Valentine’s gift guide

There is certainly a cheesy, overcommercialized aspect to Valentine’s Day but it’s true too that there is a lot of cute stuff to be had, and I don’t mind a certain degree of sentimentality. I can genuinely like it, even.

Here are a few pieces I would love to be given, and I’m sure I’m not the only one:

1. a luxurious red lipstick

Lipstick Queen Silver Screen Lipstick in Have Paris, maybe, or Le Metier de Beaute Maraschino


2. pearls

Because, pearls. But also how charming are these akoya heart drops?


3. a cookbook

I’m really into Mediterranean fusion cookbooks at the moment. Enjoying _Plenty More_ and definitely want to have a look at _Ottolenghi_.


4. fancy lip balm

Always good to pave the way for kisses, no? This natural, nutrient-packed offering from Tata Harper caught my eye recently.  Be True lip treatment. There’s a tinted version as well.


5. liquor, in conjunction, glassware

I don’t know about you, but I love being given alcohol. Champagne, especially. Say it with champagne! Better still, say it with champagne glasses. Really, really tall ones…


6. the scent of roses

I always enjoy Tea Rose, a simple, bright citrusy rose fragrance from The Perfumer’s Workshop. It’s so inexpensive, too. I find it layers beautifully with any number of other fragrances, and especially like to use it to brighten or soften various masculine favorites of mine. Alternatively a lot of L’Occitane’s rose scented products are lovely, also their peony products, peony being much like rose in character but a bit softer and, in a pleasant way, harder to identify. I like the hand creams.


7. gourmet ingredients

Gourmet herbs, spices, salts, things that come in beautifully packaged jars…I can’t get enough of that stuff. Surprise me.

8. a locket

I’ve been susceptible to the Victorian charm of lockets for as long as I can remember. I’m always looking for interesting vintage ones (I haven’t found one yet, in all this searching, but it’s one of those searches that’s been going on for years, off and on), and like a lot of different styles, from miniature hearts to oversized ovals. This chubby Tiffany’s gold heart has that classic (plain), clean (really plain) look I like. Lockets can be cheesy but, you know, it doesn’t have to be like that.

27679161_927308_EDIt’s unoriginal, I suppose, to give someone a necklace with a heart on it…but honestly I think necklaces with hearts on them are appealing. A dainty chain, a dainty heart*…maybe solid, maybe studded with some stone** or another. I can’t go for those swoopy, stylized hearts but a plain, shapely heart, sure.

*something like this tiny platinum heart, for instance

44870_main**case in point, the diamond heart necklace Lena Dunham wore in her recent Elle cover, speaking of Tiffany’s. I find that piece so beautifully sized and the shape of the heart appealing as well, curvy and proportional – there are many unfortunate heart attempts out there, as far as I’m concerned. Making a mental note to try to get my breasts to do this thing Lena’s are doing here. Imagine with a pearl pendant? Nothing not to like there.


What do you think? See anything you like?

vendor images, images link to vendor pages


Happy Valentine’s Day


I do not profess to know much about love, and certainly not much that would be useful to anyone else,* but I am all for it (in the cosmic finding of home sense, the joyful gladdening sense, the maddening sense, the hopeless devotion sense, the love of peanut butter sense, and so on), all for the expressing of it in some form or another, and I think some of it’s commercial trappings are charming. I like hearts and flowers, and I like the word love, and would not mind wearing it on a necklace (umm…I just got a necklace like this) or having it printed on a T-shirt or some such thing. That can be appealing to me in regulated doses. I bought these conversations hearts, which have pleasant childhood nostalgia for me. My heart is romantic. I like attention, too. Well, certain kinds.

*If you love me, you know I am not being modest here…I am often not even especially nice. If I love you, may the universe have mercy on you.

That said, Valentine’s Day doesn’t do much for me, regardless of whether I have a Valentine or not. [Not since it became suddenly uncool to give little valentine’s cards in elementary school, which I really did like, and did with great care (I still have some of the earliest batches I received, when the spelling was shaky and the messages especially earnest and loving). I still like vintage Valentine’s cards.] I can get behind the concept but even if I did have a Valentine (which I don’t, as it happens, in part due to being wary, particular, and unwilling to tolerate anyone in my space/time for long, in part—like so many things—due to chance), I suspect I would still think it was kind of hollow, at least on its (non-personalized) cultural surface. Holidays tend to irritate me, anyhow. I don’t like being told what to do, nor being given a deadline by which to do it. Sometimes, admittedly, they are a convenient excuse to give a gift I have wanted to give yet somehow lack the status to give freely.

[Gifts are strange, are they not? Highly recommend The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, by the way.]

I think this day is going to be a dud until there are children to exchange cards with again.

Andre 3000 sums up the issue nicely. Let’s all just take a moment to remember how incredible The Love Below album is, and this song in particular.

I like this ominous cupid character, “Well keep on runnin’ playa. Cuz I got my gooood shoes on. And I got ’em tied up tight. And you gon’ find out. TONIGHT.”