Friday, April 23, 2010

Why not make it a date night?

Ask your significant other out on a date every now and then.  Not, hey let's go grab some food.  Or, want to go catch that new movie?  An actual date.  Like at the beginning of your relationship.  Call or text or even better yet, write a note asking them out on an actual date.  "I'll pick you up at 7.  Dress is business casual."

And then get creative.  Who says you have to go slam down a hundred and fifty bucks on a steak that is probably a little overcooked over a bed of way too buttery asparagus.  Who even eats asparagus.  And then another 9 bucks a pop at the theatre.  Just to get in.  Followed by another 12 to 15 on what you considered a dessert back in middle school.  Milk duds with a side of twizzlers and a 48 oz Dr. Pepper.

 And we haven't even covered any "adult" drinks.  Those can blow your budget in a second.

 Instead, try this.  Ask your significant other out on a date.  Then plan the date at home. 

Show up to the door at the time you've told them you'd pick them up, dressed nicely in a pressed, button-down shirt and some designer jeans (or a dress is you ladies are doing the planning) with a freshly picked flower.  Drive them around the block, and then head back home. 

Creating a romantic, intimate, one-of-a-kind, she/he will be talking about it for weeks kind of date at home is easy.  It just takes some planning.  And I little hard work.  But it will totally be worth it.

Start by planning the look and feel you want.  And decide on the budget, of course.  If you have the means, go out and rent some linens for your table to dress it up a little.  Or even rent a small table for a more intimate dinner.  Grab some china and some fancy silverware and glassware.  All this will help set the mood and create a luxury, 5-star restaurant in your own home.  You can be in and out of the rental shop with the goods for a premier dinner for well under thirty bucks.  But they will have thought you'd spent hundreds. 

Next, planning the menu.  Go back through the Rolodex that is in your head and create a menu that is both simple, yet something perfect for your other's taste buds.  Don't be intimidated to cook.  Trust me, I survived on frozen pizzas and McDonald's in college, and I can still slam out some pretty tasty dinners.  But keep it simple, stick to the recipes (you can find recipes for anything online), and just do it.  BAM!

Don't forget dessert.  This is the part everyone really craves for anyway.  And it can be the easiest to pull off.  Want to set the mood outside to be paired with your dessert?  String some lights through some trees or from anything you can.  Go to your local hardware store or nursery and pick up a few bunches of flowers (to add color and for the feel of a garden) and some paver stones (to create a fire pit).  Set out a blanket and pillows under the strings of light so they appear to be stars twinkling from the heavens.  Build your fire pit close by for warmth in the night, and so you can roast marsh mellows for smores!  Yes, smores are awesome.

If you want a dessert that is a bit more sophisticated, melt some chocolate bars over the stove and mix them with chopped fruits.  You can never go wrong with chocolate.  And for your "adult" drinks, you can always grab a cheap bottle of champagne and a gallon of orange juice for mimosas.  Or, if you are my wife, a bottle of champagne, a bottle of gin, and some fresh lemon twist to create a French 75.  Either taste great with chocolate.

To cap off your romantic evening at home, plan something fun.  Something different.  Play an old board game that you haven't played since childhood.  If you are into building puzzles, build one together.  If you want something a bit more extravagant, rent a projector and screen and pretend you are at the drive-in and watch a double-feature while cuddling under the stars. 

Any way you go, planning a romantic date night at home is always fun, relaxing, and ultimately perfectly intimate.  And it won't break the bank.  But she/he won't ever know.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

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