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Be mine, Valentine: Heartfelt ideas for romantic procrastinators

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Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- Psssst! Just a reminder to anyone who hasn't noticed the approaching date on the calendar or the prevalence of red and pink and heart themes: Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.

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Traditional -- and predictable -- items for Valentine's Day gifting include roses, candy and heart-shaped jewelry. But local merchants have a few ideas for shoppers who want to venture beyond the predictable this year.

"You can never go wrong with diamonds," advised Cheryl Fornoff, a sales associate at Johnson's Jewelry in downtown Worthington. "But the other big seller at Valentine's Day is our roses, real roses that are dipped in lacquer and edged in 24-karat gold. We also have some that are dipped totally in gold."

The store carries a variety of vases for displaying the unique flowers, including heart-shaped glass containers. Fornoff also pointed out a display of pendants that are created by Kimberly Jensen, sister to jeweler Jeff Johnson.

"She hand paints scenes on ostrich egg shells," described Fornoff. "She's got a lot of Monet reproductions here. She has shown her work at the Smithsonian and has received a lot of awards for her miniature paintings."

Johnson Jeweler offers a service whereby women can create a "wish list" of items for their husband or boyfriend to consult on occasions such as Valentine's Day. For a gift that can be personalized to suit the recipient, Fornoff recommends a bracelet with clip-on link charms. Charm themes range from cartoon characters to miniature city scapes, and custom charms can now be made utilizing photographs.

A woman is more apt to buy clothing as a Valentine's gift for her husband or boyfriend; men are less apt to think of clothing when they go shopping prior to Feb. 14, according to Robyn Moser of The Stag Clothiers in downtown Worthington.

"Although we do have a few guys who think maybe their wife could use a new outfit for spring," she said.

For men, Moser suggests a microfiber shirt in a neutral tone or a pop of color for early spring -- melon or peppercorn green. Females may appreciate a sampling of spring's hues in a beaded belt, scarf of purse -- eliminating the need to know an exact size.

"Accessories are always a nice idea," Moser said. "She can always find an outfit to go with the accessories. Get her a purse, and she can get something to go with it later."

Down the street at the Poise 'N' Ivy gift shop, co-owners Janet Belz and Patti Mitchell offer a variety of romantic gifts, including paperweights with romantic messages and smaller love tokens that say "kiss me" and "hugs and kisses."

"But most wives expect more than that," advised Belz, who also recommended items such as Camille Beckman beauty products, balloon bouquets and Willow Tree angel figures, which are the store's top-selling collectible.

Mitchell added ideas such as glassware sets -- wine, cordial, pilsner and martini glasses -- that come in four different patterns to ensure that the drinkers don't forget which glass is theirs; and a funky fur-trimmed glass shoe, intended as a holder for a cell phone.

At Sterling Drug in the Northland Mall, Linda Kuhle is prepared with a full slate of Valentine ideas, starting with some new arrivals -- purses with heart-shaped closures, accompanied by matching lipstick cases, manicure sets, billfolds and cell phone cases.

"Here's a great guy present," said Kuhle, picking up a hardcover book, "Waiting for White Horses," by Nathan Jorgenson. "He's a dentist from Fairmont, and he grew up in Jackson. We had the paperback edition and sold it out. Now, he's given us some hardcopies, and they are all autographed. The book talks about hunting, growing up in this area, how his best friend is his dog. It's wonderful reading for the man in your life."

Kuhle's other suggestions included an assortment of bath products, one of the new spring scents from Yankee Candles, plush animals, a CD of romantic songs by Minnesota musicians the O'Neil Brothers and perfume.

"You can't go wrong with one of the designer perfumes," she noted. "The hot one right now is Lovely by actress Sarah Jessica Parker. She was on 'Oprah' and talked about it, and now everybody has to have it."

And if you decide to resort to the predictable and purchase your loved one a box of candy, Kuhle is also prepared to cater to that need.

"Here's the Monday heart, the one you purchase early on Monday," she said, pointing to the smallest in a succession of heart-shaped candy boxes. "Then there's the Monday night heart, and finally the Tuesday heart, because if you haven't gotten anything until Tuesday, you're in trouble."

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