If I’m being honest, I’ve never actually been wild about celebrating Valentine’s Day. It probably has something to do with yet another high school trauma I still haven’t worked out in therapy. I spent so much time “not caring” about the popular girls getting roses and teddy bears, I kind of ruined the holiday for myself. Badass chicks don’t care about lame romantic gestures, right?
That being said, I’m not completely dead inside. The quiet poet in me often fantasizes about candlelit encounters in exotic locations heavy with the scent of jasmine and… Wait, what was I talking about? Sorry, got a little sidetracked there. The point is, although I may not be participating in what I’ve come to view as an overrated date night, I can certainly advocate for taking a quiet night in to the next level – even if it happens to be on February 14th.
TAKE ME OUT
Given my conflicted viewpoint on this strange holiday, it may not surprise you that I’ve had a long-standing tradition of eating Chinese takeout on Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure exactly when or why it started, but regardless of my relationship status, Chicken with Broccoli and Crispy Egg Rolls have always seen me through this cold February evening, regardless of my mood. And that’s really where the inspiration for this table started.
How do you take something as ordinary as Chinese carryout and elevate it to a swoon-worthy table scape? Well for starters, you fall in love with Nathalie Lete’s Tatiana Dessert Plates from Anthropologie and convince yourself you cannot live without them. And, while you are browsing, you decide to pick up the Levi Dinner Plates in currant, because the color is just too good to pass up. Oh wait, are those quirky Selma Wine Glasses in blush? You are definitely going to need those too. Viola! Now you have the start of fantastic place setting.
P.S. I LOVE COLOR
As Liz often points out, I love all the colors. So, it wasn’t surprising that after I put my Anthro finds together, I couldn’t resist straying away from my original soft pinky-purple palate to a much brighter and wilder set up. Enter mustard, chartreuse and tangerine.
These Golden Yellow Art Deco Diamond Napkins are a bargain from World Market, and I love that they add a pattern to my setting. We are big fans of decorating with fruit around here, and styling with tangerines is the perfect way to emphasize my beautiful tigress. Finally, the green velvet “table cloth” is just a piece of crushed velvet fabric from JoAnne Fabric and Crafts. I promise, with a table as gorgeous and eclectic as this, no one will care it doesn’t have a hemmed edge.
LOOK INTO MY EYES, OR NOT
This table can easily be configured as a traditional two-top café scenario, in which you may actually want a real tablecloth. But when I envisioned this sultry set-up, I imaged sitting on the floor next to my sweetheart eating off our coffee table and either staring off into a crackling fireplace or weeping with the protagonist in Like Water for Chocolate for the millionth time. (See, I told you I was a romantic at heart.)
PLATING FOOD ISN’T JUST A CHEFS GAME
Whichever configuration makes the most sense, the most important part of this table is staging your food. Even Chinese take-out can look like gourmet cuisine if you serve it in the right bowls. I am a huge fan of the Stoneware Collection from Hearth and Hand with Magnolia at Target. I have several bowls and plates from this collection that I use in combination with the myriad of vintage pottery I display around my house. Seriously, it takes mere minutes to dump things in fun serve ware and add fancy utensils like these Brown Ironwood Chopsticks from World Market to make you look like a culinary rock star.
THE EXtras for added romance
Last but not least, let’s talk flowers. You absolutely cannot have a romantic table without flowers or candles or both. This time I skipped the candles for safety reasons. No one wants to catch a sleeve on fire while passing the fried rice. It definitely makes you the wrong kind of hot. But what I lacked in candles, I made up for with these sweet little arrangements.
If you don’t want to break the bank on Valentine’s Day roses, these are a practical work around. I took two house plants, a small Philodendron and a tiny Parlor Palm, and divided them between two matching pots. Then I added a few calla lilies, hypericum berries and mini roses from Trader Joes. This was a seriously budget-friendly solution to V-Day flowers, and quite perfect if I do say so myself. I also scattered some of my left over flowers around the table for added drama.
FOR YOU MY VALENTINES
I loved this motif so much that I created a few pretty paper goodies to go along with this wild set up. Whether you use the Wild About You Valentine as an actual V-Day card or convert it to a menu for your Galentine sweeties, it promise it will brighten the mood. It’s also a great alternative to a salad plate, if you want to use your own dishes or simply aren’t in the mood to shop.
The same goes for these Tiger Stripe Place Cards. Use them for place cards or to identify yummy bowls of food. Their addition ties together and fancies up any serving bowls you decide to use. You can edit and download them here.
WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?
So, there you have it. A romantic Valentine table from a self-described Valentine’s Day hater. Oh, who am I kidding, if someone wants to woo me with chocolate and champaign – I’m down. You’ll just have to wait until Covid ends and get permission from my two, little ride-or-dies, Milo and Barrett. They are excellent judges of character and what they lack in table manners they certainly make up for in snuggles. Now let’s see what cinematic cry fests are on Netflix this month.
XOXO My Valentines!