Valentine's Day shopping for the woman in your life doesn't get any easier in to her 30s. Being 30 doesn't necessarily mean settling down, getting it all together, or even knowing what you're doing a year from now. That said, there are some wants that never change, and these thoughtful gift ideas are targeted at winning the heart of that special 30-something year-old.
HANDMADE LEATHER JOURNAL
Price: $25 | Buy it on Amazon
Journals come up in some form or another on just about every list of "gifts for women," but rarely on corresponding lists for their male counterparts. On its surface, it's a reductive declaration that "girls keep diaries" and "boys" don't. On the other hand, it extends women a whole lot of credit for being introspective and voicing their innermost thoughts outside of the cloud. It's a fine Valentine's Day gift, but perhaps it should be less binary in years to come.
POSTMATES GIFT CARD
Price: Varies | Buy it from Postmates
Know what's better than using a whole bunch of expensive cookware to cook for yourself after a full shift at work? Not having to do any of that and just waiting a poke bowl to be brought to you.
EDELIN BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES
Price: $30 | Buy it on Amazon
Even with the wires long gone, headphones remain troublesome for any active person. Wireless earbuds are about as good at staying put as their wired counterparts, with neither holding up particularly well to running or yoga. Edelin designed its over-the-ear headphones to not only stay in place, but to be waterproof, noise-canceling, and compatible with just about any smartphone. Stop shoving those earbuds back into place and start getting more out of a workout.
LUSH LOVE HEARTS GIFT SET
Price: $50 | Buy it at Lush
UK-based Lush can be an overwhelming sensory experience for those who don't know what they're getting into, and absolute bliss for those who do. This play palace of shampoos, perfumes, shower gels, facial treatments, shaving creams, and massage bars is a cost-effective means of turning even the most modest of studio-apartment bathrooms into a spa for a day. A gift pack of five bars and "bath bombs" bubbles and fizzes while enveloping a tub occupant in a wave of aromas. It isn't for everyone, but it should be a Valentine's Day staple for those who appreciate its comforts most.
SOLMATE RECYCLED COTTON YARN SOCKS
Price: $15 to $20.50 | Buy it on Amazon
It may be Valentine's Day, but it's also right in the middle of cozy-sock season. Solmates socks are a particularly fuzzy mismatch of odd yarn ends that come together in a warm ball of color. They look as if they were knit by that cool aunt who used to follow the Dead, but far more cushy than their recycled remnants suggest.
SEPHORA GIFT CERTIFICATE
Price: Varies | Buy it at Sephora
The makeup empire that ate Manhattan isn't as ubiquitous as detractors claim, but in the digital age it doesn't have to be. Maybe there aren't racks of shades and styles in the town your favorite woman calls home, but Sephora.com has a 90-day return policy that issues full refunds for products that don't live up to expectations. (You'll have to eat the shipping cost, though.) A tough one to pass up unless she tells you specifically to avoid it.
TUMI ALPHA 2 GARMENT COVER
Price: $295 | Buy it at Tumi
Moves, weddings, and business travel tend to get more frequent in someone's 30s. No woman out there likes having her wardrobe get all janked just for the privilege of getting from Point A to Point B, so pick up a quality garment cover with lots of interior pockets for accessories. The ballistic nylon exterior and easy folding into carry-on size also goes a long way toward reducing wear and tear.
AEROPRESS COFFEE MAKER
Price: $30 | Buy it at Bed, Bath & Beyond
She works too hard to suffer through that one-cup monstrosity at the office, and shouldn't have to go out to get a decent cup of her own. Aeropress users swear by it for single-serve coffee both for its speed (less than a minute, once water is boiled) and the minimal acidity of its brew. It's an easy answer to a daily dilemma if she hasn't already picked one up herself.
SKY UMBRELLA COLLAPSIBLE
Price: $42 | Buy it at MoMA Store
The Museum of Modern Art has been selling this umbrella since 1992, and it remains a best-seller. Created by graphic designer Tibor Kalman and Emanuela Frattini Magnusson, the plain black umbrella opens to reveal an optimistic blue sky above its owner's head. It also folds into a tiny tote, leaving fellow commuters oblivious to what lies beneath.
VACU VIN WINE SAVER
Price: $9 | Buy it on Amazon
We can't say what wine to buy, because we don't know her tastes. We can't say to go out and buy all sorts of "It's Wine O'Clock Somewhere" knickknacks, because they have nothing to do with wine. We can tell you that this little pump and two modest rubber stops are one of the best investments to make to keep opened wine from losing its luster. Oxygen is the enemy, and those low-profile stoppers are a fine, reasonably priced means of keeping it away.
Price: Starting at $25 a month | Buy it from VineBox
If you know someone who loves wine, but wants to expand the palate a bit, this is an interesting way to do it. VineBox sends three "glasses" of wine in beaker tubes to recipients each month. The cost per glass ranges from a little more than $8 if a gift giver buys a $300 year-round subscription, or $9 if opting for an $81 three-month plan. It's a guaranteed wine tasting every month without leaving home, which is not such a bad thing if trying to cut down on Lyft rides in the new year.
SOLAR ORBIT NECKLACE
Price: $40 to $60 | Buy it on ThinkGeek
As Carrie Fisher made clear, there's no need to sacrifice style to curry favor with the nerds. ThinkGeek follows through with this beaded necklace depicting the solar system, right down to the asteroid field between Mars and Jupiter. While we'll save the debate over Pluto's inclusion for those with more advanced degrees, we'll note that a Star Wars version of this necklace also exists for those looking to unleash their inner princess-turned-general.
Price: $10 a month | Buy it from MoviePass
If she loves movies, this may cause a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, MoviePass argues that it helps theaters guarantee attendance and free up customers' cash for concessions and other items. On the other, it buys up tickets, doesn't ask for permission, and makes it tough for theaters to opt out. In the end, though, it's a guaranteed trip to the movies each month and even more if she opts to take full advantage of its benefits.
ROKU STICK AND MOHU LEAF ANTENNA
Price: $60 | Buy it at Best Buy
We put this on the men's list as well because it's universal: You may not "settle down" in your 30s, but it's almost inevitable you'll be out less and home more. For anyone who doesn't want to be saddled with a cable or satellite bill on top of everything else, that means cutting the cord. If you know someone with a television in their apartment that just collects dust while their tablet works overtime, here's a fine way to put it and those streaming subscriptions to use.
Price: $48 | Buy it on Uncommon Goods
It takes a particular love of the written word to wear the text of "Pride and Prejudice," "Sense and Sensibility," "Jane Eyre," or "Alice in Wonderland" around your neck. But these scarves speak volumes about the emotional and intellectual attachment to those books. They're the kind of reading that warms the soul as well as the neck.
VERMILLION MIRROR WOOL THROW
Price: $180 | Buy it from Fairbault Woolen Mills
There are few things more comforting in the depth of winter than a warm woolen blanket … unless it's as scratchy as steel wool and only causes misery. That is why Fairbault backed up the inviting Nordic pattern on this throw with an especially soft 85 percent Merino wool fabric that still makes a pleasant shield against the elements on a biting winter night.
Price: $350 | Buy it on Vitamix
If you're going to get someone a kitchen appliance they didn't ask for, it might as well be a top-of-the-line brand that comes in handy for cocktails. The E10 is Vitamix's entry-level model, not the professional-grade machine gracing the counters of smoothie shops, but is incredibly brawny at 2 horsepower and has the variable speeds and durability that users have come to expect. This isn't just some kitchen toy: It's an ice-crushing status symbol.
THE PORTHOLE INFUSER
Price: $120 | Buy it at MoMA Store
LaCroix leaves you with a bunch of cans to recycle. A SodaStream has its plastic bottles and nasty looks from people when you try buying CO2 cartridges. But this crowdfunded pitcher from the Crucial Detail studio caught the Museum of Modern Art's attention by using simple design to create cocktails, infused oils, dressings, lemonade, and other concoctions. It's beautiful, and not just in its simplicity.
RACHEL ZOE'S BOX OF STYLE
Price: $100 per quarter | Buy it on TheZoeReport
Because you took your sweet time getting to this item, you've already missed the winter box that includes a Rachel Zoe-designed clutch, a Nicole Richie-designed set of earrings, a faux fur stole, eyeliner, hydrating oil, and inspirational words from Zoe herself. If you want to give her an easy way to stay in season starting with spring, this is a fun and cost-efficient way to do it.
SHATTERED GLASS CEILING NECKLACE
Price: $68 | Buy it on Uncommon Goods
This sterling silver necklace "is a tribute to all the women who have ever crushed it." Emblematic of women's achievements throughout history, it also serves as a reminder of the barriers that still need breaking.
UGG DUFFIELD DOUBLE KNIT ROBE
Price: $125 | Buy it at Nordstrom
Around Valentine's Day, retailers really want you to get the woman in your life a pink, thin, not very comfortable robe from their seasonal offerings. Don't. This fleece-lined robe bound by double-knit fabric is seasonably cozy and provides a much warmer layer for winters around the house than the flimsy holiday offerings that will be lucky to survive a year's worth of washing.
CHANTAL MIA COPPER-PLATED ELECTRIC KETTLE
Price: $70 | Buy it on Kitchen Kaboodle
Just about anyone will sell you a modern, utilitarian electric kettle that boils water and sends you back off to your bland existence. But to get a kettle that looks the way stove kettles used to and that comes in pretty, bold colors, hit up Chantal. Though the Mia's slow-pour spout is designed for pour-over coffee brewing, there's nothing preventing this 32-ounce kettle from being used for tea, soup, or anything else.
BREAKFAST TRAY WITH WALNUT FINISH
Price: $22 | Buy it at Target
There are a couple of options here: Either fill this tray, present it to her in bed, and risk crumbs or gristle getting onto the sheets; or pair it with that cord-cutting gift and Postmates card we mentioned and make a night of it.
WD 2TB BLUE MY PASSPORT ULTRA EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
Price: $86 | Buy it on Newegg
This may not ooze romance, but it's great at protecting the things she loves. At best, it can save her portfolio, her work history, and the items and projects that make up the bulk of her career. At worst, it can save thousands of photos of trips, occasions, and memories that she spent a lifetime compiling. If you know something digital means that much to her, don't wait until it's corrupted or largely deleted to make a grand gesture.
HOTELS.COM GIFT CARD
Price: Varies | Buy it on Hotels.com
Can you just splurge for once? Go stay somewhere that isn't someone else's home? Have a room cleaned for you and amenities you don't have to maintain? Maybe have a restaurant or bar downstairs for dinner or late-night drinks? Ditch the "sharing economy" for a night or so and be selfish on behalf of the woman you love.
CHELSEA BLACK TORTOISE FADE POLARIZED SUNGLASSES
Price: $180 | Buy it on Toms
It doesn't seem like it, but the unofficial start of summer is only three months away. That's still a long time for these to sit around unused, but Toms assures buyers that every pair of sunglasses sold pays for actual glasses for a person in need through its One for One program.
BROOKLINEN MOVE-IN BUNDLE
Price: $619 | Buy it on Brooklinen
Dinners will be eaten, movies will end, vacations will run their course, but a bed will take up hours of her life. To make it the sleep chamber people dream of requires a complete overhaul, which is why Brooklinen threw all of its best-selling items into one bundle. It includes a sheet set and duvet cover in a choice of weaves, two pillows, and a down comforter in different weights and materials. It's an investment made once to give her comfort for years.
DEWALT DRILL KIT
Price: $99 | Buy it at Home Depot
This made the men's list for the same reason it's making this one: When you're in your 30s and getting your first home, it's helpful to own one. Everything from assembling Ikea furniture to framing out a new wall is easier with a drill handy, and a decent drill and bit set won't set you back all that much.
BLUE MICROPHONES YETI USB
Price: $130 | Buy it from Google Express through Fry's
Has she been talking about launching a podcast, but maybe needs a push in the right direction? The Yeti microphone isn't all she'll need, but it's a step in the right direction. A perennial favorite among podcasters, the Yeti's versatility and overall sound quality make it a great starting point for newcomers. It's a crowded market out there, but starting out with quality equipment such as this mic can help cut through the noise and speak to an audience.
MICHELE HYBRID TRACKER WATCH
Price: $495 | Buy it at Nordstrom
A smartwatch almost always looks too smart for its own good. This Swiss-made Michele watch, however, looks more like clockwork hiding a secret. Though retaining the band, bezel, and two hands of its predecessors, this watch is also Bluetooth-enabled and compatible with Apple iOS and Google Android devices. That allows the wearer to track fitness, control music and notifications, and even take photos.