*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 “Love At Ease,” which is a much needed reminder for couples to spend time and to be intentional with one another. Included in this month’s box, couples will find: a recipe card with an optional dinner menu (this month’s recipes were breakfast-related, so we did a breakfast for dinner date), a set of dice for a game, small paper cups, a coffee brew buddy, and two coffees and two teas (for a sip and savor activity), as well as aromatherapy massage oil and couples yoga cards.
To set the mood, every DNIB includes a curated Spotify playlist and typically a candle. Unfortunately we did a lot of this box while on a road trip, and when we went to listen to the monthly Spotify playlist, it didn’t load, so we improvised with some tunes that were already saved on our phones. While there wasn’t a candle in this month’s box, the massage oil was a nice addition to the date night experience. Each thing in the box is supposed to bring out different senses (e.g. the recipes are “taste and smell,” the music is “hear,” and the activities are “see” and “touch.” It not always in this order, but the idea is that everything you’ll need for the date is included in the box (notwithstanding the recipe ingredients, but sometimes they are, like the homemade pizza ingredients in this box).
I really like how DNIB is an all-inclusive box, because that made it easy for us to take it on the go. We did the discussions and some of the activities while on the road, and we made the optional menu when we got to our final destination. It was nice to not have to figure out what to make – we just brought our recipe card to the grocery store and went shopping.
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.
This month the recipes were a lot simpler than previous months (likely something to do with the theme of taking things easy), which we really liked. The recipes included were: sage and garlic breakfast sausage, buttermilk pancakes topped with cinnamon apples, and a cinnamon-maple creamer for coffee or tea. The pancakes were really delicious, and we couldn’t even tell the difference in the substitution from all-purpose to oat flour (for my gluten intolerance). I added a little buttermilk to the apples to make them a bit creamier, and dang were they good!
In addition to everything mentioned above, every DNIB evening includes a variety of activities to do with your partner, including:
–TABLE TALK: the prompts start off by acknowledging it’s counterintuitive to “plan rest,” but when you’re running around all day between work, errands, and other obligations, it can be easy to forget to pause, relax, and just “be.” In China, apparently it’s custom for employees to take a nap break after lunch. The same is true in Spain with “siestas” and in Italy with “riposos.” While the United States is ahead in many things, it has not yet adopted any kind of integrated self-care or renewal practices into the daily work grind. While a nap may not be for everyone, things like yoga, meditation, even a mid-day cup of tea can make all the difference when you look at work-related things like burnout, anxiety, and depression.
The table talk questions focus on how couples can be supportive of one another taking time to rest. Maybe it’s a quick text to get out of the office and soak up some sunshine. Maybe it’s meal prepping at the start of the week so you’re not stressing about it later on. Maybe it’s something even smaller like a daily affirmation or meditation; but whatever it is, make time for it and make time to be there for your partner, as we all know some weeks are tougher than others.
Included in the online portion of the date, where you’ll find links to the music, recipes, and other things, you’ll find a video with a guided meditation. I really liked the inclusion of this, because it’s one thing to say “go meditate,” but with the internet, it can get overwhelming . . . so this was a much welcomed find to just click to and enjoy (in whole or in part, as it’s almost forty-five minutes).
–EASY ROLLIN’ GAME: a game of chance and fast dice. It kind of reminded me of Farkle, but less math and probably easier for a beginner to learn. It’s a fun game that can be played in the DNIB container like we did on the road, or wherever else you and your partner might be!
–SIP & SAVOR ACTIVITY: included in the box are two kinds of tea, two coffees, and a coffee brew buddy (which is like a portable, collapsible, reusable filter to enjoy the beverages with). It was quite chilly where we were traveling to, so the hot beverages were such a fun surprise to open and enjoy while out and about. The teas we got were ginger peach (black tea) and herbal bedtime (botanical tea). The coffees we got were caramel mudslide (arabica coffee) and Colombian (arabica coffee). In addition to the teas, there’s also a sea salt chocolate chip caramel biscotti which was delicious (and definitely motivated us to make more snacks to enjoy with the coffee and tea).
I think our only suggestion here was that the packages were resealable, because once you open it, you have to use all of it, or risk it spilling somewhere. We really liked how the teas and coffees were all blended and packaged in the USA, plus the packaging was recyclable (always a good thing).
This activity would also pair nicely with the optional recipes, as there’s a recipe for a coffee/tea creamer.
–CROSSWORD PUZZLE: a little something fun to play. I used to love playing these as a kid when we’d get the Sunday funnies (the comics at the back of the weekly paper), so it was fun to get a chance to puzzle through some clues together.
–COUPLES YOGA CARDS: We really liked these cards because they’re something that can be used more than once, and the cards have pictures, so you don’t have to guess if you’re doing a position incorrectly. I think my favorite part about this activity is that all of the included positions are ones that require a partner, so it’s 100% something you can do together. Plus, you can take the cards with you on a trip like we did and do them just about anywhere!
–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 stillness and taking time to sit with your faith.
This was a tough one for me because I’ve always been “go go go.” I hardly take time to rest, and my body reminds me of this when I get a flare or get hurt, and then I have to take time to slow down (like when I hurt my foot a few weeks ago and couldn’t walk; post on that here). I also noticed this while on the road, and I don’t know if it’s a nervous habit or I’m just chatty, but it’s hard for me to sit quietly in a car (if I’m not sleeping). It’s something I’ve recently become aware of, and moving forward something I’m trying to get better at . . . because there is beauty in silence (or so I’ve been told haha).
–REFLECTION: last, but certainly not least, the end of the DNIB program includes ways to continue your date night. Suggestions include things like: continuing to practice the couples’ yoga deck of cards, going for a quiet sunrise/sunset walk together, or my favorite, just prioritizing individual and together time to relax.
All in all, we really enjoyed this month’s box. It was a much needed reminder to slow things down, because lately it’s been a little mad over here running around between house, wedding, and work commitments. I realize the hustle and bustle is kind of a lifelong endurance marathon, which is why it’s important to recognize when your patience is wearing thin . . . and before you snap at your partner, take time to unplug, unwind, and become a better person for yourself and your partner.
The theme for next month’s box is “Changing Seasons.” I’m hoping for something fall-inspired, maybe with a little pumpkin spice; he’s hoping for something outdoorsy . . . maybe we’ll be surprised and get a little bit of both!