The Valentine's Day holiday is set up to be all about the ladies. From mushy cards to sappy movies, the whole marketing plan for Vday is "hit 'em hard with the emotion." Although the holiday is more for women, we can't completely neglect the guys. What about what men want? Do they really enjoy those romantic dinners or are they just going along with the plan so they can get that obligatory Vday sex that comes later? And what about gifts? Is it a big deal to exchange gifts or nah? We polled a few Made Men to see what they really thought about Valentine's Day and what they really wanted on this universal day of romance.
"A perfect Valentine's Day would be a fun day of doing things with someone that you've never done before. A shared experience that kinda lasts forever because we've both never done it before. So whether that's starting off making a breakfast food that you've never had before to later doing an activity that you've never done before....the memory lasts..it also gives each person the opportunity to be creative and fun and hopefully rekindle a flame and create longer lasting one." - Mike, 30
"Staying at home cooking together...and making a sex tape." - Zeke, 26
"Dinner close to a beach then a long walk listening to the waves crash. Followed by dancing." - Lamar, 27
"To go somewhere dressed up; maybe a concert and dinner. You and your girl looking your best... No kids, just two people. Kind of getting to know each other all over again." - Xavier, 30
"I'm an easy one. Home cooked dinner and some quiet time. I'd be a happy guy." - Keith, 32
"For my lady to have a peaceful, stress free day. She's a working mother so I just want her to have a day of peace!" - Elliot, 31
"I have a lot of late nights and early mornings. I'd love a french press coffee machine for Valentine's Day!" - Rick, 28
"I'm not a big Valentine's day person. I don't really expect anything. Maybe a pair of sneakers?" - Scott, 29
"To spend time with someone who cares about me as much as I care about them." - Shamar, 31
"Men are pretty simple. Tickets to a game is always a good idea. Or something simple like a sexy outfit in the bedroom." - Michael, 31
When it comes to giving wedding gifts the best advice I can give is to stick with the couple's registry. As a new bride myself I know that a lot of time and thought goes into creating them and most of the time they include things that are needed to build the couple’s home together. You definitely don’t want to be that guest who gives a Salami of the month club membership to a vegetarian couple (trust me it happens … my friend got this for her wedding and she hadn’t eaten meat for 10 years!) However, if you are feeling super creative, there are also some gifts that couples probably won’t think of or won’t want to register for which are really great. They may seem too frivolous or bizarre for an actual registry but trust me these are things a bride and groom will be oh, so happy to receive.
A couple friends of ours gave us a set of pajamas. The top had Mrs. Hawkins embroidered and the bottom had Mr. Hawkins. We never would have thought of it and it’s something that we found very special. I mean what other occasion will we have to get something like this?
Nothing says romance like a picnic for two. Not many people think to get this for themselves and it’s so nice for a trip to the beach or a nice wine and cheese date in the park. Give the newlyweds an excuse to go on a sweet date together!
Are you a photographer? Do you know a great band or DJ? Do you make something that would be a great wedding favor? Are you a baker and can create an amazing cake? Weddings are EXPENSIVE. I know from experience that the budget you start out with can double very quickly. This is why offering to pay for the music or making the favors can be one of the best gifts. You could be saving the bride and groom what could be thousands of dollars and a boatload of stress. Just keep in mind that brides sometimes have a specific vision for their big day so if they would rather your mariachi band not play at the ceremony don't take it personally.
This is one of my favorite ideas! Couples are so excited to get married and start their lives as husband and wife. What better way to make them feel like a family than to give something they can see everyday when they get home. Taking my husband’s name was such an honor to me so I know that seeing a monogrammed “H” or even "The Hawkins Family" on our doorstep would be so cool.
These things are typically reserved for family members to give or sometimes they are passed down from generation to generation so make sure to check before purchasing. BUT they are also things that shouldn't be forgotten. I firmly believe the bride and groom should be toasting with a special glass at their reception and it’s always nice to give a gift that whenever looked at will bring the couple back to their special day.
Don't underestimate the importance of a gift certificate. I know this may sound impersonal or thoughtless to some people but I couldn't disagree more. I have never met a bride and groom who got everything they needed off their registry OR didn't come up with something they need after the fact. My husband and I moved in together after we got married so we continuously are finding things that we didn't realize we needed. Gift certificates have been very helpful. It’s also like getting gifts for months after the wedding!
Are you recently married or planning to attend a wedding this summer? What are some other great wedding gift ideas? Tell us in the comments below. Need more ideas? Read this.
The Christmas season is upon us, and that means shopping for the special man—or men—in your life. I’m not just talking about who you are dating. When you are making your list of who’s been nice enough to come out of pocket for, there might be a few men on the list that you wouldn’t expect. Take a look.
Hopefully you have a great relationship with your boss. If he has taken time out throughout the year to help with your professional development, it might be a good idea to show him some love around the holidays. Try this collection of books from Malcolm Gladwell, author of Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. I’ve read Blink so I know that Gladwell’s writing style and point of view gets people talking. Buying the Malcolm Gladwell: Collected set ($50)for your boss will be an opportunity to discuss some of the topics he covers. Plus the new packaging and illustrations from Brian Rea make this set look classy.
Your Gay Best Friend
Save some room on your list for this one: your gay best friend. Every girl needs one. And this is what he needs for Christmas. These are InCase Terra Bags are great for a friend that is always on the go. I’m loving the soft, casual exterior and the bright red interior. These bags are great for carrying everything from laptops to gym clothes. Made from all natural materials and ranging from $50 to $100, you can find the perfect gift for someone special. And it’s so much better than a manbag.
So your brother has everything: iPod, iPad, iPhone...he’d have an iCar too if they made that (Ohhh! They should make that!). Instead of adding to his cult like following of all things Apple, try adding to the functionality and fun of his iPad with this iCADE. You just download the games from the app store, slide your iPad in through the top and then use the joystick and buttons to play some Atari games. At $80, it is a low cost way to spread some joy to your gamer/geek/techy brother.
Get your pop something a little techy and a little retro this year. Crosley has proven that these two can coincide with this analog to digital Keepsake USB Turntable. Not only do these look great but they serve a really cool purpose. You can use them to play your vinyl records or to convert them into cds. Or use the USB ports to upload the record quality sound right to your computer. This awesome gadget would make any music lover happy and the $150 price tag should be music to your ears.
Your Male Friend/Roommate/Co-worker
What to get the guy who is in your friendzone? How about this SuperHeadz Clap Camera? It works as a memory card reader and a really tiny camera. And it’s so cute! You can even record mini movies with the camera. It has a USB connector so that you can upload your photos and movies directly to your computer. At $50, this gift says, “I’m glad we’re homies”.
I left off suggestions for what to get your boo for Christmas because there are 14,500,000 other articles out there on the web about that. But this year be sure to make the other men in your life feel special. Happy shopping!
Hey, last minute shopper! Yes, I’m talking to you. The countdown to Christmas seems to get faster each day and you are probably getting frantic. So, I’ve got the low-down on some favorite gifts that, if I say so myself, your active friends will absolutely L-O-V-E and feel eternally grateful to you for. To make it even more rewarding, get one for your bestie and one for you, then you won’t have to look at your BFF with green, envious eyes as she opens the gift that you wish you had for yourself.
Here’s the list in no particular order that could appease most budgets:
Gym Essentials Kit by Lululemon $34-$48
This is a gift for the gym rat/traveler/professional. Lululemon is one of those activewear brands that thinks about the details. This bag poses as a travel kit with its hanger to go over any doorknob or showerhead. It also has tear out compartments, so you can take skincare/make-up essentials out of the gym bag to throw in the purse. And, if that wasn’t enough, it’s made with silver fibers to make it funk-proof.
Find it at your local Lululemon store or online:
Stretch Reflective LED Armband by Amphipod $14.95
Amphipod has a way of making not-so-sexy safety items look functional and cute. These armbands have a sleek light that changes LED colors at the flip of a switch. You can even choose pink or lime patterns over the reflective stretch band to make it a little less boring. LED lights are so important when working out at the dead of night, dawn, or dusk to make sure unattentive drivers know to stay away.
Amphipod products can be found out your local outdoors sports retailer or on their website:
Handheld Water Bottle by Amphipod $21.95-$23.95
Again, another Amphipod item for you. There are plain ol’ water bottles, and then there is this bottle. The amphipod handheld running/hiking bottles are ergonomically molded to fit in any hand comfortably and has a strap that secures it to your hand with a zip pouch to carry emergency nutrition, keys, lip balm, or other essentials. The bonus to this bottle is that it’s thermal-wrapped, so if you like ice in your water, the cold won’t sting your delicate hand as you head out into the elements.
Lifeproof iPhone 4/4S case by Lifeproof $79.99
If I could name one item that I own that has amazed the most people this year, that would be my Lifeproof iPhone case. It is water, dirt, snow, and shock proof! I have dropped it down stairs and on my slate tile floors. The iPhone inside (and the case, of course) has remained intact. I even livestream conferences (one way—watch, only) and listen to Pandora while in the shower and use the camera at the beach, now that my iPhone has uber-protection. I no longer have to handle my device, which I fondly call my other limb, with kid-gloves. This case literally is “Lifeproof”.
Find this online at:
Gratitude Wrap by Lululemon $118
Every yoga, dance, cardio-salsa, strength training buff, runner, you-name-it athlete deserves a cozy wrap to take her from studio to car to juice bar. Lululemon (I confess I’m a bit of a “Lemon-head”) is outstanding not just with their attention to details and functionality, but with making gym clothes that look just as good on you at the gym as when you’re chillin’ anywhere else.
One-Hour Workouts: 50 Swim, Bike, and Run Workouts for Busy Athletes $16.47-$24.99
Do you know somebody who always seems to be running from place to place, but manages to squeeze in her workouts anyway? These spiral bound workouts are some of my favorites. It takes time away from needing to figure out what to do during a workout, so the focus can be on the actual swim, bike, or run workout. Amazon.com has it starting at $16.47.
Blade Light Recover by K-Swiss $75
So, no fitness-related gift guide would be complete without a pair of kicks to feature. These are my favorite shoes. They are made for the athlete and weekend warrior who complains about achy feet. With these shoes, those moments will be distant memories. The upper portion of the shoe is made with compression technology, which help circulate blood back up the legs so they don’t pool in achy, puffy feet. And, the soles—oh the soles!!!—they are made with memory foam. Think Tempur-pedic mattresses under each those weary dogs. (FYI: purchase them one-half size down from your running shoes to get the most effective fit.)
If you have a non-athlete who might appreciate this? Maybe your girl who spends way too many hours in toe-squishing, skyscraping heels? Well, K-Swiss (yes, they are that company that used Kenny Powers, the character from the show “Eastbound and Down” to promote their Tubes line) also has a Blade Light Recovers in an UGG-style boot in mushroom or black.
Now that I’ve saved you a few hours of shopping time, what will you do with it? Enjoy your holidays and the season of giving -- to your loved ones, others, and of course, yourself.
Giving gifts is a tricky feat in general, but when it comes to weddings it can be even harder to find something that's both unique and appropriate. Like the time you gave your quirky coworker that lacy leopard teddy--at what turned out to be an awkwardly formal bridal shower. Well, we've done our research to help you avoid this type of blunder in the future. Consult our MW gift guide for the lowdown on the best wedding presents for any bride or groom.
A. Mixed-media Bridal Portraits: Every bride loves her dress. She has spent countless days searching for the perfect one. Commemorate her special day and special dress with one of these handmade collages. You can send the artist a picture of your dress and she will create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece using your colors and dress for inspiration. Bonus: prints of this piece can be ordered. Frame this work and enjoy your dress every day. ($90 and up)
B. Wedding Guest Book Revised: Better than your run of the mill guest book, this guest book box allows for guests to fill out their names, addresses (for thank you cards) and warm wishes. They will already be filed away and ready for display in your new nest. A wedding gift that organizes itself while saving you guess work? Priceless. ($39)
C. Wedding Survival Kit: Because you never know what might go wrong, prevent many potential nail biting and dress disasters with these handy contents. With 30 essentials including deodorant, double sided tape and pain relievers, these are perfect bridal shower or bachelor/bachelorette gifts. ($47.50)
D. Potentially Cold Feet Socks: The days of a woman darning her man's socks might be in the past, but a Made Woman can certainly consider giving these socks to any man. At only $10 this gift is not only funny but easy on the wallet. Great for getting a smile out of a guy friend about to marry or even for a male co-worker.
E. Aprons: With the potential to be almost as sexy as lingerie, and definitely more utilitarian, these apron, glove, and garter sets are a fun way to add spice to those traditional cookware gifts. Perfect for entertaining guests, or just the groom, these fun designs are feasts for the eyes. ($39.95 and up)
F. Bling it On: What girl doesnt love to be gifted with sparkle? Whether its a vintage bag, necklace, earrings, or a hair pin for the big day itself, these pieces are gorgeous. Stunning, sourced, and with many handcrafted options, give the bride a gift she can wear on her wedding day and beyond. Bonus: some of these stones come in shades of blue, for the Bride's something blue. (Prices range from $15 to over $100)