We may have chosen an unconventional lifestyle but that doesn’t mean we don’t have ideas for any and all couples. Modern & Intimate is a series of posts focused on life as a couple. From issues regarding money, dating, lifestyle and lifestyle decisions.

,

Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas For Couples At Home

Valentine’s Day is the one day a year dedicated purely to love and romance. It is, first and foremost, a couple’s holiday celebrated excitedly by new couples and often begrudgingly by veteran couples. For those who find themselves single when the 14th of February comes around, it can be a day that is despised and dreaded. For us, it is pretty much a day like any other. Though we do acknowledge its significance in society, we don’t go out of our way to elaborately celebrate it, although we wouldn’t pass up a romantic trip as a couple if one arose! We like to think we celebrate our love for each other in small ways throughout the year.

Having said that, we also don’t want to be that grumpy couple that loudly criticizes the commercial-nature of holidays and refuses to have anything to do with celebrating Valentine’s day and so we usually spend the evening at home, together, and find ways to inject some romance into that time. If we can find unique romantic Valentine’s Day plans then you can be sure we’ll be doing that!

Stay-At-Home Romantic Valentine’s Day Plans

Here are some of our unique Valentine’s Day ideas for couples who want to stay at home, skip the lines and reservations, avoid the paired-off crowds and higher price tags, and spend a night solely in the company of each other.

Keep this post for later or share with others on Pinterest – just hover over one of the images below & click “Pin it”! If on MOBILE, tap a photo below & click ‘Pin It’ when it appears

romantic Valentine's Date ideas at home pin  Valentine's Day iDeas for couples at home pin

 

 

Choose to do one, two or all of the below suggestions but whatever you choose, always make sure to make it about what both of you want!

Camping… Indoors!

We’ve mentioned this idea briefly before when we listed some of our New Year’s Eve date night ideas for couples as an alternative to camping outdoors. While it does make a great plan B, camping indoors is also a fantastic plan A for those who want to have a little fun while still at home and because of that, it makes a perfect Valentine’s Day date idea.

It’s simple too. Pop up a tent in the living room or anywhere you have enough space, include pillows and sleeping bags (or just one for an even more intimate Valentine’s evening) and an indoor campground is created! The key is to really get the camping atmosphere going. Turn down the lights, turn off phones and other electronics, use flashlights and radios and find ways to enjoy each other’s company without all the amenities you’d typically have.

There is one household item that does serve a purpose to enhance the experience, rather than diminish it – the oven. Since a campfire is probably not likely, and since not everyone has a wood fireplace, using the oven to make camping treats like s’mores is handy. Simply place graham crackers on a baking sheet, top each one with a square of chocolate followed by a marshmallow and place in the oven (at 350 degrees F) until the marshmallows turn golden. Take out the tray and place a second graham cracker on top of each one, pushing down to crush the marshmallow and chocolate together. It may not have the taste of campfire but it does taste good!

If you’re feeling adventurous, feeding each other will prove to be a fun and sticky activity!

Take A Vacation… In Your Living Room

Perhaps camping isn’t your thing – indoors or outdoors – but that doesn’t mean you can’t take another type of trip in your very own living room. Is there a destination you both love? Someplace you’ve been and want to go again or maybe a destination you have always wanted to go? Just because you aren’t physically travelling there for Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you can’t travel there in spirit.

Find movies that take place in that country or city and have a marathon. If France is your goal, try Moulin Rouge, Midnight in Paris, French Kiss, The DaVinci Code. Looking to be transported somewhere tropical? Go with Pirates of the Caribbean, Once Upon A Time In Mexico and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Or maybe you’d rather spend some time in the Big Apple with 25th Hour, Coming To America and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A trip around the world is easy too, depending on which movies you choose.

Once you’ve got your movie playlist decided and you know your destination of choice, the next step is the atmosphere. Decide on a dinner (take-out or homemade) that fits with the theme. Find wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverages that fit too. Have music playing while you eat that sets the tone as well. Add any little touches to the room that will bring you closer to feeling like you’ve stepped out of your home and into a completely different city or country.

Imagine a night in Italy. Spaghetti and meat sauce, a Chianti open to breathe on the table, some quiet opera playing in the background as you enjoy the meal before snuggling up on the couch to watch Midnight in Paris with some zeppole and cannoli.

You’ve just spent a romantic Valentine’s Day in Italy without ever stepping foot out of your house.

Fine Dining… At Homeromantic table setting

Maybe you want to lose yourself in another destination or maybe you just want to lose yourself in each other. Whether you decide to go with a theme or are just aiming for romance, preparing for some fine dining is a great way to have a romantic Valentine’s Day at home.

We’ve written about the fact that cooking as a couple is one of our favourite date night activities, but turning it into a romantic evening with an added element of fine dining takes it to another level that is perfect for a Valentine’s Day celebration. Whether you cook the meal yourself, order in or take-out there are tons of ways to make the dinner special.

For one thing, ditch the couch and use a real table. Opt for a real tablecloth and cloth napkins, put out some flowers and light some candles. If there’s a special restaurant the two of you always go to when you’re looking to celebrate something special or amp up the romantic vibes, channel that atmosphere and bring it right into your own home. Lower the lights, turn on some soft background music and set the table. It’s all about setting the mood and embracing the elements of a meal that make it a romantic fine dining experience.

Once you’ve created the fine dining setting, make sure you both dress the part. Just because you don’t go out, wait in Valentine’s Day lineups and pay Valentine’s Day prices, doesn’t mean you can’t make the same effort for a quiet evening at home.

If you’ve cooked the meal together, you’ve had a chance to chat and work together and the evening has already begun. If not, crack open those takeout containers and start preparing your plates – it’s time for a romantic meal together!

Get Competitive… And Have Some Fun!

Looking for something a little more laidback? Maybe you’d rather have some Valentine’s Day fun either instead of, or after, some more formal celebrations (like some fine dining at home)? Having some fun with each other while playing board or card games can be a great way to spend the evening and remove yourselves from the stress of the day, the distractions of technology and television and the outside world in general.

You can get as competitive and as serious as you want or just keep it light but either way, tallying scores and predetermining prizes can increase the fun – especially if you make the prize something the loser has to do for the winner! Prizes like a home cooked dinner, cleaning the dishes, or something more risque will add a great competitive edge to the evening.

Pull out some of your favourite games or a deck of cards and enjoy eachother’s company. Trivia games are also great for having fun, learning something new and racking up those points!

Go Back To The Beginning…Focus On Intimacy

strawberries and wine glasses

Regardless of how you spend your evening a focus on intimacy is, at the end of the day, what most people think of when they think about Valentine’s Day. And there’s no better place to focus on the intimacy in a relationship than right at home.

With the privacy your own home affords you, you can rekindle the passion between, build intimacy and make the other person your primary focus. Light some candles, share a bubble bath with some quiet conversation and spend some time rekindling the passion – in bed, on the couch, wherever really.

Make the night about your relationship and the two of you and getting back to the beginning when it was about stolen kisses, a soft touch as the other person walked by and moments spent just being together.

Make Valentine’s Day At Home Special

It doesn’t take a lot to make a Valentine’s Day special with the one you love. It’s not so much about where you go or what you do that speaks to the romance and love a couple shares. And what makes staying at home for this romantic holiday isn’t the money or time saved. Instead, the day is about simply spending time together and truly being present and there’s no place better to make that happen than at home where you can pretend, at least for one night, that no one and nothing else exists except the one you love.

Keep this post for later or share with others on Pinterest – just hover over the image below & click “Pin it”! If on MOBILE, tap a photo below & click ‘Pin It’ when it appears

romantic valentine's day ideas at home pin

 

 

, , ,

From Toast to Thai Food: Our Anniversary Do-Over

 A Hidden Gem in Koh Samui’s Backyard

Koh Madsum Beach

For our anniversary on Koh Tao, we chose to celebrate in two ways. The first, was to get our scuba certification and the second was to have a nice romantic dinner. Unfortunately, the first got in the way of the second in the form of a killer migraine. Carolann was struck by a severe migraine shortly after our first two dives and our romantic dinner turned into a very quick meal where all she could stomach was toast. It wasn’t until we got to Koh Samui that we had the opportunity to make up for it and have a romantic outing together.

Our romantic outing came by way of Island Gem Picnic Tours and a day excursion snorkeling followed by a picnic lunch on a secluded area of a small gorgeous island nearby. As soon as the booking was finalized we were rife with anticipation for the tour and for finally having a romantic day together.

A romantic day on our own piece of paradise

Island Gem Picnic OneModernCouple

We weren’t too sure what to expect. We knew that we would be picked up by Gavin, the owner and operator of the tour, at 10am and that we would be going snorkeling followed by a picnic. Gavin was early and so we had time to sit with him, have a coffee and chat. It had been a while since we had an opportunity to really relax and since we weren’t being rushed for the day’s activities we were both able to start doing so.

ISland Gem Picnic Koh Samui Driver

We were driven to the other side of the island to where a long tail boat was waiting for us. Although Island Gem Picnic has the option of either a long tail boat or a speed boat, we definitely wanted to ride in the more traditional means of transportation. Long tail boats, as we’ve brought up before, are popular wooden boats in Southern Thailand powered by automobile engines attached to a long drive shaft with a propeller at the end. Our tour boat was called the Island Hopper and had an Isuzu engine and a captain named Chud. Friendly and efficient, Chud helped Gavin load the picnic baskets quickly before we all hopped on board and set off.

One of the best spots for snorkeling in Thailand

Island Gem Picnic Snorkeling

Although it was a slightly overcast morning (Chud assured us it wasn’t going to rain) the water was calm and we were at our snorkeling location off the small island of Koh Tan in about 10 minutes. Although there was another boat nearby, we anchored far enough away so as not to be interrupted by their relatively large group.

While talking to Gavin on the boat ride we found out that he was a certified diving instructor so we asked him to join in on the snorkeling and the three of us jumped in the warm, calm water. Having Gavin with us was great as he found and pointed out creatures we would have missed had we been on our own. He found two blue-spotted stingrays, one of our favourites to see, a black and white nudibranch and he was able to name the other fish we saw for us. The water is very shallow so at many points you are incredibly close to the coral and able to see so much up close and in the full colour, that would not typically be seen in deeper waters. The area is pretty large and very much alive with fish and sea creatures and is now one of our favourite places to snorkel. If you aren’t able, or don’t want to, scuba dive in Thailand, this spot will allow you to see a vast array of underwater life.

Island Gem Picnic Gavin

After about an hour of snorkeling we headed back to the boat. We had noticed that another tour group had anchored after we had gotten in the water and had already left before we climbed aboard and asked Gavin how long the snorkeling usually lasts on his tours. We found out that he completely tailors his tour so that the guests basically decide the ratio of time split between the snorkeling and the picnic. If you only want to spend a half hour snorkeling, you can do so and spend the rest at the picnic. There is no rush and no pressure and we were extremely grateful for that.

Once aboard, the anchor was lifted and we were on our way to the small island of Madsum for our picnic.

A secluded picnic under a banyan tree

Long Tail Boat THailand

Another couple minutes boat ride and we were anchoring again – this time on the shores of a small, secluded beach on Koh Madsum. While we could see several boats and sunbathers in the distance, anchored at another beach on the island, our area was left empty and unspoiled. The clouds were gone by this point and the sun had come out so we were left with a beautiful view on a private beach on a gorgeous day.

Koh Madsum Thailand

Gavin and Chud set up a wonderfully laid picnic under a large banyan tree complete with a mat, triangular pillows to lean and rest against, and two place settings for us. Offering us beer and wine, Gavin left us to relax comfortably and enjoy our drinks while he heated up the food (he had brought a table, an element and several cooking instruments in order to serve the food hot). The spot was perfect and the banyan tree provided shade and a little added privacy.

Koh Madsum Picnic

We were served Thai fare (although there were other options to choose from) and there was quite the spread. We were served papaya salad and a lettuce salad, fried chicken, pork skewers, rice with chicken and squid, and larb gai. The food was delicious and plentiful. After taking our time on the main course, Gavin then served us dessert – Watermelon, kiwi and pear slices and some coconut jellies and a dessert of sticky rice and taro. We learned that there was such a thing as yellow watermelon which tastes pretty much like the red kind. From start to finish, the entire meal was so filling and tasty and we took our time enjoying the food, the wine and the beer.

Koh Samui Picnic

Koh Madsum Picnic

Romantic Things to do in Thailand

While the dishes were being put away, we went for a quick swim in the water and a stroll along the beach before returning and getting in the boat. When Gavin dropped us back off at our hotel, we noticed that it was not too late in the afternoon which allowed us the rest of our evening to ourselves. It turned out to be a one-of-a-kind day and we were finally able to spend some relaxing, romantic time together.

If you’re in Koh Samui, don’t forget to check out Island Gem Picnic for groups, couples, families, wedding parties and even individuals looking to meet new people!

Have you ever been snorkeling? If so, comment below and let us know where your favourite place to snorkel is! If not, where would you want to start?

 

one modern couple email sign up ad

, ,

Modern & Intimate – 5 Summertime Date Ideas

 

With only a little more than half of the summer season left, the panic has started to set in.  The dread of the imminent winter season starts to fall upon us well before it realistically should. Especially for those of us farther North from the equator, we know we have precious time to enjoy the warm weather and when we feel as though time is slipping away, we scramble to soak in as much sun and outdoor activity as possible. As a couple, the fear of missing out on spending quality time engaged in different activities than the norm is also present.  The warm weather brings a host of opportunities for couples that are not available at other times of the year and these can freshen up the normal date night plans.

Summer Sky

If you are feeling as though you have not explored every opportunity the warm months offer or if you are looking for different summer activities as a couple, don’t worry there is still time. The following are five summertime date ideas that we personally enjoy:

1. The Drive-In

Drive_In Photo

This is one of our favourite date night activities. The drive-in is a social activity meets quality alone time. Whether you bring lawn chairs, sit in your car, or open your hatch (if you have one) and recline back with blankets, the options are plenty.  Whatever you choose, the price is usually great, more than one movie is shown, and you get a change of scenery from your typical movie viewing location – the movie theatre or your couch.  Although drive-ins are not as popular as they once were, there are still many remaining in North America and Australia and there are a few in Europe and Asia.  If you are looking for one in your area or the area you are travelling, check out www.drive-ins.com for a list of drive-ins around the world and whether they are still open. Many places around the world also have outdoor movie screenings. For example, Venice has a popular outdoor cinema in Campo San Polo showing current films for the public. These are great changes to the typical date routine and loads of fun.

2. Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets seem to be springing up everywhere. Ranging in size, these markets provide a central location to purchase fresh, locally grown produce to support your local farms.  Going to one as a couple can be a fun date activity and a unique way to cross off items on your weekly grocery list. Jams, baked goods and produce are just some of the main items to be found. Recently, we stopped at a market and purchased some of the freshest and sweetest strawberries we had tasted in years. We have a great time perusing the tables together and deciding on which items we’d like to buy and we often think of dinner ideas we can make together and purchase the fruits and veggies needed. Farmer’s markets typically have set times and days of the week so be sure to check before you go and if you aren’t too concerned about missing out on a particular item, going just before closing gives you the possibility of reduced prices as vendors attempt to sell-off what is left.

3. Festivals

Asian Festival

These events can be a great opportunity to experience new foods, music and cultures as a couple and while you’ll typically hear about main festivals, larger cities often have so many festivals that some are easily missed.  Trying different foods or those you already know you enjoy, listening to the music and sounds of the activity around you and sharing the day together creates a great shared experience and an escape from the everyday. We enjoy attending different cultural festivals to learn more about different countries and cultures until we get the chance to visit those countries ourselves. Don’t forget to look into smaller towns and communities as they will often have unique festivals or smaller versions of those you’d find in the city-centres.

4. Picnics

Picnics, while cliché, are a really romantic and simple way to spend time together. Whether it’s in your own backyard or in a private area with a pretty view, you can take a picnic pretty much anywhere you want and it’s perfect for enjoying the summer weather. If your significant other has an issue with bugs (notice we didn’t specify a gender) you can always bring lawn chairs instead of a blanket and keep yourselves a little further from the critters on the ground. Typical foods that come to mind when thinking of a picnic include fried chicken, potato salads, sandwiches, and coleslaw and while these are wonderful for keeping things simple, you can make an extra special picnic date by stepping up the food selection. Instead of simple fare, you may want to prepare a fancier meal such as spinach and artichoke dip with flat bread and precooked meat skewers with a spinach, strawberry and toasted almond salad. Whatever the food and wherever the location, picnics are wonderful ways to enjoy the sun with your significant other.

5. Nature Walks/Hikes

Nature Hike

Exploring new places is one of our favourite things to do as a couple and taking walks is a great way to check out new areas and enjoy the summer flora and fauna. Taking a nature walk or hike also gives you an added bump to those endorphins, leaving you both in a better mood and this type of activity really helps you to focus on the moment as you take in your surroundings. As a couple, nature hikes allow you to spend some dedicated, uninterrupted time together. Protected parks and nature reserves will typically have great walking and hiking trails that will offer a wide range of plants and animals to see, but be sure to remember that many have entrance fees.

, ,

Date Night Ideas – Cooking Together Builds A Stronger Relationship

 

Many times we find ourselves craving some quality time together. (Yes, even though we spend 24/7 together while travelling and working). Sure, we love to explore, try new restaurants or check out different festivals but we also enjoy having nights to ourselves (see our post on summertime date ideas).

When we aren’t out together it’s common for us to fall into the comfort of our house, having quality alone time while sitting on the couch watching TV and doing work on our respective computers. And while we are still spending time together and still engaging in conversation, our focus is not completely on one another.

It’s because of this that we like to occasionally switch things up and  sometimes and find an intimate date-night activity we can do without having to get social. The following is just one of the date nights we enjoy together.

The Couple Who Cooks Together…

While couples’ cooking classes are a fun and unique way of spending time together, they don’t exactly offer much intimacy, with fellow classmates nearby and conversation often being led by the instructor. They also often have a higher price tag.  If you are looking to spend some quality, romantic time with your significant other and are also hoping to stick to budget, cooking together at home can be one of the most fun and intimate of activities.

Not only are you taking what is often times considered a chore and making it something fun and engaging, but cooking together builds teamwork and a sense of accomplishment as a couple.   It is often found that couples that share common goals and work together to achieve them, are more successful long-term and building the teamwork skills as a couple necessary for larger goal accomplishment, often takes time and practice.

It doesn’t matter what you are cooking or how long it takes. Whether it is making your favourite recipe or trying something new, it’s about putting in the effort to spend time together.

One quick meal that we often make together when we only have a short amount of time is pita pizzas:

OMC’s Pita Pizza Recipe

Simply:

1. Buy whole wheat or white pita bread from the store (these come in various sizes and we usually buy the smaller ones for personal size pizzas). We know, we know, making your own dough is much better but this is a great way to spend more time focused on each other, work together and pop out a quick and simple meal that’ll get you to the table, enjoying a romantic dinner and conversation.

2, Add pizza sauce (store bought or homemade – either way we often sprinkle some basil for added flavour), and

3. Whatever kind of grated cheese and toppings you each desire (go crazy with the veggies and meats! We often cook up some chicken with our favourite seasoning and throw on a bunch of different vegetables).

The preparation of cheese and veggies will have the two of you working together and it’s fun to create your own pizza.

4. Cook the pizzas in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or until the crust is golden) and enjoy!

Pita Pizza recipe for couples

Enhance the Romance

A few details we like to include during our date nights are:

1. No cell phones – make this time about just the two of you

2. Add some music to the mix – create the atmosphere you are looking for by playing some music that both of you enjoy

3. Make it romantic – even if it sounds cheesy, creating the right ambiance is key. In addition to music, set the table with nice dishes and cutlery and even a candle, or depending on the weather, take the dinner to the patio and enjoy some fresh air.

Whatever meal you make, and however you decide to spend the evening enjoying it, there is one crucial team-building exercise you mustn’t forget to do together – clean the dishes!

great date night ideas

 

Do you and your significant other enjoy cooking together? Comment below and let us know your favourite recipes to make while dining in.

Update: Since starting full-time travel, it isn’t always easy to find time to cook together. We try to make time for these kind of date-nights when we are staying through Airbnb or housesitting. Otherwise, we find ways to make time for each other while on the road – such as our private island picnic.