My husband took me to a restored farmhouse for our anniversary. In the middle of nowhere. Nestled in the mountains, not a sound, not a car, nothing but the beauty of the countryside and quiet. Heaven. For four whole days. Pure heaven. No TV, except we did watch a few movies in the evening with popcorn, and all kinds of junk food for fun. I cooked. We read, talked, hiked, I worked on my book ... some. Talked some more. Heaven.
But then, we're both hopeless romantics. Cards, candy, flowers ... Hallmark Valentine's Day stuff, anybody can do that. I want to live a romantic lifestyle. And it doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, it's not.
A clean house, beautiful linens, my favorite books, simple things that bring me joy. To me, romance is an important part of my life. A well designed home inspires me. All my favorite things that I've collected over the years, they soothe me. Ah, some day.
Vintage pictures, jewlery, linens, furniture, worn and wonderful. All vestiges of a more genteel time. A day when a woman would apply lipstick with style and grace or when a cocktail hour required a gown or black tie.
I love antiques. They connect you to people and places with a tawdry past. It's why I'm a collector, a lover of history. I imagine those who wiped the same serving dish, wore my antique necklace, gazed at the same painting. Who were they, where did this picture hang? Did they wear my necklace to a party? Did they use this dish just on Sunday?
My parents were the ultimate role models in my romance with antiques. They know each and every piece of furniture in their home as if it were an old friend. They can tell you where they purchased it, how much they paid for it, how they restored it, and in that order.
Living a romantic lifestyle for me is creating something special out of an old picture frame, finding that rare piece of pottery at a garage sale for fifty cents, seeing a masterpiece in one of my husband's photographs.
I like to celebrate. Get-togethers with family, parties with friends, an evening with wine and a few couples. Laughing is romantic. Feeding those you love is intimate to me. I'm a detail kind of girl, something I've been since childhood. I don't have to have it all, in fact, I don't. But I appreciate the little things, and I pay attention to what makes the people I love happy.
To be a romantic, one takes pride in their surroudings, they notice the unusual, a functional find, the beauty of a glass door knob, the line of a table, the feel of a quilt, the way light reflects through a piece of pink depression glass. I prefer the unique. I typically steer clear of department stores. I like the out-of-the-way stores in the little towns nobody cares about. They feel comfortable to me. You can sometimes get the history of a piece of furniture, or a basket, or even a doll, by striking up a conversation with the store owner.
I love fresh pink roses and keep them long after they're dried out. I collect and see things that comfort me, no matter the color, dent or scratch. I don't worry about where I'll put it. The romantic in me knows I will find the perfect spot in my someday house.
This year, for Valentine's Day, take your sweetie someplace unique. Like a winery. Or a restaurant you've never been to. Buy her a vintage ring from an antique store. Frame a picture of his father or grandfather and set it on his desk with a homemade card attached. Do something different. Set the table with an antique tablecloth or a lacy curtan panel, a candle, and have pizza and beer. Just do something different. Out of the ordinary.
Hallmark, Russell Stover's, and FTD Florists make enough money. Be romantic. Think of something different to make your Valentine Day sparkle.
Blessings to you and yours.