Date Night In: 5 Things to Cook Together

There are plenty of benefits to cooking with your partner. It gives you a chance to bond, work on your communication, and teach each other something new. Cooking together also saves money! Don’t worry about being a gourmet chef! I’ve found 5 dishes that are beginner friendly and don’t require buying new cookware.

  1. Seared Salmon Salad

This salad came from Blue Apron so all the ingredients were included. However, you can easily buy the ingredients at the grocery store without a Blue Apron subscription. This is a great dish if one or both of you are attempting to eat healthy. I shared my experience making this dish with PJ in a previous post.

  1. Chicken Ramen

Remember that cup of noodles you ate in college? This ain’t it. I was late to the ramen party but ever since I tasted REAL ramen I’ve been obsessed. This is a really easy chicken ramen recipe to follow that you can adjust depending on your taste. While one of you focuses on making the broth the other can prepare the chicken and the vegetables. The best part is all the ingredients to make this dish are less than $10.

  1. Pizza

Pizza is a my and PJ’s favorite food. Since we aren’t able to get NY style pizza in the DC area as often as we’d like we started to make our own! Pizza is easy to make, and you probably already have all the necessary ingredients in your pantry for the crust. Once you make the crust you can add whatever you want and go from there.

  1. Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos

Create your own Taco Tuesday at home with this dupe recipe for Bonefish Grill’s famous Bang Bang Shrimp tacos. Tacos are simple and quick to make but this recipe takes them to another level. Add some chips and salsa, homemade guacamole, and some margaritas to make it feel like you’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

  1. Breakfast/Brunch

When you think about cooking together you assume it means dinner, but making breakfast can be just as romantic (especially if it’s the morning after ;-). Turn it into a Sunday brunch by making your own mimosas! You can keep it simple with some pancakes or get fancy and make a frittata. Guarantee you won’t go to brunch ever again. Just kidding! Some of my favorite brunch dishes to make at home are chicken and waffles, pancakes, and French toast.

What are some dishes you’ve cooked for or with a date? Share the recipes below!

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4 Lessons I Learned After Living With My Boyfriend For a Year

Beyonce Crazy in Love

Remember when I wrote about what single girl behaviors I would be sacrificing when I moved in with my boyfriend. Well I have an update! We’ve officially been living together for a year and I didn’t really have to sacrifice anything (I still have Beyoncé dance parties). Not only did we survive our first year living together, we just moved into our second apartment! Of course everything wasn’t perfect. I questioned our decision numerous times. However there were more moments I couldn’t imagine us being apart. This isn’t a decision to rush. Once you sign that lease you’re locked in. Over the past year I learned a few things I think would be helpful for anyone thinking of moving in with their partner.

  1. Learn How to Compromise

Relationships are all about compromise right? NOPE! I say this because I didn’t feel like I ever had to compromise anything until we moved in together. Before living together our compromises seemed so small. Honestly, they were mostly about what we’d eat. I’d want pizza and he’d want a burger, but we agreed to get tacos. Simple stuff. Now our compromises involve purchasing furniture, washing dishes, having guest stay over, etc. You will have to make sacrifices for the greater good of your relationship.

  1. Communication is Key

Communication changes after you live together. You can’t assume because you see each other everyday that you don’t have to communicate with each other. Sharing a living space with someone actually requires MORE communication. Everything from paying bills to plans for the future will be discussed. No matter the topic it is important to have open and honest communication with your partner.

  1. Give Each Other Some Space

Some people lose themselves in relationships, especially when you live together. Don’t feel obligated to spend every moment with each other just because you live together. Nobody likes feeling smothered. It’s perfectly normal to want some space from your partner, and you shouldn’t feel guilty if you ask for it. Have a night out with your girls, take a class alone, spend time together separately within your home. Don’t change up your routine now that you live together, maintain a sense of individual identity.

  1. Don’t Let Yourself Feel Pressure to Take the Next Step

Since I moved in with PJ three of my friends got engaged. Even though I’m beyond happy for them, I can’t help but feel some pressure. PJ and I talked about where our relationship was going before moving in together and mutually decided we were ready to live together. However we don’t plan to take the next step anytime soon. People have expectations of what the next step in a relationship is when you move in together, but their expectations isn’t your reality. Go at your own pace, what is meant for you will happen when the time is right.

What lessons did you learn after living with your partner? Are you feeling pressure from friends and family to take the next step (marriage, babies)? Share below in the comments!

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Why You Should Read With Your Partner

Ta-Nehisi Coats Between the World and Me

Have you ever read a book with your partner? If not, you’re missing out. Not only is it one of the most romantic dates you will have but studies show that reading aloud to your partner is beneficial to your relationship. It is also free and requires minimal effort. Need more convincing? Here are 4 reasons why you should read with your partner:

  1. Quality Time Together

I don’t always have time to spend with bae. Even though we live together we aren’t always spending time together. We go on dates here and there but with different work schedules and life being crazy in general its difficult. We both enjoy reading so we figured why not read together?

  1. Creates Discussions

Think of reading with your partner as having your own book club. Reading stimulates your brain and creates thought-provoking questions you can ask one another. PJ and I are currently reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’  Between the World and Me and the books subject has led to great discussions.

  1. A Chance to Unplug

I hate competing with a cell phone for attention. If you’re reading a book you have to put the phone down to be engaged. Use this time to focus on each other instead of your timeline.

  1. Difference Type of Intimacy

The closeness reading with your partner creates is a type of intimacy you cannot create on a traditional date. You learn each others interest and may see another side of your partner you wouldn’t normally see. Also, if the sound of your partners voice is a turn on this is the ideal date for you.

So next time you’re struggling to come up with date night plans, cuddle up with a good book. If it’s a nice day, grab a blanket, pack some snacks, and head to a local park and read outside.

Have you read with your partner before? What are your favorite books to read together? Share below in the comments!

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Would You Stay With Your Partner After They Cheated?

Jay Z’s highly anticipated album “4:44” dropped on Friday and it confirmed he cheated on Beyonce. Hov first comes clean about his infidelity in the song “Kill Jay Z” where he raps the following:

You almost went Eric Benét

Let the baddest girl in the world get away

I don’t even know what else to say

Nigga, never go Eric Benét!

Naturally, this caused a debate on social media about why Beyoncé would stay with someone who, we can assume, habitually cheated on her. People proposed their theories and while some had valid points we will never know the reason Beyoncé chose to stay with him. So I asked myself, would I stay with my partner if they cheated?

In the past cheating for me was an unforgivable offense. My attitude was “you think you’re going to cheat on the best thing ever to happen to you and expect me to stay?” I still feel this way but am more mature and in a relationship it would be hard to walk away from and honestly I can’t imagine either of us cheating.

But, what would I do if it happened? I thought about this heavily after Lemonade and even more now after Jay Z’s admission. If I found myself in Jay and Bey’s situation I would ask myself the following questions:

  • Are we as a couple willing to fix the damage caused?
  • Do we think it’s worth it?
  • Is cheating a result of earlier issues we never fully addressed? (Issa and Lawrence I’m looking at you)

The answer to these questions would decide whether I stay or go, but I hope and pray I never find myself having to ask them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! How do you feel about cheating? Have you been cheated on? What would make you stay if your partner cheated? Share your thoughts and personal stories below in the comments!

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7 Ways to Make Your Lips Pop on Date Night

7 Ways to Make Your Lips Pop on Date Night

There is nothing worse than your date going in for the kiss at the end of the night and your lips are drier than a desert. So how do you make them pop? I’ll share with you my 7 tips to keep you lips looking kissable all night long.

Homemade lip scrub

  1. Exfoliate

You should exfoliate your lips at least once a week. Not only does it get rid of dead skin but it helps keep your lips looking healthy. You can buy a lip exfoliator or DIY. I made my own using brown sugar, honey, and coconut oil. You can use a small tupperwear container to hold the mixture, I just used an old Tarte eye cream container for mine. I didn’t measure just mixed them until it reached a consistency I liked. After rubbing the mixture on your lips you can lick it off (yum!) or gently remove with a damp washcloth. Just make sure you store it in a cool place so to coconut oil doesn’t melt.

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Top 6 Date Ideas in Charlotte

Tired of the typical dinner and a movie on date night?  Let’s face it, date night can become pretty predictable. Whether it’s your first date or you just want to spice up your date night; here are 6 great date ideas to get you out and about in Charlotte.

1. Tasting and Tours

Charlotte has some of the most beautiful wineries and vineyards. There is nothing more romantic than taking a stroll in the vineyard and having a picnic. The Treehouse Vineyard is one of my favorite. They host many wine tasting events and tours. There is even a treehouse on the property that can be rented for an overnight stay.

The Treehouse Vineyard in Charlotte

2. Art Gallery Crawl

NoDa is Charlotte’s  most popular art district and eclectic area. It has an array of artists, music, independent restaurants, shops, live performances and street vendors. Take a stroll down the street of NoDa sipping wine and appreciate the abstract art exhibits.

NoDa in Charlotte

3.Eat, Drink, and Play

Show your competitive spirit at Dave and Buster’s. What better way to break the ice on a first date than a little competition. Dave and Buster’s offers food, drinks and games all in one spot.

4. Feeling Adventurous

Enjoy the outdoors at U.S. National Whitewater Center. This premier outdoor center offers whitewater rafting, biking, zip lines, live music, craft beer and much more.

U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte

5. Foodie Truck Friday

Every Friday night, Charlotte’s favorite food trucks gather on the lot at the corner of Park and Camden in the Historic South End. These definitely aren’t any old roach carts on wheels. Some of the best foods in the state can be tasted here. The atmosphere and aroma are amazing which is perfect for any date night.

6. Laugh out Loud

Enjoy a great improv comedy show at Charlotte’s Comedy Theater. What makes the comedy theater special is the fact that is located in the music factory district, which makes it easy to not only laugh til you can’t no more but also catch a live concert.

Regardless of it’s your first date or just tired of the same dinner and movie routine, there’s plenty to do in the city of Charlotte. So go out, explore and live a little, all in love.

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Nikia H. currently living in the beautiful city of Charlotte. I am a lifestyle content creator who blogs about relationships, fashion, beauty, fitness and everything in between.

Email: mysouthernjoy@gmail.com

Instragram: @mysouthernjoy

Twitter: @mysouthernjoy

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mysouthernjoy

Website: www.mysouthernjoy.com

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10 Awesome Birmingham Dates to Try This Summer

Inspired by Jill Scott “A Long Walk”

“You’re here, I’m pleased. I really dig your company” These 8 words that start one of my favorite songs couldn’t be more fitting. Released 16 years ago, “A Long Walk” by Jill Scott is a staple in any neo soul lover’s music collection. Jill’s mastery of wordplay is undeniable as she tells her lover just what she thinks of him while also throwing out a few date ideas. Today, I will share 10 Birmingham Summer Dates with you based on her suggestions.

1. “Let’s take a long walk around the park after dark”
Birmingham, a city that holds 99 unique neighborhoods nestled into 151 square miles, has 110 parks including Birmingham Botanical Gardens recognized and managed by Birmingham Parks & Recreation. Our parks have a connection with New York’s Central Park in that they were designed by F.L. Olmstead’s sons. Technically, all city parks close at sunset so no long walks after dark. But a sunset walk is extremely romantic.

Enjoy a family stroll, angling or #birding #getoutside #workoffthatturkey at #CityofBirmingham #BirminghamParkandRecreation #EastLakePark #UrbanHabitat

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2. “maybe we can talk about …”
      a. Surah 31:18
      b. Revelation 3:17
      c. Psalms in entirety
I never noticed that Jill Scott referenced discussing 3 different religious texts before now. One is from the Quran and the others can be found in your bible. Most people say avoid religious talks when dating but honestly discussing religion and your beliefs will lead to 3 big revelations in your relationship; where your partner is spiritually/their religious beliefs, how they handle conflict, and their argument style. I’m still a big supporter of breaking the no religion talk on dates rule. This discussion date can be held at home, in a group setting, or at your local church or mosque.

Bible

3. “maybe we can see a movie”
Birmingham has a plethora of movie options that don’t include your local theater chain or Netflix during the summer. There’s Flicks Among the Flowers at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Sidewalk Film Festival, Movies at Avondale Park, Coyote Drive-In Movie, and the Alabama Theatre has special showings of your favorite throwback movies.

Tickets on sale now. Lowest price of the season. Link in bio. #sidewalk19

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4. “maybe we can see a play on Saturday”
Although we’re not New York, Birmingham has a legit theatre scene. Birmingham Children’s Theatre is great place to take your family for a kid friendly date night while Virginia Samford Theatre provides year round classic and new, innovative plays and musicals.

Speculated by many to be the greatest of all American musicals, GYPSY tells the story of the dreams and efforts of one hungry, powerhouse of a woman to get her two daughters into show business. Loosely based on the 1957 memoir of famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, the memoir and the musical focus on the story of Gypsy Rose Lee’s mother, Rose, and earned Rose a place in the theatrical and literary canon as the quintessential, archetypal “Stage Mother.” Featuring the classic “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Rose’s Turn,” and the show-stopping, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”. Starring Kristi Tingle Higginbotham as Mama Rose. June 29 – July 16, 2017 Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Tickets: $35 Center, $30 L & R, $15 Student VST Mainstage

A post shared by Virginia Samford Theatre (@thevst) on

5. “maybe we can roll a tree and feel the breeze and listen to the symphony”
You aren’t allowed to roll a tree but you can definitely listen to the breeze rustle the leaves of the trees while listening to the symphony. The Alabama Symphony does paid performances year round but they do 3 nights of free concerts at RailRoad Park during the summer that’s amazing. Patrons are encouraged to bring blankets and a picnic to cool off while the symphony takes away all the stress of your day. Don’t forget to stop by Good People Brewing Company for a couple beers before.

6. “maybe chill and just be”
You can chill and just be anywhere but my favorite chill spot is 41 Street Pub & Aircraft Sales at the bar. The bartenders are super nice and knowledgeable about the history and mixing the perfect drink. Birmingham also has a planetarium that’s an amazing place to just be.

7. “maybe we can take a cruise and listen to The Roots”
If you’re reading this Schaeffer Eye Center, please bring back CityFest and The Roots!!!! I’m begging you!!! 2 years ago, you would’ve been able to cruise the city then stop at Railroad Park and catch the Roots for free at CityFest but now you’ll definitely have to follow this dating tip literally and cruise in the car with bae while listening to your favorite Roots songs. The alternative would be to go see Nappy Roots live at Zydeco on July 8.

Nappy Roots

8. “maybe eat some passion fruit”
The best place around town to find fresh fruit is your local Farmers’ Market. There are about a dozen in Birmingham to choose from. Check out this list to plan the perfect Farmers Market date to find some passion fruit but if you’re like me, I know you’ll likely be looking for the Chilton county peaches.

Movin' to the country… 🍑 #🎵 #happySaturday #localisbetter #farmingfeedsAL

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9. “maybe cry to the blues”
If I’m being honest, Birmingham is more of a jazz than blues city. In my search for Blues dates, I came across the Bob Sykes BBQ and Blues Festival happening May 20th and the infamous Gip’s Place as the only venue that may host blues artists regularly.

10. “maybe we could just be silent”
Now this is my kind of date. I find peace in the quiet, especially if I have a good book in my hands. Plan a date night in with bae to cuddle and read together or even watch a silent film. There’s nothing like a comfortable silence between lovers who just want to spend time with each other.

In the words of Jill Scott “Come on, come on” and share your thoughts with us below in the comments!

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Why Union Market is the Perfect Casual Date Destination

Union Market
Union Market

The first time I walked through Union Market it instantly became my new favorite place in DC. It has everything I hold near and dear to my heart. Decent priced food, strong inexpensive alcoholic beverages, and free parking. Where else in DC will you find this trifecta of awesomeness? Union Market is so amazing that I came up five reasons why you have to make it the destination for you next date.

The Suburbia
Frozen Rosé and Iced Irish Coffee from The Suburbia at Union Market

Cheap Food and Drinks

When I say “cheap” keep in mind this is DC. The cheap food and drink range here is between $8-$20. You can easily find that at Union Market which has a variety of options to choose from. Whether you go for brunch or dinner you can find something to enjoy in this food hall. Cooking at home? There are vendors on site selling fresh produce, meats, and spices. There’s also a pretty dope distillery nearby. I recommend the Frozen Rosé from the Suburbia and a Hot Mess biscuit from Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.

Union Market Drive In
Union Market Drive In schedule

Drive-In Movie

Outdoor movie season is around the corner. If you’re a sucker for nostalgia like me then you will be happy to hear a drive-in exist in DC. I grew up in a small town that had a drive-in and it intrigued me how it would work in an urban area and am glad to see Union Market does not disappoint. It’s only $10 to park your car but walk-ups are free. This popular summer event runs out of spaces quick. Check out the movie schedule and reserve parking here.

Union Market

Pop Up Shops

You can’t have a market without some sort of retail. Union Market’s Lab 1270 is a spaced designed to introduce market goers to meet and support local retailers, makers, and creatives. When I went there was a West Elm pop up shop that featured mainly DC designers. Inside the market itself are kiosk filled with jewelry, clothing, spices, you name it. If you come across a vendor you like be sure to grab a business card so you know where to find them later.

Mural created by Mr. Brainwash for International Women’s Day in 2015
Mural created by Mr. Brainwash for International Women’s Day in 2015

Street Art

One thing DC doesn’t get enough credit for is its dope street art. If you are looking for a place to shoot for Instagram Union Market is provides picturesque backgrounds. This heat filled mural by LA graffiti artist Mr. Brainwash is perfect for your next photo-shoot with bae.

Free Parking (for now)

I say for now because DC is petty and its only a matter of time before they decide to charge you to enjoy the greatness that is the Frozen Rosé. But now you can park at Union Market for free. Don’t have a car? It is metro accessible from the NOMA/Gallaudet station.

Between the food, the drinks, the art, the low-cost Union Market easily gets the Priceless Dates stamp of approval. Have you been to Union Market? What are some other low-key date spots in DC we should check out? Share below in the comments!

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