Date Night Ideas


Today I am sharing with you the dates I chose for my “dates for a year” gift. If you missed that post,  you can find it HERE.

  1. Train ride to San Juan Capistrano for Brunch at Ramos House Cafe’.
  2. Tickets to the Kings game.
  3. Walking tour in San Diego’s Little Italy with a gift certificate to Extraordinary desserts.
  4. Lunch at Lucha Libre. It’s this dive Mexican restaurant where you can reserve the “booth”. Funky and fun!
  5. Puzzle night at home. (this is something they like to do together)
  6. Art Splash Carlsbad where locals come together and paint the streets and showcase their art. (sent them to breakfast first)
  7. Cineopolis, the fancy movie theater where you can recline in your comfy chair and have a waitress bring you a martini, while you watch the latest James Bond flick!
  8. Go Cars in San Diego. Basically I sent them to be tourists in their own city. Cafe Chloe’ followed for lunch. (a San Diego must)
  9. Pottery painting at a local shop where they made each other a gift.
  10. Ice skating in La Jolla so they could bring back the teen romance in their life! haha
  11. Their last date was a gift card to Michaels Craft shop so they can assemble their scrapbook together with their “year of dates” photographs and memories…


photo 4



These were the dates I chose for my sister and brother in-law. My ideas were truly endless, especially the longer I thought about it. Here is a little added bonus for you…

More date night ideas:
  • Picnic with all the trimmings. (candles, blankets, wine and even a laptop to watch a romantic movie)
  • Dinner at a restaurant, but at the “chefs table”. (this is the room or counter you eat at while watching your food being prepared)
  • Spa day for fabulous massages and facials. A mini date at your local pedicure place would be great too!
  • Be a tourist in your own city. I especially like using Groupons/Living Social coupons for this.
  • Whale watching or sunset dinner cruise.
  • Cooking class at a local restaurant or store, such as Sur La Table.
  • Amusement park such as Disneyland. Act like a kid again…even if for one day!
  • An unusual dinner out such as “eating in the dark” or try a new food. (Indian, sushi, vegan, etc…)
  • Museum or local art showing.
  • Music concert for an old favorite band.
  • Your local juice bar, followed by hitting the rock climbing gym. (fun even for beginners)
  • Plant an herb garden together.
  • Create a signature cocktail. Have fun experimenting with ingredients such as lavender, rosemary and mint. (look around on the internet for inspiration)

Date nights that are cheap or free:
  • Embrace the great outdoors by going on a hike or stroll along the beach, river, or local nature spot.
  • Wash each others cars together while blasting your favorite tunes. (if it’s warm enough, add a little water fight too!)
  • There is nothing more romantic than cooking a meal together. Do everything as a team,  from choosing the dinner, grocery shopping, prepping and cooking.
  • Pamper your significant other. Example: Let them watch their favorite t.v. , play video games, eat their favorite bad foods, GUILT FREE, while you make them food, always have a cold drink for them, do a few of their chores, give a little foot rub…you get the idea.
  • Garage sale or flea market date. Designate $10 and have fun searching for a gift for one another.
  • Follow a local food truck to have some gourmet grub on a budget.
  • Pay it forward together. This might be the most bonding date. (tidy your elderly neighbors yard, babysit for a single parent, deliver a surprise dinner to someone sick or depressed, have a fund raiser such as a garage sale for someone in need, volunteer locally such as a beach clean up, help friends have their emergency kits together, I could go on and on…)
  • Attend a free concert in the park or movie in your local community. (usually a summer activity)
  • DIY spa day. Create a spa atmosphere with soothing music, water with cucumbers and lemon, low lighting, favorite candle scent…and give each other scalp, hand, foot or neck massages. If you have a tub, draw a nice bubble bath for the other with a tray of a few of their favorite things. (book, bubbly, soaps) Throw a towel in the drier so it’s nice and warm for them when they get out.
  • Game night,  such as chess or scrabble.
  • Get some household chore done, such working in the yard. It might not be the most romantic date, but you will get something accomplished TOGETHER. Make it enjoyable by taking a break and having some cold beer and chips/salsa together.


I think these suggestions should keep you busy for a while. Please feel free to share your ideas in my comment section to share with everyone!! I’d really appreciate your creative input.

The Perfect Lasagne

I’ve fallen in love with the quirky cooking show, Extra Virgin, starring Debi Mazar and her Italian native husband. I recently tried one of their mouth watering recipes, bolognese lasagne with a besciamella sauce. It is divine! I’m going to be upfront with you, it’s a simple yet time consuming recipe. However, one bite and you’ll know it was worth all the effort.  The main thing you’ll notice that sets this recipe apart from most, is the lack of cheese. Instead you use a besciamella sauce that is made from butter, flour and milk. It turns what would be an ordinary dish into an extraordinary one!

I followed the recipe as directed, except I omitted the nutmeg simply because I don’t like it. If you need a meal to impress, look no further… Serve it with a simple salad and rustic Italian bread. Of course, don’t forget the vino!

Recipe Here

(courtesy of Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar)

Time For Wine!

hourglass wine glass










As an avid entertainer and shopper of unique gifts, I am really excited about my latest find that fits both categories perfectly.  These novel, but classy hourglass wine goblets would be appreciated by anyone who loves wine, game night, enjoys cooking or spending time with friends. That must be why I own them and love them so much!









Things to know:
  • The sand timer lasts ten minutes.
  • You must hand wash them.
  • They arrive in four colors of sand which is brilliant because this basically marks whose glass belongs to whom.
  • They are a very nice size and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality.
  • As a small side note, I adored the box they arrived in. It would be great for a man or woman while still being stylish. Small touches like that are important to me if I’m gifting them.
Other unique and different gifts I found for:
  • I use to belong to a diy wine club, which consisted of a few girlfriends getting together to whine, while drinking wine.  These would have been fabulous for us. Give the gift of starting your own girlfriends wine club and giftwrap each glass individually with your wine club invitation. (think: whine time)
  • No re-fills until the sand timer is over! (jk)
  • Let the wine breathe until sands are gone. According to, letting your wine breathe for five to ten minutes before drinking it will improve the wine in many cases.


Dinner in a Bag?















You heard me correctly, dinner in a bag. Did I mention it was a paper bag? This isn’t your typical meal, this is a show stopper! The good news is, your palate will forever love you and it’s simple to prepare. This can be made in under an hour total. Although not necessary,  I recommend making the sauce at least a few hours ahead so the flavors have more time to develop. This meal definitely has the fun factor too. You sit down in front of a paper bag on your plate. Then you just rip it open as a cloud of steam full of amazing aromas suddenly hits your senses. It’s pure happiness!

This recipe comes from the kitchen of Michael Chiarello. RECIPE HERE. As usual, I did a few little Nellene tweaks to the original recipe. I use cod or halibut in place of the swordfish. I also double the red pepper flakes (if you like spicy) and lemon juice. If I have basil growing, I throw that into the sauce as well. (2 tbsp )










Perfect for:

  • Impressing your significant other.
  • Cooking a meal for your foodie friend.
  • A large sit down dinner.
  • When you don’t really like fish but need or want to eat more of it.
  • Hanging with your in-laws.
  • When your dishwasher is on the blink. (easy clean up, see photo below)
  • Anytime…

















Buon Appetito!

The Tasty Side To Wine Clubs












Have you ever been tempted to join a wine club? I am the very happy recipient of a wine club gift. (Thank you! You know who you are…) The last few years I’ve been able to see the benefits of being a member. The information I’m going to talk about applies to the wine club I belong to, Hess. (each club will vary in benefits and policies)

  • Of course, there is the obvious, getting spectacular, sometimes exclusive wines delivered to your front door.
  • You’ll receive discounts and special buying privileges. When you go to the winery, you receive free tastings and tours for yourself and friends.
  • You also get invited to member only parties that can be very interesting and fun.
  • One thing I didn’t realize would be such an added bonus was the food and wine pairing education.With each shipment of my wine, Hess Winery includes a recipe that would compliment the wine. I love this perk! It has really expanded my culinary horizons. One of my favorite meals to make now is a Hess Wine Club creation. It’s definitely gourmet, but easy enough to make.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Notice the plates are empty? Need I say more? Continue here to find my recipe and more photos.



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