Sunday, May 31, 2009

Banana Split Sundays

If you and your sweetie are the sweet tooth type, try putting together a make-your-own-sundae bar! Go to the store together and pick out two or three of your favorite flavors, along with the corresponding favorite toppings, and a bunch of bananas. Give each other instructions on how to make the perfect sundae for you and learn more about each other's tastes!

Particularly with summer just around the corner, consider making this a regular activity. You can even spring for the bigger tubs of ice cream and therefore cut down the cost of each sundae.

And if you really want to make this a true DIY, try out this recipe for 5 minute homemade ice cream using frozen fruit!

Tips and advice:
  • Look for ice cream and toppings that are on sale or go for a generic or store brand. You get more bang for your buck in bulk and the brand difference is barely noticeable in most cases.
  • Don't buy any toppings or extra things that you know you won't use up. They are just going to sit around and clutter your kitchen. If you just want a dollop of something, consider skipping it altogether.
  • Buy very fresh bananas, since they will last longer and you can use the rest later for more sundaes, other recipes, or just eating them. Personally, I love using them in smoothies and this amazing banana bread recipe. You will know they are fresh when they are a bright shade of yellow with no brown-ish spots. If they have a little green, they are slightly under-ripe.
  • Add other fruits to the mix! Strawberries are in season now, which also go great with sundaes and smoothies.
  • Pick up a 2-liter of root beer for root beer floats with the leftover ice cream!
Enjoy this sweet and cold treat!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spice Things Up

There are days when you really don't want to go out. Cooking at home can be fun and it is cheaper per plate than going to a restaurant. Even if you are a less then skilled chef you can still whip up something delicious with your sweetie by your side, whether you just started dating or have lived together for a while.
  • Pick your recipe. You can make favorites, look for new recipes to try on websites like allrecipes or recipezaar or even pick up America's Test Kitchen's Cooking for Two, great recipes that are already proportioned for two people.
  • Check your cabinets. You don't want to be stuck half way through a recipe and realize you are short something. Make a grocery run if you need something.
  • Assign tasks and give each other elbow room if possible. One chopping veggies on one end of the counter and one at the stove keeps you from bumping into each other over and over again. Unlike you like the bumping that gives you the opportunity to steal kisses, of course. Or take it outside and fire up the grill.
  • Get out the fancy plates! Whether you actually have fancy plates or not (we don't), ditch the paper plates (wasteful anyway) for grown up flatware i.e the glass/ceramic ones.
  • Serve it up pretty. Picture pretty. Don't just slap it hodge podge on the plate.
  • Light the candles. You will be surprised how fancy it can be even with a few mix matched candles.
  • Eat. Talk. Laugh. Enjoy.
Have you ever done a stay in date night? What did you cook?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hot Hollywood Dates

See, even Hollywood is hip to the cheap summer date! Lauren Bradshaw at Glamour Magazine passes on suggestions from the male stars of the new CW series 91210, Melrose Place, and Vampire Diaries while on the red carpet Thursday night.

The interview results, in the words of Lauren:

1. The beach at night

Ryan Eggold—he plays sexy teacher, Ryan Matthews, on 90210—told me that the "at night" part was crucial. (Romantic!) What he'd do with his lady? "Eat, hangout. Cheese and wine is good; I'd even take some sushi. Some wine and's nice!"

2. A baseball game

Colin Egglesfield from the new Melrose Place insisted that it's pretty much the best. Why: "You're in the middle of the summertime, under the sun—and it's a great excuse to drink beer and eat hotdogs. Basically, it's a big, backyard beer party!" (Fyi, Colin plays a chef on the show, so he told me he also recently took up cooking. Seriously, watch out for this one this fall. He's hunky.)

3. A museum

I didn't think guys were all that into museums, but 90210's Dixon Wilson, a.k.a. Tristan Wilds, loves to hit them up. "I'm a very artsy kind of guy, so just go to a museum," he said. "It opens up your mind, you get to learn something—and it's a cheap date [on discount nights]!"

4. Whitewater rafting

"Nothing too crazy—you don't want her falling out and hitting a rock!" says Paul Wesley, star of the upcoming Vampire Diaries. (You're gonna love him if you're a Twilight fan.) "But whitewater rafting and then camping on the side of the river and making a fire. It's all about being in nature. Who wants to be in a resort?"

To put a face to these up-and-coming CW stars, check out the interview at Glamour!

Thanks, Lauren!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Simple Ways to Save

With today's economy, everyone except Oprah, The Donald and possibly Gates, is trying to save some moolah. But having little money doesn't have to mean little fun as well.  Here's a handy little list of ways to save money and still be able to go out. 

Be Early
There are rewards for thinking outside of the proverbial box that dates must be at night on a weekend. Matinee showings at the theater are often $2+ cheaper. Lunch specials are usually always less expensive than the exact same thing at dinner. And you won't be fighting 50 other couples for a seat in the secluded corner. Early bird gets the worm as they say. 

Plan Ahead
The internet is a great tool. Use it. Look for coupons, deals and special price days. If you live in a city that has parking meters/garages, look for the closest free parking to where you are going. See if it's close enough to walk or possibly on a free public transport route. 

If possible, bring your own food and drinks. I carry my big water bottle with me everywhere and turn my nose up at $2 a bottle vending machines. I pack (healthy) snacks if we are going to be out for a while (being vegan seriously limits your fast food options...). You have pockets, use them.

Stay Simple
You don't have to be extravagant to have a good time. No one wants to be on a date with a calculator tallying up how much it's all going to cost. Keep things low key, low stress. It's about the time, not the money, you spend.

Do you have any tips to saving money on dates? 

10 Dollar Date is born!

My name is Shanna and I'm also known as Ms. Shanna, over where I write about the Eventures of my journey into the events industry and all my hopes and dreams about becoming part of the world of weddings.

Also 23 years old, my sister-in-arms for 10 Dollar Date and I have been friends since the 2nd grade, if you can believe that! Part of the inspiration for this blog is that Tammi is a fantastic writer and I have been wanting to co-author a blog with her for some time now. With the combination of the economic downturn and my graduation from college (and my consequent "promotion" to unemployment), I have been paying more attention to the way I live my life and particularly the way I spend money. So, the wheels started turning...

I came to San Diego to attend college and met my love, Clement, through mutual friends in my major - Psychology. (He actually doubled in psych and management science but I didn't have that kind of dedication. =P) After graduation, we moved in together and stuck around San Diego hoping that the poor economy -- pun intended -- was just a temporary slump. Since it's where we met and fell in love as starving college students, what better place to continue building our relationship?

So, 10 Dollar Date was born -- based entirely around the concept that love is not represented by how much you spend on each other but how you spend your time together. Like Tammi said, $10 is just a target, more like guidelines. Obviously, it's pretty silly to include things like 1/25 of a tank of gas, so we at 10 Dollar Date are not responsible if your date turns out costing $11.

Keep checking back for great ideas about romance on a shoestring and making dates without breaking the bank!

And the blog begins

Hey y'all. My name is Tammi also known as Tornado Chaser. And yes I chase tornadoes, they also have names: Hunter, Tristin and Ethan. At least with our pets, the males and females in our home are about equal or I would have been drowned in the testosterone, even if it couldn't save me from legos, rockets and robots that I tend to have scattered around my house.

I am 23 years old. I am vegan. I am incredibly laid back. I grew up in southern California, where I met the lovely Ms Shanna way back when. But I picked up the hick accent after my mom and I moved to Oklahoma when I was 13. That is where I met the goofy boy that would be come my husband. Mike and I have been married 5 1/2 years now. Do the math, yes we were 17... and pregnant! 

We know all about having more month than money. Love may make the world go 'round but it definitely doesn't pay the bills. Our dates, when we had the chance, revolved around what we could get for free or very cheap, like employee discounts at the restaurant Mike worked at before he joined the Army. 

After 7 moves in 5 years, we have settled in Austin, Texas. Mike is now a police officer while I get to hang out at home with my hilariously crazy boys. The lack of income that I could be bringing in does make things a little tight but I do everything I can to save money whenever possible, including our dates. I am great at finding the deals. 

So that's me but what am I doing here? Oh yeah, Shanna asked me to co author this neat little (and hopefully later big) blog with her! 

$10 dates is our goal but not necessarily our cap. We want you to enjoy inexpensive dates so you can worry less about your bank account and more about spending time with your sweetie. 

Be aware of variants in what we say and what you may encounter. Prices of things may also differ area to area so it's best to check ahead and plan accordingly. A little research may even save you money! 

For Mike and myself, before we even head out the door we are down $15 an hour because of a babysitter for three kids. And we also have to consider that some areas of the city have parking garages or meters to deal with. We prepare ahead of time to know exactly how much parking may cost so we have the cash on hand and aren't stuck having to walk 3 miles from the closest free parking area. 

But the main idea is to get out, have a good time and maybe keep what little spending money you have in your pocket. :)