What to get that special someone this Valentine’s Day? Here are a few ideas that are sure to impress.
Looking for something unique to gift someone? Try a gift card for a psychic reading with New York City tarot card reader Dante Sabatino. For over 30 years, Dante has been making detailed, specific predictions about life and love, mixed with humor and wisdom. His strong following is proof that he’s good. The majority of his business is repeat clients and he’s booked well in advance. Dante has even been featured in a The New York Times “Modern Love” column and reads his fair share of boldface names in entertainment, fashion and finance. I had my reading done via FaceTime and it was entertaining; two friends were eavesdropping and were impressed with his prediction of my husband and I having a third child – don’t worry people, Dante is a firm believer in the ability to exert your free will. That being said, we shall see what the future holds. A reading by Dante is a good gift idea for a girlfriend or your significant other. A one-on-one reading (60 minutes+) is $160, gift cards are available for purchase. STARS: ***1/2
The GE X450 is a pretty cool camera that allows you to connect and upload photos and videos to your favorite social media sites as soon as you snap them, when using an Eye-fi wireless SD card. A 2.7 inch LCD screen allows you to view your photos and edit them on the spot. According to the company, “The GE X450 offers the ease of a smartphone camera with even more advanced features for capturing and sharing high quality photos including 16 megapixels, 25X optical zoom, video recording, object tracking and capture panorama capabilities.” My tester was impressed with the clarity of the photos and how easy the camera was to use – unfortunately the Eye-fi wireless SD card wasn’t included in the sample -- but the thought of being able to easily upload to Facebook is intriguing. The X450 is available now in black and white through Amazon, BestBuy.com, and Walmart.com for an MSRP of $149.99. STARS: ****
Looking for something for your little girl this Valentine’s Day? Check out Ever After High which has two cute dolls featuring a red and pink color motif. Each doll is sold separately and packaged in boxes that mimic a storybook, Apple White, daughter of Snow White; and Briar Beauty, daughter of Sleeping Beauty are great gift options this Valentine’s Day for your little girl. Each doll is dressed in either a pink or red dress and includes fun accessories. Marketed to kids ages six plus, each doll retails for $21.99. My kid testers loved their sample dolls and especially liked the dolls jewelry accessories including trendy rings and bracelets – all doll sized. STARS: ****
Looking to get something for your child’s teacher? Check out Cool Gear’s 20 ounce chiller with Valentine’s Day graphics ($10.99). Consider pairing it with a gift card. My tester really liked the fact that the Cool Gear Chiller has a double wall insulation which minimized condensation. She also liked that the cup is top-shelf dishwasher safe. Cook Gear’s Valentine’s Day graphics chiller is also BPA free. STARS: ***1/2
Glitzi Globes are a fun arts and crafts gift this Valentine’s Day. Made by Moose Toys, the Glitzi Globes kits have all the materials to make adorable miniature glittery snow globes that can be gifted or collected. The company sent its Glitzi Globes Three Pack ($7.99) and its Glitzi Globes Starter Kit ($12.99) to be tested. My kid tester is six years old and she loved creating her own miniature snow globes.. Each kit includes everything kids need to assemble their globes (like charms and glitter tablets). A huge hit with my kid tester. STARS: ****
A great small gift idea for your child is EOS’s organic lip balm. These cool lip balms come packaged in smooth spheres in soft pastel colors. Made of 100 percent natural ingredients, EOS lip balms are also petrolatum and paraben-free. MSRP is $3.29. The EOS lip balm is a fashionable lip balm available in multiple flavors including summer fruit, lemon drop, strawberry sorbet, honeysuckle honeydew, medicated tangerine and sweet mint. Available for purchase at Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens. My tester loved the shape of the EOS lip gloss and sweet flavor. STARS: *****
Tadpole and Lily has some really cute accessories that are perfect gift ideas for your child this Valentine’s. Two of my favorites are its handcrafted bowties ($30) and their sweet flower headbands ($25). You can customizes your child’s bowtie and select from great classic fabric options. Even their headbands can be customized with different colors and sizes. My kid testers felt very fashionable in their Tadpole and Lily accessories. STARS: *****
Looking for a cute card for mom or your child’s teacher? Hallmark’s Suddenly Flowers ($14.95) is the bouquet that never wilts. Made of carefully crafted paper flowers this is one card that does double duty as a gift. Available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores or on Hallmark.com. STARS: ****
Pinch Provisions now has a new Minimergency Kit for Teachers ($16). Packed with 18 emergency essentials including: gold star stickers, red mini pen, emery board, caffeine gum, lip balm, clear elastics, stain remover, hand cleanser, deodorant towelette, blister balm, safety pin, adhesive bandage, pain reliever, double-sided tape, earring backs, breath freshener, mending kit, and dental floss. My tester loved how small the Miniemergency kit is and how it can easily fit in her purse while still providing access of all those fabulous essentials. This gift idea is also a good one for mom. STARS: ****
Looking for something more traditional? Try a bottle of Champagne Laurent-Perrier’s Cuvée Rosé Brut. This rose champagne is produced from 100 percent Pinot Noir grapes. And according to the company, “it’s also full-bodied enough to stand up to a romantic dinner, pairing well with savory dishes such as duck or lamb.” Retailing for $100 a bottle, my taste tester said it was crisp, refreshing and the added strawberry, raspberries and black cherries undertones made it especially delicious when paired with dessert. Available for purchase at Southern Wine and Spirits. STARS: *****
Another great bubbly option is G.H. MUMM Cordon Rouge ($45). Wine Spectator gave G.H. MUMM 92 Points. My testers really enjoyed this dry champagne. Looking for a more technical assessment? Well, according to the company, “Aromas of lemon and grapefruit, combined with the richness of firm, fleshy fruits such as white peaches, apricots and tart apples bring freshness and liveliness to the wine. These are followed by hints of vanilla, enriched with caramel; honeyed nuts also play their part.” My tester’s recommendation is, “buy a bottle for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day and taste this nice dry champagne yourself. STARS: ****
Lake Champlain Chocolates offers USDA organic chocolate bars are simply delish. The Vermont chocolate maker has made three exciting bars ($4 each) – 70 percent Peru Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Spicy Aztec. My tester raved about the Milk Chocolate bar and paired his with a nice robust red wine. If your Valentine wants more of a variety, Lake Champlain Chocolates’ New Revel Chocolates ($42) includes handmade truffle chocolate ganache with ingredients like rye whiskey, crème fraiche, espresso and black tea. My tester said that chipotle cinnamon was her favorite. STARS: ****
A candle can add a sense of romance and this Moroccanoil Candle with glass vase ($52) is simply beautiful. Scented with a Mediterranean theme (sand, ocean and sky) this candle is made in France from premium European wax. My tester loved the warm glow of the candle and tranquil scent it emitted. The candle is free of parabens, mineral oil and alcohol. Available for sale at Moroccanoil.com and Spa Nordstrom. STARS: *****
What girl doesn’t love shoes? Melissa and Mel shoes are fashionable and comfortable; and are a great gift option for your special someone. The company sent its Patchuli VII ($145) in red to my tester. These smoking hot shoes are oh so cute and perfect to pair with a pair of jeans and/or dress. Versatile and comfortable, these sweetly scented shoes are a GREAT gift idea this Valentine’s Day. And for you little Valentine’s check out Mini Melissa Ultragirl Bow ($55) shoes. A cute peek a boo toe and sweet ribbon detail make these shoes fit for a princess. My kid tester put them on and has yet to take them off. She’s also received numerous compliments from her friend’s mommies. Simply adorable. STARS: *****
This Valentine’s Day, The Estēe Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign is offering the Evelyn Lauder Dream Lip Collection in support of The BCA Campaign’s mission to defeat breast cancer through education and medical research.
Twenty percent of the $29.50 is designated to the Evelyn Lauder Dream Lip Collection. My tester loved the lip gloss that comes in a pretty light pink shade. For more information log on to http://www.bcacampaign.com/StrongerTogether or to purchase your Dream Lip Collection, log on to http://www.esteelauder.com/.
Japonesque Pro Performance Lip Lacquer ($20) is a nice thick lip lacquer that is of a perfect consistency and coverage. My tester loved this Lip Lacquer and her friend who also tried it was in love. According to the company, “the Japonesque Lip Lacquer is made of an enriched formula that hydrates and softens lips for incredible comfort and condition with no hint of stickiness.” Either way, it was a hit with my two testers; and is sure to make your lips more than kissable this Valentine’s Day. Available for sale at www.ulta.com. STARS: *****
Looking for a decent inexpensive wine to gift to a friend this Valentine’s Day? The Dreaming Tree Wines ($15 a bottle) is a collection of California-based wines from famous musician Dave Matthews and award-winning winemaker Steve Reeder. According to the company, “the Dreaming Tree Wines are committed to sustainability as the natural cork closure is sustainably grown, the bottle’s label is made with 100 percent recycled kraft brown paper, and the bottles are sealed with an eco-friendly sealant.” My tester enjoyed his sample bottles of wine and said he would consider purchasing the brand again. STARS: ***/12
If you want to up the anty, then try 2010 CADE Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($60/bottle); and or the 2011 Ehlers Estate ‘1886’ Cabernet Sauvignon ($95/bottle). My father generously volunteered to serve as the taste tester for the CADE Estate Cab. Now my father has been known to drink a bottle of wine in an evening. And he was simply enthralled with this wine. My taste tester isn’t a wine connoisseur but he does recognize a good wine when he’s drinking one. STARS: ***** As for the Ehler’s Estate ‘1886’ Cab, I gifted my husband with the honors of serving as taste tester. What’s nice about Ehler’s Estate wines are they are 100 percent certified organic. My husband really enjoyed the wine and said that it has a smooth clean robust flavor. He paired it with a nice big steak and rosemary potatoes. STARS: *****
PEEPS Valentine’s offering is extensive. The company sent samples of its chocolate dipped (milk or dark) crème flavored chicks (three count); chocolate mousse flavored marshmallow bears (six count); marshmallow hearts (two and six counts); chocolate (milk or dark) covered raspberry flavored hearts (individually wrapped); strawberry crème flavored marshmallow hearts (nine count; ) and sugar-free marshmallow hearts (three count). I hosted a playdate and set up a PEEPS tasting for the kids, ages three to six. The chocolate dipped chicks were the most popular, followed by the strawberry crème marshmallows. Be sure to buy a pack for your sweetie this Valentine’s Day. Available for purchase nationwide at grocery and drug stores, PEEPS & Company retail stores or at www.marshmallowpeeps.com. STARS: ***
Love letters are written with less frequently. As a hopeless romantic, I love receiving a love letter from my hubby of eight years. Consider gifting a Faber-Castell produced pen below from the Ambition series in lilac, mint and pink. The company was founded in 1761 and has a long history manufacturing quality writing tools. Retailing for $70.00, it is available for purchase at penboutique.com and amazon.com. Just make sure to gift the pen with a heartfelt and handwritten love letter. STARS: ****
Being pampered is always nice. But sometimes getting out of the house is hard to do. If your Valentine has a busy schedule, consider purchasing hera Red Carpet Manicure (RCM) Set ($79.99), the first at-home LED gel manicure system. Easy to use, this system has over 80 shades to choose from (sold separately). My tester was impressed she was able to administer her own gel manicure relatively easily but was slightly disappointed that one of her nails peeled after a week. Lucky for her she could re-do that nail in the convenience of her home. STARS: ***1/2
Another good gift idea comes From the Lab. From the Lab is the newest monthly subscription service designed to give every woman access to the best beauty products up to 18 months before they hit the shelves. Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving. According to the company, “From the Lab works with the best cosmetic labs in the world to create the most advanced and high-end skin care, hair care and color cosmetic products.” Subscribers receive full-sized samples of one, two or three products the first week of every month. Subscriptions are $19.95 a month. The company sent my tester full size samples of its Beauty No. Elixir 602 and Eye Serum No. 603. My tester is a beauty junkie who loves to try the next up and coming product(s) and she was happy to try From the Lab’s samples. Every month a different product is sent. STARS: ***1/2
Adore Me is an on-trend, online retailer that provides quality, affordable lingerie and swimwear for all shapes and sizes. Yes, all shapes and sizes. The site features intimates, sleepwear, bathing suites and plus size items. The company sent my tester its Klee DD+ with boy briefs; and its Quincy Contour DD+ and hipster panties. Made of high quality materials, these lingerie pieces are well made and extremely romantic. My tester liked the fact that the site had a wide offering of products that were tasteful and available in petite and plus sizes. STARS: ****
Looking for a little bling, bling for your Valentine. Lightinthebox.com’s 18k white gold plated crystal water drop necklace ($35.99) is a pretty bauble that’s a great gift idea for your tween daughter. An oversized crystal is set in plated white gold. My tester liked how large the crystal was. It’s a great fashion accessory. STARS: ***
1-800-FLOWERS has a bunch of beautiful arrangements and gifts to choose from this Valentine’s Day. The company sent me its Julep Cup Rose Arrangement ($49.99) which includes six large roses in a cute julep vase. This arrangement is great for mom or for your child’s teacher. Available in red, pink, yellow, purple, white or multicolored. STARS: ***1/2
Brooke’s new sneaker, Transcend ($160) comes in a cute hot pink color and sports a highly adaptive, cushioned midsole compound. Technology includes specialized plates built into the midsole providing stability; and ideal pressure zones that minimize pressure evenly in the heel, midfoot and forefoot. My tester loved the hot pink color and received numerous compliments on these cute sneakers. Plus she was happy with the comfort level they provide. Available in different colors and styles. STARS: ****
What to get the special man in your life? Check out the Van der Hagen Luxury Shave Set ($20-$25). The Luxury Shave Set includes a 100 percent pure badger brush, classic monogrammed apothecary mug, hypo-allergenic shave soap, and a combination brush/razor stand. Make note, the set does not include an actual razor. My male tester liked the feel of the shave soap; it was distinctly different than his usual dry electric shave. A nice way to treat your honey to an old fashioned grooming. Van der Hagen products are available at Amazon and DrugStore.com. It's also distributed at drugstores/pharmacies, including Walmart, Walgreens and CVS. STARS: ***
If you really want to impress your man, then consider the Casio Pro-Trek PRW3000 ($300). This technologically advanced watch has all the bells and whistles. Designed with the most innovative technological functions, the PRW3000-1 works via solar power and is also water resistant. My tester thought that the watch's digital compass with bearing memory was the coolest function; with the barometer coming in a close second place. The PRW3000 also sports an altimeter; multi-band 6 atomic timekeeping; thermometer; sunrise and sunset data; full auto EL backlight with afterglow; and a power saving function. STARS: *****
Want to give a gift that keeps on giving? Check out this nontraditional gift idea, the 2014 Entertainment Coupon Savings Book. The 2014 Entertainment coupon book features more than 250,000 locations to save across the United States and Canada, the 2014 edition of the iconic ENTERTAINMENT® book includes hundreds of 50 percent off and two-for-one discounts. Members have access to thousands of dollars of savings from local, regional and national brands all while supporting local schools and fundraising efforts. Savings are available for restaurants, groceries, shopping, services, movie tickets, travel, car care, local sports attractions and much more. My tester was impressed with the wide range of options included in the ENTERTAINMENT book. A great gift idea for your child’s teacher. STARS: ***1/2
Disclaimer: I and/or my testers were provided with product samples or loaner products but all opinions are solely mine and/or my testers.