16 Indoor Date Ideas For Staying Romantic During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Couples everywhere are facing a common conundrum, thanks to coronavirus: When your favorite restaurant is only accepting takeout orders, your go-to bar is closed for business, and basically every event in your area is canceled, what does that mean for date night? If you’re isolating with your SO, fret not. Even the coronavirus outbreak can’t squash romance, thanks to the countless indoor date ideas you can try.

As an eternal optimist, here’s my take — circumstances like these force you and your boo to get creative. If you were stuck in a rut of eating at the same go-to gastropubs or grabbing drinks at the same speakeasies on a Saturday night, now is a great time to shake things up. Just because you’re hibernating doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun, and in fact, you may be surprised at how indoor dates can boost the intimacy in your relationship.

The best indoor dates are the ones that not only allow you to bond in meaningful ways but also potentially learn new things about each other. So, it’s time to think beyond Netflix and chill. Who says you can’t get out of your comfort zone right from the comfort of your own home? These indoor dates will get the sparks flying — and the best part is, you can stay safe because you won’t have to set foot outside.

One of the many indoor date ideas is to compete in your own two-person cookoff.
Shutterstock

1. Compete in a cookoff.

Find a recipe that you can both realistically tackle, set up two stations with the same ingredients, set the timer, and start whipping up your own versions of the same tasty dish. Then, sample each of your creations together and compare cooking tips.

2. Engage in a sweat sesh.

Who says you can’t squeeze a workout in just because your local gym is closed? Check out apps like Dailyburn and Fitness Blender, which offer a wide variety of workout videos, from challenging HIIT classes to strength training sessions. Or, you can scour YouTube for free classes.

3. Have a candy tasting.

Satisfying your sweet tooth is a foolproof way to survive isolation. Stock up on different colors of Starbursts, Gummi Bears or Worms, Sour Straws, Hi-Chews, and whatever else you and your SO are craving — and then eat your way through the rainbow together.

4. Take personality tests.

Do you and your partner know your love languagesMyers-Briggs types, and Enneagram types? If not, consider getting to know each other better by taking one of the many online tests that are available (some of which are totally free). After you take the tests and share your results, you can look into podcasts or online resources that will offer additional insight into both of your “types.”

5. Go camping.

Channel your inner kid and build a fort out of blankets, pillows, and furniture (or set up a tent if you have one). Once you’re inside your cozy hideaway (with a batch of s’mores, of course), grab some flashlights and exchange spooky stories.

6. Get handy.

Now’s a great time to dive into that home improvement project you’ve been putting off (provided you can order the necessary supplies) — besides, painting a wall, installing shelving, or upgrading your light fixture can serve as an incredible bonding opportunity. Once you’ve completed the project together, reward yourselves with dinner delivery from your favorite local joint.

One of the best indoor date ideas is delving into a home improvement project, like painting a wall.
Shutterstock

7. Make your own beer.

Rather than getting a six-pack of IPAs delivered, shop online for a beer-making kit. Make a day date out of concocting your own suds (which will taste so much better knowing you brewed them), and sip on the fruits of your labor while watching a flick or playing a board game.

8. Plan a future adventure.

Got a case of cabin fever? While taking a romantic getaway may not be realistic RN, you can totally start plotting your next trip so you have something to look forward to down the line. Create a Pinterest board with some inspiration for destinations and activities, and start researching hotels so that when jet-setting becomes feasible again, you can finally take the #baecation of your dreams.

9. Film your own baking show.

You and your SO could be one video away from becoming YouTube sensations. So, whip out your smartphone and film your experience trying out a brand new dessert recipe. At the very least, documenting this date will offer a nice dose of nostalgia down the line.

10. Watch a concert.

Even though live performances are currently canceled, you can still find a recording of your favorite band or solo act and recreate the experience (with the added bonus of no strangers spilling beer on you). Best of all, you can sing along as loud as you want to. Check out NPR’s Tiny Desk series, which features intimate video performances from such artists as Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and the Jonas Brothers.

11. Have a couple’s casino night.

Bust out the cards and chips and make a few friendly wagers — and if you don’t want to place bets using real money, consider chores or fun personal favors to cash in on.

One of the indoor date ideas you might not think of is having your own casino night.
Shutterstock

12. Plan a DIY paint night.

YouTube is a goldmine of free step-by-step painting classes, and you and your boo will no doubt have a blast working on your individual interpretations of the artwork — even if they don’t come out looking like masterpieces. Order supplies on Amazon, or just use whatever tools you already have at home. You can even swap paintings at the end to hang in your respective abodes.

13. Have an indoor picnic.

No bug spray required for this romantic indoor date — all you need is a towel or blanket, a basket or bin with nosh and libations, and perhaps a game or two to keep you occupied.

14. Plot out a scavenger hunt for each other.

Using sticky notes, write out clever clues that lead your partner to different locations around your home until they hunt down their thoughtful prize.

15. Start a two-person book club.

Listening to the same book together can prompt all kinds of inspiring discussions about your relationship, your goals, and your own life experiences. If you have a library card, you can try connecting your account to Hoopla, a digital service that boasts a vast selection of audiobooks.

16. Create your own mindfulness retreat.

There’s hardly a better time than now to focus on being present and aware of your thoughts and feelings. Turn your home into a mini retreat for a day, complete with meditation and yoga sessions, mindfulness exercises, healthy eats, and a steady supply of hot tea.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. 

 

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Rebecca – Chapter 10 – A Rare Bird – Part 1

“I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Would she simply be another beautiful bird who would perch beside me temporarily only to fly away?”

I met Rebecca 3 years ago on a date. Rebecca has recently made an appearance in my life so I thought I’d re-run this series so everyone won’t have to go back and search for her series to catch up. Enjoy!

Fall of 2016

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last date with Rebecca.

We both have very busy schedules, (Here we go again! See: Cherie) I set up a casual meet up at my favorite bar, Square 1682.

I was really looking forward to seeing Rebecca again. There was just something enchanting about her that I hadn’t encountered with any of the other women I’ve had in my life.

I arrived at Square around 5:15pm. My favorite bartender, Roman was on shift and he gave me a warm greeting and my usual drink. Chardonnay with a side of ice. I was actually feeling a bit nervous about seeing Rebecca again. But it was a good energy. More like anticipation and excitement mixed with apprehension. I haven’t been nervous on any of the other dates I’d been on but like I said, Rebecca has that certain something I find so intriguing.

I hit my wine hard and Roman set me up with a second. This should do the trick. Just a little extra to knock the edge off.

I waited, looking at my phone, and checking out the people that came and went from the neighborhood and the hotel attached to this bar. Seems like I’m always early and waiting for someone. Mostly women. The only person I know who is on point with the clock is my buddy Church. (See: Church – Brand Ambassador) He’s always on time or early. I love that about him.

I hate waiting for people who are always late for everything. We have more technology than ever to be punctual and navigate the world around us and no one can get it together. All of the technology is in their pockets and they still fuck it up. It just shows all the technology in the world doesn’t make people better, if anything, it makes them lazy.

My dad drilled punctuality into me as a youth and it has stood well with me to this day. Your word is your bond. Be on time. It shows that the person you’re meeting matters to you and their time is valuable.

I hate waiting so much I named my band in California, Haytwayten, because I hate waitin’ for people!

But I digress as usual. Rebecca is a lovely young girl worth waiting for, and wait I will. *sigh*

But, my wait is short lived because I hear the revolving door to the bar spin behind me. My heart beats faster because I’m expecting to see her lovely visage dressed in her usual skirt and heels.

But the girl who approaches me has her hair tied back in a pony tail, no makeup and is wearing blue hospital scrubs.

“Charles!” She hugs me as I rise from my chair. She feels good in my arms like an old friend. “Sorry I’m late, it’s been crazy. As you can see I just came from the… well, you know.”

“No worries. You look fine.” (I’d totally let this nurse give me a sponge bath.) “Thank you for coming out to meet with me!”

“Likewise, Sir!”

“How are things at the hospital?”

“The usual grind. 12 hour shifts and lots of overtime.”

“Sounds a bit like my life, but I’m sure not nearly as exciting.”

“Yea, but you don’t have to deal with a bunch of perverted old guys. You’d think if they’re in the hospital, they’d behave themselves. I mean, they’re old but they still look and make their little remarks. Some old coot pinched my butt the other day!”

I smiled. “I’m sorry to laugh but I think if you were my nurse you’d be my favorite, no matter how old I was. But I can imagine how that can be annoying on a daily basis, but I have to think… even if these old guys can no longer do anything they still have the ideas.”

“I suppose, but come on!”

“I know. What are you drinking?” (Roman appears on cue)

“I’ll have a Moscow Mule.”

 

It was so good to see her. She looked great. Fresh and pure. I liked seeing the stripped down basic Rebecca model. Still beautiful without any glam. The witty repartee, the laughter. The way she’d throw her head back and giggle at things I say and stories I’d tell. The way she’d touch my arm to tell me something, or moments when she’d sustain eye contact with me longer than necessary.

Or the way she’d gently sway to the music and smile.

Just a lovely soul.

I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Would she simply be another beautiful bird who would perch beside me temporarily only to fly away?

I was just so happy in that moment to sit beside her and chat. That was enough. I had no other plan. Just talk and laugh and drink with her. This is always the best part.

It was just so easy to be with Rebecca. The conversation simply flowed. I think some of us have had the honor to meet people in our lives that just fit.

Rebecca feels like that girl.

I think tonight I’m going to tell her that I’m having real feelings for her and I’d really like to go forward with some sort of relationship with her. 

We’d been hanging out for about two hours when she came out with this:

“I have to tell you something.”

“Oh awesome. I think I have something too.”

“You go first.”

“No. Ladies first, Rebecca.”

(Fingers crossed! Could this be a mutual moment for the both us?)

“Charles… I have an opportunity to go abroad and be a nurse to help out impoverished countries.”

Bombshell.

I hope Rebecca couldn’t see all of the color draining from my face.

“Wait…what?”

“Yea. It would be an awesome opportunity for me career-wise and these countries really need help. I want to take what I know and help people.”

“Ummm… awesome. Where?”

“Paraguay!”

“South America?” (Me, still stunned and feeling that old searing in my chest left over from my ex girlfriend, Annabelle when verbal bombs are dropped)

“Yea… that country really needs nurses. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

(Fuck. I could lose her again) “Do you know much about the country? Who else is going? Is is definite?”

“If I get it, I’ll be down there with one other girl I know from the hospital.

I’ve done a bunch of research. Although land-locked, Paraguay has the advantage of two major river systems that provide abundant water for energy, industry, and agriculture. For 35 years one of the most brutally oppressive military dictatorships in South America, under Alfredo Stroessner, severely limited education and human rights, with far-reaching effects that continued even after a democratic government began in 1993.

“That sounds dangerous, Rebecca.”

“Dude…twelve years ago, Paraguay was only slightly less lacking in professional nurses than Haiti, but has the advantage of a growing economy and a very young population eager to become take advantage of educational opportunities. Although the most recent statistics are several years out of date, that number has now risen significantly.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Yes! It’s an incredible opportunity to make a difference. Health care provision has improved as more and more professional health care workers are required to do internships in areas that are lacking medical care. Paraguay has two official languages: Spanish and Guarani. The latter is spoken much more frequently than Spanish in rural areas, but basic health care and education can be provided in Spanish, although less effectively. I speak fluent Spanish, as you know… Other ethnic groups, including German, Korean, Japanese, and indigenous groups local to Paraguay provide opportunity for international nurses who want to be able to speak at one language when they arrive.

“Yea but is it safe?” (Me… still shell shocked)

“Yes! The flora and fauna of Paraguay make it a beautiful country for both short term and longer engagement. Populated with warm and friendly people, it’s a good place to make a difference professionally. The fucking ratio is a thousand people to one nurse! They need my help!”

“Wow… Ummm, that’s amazing news, Rebecca. I’m speechless. I’m so proud of you. (Fuck!) How long?

“Oh… only three to six months.”

“I see. When do you find out if you get picked?”

“Like in the next two weeks! Isn’t it incredible? It’ll get me out of here and give me a chance to see a different part of the world and culture.”

“Well, I think that’s great news, Rebecca. Travel can be so broadening for a young person. Do it now while you still can.” (Dying inside)

Rebecca clasped my hands. “Chaz. I’m so glad you’re happy for me. I didn’t know how you’d take the idea.”

“I think it’s wonderful!” (Bold-faced lie) “I’m really proud of you, Rebecca. Go for it.”

Rebecca hugged me and kissed me quickly on the lips. “Thank you so much! I’ll let you know if I get it!”

“Yea, awesome.” (Ready to kill myself)

“Oh what did you want to tell me?”

 

“I don’t remember.”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock – Van Halen and the Craziest, Most Debaucherous Party of 1984

“Lost Weekend” directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb on all the sex, drugs and rock and roll you’d expect from Diamond Dave and Co.

In 1984, at the height of the arena rock era of big hair, bigger egos, lots of sex and drugs and all sorts of debauchery, MTV held a contest promising a “Lost Weekend With Van Halen.” Over a million contestants submitted their entries via postcard in an attempt to win a chance to spend a weekend in Detroit partying with the band and their entourage during the band’s infamous 1984 Tour, singer David Lee Roth’s last (for a while at least).

Kurt Jefferis, a 20-year-old department store loading dock employee from Pennsylvania, mailed in more than 10 postcards and had one of them pulled from the lot to win the contest.

“You’ll have no idea where you are, you’ll have no idea where you’re going, and probably, no memory of it after you go,” Lee Roth claimed in the promo for the contest. A promise that lined up with the reputation of the band who laid the groundwork for other hard-partying hair bands from Poison to Mötley Crüe.

Well, DLR wasn’t quite right about lost memories as Jefferis and the buddy who accompanied him, Tom Winnick, actually remember a lot about their trip to Detroit Rock City. What they recall is a two-day binge featuring, among other X-rated happenings, Jack Daniels, beer, champagne, lobster, filet mignon, cocaine, a food fight and a groupie named Tammy.

The pair’s recollections, as well as many others, are captured in Lost Weekend, a new short documentary film from directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb (GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of WrestlingA Life in Waves) which recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film weaves together clips of the band, interviews with Jefferis and Winnick, and plenty of archival footage from the weekend to create a visual time capsule which will likely evoke feelings of nostalgia whether or not you’re a fan of Van Halen or not.

That makes sense considering how the idea for the project came about Thomason and Whitcomb — neither of whom were actually huge Van Halen fans — tell InsideHook.

“Brett and I have always had a love for all things nostalgia,” Thomason says. “We grew up in the ’80s, so we have explored that in our previous films and this was really kind of born out of late-night watching YouTube clips of old MTV videos and stuff like that and just kind of having a wild idea. We saw the bumper for The Last Weekend trailer and it was like, ‘Well, let’s do a doc about that guy.’ It was kind of a joke and then I did more research and read a bit more his story thought, ‘Oh, this would actually make a good short doc’ so we pursued it.”

Keeping the film short (less than 15 minutes) was intentional and allowed them to capture a snapshot of Jefferis’ 15 minutes of fame as well as the period of time when it occurred.

“Even though we are predominantly feature documentary filmmakers, this one just seemed like a fun one to make,” Whitcomb says. “We’ve been to festivals where we’ve had really good experiences watching short documentaries and they have never left our minds. We kind of wanted to make something like that. Where people can have a good time in 15 minutes and then think back on and go ‘Oh, I remember that Van Halen documentary.’ It’s something short and entertaining. You can get in and out and have a good time.”

Kurt Jefferis and David Lee Roth in “Lost Weekend.” (Window Pictures)
Kurt Jefferis and David Lee Roth in “Lost Weekend.” (Window Pictures)

Despite the film’s reduced length, Thomason and Whitcomb didn’t have to leave much on the cutting room floor and found Jefferis and Winnick to be very forthcoming about everything that went down on April 5th and 6th in ’84.

“Kurt was much younger then so there were things that took place I think he was a little coy about with us but it ends up working out in the film because the viewers aren’t dumb,” Thomason says. “There are some things left to the imagination but I think we explored most of what happened and what they were open to discussing. I think it was a wild weekend, but not so wild that we couldn’t get those stories. It was kind of perfect. Today it would be a lot more sterile, obviously. But yeah, back then it was the wild weekend they promised.”

“It was almost on par with what MTV said they would be doing,” Whitcomb adds. “The experience MTV advertised was pretty much exactly the experience that they had.”

But probably not one MTV would be able of offer in a similar contest today.

“Bands partied differently back in the day than they do now,” Thomason points out. “And obviously that comes with some things that might be frowned upon or might be difficult to deal with today. With our guys Kurt and Tom, they were so young … It’s definitely not something that’s in the forefront of the film but we were definitely aware there would probably be people watching who have those thoughts and we definitely wouldn’t hide from that or anything.”

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – The Night We Opened For Y & T

Clothes start coming off, and it is a glorious tangle of sex and desire.

Warning! This post is not safe for work! NSFW!

This hot waitress Melanie comes up to me at the kitchen at Merlin McFlys in Santa Monica. I’m working as a cook, while trying to make it as a metal god in L.A. I’m a total loser and struggling, but loving life because I’m surrounded by moist women and nothing else but California sunshine.

Merlin McFly’s was a cool place to work. The people who owned them had a chain of them and each one had a different theme. The great part about this one is it was all about magic. (See: California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Merlin McFly’s)

It was a crazy time but when I look back on it an incredibly eye-opening and exhilarating.

This cute waifish blonde waitress Melanie approached me one night. I was balls deep in chicken fingers and zucchini sticks .

“Hey, I like your band and you like my band Glider, right?”

“Oh course. You guys are so good.” ( A bold faced lie) I fucking hated her Blondie rip off piece of shit band. I love her, because she is a buttery sweet blonde, and I hate her boyfriend because I made $500 putting a floor into a furniture store in Hollywood with this prick and he’s a beat up call.

But it was extra money so I did it but he’s an asshole and I’m sure he’s a bully to this sweetie.

“We have a chance to open for Y&T at the Troubadour on Friday but we need a little harder band to go on after us to open for them.

“Mel… is that my band? Because if that’s true I’m rock hard right mow.”

“Yea. That’s the gig despite your hard on.”

“Stop it. we’re in.”

I go home that night and tell the band. They’re ecstatic. It seems like the rest of the week takes forever but Friday finally arrives and we’re ready to do load in.

The band gets there and I’m a little nervous.

Frank: “How are you feeling there, Chaz?”

Me: “I’m a little scared.”

Frank: “I’d rather be scared, than bored…. Let’s go.”

And off we went. We played the Troubadour. Glyder came out and they did their sweet Blondie set. Who cares. We came out and killed it in a club that John Lennon was thrown out of for heckling the Smothers Brothers.

We crushed our set and Y&T comes out and is so much louder and more powerful than our little band. I feel that. I feel that what we did was solid and the audience liked it but we’re no one. They’re here to see Y&T. I don’t even give a shit who these fuckers are other that my friend Melanie got us here and we’re nobody.

The people are here to see Y&T play Lipstick and Leather.

I’m hanging at the bar getting free 151 and cokes with Frank and the boys and this girl walks up to me.

She’s wearing a beautiful white dress. She looks like Christie Brinkley with a voice like Marilyn Monroe. WTF?

This is a mixed crowd but mostly hair metal. It’s 1983 and we are in full swing. This little girl seems out of place. She comes up to me and immediately starts hitting on me. That was a luxury back then. It was easy when you were a musician in L.A. and pretty.

“Hey. I’m Chaz what’s your deal?”

“I’m Patty. I just wanted to meet you. I work at a restaurant and I came with some co-workers. One of the busboys likes me and I’m not into him. I’m into you.”

I’m taken by this pure beauty. Oh, the ease of the power of rock back then…

“You’re a lovely girl, Patty.”

“Come home with me, Chaz.”

It was that easy. I had gone from a pimple faced loser in middle school with braces and glasses to a guy that just had to show up and the ladies flocked. I still didn’t know who the hell I was or what I was doing but loved the attention.

I talked to my buddy Tim who came with us to the show without his wife Donna. (See: California Dreamin’ – Tim’s Wife Donna) He said we should pull a train on her but I told her it wasn’t like that this time and I wanted to be with this sweet baby alone.

We got back to her apartment in West Hollywood and we fall to the floor through the transom. Her record collection comes out and it’s scattered across the floor. We’re on the floor amidst her records rolling around and making out.

Clothes start coming off, and it’s a glorious tangle of sex and desire.

We end up in her bedroom, and she starts asking me about a girlfriend and/or a wife. I tell her I have neither. In this moment I’m telling the truth.

She lets it go. We’re getting into it and we’re both pretty drunk. I don’t know why I used to drink 151 and cokes back then. But like any stupid kid I guess you just want what’s strong and fast.

I almost don’t know how to describe what happens next with out being too graphic. It was over 35 years ago so just know that it was a one time thing. Even as jaded as I had become being in a band and living in L.A., this blew my mind.

She asks me to get her started with my digits. Okay, seems a little juvenile but I’ll do whatever she wants at this point. One, two, then three… then four. That seems a bit much and I’m surprised about this. I ask her if she’s okay and she says she loves it. She tell me to keep going.

Okay at this point I remember removing my fingers from her and then and taking off my  LED watch and dropping it into my shoe so I wouldn’t lose it or forget it.

Patty tells me to go in with my whole hand. I’m super turned on at this point because I’ve never experienced anything like this and didn’t know a woman could accommodate this sort of thing.

But she did. I was wrist deep in this girl. She was in her twenties. How was she able to do this? She liked it. I’m a little freaked out but in my drunken mind I can handle it.

This is called fisting. I never thought I’d ever be engaged in this sort of situation. As crazy as our adventures have been out here this seems over the top. I actually thought child birth for this woman may not even hurt. But it was still bizarre.

If someone told me my night after opening for Y&T would end like this. I would have just looked at them in mute protest.

Then she asks me to open the top drawer of her dresser. I do as I’m told and that’s when I see the biggest dildo I’ve ever seen on Earth. I’m still a little wet behind the ears and it’s all a new world to me.

She asks me to give it to her with this monster dildo. At this point I’m having a little fuselage envy. How can my little band go on after Fist and Hammer of the Gods? If I have intercourse with her after this episode, it’ll be like throwing a hotdog down a hallway, right?

But Patty’s loving it and is happy she’s opened toyland to me. I never expected this.

After the crazy monster insertion play she wants me to go on stage. Surprisingly it went well. I always carried condoms with me in those days because I was deathly afraid of catching an STD. Like… terrified. Scared of drugs and venereal disease.

We get it on and it’s fire. She was so beautiful I would never have known she was such a sexual dynamo when I met this waitress.

I tell her I’m going home and she gets back on the, “You’ve got a girlfriend or a wife.” I tell her no but she doesn’t believe me.

I walk out onto Hollywood Boulevard. I don’t even know what time it is. I hail a taxi and he takes me back to Santa Monica. At the time I think it was expensive. Funny how it was only $11 and a tip.

I’m happy to be back to the apartment and in my own bed.

She calls me the next day and tells me she wants to have a threesome with me and her girlfriend.

I tell her I’ll think about it.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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How to Save the Most Money at Bars, According to Bartenders

Did those cocktails from last night leave a few extra, unexpected digits on your credit card?

(And, uh, maybe those drinks merrily offered to your friends — hey, put it on my tab! — didn’t help.)

Navigating the cost of going out, whether to a sophisticated cocktail bar or your favorite dive down the street, isn’t as easy as it might seem.

This is especially true if you’re ultimately trying to have fun and not think about finances, and if you’re not seasoned at figuring out the maze of a drinks menu, which somehow always looks a little fuzzier as the night rolls on.

To see if it’s possible to save money on one of most people’s biggest expenses (without swearing off drinking altogether, which is always an option), we talked to those who know best: bartenders themselves. Here, they share their own tips and strategies for going out — without going over-budget.

Well, well, well.

“Happy hour of course is the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind, but there are other ways to find good deals,” says Meredith Hayman, cocktail director at R6 Distillery in El Segundo, California, who’s also worked behind the bar in the Los Angeles area for over 13 years.

“Check out the well offerings [also known as house or rail liquors because they’re the go-to spirits used by staff],” she says. “Every bar offers these and they are typically around $10 and often what they use in their cocktails anyway. Talk to them and ask what’s in their well.”

Be honest, and servers will frequently be honest in return about which well options are worthwhile or not — and when you land on a promising option, you can request it in a standard cocktail.

Happy hour doesn’t have to be so obvious.

Happy hour mostly exists to lure in new customers and increase foot traffic during off-peak hours with large-volume orders. It has advantages (the discounts!) and disadvantages (the crowds!), but one perk is the ability to squeeze a few dollars off more experimental items.

“There are some interesting takes on [happy hour], especially in wine bars, where they use reduced pricing as a means to have their guests try different grape varietals and move out of their comfort zones, which I am all for,” says Frank Caiafa, beverage director at The Stayton Room at New York City’s Lexington Hotel. This can also apply to new tap beers or a house cocktail the head bartender is tweaking. If you’re willing to try something new, resist going to your default order and read the list from top to bottom.

Fall back on the shot-and-beer specials — or the wine bottle list.

“In more divey spots, where I am wary that I will get a good cocktail, a shot and beer can go a long way,” Hayman advises. Otherwise known as boilermakers, these supreme deals deliver exactly what’s listed and pack an alcoholic punch. They may or may not be advertised, but just ask your bartender to see what’s available.

Also “check out the wine bottle list,” Hayman adds, especially if you’re a discerning wine fan at a place with a decent list. “Don’t be scared. You can get a bottle for $40, and that is four drinks right there.” It’s not always easy, but estimating what you might drink at the beginning of the night — and what your drinking partner’s plan is, too — can save you both some money.

Go with draft beer…

Draft beer, or beer delivered directly from the keg, is the prize of any brew fan. It also makes the most monetary sense. “Choose draft when you can. There’s less overhead for the bar and the brewery,” Hayman advises, so the quality is higher for the price. “You also get a better beer, since it’s been dispensed from the tap. Think tap soda over bottled soda.”

…but don’t limit yourself anywhere on the menu.

If the draft list is sparse, look into all the offerings including canned and bottled beers (especially the former, which cost less to produce and can present amazing deals) to find something you think you’ll love.

The same goes for spirits. You may find that the standard liquor pour and that premium brand you’ve wanted to try are only separated by a few dollars.

Remember that you’re allowed to ask questions.

A nice cocktail bar is more expensive than a sports bar, and that’s by design. In a high-end establishment, especially in a city with a high cost of living, “be prepared to spend $13 to $18 a cocktail,” says Hayman.

But there’s a bonus: “You tend to get an expert along with it. Here you find the cocktails geeks, the hospitality experts, the ones that make this their career, their focus, their purpose,” Hayman says. “There is no question they can’t answer and you leave feeling that the cost was well worth it.” And while it’s not reflected that way in your checking account, isn’t it true a cocktail you adore at least feels less expensive?

About that infamous “buyback.”

The “buyback,” or the practice of getting a drink for free from your bartender, is mythical and poorly understood. You should never expect it just because you bought three beers or unloaded your thoughts about the latest season of Succession. But it can feel like a gift for those who do get it — and those people are always good patrons.

“The best way to get a buyback is to smile, be patient, and use your manners. At the end of the day, bartenders are human beings with feelings and emotions,” says Justin Campbell, bar director of The H.Wood Group, which is behind LA spots like Bootsy Bellows and The Nice Guy.

So don’t annoy your bartender by bragging about who you know. Don’t touch the garnish dishes. And don’t be obnoxious. Instead, be an amiable regular, because as Hayman succinctly puts it, “Many places reward you for your loyalty.”

 

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Guy Stops Drinking Alcohol, Shows How Much Sobriety Changed Him In 3 Years

I LOVE this guy!

Giving up your vices and guilty pleasures can lead to a happier and healthier life that’s full of purpose. Even though you might not see the changes day-to-day when you give up drinking alcohol, they’re very apparent to others. One of the things that can keep you motivated is documenting the changes and looking at the photos side by side.

Well, one man has made the phrase ‘one day at a time’ fit both his fight with alcoholism and documenting his journey through sobriety. These last three years, Kenny D. has taken snaps of how he looked when he quit alcohol at key stages in his journey of sobriety. The changes within the first month are already huge and he is almost unrecognizable in the final pictures.

“I took a picture of myself the day I got my first sobriety coin, 24 hours sober. I felt so ill and I looked so bad, I wanted to remember it so I wouldn’t forget. The day I got my 30-day coin, I thought my look had changed drastically so I took another selfie,” Kenny told Bored Panda, talking about the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sobriety coins given to alcoholics who stay sober for a certain amount of time.

Scroll down for Bored Panda’s full and exclusive in-depth interview with Kenny who got back his life, regained his health, and discovered new depths in his character by giving up drinking. For more powerful Bored Panda posts about sobriety and how much people change when they give up alcohol or drugs, check out these articles here, here, here, and here.

Kenny went sober three years ago. When he took his first photo, he was feeling awful

“I liked showing my family and friends the side-by-side of 24 hours and 30 days to show the change,” Kenny said. “Of course, they were skeptical because I had spent the last several years terrorizing my family and friends while I was drunk. So I kept them to myself mostly for the first year, but I always took a selfie every time I got a coin. On my one-year anniversary, I took my picture and posted a side by side on Reddit and called it the Progression of Sobriety. I thought it would just be something uplifting for people to see, I had no idea I would get the kind of response that I did. The post was flooded with comments from people asking me about alcoholism and how I stopped drinking. Asking how they can stop or how to help their own friends or family stop. And a ton of good positive kudos and congrats for my transformation. So after the first year, I felt like I’d make it a bit of a tradition to post my progress on my Sobriety birthday on November 2. I also keep with the tradition of taking it in my bathroom just for continuity. Year two was last year and this year was year three.”

Barely a month later, he was looking and feeling much better

Kenny revealed how much of a problem drinking became for him, as well as how it brought him to the edge. “I started drinking in college. But it didn’t become a real problem until about 10 years ago. I began drinking often and always to excess. I discovered at one point that I could not control the amount I drank once I had taken the first drink. I could not drink without getting drunk. So I decided to quit. I would last a few days, a few weeks, a few months, one time for a year. Always with relapses in between. By 2016, I had gotten to the point that I would get drunk every day. I drank 12–24 drinks a day and I was blacking out 3–4 times a week. I knew I had a problem but I didn’t know what to do. I used to stand in the bathroom and look at myself in the mirror and wish I wasn’t a drunk. I would wonder how I got this way. Sometimes I was just indifferent to whether I lived or died. I just wanted it to be over and I didn’t care how,” he explained the pit of despair he was in just several years ago.

Kenny kept up being sober with the help of the 12 step program, loved ones, and AA members

“The last time I drank, I had a week of vacation and I had bought myself a case of beer and was going to ration it for the week. 3–4 beers a night,” Kenny went into detail about how he finally got sober. “The first night after I put my son to bed, I opened my first beer. That was at 8 p.m. By 11 p.m., I had drunk 19 beers. Something inside me said, ‘Kenny, your life is no longer manageable.’”

He also fixed his diet and started exercising

“A friend of mine had gotten sober a year before and I did the only thing I could think to do. I reached out for help. I texted her and told her I had a problem and I needed help. The next morning, she picked me up and drove me to my first 12-step meeting and I’ve been sober ever since.”

Kenny took a photo every time he got a new AA sobriety chip

Kenny was also very open about the greatest challenges that he faced after he got sober three years ago. “My greatest challenge was the working of the 12 steps. 12 step recovery is a complete overhaul of your life. It is a fact-finding and fact-facing process. It caused me to face how I felt about other people and to clean up the mess I had made in my life while I was drinking. All I wanted to do was to stop drinking and to get my life back. I had no idea that I would get a whole new life that was full of more joy, happiness, and freedom than I could have possibly imagined.”

The man was completely open about how much drinking alcohol affected him

He continued: “The biggest difference between myself now and three years ago is that today I live my life by a set of spiritual principles. From morning to night, I run all of my decisions through a sort of spiritual filter. I do my best to not be resentful or spiteful or angry, though I am human and I have a tendency to forget sometimes. I’m not a saint. If I have a problem that I can’t tackle with stuff in my normal spiritual toolkit, I get on the phone to my sponsor or another alcoholic-in-recovery.”

Previously, Kenny couldn’t control himself when it came to alcohol

“There is always somebody around to help, I just have to reach out. The most difficult part about living with such success in sobriety for me is avoiding what they call ‘resting on your laurels.’ Getting complacent and going back to my old way of doing things. I get over it by going to lots of meetings as often as I can, working with other alcoholics, and practicing the spiritual principles in all of my affairs.”

Kenny used to drink 12-24 drinks each night…

“In my personal life, I’ve become an avid reader, I love to learn new things and read nonfiction and biographies. I’ve recently begun painting and that has opened up a whole new part of my brain that I didn’t know existed,” Kenny said about his newfound passions.

…and he used to lose consciousness three or four nights each week while drinking

“And as you can see from the pictures, I’ve lost 75 pounds (34 kilograms) since I got sober. I eat much cleaner and I exercise now. My favorite form of exercise is DDP Yoga. Awesome program and it completely changed my whole perspective on exercise and healthy living. Three years into sobriety, every day is an awesome day and I can’t wait to experience the next awesome thing or meet the next awesome person whom I can learn something from.”

Kenny was officially three years sober on November 2

People were very supportive of Kenny’s journey

                                                    You look fantastic, man!
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Signs You Could Be Dating An Alcoholic

They need help

DRUNK WOMAN (Daily Nation)

Some people are so good at masking their real selves when they want to achieve something. That’s why it’s possible to date an alcoholic without knowing it. And by the time you know the truth, you will have tied the knot and a divorce is not always an easy decision.

When dating, you need to have your eyes wide open so that you know your partner well enough. It’s unlikely that they will come and tell you that they are struggling with alcohol. It’s upon you to watch out for the signs and make a decision.

If your partner portrays these signs, it’s possible that they are alcoholic:

1. They are always looking for an opportunity to drink

drunkdrunk

An alcoholic will even celebrate the smallest achievement with alcohol. When you have a small fight, they will go out drinking in order to release stress. It means they depend on alcohol to cope with the ups and downs of life.

2. They do not stick to one brand

Most people who take alcohol have a particular brand which they stick to. If your partner is not one of them and takes anything that is available, you need to get worried. Alcoholics do not care what they drink so long as it makes them drunk.

3. They have problems related to drinking

Signs you are dating an alcoholic Signs you are dating an alcoholic

If your partner has ever lost a job or done something humiliating due to drinking and they still won’t stop, they have a problem. They know how much drinking has cost them but still won’t stop because they are already addicted.

4. Withdrawal symptoms

Alcoholic signs

 

Does your partner often complain of headaches, nausea or anxiety after going a few days without drinking? That’s a telltale sign that you should never ignore.

5. They have a high tolerance for alcohol

After downing three beers, you already are feeling tipsy. But your partner is on their eighth and show no symptoms of being drunk.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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