jump up & get down

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I got asked on a date Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and I’m feeling pretty good about a weekend lineup of brunch, movies and a kite festival.  Lucky for me, my husband is out of town. 

A little preview into what I’m taking about here:  

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Just to be clear, Kitty Cat Klub is a coffee shop/wine bar in downtown Minneapolis.  I feel like the name leaves too much to the imagination not to provide an explanation.  But anyway, I digress.

Books and movies and blogs and magazines consistently offer advice on dating as it pertains to romantic relationships, but where is the discussion as it pertains to friends?  Perhaps most people call being with your friends ‘hanging-out,’ but my friends and I take our girl nights pretty seriously — we dub them “friend-dates.”  

Friend dates are different than simply watching movies or going for walks or chatting over tea — they are designed to ensure that some of our best experiences our happening with our closest friends.  Every Wednesday, I’m doing something called “Surprise Night” with my friends Chrissy and Lauren.  Come again?  Surprise night means we take turns planning a fun adventure for each other.  Today we went to a trampoline center:
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I came up with some other fun ideas for ‘dating your friends’:
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1.  A-Z:  This is a dinner club that goes to restaurants according to the order of the alphabet.  The first week you go to a restaurant that starts with the letter A, the second week you dine somewhere that starts with the letter B, and the dining continues til you reach the letter Z 🙂

2.  Sip:  Why take wine and cheese classes when you could learn with a weekly girls’ night?  This group works by making a list of wines you want to try, and then meeting once a week to share the bottle.  Red, white and vine.  

3.  Groupon:  Each week someone picks a Groupon to try, and then everyone gets together for the painting class or workout session or concert on a designated day. Bonus that it’s on a sale, right?  

4.  Surprise:  As I mentioned above, this is something I do with my friends: simply take turns surprising each other with fun nights out on the town.  Good for the adventurous bunch.  

5.  Cook Book:  Pick a cook book with your friends, and then get together each week to create a new recipe.  Eventually you’ll make everything in the book and, as a bonus, become pretty skillful in the kitchen.  

6.  Neighborhood Night:  The name pretty much says it all: pick a night of the week, and then plan an adventure in a local neighborhood or suburb of the city.  A fun way to get outside your comfort zone and learn about the hidden gems lurking nearby.

7.  Read It:  The good old fashioned book club.  The most popular girl on the list because it doesn’t get much better than discussing good books with great friends.

8.  Make it:  We all have unique talents and skills, so why not enjoy learning from one another?  My friends and I do this pretty frequently, and it works like so: one person picks a recipe/craft/project that they want to do, and then everyone gets together to do it with them.  More convenient than signing up for classes at the local college.

9.  TV Show:  This one is just too easy/fun to leave off the list.  If you’re anything like me, you’re probably already watching your favorite guilty pleasure with a gaggle of girls every Monday night at 7pm on ABC.  Yep. I admitted it.  But, really, your show can be anything – just an excuse to get together.  Make sure someone brings popcorn and/or cupcakes. 

10.  Connoisseur:  Is there something that all of you enjoy?  sushi or artwork or music or hiking?  If so, make it your mission to find the best handroll/painting/band/hill in the city.  When everything has been tried, vote on the best.

Do you date your friends?  Do you have a standing girls’ night of some sort? 

bonnie & clyde

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I’m not a role model.  Please do as I say and not as I do.  Also, if you could, please don’t tell anyone what I’ve done.  I’m sharing a little secret, so please keep it between us?  I’d make you pinky swear if I knew who you were.

Okay, okay, what’s all the hype about?  Date night.  Simple as that.  We have a big holiday at the family cabin (up in the north north north woods of Wisconsin) and before things got too hectic, Jon and I wanted an ‘us’ night.  The two of us decided on our favorite date: cooking together, eating in bed, and having a movie marathon (in this case, we watched 5 episodes of Dexter).
Whenever we go out of town, I try to start running down on household items so that things don’t spoil.  Toilet paper is one thing that should never be allowed to run out (makes an especially awkward situation for guests), but, unfortunately, that is what happened.  After an episode of Dexter, Jon let me know that he used the final two plies to blow his nose.  Oops.

Then he suggested we get extra toilet paper from the bathrooms in our apartment complex. Why not go to the store, you ask?  We’re in our pajamas and it’s 10pm on Friday night.  What’s more, there is a blizzard outside.  And so, I agree.

Jon provides cover while I make the moves.

Unfortunately, every toilet paper roll I find only has a couple pieces of tissue left.  This means that we visit every guest bathroom in our building to secure enough TP to hold us over until we leave for the cabin.

But, just like Bonnie and Clyde, we accomplished our mission.

When we finished, I made a list of date-night ideas that might be more appropriate than stealing toilet paper:
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What are your ideas for a date night?

getting lost together

Fall is on my mind, and since I’m the cheesiest romantic out there, I’ve been thinking about seasonal date ideas.  I happen to love surprises even more than romance and cheese, and so I created a game that surprises the receiver with fall date ideas.  I’m calling the game ‘Fall in Love,’ but if you’re on the normal end of the romance scale, you can call it anything else that you want.

The game works like this:  write 12 occasions that will occur during the fall season on envelopes, and then the envelopes with surprise dates to be opened on the given occasion.  For example, the envelope that says “1st Day of October” has a card inside that reads ‘we’re going to spend the day at a corn maze.’   The envelopes and cards I made are below, and you can download them here: fall1 and fall2.  Or you can make your own and personalize the dates 🙂
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love as the example

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My dad always kissed my mom before leaving for work, and it was common for him to return home with flowers.  My grandparents must have been their inspiration, because they were just as sweet with one another after 50 years of marriage.  I remember bringing friends over for Sunday brunch, and my grandma decorating the table with fine china, candles, and savory treats. I thanked her for making things so nice for the occasion, and she explained “oh honey, this is what I do for your grandfather every Sunday – don’t you think he deserves it?”  My grandfather did deserve the attention, but he also returned the favors: my grandma was surprised with trips to the opera, treated to breakfast in bed, and always aware of how much she was loved.

I always knew that I wanted to share that kind of romance with my future husband.  Luckily, Jon and I are about as romantic as they come, and we make a point of finding small ways to make each other feel loved. Some might think it’s a little silly that we celebrate our monthly anniversaries, but, for us, it’s just part of enjoying our marriage.  This weekend marked our 3-month anniversary, and we declared it “date-weekend.” We celebrated Friday with dinner at our favorite restaurant, and then we spent all of Saturday exploring the countryside.
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Another thank you to Apricot Lane in St. Cloud for styling this post.  Felt like I was ‘all dressed- up with everywhere to go.” Thanks again, Laura 🙂