Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Unromantic Date Ideas

One of my favorite traditions that my husband and I started several years ago is celebrating Valentine's Day with an unromantic date. It wasn't started intentionally. We went to a nice Brazilian steakhouse and then watched 127 hours. Basically we spent the nice uncomfortably full and watched a guy cut his own hand off. 

I have to admit that I really like the feeling of being super casual and having low expectations on a night when most people do the opposite. Here are some of our other favorite unromantic dates: 
  • Fast food. Whether it's a bucket of chicken, a couple of happy meals, or a bacon, egg, and fried onion topped burger (pictured above), you really can't beat a fast food meal if you want to get unromantic. 
  • A good ol' American buffet. I highly recommend Golden Corral. So much opportunity to stuff yourself, people watch, and help yourself to third dessert because you're too full to leave. 
  • Video game night. This can work with any of the aforementioned food suggestions, or you can order pizza (because, pizza). I'm terrible at video games so this wouldn't be my top choice but I think most guys, mine included, would love it. 
  • Cook together. Think sloppy: sloppy joes, chili dogs, mac and cheese or loaded nachos. Anything that you'd serve or eat at a Super Bowl party. 
  • Watch a movie. This could go one of two ways - a movie marathon of a nerdy (and lovable) series, like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Or you could also stick to one movie but make it good and gruesome - 127 hours, True Grit, The Revenant, or Arachnophobia. 
  • Go out for wings. No dress code and no need to worry about staying clean - revel in the messiness that is wings. 
  • Find a deal. Several chains, like Waffle House or Qdoba, will do special deals for Valentine's Day. Check articles and calendars like this for food deals by month. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas Advent 2015

Last year I posted our 24 days of Christmas tradition. 

This will be our third year doing this Christmas activity advent and it'll be a little different. This year I clustered the activities into groups of five with one group assigned to each week in December. At the beginning of the week we'll look at the activities and decide when we can fit each in. 

I'd say that I miss the excitement of opening up a card each morning but this has already proven to be easier schedule-wise and I'm a planner so I like knowing what's coming in advance. (Last year I didn't know when 'special Christmas dinner' was going to be so I'd have to try and shop for groceries that same day - not my favorite). 

Our activities haven't changed much over the years. I've found that it's best to get out and about earlier in the month. Generally though I'm a fan of low key things that can be done at home, aren't day-specific, and that are flexible if we have other plans that night. 

Week 1:
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Make a special Christmas themed dinner
  • Send out Christmas cards
  • Go to the Scottish Christmas Parade
  • Get a Christmas tree

Week 2:
  • Read a Christmas story together
  • Decorate the Christmas tree
  • Go to the train exhibit at Union Station
  • Do a driving tour of Christmas lights
  • Make paper snowflakes

Week 3:
  • Make and deliver Christmas treats
  • Have a family game night 
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • See the Festival of Lights 
  • Listen to Christmas music 

Week 4:
  • Have a fondue night
  • Deliver Christmas goodies to neighbors
  • Go speed shopping for stocking stuffers 
  • Make peppermint hot chocolate
  • Go out for appetizers and leave a big tip

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

5 Summer Dates

I missed the boat on Spring dates this year but I figure that it's appropriate since we barely had a Spring season anyway. So directly from Winter to Summer it is.

1) Make Sushi
For my birthday last year Luke put together a sushi- making basket and we've gotten serious mileage out of it so far. It's a lot of fun to make the sticky rice, fill it with your choice of ingredients, and (try to) roll it correctly. Plus I've been happily surprised each time at how good it actually tastes.

2) IKEA Day Trip
I discovered IKEA for the first time a few years ago and am still amazed. If you're lucky enough to live close to an IKEA it's an easy way to spend an afternoon - or entire day - even if you aren't looking to buy.
Plus they always have delicious swedish meatballs.

3) Sing Along
If you asked Luke what I'm worst at it would be a toss up between understanding/ memorizing lyrics and using video game controllers. So naturally one of Luke's favorite things to do is to compete to see who can get more correct words per song. We take turns picking a classic/ favorite and count the number of words the other gets right while singing along. 

4) Progressive Dinner Date
Ever since Luke heard about Jim Gaffigan's "boom boom" dinner dates, where you eat two consecutive meals at two different restaurants, we've known we needed to try it too. You can stick with two full meals/ entrees to make it a true "boom boom" or you can do an appetizer at one place, entree at another, and dessert at a third to make it a progressive dinner. I don't think you can go wrong here.

5) Park Time
I can't think of much I like more than walking around, preferably barefoot and with my dog, on a summer night. We're lucky to live close to a number of nice parks and schools that have open fields and playgrounds and it's an easy and fun summer night activity. I like doing basketball lessons (add basketball to the list of things I'm worst at) and swinging.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Last month, for our year anniversary, we went on a sunrise photo shoot with our favorite photographer Melodie. She photographed us once while we were dating, for our rehearsal dinner, when we got our puppy and also at my brother's engagement party. 

Thanks Mel for helping us document two years of marriage (+ one seriously derpy dog)!

Monday, February 23, 2015

8 {cheap} Winter Dates

If fall was the time to go out, winter is definitely the time to stay inside. The truth is that I would pick a warm blanket + hot chocolate + Netflix over most other things in the winter... but it's good to have a mix and get some fresh air too. 
1) Jigsaw puzzles + hot cocoa

The beauty of this date is that it's easy, warm and still a little different. We've had luck finding puzzles in thrift stores and I think some libraries might rent them? If not they should. This hot chocolate recipe is amazing and the fact that it makes ten servings isn't even really a problem.

2) Themed Dinner

Pick a theme and make a three course dinner together. Depending on how spontaneous you're feeling you can plan a menu and shop together or work with what you already have. We plan to do this one soon and will probably opt for a cheese theme because it's so easy to work as an appetizer, main course or dessert. 

3) Showtime

We rarely buy tickets for shows or formal performances because they can get expensive but I never regret it when we do. If you're in DC the Kennedy Center is a great option because 1) it's a beautiful building and 2) they have free shows every night. And if you want to be really classy don't forget to stash candy in your purse. 

4) Bookworm

...Because nothing says romance like getting a new library card. You can create a scavenger hunt and take turns finding childhood favorites, new recipes, etc. We like to get lost in the travel section planning future trips! 

5) Sundaes x 3 

Pretend that the sun doesn't set before 5pm and that it's not freezing outside. Buy plain ice cream and see how many toppings and non-toppings you can scrounge up. Use ramekins so you have enough room for all three rounds:

  • Round 1 - classic (almonds and cinnamon for me)
  • Round 2 - savory (pb&j, bacon&maple syrup)
  • Round 3 - partner's choice (chocolate and pb for Luke)

6) Still life

This date could go a couple of ways. For my sister and her husband, who are both talented artists, this would result in two beautiful pieces of art to frame and display. If you're on the other side of the spectrum, which I am, it would mean a really entertaining night. Secretly pick something to draw and see if your partner can guess the object by the artwork.

7) Cooking class

For my birthday a few years ago Luke took me to an Indian cooking class and we loved it. We ate some delicious food and left with a couple of recipes that we use at least monthly. This is the outlier of the list because it's not cheap but I would deem it splurge- worthy.

8) YouTube playlists

This playlist has some of our all-time favorite youtube videos. (I'm pretty impressed with myself for including more than just baby animals and Jimmy Fallon's History of Rap series). Whether you watch someone else's playlist or make your own, get comfortable and enjoy!