5/29/2012

How To Have An Extraordinary Movie Night Date at Home

categories: Classic Dates, Date Idea, How To:

There’s no better way to chillax (yes, I just went there) with your lady at home than to cuddle up and pop in a DVD, or these days “stream” a movie. I’m guessing that many of you reading this don’t really consider Making It A Blockbuster (Netflix?) Night a “date” in the traditional sense. After all, it’s probably a rather common activity that you do whenever you just feel like staying in and taking it easy. Well, as you know, we at Datevitation are all about sharing our ideas about how you can make a common evening uncommon. A typical evening atypical. A ordinary evening extraordinary. I think you catch my drift! Please check out this video where we show you how to do just that!

5/22/2012

5 Steps To Making Your Marriage Proposal The Best Proposal Ever

categories: Date Idea, Romantic Ideas

Please take a moment to watch my proposal to Olga & Eva in the video above.  Olga has described the proposal as the “best proposal ever” but obviously that is a highly subjective standard. What it really means is that it was the best proposal she could have ever imagined, which is all that matters to me. If you are planning a marriage proposal, then making it the best proposal ever in your girlfriend’s mind should be your ultimate goal too. But how do you actually go out and make that a reality? With the benefit of hindsight, I reflected on what I did right and identified 5 steps that, if followed, will put you on the path to creating the best proposal ever as well.

Step 1 – Think Long And Hard  – This is probably the most important step of all, yet most often overlooked. Keep in mind that this is a moment that your girlfriend has dreamed of all of her life. You owe it to her and to yourself to spend quality time thinking about what you can do to make it special and planning exactly how you are going to make it happen. As you can see in the video above, my proposal involved a lot of moving parts, including coordinating with the sand castle sculptor and videographer. This took careful planning and a little help from a really cool (and free) piece of software called Skitch. You can see how I used Skitch to ensure that everything went according to plan in this blog post.

Step 2 – Do Something Memorable – There is something beautiful yet simple with just getting on one knee and popping the question. But if you really want to blow her mind, then try to do something outside-of-the-box. In my case, I knew I wanted to involve Eva in the proposal as well, since this is really about the three of us starting a family together. So when I was brainstorming ideas, I tried to think of something creative that would appeal to both of them. Eva was 2 years old at the time of the proposal and in full-fledged princess obsession mode, which is what spawned the idea of having a sand castle built. If you can think of something that is not only unique, but also relevant and meaningful to your particular relationship then you have yourself a “best proposal ever” idea. If you need some inspiration, I would suggest taking a look at this article from the Knot with 50 unique proposal ideas.

Step 3 – Get Your Proposal On Video Or Photographed - As you can tell by this video blog, I’m a big proponent of video and photographs. I know it’s not for everyone, but unless you think your girlfriend would be uncomfortable or would want the moment to be 100% private, then I would highly recommend hiring a photographer or videographer to capture the proposal.  If you don’t want cameras right there in the open during the proposal, it is also possible to hire a photographer to take photos from a distance. I know this is an added expense, but you only propose once and Olga and I are both so happy that we’ll have the video and pictures from that day to look back on forever.

Step 4 – Have Family And/Or Friends There To Celebrate - While I would not advise you to have family and friends present during the actual proposal, I know that it meant a lot to Olga for our families to join us afterwards and celebrate the moment with us.  Unless you are planning to propose out-of-town (which is a great option), I would highly recommend that you consider inviting your family and/or closest friends to celebrate with you right after the proposal. Scope out the venue first to see if there is a private room or other place where your guests can remain hidden during the proposal itself and then appear afterwards for congratulatory hugs and kisses. It’s such a special moment in your lives, and it feels great to share it with the people who are most special to you.

Step 5 – Keep The Surprises Coming  - If you get a YES, then both you and your now fiancee will be on Cloud Nine. I knew I wouldn’t want the day to end right after the proposal, so I planned for that to be just the beginning. The rest of the day was one surprise after another. Instead of staying at home that evening, I surprised Olga by booking us a room at the SLS Hotel, a posh hotel in Beverly Hills. For dinner, I had made reservations at Mastro’s, one of the finest restaurants in the city, where we enjoyed champagne and one of the the best meals of our lives. Despite being in a food coma after dinner, I was able to convince Olga to head down the street with me for one final drink to cap off the evening at Nic’s Martini Lounge. Unbeknownst it to Olga, all of our closest friends were waiting at the bar to toast our engagement. It was so much fun seeing Olga’s jaw drop time and time again as I kept the surprises coming over the course of the day.

I hope that you enjoyed the video and find these ideas helpful.   Note that the vast majority of our content on this blog is aimed at general date ideas and romantic gestures for every day use. So please make sure to poke around our blog for ideas that are more practical for your relationship.

Acknowledgements

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Olga and Eva for saying YES. I’m so grateful to have both of you in my life, and I am so excited for the wedding in September and the wonderful years ahead.

If you are interested in having a sand castle built for your proposal (or for any other occasion), then look no further than Archisand. In particular, Greg Lebon was an absolute pleasure to work with, and I believe his skills and artistry speak for itself in the video.  Greg, thank you for making such a beautiful sand castle for us that we’ll remember forever.  Eva is still talking about it to this day, and I’m confident it is something that she will remember forever.

A special thanks to Noam Bleiweiss and Armando Macias for filming the proposal on short notice, and for doing such a great job on the fly. We only had 1 take for this, and you guys couldn’t have done a better job.  I’ve known Noam for many years, and he is an incredibly talented filmmaker and the director of our forthcoming Shit List series.  If you are ever looking to shoot a commercial for your company, Noam is your man.  Armando is a master sound designer.  We actually met for the first time on the proposal day, when I sprinted into the men’s bathroom to get mic’d up before the proposal.  I had told Olga that I desperately had to use the bathroom when we got there, and Armando masterfully set up the mic and tested it in a matter of minutes so I could get back outside before Olga had a chance to sense something was going on.

Also, without the patience and editing skills of Nic Michaels, there is no way this video would have ever come together so beautifully.  Thanks you Nic for sticking with me for all those months and creating such an incredible final product.

Finally, on the day of the proposal, there was a family vacationing from Boston who happened to see Greg building the sand castle in the early morning, and were so incredibly kind to literally spend hours helping him dig and move sand to make the castle as magnificent as it turned out.  In the excitement of the moment, we failed to get the family’s contact information and we regret it till this day.  I hope that one of you somehow finds your way to this blog post, and if you read this please send us an email at press@datevitation.com. We wanted to personally thank you again for all that you did, and of course, hook you up with complimentary datevitation gift books :)

Alex

5/18/2012

Date Idea: A Summer Concert Under the Stars

categories: Culture Dates, Date Idea

Photo Courtesy: iStockPhoto

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes a whole new slew of date night options — from evenings at the ballpark to hitting the water for a little fun in the sun. However, one of our favorite summer date ideas will always be a concert under the stars. We caught up with Live Nation Tour Director Tyler Rutkin, who gave Datevitation the inside scoop on artists you can expect to see this summer, some of his favorite venues nationwide, and even a new Live Nation app that will help you keep your concert schedule organized.

Hot Tours This Summer: Some of the hottest acts hitting the road this summer include: Aerosmith, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews Band, One Direction, Brad Paisley, Nicki Minaj and Pitbull. None of these excite you? Check out a full listing at www.LiveNation.com  to see if your favorite artist is coming to a city near you.

Best Date Night Venues: Roadtrip anyone? Tyler’s personal favorite venues across the country are the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountainview, California, The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington, Comfort Dental Amphitheatre in Englewood, Colorado and the Comcast Center in Boston. His top choice for date night? “The Hollywood Bowl, definitely,” he tells us, “you can make a whole night of it – get dinner at the rooftop grill or pack a picnic. It’s an experience you can’t get at any other venue in the country.”

Stay Organized: Looking for a way to organize your concert schedule? Check out the new Live Nation Concert Calendar application. Based on your RSVPs, likes, activity of your friends, your location and the music you listen to with programs like Spotify or iHeartRadio, the app will make concert recommendations and allows you to find and manually add shows, so all your information is in one place and easily accessible. By enabling the Show Friends’ Events feature, you can even coordinate for a little double date action!

 

5/16/2012

How I Pulled Off The Perfect Wedding Proposal, Thanks To Evernote’s Skitch Application

categories: Date Idea, How To:

My proposal to Olga & Eva could not have gone better (to see the proposal and why it involved 2 women, watch the video above).  Everything went exactly according to plan. But making sure it happened that way was not an easy task. I had hired Greg LeBon, the brilliant sand sculptor from Archisand who built the sand castle you see in the video, as well as director Noam Bleiweiss to get the proposal on film. But it was not feasible for the three of us to meet beforehand in Malibu to plan everything out, and Greg had never been to the proposal site. And it’s not like I could have walked Olga over to the proposal site for a dress rehearsal of the proposal :) You only get one shot at a proposal and things unfold very quickly in real time.  As a result, everything had to be meticulously planned out beforehand. I tried describing the site and explaining where I wanted the castle built and the cameras situated, but it was impossible to get exactly what I wanted across on a phone call or in email. Skitch to the rescue. If you haven’t downloaded Skitch, which is now part of the Evernote family, you MUST. Skitch is an easy-to-use, FREE app that helps you capture, edit and markup your screen captures and images with shapes and comments.

I use Skitch all the time to communicate with my designer and developer when we are reviewing design comps and functionality for coming features to Datevitation.com, or when I want to make simple changes to the existing site. Since I am not a designer myself and have no familiarity with any of the design programs that would allow me to mark-up screenshots and photos, Skitch has been an indispensable resource for me. It has literally saved me hours upon hours of time that I used to spend drafting detailed emails describing what I wanted.  Thanks to Skitch, with a quick arrow, circle, and text I can accomplish the same thing in a matter of seconds. For my proposal plans, I used Skitch to show Greg and Noam exactly where I wanted the sand castle built in relation to the restaurant and parking lot, and where I wanted the cameras during the proposal itself. A few days before the proposal, I emailed them the two pics below, which I created in Skitch.

Pic #1 - This showed where I wanted Greg to build the sand castle in relation to the parking lot and beach.   I wanted the castle to be far enough away from the pier and restaurant to avoid as much foot traffic as possible, but at the same time have it close enough that my family (including my 90 year-old grandmother) would be able to join us afterwards for pictures.

Pic #2 - This showed the path Olga, Eva, and I would take to the sand castle, where I would attempt to position us during the proposal itself, and from what angles I hoped Noam would be able to shoot the proposal.   It was also important that the “Will You Marry Me?” writing on the castle was not visible from a distance, as I didn’t want Olga to have any idea that the sandcastle was my way of proposing until we had walked up to it.

Obviously, my illustrations skills even in Skitch are laughable, BUT it did get the point across and allowed me to plan this amazing proposal.   Indeed, if you watch the video at the top of this post, you’ll see that they were able to accomplish exactly what I had illustrated in Skitch.  So thank you Skitch for building such incredible software, and playing a role in the planning of my marriage proposal.  I’m also a huge fan of Skitch’s parent company, Evernote. If you haven’t read my post on how to pick the perfect gift using Evernote, you can check it out here!

Thanks, and remember to download Skitch and Evernote if you haven’t already!  They’re both free, and these words of praise are completely unsolicited.  These are just great programs that everyone should be utilizing so I am more than happy to spread to good word :)

5/04/2012

Great art, unparalleled people watching and gourmet food trucks galore at the Downtown LA Art Walk

categories: Culture Dates, Date Idea, Los Angeles Dates

With the help of our video above and our 4-step trusty guide below, you’ll be able to experience the very best of what Downtwon Art Walk has to offer!

Step 1: Nail Down the Logistics

  • Lowdown – Art Walk is a free, self-guided, public art phenomenon that brings together art lovers and community friends to Downtown Los Angeles.
  • When – The 2nd Thursday of every month, year around! Refer to your calendar for specific dates. Hours vary by gallery, but can typically range from Noon – 10PM. We recommend arriving between 6-7pm. After the galleries close, the atmosphere remains festive as people stick around to enjoy the food trucks and many bars in the area.
  • Where – The heart of Art Walk is on Spring and Main streets between 4th and 8th streets. If you want to plug an address into your navigation app, you can use the following: 634 S Spring St LA, CA 90014.
  • Straight from the Source – Joe Moller, the executive director of the Art Walk, was kind enough to hook us up with the inside scoop for this Thursday’s May 10 Art Walk:  ”Start your Art Walk evening at the Official Art Walk Lounge located at 634 S Spring St. This month’s exhibition features photography by Jaimee Itagaki and robotic sculptures by Scrap Sculptures. DJ Joelskee will be keeping the lounge groovy all night. The Art Walk  staff can make recommendations on galleries, places to eat & bars to suit you taste.”   Thanks Joe!
  • Parking – There are a number of paid parking lots available on Spring and Main streets. We ended up parking at the lot on the corner of Hill and 5th for $6, which is just a couple of blocks west of Spring.
  • Want more information? – Check out the Art Walk’s informative new website at http://downtownartwalk.org
Step 2: Invite Your Date To the Art Walk With Our FREE Custom e-Date - We have prepared a custom e-Date just for the Art Walk, which you can use to invite your date to this great event.  You can insert your names and customize the accompanying text to your liking.  Our figures our gender-neutral (you select the pairings), so it’s a great way to invite your love interests or friends to enjoy the evening at the Art Walk.  We typically charge $12 per year for our e-Date membership, but this e-date is FREE of charge so please enjoy!

LA Date idea

Step 3 – Get There & Have a Blast – So you’ve parked and you’re walking around enjoying the galleries and food trucks. Impress your date with a few interesting nuggets about Downtown LA history, and if you dare, give one of the corny art jokes below a shot :)

Downtown LA History - Spring Street can claim credit as the birthplace of the motion picture business in Los Angeles. In 1898, Thomas Edison filmed a 60-second film titled “South Spring Street Los Angeles California”, mounting a giant camera on a wagon to film the bustling action along South Spring Street. You can view the film on Youtube here.  Many of the buildings that line the Art Walk have been designated Historic Cultural Landmarks. Here are some interesting tidbits to share with your date:

  • Hotel Stowell (now the El Dorado lofts)- 416 S. Spring Street – Shortly after the hotel opened in 1913, Charlie Chaplin lived here. Chaplin later told a story about a $25,000 appearance offer he received on the telephone at the Hotel. Chaplin recalled: “My bedroom window opened out on the well of the hotel, so that the voice of anyone talking resounded through the rooms. The telephone connection was bad, ‘I don’t intend to pass up twenty-five thousand dollars for two weeks’ work!’ I had to shout several times. A window opened above and a voice shouted back: ‘Cut out that bull and go to sleep, you big dope!’”
  • Stock Exchange Building – 618 S. Spring Street – Ground was broken in October 1929, just as the Great Depression hit.  Be sure to point out the 3 panels carved by Salvatore Cartaino Scarpitta into the granite above the building’s entrance. The large central panel, “Finance”, displays capitalists. The “Production” panel shows an aircraft engine, a steel worker pouring molten metal and a worker stirring it. The “Research and Discovery” panel shows oil derricks, factories, a chemist conducting an experiment and a man kneeling in a library reading a book.
  • I.N. Van Nuys Building – 210 W. 7th Street – When built in 1911 by Isaac Newton Van Nuys (a noted banker and owner of much of the San Fernando Valley), the LA Times reported that it was “the city’s most expensive office building” at $1,250,000. Property values have gone up just a tad bit since then!

 Art Jokes –  Again, these are CORNY.  Use at your own risk :)

  • Vincent van Gough walks into a bar, and the bartender offers him a drink. Vincent’s response: “No thanks. I’ve got one ‘ere.”
  • Mona Lisa was brought up in court on charges of murder, but the authorities eventually determined she had been framed!
  • At the last art walk, some lowlife decided to steal a painting from one of the art galleries. He snatched a painting from the wall, ran out the front door, jumped into his van, and sped away. He wasn’t the smartest fellow and had an empty tank, so ran out of gas a few blocks away. When the police caught him and asked how he could do something so stupid, he replied “I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

Step 4: Keep Your Date Going – Once the galleries shut down, stick around and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Downtown will be swarming with people until the bars shut down at 2:00am. A few suggestions:

  • The Edison 108 W 2nd St - Undoubtedly one of the most impressive venues in Los Angeles, and always a classy crowd that is dressed to impress. The Edison is an old power plant complete with generators and turbines that has been masterfully transformed into a 1920s art deco speakeasy. Note: If you show up too late, you may have to wait to get in.
  • La Cita –  336 S. Hill St. – La Cita is what happens when you mix a Mexican bar and hipster joint. Great atmosphere, hip crowd, funky music, and a large patio to boot.

Thanks for reading. And I’m sure you and your date will have a blast at the Art Walk.

Have fun. Together!

Alex

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