February 05, 2016
Let's be honest: Valentine's shopping is tough. There aren't really any rules (Should I buy a gift at all? How much do I spend? What if we break up before then?), and it's hard to gauge expectations from a lover who probably won't write you a Valentine's Day shopping list as they might a Christmas list.
So, what to do?
Below, we've compiled just a few local shopping options for men and women; casual dates and long-time partners; Silly Susans and Affectionate Allens. And, if you happen to be single and are buying for friends or family this year, don't sweat it: We've got you covered there, too.
Peruse, ponder and purchase using your own judgment. We'll keep our fingers crossed that you get it right.
For your busy beau who needs to relax: Coming in at 16 ounces with all-natural ingredients, this Fig + Yarrow Pink Love Himalayan bath salt is designed to ease muscle soreness, quiet preoccupied minds and let those nascent feelings of love bubble up. Plus, a couple that bathes together stays together, right? ($32, MoonAndArrow.com)
For your keep-it-classic needs: Look, flowers are the do-no-wrong gift no matter what holiday it is -- but especially on Valentine's Day. Sometimes, people just need to know they were thought of, and flowers offer that gesture with a timeless stamp of sweetness. To twist the tradition a bit, go with the "Pink Passion" arrangement: hot pink spray roses, pink standard roses and hypercom berries. The roses stem from the full-service The Daisy Shop in Devon, Pa., part of The Shops at Devereux workshop program, a collection of businesses run in part by people who live with developmental disabilities. ($45, TheDaisyShopofDevereux.com)
For your date with a silly sense of humor: C'mon, who in your life wouldn't eat up a "Netflix and Chill" joke? If you're looking for a casual gift to give someone you've been on just a few dates with, this valentine, paired with a thoughtful gift card, is the way to go. ($5, Occasionette in-store)
For your "trynna be cute" efforts: OK, so maybe a romantic picnic in the park sounds like a little too much work. (Or too cold -- it is still winter, after all.) Recognizing as much, Workshop Underground is selling a make-your-own s'mores kit, complete with a miniature grill with a Sterno fuel can inside. It also comes with bamboo skewers, Valrhona dark chocolate, graham crackers, puffy marshmallows and a bamboo board -- all indicators that you put in the effort and didn't just pick up a cheapo kit at the dollar store. Top it off with a cozy fire, if you have one. ($65, Workshop Underground)
For your post-Valentine's dinner festivities: Let's not dance around the subject: Valentine's Day's not complete without a little sizzle in the bedroom. And good lubricant, no matter how you slice it, is an agreeable gift for both male and female. Take Sexploratorium's Sliquid Satin for a spin, a water-based liquid that mimics the feel of our natural fluids. To boot, it doubles as a personal moisturizer. (Really!) ($14.99, SexploratoriumStore.com)
For your date (and yourself): Going with chocolates isn't bad, per se, but opting for that alone does look a bit like you didn't cover your bases. With that in mind, Fishtown-based Ramona Susan's Bake Shop's created a gift set for couples that's about as all-encompassing as it gets, packed with two red velvet cupcakes, two cups of brownie bites, two petite cheesecakes, two of each of their standard cookies, two chocolate-covered strawberries, a long-stem rose, a card and $5 off your next order. All for $30. It's a bargain, and it's delicious. ($30, RamonaSusansBakeShop.com)
For your pampered partner: Philly is fortunate to have one of only two Lush Spa locations in North America. Though it offers a whole slew of spa treatments, you'll want to try the exfoliation-centric, hot chocolate body scrub experience "The Comforter" -- perfect for winter, and perfect for the partner who just wants an hour-long reprieve. (Only to come out refreshed for Valentine's dinner with you, of course.) ($170, LushUSA.com)
For your hubby or honey who cooks: Cook up some romance with this three-hour, six-course cooking class that uses traditional aphrodisiac foods as base ingredients, like fennel and chocolate. The course teaches about foods that have traditionally inspired love. Educational, and sexy -- win and win. ($280, LaCucinaattheMarket.com)
For your pampered man who hates bubbles: ... But loves to soak. Duross and Langel offers a lineup of bath soaks that include Dead Sea salt, bicarb soda, clay and mustard that opens the pores so as to detoxify the body after workouts. If you're going to get a guy a bath salt or soak this year, go with this one. ($21, DurossandLangel.com)
For your beau snap who's into ambience: Hand-dipped in a "candle lair" in East Falls, these Chrysalis candles have a 70-to-80-hour burn life and use locally sourced beeswax. It's based on the notion that burning beeswax purifies the air using negative ions and reduces stress as a result, making it the most scientifically sound mood-lighting around. Light a candle, pair it with some Ramona Susan's chocolate-covered strawberries and bath salts and let the good times roll. ($18, MithrasCandle.com)