Posts Tagged ‘ United States ’

Weekly Featured Date:: Bellini’s

A couple of weeks ago, it was my dad’s birthday.  For the first time that I can remember, we surprised Dad by gathering the family here in town and surprising him with dinner at a local steakhouse.  Penny and I also got to celebrate my cousin, Jeremy who recently got engaged!  My cousin Jeremy is a chef, but I’d never actually eaten his food before.  He mentioned that we should come to his restaurant, Bellini’s, located in downtown Lexington.  A couple of days later, my planned DateNight with Penny sort of blew up in my face, and I had to scramble to come up with some new plans (hmmm, perhaps that’ll be a post- what to do when your plans blow up). So we shifted some things, I called my cousin, and he said to come on in.  And we did…

Usually this column is reserved for activities for couples to do on DateNights, but Penny and I had such a great experience at Bellini’s, that it really earned its own spot as a Weekly Featured Date.  Warning- this a pricey date, but the whole experience is one you won’t forget anytime soon.

To start off, Bellini’s is truly a fine dining restaurant.  Which as I’ve come to learn, is a big date in and of itself.  Not just because the price will probably use all of your dating budget for the night, if not a couple of nights; but also because this is a place that you’ll want to dress up for a bit.  I don’t mean a suit and tie, though that wouldn’t be inappropriate, but dressy casual.

Enjoy your drive downtown in Lexington, but as you pull up, take advantage of the Valet parking directly across the street from Bellini’s.  Enter through the martini bar on the left, where you can stop to have a drink first.  The low lighting and red glow of the room certainly sets the high class, romantic atmosphere of the restaurant.  As you enter the dining room, be ready to check your coat with the hostess.

Here’s where the real fun begins…the food.  Bellini’s is an italian restaurant, so I was worried that for a guy who can’t eat pasta right now, there might not be much for me to enjoy there.  Boy was I wrong!  The menu was one of those kinds that had no pictures and lots of foreign words…which always makes me nervous, but I was the hands of my cousin so I relaxed and just went with it.  Penny and I both picked items from the non-pasta side of the menu.  She got the duck, and I got the braised short ribs.  In addition to that, we got a plate of muscles as our appetizer and Chef Jeremy sent out a couple of amuse bouches.

The food was absolutely amazing!  When it came, the presentation was beautiful, I hated to defile it with a fork and knife.  Then the waitress actually explained exactly what we were eating as she set it down.  You know, “Here is the duck breast, simmered with an apple glaze over a carrot puree and blah blah blah.”  Basically all I heard was, “Here is some of the most amazing yummy goodness you’ll ever eat in your life.”  I have to say, I had no clue that my cousin was a great chef!  Upon taking the first bite of her food, Penny melted and mumbled, “Oh my god, this good!”

Anyway, Bellini’s definitely qualifies as a GreatDateSpot.  Go ahead and plan on at least an hour to an hour and half at the restaurant.  When dinner is over, you can add to it just about anything- a walk downtown, some ice cream somewhere, even a movie at home…because you’re date will have been a great one!



Weekly Featured Date :: The Double Date

Typically with the Weekly Featured Date segment, I try to highlight a place to go, an activity to do, or sometimes even a restaurant.  But this time I’m pulling out something different.  I’m not even sure what category this would fit into, but considering that I don’t much like categories, I’m really ok with it.

This week’s Weekly Featured Date is simple- do something, anything, go somewhere- but this time- invite another couple along and make it a Double Date.

The whole point of a DateNight in the first place is to give a couple time out from everything else in life to spend together, getting to know each other, and just have fun together.  I know it may seem that when you introduce another couple into the equation, then you lose the intimate aspect and you have to spend all the time together with another couple.  However- think about it- on a double date you get to be a couple, the other couple gets to be a couple, and you get to be a couple together.  I’m not talking about anything dirty here- its just called being a couple in community.

Also, this is great way to take a time out from everything else in life- think of the couples you know- couples at church, couples at work, couples in the neighborhood.  Going out for a Double Date with any of these couples puts you in a different setting and allows you to get to know not only the other couple better, but you get to know your dating partner in a setting with other people.

The Double Date- the hardest part is just finding a couple who’s schedule you can get to mesh with yours.

Weekly Featured Date: Kitchen Witches by The Studio Players

That’s right, the Weekly Featured Date is back!  And I’m excited to have a line up of lots of new and exciting GreatDateSpots around Central Kentucky and the Tri-City area coming at you!  And to kick it off is what Penny and I are doing tonight.

Now, whether or not you live in the Central Kentucky region, one of the best Dates anywhere , and most affordable too, is taking in some local theater.  The great thing is that when you do local theater, you have several options to choose from.  Usually there is a high school play happening somewhere around you.  While the acting may not always be stellar, they certainly have a bit of nostaglia to them.  But I challenge you to look deeper and check out the Community Theater in your town.

I like plays.  I like plays a lot.  I like plays for DateNights even more.  And for several reasons, mostly because its a lot like going to see a movie, but very different at the same time.  Sure, you’re in a theater, with lots of people you don’t know, watching a story unfold before your eyes.  Its great for getting cozy with that special someone.   Rarely will you be in a theater with other people you know, which creates such a great, unique shared experience for the two of you.  But plays can be so much more fun- for one thing, there is a bond that happens between actor and audience, especially in the intimate setting of community theater.  It’s sort of an inside-joke that we all know what we are seeing isn’t real, but we are agreeing to suspend reality and just go with it.  When mistakes happen, we are drawn in even more to see how they will recover, and often add a level of charm that we would never get from a movie. Also, community theater tends to afford us the opportunity to break out of the same ole plays we see over and over again.  Let’s face it, sometimes they suck and there’s a reason this play never hit the big time.  But more often than not, these plays really are unfound gems.

Which is exactly what I’m hoping for tonight as this is exactly what Penny and I will be doing for our DateNight tonight.  We will be heading out tonight to see The Studio Players take on Canadian playwright Caroline Smith’s Kitchen Witches.  The premise is that we have two women, one ambitious, professional and self-promoting and the other a stay-at-home mom with country skillz who both happened to have loved the same man are forced to work together for a local cooking show.  I’m looking forward to what can only mean a lot of quick-witted banter and blows back and forth as these two polar-opposite forces collide.

For anyone around who’s interested, the Studio Players are based out of the Carriage House Theater on the property of the Bell House right off E Main Street.  Shows are at 8:00 and tickets are $16.  Check out the review from for more info.  And if you do get to go, be sure to come back and leave a comment, let us what you thought of the show!

The Holiday Rush

So here we are, 2 days before Thanksgiving, and in our first year of marriage, Penny and I get the…ahem…privilege of hosting Thanksgiving at our house- including both sets of parents, siblings from each side, a niece, a nephew, and 2 dogs.  Now don’t get me wrong, definitely glad to have everyone coming over.  Yeah, I really am.

But where I could easily post about how to pick which house to go for the holidays and how we are navigating this sticky issue (trust me, one is coming), this post is instead about something else.  Simply put, the term “Holiday Rush” has taken on a new meaning for me this year.  You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged much in the past week or so.  That’s cause it’s been NUTS!!!!

You see, Penny and I are both incredibly busy (like most people) and this weekend we took a little trip out of town- so what that means is that over the last 2 weeks, the house has become somewhat of a mess without our usual weekend pick up.  And to top it all off, everyone is coming tomorrow.  So the “rush” this year- get the dang house clean.  I used to not care, but now its different.

Wish I could tell you more…but the rush is on!  Happy Turkey Day everybody.  See ya on the flip side.  Gotta get back to cleaning.

4 Real Political Issues Every Couple Must Vote On

It’s the first Tuesday in November.  That means it’s election day.  And as I am about to head off to the polls to perform my civic duty, I can’t help but wonder if my wife will be able to make it to the polls after work.  And as I picture her standing there at the booth, punching in her vote on those oh-so-reliable machines, two thoughts occur to me : 1) I wonder when the machines will get smart enough to actually scrap our votes and vote a machine into office- I’m telling you- that’s how they will take over.  2) I have no clue as to who my wife will vote for…and I’m really ok with that.

Politics is not something that Penny and I ever really discuss.  It’s not something that matters enough to either of us to spend our few precious moments together discussing.  We have, however, spent a little time discussing how it’s not important enough to spend time discussing it.  Discussing.

Simply put, politics is not something unites or divides us.  It’s mute issue.  But it makes me wonder… should we be talking about it at least some?  I mean, I couldn’t tell you what political party she lines up with.  I have a good guess, but I don’t know for sure.  I think I’ve told her in passing where I line up, but I couldn’t swear to that either.  Should I know what my wife thinks politically?  Should I even care if she doesn’t think like I do politically speaking?   Either way, I guarantee you that tonight when we go to bed, we won’t be talking about this election or who we think should or shouldn’t have won.

No, I don’t think I should know more about her political standings and I don’t particularly care to either.  If it was important to me that we line up politically, then it would have been something we talked about when we were dating, before we got married.   But I’m satisfied with the idea that my guess is that we line up more than we don’t.  And if I’m wrong- who cares?

Politics just don’t have a place in our relationship.  It’s not what we’re about.  We’re not going to quibble over those issues.

But I do think this raises a great question…what are the issues we should be concerned with? what are the real issues that we need to be sure that we line up on.  I’ve narrowed it down to 4 basic Issues that are the real issues couples have to contend with.  These are issues that you MUST be in alignment on for your relationship to work.  And if you’re thinking about moving your dating relationship to the next level, think of this like a good check list.  Here we go:

1) The Issue of Faith.  It is paramount that you as a couple agree on at the least the basic tenants of faith.  Since what you believe or don’t believe about God is really at the core of who you are, it certainly is something to be talked about.  (Notice I’m not talking about the finer points of theology.  I think its way less of an issue to agree on Calvinism vs Arminianism than it is to agree on whether or not Jesus’ death on a cross has atoned for sins – or – was it all a charade?  Or perhaps There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.)  Whatever your faith- your partner better be in at least basic agreement with you on that

2) The Issue of Love. Do you agree that you love each other?  A man smarter than me once said that love is choosing to put the wants, needs, and desires of another individual above your own. Basically its serving one another.  So are you going to love each other.  One of things I’ve learned in the few short months that I’ve been married is that it works best when Penny and I are each serving each other without requiring that the other one serves us back.  It’s hard in a relationship to be the one constantly serving and never being served, so it’s important that you agree that you will serve each other.  However, I know my own selfishness comes into the equation more often than I would like and that’s when things start getting rocky.

3) The Issue of Longevity Are you in it to win it?  More than that, are you in it till the end?  Let’s face it, craps comes up.  You will both make stupid choices.  Are you going to own up to it when its you?  Are you going to forgive when it’s not you?  Is your commitment to sticking it out more than your fleeting urge to run?  When things get rocky and you uncover the full extent of the brokenness of your partner, will you lean into your marriage or pull away from it?  Are you in it for the long haul?  Does your spouse know that?  I challenge you… make it a point to remind your spouse today, no matter what, you’re in it till the end.

4) The Issue of Unification Are you going to be one with each other?  Are you so committed that you will agree to work on the places that you disagree on to come to a unified conclusion?  I like what Matthew Henry said in his commentary about Adam and Eve – That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. It’s a beautiful statement.  Whether you believe this account or not the idea is true, man and woman, husband and wife are one… side by side, walking together.  Do what it takes to be unified with your spouse.  And if you’re dating, you should know that there is not a single person on this earth that you will be completely unified with 100% of the time.  The question is :: who is the person that you want to work through those issues with.

Those, my friends, are the real issues to be voted upon, not whether or not we want local control over the water company.  And if you’re dating, those are the real issues that you want to work through before deciding to move to the next step.

How about you?  What about in your relationship?  Do politics play a role?  Are they an issue?  What do you think are the real issues that couples have to contend with.  Leave a comment and let us know.

Weekly Featured Date :: World Equestrian Games

So I know you’ve heard about it by now.  If you live anywhere within a 3 hour driving radius of the Kentucky Horse Park, you’re probably sick of hearing about it by now.

But it really is kind of a big deal. So this week’s featured date is simple- take a trip out to the Games.  Who knows, it could suck, it could be awesome.  I can’t really say.  I’m not a horse guy.  I’m not big into the Equestrian community.  But this is the Olympics of the Horse sport.  People come from all over the world for this thing.

To my knowledge, this the first time the WEG has never been hosted in the United States, and they, whomever “they” in this case is, have chosen our fair city to host it.   More than likely, in our lifetime, it will never again happen here.   And this just happens to be the last weekend of the event.

So it seems to me, with all of that in mind, regardless of how you feel about horses, this is something you probably would regret not going to see. Imagine having the opportunity to see Elvis live, or the Beatles, or for me, Michael Jackson (really wish I could have seen him live when he was in his prime), but never taking advantage of it.

The events do look pretty fun. To say the least, it will be different and fresh.  And you and your date will share some great memories.

So go for it.  Don’t know if it will be a “great” date or not, but it certainly will be a memorable date.  Which makes the WEG this week’s Weekly Featured Date.

How to Turn Your Average Date into an Adventure

Does anyone else remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books?  Sure you do!  If you don’t, head to the library, pick one up, and you’ll see why they were so popular.  Just a ton of fun and they allowed you some room and flexibility and to be part of the story, thereby turning an everyday, average story into something so much more!.  So what does this have to do with dating?  Plenty.

Have you ever been frustrated at the lack of options for dates in and around your town?  Do you find yourself always going to the same 2 or 3 restaurants, going to the same 2 or three venues for an activity.  Do you find yourself getting, well….bored?  Sure you do.

That’s very much how I generally feel about Lexington these days.  I am quite aware that there actually is plenty going on to keep things fresh, but it can be hard to find sometimes.  And sometimes, you really do want just a normal Dinner and a Movie type of date.  That’s exactly where Penny and I were this past week.

We had to be up early on Saturday and she was rather exhausted from the week, so we agreed on a simple, close to home, get in bed early kind of DateNight.  But as I sat down to think through exactly what we would be doing, I had a lot of options.  What restaurants would we go to?  There’s one or two new ones we hadn’t tried, then there were the tried and true.  Then what about an activity?  Just a movie?  There wasn’t anything playing this past weekend that we were super excited about.  How about the comedy club?  Also been there a ton, but they can have some uncomfortable seating.  We could just come home and rent a movie and chill there.  Or would she feel like heading downtown for the Spotlight Lexington Festivals even though there was bound to be a ton of people (not exactly ideal for a “quiet” evening).

I just couldn’t decide.  There were so many options.  And what she would feel up to was really up to how work went for her that day and how she was feeling.  HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR THAT?

Then…inspiration struck…What if she were the one to actually choose?   Now, I know she hates making decisions and its my job to plan DateNights, but how could I if I didn’t know what kind of mood she’d be in?  Could a hybrid of the two exist?  Of course it can.  Remember the books?  What I were to take a jump off of that for what we are going to do.  It still takes planning, but it can be flexible and work within the situation.  Plus you earn some major creativity points.  We would have a Choose Your Own Adventure: DateNight Edition!

Here’s what it looked like.  I sat down at the computer and thought through the different elements of a date.  Food, activity, chill time, end of the night.  Then I came up with two options for each category.  And I began to write her a letter.  The first one was the introduction, letting her know the rules, telling her to be ready for anything.  How should she dress, well, I don’t know, it depends on what we do.  We could be outside or inside.  At someplace nice or some place familiar.  We could even get wet.  So be ready for it all.  I gave her that note when I woke her up from her pre-date nap.

When she was ready, I handed her Chapter 2.  First on the agenda, food.  She got to pick between two restaurants, one familiar, one new.  After dinner, it was a movie or the comedy club.  After that, it was go home and chill or head to the hot tub.  After that, it was either stay up and chill with me or head to bed early.

Each step of the way was different and unique and we wound up having a lot of fun.

So there you go- Turn Your Average Date into an Adventure!