First Person with Katie HarringtonFebruary 2023
Rockin’ Red HairFebruary 2023
How do you plan on spending Valentine’s Day this year? Dining out is a popular date option for Valentine’s Day. And what better part of the country to live in than Southwest Louisiana for an abundance of restaurant options! What about Valentine’s Day gift giving? In this special Valentine’s Day section, we offer some interesting gift ideas, feature Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts (they are quite busy this time of year!), and announce an exciting opportunity for engaged couples in SWLA! Read on for more information.
Family Works: Navarra’s Jewelry & Gifts
by Angie Kay Dilmore
Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts opened for business in 1962 when Sammy Navarra opened a full-service jewelry store. His son, Tommy Navarra, says he was fortunate to grow up in the business and work part time there through high school and college. “Upon graduating from Louisiana State University, I attended the Gemological Institute of America and received a Graduate Gemologist degree in 1983. I worked with my father for 10 years and gained valuable knowledge before he passed away in 1993.”
Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts remains a family business. Tommy is the president and owner of Navarra’s. He is involved in selecting jewelry inventory, sales, and administrative decision making. His wife, Pam, graduated from McNeese State University with a degree in Business Education and started working at Navarra’s 23 years ago. She serves in many facets of the business, including administrative, gift items purchasing, and sales.
Their daughter, Melissa Edwards, has worked with them for six years. After she graduated from Louisiana State University, she also received the Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America. She specializes in Gemvision jewelry design and computerized engraving along with sales.
Navarra’s has long been known as a premier place to shop for Valentine’s gifts, especially diamond engagement rings. Tommy says engagement rings and wedding bands are a very important part of their business. “When we sell an engagement ring to a couple, we begin a relationship that can last for generations. Trends change throughout the years, but diamonds are still the most desired stone. White gold has been the most popular choice, but yellow gold is becoming increasingly desired. Customers prefer engagement rings with diamonds in the mounting, but solitaires are still desired.”
For many years, diamonds were only available from the earth’s crust and formed over millions of years by heat and pressure. Tommy says that with technology today, man can now create diamonds in laboratories. “It is an amazing process that makes a diamond purchase possible for a customer who may not have the budget for a mined diamond.”Diamond and colored stone bands to go with an engagement ring have also become popular. Multiple bands are called “stackables” and are being worn more often. Navarrra’s also carries a wide range of Mardi Gras gift items.
Tommy says Navarra’s is proud to have served Southwest Louisiana for over 60 years. “Our customers, employees, and former employees are a part of our extended family. I would like Navarra’s to be remembered for its dedication to quality and service to our customers.”
Navarra’s Jewelry and Gifts is located at 1025 Ryan St., Lake Charles.
Taking the Guesswork out of Valentine’s Day Gifting
by Katelynn Mouton
According to the National Retail Federation, in 2022, Americans spent $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts for partners, friends, pets and more. This marked the second highest year on record with spending coming in at $175.41 per person on gifts for the love-filled holiday. Candy, greeting cards and flowers, of course, are amongst the top gifts purchased each year.
Locally owned small businesses are gearing up with sweet treats and unique gift offerings ahead of this year’s holiday. Take care of everyone on your Valentine’s Day gift list with these unique ideas.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day gift-giving, flowers are traditionally listed as one of the most popular gifts. Lilies, carnations, tulips and, of course, roses, rank amongst the most popular choices. Local florists like Wendi’s Flower Cart in Lake Charles are planning ahead and encouraging gift-givers to get their orders in early to ensure their selection of the freshest of flowers.
If your cabinets are filled to the brim with old vases and you’d like to recycle them, George’s House of Flowers in Sulphur suggests the perfect opportunity to take them off your hands. The shop offers a discount toward your flower order as a reward for recycling your old vases. Simply bring them by the shop when you are ready to place your Valentine’s Day order. Many local florists offer online ordering so log in to your go-to shop’s website, make your selection and place your order now to guarantee your special delivery on Valentine’s Day.
Candy & other Sweet Treats
Candy, cookies, cakes and other treats, oh my! The list is endless when it comes to options for sweet treats for your sweetheart. In addition to their regular favorites that have taken the community by storm, Twanie’s Terrific Treats offers double-sized cookies, perfect for a couple to share after a romantic dinner. They’re also baking a special red velvet cookie to mark the holiday.
Much to everyone’s delight, Jo’s Party House has made its triumphant return to the Lake Area via a new location in Moss Bluff. Who can say no to those signature cupcakes or iconic heart-shaped cakes?
If your Valentine is a popcorn lover, don’t miss out on a gift box from RhinoPOP, LLC. Special flavors like strawberry cheesecake, cotton candy or even something spicy like cinnamon, all compliment the traditional Valentine’s Day colors. This Lake Charles-based business also features traditional flavors as well as a variety of candies to choose from. They suggest ordering early to access the best selection of flavors.
If your Valentine is watching their waistline, Edible Arrangements in Lake Charles has just the treat for you. From chocolate covered strawberries, to fresh fruit arrangements, these sweet treats offer a guilt-free indulgence. Heart or daisy-shaped pineapples and strawberries dipped in semi-sweet Belgian dark chocolate are just a few options available. If you’re looking for something indulgent, brownies and cheesecakes are also available, and any order can be dressed up with balloons and/or a stuffed teddy bear. Order early online or by calling the store to guarantee your arrangement.
Giving the gift of self-care is a great way to encourage the one you love to relax and recharge. Manicures, pedicures, spa services, massages and hair care all provide plenty of options to choose from in this category. The best part is that many of these can be enjoyed alone or together as a couple.
Local salons like Scarborough’s Salon and Day Spa and Alevan Salon Spa Sanctuary offer a wide range of services, from hair care and facials to massages. Help your valentine beat the winter blues with an airbrush tan, blowout or fresh set of lash extensions from Blush and Co.
These local relaxation havens can be a one-stop-shop for selecting the perfect gift, and if this is all Greek to you, there are friendly staff standing by, ready to guide you through building the perfect experience.
Self-care isn’t just for the ladies either. ManCave Salon offers a complete grooming experience just for him. This Valentine’s Day, treat the special man in your life to a gift basket of products like shampoo and conditioner and a wide range of beard grooming products such as balms and oils.
No matter what your preferred love language may be, local businesses are eager to help make your Valentine’s Day a special, memorable occasion.
Say “Yes to the Venue Video Series: Casting Call for Engaged Couples & a Chance to Win!
Visit Lake Charles is creating a four-part video series to highlight wedding venues and the process of choosing the perfect wedding venue that suits a couple’s needs. The featured couple will star in the video series and win a $2,500 discount to go toward the venue or caterer of their choosing.
“Over the past several years, the weddings market has seen some challenges on multiple fronts. However, the staff at Visit Lake Charles is eager to put a spotlight on what the destination can offer to couples looking to tie the knot in the Lake Area,” said Timothy Bush, Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Lake Charles. “The goal of the video series is to showcase the real experience of choosing a venue in Southwest Louisiana and working with Visit Lake Charles and area partners to make dreams come true. We pride ourselves on having joie de vivre, and we want that joy to shine as we work to find the perfect wedding venue for the starring couple.”
Applications will be accepted throughout the month of February. Interested couples must be engaged and have a timeframe in mind for their wedding date.
For more information on the program, log on to www.visitlakecharles.org/SayYes.