Unusual Date Ideas

I found this today on Pinterest, and I MUST share. For anyone quirky (and in a relationship) like me, you’ll appreciate it. I’m always looking for cheaper date ideas, something fun, out of the ordinary, and something that doesn’t cost a lot of money… So go ahead, grab your hubby, and start crossing these fun ideas off your summer checklist .


 Image Credit. I especially love #17. Happy Dating!


Throwing a Last Minute Party

So I’ve lived in this awesomely unique loft apartment in Green Bay for about 6 months and have only had about ONE person over (excluding family members, which are a given). I’ve been wanting to throw a housewarming party, but I feel like the moment for that has passed. So maybe I’ll throw a “Fall is almost here” or “Celebrate being Young!” party. Just because I can. Here are a few ideas I came up with (and got help from others, like my girl Martha) to have a fun, inexpensive last-minute party.

Get ready: Ask yourself, when is this party? How many people are coming? What is the reason for the party? What’s my budget? Facebook, for all of its ups and downs, is a good way to send free invitations, and get RSVP’s in a timely manner. Everyone checks their Facebook. Even my Grandma. Or, if its low key enough, call your friends to invite them by phone. Then you’ll have your RSVP right away.

Guest List: Get your list of people together, and gather phone numbers, just in case. Is this a business party? Is this for close friends, or a large group of friends plus acquaintances? Based on the crowd, then you can pick the location.

Location: Once you know who you are inviting and how many people, you’ll know if they will be more comfortable in your apartment, in a park (based on time of day, and time of year) or if you should bring your party to a bar or banquet location. I’ll keep this article focused on the instance that you decide to have people over to your house/ backyard. If in your apartment, make sure to clean your bathroom, and put away anything you don’t want people to rifle through.

 Dinner Party, Apartment Therapy Style.

Theme: Now that you know who will come, and where you will have the party, the next thing you can decide is if there is going to be a theme or not. Your theme can even be an occassion. New job? Moving? Survive a lightening storm? There you go. A theme can be a great way to pull the whole party together and have some good old-fashioned fun, especially if there are costumes involved. I once went to a party where everyone dressed like a nerd. Argyle socks, glasses with tape around the middle, and suspenders all around! Maybe consider a movie theme like Alice in Wonderland where people dress like their favorite character, and you serve little cakes and drinks in tiny glasses. Or you can celebrate another country and their traditions, with themed food and drink. Or even a “Young at Heart” party with kids themed snacks, coloring books, kids video games, and fun colorful cocktails.

Adorable and inexpensive flags.

Decorations: Use what you have! Tea Light candles make for good warm lighting, and a 50 pack can be as cheap as $5 at Target. Use a string of christmas lights around the perimeter of a room, on the floor or tacked around the ceiling, or in a large vase, or wrap the lights around some branches outside. Cut some triangle flags out of paper or fabric and string them up with some yarn, or use this idea from Martha Stewart to make some cheap yet adorable paper bag lights. Save jelly and spaghetti sauce jars for a little while, and put candles in them to place outside for cute night lights.

Photo thanks to Martha Stewart.

Menu: For food and drink, you can either make your party a BYOB, or a potluck, and you’ll of course save a lot of money. You can also make some punch using few ingredients. Here’s a website for a TON of party punch ideas. Make sure you have a bag of ice ready, or make ice in abundance, and keep emptying ice-cube trays in plastic bowl in the freezer to have it on hand. My boyfriend makes a killer queso in the crock pot with a block of cheddar, a block of pepper jack, a half block or so of Velveta cheese, salsa and some milk. Simmer, stir, and serve! Or what about a “choose your fillings” Grilled Cheese Sandwich bar? Get some bacon, apple slices, Velveta, pesto, tomatoes, and different kinds of bread. Hit up the local Dollar store for dishes, plastic silverware, and napkins. Why spend more?

Photo thanks to Martha Stewart. Ok, you’re thinking, does she get all of her ideas from Martha Stewart? No. I get the rest from Pinterest.

Entertain! Have a good movie on in the background, or put on a video game that anyone can pick up and play, like Rock Band, Scene It, Mario Cart, or Guitar Hero. Have an iPod ready with a playlist long enough for the party, and put it on an iPod dock, so everyone can enjoy the music. Or play DJ, and let people make requests. If you own a Mac, get the “Photo Booth” ready and let guests take goofy pictures of themselves. Have your guests leave you a self-addressed envelope, send those pictures to Walgreens and print them off, and mail a copy to your guests.

Games: If you have board games, set those out for your guests to play. Some good examples that we have are Uno, Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit or Twister. Or, get everyone involved in a group game of Truth or Dare, or “Who Am I?”, the game where people have a name of a celebrity written on paper and attached to their back and they have 20 questions to ask to figure out who they are.

Even if you just want a totally low-key party where you just want to have a get together, relax, and have a few cocktails with some close friends, it will be easy to throw a party on the fly, and still have an amazing time! Party On!

Things to do on a Snow Day…

I realized lately that I’ve been slacking on my Blog. Could it be that I’ve been lazy? Could It be that I’ve lost interest? No. It’s just life. In the last 45 days I’ve: moved to a new city, and taken EVERYTHING I own out of storage, unpacked it all, sorted it, put it away, etc. I work at an Interior Design studio, and have become drawn into the world of design, and obsessing over what to do with this amazing new loft apartment that I have rented in an old renovated Historic Foundry building. (I know, hate me. It’s awesome.) Photos to come, I promise. But on a dreadful, windy, blizzardy, “don’t go out there” day like today, I leave myself to wonder, what do I do on this horrible snow day? Here a few of my own ideas, and a few I’ve borrowed.

Look Familiar?

  • Have a “snow day”. That’s cheesy, I know. I mean make some hot cocoa, curl up on the sofa with your favorite throw blanket, and pop in a DVD my friend, because you aren’t going anywhere. I know this only takes like 2 hours, so choose a few flicks, perhaps in a theme, and have a marathon. Convince a friend to drive over for the cost of some popcorn and leftover wine you have in the fridge, and play movie critic, get scared by Freddy or Jason, or just have a laugh-athon.
  • Craft your little heart out. You have some scraps of fabric, paper, pens, pencils, glue, and other leftover craft things? Look on my girl Martha Stewart’s Web Site or Craftgawker for hundreds of ideas to keep you busy all day. Hey, who wouldn’t want home-made pop up easter cards?
  • Bake! Yep, I said bake. You may have the ingredients laying around for cookies, (I do, minus the 2 sticks of butter, and I’m too stubborn to walk the 50 feet to the gas station durning this frozen tundra to get it,) and if you do, you can whip up some baked goods. Not only will they taste amazing, but they will make your space smell great. This Sugar Cookie Recipe is really easy, and simple to make with few ingredients. I haven’t tried this 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe, but it looks way too easy, and worth a shot.
  • Become an Orange Julius. When I was a kid, I loved to create shakes, smoothies, and other blended drinks at home when I was bored. I would take ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, anything sweet, and blend it with some milk in the home blender. Throw in a banana and you have a health shake! ( I wish.) But you can experiment with fruits, ice, sorbet, and even some honey for a healthy breakfast drink. Frozen yogurt, blueberries, and wheatgrass juice is a delicious morning drink.
  • Read a book, donate some magazines, and other literary ideas. You bought that best seller for a reason, didn’t you? Well, today is the day to read it. Set the mood a little, make some tea (with caffeine so you don’t fall asleep) get a blanket, turn on a good lamp, and start page turning. You could also go through your own magazines and tear out the good stuff, and donate/recycle the rest. Then catalogue the things you kept by category so you know where to find that article you kept on “How to retire rich” and “Why you should keep your change.” Or you can just read my blog, because I kept the same articles! Ha!
  • Catch up on your relatives. I know that Facebook makes it way, WAY to easy to say you are caught up on how Aunt Ruth is doing since her surgery or what Cousin Lisa’s new baby looks like, but how nice would it be to open the mailbox one day and find a hand written letter in there? Go ahead and get our that hand made stationary (just kidding) and pen a letter to your long lost relatives across the States. You can ask them for their addresses on Facebook.
  • Play a game. You have Trivial Pursuit. If you’re me your boyfriend has like 20 versions of Monopoly. (Lucky me, for the inheritance of said collection.) Uno. Scrabble. Risk. Ring a bell? If you have someone to play with, get out some Root Beers, some popcorn, and throw on a record (Or MP3 Player) and play away! Have a tournament, place bets, and have a good old time.
  • Fashion Show! I mean, go through your closet, and try on your clothes. Whatever doesn’t fit you by at least 2 pants sizes, or if that top is too tight/small/revealing/adds 10 years, or whatever you haven’t looked at in a year can GO. That’s right. Don’t think, just bag. Get it out of your closet, and make space for some new fun, fresh things. You didn’t like that old torn Iron Maiden shirt anyways. Or hey, maybe you do, you can turn it into a Tote Bag to take to the market.
  • Have a snowball fight. Make a snow angel. Go Sledding. Snow shoeing. Build a snow fort. Have a dog sled race. Mush your way to the store to get butter to make those cookies after all. Do something with all of this Snow! Or not, stay inside. It’s up to you.
  • Workout. I know, I know. You don’t want to do “Work” on your day off. But how good would you feel eating all those cookies if you have FINALLY done that P90X video you paid money for? Use those hand weights, yoga mat, exercise ball, protein powder, and other expensive equipment! You paid for it!
  • Blog. Yes, that is what I’m doing on this snow day. Blogging. Make a little journal. You can make a paper journal with a notebook and all those little scraps that you keep laying around like movie tickets, coasters, newspaper cutouts, and the like.
  • Become Mr or Mrs Clean. So, as fun as this sounds, I’m going to recommend cleaning. Spring/Winter cleaning. Get out those trash bags, mops, brooms, and buckets and just take the day to clean out the christmas cob webs. Come on now, if you just take the day and get it done, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you got it all finished, and won’t have to do it again for a while.
  • Knock Boots. Ok, It’s not the most creative way to spend a snow day, but it will be one of the most fun for you and your spouse to get involved. And you’ll have an easier time talking your spouse into this than say, cleaning the attic.
  • Genealogy. Pull out those old pictures of when your Great Grandparents came over on the boat from Italy and scan them into your computer. E-mail them to your relatives, maybe they would like a copy? You can go onto an Ancestry web-site to log your history, and discover some more.
  • IRON CHEF!!! If you and your spouse are feeling experimental (in the kitchen) you can do your own rendition of the Iron Chef. Pick an ingredient, and make each other a dish! Here are a few ideas: Garlic, Noodles, Tomatoes, Hash browns, Honey, or that leftover Basil from that time you made Bruschetta. Get Creative!

I hope I was able to give you a few ideas on how to spend a dreary gloomy snow day. Happy lounging!

I’m a Cheap Date (And Proud of It!)

So at the ripe old age of, (ahem, twenty something,) I’ve been on my fair share of dates. Good ones, bad ones, ones you hope to never see again… ones that cost a bunch of money, (for the guy, mostly), and ones that cost almost nothing. I tend to have fun on either kind of date regardless of the money spent on either’s behalf, (depending on who the date is with!) I also find that when you don’t have a lot to spend, you tend to get creative… Here are some awesome ideas for a cheap date, a great time.

  • Find your local cheap theater. Your town most likely has a movie theater that only charges $2-5, and sometimes offers discounts for being a student. The movies shown here aren’t too old either, and you’ll save about $7 per ticket.

The Movies.

  • Have a photo scavenger hunt: Find all your local statues, things in rainbow order, number groups, or just make a random list of things about town, and go take your picture next to them all!
  • Go for a bike ride or walk. What’s more romantic than a stroll around a lake with your sweetheart?
  • Play a board game. Go on, get competitive. Make it fun, add a few drinks, and place a few wagers. You may win more than just a colored piece of the pie.
  • Place a monetary limit on the night. You can have a ton of fun putting a cap on the evening and seeing how far $15 can go. Food? Spaghetti and Sauce plus garlic bread at the grocery store can total only… $6! Say what? I know, it’s awesome. Movie rental from RedBox only $1? ok! $3 bottle of wine at the grocery store? ok!
  • Netflix! My new favorite discovery… I love seeing all the old television shows that you can re-discover. Hello Buffy!
  • Find your local dive bar and bask in the daily specials. You can shoot pool, listen to the juke box, and have a delicious 2$ bottle of PBR.

The Paradise, Madison WI. My favorite Dive.

  • If you plan for a nice little morning date, visit your local Farmer’s Market. Grab a coffee and a pastry, mingle with locals, stroll the isles of fresh flowers and cheeses. Yep. Even cheese can be romantic.
  • Follow that Farmer’s Market with some garage sales and maybe a flea market. You never know what treasures you can find! You can check Craigslist or grab a paper for listings. Or, just drive around looking for those neon paper signs.

The Farmer’s Market

  • Throw a party. Not all parties have to cost a bunch of money. You can have a potluck at the local park, pay for your portion of the goodies, and spend the afternoon playing frisbee and bocce ball with friends.
  • Grill out! Hit your local grocery store for some grill goodies, and find yourself spending what you would if you were to go to a restaurant. But you get to talk over a few beers outside, have a great burger, and do dishes together. You may have a lady and the tramp moment when your hands touch under the soapy water…
  • Take a tour. You can usually tour museums, city capitals, like the one here in Madison, for free. Or even go to open houses in your area, and browse through other people’s decorated homes, and dream of having their big backyard. You can even visit your local winery, and taste a few samples too.
  • Make a pie. You can visit a local orchard, hand select apples, and take home your gems to make a fresh apple pie. I read somewhere that the number one favorite (and even aphrodisiac like) smell amongst women was the scent of an apple or pumpkin pie. It bakes for about 45 minutes. I’m sure you’ll find something to fill the time.

image credit

  • Find a good place to listen to local music for really cheap. There’s a local place in Madison (The Frequency) that has louder, heavier music at night, but smoother, acoustic, and more laid back music around 6 or 7. And the shows are only $5-10. You can also find your local piano bar, cafe with a musician, or other venues for cheap. Live in Wisconsin? Check out Local Sounds for Madison or Green Bay Night Life for some ideas.
  • Come up with a project. Before I was dating my boyfriend, I had an assignment due for school that had to do with measuring the entire house. I joked about him coming to help me, but was really glad when he offered to drive to my house and measure every wall in every room. (Note: I was living in a 3 story Historic Victorian.) It was really fun to work as a team, and we got to talk and find out about each other the whole time.
  • Go to the Zoo. Our local Zoo here is free, and in a great little neighborhood too. After checking out the animals, you can walk around and check out local architecture and discuss your favorite kinds of houses.

That’s me. At the zoo. In the Polar Bear.

  • Have a season marathon of your favorite show. This may take more than a day, but it’s fun to spend time vegging together, making snacks and meals, having coffee or even mixed drinks, and watch episode after episode of House M.D.
  • Play personal trivia. You can each write down 20 questions that you really want to know about the other person, and sit down and fire away. I’m sure you’ll learn something new about the other person that you never knew before.
  • Have a picnic. You can have an indoor picnic in the middle of your living room floor, or even take it to the middle of the park. Pack a lunch, grab a bottle of wine, and lay out with some food and conversation. You can even have a night picnic and star-gaze with your hubby on a blanket with a bottle of wine.
  • Indulge in your sporty side. You can usually find tickets to a local sporting event for pretty cheap, and some packages include food and drinks too. Go ahead, let him know you can get into sports and yell at that bad pitcher too.

Wrigley Field.

  • Check out the High School for events. I once stumbled upon a sign outside of a high school for a musical performance of Little Shop of Horrors for only $8 a person, and we had a great time watching the high school students sing their hearts out over a murderous plant. Call your local high schools and see if they are having any performances anytime soon.
  • Visit your local comedy club or karaoke bar for some laugh out loud entertainment. Karaoke bars are usually free, or cost a small amount to sing a song, and Comedy Clubs can start at $5. Go ahead, laugh away. It’s good for you.

There’s some ideas that will fill your night, and keep your wallet from being empty! Find the right person to fill your time, and you’ll have a great time, even if you spend absolutely no money. Happy Dating!