The perfect Valentine’s Day gift can be a source of anxiety for anyone. The typical trappings of the holiday come to mind – assorted chocolates in a heart-shaped box, life-sized plush bears, diamond tennis bracelets and a candlelit dinner for two are the fall back for most gift seekers, often with scant time to spare before the big day. And while the quintessential V-Day presents aren’t bad choices, shopping local could offer a range of gifts more rewarding for both giver and recipient.
Trade in the polished jewels for unique, locally made jewelry. Jacksonville Beach-based Couture Jems specializes in handmade jewelry hammered from gold and carved from natural materials such as abalone, shark teeth and agate slices. Designer Julianne Elise Marie has been creating a collection of jewelry utilizing raw materials like stardust druzy, gemstone slabs and deerskin cords since 2010. Her pieces can be found and purchased at www.shopcouturejems.com.
Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe
Handmade soaps and body care make for a thoughtful, pampering gift; Ponte Vedra’s Soap Shoppe offers a wide selection of materials for custom soap creation as well as premade soaps and gift baskets. Among the offerings are scented oils, molds and mica powders as well as finished soaps in scents like amber patchouli, anise lavender and chai vanilla. The shop also offers soap making classes, books, botanicals and herbs and salts. Shop Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe’s storefront at 820 A1A North, Ste W-19 in Ponte Vedra Beach or online at www.pvsoap.com.
Ponte Vedra Floral Emporium
Though flowers may seem cliche, a creatively presented bouquet shakes up the long held tradition of red roses on Valentine’s Day. Ponte Vedra’s Floral Emporium is a local florist offering special Valentine’s Day bouquets, including unusual blooms in pops of purple, peach and yellow such as violets, lavender and peach spray roses, asiatic lilies and yellow daisy spray chrysanthemums. Ponte Vedra’s Floral Emporium is located at 870 A1A North in Ponte Vedra, and flowers can be purchased online at www.floralemporium.com
Alleycakes Bakery Co.
Swap blindly assorted chocolates for more decadent sweets such as cake pops, macarons and mini pies from Neptune Beach-based Alleycakes Bakery Co. The three-year-old bakery offers fare as thematic as raspberries and cream, passion fruit and biscoff and the more traditional chocolate for its selection of macarons, in addition to more unorthodox selections like its salty and sweet chocolate covered bacon and champagne vanilla cupcakes. Alleycakes is located at 1517 Atlantic Boulevard.