SkyMall Monday: Anniversary Gifts

gadling skymall monday love you more anniversaryLast week, my fiancée and I celebrated our two-year anniversary. We met and went out on our first date on the same day (I work fast). We’re getting married next Spring, so we’ll soon have a new anniversary to celebrate. Do we stop celebrating our initial anniversary date? Do we celebrate both anniversaries? How does that work? Anyway, it was obviously a festive week at SkyMall Monday headquarters. Naturally, it had me thinking quite a bit about presents. Thankfully, SkyMall has gift guides organized by occasion, so they do all of the thinking for you. Whether you and your betrothed have been together for a year, a decade or what seems like an eternity, our favorite catalog has the right gift to say all the things that words cannot express. Choose your gift carefully, however, because what you select says a great deal about you and your relationship.There are 125 gifts listed in SkyMall’s “Anniversary Gifts” category. I have chosen to ignore all of the jewelry and flowers. Why? Because those are obvious and traditional gifts and you don’t need SkyMall’s help to be dull. You’re probably doing a bang up job of that all by yourself. You’ve turned to SkyMall because you need inspiration to be creative and keep your relationship spicy.

Now, let’s take a look at some of SkyMall’s best anniversary gifts and what they say to your special someone:

Love You More Wood Plaque

From the product description:

You’ve played the flirty back-and-forth game. Now you can finally have the last word.

What it says to your significant other: I wish you wouldn’t make me end all of our phone calls by saying, “I wuv you, Snugglebottoms,” while I’m out with my friends.

Soap Roses

From the product description:

Display them and softly scent a room. Peel off a petal and lather between your hands. Sprinkle a handful of petals in warm bath water…

What it says about your relationship: After years together, we’ve lost our physical intimacy and I’ve taken matters into my own hands while in the shower.

gadling skymall monday yukataYukata Cover-Up

From the product description:

Yukatas are pieces of wearable art – no two are exactly alike. Our 100% spun crushed Japanese Rayon is the most luxurious of all Rayons and meets the highest fashion standard.

What it says about you: You’re a connoisseur of rayon. You never got over your Asian fetish.

Bonus fun fact: The Yukata Cover-Up is produced by Jams World, the same company that made those extra long boardshorts that I wore in the 1980s.

Bonus video: If you enjoy lounge music, beach scenes and attractive women with their arms akimbo, then this is the video for you.

Large Organic Fruit Sampler

No product description needed or provided. We all know what a fruit basket is.

What it says about everything: I think you’ve gotten fat.

Happy anniversary!

Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.

Could you live in Portland?

There will be a moment during your visit to Portland, Oregon when you’ll have an epiphany. Maybe it won’t happen during your blissful stroll through one the city’s giant public parks, your nostrils fresh with the scent of pine trees and clean air. And it might not hit you during your $3 lunch at one of Portland’s plentiful food carts, your taste buds humming to a savory, cheesy mac n’ cheese made with locally produced Tillamook Cheddar. It might not even cross your mind as you get lost in aisles of Powell’s, a temple of a bookstore that fills an entire city block. But at some point you’ll be overwhelmed by how much you’re enjoying yourself and start to wonder: could I live in Portland? Why am I not here already?

Portland is a place that seems as if it was created with travelers in mind. Everything about it, from the city’s accessible size and convenient public transportation, to its killer food and beer culture, top-notch shopping and easy access to nature, is made to appeal to the visitor in ways that feel welcoming, inspiring and surprising. In a word: wonderful. Sure, as a visitor it’s easy enough to glance over the city’s problems: the unemployment rate is currently hovering above 10%, and for much of the year the city is shrouded in a gloomy, misty haze of rain. But these facts ultimately pale in comparison to the reasons why Portland is such a forward-thinking, livable destination.

Could you live in Portland? Or maybe you’re just curious about making a visit? Keep reading below for our Portland tips.Getting in, getting around
Portland visitors will arrive at Portland International Airport (PDX), located about 45 minutes from the downtown city proper. Don’t bother with a taxi – for just over $2, you can jump on the clean, speedy Light Rail to whisk you towards downtown. Public transport is a big win here: a one-day pass covering rides on all city light rail, bus and street car lines is just $4.75. Travelers who are renting/driving a car will find there’s ample street parking, though the city does have occasional traffic gridlock (no place is without a few flaws, right?).

Orientation
Portland is bisected by the Willamette River, and most addresses and neighborhoods identified by their relationship to this body of water. On the West side of the River you’ll find Portland’s main commercial center. Just North of this (in the Northwest) is the Pearl District, a humming district of art galleries, shopping and killer cuisine. In the NW, the area along 23rd Avenue is also popular for shopping.

The East side of Portland is decidedly more low-key, but definitely worth a visit. In the Northeast you’ll find plenty to check out on Mississippi Avenue. The happening Southeast is anchored by plenty of great dining and shopping along Hawthorne Boulevard.

What to do
With so much to see, eat, buy and explore in Portland, a better question for first-time visitors might be, what shouldn’t you do?

  • Have a brew – like beer? Welcome to Nirvana. Boasting one of the largest concentrations of microbreweries in the country, you’d be hard-pressed to come to Portland and not enjoy one of the town’s outstanding, locally-crafted beers.Though you can’t go wrong at most bars, spots like Deschutes, Henry’s Tavern and Laurelwood get consistently high marks.
  • Eat out – not only is Portland a great town for beer, it’s also a great town for outrageously fresh, delicious food. One of the greatest features of Portland is the city’s many cheap food carts. Ditch that bland bag lunch and track down tasty fare with the locals, like Schnitzel sandwiches and tip-top Thai food at Nong’s. At night, head to the SE for dinner at Pok Pok, one of Portland’s best restaurants.
  • Parks – Portland’s reputation for livability and beauty has a lot to do with the city’s plentiful parkland. It’s a great way to spend the day, enjoying a blissful trail hike, riding a bike or simply stopping to smell the roses. Check out Forest Park, one of the nation’s largest urban parks. During the summer, stop by Portland’s Rose Garden for thousands of the colorful flowers overlooking the city’s downtown.
  • Shop local – the diversity and quality of Portland’s small-scale retail is unmatched. Visitors will be hard-pressed to track down a chain store and everywhere you look are creative, one-of-a-kind handmade goods. The mother of all bookstores is Powell’s, a modern-day “Great Library” bursting with new and used tomes. Music lovers flock to stores like Mississippi Records in Portland’s Northeast.

Killer food and drink. Blissful nature. Quirky local shopping. What’s not to like about Portland? Perhaps it’s time you came to check out this buzzing Pacific Northwest capital for yourself. But consider yourself warned – spend a weekend in Portland and you’ll come away wanting more.

Five Valentine’s Day deals in New England

Nothing says “romance” like a roaring fire on a chilly evening on Valentine’s Day. Through the windows, you can see snow-laden trees and pure white landscapes. From the warmth of your room, you can enjoy the winter wonderland outside, as you settle down for the perfect evening with the perfect person in your life. If this is how you envision your Valentine’s Day this year, turn your thoughts to New England this year. There are plenty of deals at your disposal through the New England Inns and Resorts Association, and a tough travel market is leading many properties to put together some amazing deals. Here are four to get you started.

1. Diamond & All Engagement Package (Kennebunkport, Maine)

Is this Valentine’s Day going to be the first day of the rest of your life together? If you’re planning to pop the question, let The Kennebunkport Inn give you a hand. This unique package includes robes, a four-course chef’s dinner with wine pairing, and an in-room couples massage. Your Mansion room will be adorned with three dozen roses, which you’ll enjoy while sipping champagne by the fire. Oh, and then there’s the one-carat diamond ring, which comes in a customized chocolate box created by the chef. The package starts at $6,500 for two nights … but that’s to be expected.2. Arts for Sweethearts Valentine’s Weekend (Chatham, Massachusetts)
The Chatham Wayside Inn will welcome you with two arrival cocktails (hot toddies or champagne cocktails) and a coupon gift back from local merchants which includes two $25 gift cards to attend the local Arts for Sweethearts art show. You’ll spend two nights in a room decorated with a red rose bouquet. A continental breakfast is served every morning, and you’ll enjoy a candlelit dinner for two at the Goose Tavern. On Sunday, dine on a Valentine’s Day brunch for two. Rates start at $429 a night, but you can add a third for half price.

3. Menage a Trois (Newport, Rhode Island)
Don’t worry, the Ocean Cliff Hotel isn’t as racy as you might think. For $225, you’ll get a night in a deluxe guestroom and enjoy the “Aphrodisiacs Delights Dinner Menu for Two.” The meal comes with a bottle of Folie a Deux Vineyards Menage a Trois wine and chocolate covered strawberries. If one night isn’t enough, you can book another for only $89.

4. Valentine/Presidential Weekend Value (North Conway, New Hampshire)
Spend three nights at the Buttonwood Inn, and you’ll be treated to a full breakfast every day, afternoon tea service and a dinner for two at a local, premier restaurant — including a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider. Top off the meal with handmade local New Hampshire chocolates, and retire to the “Hot Tub Under the Stars.” The package starts at $509, but you can save an additional 10 percent if you book by the end of the month.

5. An Affair to Remember (Boston, Massachusetts)
The Liberty Hotel in Boston wants to make sure you remember this Valentine’s Day. For $295 a night, you’ll frolic in luxury, enjoy champagne at check-in and receive two tickets to the pre-Valentine’s Day party on February 13, 2010 — where you and your sweetheart will each receive psychic reading. A copy of “An Affair to Remember” will be waiting for you in your room, should you choose to enjoy it. Add a bit of decadence to your stay at the Liberty with the “Guilty Pleasures Romance Package. At $435 a night and up, you will sip champagne that’s brought to you in your room, snack on chocolate-dipped assorted fruit and have breakfast at CLINK or in the privacy of your own room. An intimacy kit will be provided … and the details aren’t being disclosed.

Red roses banned in Saudi Arabia for Valentine’s Day

Married men in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will have to put their creative caps on to think of an original way to woo their significant other on Valentine’s Day this year, as the Kingdom’s religious police have imposed a ban, not only on red roses, but anything scarlet in gift shops.

Why? All under the premise of not encouraging people out of wedlock to have relationships, something that is prohibited and punishable by law under the rules of Sunni Islam — the type of Islam that governs Saudi Arabia.

You have to keep in mind that Saudi Arabia doesn’t even allow unrelated men and women to mix openly, so if you are a local, you would have to rack your brains to come up with a clever strategy to even communicate with someone your heart is pounding for.

Red, blue or green, a gift is a gift is a gift. The particular availability of something red to gift on V-day is a bonus, so how exactly banning the sale of red items would play a role in discouraging opposite sex relations is beyond my understanding.

As for the expatriates living in the Kingdom, every thing goes in their residential compounds so I doubt they would care too much.

Romantic souls will have to live with gifting yellow, pink, white OR rainbow colored (?!) items instead. No big deal, eh?