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9 Summer Activities for Couples

Spend summer weekends and evenings getting closer to your S.O. with these couple’s activities. With so many ways to take advantage of the warm weather, there should be no shortage of things to do. We’ve rounded up some creative and adventurous summer date ideas. When planning a special date, you want to enjoy a fun activity and have some romantic time together. All of these ideas are cheap, easy to plan, and uniquely fun compared to the traditional dinner date. Whether you’re in a date night rut or just looking to experience the most epic summer with your partner, this activity list will help you make unforgettable memories.

9 Summer Date Ideas for Couples

Here are nine outings for you and your bae you should try asap this summer!

Go hiking at a state park.

Find a local state park close to you or road trip to one. This summer date idea is the perfect way to get some sun, exercise, and fun time together. Out in nature, you can find relaxation and grow closer as a couple. Hiking challenges your endurance and tests your teamwork skills. You need to work together as a couple to walk in rhythm and find a steady pace. Hiking also helps build your communication skills, as you navigate the path and the map together. Try this energizing and adventurous date idea on your next summer weekend!

Pick your own fruit at an orchard or farm.

Visit a local pick-your-own farm and collect fruit you can enjoy outside or blend in a cocktail at home. Depending on where you live, different fruit will be in season. You could go berry picking for strawberries or blueberries, apple picking or peach picking. When you’re done, enjoy a picnic outside. This summer date is like a scene from a rom-com movie!

Go to a baseball game.

Take your bae to an exciting, outdoor ballgame. You are guaranteed a home run with a summer activity that has everything: an electric atmosphere, good weather, and yummy snacks. Swap childhood memories as you watch and take plenty of photos in the stadium.

Enjoy a drive-in movie.

Visit a drive-in movie theater for some old-fashioned date night fun! Cuddle up for a romantic date in your car and bring wine to pair with the popcorn. This activity offers the perfect make-out moment where you can act like silly teenagers.

Daycation at a hotel.

This growing trend sees hotels across the country offering special day room rates so guests can use hotel amenities without an overnight stay. Enjoy the luxury pool and spa, plus the warm summer weather, all day.

Visit the zoo or a safari park.

It’s the perfect activity for animal lovers! Go wild watching the giraffes, zebras, elephants and gorillas. Then take a break with a cold beer.

Rent a pontoon and go boating.

Boat rentals are inexpensive for the day or just a few hours. Rent a pontoon so you can move slowly across the water and drop anchor to sunbathe.

Spend a day of food truck hopping.

Every day can be the state fair when you go food truck hopping! Make a list of food trucks in your state. You can use an app or visit a food truck finder social media page to discover where food trucks will be on any given day. Explore the city as you enjoy different food trucks around town!

Enjoy cocktails and appetizers at an outdoor patio.

Splurge on a few fancy drinks and enjoy each other’s company. This summer activity for couples offers a romantic atmosphere where you can talk and laugh for hours.

The best summer dates are about spending time together. Get inspired with some of these fun things to do with your partner.

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7 Wedding Day Gift Exchange Ideas

Make your wedding day even more special by exchanging gifts that morning! Many couples decide to exchange wedding gifts, as a way of celebrating their love. Through gift exchange, you create an intimate and romantic moment that’s just for the two of you. The wedding day is busy, scheduled, and planned. Among the timeline of events, consider making room for a quiet moment when you can send a special, thoughtful gift that shows how much you care. Your partner will love receiving a personalized present that says, “I promise to love you for better or for worse, and for always.” These wedding gift ideas for a bride, groom, or partner all come from the heart, if you decide to follow this beautiful wedding tradition.

7 Wedding Day Gift Exchange Ideas for Couples

Plane tickets for a surprise vacation.

Plan a vacation to surprise your spouse! On the morning of the wedding, send them a wrapped gift containing plane tickets to embark on a surprise trip sometime in the future. Pick a bucket list vacation spot with couple’s activities. Your partner will love the thought and effort you put into planning a dream getaway.

The personalized Book of Us to capture your love story.

Celebrate your journey together as a couple with a personalized keepsake gift! The Book of Us tells your unique love story on paper, with illustrated characters that resemble you both. You can edit the text on every page, to include loving messages, inside jokes, and wedding wishes. Customize your book to include date night ideas for after the wedding, memories about your first date, and a list of “things I love about you.” It’s a heartwarming wedding gift that your partner will cherish forever.

Honeymoon essentials.

Surprise your partner with a gift that’s thoughtful, romantic, and practical. Honeymoon essentials will always come in handy when you embark on your dream trip together. These may include a bathing suit, pajamas, sunglasses, or a hat.

A photo book of your couple’s journey through the years.

Create a photo book of your relationship that chronicles your “greatest hits”—first kiss, first trip, engagement and more! We guarantee your spouse-to-be will be breathless and emotional looking back at your journey together and remembering your sweetest moments.

Mini spa kit.

Deliver a relaxing gift and make a mini spa kit with bath salts, body wash, a mud facial mask, perfume/cologne, lip balm, and lavender body lotion. These are all things they can use the morning of the wedding to relax and unwind before the big ceremony and long into the marriage.

A set of handwritten love letters.

Love letters won’t cost a dime but mean the world to your partner. Write a set of three love letters: one to open the morning of the wedding, one to open on your honeymoon, and one to open a month into your marriage. Love letters are a special way to express your love and appreciation. Even after the wedding is over, they can open the final letter and get swept up in the magic and romance all over again.

Calendar with pre-planned events.

Mark a calendar with events you have already planned, for a few weekends into your marriage, like dinner reservations, a couple’s spa treatment, a golf tee time, a booked campground for hiking, and a time to visit the movie theater (with tickets pre-purchased). The wedding day is a magical time, but it’s also important to think about life after the wedding. These fun activities will continue the romantic spark in your relationship, long after the wedding is over. This calendar is a sweet gesture that shows you are thinking about your life together.

As you make this special commitment, express your love with personalized and romantic wedding gifts.

 

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Best Anniversary Gifts for Loved Ones

Impress your romantic partner with unique and creative anniversary gifts! Whether you are celebrating a first wedding anniversary or tenth, these are the perfect gifts to express your love and show how much you care. Anniversaries are special milestones. You deserve to celebrate and remember your best moments together. A special gift can put your celebration over the top. Choose a gift that will spark memories and bring happy tears. As you exchange gifts, you can remember your journey together and commemorate the rare gift of having a long-lasting relationship. Discover the best anniversary gift ideas for your husband, wife, or partner that will fire up the romance.

7 Anniversary Gift Ideas for Your Husband, Wife, or Partner

The “Bridgerton Experience” Gift

By now, Netflix’s steamy hit show is the talk of the season! If your partner, like the rest of the country, is intoxicated by this romantic fantasy then throw them a Bridgerton-themed anniversary party! Set the mood at home and create a sweet escape that ends with you and your partner playing Duke and Duchess in the bedroom.

Begin the celebration with afternoon tea, biscuits, and cakes. Use floral china, a tiered cake tray, and decorative accents like a lace tablecloth and ribbon. If you don’t have these already, you can find most items at your local thrift stores. After tea, re-watch some of your favorite episodes as you cuddle together. For dinner, prepare a rich meal with dessert. Here are some Date Night Recipes to Make at Home, if you’re not sure what to make. Along with your partner’s gift, give them a romantic card that says, “I burn for you” (our favorite Duke line—swoon) and dance to classical tunes or favorite pop songs. Perfect for couples who enjoy a little role play fantasy, this anniversary gift is a whole day of escapist romance and intimacy.

Shopping Cart Surprise

Does your partner save items in their online shopping cart, to wait for a sale or their next paycheck? Pick their favorite retailer—Target, Amazon, Pottery Barn, etc.—and surprise them by buying their entire shopping cart! To make sure they don’t purchase the items, you’ll want to do this the day before or the morning of your anniversary. You’ll also need to play detective and get access to their account in advance so you can note all of the items. If the items are all online, you can give them the shopping receipt along with flowers, a bottle of wine, and a small present. Your partner will love how much thought and effort you put into this creative gift!

Book of Us: A Personalized Book about Love

Your relationship story is a rom-com worthy of its own novel. Capture your love story on paper with this personalized book for couples! Tell your unique love story by customizing the title, characters, and text on every page. The book details all the ways you spend time together. Add your own loving messages to every page and create a personalized anniversary gift that your partner will treasure.

“Never Have I Ever” Activity Gift

Choose a relationship “first” and do it together on your anniversary! If your partner has always wanted to get a tattoo, gift them a tattoo as their anniversary present. If you both have never taken a cooking class, sign up for a virtual cooking class at home. Relationship “firsts” are exciting and strengthen your romantic bond. An anniversary gift doesn’t have to be something physical. It can be an activity you enjoy together. By doing something new together, you will make unforgettable anniversary memories.

Handmade Photo Book

Preserve your most precious memories in a handmade photo book that your partner can keep forever. You can create a photo book online or make one by hand. To make one from scratch, print and glue photos to paper, write handwritten messages, and bind the pages with rings. This sweet and thoughtful gift comes from the heart and is personalized just for your S.O.

“Marriage is a Journey” Travel Gift

It might sound a little cheesy, but life is an adventure that’s best traveled together! Inspire wanderlust and adventure in your marriage with this travel-themed anniversary gift. Mark a world map with all the places you want to visit. Fold it and put it into a gift box. Add travel books for the destination you want to visit first. Include some fun travel accessories. And finally, surprise your partner with future travel tickets. The couple who travels together, grows together.

Snack Lovers Gift Basket

Does your partner constantly look for snacks every night? Put together a custom gift basket full of their favorite sweet and savory treats! Make it even more special by adding snacks associated with your first kiss or first date.

 

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7 Ways to Celebrate Your Partner’s Graduation

Make this graduation celebration unforgettable with these unique ideas for you and your partner! Whether your partner has finished college or grad school, these fun activities will make them feel so special and loved. We’ve put together a list of easy things you can do with friends, family, or just with each other. Graduation is the perfect time to celebrate hard work and accomplishments, and to express gratitude for completing a life goal. Celebrations can be big or small, based on your budget and time. You don’t need to throw a grand graduation party to have a great time! Surprise your partner with a thoughtful and unique celebration that comes from love.

Turn your backyard into a film-tacular celebration.

Make this day all about the graduate! Watch their favorite movie or a graduation-themed movie outdoors. Set up a projector and sheet to put your flicks on the big screen. Instead of basic popcorn, whip up a colorful charcuterie board—it’s the fancy Lunchables of our time! Hang string lights overhead to make the backyard glow with soft light. Then cuddle up and watch your partner’s favorite movies.

Organize a virtual graduation party.

Video calling makes get-togethers safe and easy! Decorate your living room with balloons, streamers, and a “happy graduation” sign. Then video call friends and family into a group chat. Have your partner run an errand and them surprise them with the virtual graduation party! Each friend and family member can prepare a loving message for the graduate and read it aloud over video. We also encourage family members to show-and-tell some hilarious baby photos on Zoom call! This graduation party idea is a fun and creative way to celebrate virtually.

Take photos to make a graduation photo book.

Hold your own at-home graduation photoshoot! Then make a photo book to capture those sweet memories. Take some photos of the graduate. Try a few of them in a cap and gown. Then take couple’s photos in your best graduation-worthy attire! Add the photos to a special book so you can look back on this special time. You can also turn their graduation photo into a personalized photo puzzle that you can enjoy together.

Hold a nostalgic “through the years” scavenger hunt.

Organize a graduation scavenger hunt inside your home! Hide nostalgic items from their childhood around the house. You may need to ask family members for specific items. Try hiding things like a trophy, an embarrassing baby picture, a baseball glove or dance shoe, a baby blanket, a retro piece of tech like an old video game console or a ye-old ipod. Hand your partner a list of clues that will direct them to each fun relic from their past. At the end of the scavenger hunt, hide a special graduation gift they can open.

Surprise your partner with thoughtful graduation gifts.

The best graduation gifts come from the heart. Show your loved one how proud you are with a graduation present they will cherish. Consider a unique present that is personalized for the individual, like a custom Happiness Journal that will inspire them to keep following their dreams. Instead of a graduation card, give them a personalized graduation book like I Wish You More on Your Graduation Day that features their name and messages of best wishes. Have friends and family write personal messages on the dedication page, and create a sweet gift the new graduate will treasure. If you are looking for a more romantic graduation gift, the Book of Us is a custom book that tells your unique relationship story. Edit the text to include loving and congratulatory messages for the graduate. It’s a beautiful gift where you can express your love and pride.

Start your “inspiring songs” playlist and cook a special graduation dinner.

Turn on some inspirational tunes and cook your partner a spectacular dinner to celebrate! Take this dinner up a notch by lighting candles, pouring wine, and baking a chocolate cake for dessert. For dinner, try making something special yet easy to cook like a one-pot seafood pasta or BBQ pork and pimento cheese sliders—use jackfruit as a vegetarian option. All you need to have a great graduation celebration is good food and each other.

Make a list of dreams and goals, for yourselves and for each other.

Graduation is a time to celebrate hard work and express gratitude for this accomplished goal! It’s also a great time to make a new list of goals and dreams. By envisioning new dreams, you stay focused, motivated, and inspired. These goals can be big or small—some for you personally, and some for you both as a couple. Now that you’ve reached graduation, maybe the new goal is to travel to a dream destination in the far future. As a couple, maybe the dream is to save for a house or start a family.

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Relationship Advice for Long-Lasting Love

Build a strong and healthy bond with this relationship advice. Whether you are looking for marriage advice or tips for a long-lasting relationship, these suggestions will help grow a supportive and trusting relationship. Consistency and communication are crucial to making it work. All couples must navigate how to show and express love, how to handle arguments, and how to maintain a romantic connection. The wild romance of your thirties won’t be the same as your fifties. Relationships grow and evolve. Together your coupling is unique and beautiful. In your journey together, we hope this love advice

7 Tips for a Long-Lasting Relationship

Keep going on dates, even after marriage.

In your singlehood, dating was important to find a loving partner. Once you’re in the relationship, dating is important to maintain intimacy and romance. Couples can start to live in peaceful coexistence. There’s nothing wrong with this, but that daily routine can start to feel bland. Dates help spark deeper feelings and bring you closer together. Doing activities together boosts the fun and laughter in your relationship, increasing your mutual happiness. Keep the romance alive and build long-lasting love.

Don’t normalize yelling in a disagreement or argument.

A relationship is built on trust and affection. But the trust can be broken when arguments break out into shouting. Work on verbalizing your feelings and ideas. Instead of yelling, try saying, “I’m feeling angry right now because…” or “I’m feeling frustrated with this situation because… .” Yelling causes people to flinch or shut down out of fear. But speaking clearly and expressing feelings in a more neutral way opens conversation. Create an environment where discussion, rather than verbal assault, is the default method. Both of you will feel encouraged to share thoughts and feelings, making the relationship healthier and ultimately happier.

Experience new things together.

The couple that experiences things together grows together. Learn or experience something new on a yearly, or even monthly, basis. When you travel to a new place or learn a new hobby, you keep the relationship fresh and fun. It’s exciting to shake things up. These experiences can also help you connect on a deeper level.

Avoid going to bed with raw anger.

It’s always better to address the argument rather than sleep angry. When you communicate openly, you can express your feelings, understand the other’s perspective, and begin the healing process of forgiveness. This doesn’t mean you have both have to “see eye to eye” or sacrifice your opinions. But stewing in raw anger will make the situation worse, versus talking about the conflict and lessening that tension. This also doesn’t mean you have to force a resolution. It’s okay to go to bed a little angry. Sometimes couples can’t resolve everything that night. A night’s sleep will help you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the argument with a clear head.

Help each other with tasks.

Both of you are equal partners in the relationship. As equals, it’s important to offer a helping hand to the other. Offer to help with laundry. Take turns taking out the garbage. Help wash pans after dinner. When the burden of daily tasks falls to one person, resentment builds. This is what usually leads to sudden angry bursts or unexpected arguments. That resentment suddenly boils to the surface. But when you help each other, it strengthens love and trust in the relationship. You know you can depend on the other. Helping out with tasks is also another way to show how much you care. When you put in the work, your love grows stronger.

Respect boundaries.

Give your partner a healthy amount of space and respect their privacy. Boundaries can be physical, mental, or emotional. Body boundaries are related to your personal space and body. For example, your partner may not like being touched a certain way during physical intimacy. Another violation includes looking through your partner’s computer or phone. If they have set a privacy boundary, it’s important to respect it. Emotional boundaries protect your personal wants and needs. If you sacrifice your own needs to please your partner, you aren’t following through with those emotional boundaries. Stay tuned to your feelings and your partner’s feelings. And remember: boundaries aren’t barriers. They protect you as an individual and boost your personal happiness.

Express gratitude regularly.

A simple “thank you” goes a long way in a relationship. When a partner acknowledges your contributions, you feel a greater sense of closeness and appreciation. Express gratitude for the big and small things. Give compliments on a regular basis. When you give back with a nice word, it also makes you feel better and happier. Boost contentment in the relationship by prioritizing gratitude.

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Celebrate a Wedding Anniversary at Home

Whether it’s your first wedding anniversary or 50th wedding anniversary, these fun ideas will help you celebrate at home! We’ve put together a creative list of things to do on your anniversary that will keep your relationship strong. Love in the time of quarantine can be challenging. We are spending more time at home, performing the same daily routine. But this time has also helped us realize what really matters: human connection, love, and kindness. Spark the romance with a sweet and intimate celebration at home. For these ideas, you won’t need a big budget—just a little creativity and lots of love. Show your husband, wife, or partner how much they mean to you and make this wedding anniversary one to remember.

Wedding Anniversary Ideas

Go on a virtual date.

Through the power of technology, you can take a cooking class, explore Europe, or attend a concert all from the comfort of your couch. There’s lots of online sites that let you experience virtual travel or sign up for a class to learn French cuisine. Have you always wanted to see Germany or learn how to make a chocolate souffle? Now’s your chance! These virtual dates are budget-friendly, costing far less than actually traveling overseas or buying concert tickets. For your next wedding anniversary, experience something new and grow together!

Enjoy dinner and dancing at home.

Nothing says happy anniversary more than a romantic dinner and dancing. Unlike a loud restaurant, dinner at home is intimate and peaceful. Cook your favorite meal or try some of these date night recipes for your wedding anniversary dinner. After dinner, dance together in a candlelit room with soft music playing. This wedding anniversary idea offers simplicity and closeness. Make your relationship even stronger with good food and conversation. The best part of celebrating at home? You’re just a few steps away from the bedroom!

Create an at-home movie theater.

Transform your living room into a movie theater for two! This anniversary idea is easy to set up and super cozy. Follow these steps to create an at-home movie theater:

  • Black out your windows with dark curtains to make sure it’s extra moody inside.

 

  • Repurpose your Christmas lights and hang them inside. We recommend using Command™ hooks—they make hanging easy and don’t leave nail holes in your wall.

 

  • If your TV is on the small side, purchase an inexpensive video projector and hang a sheet on a blank wall to watch on the “big screen.”

 

  • Cover your couch with pillows and heaps of blankets. Or, you can create a floor picnic set-up and layer blankets and pillows on the floor.

 

  • Have your favorite movie snacks on hand or make fancy snacks you can’t find at a theater like chocolate chip cookies, caramel popcorn, and ahi tuna nachos with spicy sriracha mayo.

Experiment with mixed cocktails.

Release your inner mixologist and get a little crazy with fun boozy drinks. Here’s one of our favorite drink recipes to get your started:

Mint-to-Be Mojito

This romantic anniversary cocktail is sweet and tangy. Add a little spice to your night with a red drink that says, “we were meant to be.” You’ll need:

  • Cranberry juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Mint leaves
  • Lime juice
  • White rum
  • Sparkling water

Place 6 mint leaves and ¼ cup lime juice in a jar and muddle together. Add 2 tablespoons simple syrup, ¼ cup cranberry juice, 3 ounces white rum, and a handful of ice. Mix everything together. Pour into two glasses and top each glass with sparkling water.

Play mini golf at home.

Set up a mini golf course around your apartment or house! You can make it together or surprise your partner. Get creative with your course. Construct ramps out of leftover cardboard. Cut holes out of shoe boxes to make tunnels. Stack plastic cups as obstacles. Try laying out yoga mats for a smooth playing surface. To make this mini golf really extra, craft little houses or castles from cardboard and decorate your mini golf course. Mini golf is a classic anniversary activity that’s perfect for any couple. The couple that plays together stays together! (We made that up but it could be a thing.)

 Exchange wedding anniversary gifts.

Whether you’ve been married one year or ten, an anniversary gift goes a long way to show how much you care. A special gift can put your celebration over the top. The best anniversary gifts don’t have to be extravagant but they should be meaningful. Surprise and delight your S.O. with a present that speaks to your relationship. For example, if your first date was at a vineyard, surprise your partner with wine from that same vineyard. Take your most treasured wedding photos and frame them. Write a series of love letters for every year you’ve been married and give them throughout the day as little surprises. Impress your partner even more with a gift like a personalized book about your relationship. The Book of Us is a sweet keepsake that tells your unique love story. Personalize this gift with your names, appearance, and photo. You can also edit text on every page to include inside jokes and loving messages. A personalized anniversary book is a special present to cherish and read year after year.

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Date Night Recipes to Make at Home

Impress your date with these easy dinner ideas for two! Who needs a fancy restaurant when you can enjoy fine dining at home? Your S.O. will love the thought and effort you put into planning a romantic dinner date night. These meals are packed with flavor but simple to make. Whether you’re looking to celebrate an anniversary or spend quality time together at home, these recipes will take your date night to the next level.

Date Night Recipes to Impress at Home

Epic Charcuterie Board

Let’s face it, charcuterie boards are so popular right now because they’re basically adult Lunchables. But hey, we aren’t complaining! A fancy meat and cheese board offers an impressive presentation and a wide range of food choices for your partner. The best part? You don’t have to cook a thing!

To create the ultimate charcuterie board, you’ll need a wide variety of snacking foods. Here are our tips and tricks for creating the ultimate snack tray to wow your date!

  • Roll up salami and prosciutto slices and cluster them on the board.
  • Scatter clusters of grapes, dates, and chocolate covered cranberries.
  • Add a small bowl with olives and another with honey.
  • Create groupings of cheese like smoked gouda, white cheddar, burrata, and blue cheese.
  • Instead of regular nuts, take your board up a notch with smoked peanuts, candied pecans, chocolate sea salt cashews, and cocoa roasted almonds.
  • If you want to be really extra, cut out star-shaped cheese and apples and scatter them around the board.

In this case, more is always better. Your wooden board should be overflowing with goodies. Once your display is complete, light some candles to set the mood, pour two glasses of wine, and snack away.

Guacamole and Homemade Tortilla Chips

This date night recipe is perfect as a pre-dinner appetizer, a post-dinner snack, or as the main meal if you both just really love guac. To make this zesty guacamole for your date, you’ll need:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 a chopped onion
  • Roma tomatoes chopped
  • Cilantro (to taste)
  • Jalapeno peppers chopped
  • Chopped garlic or some garlic powder
  • Lime juice freshly squeezed
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Smoked paprika—just a pinch for a subtle smoky flavor

Mash the avocados and then add the rest of the ingredients and gently combine. Now for the final step: homemade tortilla chips. Cut corn tortillas into triangle wedges. Heat oil in a pan on medium high heat until the oil sizzles. Use metal tongs to put the tortillas into the oil and then remove them, blotting the extra oil off with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

Shrimp Risotto

Prepare an elegant dinner for two with this over-the-top shrimp risotto recipe. With complex flavors and a rich taste, this swoon-worthy dish will make your date night unforgettable! For this recipe you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4-5 cloves minced garlic cloves,
  • Minced mushrooms (to taste)
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth (low-sodium preferred)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)

Cook the risotto first and keep warm when you cook the shrimp. To make the risotto, add oil to your pan and cook half of the garlic and all of the mushrooms until tender. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes. Add half the wine (1/4 cup) and cook until absorbed. Then add the chicken broth along with a dash of salt and pepper. Increase the heat to a boil and stir often. Then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 13 minutes until the rice is tender and creamy.

To cook the shrimp, put oil into another pan and cook the other half of the garlic with the shrimp. Sauté for 1-2 minutes on each side. Pour in the rest of the wine (1/4 cup) and add the red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer so wine reduces and shrimp cooks through. Stir in the remaining butter, lemon juice, and parsley. Add the spinach at the end and cook just until it’s wilted. Pour over the risotto and serve.

Chicken Carbonara

This date-worthy dish is rich and creamy. Pair it with white wine and enjoy a romantic Italian meal. You’ll need:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, cut in cubes or shredded
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
  • Lemon zest
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente. Then drain the pasta and set aside. Cook the bacon until crispy and drain most of the oil. In the same pan, add the garlic and onion and cook for a couple minutes. Add the chicken and cook it in the same pan, using the leftover bacon grease and some oil. Cube or shred the chicken. In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, oregano, basil, and parsley. This is your sauce. Reduce the heat to low-medium. Add in the spaghetti and mix well. Reduce heat to low. Add the cream mixture and toss well until pasta is coated. Cook for 4-5 minutes, just until the flavors combine but before the eggs scramble. Add salt, pepper, and more parmesan cheese on top. Bold flavors make this a go-to recipe for your next date night.

Cauliflower Gnocchi Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

This easy dinner recipe is for those evenings when you don’t have the time or energy to cook from scratch. But we guarantee it’ll still impress your date!

This recipe only requires two ingredients (unless you want to make your own red pepper soup): red pepper and tomato soup and a bag of frozen cauliflower gnocchi. Cook the gnocchi according to package directions or use an air fryer. We recommend the air fry method, because the gnocchi become firm and slightly crispy on the outside—this way, they hold their shape when you add them to the soup. Heat up your favorite red pepper and tomato soup (or just tomato soup, depending on what’s in the pantry) and add the gnocchi. This dinner idea is a fun twist on the traditional soup with dumplings. It’s also healthier and vegetarian! Soup makes you want to cuddle up on a cold night. Plan your next soup and snuggles date night to spend lovey time together.

Salmon Pesto Pasta

This salmon recipe is a great way to show off your home chef skills! It looks beautiful and colorful in a bowl and tastes even better. To make this light date night meal you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of fresh salmon
  • 1 bag of asparagus
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • White wine
  • 1/3 cup jarred pesto
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta (option: sub for gluten free)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until al dente. Set the pasta aside. In a pan, cook the asparagus and red pepper in oil until softened but slightly al dente. Put this veggie mixture aside. Rub the garlic powder, salt, and pepper on the salmon. In a skillet, cook the salmon in oil over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes each side until lightly golden brown. Take the salmon out of the pan and set aside. Add chicken broth, pesto, and a splash of white wine to the same pan, but on low heat. Add in the cream and lemon juice. Wait until the sauce is lightly bubbling. Add the salmon back into the pan and break up into pieces with a spoon or spatula. Add in the asparagus and red pepper back in. Cook on low for 5 minutes, allowing sauce to thicken and flavors to combine. Add pasta to pan and mix until coated. Serve with fresh parmesan cheese on top. Light and fresh tasting, this salmon pesto pasta makes an elegant dinner for two!

Resources:

https://cafedelites.com/garlic-butter-shrimp-scampi/

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/lemony-shrimp-and-risotto-recipe-2018344

https://sweetandsavorymeals.com/chicken-carbonara-recipe/

https://www.saltandlavender.com/salmon-pesto-pasta/

 

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Virtual Dating Ideas

Dating right now may seem a little strange, but these virtual dating ideas will keep the romance alive and bring you even closer together. It can be challenging, at the best of times, to find creative things to do together. Besides takeout and a movie, you may find your options limited. But virtual dates are just as fun as in-person activities and help deepen your bond. Bring the magic of date night to your home whenever you need some “spice” in the relationship. Whether you are in a long-distance relationship, maintaining social distance at home, or quarantining together, these creative virtual dates will help you spark intimacy and laughter.

7 Virtual Date Night Ideas

Listen to a concert at home.

Concerts have been put on hold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tune into performances from the comfort of your couch. Check out music artists who are holding virtual concerts. The tickets are inexpensive, and you can stream it directly to your laptop or TV.

Take a virtual cooking class.

Have a fun virtual date night in your kitchen and learn to cook! Through the power of technology, you can video stream a cooking class by a professional chef and learn how to make a delicious meal.

Learn a TikTok Dance.

We know this idea isn’t for everyone, but few can deny the addictive power of TikTok. So if you want to get a little silly, try a popular TikTok dance and laugh at yourself and each other.

Stream a workout together.

Find a fitness class you can take together, no matter the distance. Stream a yoga class for a more relaxing couples’ workout or try a strength class to get sweaty, healthy, and happy together. Look for workouts on fitness apps, YouTube, and Instagram.

Plan a themed video call dinner.

Set the mood with candles and music during your Zoom call. But rather than a boring blah date, pick a theme for your romantic dinner like “The Great Gatsby.” Dress up and play themed music in the background. Take a virtual trip to Paris and create a themed “Together in Paris” dinner event—complete with French cuisine and violin music. Don’t forget to take pictures or screenshots on your video date night, so you can remember this time together.

Start a new hobby together.

Pick a hobby that fits both of you and dedicate some time each week to work on it. You and your partner can call each other to track progress, make it a competition if you’re feeling feisty, and create something special to send in the mail. Try picking up guitar and writing your S.O. a song. Crochet a scarf and mail the surprise package for their birthday. Practice painting and make your partner a piece of art to hang on their wall. Learn a new language and record an “I love you” message for your boo. There’s nothing sexier than hearing “Tu es l’amour de ma vie” (You are the love of my life).

If you want to surprise your loved one just because, a thoughtful gift surprise can make their whole day! Try sending them a personalized couple’s gift like the Book of Us, which captures your beautiful love story on paper. You can customize the title, illustrated characters, and the text on every page to include loving messages.

Hold a virtual game night.

Shake up date night with an exciting round of games. Choose a video-friendly game like trivia, murder mystery cards, an at-home scavenger hunt, or Battleship. If you’re into video games, try an online multiplayer video game or the trending computer game “Among Us.” Virtual game nights offer friendly competition and keep you connected.

 

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9 Ways to Practice Self-Care for a Better You

For this year’s New Year’s resolutions, focus on overall health and wellness, making yourself a priority. Here are nine ways to practice self-care for a better you. The pandemic has taken a toll on our mental and emotional health, our stress levels, and our self-love. By focusing on self-care this year, you can build your physical and mental strength. Practice these self-care tips throughout the year to build your self-esteem and confidence.

The trick about self-care is that it’s all about practice. When was the last time you made yourself a priority? It can often feel like there are more important things to think about or do. But it’s equally important to take time for yourself—take a breath and focus inward. Self-care is the effort of putting yourself first. We hope these self-care suggestions give you a daily dose of happiness and peace.

9 Ways to Practice Self-Care for a Better You

  1. Focus on getting enough sleep.

Sleep can have a huge effect on your emotional and physical state. Consider your nightly routine and ways to improve. Try to avoid caffeine and sugar before bed. Make sure your bedroom is dark—blackout shades are life changing! Stay away from your computer, phone, and tablet before bed. The stress of being an adult, especially during a global pandemic, can sometimes mean it’s harder to self-soothe compared to when we were children. Find ways to relax and decompress. Listen to music, read a book, or meditate. Above all, establish a sleep schedule. Go to bed the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning. This steady routine will help you stick to the schedule and get plenty of rest.

 

  1. Eat healthy and get into a self-care eating routine.

Eating healthy can boost your energy level, improve your physical health, and enhance your overall happiness as a result. Try to eat healthy meals regularly. Create a schedule and eat meals at the same time each day. Avoid eating or snacking after 7pm because your body is less likely to break down and process the food. Take care of yourself by taking care of your food health.

 

  1. Say yes to fun activities weekly without the guilt.

Put yourself first and do things that make you happy every week. Avoid guilt-tripping yourself like, “I should be working” or “I could be cleaning.” Push aside those negative thoughts and make yourself a priority. Do things that you love like reading, bicycling, watching your favorite movie, eating dessert in bed, tuning in to a virtual concert on your laptop. Set aside time to have fun!

 

  1. Make a list of fun to-dos each month.

If you love lists and checking boxes, this self-care practice is for you! Journal a list of activities you want to do each month. By listing them out, you’ll be more likely to do them. Cross them off or check the box every time you finish one. Create a list of activities big and small. For example, here is a possible list for February: eat a piece of chocolate cake, join a virtual fun run, have a friend over for socially-distant catch up, watch a favorite movie, sleep in on Saturdays, knit a scarf. Don’t make a crazy list you can’t finish. Instead, try listing activities that are simple, easy, and fun. When you look at the completed list, you’ll feel good knowing you devoted time to self-care.

 

  1. Make time for self-care trips.

Take a self-care trip every now and then to disconnect and rejuvenate. Whether you go on a big bucket list trip or a mini road trip, a self-care vacation can make a big difference in your mental health and wellness. Schedule weekends when you can get away. Just make sure to check that the locations you want to visit are open. Unwind by visiting a beach or find peace in nature by hiking in a state park. Even taking a trip to another local town helps you escape your regular routine. Boost your health and happiness with some dedicated self-care time.

 

  1. Show up for others to build a healthy community.

An important part of self-care is providing support to others. If you want positive, healthy support from others, you also need to reciprocate. Healthy relationships are two-way. By giving and receiving, you will build a healthy community of friends and family who care. They will show up for you when you need them. Self-care isn’t about isolating yourself. It’s about giving time to yourself as well as spending time with others who build your confidence, self-esteem, and healthy mindset. You will also feel good when you provide support to someone else.

 

Doing something kind for someone else is a great way to provide support. Surprise a friend or romantic partner with a thoughtful gift, such as the Book of Us®. This custom book about love is full of kind, sentimental messages that will make your loved ones feel special and valued.

 

  1. Create a hygge space in your home that’s just for you.

Design a corner or small spot in your home that has all your favorite things. Create your space with “hygge” in mind. If you haven’t come across the hygge trend yet, “hygge” is a Danish word—without a direct translation—that generally means a feeling of cozy contentment and enjoying the simple things. Embrace hygge by designing a spot in your home with warm blankets, a good book, candles, hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, twinkling lights, pictures of friends and family, and self-care products like nail polish, face masks, and body lotion. This inviting space will encourage you to relax and enjoy a few self-care hours in cozy happiness.

 

  1. Find a creative outlet.

Discover a creative activity you love that also helps release emotions. Self-expressive activities focus your mind, pushing out negative or persistent thoughts. They also help manage stress. If you are looking for a creative outlet, you can paint, draw, crochet, craft, write poetry, or take up an instrument. Express yourself creatively to work out problems, cope with stress, and embrace the beauty all around you.

 

  1. Schedule an appointment with a counselor.

Counselors can help teach mindfulness and self-talk techniques for making a better you. Therapy isn’t just for those who are experiencing extreme anxiety or depression. Therapy is for everyone, to help establish a positive state of mind and to handle day-to-day frustrations—or the enormity of a pandemic—a little lighter. Speaking with a counselor is self-care for your mind and emotions. Consider therapy to build an even greater love for yourself and those around you.

Resources:

https://www.countryliving.com/life/a41187/what-is-hygge-things-to-know-about-the-danish-lifestyle-trend/

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How to Celebrate Galentine’s Day with Your BFFs

Just before Valentine’s Day, it’s time to celebrate the lovely lady friends in your life on Galentine’s Day! Taking place on February 13th, this unofficial holiday was first invented by the Parks and Rec television character Leslie Knope as a time of “ladies celebrating ladies.” So ditch the men in your life and have some meaningful time with your favorite gal pals. Galentine’s Day is a perfect time to support, uplift, and empower the beautiful women in your life. Here are some ways you can celebrate Galentine’s Day with your best friends and strengthen your friendships.

How to Celebrate Galentine’s Day with Your BFFs

 

Brunch and Drinks

Celebrate like Leslie Knope with her lady friends and enjoy a delicious brunch with drinks and small gifts. A personalized best friend book such as Book of Us can be customized for two friends with their names, appearance, and fun friendship quotes. Share stories and make lasting memories together. This special time will help you express gratitude for your friendships and grow closer together.

 

Weekend Girls’ Trip

Spend some quality time with the incredible women in your life by taking a trip together! Plan a quick road trip to see some natural wonders of the world. You may want to self-isolate for two weeks before and after the trip, to make sure everyone is safe. There’s nothing like a girls’ weekend getaway to celebrate your amazing friendship!

 

Spa Time in Pajamas

For a quieter and relaxing evening, put on your PJs and enjoy spa treatments at home. Give each other manicures and pedicures. Try out different face masks and take silly pictures. Pamper yourselves with a girls’ spa night. You deserve it, just for being awesome and powerful women!

 

Rom-Com Movie Night

Spend the night with your best friends watching trashy, cheesy, ooey-gooey romantic comedies that make you laugh, cry, eye-roll, and swoon. Pop in some classics like: When Harry Met Sally, Sixteen Candles, You’ve Got Mail, While You Were Sleeping, and Princess Bride. A rom-com movie night is a fun way to spend Galentine’s Day with your movie-loving gal pals!

 

Video Call Long-Distance BFFs

Just because you and your friends live far away doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate! Video call each other and have a Galentine’s Day celebration with your long-distance friends.

 

Wine Tasting

Visit your local winery for a Galentine’s Day wine tasting with your fave ladies! Make sure to bring one (or a few) bottles home for future girlfriend get-togethers. This is also a covid-friendly activity that can be enjoyed outdoors. If your state isn’t fully open yet and you can’t visit a winery, have everyone purchase some unusual-sounding wines and taste test them virtually on a zoom call!

 

Painting Party

A painting party is the perfect way to release your inner artiste! Go to a painting party at a local venue or organize your own at home with paint and canvases. Forget about creating a masterpiece and have fun being silly and creative with your friends! You can sit socially distant around a table or set up easels in your home that are six feet apart.

 

Game Night Potluck

Organize a girlfriend game night at your house for this special holiday! Ask a small group of friends to bring their favorite dish or dessert to the Galentine’s Day party, enough for everyone to enjoy. For an extra safe environment, hand out colorful face masks at the door that your friends can wear and take home. Game night brings everyone together for a celebration of your best female friendships.

 

The possibilities for celebrating are truly endless! But we hope these Galentine’s Day celebration ideas will help you plan a fun and meaningful event with your besties.

 

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