*This post is done in partnership with Date Night In Box (DNIB), but all thoughts and opinions are 2LWithIt’s*
Date Night In Box (DNIB) is a monthly subscription that sends a curated box of everything needed to plan a romantic date night at home. Each box includes: a custom Spotify soundtrack, an optional dinner menu (complete with recipes for apps, entrees, dessert, and drinks), games, crafts, and thoughtful conversation starters.
One of the things I like most about DNIB is their partnership with Tri-Development Center of Aiken County (TDC). TDC helps individuals with autism, head and spinal cord injuries, and intellectual disabilities, find employment in Aiken, South Carolina. TDC finds the helpful hands that put together each and every DNIB (and Kids Night In Boxes, too). I love to support companies that give back to their communities, so if you’re looking to give a gift that supports a good cause, look no further!
This month’s theme is “Island Adventure,” which is a whimsical take on a tropical vacation without the expensive flights and overpriced piña coladas. Included in this month’s box, couples will find: a seashell candle activity, a recipe card with an optional dinner menu (this month’s recipes were one of the fiancé’s favorite, thus far), a variety of island games, a tropical version of battleship, a message in a bottle activity, as well as a bag of Mavuno Harvest dried tropical fruit.
To set the mood, every DNIB includes a curated Spotify playlist and a candle. This month, the tunes are sure to send you and your partner to an island paradise with jams from greats like: Bob Marley, Sammy Johnson, Kolohe Kai. This month’s candle aptly fits in with the beachy tunes; DNIB’ers will find a seashell included in their box, as well as “sandy beach” scented wax melts and a candle wick.
I should preface that we thought the candle activity would be fairly straight-forward, and it was until it literally melted away. We’re not sure if our shell had a crack in it, or the shell was too fragile to handle hot wax, but when we went to pour it from the microwave into the seashell, the wax leaked straight through onto a cutting board. Thank goodness we put one down, otherwise it would have gotten all over the new countertops! We tried to salvage some of the wax from the cutting board and remelt it with a lighter, but it’s definitely not something we’ll be putting on a coffee table . . .
If we did this again, we’d probably try and melt the wax in a mini mason jar or something more durable than the shell and then just sit it in the shell. Either way, even though the candle didn’t turn out picture-perfect, it gave us a good laugh and kept us quick on our feet when we saw the hot wax start to gush out of the little shell.
In addition to the music and candle, there is also an optional dinner menu included with each box. Each month the menu changes, depending on the theme, and it usually includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, and drinks (with recipes with and without alcohol). We’ve really been enjoying the fact that DNIB has continued to put the optional dinner menu on a recipe card. Not only is it handy while you’re shopping for ingredients, but it’s super easy to keep it in a drawer or recipe box when you need some quick (and tasty) dinner ideas. I think this month’s menu was one of our favorite parts of the entire box because the recipes were super tasty and very easy to make.
The appetizer is an island mango salsa that doubles as something to enjoy with chips, or to put on top of the grilled fish taco entree. For dessert, couples will make coconut macaroons. We opted not to put chocolate or nuts on ours, as our grocery store was out of both . . . but they still tasted (and smelled) aaaamazing. We also learned the difference between wax paper and parchment paper. The first one is good for cold things and melts to food if you put it in the oven. The second one is ideal for this recipe, as the parchment paper prevents the coconut from sticking to the cookie sheet.
In addition to the candle, every DNIB evening includes a variety of activities to do with your partner, including:
–TABLE TALK: discussion questions intended to spark conversation with your partner. This month’s topics focused on storytelling, which got us talking about family stories and how we learn about our history and where our family came from based on stories that are both created and passed down through generations.
–WORD CHALLENGE GAME: this is a fun riff on speed scrabble, where you guess words based on a set of letters and write them on reusable boards included in the box. I really like how DNIB included reusable items that can be kept and played with multiple times.
–PING PONG/GOLF TEE GAME: a game that’s sure to kick up some competitive spirit. Using an empty DNIB, some ping pong balls, golf tees, and mini water guns (all included with the date box), couples will compete to see who can knock off the most ping pong balls in a row!
–MATTER OF THE RELATIONSHIP GAME: this game is kind of like the one people play at weddings where you see who knows the other best. Included is a list of twenty questions, and couples can use their reusable boards to answer different questions about each other (like “who is the better cook” or “who is funnier”).
–LOVE AT SEA GAME: this game uses the other side of the reusable boards (so you can play it more than once) and is very much like battleship (but with a tropical twist). We really liked playing this game and I plan on packing these boards for some of our upcoming trips because they’re easy to travel with and don’t require any additional pieces (other than the dry erase markers that are included in the box).
–MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: a fun activity to do together, inspired by an Australian couple who were out picking up trash when they discovered a bottle from a German ship that was left in the ocean over one hundred and thirty two years ago! Couples are encouraged to do this activity together and either keep it as a memento or leave it around town for someone else to find. We thought it’d be fun to do this and leave it in a geocache spot.
–FAITH NIGHT IN (ADD-ON): these are like the table talk prompts included with every DNIB subscription, but the content is faith-based. Included is an additional customized playlist (usually with Christian artists), as well as discussion questions and passages that tie in faith with whatever the monthly theme is. This month’s faith-based discussion questions focus on ordinary and extraordinary moments in our lives.
One of the prompts I really liked from this discussion guide asks readers to think about our “willingness to be used,” rather than “the greatness of a task.” Too often I think we get wrapped up in doing things for accolades or recognition, rather than using our skills and time to just help others. I’ve been wanting to get back to doing some kind of service in my community, outside of work, and these prompts got us talking about activities we can do as a couple to give back, whether it’s something as simple as a beach cleanup, or something more involved like volunteering with a local nonprofit.
–REFLECTION: last, but certainly not least, the end of the DNIB program includes ways to continue your date night. Suggestions include things like: hosting a luau with friends, stargazing, or watching movies like “50 First Dates” or “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
All in all, we really enjoyed this month’s DNIB. Even though the candle activity did not go as planned, we had a lot of fun figuring out how to salvage it. We also really enjoyed cooking the included dinner recipes. The coconut macaroons were such a hit, I’ll be remaking them for an upcoming party we’re going to! As our work schedules and wedding planning have picked up, it’s been really nice to have a DNIB to look forward to.
The theme for next month’s box is “Love At Ease.” My guess is this might include something with an easel and painting; his guess is it might be more along the lines of smooth jazz and something relaxing, like meditation or baking.