When I was a little girl, I decided that the bounty of Christmas had nothing on Valentine’s Day and that this was the perfect holiday for me. After all, it’s about expressing the love you have for someone, (or for a bunch of someones), and it’s about candy… now, what could be more perfect than that?!
I thought the height of my love for Valentine’s Day came in middle school, or as it was better known on the east coast at the time, junior high school. I was still very much into making a special Valentine’s Day card for my mother and buying her a box of chocolates… and, well, with junior high came exchanging valentines with classmates, with your favorite friends, and if you were lucky, with a special boy or girl that you had a major crush on. I always wanted my Valentine’s Day cards and notes to be extra special, so even if I had saved up enough money to buy them, I preferred to stay up late the night before, making them.
Then, high school took it to a whole new level where there was an unspoken expectation of getting asked out for a Valentine’s Day date. If you weren’t already part of a couple, you anticipated being asked out, and if you were a couple, God help the poor guy that neglected to make gifts of flowers AND candy very public. Senior year seemed to be about going over the top as people tried to out-do one another. I was fortunate to receive more candy and cookies than I could possibly eat, from friends and from the young man that I called my boyfriend at the time. A tin filled with heart-shaped sugar cookies, a full-size box of Godiva chocolates, a box of my new favorite, Ferrero Rocher Hazelnut Chocolates (OMG!!), about 20 small boxes of those colorful, heart-shaped candies with messages on them, and a dozen long-stemmed red roses with thorns that I repeatedly pricked my fingers on but I didn’t care, were waiting for me at my locker, at my desk in my homeroom class, and when I sat down in the cafeteria at lunch. I remember eating a little candy (ok, a lot of candy) each day for an entire week, and still having plenty left over.
Once I started college and moved out, I always managed to find at least 1 roommate that shared my love of sweets, and we would buy Valentine’s day candy and cookies and sit them out in the living room or in the common area where anyone that wanted to could help themselves. As much as I loved the candy, what I loved even more was sharing it over conversation with my friends, and it really seemed to taste the best when there was laughter. Yep, that was it… candy + laughter = a full heart.
Throughout dating and then the courtship with my husband, the candy just kept coming. There were so many beautiful bouquets of flowers (and not always roses -- there were lilies, and poppies, and mums), amazing dinners and unforgettable dates in the city, up in wine country and even at home, but the candy was always part of the day, and sometimes it was the star of the show. I have been told that I don't have a sweet tooth, I have a mouth full of sweet teeth! I love that, and it is for that reason that any miniature scene I create around the theme of Valentine’s Day has to have a variety of candy because my full-size life often spills into my miniature life, and I’m just keeping it real.
I'm experimenting with a new technique, (a work in progress and far from perfected) using beautiful photographs of interiors that I find on one of my favorite websites.
Jose's work can also be found at https://unsplash.com/search/photos/jose-soriano