Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Gifts That Don't Suck

So, Valentine's Day, we meet again. I like you, VD (may I call you VD?) because you offer mere mortals a fabulous excuse to indulge in terribly decadent activities — devouring coma-inducingly vast quantities of fancy chocolates, say, or dropping hundreds of dollars on impractical lingerie you will probably only wear once in your life (and for about eight minutes before it's on the floor) — not typically considered socially acceptable the other 364 days of the year. And goodness knows I'm a fan of decadence. 

Because I do genuinely like you, VD, I'm loathe to dwell on the negative, but I really would be remiss in my duties here if I failed to mention the dark side of your reputation. There's no escaping your dirty little habit of encouraging restaurants to double or triple their prices in your honour, forcing foodies (lovestruck and otherwise) to pay dearly for banal prix-fixe menus that are completely inferior to the chef's usual, non-VD offerings. And what about the pressure you impose on the hapless male to find the perfect VD gift, the one that will truly express every ounce of the love he feels for his significant other — which almost invariably leads to a dozen long-stemmed red roses interspersed with hideous lashings of baby's breath? Barf. Why you gotta play me like that, VD? 

I propose we make ourselves a deal, VD. I'll provide you with a list of Valentine's Day gifts that don't suck, and you make me a promise that all the calories I consume tomorrow will just float off into the atmosphere like tiny magical snowflakes, settling nowhere near the vicinity of my hips. Deal? Deal. Here we go: 

My best friend introduced me to Annick Goutal's Baume Splendide Main when I was in Miami last month and now I'm obsessed. Obsessed! It smells like roses — not a fake, icky, chemical facsimile of a vaguely rose-like fragrance, but actual roses. Pricey but totally worth it, this is hands-down (sorry) the best hand cream I have ever tried. Pure indulgence. 

Lately I've been spending far too much time thinking about macarons. Clearly a trip to Paris is in order as soon as funds allow, but until then, a box of these divine featherweight confections will tide me over quite nicely. MoRoCo Chocolat in Yorkville does a very competent macaron, but be sure to call ahead and pre-order since they always seem to be sold out. 

I know I poo-pooed the idea of red roses on Valentine's Day, but that doesn't mean all flowers are verboten. An enormous, lush bouquet of in-season pink flowers — tulips, ranunculus, sweetpea — would make a lovely, romantic gift this weekend. 

The For Like Ever poster from Village has been making the internet rounds for eons, but I still, like, totally want it, man. Badly. 

I'm a big fan of lingerie that doesn't require an instruction manual to operate, and this gorgeous 3.1 Phillip Lim knotty stretch-silk chemise is something I'd want to wear again and again. 

The matching bra and silk briefs are pretty fab, too. I love the grey leopard print. 

Jewellery can be a very tricky thing to give, so when it comes to pretty baubles, I like to provide my husband with incredibly detailed instructions. [Hubs: please buy me this impossibly cool Bottega Veneta sterling silver lizard-skin ring. It's from Net-a-Porter. Click click click.] See? Easy as pie! 

Valentine's Day really is about spending time with the one (or ones — saucy wench!) you love, and there's no cozier way to pass a mid-February Sunday afternoon than curled up together on the couch, watching a marathon of romantic classics. My all-time favourites: Out of Africa, The Way We Were and Love Story. Weepy romance, sexy Robert Redford and a large helping of fashion inspiration — what more could a girl want? 

What's on your VD wish list? 

Pink hearts photo via La Douleur Exquise; macarons photo via Nonsense & Sensibility; pink tulips photo by Linda Banning
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