Some peanut butter cookie love for Rex. He’s my sweet Valentine this year. Thankfully his wife doesn’t mind. He always brings me something sweet for the holiday — each of which is even more wonderful since he beat cancer. This year? A giraffe Beanie Baby with red hearts on it. He was so happy to give it to me today at the gym. Little guy watched over me as I treadmilled it.
And while the oven was on, might as well feed the coworkers, bagel boys and bowling team too.
Happy Valentine’s weekend, friends!
Remember when Finny and I took our trip to Santa Fe and fell head over feet for the artist galleries? One of my favorite was filled with Mexican curios — including several walls of milagros. How I wish I’d pulled out my credit card and purchased a handful of these! These “miracles” are made of a variety of types of metal and are placed with candles at offerings for specific prayers. For example, having hip pain? Lost your cow? Include a leg or cattle milagro with your prayer candle. I saw a few of these when I lived in Mexico, but more so when visiting Guadalajara with Alma where we visited a huge cathedral. Milagros intrigue me.
On one hand, my faith says don’t worship false idols; I’m not putting my beliefs in the actual object. On the other, I think it is a fascinating form of folk art. When I found a lot of them for sale on Etsy via Supply Pusher, I jumped. Initially I was going to make small zippered pouches with a stamped prayer and a milagro. Alas, the sewing time and machinery this week haven’t worked in my favor. Instead, I pulled out some card stock and whipped up some written prayers of my own to be included in a handful of cards.
I think Frida would approve.
I haven’t watched much TV this week, but the little I’ve caught has been littered with horrific commercials trying to convince the men of America that all women want is a tacky diamond heart necklace. If there is one thing I can stand by this Valentine’s Day it is that I do not want diamonds. (Not that this is really an issue; just making a point.) Roses and chocolate don’t do it for me either.
Local wildflowers, not shipped in from Ecuador where children work in flower factories removing thorns — are always sweet.
As for jewelry, I love it and wear it daily. I even wear earrings and a bracelet to the gym most days. Bling makes me feel girly and pretty; I don’t like taking it off to go to bed, but I do so grudgingly. Yet my idea of bling typically doesn’t sparkle and certainly doesn’t come from Jared. I have given away my silver Tiffany jewelry for just that reason. Tastes change with time, and these days what I wear most comes with a story. My favorite necklace came from Cameroon. My favorite earrings I bought at a Balinese nonprofit event benefiting female aritisans. My favorite bracelets came from Namibia and from my grandmother. My grannie’s bracelet is sterling silver with chunks of turquoise, handmade by a Native American craftsman my grandfather has been purchasing jewelry from for 40 years. This piece they bought on Route 66 on their way to Arizona. See? Tell me that isn’t an awesome story.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not immune to the “wants.” There are a pair of earrings at Tiffany right now that I have my eye on, in part because they aren’t something I imagine I’d see regularly on others. Yeah. I’m fickle. I know.
As for the chocolate, I’d rather have a container of medjool dates and a chunk of sharp cheese. My mother? She’d love the chocolate. And the roses. And the diamonds. Women vary but being thoughtful is universally charming.
So, while I am sending Valentine’s cards as a way to remind my friends and family how much I love them, I’m not buying into the rest of the holiday hype. There is nothing more fantastically frugal than love. Local, sustainable, handmade — they make me a happy hippie.
Movie night is something special at my house because I don’t venture into the rental world very often. Dim the lights, make a big batch of healthy kettle corn (popcorn*+ Splenda + cinnamon + dash of cayenne), grab some sodas and a pack of Red Vines to use as straws and cuddle up for a great flick. Valentine’s day is a great excuse to make the extra effort, especially considering this movie night might set you back $5 but certainly shows thought. (Which as you know, goes much farther than bling to earn bonus points in my book).
As far as Valentine’s day movies go, my all-time favorite would have to be Pretty Woman. There is just something so interesting to me about the story of an escort who manages to find love with a wealthy client. Plus, one of my friends who lives in Rome currently works as an escort and we always send each other quotes from the movie! She has such an intriguing life, no two days are ever the same when you are a sex worker! She’s even told me about how some of the guys discuss their fantasies about having sex while watching something scary in the background. They usually give the escort the new Netflix horror movies list and ask them to pick one they don’t mind. People have such bizarre fantasies at times, that I can’t even fathom it.
Apparently, in recent years adult entertainers have even started to embrace the internet. My friend told me that along with websites like https://www.escortdirectory.com/escorts-rome-127/ she also manages to meet clients using adult social media platforms like OnlyFans. I am not sure if sex work would be right for me but I certainly applaud my friend for making a living the way she does. Sometimes she even earns more than I do!
Anyway, if you are looking for some fun Valentine’s movie picks, here are my recommendations.
Great Valentine’s Movies:
The African Queen
Like Water for Chocolate
(You can find the top 100 romantic movies of all time here.)
And to add the obvious pun: Lights! Camera! Action!
* I don’t mind popcorn in a movie setting — my greatest pet peeve– when my own crunching cancels out the annoying crunching of others.
Take one red velvet cake (For Arizona folk, mixes are on sale for $.88 at Fry’s this week.)
Add a recycled-tin foil heart stencil
Dust generously with powdered sugar
And voila! Valentine’s cake that says I love you in a fabulously frugal way.
This is the first installment of a Valentine’s series this week — fabulously frugal ways to celebrate the holiday in style and with love, without worrying about balancing your checkbook in the process. I am pretty sure with the eggs, oil and sour cream I added to the mix (for moisture), and the electricity it took to bake, plus the powdered sugar, this baby cost about $3. Giddyup.
How cute would these be as cupcakes? With red cupcake liners! I think I know what’s next.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and while many of you may roll your eyes at yet another meaningless Halmark holiday, I’m in the other camp — Camp Love. Valentine’s Day provides yet another chance to make and send great cards, let those you love read/hear/feel it, etc. Not surprisingly, I have been known to go a wee bit love-y crazy for my friends and family.
This year, I’m thinking homemade, handmade and fantastically frugal. I’ve ordered a couple of used books online, have a stack of red sweets for my mama, recently practiced a new red velvet recipe, and have plans of sewing up some corazon-inspired cards this weekend. My Valentine’s day is going Mexican this year, with an emphasis on Frida, bold colors y mucho carino.
What are you working on for your sweetheart?
Leave a comment, or better yet a link with your project, and I’ll randomly select someone for one of my que Viva Amor! Valentine’s sewing projects.