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Sweet, Sexy, Scentful, or Single

Well, here it is again, the hallmark of Hallmark holidays. A day of exculpation, it can be used as an excuse to get schmoopy over your significant other or to get blitheringly sauced because you don't have one. But whether you need a table for two or will be sitting at the bar Saturday night, Valentine's Day is also a great excuse to go shopping, for your honey or yourself.

SWEET
Everyone knows the 3 C's to a woman's heart: Chocolate, Clothes and Cocktails. Well the new Mission boutique/sweet shop pink stripes has nailed two of the three, making it a one-stop shop for Valentine essentials. Owners Tricia Santa Ines and Desiree Aquino have even done the hard part for you by bundling some of their tasty treats with sexy gifts packaged in a perfectly pink cake box. Take your pick from the Dessert Kit ($22), an oh-so-cute lacy thong paired with a set of pink and brown chocolate truffles, the aptly named Sugar & Spice Kit ($42), a black or white mesh camisole set with a delicious chocolate truffle, or the Chocolate Love Kit ($25) featuring a pink stripes tee and almond cookie pop with the pink stripes logo. Pink stripes also caters to a 4th C: cheesecake. Their signature dessert comes with an Oreo or graham cracker crust topped with raspberry sauce and is nothing short of bliss for your tastebuds ($5.99 for two), this coming from a girl with a wicked sweet tooth. They've also got handmade cards ($3.99), separately sold almond cookie pops ($3.00) and truffle sets ($5.99) and an entire store's worth of adorable and affordable skirts, tops, party dresses, pants and accessories. Not to mention, enough pink to last you through next February.

SEXY
Whether you're playing doubles or flying solo, you certainly don't need an excuse to drop some cash at everyone's favorite sex toy shop, Good Vibrations. Now's the time to pick up those leopard print bondage cuffs ($55) you've been eyeing or choose a shiny new vibrator for yourself. Ranging in price from $15 for the itty bitty vibe to $76 for the infamous Rabbit there's a point of pleasure for every pocketbook. Boys, if you want to give your girl a personalized present, turn to Cynthia plaster caster for inspiration and go for the “Make your own dildo” kit ($115). Looking for something more subtle? Edible undies go for $5, chocolate body paint is $12 and Flirty Fortunes (cookies with suggestive fortunes) cost $10 and complete the sexy smorgasbord.

SCENTFUL
Flowers are expected but they don't have to be predictable. Try Zuzu's Petals on Haight Street for something on the funky side. Pick your own bouquet from the floral buffet or make yourself at home on one of the comfy couches while they work the magic for you. They can accommodate any budget from a $10 bunch of tulips to the $60 classic dozen red roses ($75 w/ vase). If you know what you want, place your order now. Roses go first but the pickin's will be slim if you wait until the last minute. And for heaven's sake, if you get stuck with a grocery store bouquet, simply do without. Or make it presentable by ditching the cheesy cellophane and mini-metallic “I love you” balloon and wrapping the flowers in newspaper.

SINGLE
If you plan on spending the evening a la carte and are horrified by the thought of a social scene filled with couples, head to Safeway and Le Video for the makings of a perfect night at home: Ketel One ($25.99), Kahlua ($14.99), Half and half ($1.39), Sex and the City dvd rental ($3.99). Consider it money well spent.