Archive for the ‘Date Nights’ Category
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
By: Erin Brady
Ciao Bella has been converting ice cream fanatics to its amazing, decadent Gelatos and Sorbets since 1983. Never heard of them? Well now’s the time because there is truly no better treat in the summer. Ciao Bella relies on pure, naturally intense ingredients and offers unique and intense flavors like Blood Orange Sorbet and Key Lime Graham Cracker Gelato. The brand has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show (Blood Orange is her fav) and Rachael Ray is another huge fan, favoring the simple Strawberry Gelato that is refreshing, light and perfectly sweet.
The Gelato comes in classic flavors like Tahitian Vanilla, Pistachio, and Belgian Chocolate, but their more unique flavors include Belgian Chocolate S’mores, Malted Milk Ball, Mint Leaf Chip, Matcha Green Tea, and Maple Ginger Snap. The Gelatos are 100% rich and creamy, natural, have no corn syrup or hormones and while not low in fat or calories by any means, are an amazing treat and alternative to ice cream.
Ciao Bella Sorbets on the other hand are almost a guiltless pleasure. They are natural, dairy-free, gluten-free and low calorie, what’s not to love? The Sorbets come in wonderfully summery flavors like Mango, Lemon Zest, Passion Fruit and Coconut, and more unique ones like Blackberry Cabernet, Prickly Pear, Banana Mango and Peach Ginger.
For those that would prefer more of a single serving of Gelato or Sorbet, Ciao Bella also makes portable snack delights, in the form of Sorbet bars and Gelato squares. The Key Lime Gelato Squares are tangy squares of key lime goodness, tucked between a graham cracker crust, completely rich and creamy. There are also Blood Orange Sorbet bars, Vanilla Raspberry Gelato Dips, and two new additions: Belgian Chocolate S’mores Gelato Squares and Blueberry Passion Sorbet Bars. The S’mores squares will take you right back to sleep away camp, they capture the amazing marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker taste in a condensed sandwich. The Blueberry Passion Sorbet Bars contain two amazing sorbets in one bar and are creamy, tangy, refreshing and only 70-calories!
Enjoy some Ciao Bella Gelato and Sorbet this summer, perfect for a treat, dessert, to bring to a dinner party or just to enjoy with friends on a hot summer night.
Sunday, February 13th, 2011
by Becky Ellis
Valentine’s Day is the romantic version of New Year’s Eve: expensive, overrated, and participation is virtually mandatory. This year, skip the $60 bouquet of roses and boxes of chocolates and try out one of these (free!) ways to express your love. Not only will you save a few bucks, you’ll get points for being creative, original and (yes) romantic. (more…)
Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
By Jennifer Latkiewicz
Does your guy have a sensitive gag reflex when it comes to lovey-dovey gestures and forced sentimentalism? Here are a few gag-free ideas for the reluctant V-Day sweetheart.
Luxury Beechwood Watch by REVEAL $118
BAMBUD Bamboo Wooden Earbuds $24
These wood carved accessories may be eco-friendly but they’re anything but ‘granola’. Consciously handcrafted out of natural beechwood, this handsome timepiece has a Japanese core and arrives in a matching handmade reusable box. BAMBUD’s earbuds have been widely praised for their simple, clean design and crisp sound. Compatible with iPhones, iPods, MP3 players and other music gadgets, these earphones are handcrafted with sustainable bamboo.
Netflix Subscription $9.99 and up
$9.99 and up Skip the big production (restaurants will be packed anyways) and suggest a quiet movie night at home instead. That alone will probably have him over the moon but a Netflix gift subscription would definitely be the cherry on top. Sign up online and browse through more than 100,000 titles to fill up his queue with his favorites or a few of these super sexy guy picks. DVD and/or Blu-ray rentals are delivered right to his mailbox and on-demand titles can be instantly streamed directly to PCs, Macs, TVs, video game consoles or any of the other 200 supported devices. Subscriptions start at $9.99/month for 1-at-a-time, unlimited DVD rentals.
Grow Your Own World’s Hottest Pepper $5 – $13
Guys love their chili peppers. When they chow down peppers hotter than a small sun just for a free t-shirt, I can’t help but find it endearing. But with this easy DIY kit, he can grow his own Naga (Bhut) jolokia, a fireball boasting over 1 million SHU. A heart-pounding valentine for sure.
Vintage Batman MIMOBOT USB Flash Drive $20 – $60
The Dark Knight in gadget form? An adult-sized Star Wars sleeping bag? For geeky guys, consider these gifts are considered guaranteed wins. Created in honor of DC Comics’ 75th anniversary, this limited edition Batman MIMOBOT flash drive is the first in the series. Available in sizes ranging from 2GB to 16GB, each drive has plenty of storage for his computer documents, files, and mp3, and comes pre-loaded with exclusive Batman wallpapers, screensavers, and avatars.
Tauntaun Sleeping Bag by ThinkGeek $80 (orig. $100)
If he’s a Star Wars fan, this super soft Tauntaun sleeping bag — complete with saddle, printed internal intestines, simulated tauntaun fur and a plush lightsaber zipper pull — will have him rolling.
Jennifer Latkiewicz is a Love/Sex blogger for LovingYou.com. She loves her Tauntaun sleeping bag. Follow her on Twitter at @jenniferlat.
Monday, September 27th, 2010
by Melissa Chapman
‘Tis the season to drink hot apple cider, admire the fallen tri-colored leaves and soak up the cool crisp autumnal season. It’s also the perfect opportunity to snuggle close to the one you love. Go out on one of these three fall-inspired dates!
Elaina McMillan, CHt., a Denver based intimacy expert, relationship coach and clinical hypnotherapist who is currently working on her new book, Confessions of a Frigid Wife: Coming Clean About Getting Dirty, has three suitably seasonal date suggestions for you…
#1 Get sizzling, sensuous and succulent
Celebrate the fall by visiting a local farmer’s market for some seasonal fare and then spend the evening heating up the kitchen while cooking together. Be sure to include romantic spices and flavors such as nutmeg or vanilla. Highly prized by the Chinese as an aphrodisiac, a little nutmeg in a warm pumpkin soup can be a delicious way to help spice up your evening. And the scent of vanilla is believed to increase lust.
Co-creation is a natural and easy way to bond, says McMillan. Selecting and preparing ingredients together, as well as creating a festive fete, allows for a collaboration that builds connection.
#2. 1-on-1 football
What could be more fun and flirty than frolicking in the park on a brisk fall day. Seriously, being chased and tackled onto the grass by your significant other…need we say more?
Physical contact automatically facilitates bonding, says McMillan. After all, tackling includes wrapping your arms around your sweetheart, and rolling around together is a pretty sexy way to “score”.
#3 Play (haunted) house
Fall is the perfect backdrop for a visit to a super spooky haunted house. It may not sound romantic at first, but it’s hotter than you think and here’s why…fear and excitement illicit a similar physical response. Think butterflies in your stomach, intensified breathing and wild body quivers.
Due to the release of endorphins, fright creates an instant bond. That’s why “love” reality shows like, The Bachelor, include thrilling bungee jumping dates, notes McMillan. In fact, some studies suggest that being afraid may deliver a shot of epinephrine similar to what you might experience during an orgasm.
“Of course the old dinner and a movie standby is fine, but keep in mind that predictability can breed complacency, ” says McMillan. “And mixing it up, with these three fall inspired dates, allows you to design your time together on purpose, not by default.”
Friday, September 3rd, 2010
by Melissa Chapman
Are you and your love in need of a serious infusion of pure, unadulterated romance? The kind that will inspire your man’s chivalrous nature, and may even convince your gal to strap on a pair of feminine stilettos and paint her lips a luscious candy-apple red? Well, then you may want to consider investing in an evening of classic movie viewing and dinner in.
Certain films have that magical ability to literally transport us back in time, to an era when all gentlemen wore smart, tailored suits and always opened doors, women dressed in crinoline skirts and jewels to the market and good, old-fashioned romance reigned.
According to Emma Merkas of $30 Date Night, watching a movie at home together can be just as exciting as a night out at the movies – with the added benefit of it being cheaper and much easier for couples who have children. All you need to do to ensure a wonderful date night at home is to make the effort to make it special. Turn off the phone, put on some soft music over dinner, light candles, dress up for each other. And, if possible ban the children from your date space for a bit – ideally, they’ll be in bed already.
Merkas says that theming your dinner to match your movie makes the date even more special and separates it from every other night you sit on the couch together watching TV. She offers these three classic 50′s movies and theme suggestions for your next date night in.
Audrey Hepburn is the darling main character of this classic film, which is the perfect movie to watch if you’re feeling the need to escape to Italy too, if only for a few hours. You and your love can watch a runaway Princess fall in love with a handsome young reporter against the backdrop of vintage Italy. Of course, a homemade Italian feast is an ideal accompaniment – a bottle of Chianti Italian wine, spaghetti with a rich sauce (Remember that darling scene from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp? Another great classic 50s movie by the way!) and gelato to finish off in front of the television with Baci chocolate kisses.
An Affair to Remember
One of the most romantic movies of all time, a tale of unrequited love and forbidden passion, it is also a stunning portrait of classic New York City glamour. Dress in your 50s finest, serve martinis and canapés. The 50′s were traditionally toast points with some sort of topping, shrimp cocktails, cheese puffs, pigs in blankets and anything with puff pastry involved. Then settle in to watch An Affair to Remember together. Bring the Kleenex.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
A wonderful way to spend a lazy Sunday together – cook your sweetie a big brunch with eggs their favorite way, fresh fruit, croissants and preserves. Champagne is optional (not to mention decadent for a Sunday morning!) and then sit down to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A classic quirky film, with pixie sweetheart Audrey Hepburn dressed in frocks that will dazzle, and set against the aching melody, Moon River it is a film that will make your love want to adorn her neck with a strand of pearls and a pill box hat. Grab your mimosas and settle in for romantic love at its finest.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
by Melissa Chapman
Adventure dates are exciting, romantic dinners are… romantic! But sometimes what you need as a couple is a quiet, interactive evening at home. Try one (or all!) of these dinner and a movie date ideas.
Why you should do dinner and a movie dates at home sometimes…
You’ve done the fancy restaurant with three forks and nervous conversation. You’ve also done the movie date, sitting side-by-side in the theater and viewing a film together while you were miles apart in your individual thoughts.
Now what you need is an interactive date, one that is comfortable and low-pressure. Nothing too formal, awkward or without room for some healthy conversation.
“Dinner at home and a DVD on the couch is a good date night idea for a couple whether they have recently met or if they’ve been together for some time, “ says Kimberly Ellington, a dating and relationship coach for The Art of Charm. “If the two people involved let too much pressure build up — by sitting across from each other at a table, silently eating and drinking, asking interview-style questions that bore even themselves — it can go downhill quickly.”
Ellington believes that best way to do dinner and a DVD date is to make it as interactive as possible. She offers these tips to create a dinner-and-a-movie date that will be full of action, inspire conversation and hopefully lead to a great game of snuggle-bunnies when it’s all over.
Step 1: Set the scene
Jazz up your dinner-and-a-movie date at home by setting the scene. Create a comfy little nest in your living room. You don’t want one person on the couch and the other across the room, right? So set your coffee table with beverage glasses and napkins right in front of the love seat or couch so there’s no mistaking where your date should sit. Make sure you have some squishy pillows and maybe even a throw blanket for snuggling under!
Step 2: Rearrange the space
If you two have been together for a while, it’s huge fun to re-arrange the furniture. Couples tend to fall into patterns after being together for a while, so instead of both of you flopping down where you usually do, shake it up a bit! Slide the love seat to the center of the room, set up the area like your own private screening room — and don’t forget the popcorn!
Step 3: Shop together for the food
“One great way to jazz up dinner and a movie at home is by cooking together – but then take it back even one more step. Just as you don’t greet a date by inviting them in for sex (at least not most often!) you don’t want a dinner-and-a-movie date to start by having the movie on pause with take-out sitting on the table getting cold. Shop together first. Eating is life-affirming, just like sex is, so the choosing and preparing of food is like the foreplay for the whole evening. Have a simple recipe picked out, make sure you have the proper cookware, and then head to the farmers market or grocery store.
One dinner idea Ms. Ellington recommends is having a simple but different salad. Stay away from the iceberg lettuce mix. Go simple with a bag of mixed baby greens, feta, a few berries and some walnuts. Intense flavors, a variety of textures and a simple preparation are the way to go. Any grocery store will have basic vinaigrette, and that will complement ANY choice of ingredients.
- For the main dish – keep it simple.
Don’t try to impress anyone with a sauce that takes three hours to reduce unless you’re a chef and you started it earlier in the day, notes Ms. Ellington. Most grocery stores will have some gourmet bottled sauces that will take any protein to the next level without being labor-intensive. Read the label and buy a small sprig of one of the herbs already in the sauce to add as a garnish at the end and you’ll have an elegant presentation as well as a burst of fresh flavor.
- Dessert should be the easiest part.
Fruit sorbets are cool, delicious and light. Get a couple of different flavors. You can serve them in elegant stemware if that’s your style. Or create your own movie intermission halfway through the flick and scoop some into Dixie cups to nibble and share as you watch the end of the movie. (Sweet lips = sweet kisses!)
Step 4: Pick a movie!
Three DVDs Ellington recommends are The Princess Bride, Hitch and Jerry Maguire.
The Princess Bride is a classic adventure-love story, with plenty of action, laughs and “twue wuv” (true love). It’s an adult fairy tale, which is a great mindset for both parties on a date. The Man in Black’s rescue of his true love is just as heart-warming and pulse-inducing whether you’re brand-new to dating each other or if you’ve been together for a while.
Hitch is a story about a dating coach who is helping a goofy, hapless man find love and ends up finding love himself along the way, notes Ms. Ellington. It’s a rom-com, but with Will Smith and Kevin James in charge of the comedy, there’s plenty of “guy moments” to glide smoothly along with the romance. This movie brings up a lot of preconceived notions that men and women have about each other, so it’s great for inspiring conversation and perhaps even some good-natured debate, which can be great for raising the sexual tension in the room!
Jerry Maguire has great laughs and wonderful snuggle moments — not to mention two good-looking leads for both sexes to enjoy. Tom Cruise is at his passionate best in this movie, and a very fit Cuba Gooding, Jr. does a great job as well. This is a passionate movie the entire way through with a hugely inspiring and emotional ending — just right for happy hugs and whatever might come after.
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
by Melissa Chapman
Every relationship, whether you’ve just started dating or are deep in the marital trenches could use a little pick me up. While we all yearn for that stable, monogamous relationship once attained often as the comfort level you and your partner achieve increases, the romance factor between the two of you seems to decrease.
So, in an effort to help you and your love keep your relationship fresh and sexy, here are three ways to create an ambiance of romance that won’t require hopping on a plan, train or automobile. This is bliss you can make happen on a lazy Sunday afternoon or after dinner on a weekday night.
Staycation #1: Garden of Eden
Plan a romantic dinner in your very own Garden of Eden (fig leaves optional): According to Julie, Mulligan, lifestyle expert for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, if you’re planning to create this Garden of Eden in your home and you have kids, make sure you make arrangements for them to stay at Grandma’s house for the night.
Step 1. Gather all of your house plants into the area you have selected as your Garden of Eden. To give the best effect, use various size plants to form the perimeter of the space. If you don’t already have plants in your house this is the perfect excuse to buy a few. Growing and caring for indoor plants often times gives many a sense of pleasure, tranquility and peace. Not only do plants calm our souls, they also bring us good health by improving the quality of the air we breathe.
Step 2. Next, layer on the blankets and pillows where the wining, dining and games will take place! Use as many pillows as you can in varying sizes and pleasing fabrics. If you and your loved one enjoy games, consider adding some to the night’s activities. A little variation to standard games can give them a whole new life. Some examples are Strip Poker or Sexy Scrabble. Another fun activity for the evening: blindfold your loved one and feed them various foods and see if they can guess what they are!
Step 3. A picnic basket filled with delicious fingers foods that are perfect for feeding to each other comes next. Since you are setting this up in advance and don’t have to worry about carrying it to an outdoor venue, any kind of basket or decorative box will work fine. Remember to include a tray, plates, and any utensils you might need. Choose foods that turn them on. For example, you might not think that chicken wings are romantic, but if he loves them then they can be. Just make sure you have a container to stash the bones in!
Step 4. Set up your wine or champagne close to your food basket. Include the appropriate glasses, wine cooler, and ice bucket.
Step 5. Music will help set the mood. Making your own romantic play list ahead of time is ideal, so that once you hit play and you are set for the night.
Step 6. Lastly, make sure you add a few special décor elements. This should include as many candles as possible and of course, no romantic setting would be complete without flowers. Of course, setting up the Garden of Eden in front of the fireplace works nicely, but if you have space in your bedroom that works too. Remember, this is all about you and the person you love so personalize as you go.
Staycation #2: Indulge in a Sultry RendezvousTM
This high end, romantic-themed staycation in a box comes with an invitation that seductively and mysteriously invites your mate to the date. It includes detailed instructions and carefully selected items you need to create your mind blowing sultry rendezvous. Try one of these three themes:
The Connections Box will help you push your inhibitions to the side as you connect with, discover and challenge your lover with this exciting board game. This game opens the way to discuss your desires and fantasies with your partner and maybe even get them fulfilled. Nobody is a loser in this game. This box includes the board game, soft blindfold, high end massage oil, rash free shave cream, safe sex kit, an invitation and instructions to plan your date. $97
The 5 Senses Box is stuffed with the items needed to take the 5 senses to new heights including, silky sheet spray, blindfold, massage candle, massage instruction cards, happy heart massager, a real ostrich feather duster, honey dust, candles, candle holders, safe sex kit, an invitation and instructions to plan your date. $107
The Recess Box is all about having fun, laughing and getting dirty. It takes the sand box and the slip-n-slide to a whole new level. You can create body-to-body massage (a technique was used by the Geishas), an electrifying sensation that will make you feel weightless. After all that slipping and sliding and getting “dirty,” your rendezvous will take you to the shower to get clean with Oriental edible body wash and with the appropriate accouterments to keep your balance and give you leverage to, shall we say, take care of business. This box includes Oriental Body Slide Erotic Massage Gel (it’s safe, flavored and edible), a gold waterproof sheet to keep you slipping and sliding, vinyl king size sheet (so you can play without worrying about making a mess), edible body wash, a double suction handle that easily attaches to the shower wall and a suction foot rest that also easily attaches to the shower wall, a safe sex kit, invitation and instructions to plan your date. $117
The magic of this staycation lies in the invitation; you’re not exactly sure what will happen but you know you want to be there. It brings couples back to the basics but also gets you to push the envelope a bit to keep your relationship spicy and fresh.
Staycation #3: Turn your bathroom into a spa retreat
According to Debbie Mandel, M.A., author of Addicted to Stress, it’s not what you do, but how you do it.
Mandel suggests putting a few fresh white flowers in a vase since they connote purity and innocence and can set the tone for an exciting, new encounter. Scatter some lavender, citrus or vanilla aromatherapy candles about the bathroom to help with the distressing. You can add a cup of hot chamomile tea into the tub too; pour it in before you step into the tub to mellow the water.
After you enjoy your water fun make sure you have some warm towels ready (fresh from the dryer) and some spa water you’ve prepared in advance; cut up a few strawberries or peach slices and suspend for a delicate flavor in a cold pitcher of water. Then simply luxuriate in the moment and one another.