Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What To Do Instead Of Going Out To Dinner On Valentine's Day.

I worked at The Cheesecake Factory for two years during college. One of my favorite and least favorite holidays to work was - can you take a guess? - Valentine's Day. If you're a regular at the Cheese, you probably already know that they don't take reservations or call is 100% on a first come first serve basis. Just a few minutes shy of 5 o'clock, and the entire restaurant is buzzing. By 6 o'clock, the wait for a two top table is an hour, a four top table at an hour and forty five minutes, six at two hours. Oh you thought it'd be fun to have a Gal-entine's Day with eight or more people? LOL. Be prepared to wait three and a half. No joke. We always brought bags of V-Day candy to keep us on a steadfast sugar high throughout the night. With all the attitudes, we needed it. 

Anyway, long story short, more often than not these couples and groups and parties would wait forever and a day to end up at an itty bitty table shoved next to another itty bitty table and half the night would be spent trying to shout over the random couple next to you. Romantic? Yeah, probably not.

I love to be wine and dined just as much as the next girl, but it doesn't require much thought, does it? I mean, if you're really getting wine and dined it requires money, but anyone with a major credit card can take someone out for dinner. What I think makes Valentine's Day even more special is when it's apparent that someone put a lot of time, effort, or thought into the day/evening/gift/whatever.

  1. Go to a comedy show - What's better than a good laugh? Whether you've been dating for a few weeks, a few months, or a few years, going to a comedy club or a stand up show is a unique way to spend a night out. This is a great option for a double or group date, as well. Keep in mind that many comedy clubs are 21+, so for all you youngins' out there, do your research.
  2. Take a road trip - If your budget allows, take a trip to a place you've never been before. Stay a night, or two, or three. Stay up late and wake up early; explore together; try new food together; buy each other cheap, goofy souvenirs. Have one fancy wine-and-dine-esque dinner, and grab coffee and pastries at hole in the wall cafes. Traveling, discovering a new city, and trying new things are such a heart warming ways to grow together as a couple, and as individuals.
  3. Scour Groupon -  I think I underutilize Groupon. Sometimes I kind of forget it exists. And then I open my app and BOOM, there's a million different (and inexpensive!) things all around me. From trampoline arenas to go-karting, to BYOB painting classes and horseback riding along woodsy trails, I'd be very surprised if you can't find at least one activity that snags your interest and fits in your price range.
  4. Get a couples massage - Again with the Groupon. I've never had a real massage. For some reason, I have it in my head that it would just be a really awkward situation to have a professional massage. Don't ask why. But to be honest, I could really use one, and I know Ryan could, too. And what better excuse to snag a little couples R&R than V-Day? I'd be so down for a couples massage. Pass me the grapes, pwease.
  5. Cook dinner together - If you go out to dinner quite often already, there's not a whole lot that makes a dinner date on Valentine's Day any more special than any other night out. Create your own three-course meal together: appetizers, main course, and of course...dessert! My favorite thing to cook with my boyfriend is homemade pizza. Paired with zucchini fries as a starter and mini red velvet cheesecakes for dessert, a full belly and a happy heart is a sure thing. 
Again, don't get me wrong about going out to dinner - last year, Ryan took me to a Tampa favorite, Datz, and we ate fried mac n' cheese balls and had stomach aches the rest of the night and it was amazing. I love food, and I love finding new restaurants. I'm a real 'foodie,' if we're being perfectly honest. I'm just saying that Valentine's Day is a time to take off the gloves and get creative. It's all in the name of love, right? And who doesn't love that. XO


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