Friday, January 22, 2010

Valentine's Day (or Any Day) Gift Guide

We're now about three weeks from Valentine's Day, the "holiday" people seem to either love or dread. Despite my track record on this day of the year, I've always thoroughly embraced it and approached it with a positive spin. I choose to be love, as some might say, and so I present you with a Hugger Food approved gift guide suitable for this or any occasion.

Late last year, I fell in love with the t-shirts from Blend Apparel. Blend's super-soft, eco-friendly t-shirts are made of organic cotton and bamboo with a percentage of gross revenue contributed to thoughtfully-chosen charitable organizations. All of their designs come in both male and female t-shirt cuts (price range is $24.99-29.99), not to mention the bumper stickers and posters available. I bought myself these three t-shirts (third image obviously borrowed from the website), which arrived with a sweet hand-written, personalized note and business cards to share:

I also really like these Valentine's Day (or any day!) appropriate designs:

One of my favorite hoodies ($40) also fits with the theme of today's post (image borrowed from the To Write Love on Her Arms website):

The To Write Love on Her Arms Mission Statement is truly beautiful and I encourage you to read it in its entirety when you have a moment. For now, I'll excerpt a couple lines so you're aware of their vision: "To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery."

If chocolate is what you're after, the best vegan chocolate assortment I've tried so far is the Sjaak's Organic Chocolates Nuts & Chews box available at Vegan Essentials, Pangea Vegan Store, Food Fight, and Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe for $8.50-9.99. These online vegan stores also carry a multitude of other chocolates and gift-worthy items.

Xan Confections chocolates seriously rocked my world the time I was lucky enough to sample them. Their Lifestyles Chocolates, which include the Saintly Sins and Jewel Collections (their other collections are NOT vegan, so please read the website carefully) are absolutely delicious, vegan, and gluten free. As a bonus, the Saintly Sins chocolates are also low-calorie, low glycemic, and diabetic friendly!

I'm dying to try these gorgeous Coracao chocolates made from sustainably-grown cacao trees!

Sweet & Sara has heart-shaped, Belgian-chocolate dipped vegan marshmallows for the holiday!

Some like to give luxurious bath and beauty products and you couldn't do better than Strawberry Hedgehog's hand-crafted, 100% vegan, all-natural products. From the inspired and delectable scents of their renowned soaps to the organic raw sugar scrub to customizable bath crystals, you're sure to find many things with which to spoil someone you love.

A Scent of Scandal offers tons of cleverly-named, 100% soy wax, lovely-smelling candles to set any mood you're seeking. There are seasonal Valentine's Day themed scents available now here ("Me So Thorny" rose scent, anyone?) in addition to all the other scents in their five categories.

If you're in the Los Angeles area and you want to spoil someone with lovingly-made and amazing cupcakes, check out Vegan Bake Sale, whose menu is what dreams are made of. Similarly, to spoil those you love with cookies, cinnamon rolls, biscotti, and more, C'est la V Bakeshop offers wonderful treats to satisfy the sweet tooth.

I'm sure you already know your options for incredible Valentine's Day (or any day!) restaurant meals and, of course, there is a plethora of remarkable vegan cookbooks from which to choose. When it comes to the cookbooks, may I suggest buying said cookbook to give as a gift and preparing a meal or a baked good from it as part of the gift?

For those of you who are skilled at baking, cooking, crafts, writing, art, and other creative things, thoughtful, homemade gifts are usually the best gifts! When something, including one's own precious time, is given from the heart, those are the gifts people remember most.

On Valentine's Day this year in Los Angeles, there will be an event benefiting Compassion Over Killing at 2 Headed Horse (1770 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles 90026). The event will run from 7 p.m. to midnight with the $20 ticket covering a drink ticket, delicious vegan food, music, dancing, karaoke, and more. I know it'll be a great event and it benefits a wonderfully worthy cause!

Whatever you decide, I hope you're at least inspired by all the stellar vegan gift options available to us for Valentine's Day, birthdays, holidays, or just any day. Oh, and please don't forget that it's fun to buy little gifts for yourself, too! We should always strive to treat ourselves well.

On an unrelated note, on January 31, we will be holding a Los Angeles vegan bake sale to benefit the relief effort in Haiti. Please see this post for details.


VeganLisa said...

What a great list of gifts that don't make me cringe. I really appreciate the suggestions. I love Blend shirts.


Hampers said...

Glad to go through your designs. They are really amazing. Can serve the purpose for Valentine's day gift.

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

Those chocolates look UNREAL! Thanks for this post. Happy early v-day.

trina said...

What a thoughtful list! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

i think that LOVE hoodie is adorable.
thanks for the cupcake shout out!

Sunny Subramanian said...

Awesome list! Those t-shirts are so cute!

Hannah said...

Really great and thoughtful selections. Makes me wish I got into V-day more!

Kristen's Raw said...

Everything sounds great!

Frisco divorce attorney said...

SO much love going on! Great to see people doing incredible things for the world.