A FUN AND MODERN ITALIAN VALENTINE’S DINNER

Go ahead and kiss the cook

Planning a Valentine’s Day shoot with a recent divorcee isn’t easy. I’m pretty sure, f*** your Valentine’s Day and other colorful word combinations were used – A LOT.  So when Jen found some crazy tiger plates at Anthropologie that she wanted to use for a sweetheart table, I was shocked. I mean I was thrilled, but definitely shocked. She really never ceases to amaze. 

So, I let her do her crazy tiger thing and decided to focus on something a little more traditional. Valentine’s Day can be funny, flirty, frilly and of course – tone on tone, which you know I love. So bring it on!

You’ll Love These Unexpected Valentine Colors

That said, I didn’t want my table to be predictable. While scouring the interwebs for fun Valentine’s table settings, I found orangey red Henriette double old fashion glasses at Anthropologie along with some mauve napkins trimmed in orange fringe. (Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought these were fabulous. Anthro sold out of both items fast, so we have some alternatives in the Shop the Post section that will work as good substitutes.)

I know that Valentines doesn’t scream orange and mauve, but this is how I decided to keep things interesting. As I said before,  I’m all about tone on tone. If I have orange and mauve, then it’s ok to add all the shades of red and pink to the mix. And thus, my modern, frilly Valentine’s table creation began. 

A Sweet Pattern to Fawn Over

Next I found these super cute Kate Spade “Kiss the Cook” plates, which took my original plan in a slightly more preppy direction. So, I decided to roll with it and added a black and white pattern to break up my place setting. These Alvero Dinner Plates from World Market did the trick and didn’t break the bank – unlike my flowers, but more on that later.

Quick tangent here. Whether it’s outfits for family photos, furniture for interior design or table place settings, a pattern is almost always necessary to break up solid blocks of color and add interest. If your name is Jen then you need at least two crazy patterns. (Wink.) Seriously though, if not a pattern, then you need at least a few different textures  and the options for mixing patterns and textures are endless! I haven’t told Jen yet, but I really want to use a shag carpet remnant or 70’s pattern rug as a table runner next.

LOVE IS A FUNNY THING

Ok, back to my sweet, preppy, orange and mauve sweetheart table for two. Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is almost always a little tongue in cheek, so I decided to add some funny, whimsical extras like these XOXO glasses from one of my favorite stores, Paper Source.

Not to be out done, Jen also whipped up a couple of fun Pasta Themed Valentines and Place Cards when I sent her photos of some paper items I came across. Lucky me! She can always take my random ideas and make them match my decor. You can edit, download and print them here.

After Paper Source, I headed to Joann Fabric and Crafts to find a fun piece of fabric for the tablecloth. As always, SQUIRREL! These little Heart-Shaped Yours and Mine Ramekins were too adorable and needed to come home with me as well. 

Tangent number two. Did you notice we didn’t buy tablecloths this time around? That’s because we used our favorite purchase of 2020, these Tables in a Bag from Crate and Barrel, for a low key, intimate set up. Since most rolls of fabric are wide enough to cover these tables, just a few yards did the trick. Then to complete the look, we tossed in some colorful pillows and hung up fringe streamers from Target. Yay whimsy!

BIG BOLD ROMANTIC FLOWERS

Now this next part is a tad controversial. I was in charge of buying flowers for our tables. Jen wanted small, simple and if I’m being honest, a totally understated combination that was sooooo not like her. I, on the other hand, went a little crazy. I found so many things in the colors I wanted, I just had to keep buying. Seriously, it’s not my fault Trader Joes has such a great collection of flowers. And didn’t this arrangement turn out gorgeous!?! Not to mention, Jen stole some of my roses, so she can’t really complain.

KISS THE COOK FOR THIS ITALIAN FEAST

Now that I’ve gone on and on about the setting, let’s talk about food. You can’t ask your date to Kiss the Cook if you don’t actually cook. Or maybe you can if you dress up like a sexy chef? I’m not sure how that plays out, but let’s focus on dinner.

If you want to spend quality time with your boo, this classic Italian dinner is easy and will earn you all the kisses. Plus it can be made in advance and assembled last minute.

with Aru Start with these cute Italian Antipasto Kabobs and a little crusty bread with Sun-Dried Tomato Olive Oil for dipping. If you are really pressed for time try these Tipsy Tapas Sweet Peppers. They are wonderful and straight out of a jar.

For a simple but impressive main course, I adore this Chicken Piccata recipe. Serve it with Jen’s Favorite Caesar Salad and this Creamy Angel Hair Pasta with Arugula and perfecto! And, If you still have room, these Tiramisu Brownies are to die for. I mean can you really celebrate Valentine’s Day without chocolate? That’s A rhetorical question. Enjoy!

XOXO Sweeties!

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