Valentine’s Day 2011 Gift Guide

Chicago Valentine's Day
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Roses are red, violets are blue, if you don’t know what to give your Valentine, let us help you! Gifting your significant other/crush/friend flowers on February 14th has become a tradition… a boring one. So, this year spice up your gift giving with something that will ignite their senses and at the same time show a little love to your favorite city: Chicago.

Vosges Chocolates
This self-proclaimed Haute Chocolat Boutique offers sweet, spicy, salty and everything in between to satisfy a coco fling or the chocolate aficionado. Visit one of the boutiques to taste chocolate bars infused with bacon, chilies, curry, wasabi, goji berries and more! A unique blend and ratio of milk or dark chocolate with some of these exotic ingredients create an enticing sweet treat. Some of Vosges most popular Valentines gifts are: The Comfort Food Tower, the Bacon and Chocolate Gift Box and The Aphrodisiac Hat Box.

Locations: 951 W. Armitage (at Sheffield) & 520 N. Michigan Avenue (North Bridge Mall)
& O’Hare International Airport 5600 N. Mannheim Road
Website: vosgeschocolate.com

Hershey’s Chocolates
Why not give the gift of kisses? Chocolate kisses that is! A gift from Hershey’s Chocolate Store on Michigan Ave is one that is just as fun to give as to receive. Become a “factory worker” for the day — spin wheels and turn knobs to create a bucket filled with her favorite combination of Hershey’s Chocolate. Customized gifts show an extra personal touch — you can print your picture on a candy bar or write your own message on the wrapper of a giant kiss. While you’re at it, why not reward yourself with a Hershey’s hot chocolate for all your efforts? Milton Hershey was inspired and purchased a chocolate making machine at the 1893 Chicago’s World Exposition, so this is a gift that’ll never go out of style.

Location: 822 North Michigan Ave.
Website: hersheys.com/discover/chicago

Sprinkles Cupcakes
Satisfy their sweet tooth with a flavorful creation from Sprinkles. The XOX box is tempting with red velvet, chocolate marshmallow and classic dark chocolate and vanilla cuppys adorned with X’s and O’s and heart-shaped sugar decorations. The store is quite petite, so ordering online for pickup (or even delivery) is recommended as the holiday nears. Sprinkles Cupcakes is new to Chicago and opened its doors in the summer of 2010.

Location: 50 East Walton Street
Website: sprinkles.com

Old Town Oil
This gift will leave that special someone asking, “Hey good lookin’ whatcha got cookin?” Balsamic vinegars, olive oils and flavored oils and vinegars are imported from around the world to this specialty shop in Old Town and are the tastiest gift for the foodie in your life. Perfect for everything from salads to steaks!

Location: 1520 North Wells Street
Website: oldtownoil.com

The Noble Grape
The phrase “noble grape” describes grapes that are associated with the highest quality of wines. But I’ve always thought this shop earned its name from its noble prices. Most bottles are affordable, displaying a price tag under $30. The Noble Grape also carries sparkling wine, sake, and specialty beers. Show off your great taste by bringing your Valentine a bottle of wine… or two. Local artists works are also on sale at reasonable prices and rotate every six months.

Location: 802 N. Bishop at Chicago Ave
Website: noblegrape.net/resources.html

Mario Tricoci Massage
Give the gift that will have them saying ooohhh and aaahhh. Nothing is more relaxing and stress relieving than a deep tissue massage. Mario Tricoci offers a serene and professional environment conducive to your loved one’s well-being and mood, which is sure to lift your spirits, too!

Location: 900 N. Michigan Ave. Lower Level & various suburban locations
Website: tricoci.com

Twosided Cards, Gifts & Artful Things
I have a “store crush” on Twosided! Their selection of handmade cards (some by local artists) always make me laugh and can even make me blush. One cute card reads: “Do you like me? Circle yes or no.” Others are sassy and downright tongue-in-cheek. This year skip the Hallmark store and give them something unique and memorable. Twosided also carries vintage home goods, candles, journals, magnets, posters, antiques, artwork and more.

Location: 2958 North Clark Street
Phone: (773) 244-6431
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-7pm; Sun 12pm-6pm

About Natalie Scheid

When Mattel manufactures your idol and your nickname is Barbie life can get pretty unreal. My favorite activities include cheering on the White Sox (I’ve been converting Cubs fans since 1986), meeting new people and writing on the rooftop with the skyline as my backdrop. You might be able to find me at the opening of a new hot spot, soaking up some culture at a local museum or art show, or enjoying one of the cities fabulous festivals. So…. catch me if you can!

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