HAPPY FEBRUARY my beautiful people. I don’t like Valentine’s Day. Like, not at all. It’s so cheesy and cheap chocolate-y and gross prix fixe-y.
In the year 6 BB (that is six years before baby, or 2007) my husband took me to Valentine’s Day dinner at the Walnut Grill in Pittsburgh. This restaurant isn’t open anymore, which doesn’t sadden me in the least if that gives you any indication of how this story is about to go down.
I have a pretty sappy and thoughtful husband, and he was trying to do the right thing by making a Valentine’s Day reservation. Except he dropped the ball. He basically secured the last possible reservation at the last possible restaurant at the last possible minute. In his defense we were in law school at the time. Law school has the effect of turning even the most organized, romantic person into a soulless, coffee-stained specter whose nightmares feature banana peels in various stages of decay and big, blocky mnemonic devices that would make Seuss’s head spin. Plus we were in our second year, which means we were also applying for really important jobs that neither of could care less about now. Oh, Life, you have quite the sense of humor. Can I get tickets to your next show? I’ll be the one heckling you from the back row, most likely dressed in yesterday’s PJs.
When we arrived at the restaurant we were seated at a table wedged between the kitchen and two blonde undergrads whose self-worth correlated strictly to their inability to trick a reasonably attractive frat boy into buying them an overpriced dinner on this most important of all days. With the clanging from the kitchen assaulting one ear and the whiney omigodmylifeisover piercing the other, the highlight of the meal was the creamy soft cheese drizzled with honey. And that was the appetizer, so, you know.
Matt still apologizes to me for this night. But he really did me a great service. It was like Toto pulling back the velvet emerald green curtain. That stinky little table pinning us between the guts of the restaurant and the gut-wrenching conversation exposed Valentine’s Day for money-grubbing, single-person shaming fraud she is. Ugh, Valentine’s Day. What a sham!
But, I do like pink and red hearts. Especially when they are so delicately strewn across my bookcase, creating a stunning contrast against its deep teal finish.
Did you really think I was that cold? The Tin Man didn’t go home empty handed that day after all. This certainly restored my faith in Love and hearts.
I recently finished the stencil in the foyer so I turned my attention to restyling my teal bookcase, which is a piece from the Arhaus relics collection. I wanted to do something bold and graphic on top of the bookcase, and I’d been envisioning a huge palm frond or something similar.
Earlier this month on a trip to Terrain, which is a garden shop and café curated by the geniuses behind the ethereal and eternally stylish Anthropologie, I found this stunning dried red stem of a plant of unknown origin. Unknown to me, that is; I’m sure the folks at Terrain could tell you but I know diddly about plants.
I went on a mission to find a large vessel to display my red stem. Along the way I found a great basket weave vase in the dishware section of HomeGoods, perfect to go with my coastal, casual vibe. The stem in the vase didn’t quite hold her own up there, so I tracked down a faux palm leaf to help her out.
My stance on plant life in the home is as follows: real is preferable, but only if you can keep it green and alive, dried is the second best option, particularly if you can preserve the original color or pick it in your back yard, and as for faux, a single stem or leaf is ok, as are twigs, bamboo stalks and the like, but no silk flowers or plants in colors that don’t appear in nature. No.
One day last week when my son was napping, I decided I didn’t feel like reading or writing or ‘rithmetic but I still wanted to do something productive. I went upstairs to my craft supplies and pulled out every shade of red and pink paper I had on hand. Then he woke up so I left the paper, along with my string, scissors and pencil in a pile in the middle of the living room floor.
Later that evening after my son went to bed I resumed work as I watched some TV with my hubby. I drew a ton of hearts in various sizes on the paper and cut them out. When I realized that would take forever, I began to fold the paper a few times and cut once so I could get more hearts with each pass of the scissors.
I taped the paper hearts to some string in no particular order, so the garland has an imperfect, organic look to it. I also had some hearts left over so I taped a few to the mirror anchoring my living room gallery wall.
I made two simple garlands, one for the bookcase and one for the fireplace. I also added a few red accent pieces to the mantel to make the display look a bit more Valentiney.
If you have time to watch TV and you passed your pre-K art class, this project is for you!
I leave you with this inspirational quote from my design muse, Jonathan Adler, who also said “If you love it like crazy, it will work.” I couldn’t agree with him more.
This Valentine’s Day and every day, I hope you’re surrounded with what you love. Happy hearting!