I’ve never much been one to celebrate Valentine’s Day. While roses are beautiful and chocolate is delicious, something about the holiday has always felt a little too contrived—too Hallmark, shall we say. True lovers, I reasoned, don’t need an arbitrary day or bottles of wine tied in red and pink bows to show their special ones they love them.
Maybe I’m softening as I grow older, or perhaps it’s because I have a Valentine of my own this year, but I’m giving the holiday a chance. After all, a sweet little surprise can be the best treat, and since February 14 rolls around each year, why not play along? As a novice at romantic shopping, I asked a few veterans to suggest the perfect gift for this formerly dreaded day of love.
And what an unexpected pleasure it turned out to be exploring local shops and the treasures they offer. I hope you feel the enthusiasm and personality that each of these local shop owners conveyed when I interviewed them. From tagines to totes, fetishes to jewelry, there’s something here to make even the most jaded of lovers blush with pleasure …
Ron Midgett has the perfect idea––“Give them one of our premium Phalaenopsis orchids! These wonderful flowers will last three to four months in bloom … long after the candy box and the wine bottle have been recycled. Our premium double-stemmed Phalaenopsis plants are potted in our beautiful exclusive ‘Made in Santa Fe’ ceramic pots. You can have a classic white or purple Phalaenopsis—or walk on the wild side with one of our novelty colors.”And if you’re sure this is a long-term romance, Ron even has an ‘Orchids for a Year’ plan!
Ron Midgett of New Earth Orchids, 6003 Jaguar Drive in Santa Fe. 505.983.1025
Ana Enriquez envisions this stunning red tagine as “the gift of a new cooking adventure!” As she explains, “A tagine is an elegant and unique glazed earthenware vessel with a distinctive conical lid that fits into the vase’s grooved rim and makes the cookware work as a chimney, and can be used on the stovetop with a heat diffuser or in the oven.” Tagine is also the name of the classic Moroccan dish that she describes as “a satisfying, hearty and fragrant stew with warm spices like cardamom and saffron or ral al hanout (a blend of 16 or more spices).”
Ana Enriquez of The Spanish Table, 109 North Guadalupe Street in Santa Fe. 505.986.0243
Looking for something rugged and practical? Steven Traer swears by the Filson brand.“Filson is a Seattle based company. It started in 1897 as a purveyor of hardwearing apparel for miners of the Great Klondike Gold Rush and their uncompromising commitment to quality, durable gear is one of the reasons they’re still around today. They started making luggage in 1991, and this style, the original briefcase, is one of our best sellers. It will hold up to a 15-inch laptop, as well as the myriad other things modern folks carry these days. It’s made from dry-waxed, 22-ounce heavy cotton twill and bridle leather. The zipper is a two-way and made of solid brass. It’s got good organization inside. It will probably outlast most relationships. Like all of us, it just gets better with age. Made in the U.S. of A.” Amen, to that.
Steven Traer of Red River Mercantile, 235 Don Gaspar Avenue in Santa Fe. 505.992.1233
If it’s something new and totally unique that you’re looking for, your timing is perfect: “Santa Fe Dry Goods is proud to introduce Todd Pownell as one of our newest jewelry designers. Todd’s work is defined by the juxtaposition of gold, inverted diamonds and oxidized silver set in a contemporary, organic setting. His pieces make great Valentine’s Day gifts, because they are wearable every day and pair well with other jewelry styles.” This picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
Lynn Tate of Santa Fe Dry Goods, 53 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe. 505.983.8142.
“Santa Fe Weaving Gallery excels in finding ‘pretty’ for its distinctive clients and ferreting out the unusual among artisans who create wearables, near and far. This fuchsia crinkle silk blouse [designed by Elizabeth Garver]in dupioni silk has lime color accents and orange stitching along the collar, cuffs and down the button placket. We thought the blouse was a knockout on its own, but Jill Heppenheimer assured us that, “a pretty blouse is never enough when standing out in a crowd. That’s why we paired this one with a necklace in leaf green with soft pink beads. The necklace is of handmade paper, light as a feather, 28 inches long and created in Granada, Spain, by Begoña Rentero. We like to use the term ‘special pairings’ as an update of the idea of ‘ensemble.’ This is a little bit sexy and very contemporary
Jill Heppenheimer of Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, 124 Galisteo Street in Santa Fe. 505.982.1737.
“We’re suggesting our signature Teca Tu Doggie Vestido Coats and Vests for a unique and warm Valentine’s Day gift for your special dog. These coats and vests are a Teca Tu exclusive and best-selling favorite: hand-cut here in Santa Fe from the Southwest Native American-inspired wool trade blankets by Pendleton. You won’t find these dog coats and vests anywhere else! They come in four colors—turquoise, black, sage and khaki—and are available for pooches of all sizes!” If only they fit us humans, too…
Laurie Wilson of Teca Tu, 500 Montezuma Avenue in Santa Fe. 505.982.9374.
As Bronwyn Fox explains, “Keshi has always focused on facilitating heartfelt connections and we carry a large selection of paired creatures carved by a variety of Native artists. Each one comes with an explanation of the animal’s ‘medicine,’ as well as information including the artists’ own explanations of the meaning of pairs. Jayne Quam carved this pair from black marble and yellow fluorite, bound them together for life with cotton sinew and adorned the two with shell and turquoise offerings. Whether you see them as wolves, coyotes or foxes, this duo represents the honoring of partnership and the power of two.”
Bronwyn Fox of Keshi, 227 Don Gaspar Avenue in Santa Fe. 505.989.8728.
Mira has been a specialty boutique on Marcy Street for 23 years and they now have a new owner, Kathy Mahone, who plans to “take the shop even further into the realms of fun, frivolity and fabulousity!” What does she have planned for Valentines Day? “We’re featuring candy-colored gems for your sweetie. Each earring and necklace is specially made by two local artists who support. Simple, classic, one-of-a-kind, yet always the right size. If you’re looking o make them even more enticing, they can be purchased individually for under $50! Still confused about a gift for your Valentine? Come in and let the lovely ladies of Mira help you find the perfect treasure. Outlandish leggings to faux fur pouf hats—we have it all!”
Kathy Mahone of Mira, 101 West Marcy Street in Santa Fe. 505.988.3585.
This year, in celebration of its 50th birthday and Valentine’s day, Barbara Park suggests giving your favorite snow bunny or ski-bum a pair of “Heat Touch gloves by Seirus, because we all know ‘warm hands mean warm hearts.’ These gloves will provide reliable warmth whenever you need it, with just a touch of a button. That they are made with premium materials and innovative technology (and Seirus’ experience creating the best cold-weather protection) are just a few reasons these will become a favorite. There are three heat settings for up to six hours of warmth, provided by two rechargeable batteries, and the gloves are available for men and women.”
Barbara Park, Alpine Sports, 121 Sandoval Street in Santa Fe. 505.983.5155.
Kate Wheeler’s created something special for the big day at her charming new place on Galisteo. Kate suggests adding “a little spice to your life this Valentine’s Day with our chocolate-and-spice gift basket! Enjoy a variety of decadent chocolate offerings like our new black onyx chocolate sugar cubes or our chocolate dipped ginger and a premium 4-piece chocolate box from nationally recognized Robin Chocolates.” Savory Spice compliments these sweet indulgences with “spices including our sweet and spicy Chai Spices, our rich Bakers Brew Coffee Spice, our Barrier Reef Caribbean Style Seasoning and our distinctive Cantanzaro Herb Seasoning Salt.” Sometimes, “spicing up your love life” calls for a pinch or two of the real stuff.
Kate Wheeler of Savory Spice Shop, 225 Galisteo Street in Santa Fe. 505.819.5659.
Compiled by Mia Rose Carbone