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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

There is a lot of pressure to find that right gift for that someone special any time, let valentines-Sweetheartsalone for Valentine’s Day. Here are some ideas that should help.

First, let’s deal with those traditional romantic standbys, flowers and sweets:

Rising rents have made both the neighborhood florist and bakery an endangered species. Teleflora, and 1-800-FLOWERS can prepare and deliver practically any bouquet and floral arrangement.
Counting calories should wait for another day, as companies such as Sweet Street, William Greenberg Desserts and Crumbs Bakery are all on the Web and get their sinfully delicious confections to consumers overnight.

If you want a healthier yet still tasty option, Harry & David has a Fruit-of-the-Month Club.

Many scientific studies are showing that red wine is good for heart health. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of Pinot Noir from the Pacific Northwest, such as Oregon’s Benton-Lane Winery. If you prefer Cabernet Sauvignon from Northern California, try a bottle from Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley or Clos du Bois from Sonoma. Nero d’Avola from D’alessandro in Sicily is another red option that has a full body and mild taste.

valentines-Sterling-CabernetIf you prefer other spirits, Grey Goose, Svedka and Stolichnaya all make smooth flavored vodkas. Johnny Walker has long been synonymous with quality scotch and there is no better time to enjoy it than in cold weather. Liqueur fans should try Cointreau, and the delightfully named Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, which mixes Tennessee whiskey with cherries.
It is not surprising that Valentine’s Day is more important than the Christmas/Chanukah holiday season for the jewelry industry. If you want to go all out, visit a Judith Ripka boutique.

If you want a quality necklace or bracelet at a reasonable price, there are plenty of options.  Companies such as Lia Sophia, Jennifer Fisher, Sweethearts Jewelry and Housewives Jewelry by Nancy Rosen, whose designs are worn by the ladies on Bravo’s various Real Housewives franchises, all sell products with prices under $100.

To keep your jewelry from tarnishing, Shine, a cleaning mousse from Colle Products gets the job done.

Watches are both practical and very cost-efficient. You can get a very stylish timepiece for avalentines-Stella-Fossil very small price. Fossil, Almar, Rumba Time and Armitron all make top-notch watches that will tell you the same time as such pricy lines as Tag Heuer, Rolex and Movado.

Handbags run the gamut in price and quality. Vera Bradley is popular with women because of its fun patterns, ample space and reasonable prices. Olivia + Joy and designer Danielle Nicole make fine wristlets and clutches.

Domestic goods can add a romantic touch. Luxor Linens, which manufactures plush bathrobes, also makes Egyptian thread bath sheets and high thread count linens.

Christiane Lemieux has quickly become one of New York City’s top interior designers. Kat Burki is another New York-area interior designer whose scented candle collection helps enhance evening ambience. The Museum of Modern Art Design Store is another good source for knickknacks for your home.

valentines-MoMA-powerEveryone wants to look their glowing youthful best, and it's no wonder that the skin care business is a billion dollar industry.

You can’t go wrong with body lotions, moisturizers and washes from such leading companies as Avon, Thymes, Clarins, Davines, Comfort Zone, Jack Black and Burt’s Bees.

The Body Shop and Bath & Body Works are good brick and mortar retailers that sell quality personal care products that fit nearly every budget. Sephora’s Lorac brand has quickly become one of the biggest selling cosmetics lines.

Amway’s ARTISTRY® brand has a new line that promises to get rid of wrinkles and other aging signs rapidly. You don’t need to know an Amway rep, as you can purchase products at the Amway website.

Women still outnumber men when it comes to consuming a lot of grooming products, and a few companies are smartly using humor to attract guys.valentines-ManCan

Demeter Fragrances, run by Great Neck resident and long-suffering NY Mets season ticket holder Mark Crames, has colognes that remind one of bubble gum, dirt, vanilla cake batter, and gin & tonic.

Not to be outdone, a company which calls itself Hey Dude (so much for subtlety!) makes shaving and other dermal products intended only for men.

Grit N Glory sells ManCans, which are candles made from recycled cans and have such masculine scents as gunpowder, pizza and sawdust.

You can always bring the elements of a spa home to you. Brookstone and Sharper Image have foot and calf massagers that relieve the inexorable aches and pains that come from exercising and merely standing. (Even though they’ve closed their retail stores, they still sell products via their websivalentines-Artistrytes. )

2(x)ist and Victoria's Secret's Pink line make playful and sexy undergarments for guys and gals,  respectively.

Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 are just some of the many retailers who sell NFL Women’s Apparel. Guys, if you want your girlfriend or wife to spend Sunday afternoons on the couch with you, this could be a smart purchase!

Smartbox, similar to the Entertainment books, lists spas, restaurants and myriad other activities one can share with that special someone at a bargain price.

Happy Valentine’s Day.



Sweet Street

William Greenberg Desserts
1100 Madison Avenue
New York City

Harry & David

Benton-Lane Winery
23924 Territorial Hwy.
Monroe, OR 97456

Sterling Vineyards
1111 Dunaweal Lane  
Calistoga, CA 94515

Clos Du Bois Winery
19410 Geyserville Ave
Geyserville, CA 95441

d'Alessandro - Azienda Agricola

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine
903 Parkway - Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler 
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Judith Ripka

Lia Sophia

Jennifer Fisher Jewelry

Sweethearts Jewelry

Housewives Jewelry


Rumba Time

Tag Heuer



For more jewelry options, see

Vera Bradley

Olivia + Joy

Danielle Nicole

Luxor Linens

Christiane Lemieux
155 Sixth Ave, 7th Floor
New York City
877-99-DWELL (877-993-9355)

Kat Burki
175 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06880

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Design Store



Demeter Fragrance

Grit N Glory
186 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002


The Sharper Image
877-819 4734


Victoria's Secret


Father’s Day Gift Guide - On the Road

There is no way for anyone to truly express their gratitude to the man who mfdg-Tajost shaped our lives, but Father’s Day is a great time to show appreciation. Here are some reasonably priced getaway gift ideas.

A lot of us have dads who taught us how to ride a bicycle. Just because you have grown up a little doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy a bike ride together. Raleigh and Schwinn make bikes for recreational riders of all ages, while Diamondback and Cannondale produce the racing variety that you see watching the Tour de France.

Read more: Father’s Day Gift Guide - On the...

Mothers Day Gift Guide

Let‛s face it -- there is no way that any gift comes close to giving thanks to the woman Mom-HDcookieswho raised and made us who we are today. Nonetheless, we should all try to give a little thank you even though mom will probably say that it‛s not necessary.

If there is any individual who deserves some pampering, it‛s Mom. There is no shortage of consumer goods that should put a smile on Mom’s face.

Watches are always the most functional of all jewelry items and you can find beautiful timepieces in all price ranges from Queens‛ own Armitron to the high-end Tissot Glam Sport designed by Indy Racing League driver Danica Patrick.

Sunglasses are another functional fashion accessory that come in all price points. Solstice and Revo are two brands that offer chic designs as well as maximum protection from ultraviolet rays.

It seems as if women never have enough pocketbooks. The Kipling Cross Body Bag, Treesje’s Aquarius Cross Body Bag and the PurseN’s Luxury Travel Tote are big enMom-Armitronough to handle everything for a night out or weekend away to a trip to the health club.

Speaking of the health club, there is no reason not to look fashionable and wear clothing that is functional as well.

Under Armour has come out with a Charged Cotton line of T-shirts that the company claims will dry five times faster than regular tees. Olympic gold medal skier Lindsey Vonn is one of its endorsers. Competing with Under Armour is REI’s Lightweight Polartec Power Dry V-Neck T-Shirt (say that one five times fast!)

If Mom is like the millions who enjoy practicing yoga at home, the Jade Yoga Mat is perfect for all stretching exMom-TravelToteercises. Another good accessory to have for stretching out for both relaxation and exercise is the Eskayel Pillow.

Moms deserve to treat themselves after a good workout, as well as for numerous other reasons. Harry & David has all kinds of chocolates, and yes, healthy fruit baskets as well, that everyone will enjoy. Godiva is still a majestic name in the chocolate world and it has even expanded into the world of chocolate liqueurs.

Everyone wants to look younger than their age. Clarins and Dr. Loretta (a company started by New York-born dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo) make numerous skin-care products that will help [Mom] look [her] best.

If you are stumped for ideas, there are a number of online sites such as and that are terrific resources.

NYC Stores: Toys 'R Us Times Square

Toys 'R Us -  Times Square has a Neon Ferris Wheel [pic: B.  Balfour]Whether you're a kid or someone connecting with their inner child, this Toys "R" Us store makes everybody feel like they're living in a huge fantasy world. It has several floors filled with stuffed animals, games, dolls, videos -- everything a kid can swoon for. But someone coming here doesn't need to buy toys; it's just enough to experience the fun of being there.

Girls who love playing with Barbie dolls will be ecstatic to see the giant Barbie area. But most amazing there in Times Square is a 60-feet-high indoor Ferris wheel -- that works! Each car on the wheel relates to a toy from Barbie, the  movie Toy Story, TV's Sesame Street and other favorites.

Read more: NYC Stores: Toys 'R Us Times Square

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