Valentine’s Day is almost here. Instead of giving flowers or that traditional box of chocolates, try something different this year. Have fun. Get creative. Indulge your senses. In fact, why not let touch, taste, sight, smell and sound help you pick the perfect gift. Here are my favorites:

Touch — Let your fingers do the talking. Try the “Don’t Stop Massage Candle” by Booty Parlor. When I first saw this product, I was amused by the company’s name (yes, they sell adult products) but I loved the concept. The massage candle can be used like any ordinary candle, or you can blow out the flame and drizzle warm wax on your mates. The candle is made of natural soy wax, vitamins A&E, jojoba, olive and coconuts oils. The company says it has a low melting point so the wax won’t burn. I suggest you test it on yourself. The candle comes in two scents — Spicy Chocolate Cinnamon & Exotic Sandalwood Vanilla. ($36,

Sight — Forget the framed picture of yourself. Send a videogram to your lover’s computer or PDA phone. Profiles International is a local company that makes video biographies for special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries. The Valentine’s videogram includes pictures, video clips, your favorite love song and captions. Packages are $50 & $100 and include a DVD. Call Chris Clay at Profiles International: (704) 525-9898

Sound — I’m loving the sounds of Seal’s latest CD, Soul. If you’ve missed his rendition of Sam Cooke’s song “A Change Is Gonna Come,” do your ears a favor and take a listen. The entire CD is a remake of old soul classics that will surely get you in the mood for quality time with that someone special. My favorite tracks are “It’s A Man’s World” and “Stand By Me” ($7.99,

Taste — If you can’t fly your mate to Paris for an $11 cup of hot chocolate at Angelina’s, try this alternative: the Charlotte Chocolate Company. I found local chocolatier Leslie Vilhelmsen on the Internet. She’s been making chocolate for years and specializes in milk, dark and white chocolates. She can even make chocolates with your logo or event embedded in it. Vilhelmsen uses the traditional French method of making chocolate — she slow-roasts the cacao beans to bring out a richer flavor. Her milk chocolates are so rich and creamy they melt in your mouth. Order online at For more information: (704) 577-4772

Smell — Create romance with fragrance. For men, I’m loving the smell of Usher’s new cologne UR for Men. It’s a fresh scent that has hints of sea water, crisp fruits, nutmeg, basil, bay oil, Artemisia, guaiac wood, cashmere wood and sandalwood. It’s the type of scent that makes you want to keep your man real close. ($65 at department stores nationwide)

For ladies. If you never heard of Jo Malone, this Valentine’s season is a good time to correct that. She has 20 fragrances in her collection. The beauty of her cologne is that you can combine her scents to create your own signature scent. My favorites are Grapefruit and Orange Blossom. For Valentine’s Day, try her Red Rose cologne. It’s a clean scent that’s composed of seven types of roses from around the world. ($55, or Neiman Marcus)

Happy Love Day — enjoy.

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