If you’re thoughts are turning to shopping as Valentine’s Day looms large, you’re certainly not alone. According to the National Retail Federation, spending on this amorous occasion last year was purported to hit a staggering $20.7 billion—an increase of 6 percent over the prior year’s $19.6 billion and dually breaking the previous record of $19.7 billion set in 2016. With this kind of historical high spending, throngs of consumers are indubitably itching for new ideas sure to impress their sweeties. With that in mind, here are a few gift ideas that, while some are on the “non-traditional” front, will undoubtedly delight your loved ones.
1849 Wine Company (www.1849Wine.com) Wine is a quintessential staple on Valentine’s Day and here’s a great option to stock the wine cellar with: 1849 Wine. This design-minded brand draws inspiration from the 21st Century contemporary art movement. 1849 Wine's vibrant labels designed by the artist SABER capture your attention away from the endless sea of white, off-white, eggshell and otherwise underwhelming labels that plague contemporary store shelves. The company prides itself on creating California wines of the highest quality and expression. Every handcrafted bottle of 1849 Wine not only reflects the company’s artistic spirit, but also their dedication for the finely-tuned art of wine making. Like an artist’s fascinating power to disrupt norms, transcend taboos and change perspective, this company’s overarching goal is to achieve all three with every bottle of 1849 Wine. The company’s award-winning varietals include Iris—a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and my personal favorite (crisp and bright on the nose with a velvety smooth finish and slight oak overtone) as well as Au Jus—a Monterey Chardonnay, Triumph—a Sonoma County red blend, Anonymous—a Napa Valley red blend and Declaration—a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Carolina Herrera ‘Good Girl’ Valentine’s Day Set (www.Sephora.com) What girl doesn’t love spritzing themselves with a fine scent—especially on date night? This gift idea is a decidedly lovely way to realize the sweet smell of success(ful gifting) this Valentine’s Day. Spread the love with Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera’s “Good Girl” fragrance gift set crafted around the eloquent pair of Jasmine and Tonka. This set includes Good Girl Eau de Parfum, a sensual, evocative fragrance born of the beautiful contradictions and the ever-present duality of modern women and modern life. The sweet, alluring qualities of jasmine give Good Girl its brightness and femininity. The darker side of this scent is created with richly fragrant cocoa and intoxicating Tonka. Almond and coffee bring the scent its immediate vibrancy. Tuberose, extracted in a new way that creates a rich delicacy, is the fragrance’s wild card, bringing fluidity and femininity. This 2-piece set also includes Good Girl Eau de Parfum Légère, inaugurating a new phase in perfumery and the House of Herrera with the creation of an Oriental floral constructed around the DNA of Good Girl. This scent is built around the eloquent pair of jasmine, the emblem of Carolina Herrera, and Tonka, an intoxicating and surprising note. Included in the set is one ounce of each fragrance.
William Henry Luxury Jewelry & Pocketknives (www.WilliamHenry.com) Perfect for ANY gifting occasion is William Henry—an American luxury brand devoted to designing and creating exceptional jewelry, writing instruments, money clips and award-winning pocketknives. The company’s unique collections seamlessly integrate classic natural materials, precious metals, gemstones, and state-of-the-art alloys, which are all hallmarks of the company’s work. This is certainly evident among their extensive bracelet line, which includes the stunning ‘Carbon Retro’ option crafted in sterling silver with a 'leaf' pattern, inlaid with 'crushed' carbon fiber. Simple and timeless, it wears with anything, for any occasion. The company’s ‘Black Jade Retro’ design is both simple and complex, bold and understated. Sculpted in sterling silver, it’s hand polished in a dual surface finish, and features links inlaid with natural California black jade and boasting a red topaz gemstone highlight. William Henry’s ‘Smoky’ design is also drop-dead gorgeous, celebrating the translucence of natural smoky quartz, with its quiet earth tones. Three blue tiger-eye focal beads are encased in sterling silver. Dressed up, down, solo, or layered, the Smokey is enduring personal style.
Isabelle Grace Jewelry (www.IsabelleGraceJewelry.com) For jewelry from the heart, definitely consider the many options available from Isabelle Grace Jewelry, a company that makes modern jewelry that tells stories about life, love and family—pieces that celebrate birth, anniversaries, weddings, struggles and loss. Designs can be customized with names, initials, dates and special messages to celebrate the special moments in life and keeping those you love most close to your heart. Oriented around the beauty of the handmade process, the company’s personalized jewelry is handcrafted one piece at a time, made with care and attention by artisans who love what they do. There are so many items in Isabelle Grace Jewelry’s various collections I truly adore, but I do have a few top-line favorites. This includes the “Little ID Bar Necklace,” which is a minimalist lover's dream. Dainty and stylish, it’s great for wearing alone or layered with other pieces as this customizable bar necklace looks lovely worn long or short. A gorgeous long drawn cable chain adds to the modern charm of this simple necklace. Hand stamped, it is available in sterling silver or 14 karat gold fill. This piece can also be personalized with 12 characters, including several design options such as a heart, star, anchor, dot and compass star.
TheSuitcaseLife.com Merch for Travel-Lovers (www.TheSuitcaseLife.com) Keen on finding fab gifts for jet setters and road warriors that won’t break the bank? Consider my own site TheSuitcaseLife.com for ladies who live for travel. In addition to great articles and interviews with travel industry experts, highly giftable products are also available to help women with wanderlust in their soul celebrate and proudly display their desire to “travel, explore, shop, eat and repeat!”—a mantra that’s on many of the items available. Other products proudly display the message: #slay the play – perfect for those who seek truly unforgettable and Instagram-worthy travel experiences. There are also mugs, mousepads, keychains and more for both guys and gals who love to get out and “DO SH*T”—one of many available designs and messages that adorn a diverse group of inexpensive items like various kinds of drinkware for home and on-the-go, travel bags, keychains, mousepads, ornaments and other swag showcasing a joy for journeying...every single day. The mugs in particular will keep you sippin’ pretty and duly motivated while you ponder about your next vacay or business trip (or revel in your current one)! Plus they’re also a great way to present those tickets or that printout of a reservation confirmation to a lucky recipient.
Skinit Customizable Phone Cases (www.Skinit.com) Express your love with Skinit’s authentic case collections and premium vinyl decal skins featuring favorite iconic brands, characters and professional sports teams…also providing the ability to custom-create your own! Skinit collaborates with Marvel, DC Comics, Looney Tunes and Hello Kitty to offer official and original artwork, so you can let your inner character shine and let the owner express themself with killer pop-culture brands and characters. Skinit is also an official licensor of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS so users can show off team pride and let their passion be known. Skinit iPhone Cases can also be fully customized, including personal photos (perfect for couples), and also provide maximum protection from damaging falls. Featuring a dual-layer case construction, the Skinit Pro Case will provide maximum style and solid protection for any iPhone model. No matter what device you have or who your all-time favorite character is, Skinit will likely have you covered.
Wildflower Soap & Cool Stick (www.BuyWildflower.com) Self-care is a Valentine’s Day must, and gifts related thereto are always a treat. And, you certainly can’t go wrong with the basics. But, here’s one with a twist. Wildflower’s all-natural CBD Soap in gorgeous scents of Lavender and Vanilla are made with the highest quality broad-spectrum CBD extracts and coconut oil to keep the skin healthy and hydrated. This gentle yet powerful face and body cleanser lathers into a rich and soothing foam, improving overall skin health without dryness. Lavender's anti-inflammatory properties offer soothing comfort for your skin and may help reduce redness and irritation. Its benefits extend from gently removing excess dirt oils and dead skin cells to revealing the bright, fresh, radiant skin underneath. It is also an all-natural vegan option made with fresh ingredients including coconut oil, lye, water, broad-spectrum CBD and lavender essential oil. Also from Wildflower is their Cool Stick, which offers quick and convenient relief from muscle, joint and back pain for an all-around soothing experience. It has been scientifically formulated with 300mg of broad-spectrum CBD to be the most reliable remedy for everyday aches and discomfort. It also contains and permeates all-natural, CO2 extracted CBD. Once applied, the unique blend of therapeutic ingredients will immediately cool and soothe any discomfort for long-lasting relief. for joint and muscle pain, and overall discomfort relief. Both options are a practical and thoughtful way to say “I care” this Valentine’s Day.
Onyx Nail Design (www.OnyxNailDesign.com) Next is an easy and super chic way for gals to look fabulous this holiday and beyond, or a great gift certificate idea if you want to consider proffering it to another as a present. It’s Onyx Nail Design’s Luxury Reusable Press-On Nails. This is a company that offers a fine collection of unique, high-quality luxurious press on nails that, unlike most press-on and glue-on can be reused over and over again. And, good thing, since these allow users to change their nails as often as their outfit! The company’s nails are made from the highest professional quality products available, eliminating concerns about discoloration or any other side effects that tend to come along with cheap and low-quality alternatives. Onyx Nail Design’s Luxury Reusable Press-On Nails are perfect for any special occasion, event, photoshoot party and certainly a Valentine’s Day soiree. They can simply be removed after use without any damage to customer’s own natural nails. Choose from nine different shapes and hundreds of designs—from the basics to some unbelievable works of art—to personalize the look specifically for whoever they’re for. It’s an easy way to add a fun accessory to any outfit.
Emeril Lagasse Pressure AirFryer (www.EmerilPressureAirFryer.com) You don’t always have to go out to celebrate Valentine’s Day festivities, or maybe you’re attending—or hosting—a “Galentine’s Day” celebration with a potluck spread. Either way, an easy and tasty meal is the perfect way to spend time with your significant other or dear friends and family—and even better if that delicious meal is healthy to boot! So here’s a gift idea not to be overlooked, and one that can greatly simplify the in-home cooking experience year-round. It’s the Emeril Lagasse Pressure AirFryer. This stainless-steel system is supercharged, replacing up to 12 different appliances. It features no less than 44 preset cooking functions including sous vide, bake, canner, grill, sauté, roast and more—all in a healthier environment than traditional deep fryers or oil-based preparations. The device itself boasts a state-of-the-art dual lid design, including a pressure-cooking lid and an air frying lid to allow for the easiest experience available. The lid also creates a hyper-pressurized environment infusing liquid and moisture into the food to squeeze out every bit of flavor. It even features a Turbo Fan, creating a whirlwind of superheated air, heating and crisping all sides of the food—top, bottom and sides—just the way many prefer. The entire system includes an Airflow Rack, Inner Pot and Mesh Crisping Basket, along with an official recipe booklet from Chef Emeril. So avoid the constrained “Prix Fix” dinner out on the Valentine’s Day holiday, and otherwise enjoy perfectly prepped, healthy home cooked meals made extraordinarily easy.
The Hero Grill (HeroGrill.FireAndFlavor.com) Also for those who love to cool and eat, and especially for those individuals and families that like the outdoors, is the opportunity for you to be someone’s true hero. This via The Hero Grill—a one-of-a-kind portable grill that makes anyone’s next outdoor adventure simple, clean and tasty. And, it’s also especially great for space-challenged apartment dwellers who have a hankerin’ for foods with fie-forward flavor. Created by Athens, Georgia-based Fire & Flavor, this grill seeks to change outdoor cooking forever. This environmentally friendly and highly portable premium option is a perfect match for the outdoor adventurer or even just for those who love that good grill flavor, space constraints aside. It’s also the world’s first dishwasher safe grill—yes, the grid can go in the actual dishwasher for quick and easy clean up. It weighs just nine pounds and includes the system itself, a single-use charcoal pod, multi-function thermometer, custom designed bamboo spatula, food safe bamboo cutting board and a rugged, waterproof carry case—super convenient for carrying and storage. Plus, HERO Grill uses a self-contained, all-natural charcoal pod that is ready in 10 minutes and provides 60 minutes of cooking time, meaning no more messy bags of charcoal and lighter fluid. This device’s user-focused engineering combines the reusable grilling grid with an all-natural, biodegradable, single-use charcoal pod made of cardboard, lava stones and pre-stacked charcoal briquettes. When you’re done grilling, pour water over the pod and add it to your compost pile. HERO defines the new standard in on-the-go grilling.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist. As prolific consumer trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. The best-of-the-best across all product, service and travel categories—as well as noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers—are spotlighted in her prolific cross-media platform work that reaches multi-millions each month via broadcast TV (her own major market/network TV show “Savvy Living” and copious other shows on which she appears) as well as print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReports / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListReports / Facebook www.Facebook.com/LuxeListReports / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***
Photo Courtesy Carolina Herrera