Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cheap, Fun Date Ideas (Part 2)

Welcome back to making your dates tres chic without going broke. Read on!

Ideal Scenarios versus Creative Solutions (Part 2)

Ideal Scenario:

Napa, anyone? After a weekend of wine-tasting and gourmet dinners every night, and delicious fruit and crepe breakfasts every morning, you and your Love have decided to play hooky from work (wait, you co-own your own multi-million dollar company, you can do whatever you want!) and bask even longer in all the visual and hedonistic delights that Napa has to offer. On an unsuspecting Tuesday morning, you two decide to rent vintage red bicycles and peddle through the rolling Napa vineyards that drape the surrounding hills. As the crisp, coastal Northern California fog grazes past your face, kissing the orange Hermes scarf off your neck and onto the side of the small, two-lane road, you look over at your Love and think "I'm so happy I saved for the early part of my life, so I can afford this lifestyle now!"

Creative Solution: First thing's first: You'll be happy you saved, regardless of your Napa valley sojourn, Hermes scarf and all! Now onto a more realistic day for the two of you (for now): If neither of you own bicycles, rent them on the cheap. No matter where you live, from the deserts of the Southwestern United States to the corn fields of Idaho, I believe everyone lives near a setting that would be perfect for a romantic bicycle ride. What's that? You live in the Bronx? Break free in the 'burbs, just 20 miles away. The key to this date is to not get complacent with where you live -- every place has some kind of beauty to it, and why not experience that with the one you love, on wheels? It's even better when there's neighboring areas you lovebirds have yet to explore, and once again, it's a fabulous workout. There's no better way to burn calories than pedaling along undiscovered terrain with the apple of your eye. To add an even more romantic twist, rent a two-person tandem bicycle! Some might call is cheesy, but I call it classic. To get more ideas on where pedal your little hearts out, visit

Ideal Scenario: On a whim, you two decide to jet off to the city formally known as Edo (Tokyo) for a romantic weekend full of cherry blossoms, Kabuki, and ... sushi! Although both of you have always had fresh Japanese sushi flown to your front door from Osaka, not to mention Kobe beef from, you guessed it, Kobe, the two of you have never ventured to the East. "You only live once," you two say, jumping on your private Learjet embossed with "The Lola" on the tail. After "The Lola" arrives on your private landing strip outside of Tokyo, the two of you are chauffeured into the bright lights of the big city, finally sitting down to enjoy a delectable spread of Hosomaki, Nigiri and (of course) fresh homespun Sake. Cheers!

Creative Solution: Cooking is not a lot of people's bags, but you'd be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it can be when you share the cooking experience with the one that lights your fire. The best place to start on this palatable pursuit? I think sushi is a fabulous place to start, and what's better, it's actually lot easier to make than you'd think. First off, you'll need the proper ingredients and dishes: Cost Plus World Imports ( has a cheap selection of simple and/or ornated sushi dishware (Love and I recently took up this date idea, and spent a total $26 on enough sushi place settings for four people!). While you're there, wander over to the food section -- they have an excellent variety of sushi ingredients and sake on their shelves for a fraction of what you'd pay in a restaurant. Hand-rolling sushi with your Love can be romantic and fun; feeding each other starry-eyed and in amore can be even more so! And, as an added bonus, you can use all that money you would have spent on "The Lola" and put it toward your next international food date night. Forget the Swiss Alps when you can make a cozy pot of swiss fondue and eat cross-legged on the carpet, using the coffee table as your dining room du jour to create an intimate setting. Always wanted to visit New Delhi? Keep that dream a reality, by saving now and making Indian food on the fly (Trader Joe's has fabulous Indian food ingredients that take a second to make and are dirt cheap).

Ideal Scenario: Your close friend Oscar (de la Renta, do you even need to ask?) just named his newest bikini line after you, which means you get samples of all the new designs, of course. Just in time, too, because you and yours are currently lazing under a giant straw umbrella on a white sand beach in Cancun, as you tan in Oscar's latest design. The two of you toast with your Pina Coladas to what a fabulous get-away vacation idea Cancun was as the warm, aquamarine ocean stretches out infront of you to the horizon. Remember those Corona commercials where the couple tosses their ringing cell phone into the ocean? Yeah, this is just like that, except better.

Creative Solution: Having grown up in California (and will settle there after Love graduates from what could have been Stanford), I was lucky to always have easy access to the beach. It was a part of my daily life and I loved seeing the ocean everyday in some capacity. I realize, though, that everyone isn't as fortunate to live on any sort of coast. What about all the inland savers? This will sound positively ridiculous and you won't get an ounce of a tan (it's really not that good for your skin anyway), but head to your nearest Target! With the summer season almost upon us, Target has pulled out all the stops and cordoned off an area for patio furniture -- don't let it go to waste! For a funny, quirky, why-are-we-doing-this-except-to-laugh-at-ourselves date, if you two ever find yourself padding around Target on a routine visit for the essentials (toilet paper, dvds, soap -- you know the drill), why not stop by the patio furniture section for a little breather? Better yet, grab a couple slurpees from the food counter, take a seat in a padded outdoor loveseat under one of the display awnings and veg out. You'd be surprised at how fabulously lush Target's managed to make some of their better displays (running water fountains, fake plants, etc.). Aside from giggling together at how ridiculous you two are, it may actually be a great time to look over what's in your cart and dually surmise as to whether all that junk is really necessary. Even though I'm sure it's a great movie, do you really need that copy of "Big Trouble in Little China" just because it's $5.50? Didn't think so.

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