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Editor’s Picks: My Recommendations for a Good Valentine’s Gift

From worthwhile reads to vintage selections, here’s an eclectic list of Valentine’s gifts that will make your significant other—or yourself—feel special

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been more into giving (or receiving) practical gifts lately. It must be the pandemic and how everyone’s being more mindful of their finances and resources. Whether I’m splurging or being frugal about gifts, I always make sure that the item in question will last for many years.

But I will admit to desiring completely random—borderline impractical, even outrageous—gifts for the same reason: the pandemic. There’s a small voice in my mind that always tells me, “F— it, we don’t know what’s happening tomorrow. So buy that safari jacket even if you’re not going out as much yet!” (True story, I did buy a lovely khaki linen one last year. It hangs with pride in my closet.)

And with the month of love upon us, I’m sure you’ll find yourself somewhere within (or between) these two broad categories. Whatever it is you’re in the hunt for that special someone—or if you’re into self-love and blessedness, that’s cool, too—I’m sure that your gift’s going to be filled with love and intention. May I humbly suggest a few ideas?

Reading is fundamental, knowledge is sexy

My friends will call me biased here because I’m a literature major, but in the age of fake news and disinformation, critical thinking has never been more important—and sexy, dare I say. 

Besides, I will take any opportunity to promote our local books because really, we have a treasure trove of writers, information, and literary works that will open your minds and worlds. 

If you’re into sharp, witty, and insightful essays that range from social commentary to pop culture, Jessica Zafra recently released the 25th Anniversary Edition of Twisted. Gideon Lasco’s “The Philippines is Not A Small Country” will make you rethink and review both daily and major issues of the country, realizing that—as the book’s title suggests—the Philippines goes beyond a heritage of smallness. 

But I can’t let this section pass without recommending one of my most favorite books about love and its idiosyncrasies: “Para Kay B,” celebrated and award-winning writer Ricky Lee’s first novel, is a wild trip of a love story—five of them, in fact. And with a premise saying that love has a quota and that only one out of five will end up happily in love, how can you not be curious about what Lee has to say? 

Café dates at home

Hear me out here: there is something quite charming about having the various sounds and scents of a café right in the comfort of your own home. The droning of a coffee machine, the wafting aroma of freshly ground beans, or even the hissing sound of steam warming up some milk—aren’t they a feast for the coffee addict’s senses?

This is the whole premise of B Coffee Co.—to be your own barista at home. Their machines are a good introduction to the world of coffee capsules and making special brews in an instant, all within a good price range. 

And if the idea of throwing away too much plastic irks you, there are various reusable coffee capsules that are readily available in most e-commerce platforms. In this way, you can customize your own mix based on the ground coffee beans that you have at home. 

If the shoe fits…

Graffiti is the last thing that we expected to see on Tod’s classic shoes (as we expressed in our piece about their scribbled Gomminos), but it seems like Walter Chiapponi is running with that idea, even for Valentine’s Day. 

Available in limited quantities, these Tod’s classic Tab sneakers are decked with words by Vincent Van Gogh, written on the outer edge of the outsoles in a bright shade of red. The quote reads: “Love is something eternal: the aspect may change, but not the essence,” which somehow runs in line with Tod’s attitude toward craftsmanship and the classics. 

Vintage for Valentine’s? Groundbreaking. 

The gentlemen from Vittore Vintage Arsenal, Alec de los Angeles and JP Centeno, have prepared a fine selection of leather goods for Valentine’s. “We carefully handpicked five vintage bags from brands with rich histories and heritage stories that we see as prestigious in order to make our loved ones feel special,” they share.

The Ralph Lauren Keepall makes for a great travel companion, while the Thom Browne Briefcase fits the dapper workaholic’s lifestyle. “Because of their familiarity in design, construction, and timelessness, these brands will absolutely give you that nostalgic feel,” they add. 

You can check out the rest of the list on Vittore’s Instagram page. You can also browse Vittore’s other selections on their website. 

Quality time is a love language 

I’ve been spending a lot of time (no pun intended) scrolling through vintage watch resellers on Instagram, even if I’m not in the market for one. One such account I’ve bookmarked is Windsor Vintage Co. 

The page has a good selection of vintage timepieces from the 1940s—1990s, and the deals are quite easy on the wallet, as far as expensive watch standards are concerned. And even if some of the watches on the page are already sold, they’re still a good reference photo or post to save, as the account does a good job of providing interesting details about their wares. 

Most of the selections are quite unisex too, so there’s more quality time for everyone. In the age of smartwatches, I think gifting a good ol’ classic vintage watch is a special and charming gesture, especially for a loved one. 

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Lastly, I wish you all a happy Valentine’s, whether you’re spending it with a significant other (or others—we don’t judge) or by yourself. After all, in the words of the great RuPaul Charles, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

Here’s to love that wins, guys.

Gelo