by Kimberly Bellware
Little gifts and romantic gestures need no occasion when you’re head over heels for a special someone. Still, there are times when it’s more than appropriate to pull out all the stops and really layer on the indulgence. While it is the thought that counts, we’ve picked some delightful goods and experiences that are sure to win some hearts (or at least serious Brownie points). These suggestions aren’t exactly frugal, so be sure you’ve saved up for a bit – then splurge with reckless (and romantic) abandon.
In Fine Spirits
Hours: Mon-Thurs 5pm-12am; Fri-Sat 4pm-2am; Sun 4pm-11pm
This Andersonville spot is not only a purveyor of quality liquors, it’s a great place to learn more about the artisanal side of your favorite spirit. You and you loved one can belly up to the bar for some of the most unique craft cocktails in the city; the folks of In Fine Spirits are particularly fond of old-timey craft cocktails from before and after Prohibition. If you prefer to share a drink at home (or give an extra-special gift) grab a special bottle, like the FEW brand white whiskey.
With flavors like Cherry Rooibos and Pink Himalayan Salt Caramel, we guarantee you won’t find the outrageous (and delicious) chocolate flavor combinations like the ones you can get from Vosges. The shop’s owner and chocolatier is Le Cordon Bleu-trained Katrina Markoff, who still hand-picks all the ingredients for her confections (from spices to flowers and everything else that gets mixed into a bar or truffle). You’ll find more than just bars and truffles at Vosges, too: hat boxes stuffed with treats, chocolate-flecked pancake mix and other goodies can all be picked up on their own or made into one of Vosges signature gift towers.
Hours: Sun 11am–5pm; Mon, Wed-Fri 10am–8pm; Tue 12–8pm; Sat 9am–6pm
There are plenty of places in town to get a rub down or a salt scrub, but the Loop-area Spa Space makes it easy for couples to share a pampering experience. You can book a couples’ “Side-by-Side” massage to unwind together, or take a hands-on approach with their “Art of Touch” massage where the therapist shows you proper techniques that you and the masseuse apply to your partner. If you want to treat your sweetie to a session all their own, try the “Heaven and Earth Stone Therapy Massage.” It’s so relaxing; your better half won’t even notice you’re not there.
If you’re on the hunt for a creative and dazzling floral display, Cattails can help you earn a least a few seconds of speechlessness. You won’t find clusters of Baby’s Breath and carnations at this Ukrainian Village flower shop; Cattails specializes in unique flora, some of which you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the city. The shop adds whimsical, ingenious touches (a flower arrangement? In a potato? That looks good? Yep.) to their arrangements, perfect for gift-givers who want great aesthetics without the frou-frou.
Hours: Sun 12–5pm; Mon-Fri 10am–7pm; Sat 10am–6pm
Let’s be honest: a stunning piece of lingerie is a treat for the recipient and the giver. Isabella offers quick fitting services for every kind of underpinning imaginable (you can also send in sizes online) to create custom-fit items ranging from basic undies to elaborate negligee. Whether you’re shopping for a sexy camisole, a flirty set of bra and panties or a simple but luxurious robe, shop here and your status as a gift-giving pro will be set. After all, how many people receive lingerie made just for them?