February Date Night – Progressive Dinner With a Twist

This was a group date. We had an amazing night. A year or so ago we did the Progressive Dinner With a Limo Date Night. It’s basically a roll of the dice chooses where we go for each course. We still did the limo and the dice that decided which restaurant we were going to go to but the twist was that we acquired people as we went along. My husband thought that it was just he and I and was pleasantly surprised to find that we were picking up friends along the way. We started with Biaggi’s for our before dinner drinks. We moved on to Swig for our appetizers and drinks. We went to 5th Street Pub for our entree and Stella’s for dessert. It was a great night with great friends.

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A Man’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Valentine’s Day


Love is in the air! Can you smell it? Wait a minute. Is that  the smell of unrealistic expectations. Valentine’s Day can be amazing or nothing more than a Hallmark holiday that is stressful and makes most people look like unromantic jerks. But, it doesn’t matter.  It exists, therefore we must pay tribute. There are such high expectations and no real guideline of how to meet them. What does one buy for Valentine’s Day? It’s not a holiday like Christmas where you can buy clothes, electronics, or some type of physical gift. I personally feel that this should be a holiday where the gift is not purchased but created. I’m not talking about a set of pot holders you make on a loom. It is a time for thoughtful preparation and consideration. This is the time where you need to pull out every creative ounce of energy from your body and put together the most ridiculously amazing, Earth shattering, selfless romantic gesture to truly capture the essence of St. Valentine. How many people usually hit the mark on this? Frighteningly few! Not everyone has that creative gene and honestly for the most part it is the women with high expectations. Let’s face it, we make it very difficult for men to figure out that one perfect act of Valentine love. We are relatively simple to please. Men just need to figure out the Code.  The truth is, men and women both have the same code but it just varies in degrees. Here are a few basic rules to follow that will set you on the path to unscrambling the code.

Rule #1 Flowers are amazing, but only when they are unexpected.  This shows us that you were thinking about us at a time when you didn’t have to. So I say “No,” on Valentine’s Day.

Rule #2 Going out for dinner is a wonderful idea, when there are no televisions in the vicinity, and when it is an experience, not just a means to fill your stomach. Go to a fondue restaurant, or make a game of the evening by letting the roll of the dice or a draw of a card choose the path of your evening.


Rule #3 Turn your phone off and say, “I want to enjoy every minute of our evening and I don’t want anything to interrupt our time together,” is pretty much the most romantic, sexy thing you can say.

Rule #4 Staying home for dinner is wonderful if there are no little ones around and if you place a chair at the counter where we can watch, “You,” cook while you make sure our wine glass is full and you ask us, and listen, to questions like; Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What things do you hope to accomplish in your lifetime, or this year.  Nothing sexier than a man in the kitchen. Especially one who really is interested in what we have to say.

Rule #5 Prepare an evening laden with ambiance and thoughtful preparation. The pictures below are from a Date Night entitled, An Evening In Paradise that I did a month ago. You can get the gist.

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Rule #6 The time and thought you put into a gift, or evening, means more than the gift itself. (See Rule #5)

Rule #7 Do not ask us what we would like to do or where we would like to go. To me that is the same as you saying, “Hey, I haven’t thought once about you in the last couple of weeks, so I don’t have anything planned. You pick so I don’t have to think about you right now either. (See Rule #6.) You could give us options. That shows us that you still thought about us but wanted to get our feedback. Here is a picture of a Create Your Own Date Night sheet that I came up with for my most recent Date Night.  I created it, and printed it out. My husband circled all of his options.

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He chose an all day Date that included: Photography, Videography, Relaxation, Alcohol, Food, Drinking Games, No phones for three hours, Just us, Sporting attire, remaining indoors, Out on the town, and the theme he chose was, “Sports, Sports, and More Sports.” I had to work each of these items into the day while incorporating the overlying theme. He also had a write in option where we had to compliment each other every 15 minutes. We covered every one of them except we weren’t great at the complimenting thing, but every 15 minutes? We were very creative with our compliments though:-) We started the day at a place in West Bloomfield Township, MI called Play Golf 365, a year round virtual golfing facility that you can choose whatever course in the world you want to play on. You actually swing your clubs and hit the screen and it records everything. Then we went hunting, virtually of course at the same place. We had our own private room with a waitress who would come at the flip of a switch. Awesome! Next we headed to the Palace in Auburn Hills for a Detroit Pistons game and dinner. We came home and played beer/wine cooler pong to cover our drinking game portion. It was actually a fun challenge to fit everything in to the night. We have both decided that we want to do this again. Here is the link to the page that I created. Create Your Own Date Night

I have included a link to a new Create Your Own Valentine’s Date Night.   Create Your Own Valentine’s Date Night   Just click and it will take you to the Valentine’s Date Night. Feel free to print it out and your Valentine’s Day is taken care of for you. You just have to give the paper to your significant other a week before Valentine’s Day to make their choices. Then you have one week to put all of the pieces together and make it happen. This will work for a woman or a man.


So what is the code?  Time, thought, and interest. You put those ingredients into any gift or Date Night and you will always end up creating a wonderful night of memories. Love each other and make your loved one feel as if they are the most important thing in the world to you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!


Create Your Own Date Night

Preparing for a January Date Night. The theme is Create Your Own Date Night. My husband was given the sheet below and needs to fill it out. If anyone has any interesting ideas that we have to do without for the Date or that we have to include in the Date feel free to comment:-)

Create Your Own Date Night

November Date Night

An Evening In Paradise

I attempted to re-create a scene from the Arabian Nights…costume and all:-) I created a tent-like structure in our family room and incorporated some Middle Eastern decorations, furniture and food. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and a ridiculous amount of food from a local Lebanese/Middle Eastern restaurant called Beirut. My husband was allowed 3 wishes. He chose to have a foot massage.  The rest can be left to the imagination. It was very relaxing and just nice to actually spend an evening together.

I created the lamps using a variation of canning jars but any glass jar would work. I painted the outside of the jars with a mixture of Mod Podge and a few drops of paint. It took a couple of coats but it almost gives it a sea glass type of look. Then I took gold fabric paint tubes and decorated the jars with traditional designs. I put the battery operated flickering flameless votive candles. For the tent, I screwed tiny hooks in the ceiling and placed dowel rods in the hooks and draped the fabric over the dowel rods. The material was gathered and draped to the center. I used another hook and tied the ends together using a strip of cloth and then placed an edge of the strip into the hook.

There was also a bucket with dry ice in it that didn’t quite work the way I had anticipated. My guess is that the bucket was too tall and the fog dissipated too quickly. I had hoped to just add to the mystical, dreamy quality of the evening. Better luck next time.

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The Gift of Dating


I know I have talked quite a bit about the Date Nights that I have created, but sometimes I know I make them ridiculously difficult and time consuming. I want to help you put together a Date Night Package to give as a Christmas gift to your significant other or to a newly married couple without a great deal of effort or expense. This works great as a wedding gift as well. I have included the plans to create 12 wonderful Date Nights (1 for each month). I will explain the packaging at the end but will start with the actual Dates themselves.

1. Progressive Dinner – Purchase a block, dice, or cube from a craft store that has nothing on it. Write 6 different restaurants in close proximity on the sides of the cube. Roll the dice to determine where you go for drinks, appetizers, entrée, and dessert. Make sure to put something like McDonalds in there to make it interesting. The expense depends on the choices you write down. You could also limit this to 3 choices. If this were a gift to another couple, I would include the dice and a wipe off marker so this can be done again and again. You could also include some gift cards to different area restaurants. Once again the cost is determined by you.

2. Dinner in a Surprise Location – Choose someplace that you would enjoy, or someplace that is just very unusual. I did this on the rooftop of a building. You could choose; a park, your backyard, your front yard, by a beautiful lake, at sunset on the top of a hill, on your own rooftop…etc. It’s all about what you put into the presentation. Make sure you have a table cloth, candles, music, dinnerware, lights, the food itself and/or drinks. Make a wonderful dinner or order carry out and just present it on China or your best tableware. If this is a gift, include a gift card or a promise that you will make the meal or even set it up.

3. Re-enact your first Date – Do exactly the same things and go the same places that you did on your first date. If possible, try to replicate your clothing. Discuss that first date and what your first thoughts/impressions were. If this is a gift, you could ask the couple where their first date was and get a gift card and/or make up an itinerary on a card for them to follow matching the events of their first date.

4. Slumber Party – Rent some movies, grab some snacks, pull out those old board games, put down a bunch of pillows and/or sleeping bags in your living room and have a good old fashioned slumber party. Don’t forget the pizza. Try to stay up all night…or don’t, which sounds a whole lot better. But that’s me. If this is a gift, you could put some DVD’s or gift cards to a video store, playing cards and snacks in a popcorn tub.

5. Photo Scavenger Hunt – Come up with 20 fun photo captions, such as; that’s going to hurt, you really are getting way too old for that, my new best friend, etc. Spend the evening going all over town taking pictures to match the captions. Print them out and make an album or put them on Facebook or Instagram. For a gift, you could just supply the captions.

6. Spa Night – Pull out all of those lotions and foot scrubs that you’ve gotten as gifts over the years and put them to good use. Take turns using the products on each other. Make sure to have some nuts, fruits, cheeses, chocolates and wine.  I would start by working the hair conditioner into each other’s hair and leave on for at least a half hour.  Apply the exfoliation scrub all over each other. Carefully jump in the shower and rinse off keeping in mind there is oil in the scrub so don’t actually jump. Do not rinse your hair yet. Dry off completely and paint each other with the mud. Leave on for about 10 minutes and then shower again, this time rinse your hair out. Dry off and use your scented oils or lotions to give each other massages. The rest of the evening is up to you. You will want to have:

*A painter’s drop cloth or a giant sheet of plastic

* Exfoliation scrub – (enough for 2) 2 cups of sugar, and enough olive oil to make a paste. You can also add a couple of drops of scented oil to this.

* Hair conditioner – (enough for 2) 1 cup of orange juice, a half cup of olive oil, and 4 whole eggs,

* Mud – (The spa kind, not the backyard kind) I have not been able so far to find an easy, inexpensive DIY recipe for this (Let me know if you know of one) so you can either purchase it or skip it, although it is an awful lot of fun to paint on one another.

* Scented Oils

* Candles

* Soft relaxing music.

* An uncluttered room close to the bathroom

As a gift you could type up the directions, include the homemade scrub and conditioner in mason jars, candles, scented oils and maybe a plastic drop cloth.

7. Drive in Movie Theater – In your backyard, set up comfy furniture, or put an inflatable mattress in the back of a pickup or a van, hook up a dvd player to a projector and hang a white sheet or project onto a white wall outside. Serve concession stand foods and snacks. Don’t forget the popcorn. If you don’t have a projector, the local rental centers usually have them and they are relatively inexpensive. Ask around, you would be surprised by how many people have them. As a gift, purchase a couple DVD’s, popcorn/snack basket, a rental center gift card, or the promise to set this up for them.

8. Wine Tasting Party – Invite a few other couples over and have them bring a bottle of their favorite wine and a snack to go with it. Have them cover their bottle so that the label cannot be seen. As people arrive place a number on each of the bottles. Give everyone a rating sheet and have them sample all of the bottles of wine and vote for their favorites but tell them they can’t vote on their own. Have a bottle of wine, wine glasses or wine charms for the winning couple. As a gift, purchase number stickers and paper bags for the wine bottles, and a bottle of wine for the winners.

9. A Night in Italy (France, Japan, etc.)  – Plan and prepare a meal all the way down to the dessert and drinks, based on the country that you have chosen. Try something you’ve never tried before. Create menus for the evening. Complete the dining area with culturally appropriate decorations. Play music from that country. You could also ask a friend to be your waiter/waitress and serve you and then quietly slip out the back. As a gift you could offer to be the server, choose the country/meal for them and include decorations, music, wine, etc.

10. Camp Out With or Without the Camping – Have your partner meet you out back where you have a nice little fire going. You could set up a tent or not. Have hot dogs, or pie irons and either make pizza pies or roast hot dogs over the fire for your dinner, along with other snacks that you’ve prepared ahead of time. Finish the meal off with gourmet S’mores- Use the typical graham crackers and marshmallow but add sliced fruits or different types of chocolate bars such as a peanut butter cup or chocolate with nuts or toffee.  Play some music and break out some wine. Sit around the fire and stare at the stars, or into each other’s eyes. For a gift, you could buy a pie iron and some marshmallow skewers along with directions for the evening.

11. Room Service and Champagne – Reserve a hotel room for a night. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one. Some of the nicest hotels have rooms at reasonable prices if you go to Hotels.com, Lastminutehotels.com, Groupon.com or any hotel booking site. Pack clothes and bathing suits for yourself and your significant other. Prepare a meal, or order one that you can pick up on your way. Send your significant other a message, or sneakily leave them a note on their car at work telling them a particular address or location to drive to (not the hotel address). Tell them to text/call you when they get there. Give them another 2 or 3 locations to drive to, all leading them to where you are. If you give them the exact address too quickly they may figure it out. Have the meal, candles, champagne and yourself waiting for his/her arrival. Eat, enjoy the hot tub or pool, watch a movie,… I guess I really don’t have to tell you what to do once you get there… J

12. TP Your Friends – Dress up in all black. Get some cheap toilet paper and go to a few different friends’ houses and TP them. Forking their yard is another fun, harmless prank. Basically it’s buying plastic forks and pushing them into the ground with the prongs up all over their yard. It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s just a blast to be a kid again! For a gift, buy some toilet paper, or forks and black stocking caps or masks.

I hope some of these ideas would work for you. I have to really search quite a bit to find one that hits home for us so I can’t imagine that all of these would be perfect for everyone. Keep in mind these are suggestions. Replace some of them with something different or alter them to match your style. There are so many great websites out there with incredible ideas for Date Nights. (pinterest.com, thedatingdivas.com, etc.)

As far as the packaging of these Dates, I have tried 2 different routes so far. I have put all of the dates into envelopes and labeled them with the proper month (to meet the weather requirements) and had my husband open them on the first of every month. And most recently I have created scratch off tickets using tickets that I created on my computer. I used card stock paper. I typed in the Date Nights in a certain area on the cards, colored heavily over that area with white crayon and then painted over the top of that with a mixture of 2 parts dish soap and one part acrylic paint. It took a few coats to really cover nicely. My husband scratches off a card each month. I wrote the weather/time requirements on the front of each card so he chooses accordingly. If this was a gift for someone else and you needed to have all the material at one time to present, You could have several small boxes with scratch off tickets or envelopes attached to them that they would have to wait to open until the beginning of each new month.

If you end up using any or hopefully all of these Date Nights please send me pictures that I could post or even just a note letting me know how they worked out. If you alter them in any way that’s great information to share as well. I’m always excited to get new ideas. Thanks so much for reading and please make sure to continue dating your spouse! That doesn’t stop when you get married!









Dinner and Spa Night

For this Date Night, I found some pretty awesome spa packages for couples at the Motor City Casino in Detroit.  They also have an amazing restaurant with a view from the 16th floor called Iridescence. We began the evening in the Iridescence restaurant bar where we had a drink and appetizers. We headed down to the spa after that. The spa package started off with reflexology. Then we went into a different location where mud was applied and then hot tub time. It ended with a massage on their music tables where the vibrations of the music could be felt and heard through the table throughout the massage. We went back to the restaurant for a light dinner and drinks. Great night and extremely relaxing! I don’t normally make them this extravagant but it was the night before his birthday so I wanted it to be extra special!

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Drive In Movie Theater – Date Night

This is the first of our new set of Date Nights for this year. I set up a projector, a giant screen, comfy furniture and a bed in the back of my van using an inflatable mattress and plenty of pillows. I hooked up the sound to my van speakers that played out of the back above our heads, until I killed my battery:-( I quickly rewired it to a sound system in our garage which worked out great except for the fact that it was blasting throughout our backyard and we were watching Django. If you’ve seen the movie you will understand why this was a problem:-/ Other than that we had a great, very relaxing night together!:-)

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Date Night #12 – Food, Beer and Wine From Around the World

This is kind of the grand finale of the year’s Date Nights! We had a couple’s group Date Night. Each couple was asked to choose a country and to bring either a beer or wine and food from that country. They were asked to conceal the identity of their country. Everyone went around tasting all the food and drinks and tried to guess what country they originated from. They filled out sheets and voted on their favorite food, beer and wine. The couples with the most votes in each area won a gift basket inspired by different Date Nights that I have done through the year, so they could have their own Date Night. The grand prize was for the couple who guessed the most countries correctly. The prize for that is a recreation of my first Date Night. The lucky couple gets to have a catered dinner on top of the Bull Pen overlooking downtown Toledo, with all the trimmings. We were lucky to have a portion of the band previously known as Empire Drift play for us all evening. Great food, drinks, music and friends. Thank you to everyone who came and thank you to my husband Ed Beczynski for an amazing (interesting) 25 years of marriage! We will be celebrating our 26th this Wednesday on the 14th.

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