Welcome! This website is centered around my blog, which initially began as a sort of personal online journal, but has expanded to cover an eclectic range of topics. I am a social media enthusiast, emerging writer, and host of the Talking Taiwan podcast. Thanks for visiting and following along my personal journey!

An Unlikely Valentine's Day Pop-Up Shop

An Unlikely Valentine's Day Pop-Up Shop

This year I started off my Valentine's Day celebrations in a kind of "unromantic" way. Let me explain... It all goes back to this invitation to a Facebook event that I received in early February.

It was a "Save the Date" for One Love Foundation's Valentine's Day Pop-Up Shop, but when I went to the event page it was devoid of any description. So I figured that the pop-up shop was some sort of a fundraiser for One Love. I'd noticed several creative fundraising events being organized by local communities for One Love, like "Lip Sync for Love" and Yards for Yeardley. This seemed like another one of those.

I love all of the great work that One Love does and had planned to stop by their pop-up shop to show my support before Valentine's Day, but as the day approached I still hadn't gotten around to visiting it. 

Then, the day before Valentine's Day I saw this video posted on One Love's Facebook page:

By then I had also seen some of the media coverage about the pop-up shop. When I realized that the pop-up shop was not actually a fundraising gift shop, I really wanted to go see and experience it for myself. Full disclosure: Since I had seen the video and read some coverage about the shop, it wasn't exactly a fresh experience for me. But when I got there and looked around at all the objects on display, I was struck by the words and phrases that accompanied them.

wine and teddy.jpg

The labels on the wine bottles above read: Why not? Then don't be surprised when I leave you.

When squeezed, the "Mood Swing Teddy Bear" said: "Shut up!"... "I'm sorry, that wasn't the real me." and "I hate you."... "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that."


Many of the words and phrases that I saw seemed so commonplace. They are things that we may have heard others say, or worse yet, we may have been the one who's said some of these things to others, without fully realizing their impact. Seeing these words in black and white, and saying or hearing them out loud really drives home how inappropriate they are.


The words on these "Be-Little Candy Hearts" are anything but sweet: You're so stupid, Idiot, You look fat, You're pathetic, and Loser.

This box of chocolates delivers a "bomb."


When you open it up here's what you get.


There were more loaded messages on these cards, which are definitely not "Hallmark Happy."


I found the words on these cards particularly shocking. I felt like they were communicating the covert thoughts of the gift giver. In fact, this could apply to all of the iconic Valentine's Day gifts on display at the pop-up shop. The mixed messages of sweet romantic gestures and hurtful words are like the extreme behaviors exhibited by individuals in unhealthy relationships. Being in an unhealthy relationship is a double-edged sword with deep highs and lows. One Love lists the 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship as: intensity, jealousy, manipulation, isolation, sabotage, belittling, guilting, volatility, deflecting responsibility and betrayal. I couldn't help but think how loaded apologies or gifts would seem- especially if they were coming from someone who has used hurtful language (much like was was seen at the pop-up shop).

Kudos to One Love for the innovative ways they educate people about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors.

In August of last year, I was thrilled to become a contributing writer for One Love, an organization dedicated to educating people about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. I wholeheartedly support the work that One Love is doing. Writing about this subject matter has helped me to understand and identify patterns of behavior in some of my difficult relationships, and it's also made me aware the hurtful things that I've said and done in the past. We could all learn to #LoveBetter because we may have never been taught how to love or what is not love.



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