"How Do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, but on Valentine’s Day you can bet your loved one will be doing the tallying. Simply adored? Passionately lusted after? Affectionately tolerated? There’s a gift for that... just get in touch with your feelings (really plunge, guys, think of it as reaching for the last can of beer from the icy bucket), then see which one of these descriptions/sonnet lines matches them best. Next to the description is a gift idea, hand-selected, bound-to-be-perfect, and not-so-coincidentally, available right here in Knoxville. Just a few simple steps and the dreaded, er, long anticipated lover’s day is all taken care of.
Just how do you love thee, thou—ugh. Him or her? Start your count:
Naples has been voted Knoxville’s most romantic place to eat for 20 years, and with its classic Italian, luxurious desserts and award-winning wine list, it lives up to its reputation. Reservations for Valentine’s Day go quickly, but remember, Naples speaks the language of romance any time.
She need a reminder that she’s the stylish, hip, object of your desire? Help her remember with Versace, Anne Klein, Prada, Ray Ban, or Polo sunglasses from Luttrell’s. You pick ‘em, or surprise her with a drive-by shopping expedition.
Any piece from the 30 American jewelers presenting at Hanson’s Valentine Jewelry Trunk Show is going to have lasting value and beauty. Consider artist-crafted jewelry (like the necklace from Knoxville artist Wendy Seaward, pictured), paperweights, fine wood jewelry boxes, purses, handbags, and scarves. What you choose is a matter of taste—very good taste.
Theater tickets are always a grand gesture for a heartfelt love, and this French romantic farce from Pierre Marivaux’s of 18th century fame is fun, too. Just this once, make theater plans for the two of you (not her and her sister)—the romance is catching.
Take your man to a “real guy” concert. Asheville’s Toubab Krewe brings their signature West African Rock ’n’ Roll hybrid to the party; Athens natives Dubconciscious continue the Jamaican tradition with their socially conscious Dub Reggae.
If you have to ask... just enjoy the taste and texture between consenting adults.
Lightweight fabric slip-ons printed with the words of Ghandi? How could you go wrong with a pair of these for your soulful Valentine? For every pair purchased, TOMS gives another to a child in need. And as for the Board Room, the local supplier of TOMS, they’ve got all TOMS products 20 percent off for February, and will add a hug for free.
Even conscientious greenies deserve a wonderful dining experience, and here you go. La Costa cooks Latino/Southern taste sensations never known before in Knoxville, and does it using all organic produce, free-range beef and chicken, and non-farm seafood, prepared fresh daily. And your sweet soul mate is bound to love the extensive wine and tequila selection. Margarita, sweetie?
It just does not matter if you’ve been married 50 years or are working up the nerve to state your feelings for the first time—a cupcake gram is going to be a hit, male or female. Here’s how it works: You call or stop by the store to place your order of gourmet cupcakes and fill out a sparkly heart with your message (anonymous if you so desire). They wrap ’em up festively, and on Feb. 14 they call your lucky Valentine to come pick up the goodies. Gushing and sugar-inspired happiness ensue.
Let the scarf speak for you with its quote, “What comes from the heart goes to the heart” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It’s a striking, warm, oversized number from the hipsters at Bar Denim. You may want to take your time Valentines shopping this year, too--Bar Denim is a bar and boutique in one.
... 10 minutes before closing time Feb. 14 at the bar of your choice; barbecue potato chips from a vending machine with “I want your body” written on them with ketchup, book from the free bin outside McKay (unless you find a good one, keep that)
We all know who the hot undergarment gifts are really for—skip the pretense, and gift your guy with the kind of clothing that doesn’t stay on long—teddies, bustiers, silky jams, shortie satin robes in your size. Or, just use it to gift wrap yourself.
Pay a compliment to her hands with a gift certificate for neat-o nails. Laura’s famous for being friendly, plus the salon environment is odorless and drill-free. Waxing is half price on Saturdays through spring, if you want to be daring. Or choose a manicure, pedicures, artificial nails—or let her decide. And a treat for the gifter—come in for a gift certificate and get two free truffles from Cities Cupcakes.
Help her keep her cozy, beautiful creations clean and supple with this wool wash custom-created to pamper hand-knit clothing and the passionate people who wear it. Smell good scents include citrus, flora, and aquae, though there’s unscented, too. Don’t you just love the sensuous feel of natural fibers? How ’bout a long, slow hug?
These “wear ‘em every day” sterling silver beauties are a symbol of woman, the giver of life—or simply love everlasting.
A no-calorie way to revel in nature’s greatest aphrodisiac... Knoxville Soap, Candle & Gifts hand-crafts a limited edition of these chocolate-wafting soaps each Valentine’s Day, employing Hershey’s Cocoa and shea butter and wrapping it nice and pretty in cellophane with a red bow. If it sounds too good to be true, the store allows a test wash. And sniffs are free.
Love is upbeat and sweet with these heart-y gifts from the aptly-named Life Is Good line. Just the thing for platonic Valentines, too.(B) Jon Dee Comedy/Hypnosis Valentine Package $35
Belly laugh with your loved one at the 4:30 show—he’s billed as a “Christian performer,” but you still gotta be at least 16 to get in. The package includes two tickets, champagne, flowers, chocolate and teddy bear.
Bins and barrels and you choose just what you want—red hots, dark chocolate covered nuts, Mary Janes, the list goes on and on. And here’s the cool thing: Buy them as a conversation starter for a “maybe/maybe not” Valentine, and see if he or she picks up on your hint. SweeTarts? Now ’n Laters? Laffy Taffy? Ever heard of Squirrel Nut Zippers? And if it doesn’t work out, at least you can feel good knowing Mast donates $1 to Help the Hungry per pound of candy purchased.
Sophisticated, stirring — what better way than opera to express your passion and commitment than a night at the opera? A father’s curse, a philandering Duke, the death of an innocent — what a story line! And if you’re an opera newbie, rest assured, it’s all Italian, but they do provide projected English translations.
Your heartfelt adoration will be evident when you present her with a genuine heart shape amethyst set with diamonds surrounding on a multi-strand sterling silver chain. You can make it a set with a matching ring, or pick another heart pendant necklace from Markman’s “all price range” inventory—the 14K gold necklace with a rose gold heart superimposed on a white gold heart is a nice idea.
Go on, Big Guy, take her to a show where they’ll be laughing with you AND at you... Ford is one of HBO’s smart and funny “Women of the Night” and the package price nabs you two preferred admissions, champagne, teddy bear, flowers and chocolate.
Beauty and practicality combine in an arty bag your loved one can tote every day or save for special occasions. Memorable.
Share some joy with your Valentine’s favorite musicals on DVD--McKay has a lavish selection, including many of the hard to find, and they’re all more reasonably priced than the Internet (and hey, no shipping charges). You say you don’t share the love of Rent or Mulan? Pick up some video games for yourself at the same time.
He’s a keeper, right? Or at least inspires a different kind of love than what you share with your loyal kitty? Buy him music that shows you know the real guy, and love him anyway. Proven guy favorites include Lil Wayne Tha Carter 3 and Metallica Death Magnetic, or go for the soon-to-be flat-out famous sounds of the self-titled Fleet Foxes or alt rock Kings of Leon’s Only By the Night. If you can’t decide, bring him in for a session in the store’s listening booths—you might even have time for a quick stop at Comics Exchange a few blocks away on the way home.
So you don’t see eye to eye on her other soul mate. You’ll both agree that “me time” at this nurturing, stylish hair salon is always a good thing. Here’s to a month of good hair days, and all the sensuality they shall inspire—if her cat says its okay.
So you never actually get on the plane and do the Eiffel tower bit—it’s still Tres Romantique to take your loved one to a little sidewalk cafe for crepes in the French street style: savory, chocolate, strawberry, maple, you choose. Make it a suave luncheon repast, or perhaps a late breakfast, oo la la.
A his or hers gift—head out for a roarin’ good time at Ray’s, with its live music, sports viewing on (count ’em) 40 big-screen TVs, and even a glam section with a wine and martini bar. Go for Feb. 14, or just make a promise for a later hot date.
Whether you’re still trying to catch her attention or long ago won her heart, these luxurious, decadent fresh strawberries dipped in the South’s Finest white chocolate will let her know she’s number one. Sold just three days — Feb. 12-14 — choose from one-pound and half-pound sizes, but don’t worry about pre-ordering. And with 100 different handmade items at the ready, the South’s Finest will take care of any sweet your sweet could desire.
Rose quartz is the stone of conditional love, and lore and loyal New Agers will tell you every goddess simply adores it. Tap some of that good karma for yourself with a crystal for your love. Or, if you’re not feeling that adventurous, rose quartz encirled in sterling silver for a pendant is fit for a goddess, too.
This is a limited edition from Dogeared Jewelry, a beautiful reminder to live in a spirit of love and spread positive energy. Dogeared donates 100 percent of the net profits from this necklace to One Voice, a Santa Monica, Ca. family assistance non-profit. Feel the good karma flow.
If you’re genuinely strapped for cash (as opposed to just stingy, or with way too many romantic partners who could reasonably expect a gift), these nice gestures won’t break the bank: Relaxing salt bath crystals. $7, Zumkiss shea butter lip balm, $4, (Green Earth Emporium, 588-9882), a packet of heirloom seeds from historic Ramsey House, $2.50 (ramseyhouse.org), 3 oz. Endangered Species organic milk or dark chocolate bar, $5, (Gourmet’s Market, shopgourmetsmarket.com)
Let Sally’s Alley take the guesswork out of buying an outfit for the woman whose clothes make a Boheme statement. She’ll love your taste, you’ll love the look. Handknit peace sign purse by Kathmandu Imports, $35; hand crochet scarf, $22, Vocal Burnout bejeweled T-shirt, $44, Big Star jeans, $57.
Very special special rolls, steaming hot pork dumplings, hibachi, generously portioned sushi-roll meals and a spacious, contemporary dining room design add up to a cool evening out. And you and your cool date can get cold beers, too.
That guy who mutters and mumbles and just might like you? Disarm his defenses with this wealth of advice from a real live nine-year-old boy. Or, give it to a gal-friend who needs a good laugh. It’s tough to ignore results-guaranteed tips like, “Control your hyperness (cut down on the sugar if you have to)” and “Don’t act desperate.”
Romance is in the air, Cupid is on the wing... so why not tonight if you’re going to pop the question? Markman’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry will help you choose a diamond right for your lifestyle—now, and forever—and set it off in style. Markman’s has been voted Best Jeweler by Metro Pulse readers each year since the contest began in 1994, and they are very pleased with ScottKay’s Crown setting (pictured), an engagement ring that can be made in many price ranges. The jeweler also features other impressive designers, such as Tacori and Ritani, but don’t feel intimidated. The experts at the store are gracious and informative, and they’ll guide you the whole way.