Happy Valentine's Day! Though I've been single for an eternity, I still love February 14th. There's something so sweet about everyone celebrating the special people in their lives, don't you think?
To get in the Valentine's Day spirit, I went to the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) last Sunday for their Local Love Market. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I had never been there before!
BCAE is located just past the castle on Arlington Street and conveniently, there are two parking lots on either side of the building.
As soon as I walked in, even the lobby's television screen was glowing with Valentine love.
I've been hearing about Union Square Donuts for a long time, so I put my nose right up to the case and got a good look. People rave about their maple bacon donuts, but I was interested in the brown butter hazelnut crunch or the chocolate marble frosted.
I decided to wait on the donut, as I didn't want to go into a food coma right at the beginning.
There was one room on the first floor, all four walls lined with vendors. The first was Pollen Floral Design. How adorable is this sign? It felt very Anthropologie window display to me.
They had examples of bouquets you could order for Valentine's Day. I love the rainbow of pink hues.
Now I've never seen this before as a Valentine's Day idea, instead of bringing your lady friend flowers, bring her a hair comb with a fresh bloom to wear out to dinner. I really think this is so precious.
At the next table I got to talking with Anne of adjewelry. Not only was I attracted to a lot of her pieces, but she had such creative displays. These bracelets with vintage buttons are displayed on a rolled up antique map.
Anne's table was covered in jewels I desperately wanted, like this bling bling statement necklace.
I had to resist purchasing every single one of these home state necklaces. The charms are small, but they shout your local loyalty!
Of everything displayed at her booth, my very most favorite piece was this necklace with one single pendant that said, "Amour."
At the next table, the ladies of Olives & Grace were telling me about their South End store where you can visit any time and create custom gift baskets. They find the best items across multiple categories and you can mix and match as you please.
They had original Valentine cards including this oversized "I'm so into you."
My eyes then darted to these peachy pink homemade ring pops.
If someone in your life loves sardines (weirdly, my parents do) these are actually chocolates!
On the opposite wall were the ladies of Vessel Candles. I knew I was going to like them because I was obsessed with their table banner.
It turns out these two ladies are very into DIY projects and one day they decided to see if they could make their own candles. Turns out, they're pretty awesome at it. They also happen to make their candles in my hometown of Newton, MA.
The Vessel Candles come in all kinds of scents and are hand poured, soy candles.
The girls were kind enough to let me sniff every single one.
At the end of their table, as a special Valentine's Day treat, they were also selling lavender sachets in these very sweet pouches stamped with a single red heart.
The market continued onto the second floor and at the top of the stairs was my boy Dustin of Bad Boy Bakeshop and Dustin Rennells Design. You may remember Dustin as the mastermind behind my golden birthday this past September.
Bad Boy Bakeshop had a slew of treats including these anti-Valentine's Day cookies.
There were so many hysterical phrases on the cookies, I couldn't pick just one favorite.
Ok ok, my favorite is "Stop texting." I admit it.
In addition to the cookies, at the end of the table were two kinds of cupcakes: espresso chili chocolate and key lime.
What I love about Dustin is that he thinks of absolutely everything, even the tupperware to give his customers. If you bought one individual cupcake he had these brightly colored take away containers and for larger orders, Valentine red containers. I mean, the boy's got talent.
Inside one of the second floor rooms I was gushing over all the kiddie stuff from Fawn. With all the little kids in my life, I am constantly on the look out for new surprise presents.
Fawn had bibs galore in all kinds of fun patterns.
My must-have item is the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" baby rattle, inspired by the Eric Carle story.
Next to Fawn was the table for Posh and Prep. At the recommendation of a friend, I started following Posh and Prep on Instagram about two weeks before this event. The owner, Julie, is absolutely hysterical and of course, her hand writing is impeccable.
At the Posh and Prep table, Julie was offering to address, stamp and mail any Valentine card you purchased that day. So smart!
This card was hands down my favorite.
This one below had me laughing out loud.
And you really can't go wrong with this classic comparison:
Posh and Prep also does gift tags and these are outrageously funny. The Kanye West one? I died.
Posh and Prep can do custom orders, so if you have something in mind or want custom stationary, invitations or thank you notes, Julie is your girl.
Across the hall I met Sarah Wormann who was selling original art work.
Her prints were bright and would make a happy addition to any desk.
She also does detailed designs of the fifty states. Very cool.
My heart melted when I saw these Valentine garlands.
One door down, my friends from Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain had transformed the space into a mini version of their hybrid record/book store.
I loved this set up! I think they should make this their permanent satellite location.
Amongst all the vinyl records I couldn't help but giggle at the Daft Punk cover. Those guys are nuts.
Tres Gatos was spinning records, but also selling records players. By the time I got there they had sold their red one, but the pink one was still up for grabs.
After leaving the Gatos crew, I made my way to the final room, which housed my friend Becky and her business Pop & Circumstance.
The table in the center of the space was peppered with chargers, saucers, tea cups and candle holders.
I love these floral and gold patterned tea cups!
There were all kinds of great finds, like these ocean blue glasses.
This print made me smile. It's hard to read, but below the heart it says "is all you need."
I had to stop myself from buying these two heart pillows. I have no place for them, but they are just so darn cute.
Now you know that I couldn't possibly meet all these amazing local vendors and not support them, right? Let's just say, I did my part. Here's a photo of all the loot I came home with:
My first purchase of the morning was from Deborah's Kitchen (which sadly, I forgot to photograph!). Deborah let me taste many of her jarred goodies and I bought a spread called Pear Lime Limbo and one called Wild Blues.
Along with the two jars, Deborah gave me a one pager that detailed which spreads go best with which foods.
I have to show you the Wild Blues, which is a blueberry based spread. Look at those whole berries! My breakfast toast just got a major upgrade.
After sniffing every single candle on the table, I also made two selections from Vessel Candles. Their gift pouch is so lovely. It reads, "Special delivery."
The first one I chose is called Lola and smells like cherry cola!
I also went with the Vanilla Cinnamon, which smelled like the most delicious, freshly baked cookie. Seriously, I couldn't stop breathing it in.
From artist Sarah Wormann I bought this watercolor Valentine's garland which I will hang during my celebration with friends tonight.
At the final stop, Pop & Circumstance, I got a little carried away. First I swiped these four blush pink and gold saucers right out from under the tea cups they were supporting.
I cannot get over the sophisticated, scalloped edges.
I can't wait to have a fancy occasion to use these plates.
Next I snagged a mirrored tray which I plan to use to display necklaces in my bedroom. The edge of the tray looks like a queen's crown.
Lastly, I disrupted the tablescape again by poaching this candle holder. I am going to replace these pink candle sticks with red ones and use this at my Oscar party!
I'm in love with every detail of this holder: the floral base for the candles, the curved arms and the regal center piece.
I also hand picked a few Valentine cards and gift tags from Posh and Prep, but I don't want my Valentine recipients to see them here, so you'll have to use your imagination and guess which ones I scooped up.
I would say I hit the jackpot at the BCAE Local Love Market, wouldn't you?
A huge thanks to my friends at BCAE for inviting me to join in the fun and to all the artists and business owners who came with such fun merchandise and who openly shared their personal stories and inspirations. I am hopeful this will become an annual event.
Happy heart day, everyone!