Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Champagne Dates on Ginger-Ale Budgets

Happy Tuesday! Welcome back to work for those of us that had the beautiful (made up in my mind) day off thanks to Family Day, a holiday I'm pretty sure was made up by people wanting an extra 3 day weekend somewhere in the early New Year, but I'm certainly not complaining! Did you all watch the superbowl, or were you like me who was way more interested in the Super Bowl snacks? Something about Football really brings out the naughtiest, yummiest appies, am I right!?

Anyway, back to our series on Valentines, today is part 2: how to have an amazing Valentine's Day without killing your wallet.

Now I mentioned in Part 1 that I would rather shave my boyfriend's legs than go out for dinner on Valentine's Day, reason 1) being that I used to be a server and reason 2) I've been a patron on Valentine's Day and to be honest, it can kinda suck. Every major restaurant has two set seatings, usually one at 5:30 and one at 7:30. This means that if you chose the earlier time slot, you're literally on the clock, and have to be wined, dined and out before 7:30, because your table has been already been booked for someone else. That, plus the fact that it's usually a set menu and you can't even choose something else you may want instead. It is one of the busiest days to eat out of the year, so unfortunately your food is not going to be as amazing as you expect it to be because the kitchen staff is working their bags off, and quite honestly, eating out on Valentine's Day is the same to me as going to a big party on New Years Eve: So much hype, very little follow through. I have served many a Valentine's Day gong shows and have experienced many fights, tears, let downs, mediocre dates that were assumed to be amazing, and yet never once a proposal! I'll never forget the Valentine's Day where one of my tables was having such an intense fight that I had to wait over an hour after the bill was given for them to pay, and myself and the other servers just watched in awe at how spectacularly shitty this night had gone - funny for us, not so much for the couple. In my opinion, save the big dinner out for a night when you can take your time, pick whatever you want off the menu and don't have to shout to your date because it's so packed.

So, what do you do instead? I'm so glad you asked! Jake & I are definitely not in a place in our lives where dropping $150 on a dinner is something we do, so we get creative with our dates to maximize the meaningfulness of them, without squeezing our accounts dry. Here are my top 5 ideas for an amazing date, on a budget.

1. Maker dinner together. Do you both love Thai food? Are you more pizza fanatics? Meat & cheese charcuterie boards your absolute passion? Go on pinterest or Google and find a recipe that fits your skill level, then go to the grocery store to find the ingredients - make sure to buy a bottle of wine too - and prepare it together! Put on some nice easy listening music, pour yourselves a glass of wine and enjoy preparing something together. go the extra mile by setting up your coffee table with pillows around it to have a more special experience than the regular old dining table - and don't forget candles!

2. Fort, Netflix & Take-Out. We did this in the summer and it was honestly unreal, I loved it so much. Jake hauled the mattress from our guest bed downstairs into our living room, he tacked sheets to the ceiling, and inside was a dome of pillows and blankets. We watched a couple movies, had some Thai takeout, and it was wicked. It was the grown-up version of all the living room forts you made in your childhood, not to mention a primo make-out spot ;) Be extra fancy and hang up your white Christmas lights to make it feel extra enchanted and guaranteed you'll soon forget you're actually at home and not in your own little world.

3. Spa Night. Go to your local Lush (or any bath store) and stock up on bath bombs, bath melts, massage bars and massage oils, maybe even some face mask stuff (neutral smell so your guy doesn't choke), grab some champagne and have a luxury night at home! Run a nice bath and light candles, drop a bath bomb in and soak and talk, then take turns giving each other a massage. Relaxing, romantic, & private.

4. Ice Skating. It is getting to the end of the season of ice skating, and boyfriends you will gain some mega brownie points if before the season is over, you take her ice skating for an hour followed by some hot chocolate in the local cafe. I don't know what it is about ice skating but it's really such a magical date, I don't know any girl that doesn't love skating with her guy. It could have to do with the fear of falling so extra hand-holding and support is needed, however that might just be me ;)

5. Games Day. Valentine's this year falls on a Sunday, and I've already requested that we go to our local arcade and spend the day playing mini golf, arcade games, etc. We did this is in the beginning of our relationship, and getting competitive with each other in a really juvenile setting is quite fun - so long as you don't get too caught up in the spirit of competition. Make bets, say the loser has to buy lunch or the winner gets to choose the next game, and the grand winner gets to choose dinner that night; something to keep the spirit going without losing site that this is a date!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sharpen up my putting skills ;)

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