & Beer

Over the last few months Ross has acquired a taste for bourbon. He has been able to taste a few and pick a favorite but hasn't indulged in purchasing it for himself. Perfect! 1 bottle of Maker's Mark, please! The bourbon train doesn't end there. I ran across bourbon candies by Sugarfina. They had an awesome selection of chocolates that worked perfectly with my Valentine's gift theme. They just delivered Bourbon Gummy Bears, Maple Bourbon Caramels and Single Malt Scotch Cordials to my door along with a handwritten note.

Ross and I have also enjoyed exploring NJ breweries on our weekends throughout the past year. I ran across a Groupon for a local brewery, which included a tour, beer flights and growlers for 2 (at nearly 50% off). I enjoy using Groupon at birthdays and holidays. We always go out and celebrate with dinner but it guarantees us an new experience a few weeks down the line. To go with the brewery trip, I snagged a "Beer Me" T-shirt on sale from PacSun, also perfect for happy hour nights.

Trouble Tying it Together?

Having a theme or central idea sounds great in theory, but I know, it can be terribly frustrating in practice. Let's brainstorm some broad ideas for gift giving...
  • For the Spa Babies
    • To keep your man kissable, gift beard balm or shaving products that he may not treat himself to.
    • For her try gift certificates to her favorite nail salon. Is she a makeup maven? Try gift cards to Ulta or Sephora or refills of her favorite products.
    • If you're gifting cologne or perfume, include a sample of the fragrance (and a gift receipt, just in case). 
    • Interested in an experience? Book a couples massage or facial at your local spa.

  • For Your Favorite Wine-o
    • Does your significant other have a favorite wine varietal? Buy them an expensive bottle of their favorite blend! They won't be able to help but smile and think of you with every sip.
    • Check out Sugarfina for more cocktail inspired goodies, more exciting than your average box of chocolates. Can anyone say Rosé Gummy Bears??
    • Check Groupon of your local grower's association for deals and events at local wineries or tasting rooms and set up a trip for this spring. This is a guaranteed second Valentine's date. For instance, this weekend, Garden State Wine Growers Association is hosting a Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend at wineries throughout New Jersey. 
    • Finish your gift off with a sassy wine t shirt or a handmade personalized wine tumbler.

  • For the Gardener
    • Flowers are beautiful but overrated expensive. If your significant other has a green thumb, consider buying them plants rather than stems of their favorite blooms. This way they keep coming back every year. 
    • Is your lover a tulip lover (or other bulbs like daffodil). Check out how to force bulbs. Give yourself ample time to plan ahead on growing these.
    • A traditional rose lover? Check out a small rose bush from your local home store to start growing indoors until spring.
    • Part time gardener, part time chef? Consider an indoor herb garden for on the  window sill of your kitchen. Fresh herbs taste great, look and smell beautiful and are generally low maintenance. Try a combination of cilantro, mint, sage, rosemary or parsley depending on your favorite recipes.

  • For the Hobbyist
    • Do you enjoy a particular hobby with your significant other? Spend time at the bowling alley or the batting cages? A real film aficionado? Consider a gift themed around this activity.
    • Purchase a gift card for time at the location you frequent, like lane time at your local bowling alley. For the film buff, treat them to a prepaid Netflix subscription
    • Always renting? Does your significant other always spend the few dollars to rent gear rather than invest in his or her own? Treat them to a new helmet or baseball bat for at the cages, or a pair of bowling shoes (or a new ball if you're really generous).
    • Plan a date night or movie marathon. Make reservations for a restaurant near your "hobby spot" after a friendly game. Want to make it interesting? Loser buys the cocktails! (Make sure this is a night open to the leagues, or teams are playing.)