Dinners & Dates!

love | marriage | romance | dates
April 8th, 2014 by dinnersdates

Break Time!

It’s time to re-calibrate, reset, and rejuvenate. I have so many ideas for this blog and need time and space to organize and strategize. How long? Not sure but definitely about a month or so. The site will remain available as a source for all things romance, etc. Thank you all so very much for your support over the past year! Questions? Reach out at info@dinnersdates.com

Love + Light,


February 11th, 2014 by dinnersdates

Super Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas!

  • Intimate Dinner at Home: Create a menu together and get to work in the kitchen; dress up like you’re going to a restaurant, set the table with candles/tablecloth/place settings/music, tell each other how much you love one another!
  • Visit your local art store and get painting supplies (canvas + acrylic paint + brushes), pick a reference, and paint something meaningful together that celebrates your love for one another. One option is to paint the actual word, akin to the LOVE statute in Philadelphia (http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5165/5265851887_49c8a36368_z.jpg)
  • Make it a movie night and view your wedding video/pictures
  • Have a post-dinner romantic night with rose petals, soft music, champagne etc. Slow dance in the middle of the living room!
  • Leave notes around the house, etc all day saying why you love the other person. Take it up a notch and let them be a surprise (for example, leave a note where you know the person will find it).
  • Take 100 slips of colored paper (e.g. construction paper) and write a reason why you love each other on each of the slips. Place it in a cool container so they can look at them throughout the year!
  • Treasure Trove Gifts: this is where you get a big box or treasure chest (you can find one at Marshalls, etc) and fill it with small inexpensive gifts that have some sort of meaning. For example, one time I made a box for my mom and placed an umbrella (to symbolize her sheltering me from life’s storms), her favorite candy (to symbolize how sweet she was), a purse hanger (to symbolize how I would love if we hung out for life), etc…I’m sure you get the point. Each gift had a small note attached to it explaining its significance. It was inexpensive and she loved it.

Remember, most of these ideas can be used for your significant other, friends, family, etc. The goal is to celebrate the love you have for the people in your life!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


January 27th, 2014 by dinnersdates

The $25 Valentine’s Day Challenge + FREE Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day!!

It’s that time again – Valentines Day! Last year, Marriage Works! and Dinners + Dates put out a challenge to only spend $25 per person for Valentine’s Day. It was a huge success so we are doing it again this year!

What is the $25 VDay Challenge? It centers around the idea that there is too much emphasis on the price and size of gifts for Valentine’s Day – especially when the spirit of Valentine’s Day is showing love, appreciation, and affection!

One year, the hubby and I were watching The Cosby Show and one of my favorite episodes, “Isn’t It Romantic?” came on. In that episode, the married men had a contest to see who was the most romantic by only spending $25 on gifts for their wives. It was amazing to see how much effort and THOUGHT each of them placed into the gifts and how the women were so much more appreciative!

Also, when you only have a limited amount of money to spend, it forces you to become creative, really think about what your loved one means to you, and find unique ways to express that love. It also takes the pressure to “one up” your gifts from the previous years!

So, are you going to take the challenge? The only rules are that, as a couple, you can decide to either (1) create/purchase gifts for each other for only $25 each or (2) that your entire night out only exceeds $50 total. Either option will force you to think outside the box and be super creative and thoughtful.

If you have any trouble coming up with ideas for the challenge, contact me info@dinnersdates.com. From now until Valentine’s Day, I am giving free customized tips and date ideas to those who are participating in the challenge! After the big day, we will feature some of the dates on the site!

Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Love + Light,


December 9th, 2013 by dinnersdates

Very Cute Date Ideas!

Check out these very cute Date Ideas over at Buzz Feed! We are definitely trying some of these ASAP!

Here ->http://www.buzzfeed.com/hasbrogamenight/quirky-ideas-for-the-perfect-date-night

November 24th, 2013 by dinnersdates

Big News: Something Fun, Something New!

First, I want to thank everyone who has supported this site in one way or another. Sharing my heart and experiences as they pertain to marriage is a passion of mine and I am so grateful that anyone even reads what I write!

Which brings me to the big news – Dinners + Dates was initially created to provide romance tips to men. However, the more I worked with couples on this, the more I saw a need for something more substantive…something deeper. Conversations quickly turned into questions about how my hubby and I made it through something or the sharing of tools to strengthen marriages.

The new site will be just that and so much more! I can’t wait to launch the new vision God has placed in my heart and share it with you all!

If you have any ideas of what you would like to see, in general, about marriage, drop me a note here!

Love + Light,


November 12th, 2013 by dinnersdates

Giving Back – My #BlessingBags Story


Last Saturday, my hubby and I, along with a friend, assembled blessing bags – we like to call them Swag Bags for the Homeless because our bags had some pretty cool items including toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, tissues, socks, wet wipes, lotion, non-perishable food items, gloves, soap, hand warmers…and a yummy Lindt chocolate for good measure! With our bags in tow, we charted out into central Philadelphia to help out, on a very small scale, some of the estimated 12,000+ homeless people in Philadelphia. In thinking up this venture, my goal was not to make myself feel better, but to actually help the tons of people I see on the streets everyday, as opposed to just holding my nose and hoping they don’t approach me. I also wanted this to be a trial run for a much bigger effort with donations and more volunteers.

I walked away from the experience with a few observations/questions:

  • Giving back doesn’t take much effort and doesn’t cost as much as I thought it would. We ended up giving out 10 bags, with each bag averaging about $8 per person.
  • In one of the more cute moments, one guy referred to our bags as “cosmetic bags”; while he was much older than me, I thought his referral to them like that was amazing.
  • When you are minding your business and not actively looking for homeless people, you see them all; when you are actually looking, they are hard to find!
  • There are way too many homeless children…seriously too many.
  • Some homeless people felt entitled to whatever we were giving out, which left a sour taste in my mouth. It made me wonder – when does a homeless person move from being grateful to becoming a “taker/greedy”? I know this should not affect my desire to give but it did make me curious about the ‘homeless culture’ and whether it is better to provide resources than tangible items. If anyone has any insight into this, please let me know.
  • It was hilarious and quite telling to see us decide which homeless person “needed” our help, or if a person was homeless at all (i.e. hippies). Tell-tell signs you don’t need help => your shoes look better than mine, smoking cigarettes, and taking money from multiple people on the train…everyday.
  • Mental illness is so serious and prevalent here in Philly. Apparently, many homeless people are actually on the street because they were kicked out of mental institutions due to closings, funding, etc. We were definitely careful on who to approach and how to approach them.
  • After speaking with some of the people we were helping, washcloths and sanitary napkins were high on the list of things that were needed. Needless to say, those will definitely be included next time.
  • The best time to help out the homeless population is before and after the Christmas holidays. Apparently, according to some people I spoke with, the giving spirit doesn’t last throughout the year.

Our next effort will take place sometime after the new year. I’m hoping to get at least 100 bags out and will set up an account to take donations for the cause for unable to come and pass out our swag bags. If you are in the Philadelphia area and would like to assist, let me know.

***Major shouts to my peeps on Twitter who lit a flame under me to get this started. Also, major shout out to my friend Karon who volunteered to help and to my hubby who let me take this idea and actually make it happen; love you!

Love + Light,


October 25th, 2013 by dinnersdates

Life Inspiration: The World Needs More Love Letters!

Do you ever run up on someone and think to yourself, “that person looks like he needs a hug”? I always think this, especially when I am dealing with people who are super difficult or negative. Well, I randomly ran across this movement, The World Needs More Love Letters and thought this was a genius idea. For more info, click here (http://www.moreloveletters.com/), follow the movement and write a letter!


Love and Light,


October 18th, 2013 by dinnersdates

Life Inspiration: Just Have Fun!

September 27th, 2013 by dinnersdates

Relationship Inspiration: Are You Growing?

Recently, Paula Patton told Rolling Out magazine she would be “messed up” if it weren’t for her relationship with her husband.

“I am so glad that I am in a relationship or I would be messed up. Only people who love you can tell you “you know it’s annoying when you do this” and “you need to stop saying this when you are out in public.” It helps you grow as a human being. Hopefully, you enter the relationship open and ready to learn and this person who tells you there are some flaws you need to work on, you should listen. That’s what I love about my relationship and it has made be a better human being.”

I agree, Paula! I am a much better person, thanks to my husband and his loving correction! We all must ask ourselves, with every type of relationship with others, “Am I Growing and Becoming A Better Person in this Relationship?”

Love + Light,


September 11th, 2013 by dinnersdates

Gift Tip: Pay Attention + Write It Down!

Over the weekend, I visited friends of mine who have been married for about two years. Over dinner, they proceeded to get into a discussion regarding the quality of the gifts exchanged between the two; needless to say, they didn’t really see eye-to-eye on what constituted a good gift. He was more focused on price (he kept remarking on how expensive the gifts were that he did buy her); she on thoughtfulness (I really do believe she would’ve preferred a handmade gift over a Chanel purse). As they bantered back and forth, Javarro and I sat back and chuckled because we had that same discussion in the past. Lucky for us, we had found a way to work around it and shared our advice with them.

How do you, as a couple, ensure you hit the mark every time you give a gift? Pay attention and write things down! If your mate is anything like me, he/she will remark every once in a while about something that interests him/her; make it a point to write it down for future reference. For instance, my hubby knows I absolutely love “A Different World” and, for Christmas, he surprised me with a Hilman College sweatshirt (click here to purchase one)! I thought it was the sweetest thing ever and was very satisfied with that being my only gift from him that year because it was super thoughtful; quantity did not count.

So, if you are having trouble in this area of your relationship, go ahead and create a notepad doc in your phone and keep a running list of things you hear your mate comment on and use it for future gifts. It’s definitely worked for us; hopefully, it will for you as well!

Love and Light,