Shit I Bought and Liked: It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Valentine's Day!
...and I have you covered with a gift guide!
Shitters! After what was quite possibly the longest January of all time, it’s finally February, and with it comes the end of my shopping embargo (TG!!!) AND (perhaps more widely applicable/relevant to all of you) the countdown to Valentine’s Day! If you got this email and only now remembered that you need to make a dinner reservation… best of luck with your return to Hinge on Feb 15th!!!
Kidding! Your partner (probably) won’t dump you for one bungled Valentine’s Day (and getting back on the apps after one day is truly unhinged—don’t do that). But if you felt your blood pressure spike at the thought of messing up here, I get it.
Valentine’s Day can be stressful! Between your partner’s expectations, what Pookie and Jett have warped your partner’s expectations into (I’m almost certain they’re hurtling towards cancellation, but for now I’m appreciating the return of “looking fire” to the lexicon), all the planning required, and the (very genuine) desire to show your partner how special they are to you, there’s a lot to stay on top of! It’s enough to make you wish you were still in elementary school decorating a cute little box to collect treats from all your friends and then devouring them all in one sitting as soon as you got home.
Despite the deeply romantic, somewhat stuffy connotation this day can have for grown ups, I’m here to remind you that Valentine’s Day can be fun! Playful! Dare I even say sexy?!!! And if your mind’s gone blank on how to infuse more of that vibe into your celebration or gift ideas, I am here for you!
Let’s start with the basics. Even if you’re not big Valentine’s people, I think there’s a baseline way to acknowledge the occasion. For most couples, it’s flowers. I think tacking on some of these (a staple in my book) will never hurt either. It doesn’t have to be a wildly expensive arrangement or classic red roses (though if you’re not on a budget, take a page from Jett Puckett telling the florist—conveniently located 100 yards from where he saunas (as a verb)—to go “buckwild”), but in general, this is a situation where I’d much rather exceed expectations than fall short, so if you’re at all on the fence, just get the flowers.
If you’ve been here awhile, you know I’m also a fan of upgrading florals to something that will last longer, like a dried arrangement or these metal blooms from Casa Gusto (found via Madison of Fewer Finer!). But nothing (and I repeat, nothing!!!) takes the place of a handwritten note or card, so flowers or no flowers, gift or no gift, please make sure there’s at least one of these getting to your s/o the day of.
Now onto the gifts! This may come as a surprise, but Valentine’s Day isn’t actually a huge gifting holiday for me. Christmas and birthdays—those are gifting holidays! But to me, Valentine’s Day is perfect for giving or splitting an experience—specifically one that facilitates more quality time doing or learning something together.
Of course, a weekend getaway or trip is amazing—I frequently split those in years past. But I also like the idea of making this something consistent. Maybe you sign up for a weekly wine tasting class, or buy two class packs at a yoga studio so you can go together every weekend. If you’re traveling internationally later in the year, maybe get them a Babbel subscription so you guys can learn the language (you know I love a gift with a thoughtful tie-in!). If you’re tighter on budget, it can even be a cookbook or cocktail guide that you work your way through together (I love the idea of a weekly at-home cocktail hour trying something new), or a streaming subscription to watch a show you’re excited about (ever since I heard Jay Shetty say that most couples spend time together watching TV in lieu of actual communication, I’m a little sensitive about this recommendation, but I do think for some people this would be really appreciated!).
The possibilities are endless, so get creative with it! There’s nothing better than being on the receiving end of a gift that’s really thoughtful and intentionally chosen.
February’s “On My Eye” edition for paid subscribers is coming out this weekend—consider upgrading your subscription to join the party!
But with all this talk about gifting, it’s worth noting that a partner isn’t the only person who can get you something for Valentine’s Day. The following would all be great ways to treat your partner or yourself!
Jenni Kayne Slippers: Comfy cozies for Valentine’s Day? Groundbreaking! These are criminally expensive, but they’re the absolute coziest of anything I’ve found to wear around the house (and I’ve tried a lot!). Here’s another good option available in men’s sizes. If you’re looking for something cute that’s a bit more budget friendly, these heart socks by Imogene + Willie would also be a sweet little something!
Caviar! Caviar is having a moment, and what better time to indulge?! You can find a range of moderately priced tins at Whole Foods, but if you’re in for a bigger splurge, I would try Marky’s (in Buddha we trust). Pair with creme fraiche and potato chips for a luxe little snack/app that works for a solo night in or before a later dinner reservation. I also like this idea for parents who decide to forgo the stress of finding a sitter on the 14th—could be a fun little something to look forward to after the kids are down!
Art: When you’ve been together awhile, you can start to run out of gift ideas, especially for men… there are only so many whiskey stones and cuff links a guy needs! But I love the idea of gifting a special print or piece. Decorative objects (this also includes cool coffee table books, ceramics, etc.) can get pricey, so it’s nice to combine shopping for them with a gifting opportunity like Valentine’s Day—just make sure it’s something they would actually like! I love my piece by Elissa Barber (the first artist I ever purchased from!) and photographs from places I’ve traveled if you’re looking for inspiration!
Candles, candles, candles: I adore all three of these options at different price points. Still debating on what I’ll be gifting myself this year, but this XL one is a serious contender! On the scent theme, I think it’s hard to buy another person a fragrance they haven’t tried already, but taking them to a specialty shop or well-stocked department store to pick out a new perfume or cologne is also a fun idea.
A matching set: Will there ever be an occasion where a matching set wouldn’t make a great gift?? This merino wool option from Sezane is speaking to me, probably because it looks like something Kelly Rutherford would wear? (Unfortunately now I must own this—apologies if you do too.) This new-to-sale quilted set by The Great also happens to be the softest thing I own—highly recommend, Valentine’s gift or not!
Sleep Mask: Under $30 and cute as can be! This is a little something to treat yourself that won’t break the bank (and the colors are perfectly on theme!).
Custom Bootleg T-Shirt: This is hysterical and I really hope some of you get this for your partners as their next sleep/lounge shirt!
Luxe unmentionables: I still stand by these silky Tom Ford boxers from last year’s gift guide (and the cotton version if you want to upgrade his typical boxer briefs)! If you prefer something cheeky, embroidery shops can stitch custom messages onto cotton boxers, or you can opt for a little French lesson from Ms. Kiki de Montparnasse. If you’re going the lingerie route, I love this simple slip from Doen, this playful option from VS, and this splurgy showstopper by Simkhai (this Simone Perele would be a slightly more budget-friendly alt).
A splurge! Would it be a Shit I Bought and Liked gift guide without one?! My big-ticket wishlist has dwindled a bit lately (call it the effects of a shopping embargo??), but I adore this (very on-theme!) Olympia Le Tan clutch, and this Fewer Finer bracelet remains at the top of my wishlist!
If nothing in there is speaking to you, here’s last year’s guide for a few more ideas:
As always, sending lots of love your way this season (and keeping my fingers crossed that we have no new additions to the dating pool come Feb 15!!).