Valentine’s day shopping: Melt hearts without breaking the bank

Kelli Fitzpatrick

For the romantic lady

So, your girlfriend is a sucker for cheesy romantic moves and lives for V-Day. Show her you care for her soft side with some jewelry from Empire. Red glass heart earrings and a glass rose necklace make for an eclectic pairing. Speaking of immortal roses, “Beauty and the Beast” is on DVD at Target. The classic girl-meets-beast tale will melt her heart all over again as she revisits her childhood. If she’s a movie buff, make it a two-for and also give her the “Valentine’s Day” DVD.

To really melt her heart, order a Valen-Tune from the Kent State Men’s Chorus. For a donation, the choir will sing a romantic song to your valentine.

Appeal to her sweet tooth with a half-dozen chocolate-covered strawberries from Empire. Or go with a fondue set for two from Target. Just add chocolate and marshmallows, and call it a day.

For the cook

Whether it’s finally time to reward your mom for being your personal chef for some 20 years, or your significant other is handy with a frying pan, remember the cook in your life this holiday. Dr. GreenBee in Acorn Alley sells make-it-yourself kits for the chef who likes a challenge. Pick up a cheese-making or yogurt-making kit, or go all in with a beer-brewer.

Target has an array of Valentine’s Day-ready kitchen items. Pimp out the countertop with a pink elephant candy jar and heart-shaped bowls. A heart-shaped pancake griddle has molded spots for six flapjacks. If you’re shopping for a baker, a non-stick mini heart pan set will let him or her try out some fun-sized cake recipes to share. The “Hot Stuff” set of hot sauces, poultry rub and grill brush will inspire barbeque dishes. Add a V-Day-themed apron to ensure your chef looks the part while making a fantastic meal.

For the impossible-to-shop-for guy

Your boy toy claims Valentine’s Day is no big deal and he doesn’t want anything, really. But you see right through that act: He just wants a surprise! Though his lack of enthusiasm puts a damper on the V-Day shopping, don’t worry. Empire has a selection of tie-dyed ties (really!) in a range of hues to jazz up his formal suit ensembles. Show him the holiday doesn’t have to be a big deal to still be worthy of some fun: Pick up a Spin the Bottle set with a candy-filled bottle and playing board at Target. Tell him he’s a “great catch” with a supersized milk chocolate fish, or gift him a photo frame-box of Hershey’s Kisses, both available at Target.

Check out Five Below for cheap gag gifts (princess lunch box, anyone?) or pick up a heart-shaped gelatin/ice mold for a buck. This way, at least he’ll fondly think of you and the holiday as he drinks his rum and Coke.

For the single friend

Valentine’s Day can be a lonely holiday if a single pal takes it too seriously. Whether or not you have a significant other, try and remember your friends this holiday. Show your lovesick but lonely girlie that there’s hope out there with a pack of lovers’ fortune-telling cards from Empire. These tarot cards will predict her future love-life, or at least give her something to do when the rest of your friends are on dinner dates. If that’s not enough, include a voodoo doll keychain from Five Below. The mini cupid doll will send out love or heartbreak, if she believes it.

Fill your friend’s tummy with freshly made goodness. Popped! in Acorn Alley has a Valentine’s Day special for a one-gallon red tin with two kinds of popcorn. If your friend hates being single, let him or her take out any frustration. The “heartbreaker” from Target includes a wooden mallet and large chocolate heart to smash to smithereens. Then give ‘em something warm to cuddle up with tonight: a heart pillow and blanket combo from Five Below or a massive heart-shaped floor cushion from Target.

While your friend reigns in singledom, remind him or her that love isn’t always so easy, anyway, with “He’s Just Not That Into You” on DVD.

For the environmentally conscious one

Being green is, like, so trendy. It’s also a great cause, and eco-friendly products are everywhere to satisfy the greenies of the world. If your valentine values the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle—show you care, too, with a green gift.

Every supermarket sells reusable grocery bags, it seems—even on-campus markets. Anyone can grab up a synthetic tote for shopping, but a reusable one made out of recycled materials is top dog. Dr. GreenBee sells a pack of three recycled produce bags made from plastic bottles. It even comes with an “apple pouch” to hold all three in one cute fruit-shaped container.

Green up your sweetie’s kitchen with a bamboo spatula, serving spoon or utensil set. Made from 100 percent organic materials, these dinner tools will scoop potatoes with a minimal carbon footprint.

If your guy or gal likes to think green but has difficulty following through, offer a helping hand. Grab a reusable coffee cup in a variety of designs at Five Below. The cups are free of BPA, a potentially harmful chemical found in some plastic. Show your green support with cosmetics. Eco Tools is an environmentally friendly beauty supply line that sells makeup brushes made with bamboo, recycled aluminum and a cruelty-free promise. Its products are available at Five Below and Target.

What do you buy or hope to receive for Valentine’s Day?

Scott Marchese, junior electronic media major: “Keeping it simple” for his other half with flowers, a box of chocolates and a Valen-Tune.

Brenna Lynam, freshman nursing major: cook dinner for her boyfriend, junior biology and pre-med major Alex Evans. Evans’ gift for her? “I’m going to eat dinner.” Well played.

Sara Scirripa, sophomore nursing major: “I’m a big chocolate person. Jewelry is always nice, too. As long as I get a card and chocolate, I’m happy.”

Sara Sylvester, junior teaching English as a second language major: Pink wine and something “new and different … Show you appreciate them with an inside joke they would really enjoy.”

Valentine’s Day Sales:

Kent Market and Kent Market 2: Dozen roses and chocolate ($45), chocolate-covered strawberries ($20) available for pre-order Up to 70 percent off jewelry; lists top 100 Valentine’s Day gift ideas 20 percent off chocolate-covered fruit arrangements

Linda’s Kitchen: 20 percent off cookie orders with student I.D.

Cleveland Improv: $39 dinner package 10 percent off personalized M&M’s order of $30 or more

Matthew Holcomb, freshman biology and pre-med major: “I’m going to take my girlfriend on a walk through some trails near us,” and hope to get chocolates in return. Holcomb said. He’ll also throw in the “normal flowers,” in hopes to get chocolates in return.

Nick Andrews, freshman exploratory major: “I’d get jewelry for my girlfriend and write her a song.”

Madeline Gallant, freshman fashion merchandising major: Small gifts that come in pairs, like Reese’s cups, mittens and a knife and fork.

Contact Kelli Fitzpatrick at [email protected].