It’s probably one of the corniest holidays in existence, because without fail, February becomes a month filled with heart-shaped balloons and candy, endless amounts of chocolate boxes and bouquets, and stereotypical nods to cheesy eroticism through red silk boxers paired with bow-ties. Seriously, give it a rest. Now, I’m not trying to be completely cynical, but when I think about Valentine’s Day and how commercially warped it is, I quickly lose interest. I want to celebrate Love everyday of the year, but if I’m going to dedicate a specific day to demonstrate it, then I’m going to do it in a very special way.
Typically, Valentine’s Day gifts are more novelty in nature: We’re talking teddy bears, rose bouquets, themed underwear, and dinner at either a too fancy or too crowded restaurant. I think it’s time we step it up and not only think smarter about these gifts but also add the element of an experience that you and your special someone can share together. (Sidebar*, Love doesn’t have to only be celebrated romantically. Your friends and family can share this day with you too.) Here’s a list of 20 experiential Valentine’s Day gifts that will help create memorable moments rather than forgettable, novelty riff-raff.
AtlasCoffee Club, is a travel-themed coffee club that explores the world of coffee and culture! From Papua New Guinea to Peru, Burundi to Brazil, each month they highlight a new country! (Retail: Gift Subscriptions starting at $60)
The Nostalgia Electrics Chocolate Waterfall creates a steady fountain of edible chocolate. Perfect to dip cakes, fruit and marshmallows. A great addition to your dessert spread for your and your valentine to enjoy together. (Retail: $49.99)
Indulge in a collection of face, bath, body and gourmet treats, made with nature’s candy – honey – an excellent source of nourishing antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. And for the guys, Lather created a survival kit for men on the go, with travel sizes of their favorite face, body, and hair care essentials. (Retail $48-$58)
Flowers and jewelry are always romantic gestures but what’s more fun, entertaining, and memorable than spending a delightful afternoon or evening with your significant other, enjoying delicious food and being immersed in stunning works of art and beach culture? Feast Laguna is a culinary/food tour operator based in the beautiful beach community of Laguna Beach, CA. They offer tasty and entertaining food tours that are expertly led by knowledgeable and friendly Laguna local guides. (Retail: $75-$79)
For the crystal lover in your life, Vitajuwel has updated their original Love Gem Water Bottle to include garnet and clear quartz. If you’re a deeply romantic soul looking to inspire love, and deepen devotion, this latest incarnation of the Love gem-water blend awaits… (Retail: $98)
As seen on season 8 of Shark Tank – BasicOutfitters‘ Create-a-Drawerallows guys to ditch their worn out attire and replenish their wardrobe with up to 17 pieces of high-quality basics in under two minutes with a collection of high quality and fashionable socks, underwear, tees, and joggers delivered right to their door for only $60 (a $120 value).
ISlidesare the only fully customizable, sought-after slide sandal sweeping the world on the feet of athletes and celebrities like Madonna, Dwyane Wade, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Diddy, and many more. Maker of DJ Khaled‘s famous “Bless Up” and “Another One” slide sandals, ISlide fuses fashion with athletics and has partnered with Neiman Marcus, the NBA, and a number of other teams, brands, and organizations for custom designs. ISlides can be designed to match anyone’s personality with pictures, phrases, emojis and more – or choose from hundreds of pre-designed collections from French Montana, Nickelodeon, NCAA colleges and more. (Retail: $49.99)
As seen on Good Morning America, PediPocket is 6 feet of super soft microfiber fleece that has a clever foot pocket to keep your toes toasty. Use it at home, at the office or take it while traveling. Plus, it’s machine washable and dryer friendly. Perfect for cold winter days spent snuggling up on the couch with your Valentine. (Retail: $39.99)
Among all the texts and tweets, send your Valentine a meaningful handwritten message with the original line of modern photo greeting cards from Tell It WellCards! Each card is 4 x 4 square (Polaroid size) and is printed on sustainably sourced and recycled paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. 10% of sales go to provide small business microloans to women in poverty in the US and around the world for the Whole Planet Foundation. (Retail: $4 – $20)
Show your friends and family how much you care with the Gratitude Glass Love Jar. Fill the jar up with love notes that can be enjoyed all year long! Named “the gift that keeps on giving” by Oprah and featured among the 102 gifts of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2017 List, the Gratitude Jar from Gratitude Glass Jars has driven a movement – inspiring others to love themselves and the people around them. (Retail: $45)
During Valentine’sDay week (Feb. 10-16) we’ll be offering a special Sweetheart’s New York Strip Steak with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Blood Orange Sauce. The recipe takes only 35 minutes to make and fool-proof for even the most novice home cooks. As one of HelloFresh‘s Premium recipes, this dinner is undeniably special. With strip steak, brown sugar mashed sweet potatoes, and roasted Brussels sprouts, this dish has tenderness, sweetness, and warmth—just like any solid relationship. It’s topped off with cranberries and a sauce based on blood orange—two fruits that have a romantic red hue. (Retail: $59+ for a 3 meal box for 2 people)
Do Valentine’s Day differently this year with BOXFOX and their limited edition 2018 collection of pre-curated themed boxes. Available online until Feb. 18, each box is a thoughtful assortment of gifts that allows you to show you care on the most romantic holiday of the year. If you want to really show your creativity, you can curate your own custom BOXFOX with their BUILD A BOXFOX platform and and select whichever items your heart desires. (Retail: $30 – $200)
Customized gifts are always a great idea. Soufeel Jewelry’s personalized pieces are your easy solution. For once, you can find the perfect gift for everyone on your list without having to sacrifice meaning or thought! (Retail: $19.95 – $49.95)
14. The Mondrian Staycation
Being in love never felt so good. Celebrate your romance with this package that includes an in-room couple’s massage and dinner at the Doheny Room ($150 sbe gift card provided). Followed by a nightcap for two at Skybar. Then end it all with a turndown service including champagne and rose petals. Price point for the hotel stay plus the package is ($800)
Think Pink this year for Valentine’s Day with Barefoot Wine’s Bubbly Pink Moscato & Brut Rose selections. Everything is better with wine, and Barefoot is trusted and true for this occasion. This is one of SoCal Mag’s favorites!
Every year, without fail, a handful of people from your holiday gift list slip through the cracks and you’re left scrambling to find the perfect gift. It’s bad enough that the hectic shopping environments of the holidays can be pretty stressful, trying to figure out a good gift on top of that can be quite tedious. SoCal Mag wants to put some ease on the last few days leading up to Christmas day, so we’ve compiled a list of 20 affordable and fun gifts that almost anyone on your list would be sure to enjoy. In no particular order, check out our top picks below.
The PodPocket is designed with the Apple customer in mind; those who appreciate both form & function. The pocket is precision molded from high grade silicone to provide a secure fit for the AirPods charging case and it comes with a premium key ring and clasp so that it can be attached to a bag or keychain and the open access along the bottom allows charging while the AirPods are still in the PodPocket. A small investment to protect a larger one & the perfect Home For Your AirPods. (Retail: $19.99)
Macaron for Hair®, a travel-sized Parisian-chic detangling brush and mirror compact that is every bit novel as it is functional. Perfect for every age, gender and hair type, it comes in a rainbow of “flavors”. The removable cover protects bristles from being bent, broken and dirtied inside your bag, and offers a compact mirror for easy styling on the go. The ergonomically designed shape allows for optimum comfort and balance in any hand, compared to conventional hairbrushes. Not to mention it’s shaped like a delicious macaron! (Retail: $12.99-19.99)
PortePlay is an amazing new tech accessories line designed to organize all of your cables, adapters, chargers, memory cards, phone and all of your electronic gear! Even better, all prices for PortePlay accessories retail under $20.00! • Durable Textured Fabric. Crafted from long lasting materials, including heavy duty zippers and sturdy fabrics. • Easily accessible and created to travel with you so you can stay connected on the go. • View items at all times through the zippered mesh compartments and customized elastic loops without having to pull everything out of your bag.
Earlier this year, Pacific Shaving Company disrupted a decades old industry by releasing a breakthrough grooming product — Single-Use Shaving Cream Minis, a proprietary formula of rich shaving cream encapsulated in single-dose water-soluble “pods.” These unisex Shaving Cream Minis are the first commercial cosmetic product to use this technology. Just wet, lather and shave. No mess and zero waste. Perfect for stocking stuffers. (Retail: starting $7.99)
Based in Los Angeles, California, RALLY makes unique monochrome socks, beanies, tees, long sleeves and other skate wear. For every RALLY sock sold, one is donated to America’s homeless youth through our charity partner, My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is a Los Angeles based non-profit that supports Los Angeles’ homeless youth population through meal services, housing and job programs, and other social services. On each visit to My Friends Place, a young person accessing services receives a new pair of socks. Socks help a young person experiencing homelessness feel cared for, and can prevent foot ailments caused by walking all day in cold or wet weather. Our 2018 Goal is to provide My Friend’s Place with 20,000 pairs of socks, which would cover their supply for the year. (Retail: $15.00)
PRÊTE is a membership for blowouts at the best salons in the city, located in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego (as well as others across the country) and expanding every day! They are great gifts for the last minute shopper because the gift certificate is completely digital so there is no need to worry about shipping. Prices are as follows: One Blowout for $35 | Three for $99 | Five for $145 | Ten for $285
In the spirit of The Soul Searchers Handbook, this guide offers a fresh approach to healing crystals with advice for selecting, preparing, and using crystals for meditation and energy healing. If you’re feeling worn out, uninspired, and unmotivated, you can change your energy with the help of crystals. Crystal Bliss provides you with everything you need to harness the innate energy and vibrations of crystals. This guide walks you through the process of selecting crystals, cleansing and preparing them for use, and incorporating them into your meditation and energy healing process. With the help of Crystal Bliss, you can learn how to boost your own energy, beat back negative vibes, open your heart to love, manifest wealth, and promote good health. (Retail: $14.00)
San Diego nonprofit KitchensforGood (KFG) has created a new festive Savory Spreads Gift Setwhich is now available on its web site, just in time for the holiday season. More than just jars of mustard or jelly, each purchase of Kitchen’s for Good’s Savory Spreads Gift Sets supports KFG’s mission to break the cycles of food waste, poverty, and hunger in San Diego. Perfect for a holiday present, or simply for flavor and spice enthusiasts, Savory Spreads Gift Sets include three of the organization’s most popular retail products launched earlier this year at local farmer’s markets: Apple of My IPA Jelly, Drunk Mustard, and Orange You Glad We Called it Marmalade. The Holiday Gift Set comes in a festive box with gold confetti wrapped in gold ribbon. (Retail: $22.00 + shipping)
The only yoga mat and towel that become one. The OMie Mat and Towel Set is built to go everywhere and do everything with you. Our product is all about performance. It is a favorite among hot yoga and vinyasa flow enthusiasts. Our durable and lightweight mat is made from natural rubber, so it’s eco-friendly and nontoxic. Its nonslip design provides excellent traction through every Sun Salutation. The soft, absorbent microfiber towel gives you perfect grip, even when wet. Durable zippers quickly and easily secure it to the mat on both sides, so you can keep your focus on your practice.(Retail: $39.99-149.99)
Goddess Garden, known for their high-quality, certified-organic sunscreens and facial care, introduces a new line of essential-oil roll-on perfumes and aroma therapy bracelets, just in time for the holidays. The perfumes are scented with pure essential oils, and are free from synthetic fragrances, phthalates and mystery chemicals. The new Aromatherapy Bracelets and Bracelet Blends use the benefits of essential oils in combination with energetic stones to help wearers find their own desired state of mind.(Retail: $14.99)
This holiday season, Number 4 High Performance Hair Care makes holiday shopping quick and easy with four Mini Darling hair kits. Each petite product collection has been designed to complement the lifestyle needs of anyone you may be shopping for – the health and wellness expert, the festival flower child, the fitness fanatic, and even the savviest social media maven. You can find something for everyone in your inner circle and beyond! All Number 4 High Performance Hair Care Mini Darling Holiday Gift Sets are available at fine salons, spas, and retailers nationwide and online. Each include a mix of Hydrating, Volumizing, Styling and Essential products with Anti-Aging, Color Protecting, Vegan, Paraben/ Gluten/Sulfate Free formulas, fine fragrances and organic botanicals. (Retail: $20.00 – 25.00)
13. BevMo! Nickel Wines
BevMo!’s 5 cent wines are quality wines at a great value. You buy one at retail price and the second is just a nickel. You can either keep one for yourself or kill two gifts in one trip! Some of the most popular 5 cent wines in their Southern California stores are: Coppola Chardonnay Director’s Cut Sonoma Coast, Unruly Line, Matchbook Chardonnay, Dolce Vita Prosecco and James Bryant Hill Pinot Noir. (Retail: $20 + $.05)
BRINA insulated leather wine sleeves are chic, innovative, and is a perfect Host + Hostess gift to any holiday party. No need for any more messy ice buckets! All BRINA sleeves are made in Italy and come in three sizes: Wine, Sparkling, & Water/Beer. (Retail: $65.00 and up)
The Alikay Naturals Gift Set includes 1 luxury soy candle & 1 Deep Conditioner, an excellent humectant based deep treatment for getting maximum moisture into dry damaged hair. Penetrates deep into follicle to nourish and revitalize weak, dry, thirsty hair using benefits of natural ingredients such as Babassu and Sage, while Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds shine and softness. This Product is 100% Natural and 90% Organic. This luxurious candle features pure essential oils and wax produced from soybeans grown 100% in the USA. The exquisite glow creates the perfect ambiance for relaxation and rejuvenation after a long hard day at work. The natural biodegradable soy wax assures you receive the full quality over the entire 40 hour burn time. Relieving stress has never been so easy! (Retail: $35.00)
The Barnacle + by Speaqua is the world’s first 100% fully waterproof, floatable speaker with a 4GB built-in flash drive that can store up to 1,000 songs. It is designed to float with the speaker side facing up to always keep your tunes afloat, and allows for hands free calling, so, that you don’t have to be tethered to your phone to take calls (especially helpful if you’re using your Barnacle in the pool/ocean/bathtub!). It comes in a variety of colors and designs, and has basically merged convenience with functionality to redefine the possibilities of waterproof speakers. With the built-in suction design, users can stick the speaker to any smooth surface, and bring their music anywhere – on your surfboard, in the shower, in the pool, on your bike, etc. And, with the small size, you can easily stash in your bag, and go. (Retail $39.99 – 64.99)
Watches are timeless, and Timex offers a timepiece assortment for everybody on your list. Whether it’s for your classy BAE, stylish BFF, jet-setter sibling, comic-loving nephew or the extraordinary “rents”, Timex is the perfect gift. (Retail: $69.00 – 105.00)
Any seasoned road warrior can appreciate quality goods that are beautiful and function with multiple purposes! Take Case + Drift’s towel, a new twist on a Turkish classic, this compact, stylish piece will double as your scarf, beach towel, picnic blanket, yoga mat, sarong & more! Ever throw a wet swimsuit or muddy shoes in a plastic bag and hope it doesn’t leak in your luggage? Never again with the Drift Wet Bag. Pack wet clothes, toiletries & valuables to keep dry and safe while on your next journey! (Retail: $40.00)
FLWRFOOD strives to create innovative health & beauty products that you can seamlessly merge into your every day life. They proudly use all organic and natural ingredients including their secret weapon CBD! CBD, or Cannabidoil, is one of the 100+ Cannabinoids that make up the plant. Unlike the widely known THC, it is non-psychoactive so it does not produce a high .. however, it does pack a powerful punch! Accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract, it carries high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has shown great promise in its use for conditions such as anxiety, pain, psoriasis, seizures, cancer and more. (Retail: $16.00 and up)
Our favorite selection is the uniquely curated gift box, BoxFox. ‘Tis the season for gifting and what better way to look like a gift-giving pro, than with the BOXFOX holiday collection. Now available in small, medium and large sized boxes, each pre-packaged holiday BOXFOX takes the guesswork out of guessing what to gift someone with a selection of items for the home, kitchen, office, and beyond. (Retail: $41.00 – 157.00)
In the midst of the holiday season, we can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be single in Southern California and participate in the dating scene. It’s probably stressful and overwhelming, but we wanted to hear some expert advice on ways to navigate finding a good date during this festive time of year. We asked matchmaking expert, Erica Arrechea, co-founder of Cinqe Matchmaking, to give us her top 5 tips on how to find a date during the holidays.
The holidays are always recognized as a time when we get together with family and friends, reminisce about the year, and wonder about what is to come. If you’re single, this jolly season could also be a time for you to meet that special someone. After all, we all want what we see on the Hallmark Christmas movies, right? Check out my 5 tips on where and how to meet your mistletoe buddy this season.
1. Work-Out Activities
Don’t let the weather outside fool you; participating in exercise activities such as community volleyball, soccer, soul cycle, or even CrossFit classes could lead you into accidentally bumping into that cute stranger. A few of my close friends have met their significant other at a CrossFit class, so the odds are in your favor.
2. Farmer’s Market
Especially in SoCal, Farmer’s Markets are a non-stop social spot that is full of people all day, every day. Instant romance may not be what you think of when you go to pick up strawberries, though the opportunity of running into an old college friend or locking eyes with that hot guy picking up some avocados does sound promising. *Tip: Don’t wear sunglasses when you’re out and about. It makes it easier to make eye contact with people and to show off your beautiful smile. Works EVERY time.*
3. Reach Out To Your Old Facebook Friends
Singles do not do this enough; reaching out to old Facebook friends that you haven’t spoken to in years is a great way to build up relationships again. Life gets in the way, we get busy, however, there’s always the chance of reconnecting. And who knows? That quick FB message to your high school acquaintance could lead to a few drinks or a nice dinner.
4. Go To The Driving Range
Ladies, this one’s for you. There are ALWAYS guys at the driving range. No matter what time of day, year, anything, it is inevitable that there will be a bunch of men hanging out and enjoying themselves at a driving range. So, why not add yourself to the equation and get to know a few of them?
5. Be Your Own Event Coordinator
What do you do when you first move to a new area and haven’t met anyone? You seek out what the best hot-spots are and you go out and try to mingle with new people. Finding a date is very, very similar. Organize a small event (let’s say inviting a group of your friends to that delicious brunch spot), and ask everyone to bring at least one friend who the group hasn’t met. Something as simple as that could lead to new connections, and an overall good time.
Finding a sweet, fun holiday date can be a lot easier than we expect. Implement some of these tips into your dating life and be open to new people and experiences. If you’re really serious about finding love in the upcoming year, but don’t have the extra funds to commit to a Matchmaker, know that Cinqe is always looking to add more singles to our free online network. Join our growing database of successful, attractive singles at Cinqe.com.
ABOUT ERICA: I grew up in a suburb outside of San Francisco, went to college in San Diego to study marketing, settled in the heart of Los Angeles in 2008. Early in my career, I began reading and following the teachings of Pat Allen, Brené Brown and John Gottman. I was inspired to start building a company with an innate desire for connecting people, whether for business partnerships, great friendships, or something more.
Connecting others enlightens me. Witnessing lasting and meaningful connections is an experience that’s unmatched. It’s been a humbling journey, with the special pleasure of being able to work alongside Patti Stanger, the Queen of my industry.
Welcome to Color Camp, the newest nail bar on Beverly Blvd. offering the most superior nail art services in town at affordable prices. I was able to preview Color Camp’s services for SoCal Mag before their upcoming grand opening, and as someone who’s never had any form of nail art on my hands, I had to maintain an open mind. I allowed the nail technicians at Color Camp to do what they do best, and that is making great nail art. The service at Color Camp goes far beyond any standard manicure I’ve ever had, as each step is completely curated by you, the guest, to have a perfectly customized experience.
The foundation choices start with three options: Polish, Gel, or Super Gel, all of which are 100% vegan. I opted for the Super Gel foundation which offers an average wear time of 2-3 weeks, while one of our volunteer models chose the Gel. Our nail techs paid attention to detail while servicing us, making sure that each nail was delicately treated and designed. The precision and care taken into the service is really what made the experience so much more enjoyable. I felt like I was in good hands, literally, as our nails were being transformed into works of art.
The end result was a set of perfectly lustrous nails with hologram foil strip art on each finger. I was thoroughly pleased with the end product, and apparently, the job was very impressive as I’ve had to get accustomed to so many compliments on my manicure. My nails feel healthy and strong, on top of looking amazing. I’ve been recommending Color Camp to my friends for days now, and I’m absolutely sure that I’ll be revisiting for another service soon.
Color Camp is located at 7607 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. To book an appointment, Click Here.
Like true Southern California residents, we here at SoCal Mag are avid fans of wine. With the countless offerings of beautiful vineyards all around us, we have access to some of the best wine selections available in the country. This week, for the trending #ThirstyThursday movement in modern day social media, we chose to highlight two very special wine offerings from the beautiful Moraga Vineyards of Bel Air. The most notable detail to these offerings is that both are products that spawned deliciously well despite a four year drought that affected Moraga from 2012 through 2016.
The 2013 Moraga Red Wine is aromatic using notes of cassis, briar, and cocoa along with hints of sandalwood, pipe tobacco, and wet sandstone. Upon tasting, this Red Wine holds power and certainly commands presence on the palette. The sandalwood and pipe tobacco are certainly present throughout each sip. It’s no wonder the intense process in creating this wine included pre-fermentation and for the grapes to be punched down by hand up to seven times a day along with extended maceration. The complete process averaged anywhere between 33 to 46 days, with the final product being bottled in August 2015. SoCal Mag’s recommendation is to drink this option with a decadent dinner that includes any heavy protein and/or pasta combination.
The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is fragrant with notes of citrus rind, citronella, fresh green apple, Bosc pear, Asian pear, and honeydew melon, then paired with floral notes of honesuckle and hints of pineapple and white peach. There is no doubt that this Sauvignon Blanc is one of Moraga’s star selections. The refreshing highlights of citrus throughout this wine are light and invigorating. It’s certainly a favorite for us, and is really aligned well with the Summer season. The sweetness naturally blends well with a SoCal brunch party or even a dessert pairing.
To learn more about the Moraga Vineyards and to subscribe to the Moraga Membership Club Click Here.