7 Cheap Dates for Newlyweds

interracial couple embracing, couple hugging, S.C. Rhyne

If your date night budget has shrunk after marriage, don’t fret — there are plenty of ways to get some quality time with your honey, even on a tight budget. Here are a few low-cost or free date ideas for newlyweds:

Rent Bikes and Ride Around The City

Many cities offer bikeshare programs that give locals and out-of-towners access to bicycles as a way to “green up” transportation. Take advantage of the low-cost rental and take a ride around the city. You can go in the morning to get some fresh air or take a romantic ride at sunset.

Bike share programs like Seattle’s Pronto or Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare offer city dwellers access to shared bikes for just $85 annually. Other programs like Phoenix, Arizona’s Grid Bikes cost just $79 per year, or you could opt to pay an hourly fee for a one-time ride. Check out what your city offers online.

Go to a Sports Game

We’re not talking about seeing a professional sports game, instead, go see a minor league team, or even a high school team play ball. At the game, buy a bag of popcorn or a hotdog and test your luck by purchasing a raffle ticket–you might leave with a big prize. Admission is generally cheap, if not free, which makes this date idea a winner.

Turn Your Backyard Into a Playground

You don’t have to leave your house to have a good time, just transform your backyard into a poolside playground and lounge the day away. Inflate a few floating pool lounges and toss them into the pool, mix up some margaritas and slather on the sunscreen and you’re all set to enjoy this low-cost date.

Go Thrift Shopping

Visit the local flea market or thrift shop to find vintage furnishings and decorations for your new home together. Make a date out of it and work together to haggle with the vendors. Couples can take this time to learn about your spouse’s design preferences and style. And by purchasing something that could use a little refurbishing, like a chair that needs to be reupholstered, for example, the two of you could get your hands dirty and work together to bring it back to life.

Take a Hike

Adventurous couples looking to test their limits and explore new places can take a hike together. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, choose a trail with beautiful views and take the time on the trail to talk. The peaceful setting provides a wonderful opportunity to not only get in touch with nature but your partner as well.

Support Your Favorite Cause and Volunteer Together

If helping others is second nature to both you and your partner, give back to your community by volunteering together. Use a website like VolunteerMatch.com to find a cause and opportunities nearby. From working with animals to lending your skills to a non-profit, Volunteer Match offers hundreds of unique volunteer opportunities that can help to strengthen the community and your bond with your partner.

See a Movie In the Park

Many neighborhoods host a movie night in the local park during the summer months. Bring a blanket and some traditional movie munchies like Junior Mints or M&Ms and cozy up to your hubby. This date is free and it’s a great way to meet your neighbors if you’re new to the community.

Do you have any ideas for a great but yet inexpensive way to spend time together? Tell me about it on Facebook, twitter, or Google!

The Inbetween Stage

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So a couple weeks into my funemployment, things are not so fun anymore. I am officially an applicant to my first choice university and this week I will bang out another application as well as look for a potential supervisor at a couple of other schools.

Applying to doctorate programs is much more than filling out an application. I have to write 2,000-4,000 words (not including bibliography) research proposals for each program. But before I can do that, I have to informally reach out to a professor and see if they have any interest in the topic that I am proposing. If not, then I might as well move onto the next school. One program that I started looking into last Wednesday has over 100 professors in their political science department! Luckily, I have until September to apply for that one.

As I bang out these applications, I am now in the “waiting stage”. Waiting for an acknowledgement, waiting for an interview, waiting for a letter, waiting to exhale. And this is the stage where I start to contemplate my decisions and how irrational I may have been to do this.

Meanwhile, the start-up for a part time job is coming slow. I did the training and now I’m waiting for the HR stuff to come through. Hopefully by next week I can start. I also hope to start writing chapters to my sequel in July!! I had already started on a couple, but I want to wait until I have a fair amount before I start posting weekly! I’m also reading a whole lot more smut, so my creative juices are flowing…no, not those juices — at least not yet!

I have also made an effort to “get out more”. I recently attended a masquerade event held by Seeking Arrangement at Stage 48 in midtown. I was disappointed by this event. It was promoted as way for members of the site to meet in person, but it seemed like everyone there had already came with a “friend”. Or maybe there was an imbalance of more women than men–good for him but not for me.

Also, Stage 48 is a club open to the public, but it seemed like they opened the party to the public too. A couple of guys that I danced with didn’t even know that this was a private (paid) event. They just saw the lights, heard the music and paid the cover charge to come in. I wouldn’t recommend another one of their events.

Now, what have I learned in the last few weeks? I definitely have been happier, less stress and dreaming bigger. All this has made me realize how soul-crushing my last job was. Strange, because it didn’t start out that way…but somewhere along, it became apparent that I was devolving. So leaving is a huge plus, and I feel more creative and inspired, and did I mention happier? I’m still worried that my plans may not pan-out. Getting into a school will be tough, so I have to prepare myself for some rejection while staying positive for an acceptance.

I know that it will take time (like 3-4 months before I know for sure where I’m going), so patience and engaging hobbies are the way to go.

So are you in a transition point in your life? How are you dealing with transitioning and what are your dreams for the next step?

Tell me @ReporterandGirl

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Romance on the Road: The First Road Trip as a Couple

couple driving, road trip, adventure in love,S.C Rhyne

You’ve experienced the first date, the first kiss and now, it’s time for your first road trip. Road trips are an adventurous and exciting way to travel and explore with your significant other. You want to ensure that the special memories you’re making are full of joy and not clouded by stress or conflict. Take some time to consider the various factors involved with your expedition, keeping in mind any potential clashes of preference you and your honey might have, so you can be prepped for a worry-free, fun, unforgettable trip.

The Route

If you’re hoping to keep your road trip spontaneous and flexible, jot down a skeleton route plan of the roads you’ll be taking. Checking road and weather conditions before you embark is wise, as you don’t want to be stalled in traffic or held up by road construction. One thing you shouldn’t leave up to chance is where you’ll be making pit stops for fuel. Plan to stop for gas about every 200 miles, depending on the gas mileage and tank size of your car, so you can ensure your safety. Gasbuddy.com will provide you with the cheapest stations to fill up, wherever you are. A real damper on the trip would be running out of gas in a no-cell-service area where the nearest town is hundreds of miles away! Just a little prep will allow you to have the fun and surprising experience you’re looking for.

Food

Car snacks can be a lifesaver when you are both hungry and frustrated, in search for your next meal. You don’t want to become a hangry (hungry/angry) monster around your new love, which can happen to the best of us. Non-perishable goodies like trail mix, energy bars, meat or vegetarian jerky, and water are great staples to always have stocked in the car. To prevent any squabbles over what kind of meal you’ll be eating, plan to alternate who chooses the restaurant and type of cuisine you eat. Even if you both feel like you’re very easy-going when it comes to food, it is great to give the other person control and maybe they’ll even introduce you to your new favorite food.

Lodging

You can either set up your lodging prior to taking your trip or sort it out, day of. If you don’t want to restrict yourself to a timetable with a concrete destination, bring along a tent for camping. Practice setting up the tent, before you leave for your trip, so the two of you aren’t in a frustrating situation of pitching a complicated tent in the dark. If you’re hoping to find cheap lodging, do some research before you leave to determine what towns have better bargains than others.

Activities

Engage with your significant other in new and exciting ways through activities that are specifically related to the culture or region you are visiting. Visit local visitor centers to see what the town and surrounding area has to offer. To get the real down-low on what to do, ask the locals — stopping by a cafe or bar and picking your server’s brain could give you some great ideas. This road trip is an opportunity for the two of you to learn more about each other and will likely reveal many things you may or may not have in common. You should each take turns planning an activity for the two of you to do — whether it’s surfing in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, or visiting a beautiful vineyard with out-of-this-world wines — so you can share your passions with one another. Remember to approach the activities with an open mind and be prepared to go out of your comfort zone — it’s all about sharing, supporting and compromising. If you are eager and open to trying new things, you’re bound to have an incredibly fun and unforgettable time!

So tell me about a road trip you took with your partner!

@ReporterandGirl or on Facebook

I Quit My Job

quit job, keep calm, S.C. Rhyne

I had given three weeks notice to my boss and eventually told everyone else on staff, one-by-one that I was leaving. Friday was my last day there, and it felt real and flew by all too quickly; even though the week had felt slow.

I still felt like there was one or two more ends I needed to tie up, but alas, my direct supervisor told me that most of my day-to-day work that I listed on my exit document was low priority and she wasn’t worried about transitioning it over. Hence, I knew that I just needed to let go. After all, if I’m the one leaving, I can’t still be stressing about the work coverage, right?

spongebob, quit job, sponge bob quitting job, S.C Rhyne, The Reporter and The Girl

Thus, I ex-communicated myself from the calendars, project management software, shared documents, because heck– there are people on there that left six months ago that still have access to those things; and right now I need to detox a little and not have to worry about getting up at 6 a.m to check emails. Not sure, if those people are still working on projects months after they left, but nonetheless, I know I will not.

This is a huge risk, but you have to follow your dreams–or live a nightmare.

So did you quit your job this week? Or tell me about your most memorable quitting experience!

Tweet me @ReporterandGirl

Or post it on Facebook or GooglePlus

Tips to Create a Digital Scrapbook

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A couple years back, a close friend of mine followed her dreams and quit her job to move to Paris, and work in the fashion industry. She barely spoke French and has had an entry level position here in New York City. She did it for a year, and now her and her hubby are in Los Angeles so he can get a break into the music scene.

We started a diary that we would each write in for a few months then mail to each other. It is past due for me to mail the diary back, but I must say….I have a lot to tell her!

So imagine you and your closest friend have been BFFs since grade school. You’ve weathered boyfriends, breakups, and breakouts together, as well as first jobs, cars, and apartments.

Recently, your BFF broke the news that she is moving to a new city. She got a great job offer that she just couldn’t pass up, and within a matter of weeks, she’ll be settling into her new home.

While you have promised to visit each other as much as possible and hold marathon texting sessions, you want to give your best friend something tangible to remember you by — and something that she can look at whenever she is feeling lonely. Thanks to the magic of digital scrapbooking, you can create a beautiful memory book to present to your BFF.

The following tips will help you get started:

Digital Scrapbooking 101

Unlike traditional scrapbooks that use paper and plenty of printed photos, a digital scrapbook relies on the computer and some graphics software to create a gorgeous memory book. You can use a combo of clip art, photos, notes and more to make the digital scrapbook, which can then either be printed out or emailed and stored on your computers.

Gather Your Photos

Before getting started on making the digital scrapbook, organize the zillions of photos that you have of the two of you and your many adventures. You can use your scanner to transform old Polaroids into digital files, and if you have saved old postcards and other tokens of your friendship, you can take photos of them with your phone.

To make sure that your precious work is not lost in the event of a computer crash, save all of your files on a cloud server as you go; this way, you can still access all of your work in case your laptop stops working.

Create Your Own Template

As The Daily Digi notes, it is fun and relatively easy to create your own template for your digital scrapbook; the website offers easy-to-follow instructions that even newbies can tackle. To start, purchase a photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 from Amazon; this will allow you to organize your photos and edit them, as well as create and share your digital scrapbook. For the best quality, use a 12-by-12 sized page with 300 dpi and you can experiment with either white or colored backgrounds. Using the text tool, add in your titles and notes, and then start dragging the photos and other images onto the pages. Be sure to save your work as you go—both to your computer’s desktop and to the cloud server.

Work with a DIY Scrapbook Website

If you are unsure about using photo editing programs, simplify the process a bit and work with a company like Shutterfly; the website has templates built right in that you can select and use to create your digital scrapbook. The site also offers plenty of help and tips on how to upload images and make everything look just perfect. When you are done, you can order printed books of your masterpiece, or send it electronically to your BFF.

Tell me about you long distance friendship @ReporterandGirl or on Facebook!

Insight into the Everyday Man

menandwomen

From a woman’s point of view

So last night an acquaintance of mine hosted an event called “insight into the everyday man”. This featured a panel of three men bravely taking questions for over 3 hours from an audience of fifty women! And these are tough New York urban women, mind you! They asked everything from “Why do men lie?” to “Bare vs. Bush” (my question!). In a nutshell, we spoke about some very hard issues and learned that men aren’t as complex or care about the same things that women do. I think a lot of the questions revealed the insecurities that women have (“How can I get him to marry me?” Or “how do I get out of the friendzone?”) and why these answers can be solved by communication.

jason grae, everyday man, bushbaby, brooklyn event, S.c Rhyne, reporter and girl
TOP: Organizers and Panelists of the event “Insight to the Everyday Man” Bottom: Audience members engaging with panel

Having a Conversation

A man’s reaction to a tough conversation about your relationship can tell you all you need to know about where you both are heading, or not going. Men have fears, but they aren’t taught to express those fears. So when you bring up the conversation about the future or commitment and if he reacts angrily, silent, or defensive– then that is a major red flag that your beau isn’t interested in moving with you further. Yes, men get scared, but a guy that wants to stay with you will get over that fear and communicate that. Very few guys are willing to come right out and say they don’t want to commit because they fear our reactions and hey,

**Bitches be Crazy** cheating boyfriend, girl smash cars, break up, dating, S.C Rhyne

But the point is, many of our questions of what is going on in his head can be solved by having a conversation. You should be listening for what he DOESN’T say, as much as what he DOES say.

Standards or Pressure

So when I walked into the event, I was late and walked into the middle of a conversation about why it was so tough for women in New York City versus the South to meet nice men. One of the gentlemen answering was comparing his dating experience from the West Coast and the South, and concluded that the women up here put “more pressure” on guys. From his point of view, he could understand why — meaning some of the B.S we have to put up with, but sometimes the pressure can be too tough, or women are too difficult to approach. I of course, had to intervene and ask, “Pressure or Standards?” Women (as well as men) should have standards.

dating standards, boyfriend standards, honey boo boo, S.C Rhyne, everyday man

I’m a very blunt and honest person and I expect my partner to be similar too. That’s one of my standards. So, if I feel that someone is making excuses or half-truths, then he isn’t living up to what I expect. Now, some standards can be unrealistic (tall, dark, rich, handsome, and not older than 30) while others are more reasonable (intellectual, provider, honesty, faithful etc…).

One woman, who claims that she is a lawyer, felt that she can only date men who are financially better off or work a white collar job in typically lucrative professions (doctors, lawyers…etc). It was her claim that these men were more intellectual. She has dated the bus driver with sexy abs but who had an empty head. And well, she hasn’t met a stupid doctor. She slipped up and said, “To me, if a man is working in that field [blue collar] then he’s not smart, because an intellectual person would want to build their wealth.”

Well, in today’s market the legal industry is actually over-saturated with lawyers as she should know, and many grads are having a tough time finding a job. Never mind one in a lucrative practice. Meanwhile, many folks who work for our city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, not only have college degrees but do so in mechanical engineering and yes– a bus driver can make 100K a year with overtime. She interjected that it was the exception rather than the norm. I clarified that her point was a stereotype and not a fact. Anything based off a personal experience is a stereotype. A viewpoint. A bias. Period.

stop sign, stop sterotype, funny stop sign, S.C Rhyne

But I digress, standards— we need to clarify what is necessary and what isn’t. I remember when I was with Jon, he claimed to enjoy “stimulating intellectual” conversations, but his idea of intellectual was based on science fiction shows, and not real life science. Thus, one can only judge someone’s intellectual capabilities only to the level as smart as one is.

Going Forward

So I want to introduce the moderator of this event, his name is Jason Grae. He did an excellent job providing his own input and kept the forum moving. You can find Mr. Grae on Facebook. There will definitely be more events here in Brooklyn, which I hope you can all make. However, if you can’t, you can still ask a question to gain insight to the everyday man. Do you want to know what men think, and why they do the things they do (or don’t do) in relationships? Well, email me a question to reporterandthegirl at gmail (dot) com or you can post it in the comments section. I will post each question with Grae’s response! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and G+