Local, unique gifts are a way to stand out this Valentine's Day
If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift, area businesses are offering gifts for those thinking outside the (chocolate) box.
Valentine's Day, a holiday known for showering others with love and affection, is not just about sending flowers anymore. Instead, local vendors are embracing the growing idea of showing love in non-traditional ways.
Love is Beauty
The art of boudoir photography has been increasing in popularity as a way for women to celebrate their bodies.
Local photographer ShaRelle Mangum has offered boudoir-themed sessions for the past year and says they are good for any occasion, especially Valentine's Day. Mangum said her photography style showcases individual beauty and transforms women from the inside out in hopes of boosting confidence through glamour, boudoir and beauty style portraits.
“Women don't always look in the mirror and see themselves as beautiful. Photography allows them to see themselves in a much different way,” she said.
However, it's just not about taking photos. Mangum said it's about providing the experience of a lifetime from beginning to end.
Each session begins with a consultation with Mangum and assistant, Miguel Gutierez, prior to the scheduled session date. Mangum said they discuss the do's and don'ts of boudoir photography, what to wear and the comfort level of each client and how far they want to go in their session.
On the day of their session, clients are pampered with hair and makeup by a professional cosmetologist and work one-on-one with Mangum in her private studio space in historic downtown Shreveport.
Mangum said the results are sensual and simple yet something the whole family could be proud of. She said women can be photographed in whatever brings out their beauty, whether it's slinky lingerie or a simple lace dress.
Amy Stockton of Haughton recently completed a session with Mangum and said she felt comfortable from the moment she walked into the studio.
“They really made me feel gorgeous, ” Stockton said. “[ShaRelle] encouraged me to bring items I already owned because the photos are to highlight me in my true style, not what I think I should look like.”
Mangum said the common reasons for doing a boudoir photo session is to surprise a significant other, as an anniversary or special occasion. However, Mangum said more women are coming in just to do it for themselves.
Mangum said boudoir photography doesn't discriminate with age or body type. A common misconception, Mangum said, is that women typically feel like they need to be young and have the perfect body in order to book a session.
However, it's the exact opposite that Mangum looks for.
“We want women to feel beautiful no matter their age or body type,” she said. “It's about enjoying the experience and feeling good while doing it.”
For more information, visit www.sharellestudios.com or call ShaRelle at (318) 505-8080.
Love in Harmony
River Cities Jubilee barbershop chorus is well rehearsed and ready to pull at the heartstrings for the sake of love this Valentine's Day.
RCJ is a non-profit organization offering a personal Valentine's service on Feb. 13 and 14 in the form of music. The Shreveport-based group has been rehearsing songs and preparing for the holiday that has become the group's favorite over the years.
Steven Klein, RCJ vice president of marketing and public relations, said the two-day holiday sales is the group's main fundraiser for the entire year. Klein said they will have four quartets in the Shreveport-Bossier area delivering an extra special treat to unsuspecting love birds.
“We give people something very unique and original that they may never have before,” he said. “We show up anywhere they need us – restaurant, hospital, school or even the workplace – and put on a five to seven minute performance.”
Klein said it's always fun to see how people react to the uniform wearing, gift bearing vocalists. After the initial reaction of shock and maybe slight embarrassment, Klein said recipients are usually overwhelmed with emotion by the end of the performance.
“This is the holiday we look forward to most all year,” he said. “It's always a special moment to see their reactions.”
Live delivery packages range from $60 to $100 and include a song (or two) and a few special surprises for your special someone. There is also a $20 digital option, which is a performance via phone call to anyone outside the Shreveport-Bossier area.
Klein said live performances include a four member group performance of two songs, a rose and a card. He added that they will sing to both men and women too.
For more information, visit www.shreveportharmony.org or by calling (318) 673-4968.
Love is never old
The Looking Glass Vintiques is offering a new twist on old favorites.
Store owner Karen Guyette said The Looking Glass Vintiques, located on Youree Drive in Shreveport, features a mix of various booth renters that share the same passion for repurposing, recycling and reusing lost and found objects. Guyette said they have a unique offering of clothing and candy serving dishes to add the final touches to a magical date night.
Although the name hints at vintage and antique merchandise, Guyette said the store also offers a large variety of art and furniture for everyday living. The Looking Glass Vintiques is located at 3548 Youree Drive in Shreveport. For more information, visit www.thelookingglassvintiques.com or call (318) 946-8679.