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Thinking of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Maybe I can help!

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Valentine’s Day can often prove to be tricky in the gift category and could maybe make or break your lovely union. But let’s think optimistically and try to center upon the gifts that could lead you two into eternal bliss. As a woman, I think I have a good sense of what women like and would love to receive from a guy and I think I have a good sense of taste on what to give the guys as well. But for extra added effect and confirmation, I’ve asked my awesome guy friends on what they would love to receive as possible “man gifts.” Also, I’ve tried to keep in mind our crappy economy and point out some inexpensive gifts and ways to show someone you love and appreciate them.

Top 5 Gift Suggestions for Your Lovely Lady:

1. Special dinner out or in (maybe dinner to a great new restaurant that you’ve both been talking about or where you have your first date or Photo courtesy of www.sheknows.commaybe make her a awesome dinner from scratch or take out from a great place like Bobby Chez  (NJ and PA locations) crab cakes are always a winner! And since V-Day in on a Sunday, a variation on a special meal out could be perhaps going out for brunch at Sabrina’s in the city or breakfast in bed could be a cozy and more economical alternative.)

2. Flowers (mostly all women love flowers and it doesn’t have to be roses either. For something really different, you could go to new florist Hana & Posy in Old City for organic flowers and other environmentally friendly gifts. Another variation on this idea could be to get a plant such as a tabletop rose plant or daisies.)

3. Chocolate (my favorite and relatively inexpensive gift). There are great chocolates to be found at CVS or Target such as Ghirardelli or Dove. Or for a more unique gift you can go to a yummy homemade chocolate store such as Bayard’s Chocolate House in Cherry Hill, NJ or Naked Chocolate Café in the city.

4. Something sentimental to your relationship (this is a total favorite to us women…this could be a picture framed of you two, take her to the beach or the place where you met or loved as a couple, etc.)

5. Something cute that you know she’ll love (purse, jewelry, couples massage, tickets to a movie or musical, etc.). Again, guys you must pay attention to what your girl likes, wants, and what she typically buys. If in doubt, leave a few catalogs around or take her shopping and see what she gravitates toward and then buy it later without her.

Top 5 Gift Suggestions for Your Main Man:

1. Tickets to a sporting event or equipment (think Sixers or Flyers tickets, a golf club or tennis racket, or tickets for rock climbing, lift tickets forDoutzen Kroes photo: http://images.dailyradar.com/media/uploads/showhype/story_large/2009/01/12/doutzen_kroes_victorias_secret_lingerie_model.jpg skiing, etc. Just get him what he is into and if he wants you to join him, say yes and try to enjoy the experience with him. It could possibly be the best bonding experience and take your relationship up a notch.)

2. Dinner cooked for them (I do believe in that saying that the quickest way to a guy’s heart is through his stomach. Whip up a delicious dinner for him or order in from his favorite restaurant. Pair it up with a great wine and a small dessert from a local bakery or grocery store and he’ll be super impressed (and maybe this all could make him imagine what it would be like to come home to you everything as his wife….although we all know he won’t get this fab treatment every night.)

3. Techy gift (think Wii  game, iPod, etc. whatever they are into. And if you want to add some sentiment or personalization, go on apple.com where they will engrave your iPod on the back for free!)

4. Nice tie, money clip, watch, liquor, cigars (these were typical man gifts that my guy friends suggested but again, you must pay attention to what he likes and will use.)

5. Sex (ok, almost all the guys I asked said this and so on V day maybe kick things up a notch. Be creative and be sexy….perhaps a trip to Victoria Secrets  is in order.)

No matter what you decide to get the one you love, just make sure it’s from the heart. Even if you can only afford a card, make it an awesome card and write in it what you appreciate about that person and how much you love them for who they are. The official love holiday doesn’t have to be centered around a romantic love interest and a reminder of not having one. Show your love for the important people around you in your life. So get out there and surprise someone like a potential love interest, your bff, mom/dad, or maybe an older neighbor who is by themselves at V day with a single flower, funny card, or box of conversation hearts.

You could make someone’s day and put a huge smile on their face and yours. What could be more perfect and loving than that!

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Ex-Bachelor star and winner Helene Eksterowicz is also a co-writer of a dating/self help book called "Nobody’s Perfect" featured on Amazon.com  and Barnes and Noble  a few years ago. Drawing from her reality show dating experience, her background in psychology, and her belief in true love and relationships, Helene is setting out to bring some love back to Philly and help spotlight some eligible singles in order to hopefully find some love matches for others. You can contact Helene at helene@philly2philly.com

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