Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Think outside the chocolate box this Valentine's Day

Candy or flowers? If I had to choose one for Valentine's Day, it would be flowers. Love them any time, but especially in the dead of winter. It's like a shot of summer, a reminder of bright and warmer days ahead. This February, however, I'm tossing out hints of something different for Valentine's Day. Not just for me, but for everyone. Life needs a good stirring every once in awhile to keep it fresh and interesting. So, here are 10 not-so-common gift ideas that are sure to get your Valentine's attention.

Digital kisses
This month’s coolest gizmo comes just in time for Valentine’s Day. The "Kiss My Valentine" APP enables you to send your sweetheart kisses, hugs and Valentine wishes via your Smart phone. Feel poetic? Send a digital custom message in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or Chinese. It even stores and provides reminders (and progress) for activity related to those in the app user's contact book. "The Kiss My Valentine" APP is free until Feb. 14, or can be purchased thereafter for $4.95. For more information or downloads, visit Iconosys

What a hoot! 
If you're looking to earn brownie points in the “sense of humor” category, this is just the thing. Mattel's Sing-a-ma-jigs! The adorable, quirky, off-beat plush characters that stole the hearts of millions at Christmastime are back for Valentine's Day, and ready to sing. With the same endearing fuzzy elastic mouths and delectable tones, only this time the characters sing, "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" along with the character's usual chattering and harmonizing. Look for it at drugstores and toy shops for $12.99.

Give love a kick!
Cowboy boots like candy and flowers never go out of style. The Ariat Heritage Western boot is an exciting example of the spirited look steeped in cowgirl country tradition. It features an elegant stitch pattern, dress leather sole, and a comfortable footbed, so they can be worn for a day or night on the town. Also stylish and comfortable is the Ariat boot for him. Approximate cost: her, $160; his, $179-$220. Look for both styles at Chester Boot Shop, 28037 Gratiot Ave., Roseville. Call (586) 779-6162, or visit Chester Boot Shop 

Outpouring of love
For every bottle of Flip Flop wine sold, Underdog Wine Merchants will provide one pair of flip-flop sandals to Sole4Souls, the international shoe charity dedicated to providing free footwear to those in need. For more information, visit Underdog Wine Merchants and Soles4Souls

Healthy heart
The FitKit is a compact and portable workout kit featuring fitness tools, a pedometer with safety alarm, reflective arm band, exercise techniques specific to where you plan to work out: home, work, dorm, or golf course. 
Each kit is $29.95. For more information, visit Fit Kit

Green hearts
She'll love the Eco Lunch Box Kit not just because it's eco-friendly, but because it is an awesome set featuring a stylish lunch bag and stainless steel food containers. The kit is a tad pricey at $30-$45, but it is 100 percent plastic-free, waste-free, lead-free, BPA-free, PVC-free, vinyl-free and likely to outlast 10 of your less expensive kits. And this one comes with a spork! Look for the Eco Lunchbox at Root and Sprout, 474 North Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham, (248) 593-9552 or visit Eco Lunchbox

Tick-tick goes the heart
The red carbon fiber pocket watch from Things Remembered is not only practical for the guy on the go but stylish. Its silver case allows for plenty of sentiments, too. Cost: $75, plus engraving. 
Also from Things Remembered is a personalized heart-shaped compact mirror that comes in a snug red pouch. Cost: $14, plus engraving.

Love to read
From sweethearts and spouses to family and friends there is a book for everyone you care about. Ask for hints or check with the bookstore regarding new releases such as:  "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest," by Stieg Larsson (Knopf, $27.95), the third volume about a Swedish hacker and a journalist; or "The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood" (Harper Collins, $27.99), a biography by Jane Leavy, former feature writer from the Washington Post.
Diamonds aren't delicious
What's for breakfast, whatever your heart desires. At Me & Goji your sweetheart can create customized cereal online from 60-plus ingredients such as granola, pecans, coconut and blueberries. Click and drag them into a virtual bowl; name the creation, upload a picture right to the label and instantly tally the benefits, and the price, which is $5 for 21 ounces. Within a week, a recyclable canister of your signature cereal will arrive. Bonus: the co-founder grew up in Rochester Hills and attended Adams High School. Visit

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