It’s Valentine’s Day and you don’t have a gift for the love of your life. You could stop at one of the chain drugstores on your way home and buy a generic box of candy and whatever greeting card is left on the rack, but there are much better options that are just as easy to buy today. The difference is that these gift choices will make you a hero when you walk through the door tonight. The “big five” Valentine categories are covered in this list: chocolates, flowers, fragrances, jewelry and lingerie.
Plants n Petals
Valentine’s Day Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You’ve driven down Westheimer a hundred times and always wanted to stop at the intriguing oasis in the midst of River Oaks’ tony shopping district. Today is the day you should finally see why that, since 1982, Houston’s social elite count on owner Abraham Hakakian to supply his remarkable floral arrangements and event décor at their weddings and parties. But that’s not even the half of it. His sprawling Westheimer store contains a gift shop, a blooming plant section, colorful silk flowers, water fountains, pottery, yard art and an amazing array of fresh florals. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you through the maze of choices to find a heartfelt gift to take home tonight. Premade Valentine’s fresh floral arrangements are available from $75; other flower arrangements and gift items start at just $35.
Araya Artisan Chocolate
Valentine’s Day Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Here you will find pure artistry and chocolate is the medium. For the last two years, local owners Stefano Zullian, his wife Carla and sister-in-law Silviana have made quite an impression with chocoholics at both their River Oaks and Katy stores. This trio creates edible masterpieces all handmade from scratch. The flavors are imported from around the world including the best chocolate from Venezuela. Their premium chocolate is sweetened with honey, not sugar, which makes Araya confections deliciously unique. The unexpected variety and combination of flavors will astound you and keep you coming back for more. Even the boxes are works of art. For Valentine’s Day gift giving try the limited edition gift box that is a keepsake unto itself. Heart boxed chocolates start at $15 and range up to $85.
The Original Fragrance Shop
Valentine’s Day Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Even before you open the door, you know you’ve arrived at the Original Fragrance Shop. A treasure trove of aromas wafts through the air in Roberta Obadan’s north side shop, just a half block off the Eastex Freeway. Tall glass cases house hundreds of cruets filled with fragrant oils with names like Jasmine, Watermelon, Honeysuckle and best seller, Diva’s Garden. The fragrances in this shop are not diluted with alcohol like famous name-brand perfumes. Here, a little goes a long way. Roberta will make up a 6-vial perfume variety pack of your choosing, right on the spot, for just $18. Also ask about organic hair products under her own brand name. Unique roll on perfumes, fragrant candles, shea butter body creams and bath oils all make very romantic Valentine’s Day gifts. Ask for the complementary gift wrap.
Related: Gift Guide for the Foodie
Rice Village Diamonds
Valentine’s Day Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. will stay open to accommodate customers who call ahead
You can’t go wrong with diamonds. Truer words were never spoken and it’s a phrase store manager Jeff Robichau uses to reassure customers who have a hard time deciding on a gift among the gorgeous pieces in this gem of a jewelry store. This is the place for one-of-a-kind rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. If you don’t see what you want on display, Rice Village Diamonds will create it for you. There is no high pressure here; just a relaxed shopping experience. Besides diamond jewelry and Citizen signature watches, the store also carries the Chamilia brand of the popular build a bead bracelets. Rice Village Diamonds is offering 20 percent off all in-stock diamond jewelry to make your Valentine’s day purchase more affordable. Gift wrapping is also available. Diamond jewelry prices start at $100.
Top Drawer Lingerie
Valentine’s Day Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A Houston institution for more than 25 years, Top Drawer Lingerie has built its reputation as the bra-fitting store in Houston. But gentleman, don’t let that stop you from shopping for a romantic and slinky gift that will light up the eyes of your lady-love tonight. The gracious staff makes all their customers feel right at home. They even keep records of all their regular customers so you won’t have to guess what size to buy. If you are new to Top Drawer and not sure about sizes, there are many lovely gifts in the sleepwear or loungewear categories that don’t require precise sizing. Top Drawer’s generous return policy means you really can’t go wrong, no matter what you buy. A quick gift wrap and you are on your way with a little something sure to please you both.
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Jan Cancila dishes out the details of Houston’s most fabulous weddings and events for Examiner.com. As the owner of Linen Queen Design Works, Jan works with brides and socialites to make sure their wedding and event is absolutely magical. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.