James Kicinski-McCoy is a writer and blogger, specializing in strategic marketing and branding, is a co-founder and editor of Mother Magazine, and co-owner and creative director of Two Son. She lives with her husband and four children in Nashville, Tennessee.
Aubrey and I have been wanting to read the same book before bed for some time now. We thought it could become a nice nightly routine, followed by our own version of a book club where we would discuss our own interpretations of what we each read. So, this Date Night In is inspired by cuddling up, making cocktails, enjoying a charcuterie spread, and delving into a good book together.
What to do and wear in no particular order… Decide on a book with your loved one and buy two copies. (We suggest Station Eleven.) Head to your local market and pick out a variety of meats, cheeses, and pickled accoutrements to create a beautiful charcuterie board. Make a delicious cocktail. Throw on some worn-in jeans and a soft, cozy sweater. Freshen up with your favorite perfume. Slip on your favorite house shoes. Burn some palo santo to set the ambiance. Settle onto a the couch or floor with a comfortable pillow, and enjoy your quiet night in.
It’s a lot of fun coming up with fun Date Night In ideas, but what about those times when we are blessed with a sitter? You may think that your options are slim and include the same ol’ dinner and movie combo, but if you think outside of the box, you’ll see that there are actually so many fun and adventurous things you can do with the one you love. So, for your next date night, get out of the house and enjoy some quality bonding time enjoying one of the following outings:
Renting Bikes - In almost every city across the country, there are now 24-hour bike rentals that make for a convenient, fun, and affordable day (or night) out on the town. What’s great about these rentals is, you can return your bikes at any location, allowing for you to choose your destination and make a few stops in between—might I suggest hitting up an authentic taco truck, a used book store, and an ice cream parlor!
Cooking Class - Taking a cooking class together is a great way to bond over learning a new skill and enjoying a delicious meal that you’ve made yourself. You don’t have to be a master chef to enjoy one of these. You and your partner can hone-in on your pasta making skills or tackle a sushi rolling lesson. Either way, you are bound to have fun and maybe even leave with some leftovers.
Couples Spa - A little self-care goes a long way in a relationship. Check out a local spa for side-by-side body treatments, facials, or massages, and don’t forget to access the spa amenities like a dry sauna or mineral pool after your treatment. This is a wonderful way to relax together and tune out the rest of the world. You are both guaranteed to leave feeling rested and rejuvenated!
Dive Bar - Throw on some jeans and a t-shirt and hit a local dive bar (or few) for a casual, fun, and inexpensive date night. Indulge in some cheap beer and challenge your date to a game of pool or darts. Tip: Bring some single dollar bills for the jukebox!
Dancing Lessons - Take a trip back a few decades and learn the art of ballroom or swing dancing. Plenty of dance studios offer couples classes for newcomers and experienced dancers alike. If this sounds scary, that’s part of the fun—getting out there and letting loose. So, grab your shoes and get to groovin’!
Comedy Show - Nothing’s better than bonding over a good laugh. And that’s why I had to throw a comedy show date night into the mix. Tickets are often inexpensive and drink menus are always included. Not to mention, a lot of the comedians you see in these tiny club go on to be huge stars. So, head over to your local comedy show and enjoy the ride.
Wine Tasting - Nothing screams romance quite like a trip to a winery. Participate in a wine tasting session, or grab a bottle of your favorite vino and enjoy the scenery. Wineries are often surrounded by acres of beautiful landscape and plenty of places to sit down and enjoy a bottle (or two).
Appetizer Hopping - Instead of making reservations at one of your favorite fancy restaurants, why not book a table at 3 or 4? Restaurant hopping is fun and affords you the opportunity to indulge on several different cuisines by dining on small plates rather than ordering main courses. You can also take advantage of the cocktail menu at each spot, just be sure to leave the car at home and Uber around town.
Open Mic/Songwriters’ Night - For those who live in Nashville, you know how fun open mic/songwriters’ nights can be. It’s a great way to discover new artists, support up-and-coming musicians, and experience the creative side of your city. Not a big live music fan? No problem. Open mic nights can also include poetry readings, sketch comedy, improv, and even spoken word.
Plan A Picnic For Two - Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, your favorite gourmet snacks, a candle, and head outside for a romantic picnic of your own design. This is a great way to spend a hot summer night or a sunny afternoon with your loved one. Perhaps you two could choose a local park, the beach (if you’re lucky enough to live near one), or even your backyard, and enjoy some time outside.
Visit A Brewery - Check out your local microbrewery for a tour of its operation and some free samples along the way! This is a great way to learn the craft of brewing while supporting a local business. Also, did we mention free beer?
Take A Painting Class - This is just what you’d expect, but it’s adults-only and involves booze. The classes are usually at night, and it’s BYOB, so you can bring whatever drink you please. This is a fun way to express creativity, learn some new technique, and perhaps have a new piece of art for your home.
I’ve had this beautiful cookbook sitting on my shelf for a while now, just waiting for me to crack it open and try one of its many delicious recipes. So, this week’s Date Night In involves tackling a new recipe with your loved one and spicing things up with a Mediterranean style dinner!
Don’t have the book? No problem. A quick Google search will provide you with tons of recipes.
What to do and wear in no particular order… One. Head to the grocery store and pick up the required ingredients. Two. Throw on a maxi dress for ultimate comfort. Three. Grab a couple of handwoven dishtowels, which can be used as napkins or to decorate the table. Four. Crack open this amazing cookbook and follow step by step instructions for a delicious Mediterranean dinner using your favorite cookware. Five. Use this funky bottle opener to try this Israeli beer (sold in the US)! Six. Get to cookin’! Seven. Slip on a pair of summer flats. Eight. Set the mood by placing candles in an iridescent lantern.
How many times are you dying for a “date night” with your partner, but can’t find a sitter? More than you can count, right? So, why not create a casual date-night-in and involve the kids? Have some good old family fun and create a date at home for everyone—and hey, there’s no reason why the date can’t continue after the kids are in bed!
What to do (and wear) in no particular order…One. Pick a comfy flat shoe that can easily slip on and off. Two. Pull on a lightweight top. Three. Add a little pop of color on your cheeks and lips. Four. Gather all of the ingredients for a make-your-own-pizza dinner. Set up a pizza station in the kitchen with a variety of toppings and have fun building your own personal pizzas—the kids will love this! Five. Put on some simple jewelry. Six. Throw on a pair of denim shorts. Seven. For dessert, make root beer or Coke floats. Eight. Break out a family board game. Nine. Spread a blanket outside on the lawn, kick off those shoes, and enjoy your pie, floats, game, and kids in the fresh air!
It’s been a long time since I’ve put together one of these Date Night In posts. It was a lot of fun and I hope to them more frequently! For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, I try to put together a simple date night idea that you can plan on nights when your stuck at home, on a budget or can’t find a sitter for the kids.
While it’s still cold outside (and if you’ve been trapped indoors like we have due to extreme weather conditions), why not create a little date night right inside your living room?
What to do and wear (in no particular order)…One. Brew some delicious tea for two and make sure you break out the fancy tea pot. Two. Throw on a cozy sweater. Three. Fancy it up a bit with a red lip. Four. Pull on a cute pair of drawstring pants that are both comfortable and cute. Five. Keep your jewelry simple and classic, maybe a nice watch? Six. Break out a jigsaw puzzle for you and your love to put together. I suggest this ’80s puzzle for memories and laughs—it’s sure to spark great conversation. Seven. Light a nice smelling candle for both the scent and ambiance. Eight. Wear comfortable slip-on shoes or a pair of wool socks to keep your toes warm. Nine. Turn on some music (preferably from the 1980′s since you’re sure to be transported back with each puzzle piece). This Aether cone is perfect because you can tell it what to play on the spot.
And there you have it, a nice romantic evening for two, filled with good fun! Enjoy.