Looking for Love in All the Right Places

Lots of people meet in bars. Right? Right. But sometimes the club scene just isn’t where we want to be. Especially not when we’re hoping to find that special someone.  The bar scene gets tiresome. Maybe we’ve been meeting the same sort of man over and over, and maybe those relationships haven’t worked out. Or maybe we’re just fed up with loud music and bad drinks.

What’s a girl to do when she wants to meet a good man?

Fortunately, there are lots of places to look other than bars and nightclubs, and when you begin looking for love in different places, you’re more apt to find a romantic prospect who shares your interests, who has more in common with you, and who can bring new excitement and enthusiasm into your life by challenging you to live your dreams.

Sound good? The key to meeting the right partner lies in doing things you love, so start by making a list of activities you enjoy — and ones you’d like to try. The simple truth is, the more activities on your list, the wider your social circles will be. The more people you know, the more opportunities you’ll have for meeting romantic prospects who share your values and who will enhance your own life experiences.

 

Book lover? Your library might be the start of a true life love story.

Here are a few ideas for places to visit where you might meet like-minded souls:

Art Galleries, Museums, Libraries, Bookstores, Book Clubs

Intelligence is considered a great aphrodisiac, and if you’re a bit on the brainy side — maybe even a real nerd — you deserve someone whose intelligence matches your own, someone who enjoys your conversations about the historical significance of the Battle of Bladensburg, the contributions of Francis Poulenc to French music, or the question as to whether or not Mark Rothko should be classified as an abstract expressionist.  As you explore your interests in art, history, and culture, strike up conversations with people around you. Ask questions, or share your own knowledge with others.  Smart women always stand out from the crowd, so surround yourself with people who will appreciate what you have to offer.

Animal Shelters, Pet Stores, Dog Shows, Trail-Rides, Humane Associations, and Rescue Groups

Animal lover? The right partner for you probably has a few critters, too.  More than one story has been told of couples who were brought together through their playful pets. Go dog-walking on Saturday mornings or saddle up for an afternoon on horseback. Become an advocate for animal rights, help out at a local shelter or animal rescue operation, and share your love with lots of furry, finned, and feathered friends. While you’re waiting for love of the human variety, you’ll have lots of tail-wagging puppies and purring kitties showing you how much they care.

Sports Clubs, Fitness Centers, Gyms, Sporting Events, Running, Swimming, and Track Meets, Tennis Courts

If you’re the athletic sort, the perfect partner for you is one who can keep up. You need somebody who shares your appreciation for healthy habits, proper diet, and regular exercise. Training can be time-consuming, but it can be enjoyable, too, when you’ve got somebody special sweating alongside you. Best of all, you and your partner can cheer one another on during competitions, celebrate victories together, and console each other when inevitable losses occur. You can’t win ’em all, you know, but finding a sports-minded partner will make you a winner in the romance arena.

Foreign Language Classes, Cooking Classes, Photography Classes, Self-Improvement Seminars, Educational Venues, Community Learning Programs, Lectures

Some folks love to learn. Anything. Everything. Maybe today it’s Chinese cooking, and next week you’re ready to plunge into Swahili. Does your city offer community education programs, such as a “Communiversity”? Check out what lectures and workshops are happening around your area.  And always ask questions. Make yourself visible by participating fully in any classroom activities or groups taking place. Classrooms offer great opportunities to “link up” with new friends, too. Get together for discussions or become “study-buddies”. Offer to share notes or provide a little after-class tutoring.  When you pursue knowledge and new skills, you might find a few A+ romantic prospects, too.

Church and Religious Activities, Scripture Studies, Spiritual Retreats, Healing Workshops, Yoga Classes, Shamanic Workshops

It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs or affiliations may be. From devout Christian to practicing Wiccan, there are others who share your beliefs, your values, and your spiritual activities.  Religious harmony is one of the key elements in a good relationship. Even if you’re able to remain open-minded and tolerant of others’ beliefs, inter-faith relationships can present tremendous challenges. Relationships are naturally stronger when both individuals involved share the same spiritual beliefs and practices.

Acting Classes, Public Speaking Clubs, Choirs, Orchestras, Film Groups, Playhouses, Theatres, and Improvisation Clubs, Concerts

A bit outgoing? Love to be center-stage? Enjoy dramatic scenes? Oh, what fun you can have if and when you find the right romantic partner. What was that memorable play about people who acted out scenes from other shows? Imagine the love scenes you could rehearse together! And think of the fun you’ll have laughing, singing, and dancing with someone you love. If you’re an extrovert, don’t hold back. Speak up and tell the world what you want. You’ll probably get it.

Food Pantries, Volunteer Organizations, Civic Associations

If serving others is a high priority in your life, then put your skills to work by volunteering to help out wherever needed — and you’ll find lots of places where help will be welcomed and appreciated. Food pantries and soup kitchens can always use another pair of hands. Meals on Wheels and programs which deliver food or other items are always looking for caring individuals who are willing to give of their time. Check out the organizations in your community and the activities they sponsor. Get out your hammer and help build a house, or work with educational programs to defeat illiteracy. Opportunities for community service abound and can bring huge rewards. You get back what you give in life, remember, so share your love with those who need it most.

Flea Markets, Bargain Barns, Thrift Stores, Second-Hand Shops, Craft Fairs, Antique Malls

Looking for something different? Something old? Something hand-made? Or just looking for something cheap? Browsing flea markets, craft fairs, and antique malls can bring hours of pleasure.  You never know what you’ll find, and that handsome hunk who’s hunting for some obscure treasure might prove to be the bargain of the day.

Coffee Shops, Political Rallies, Campaign Events, Political Clubs and Cause-Related Organizations

Like to work hard? Have strong opinions on political issues? Want to make a real difference in the world? Join forces with folks who share your views and let your voices be heard. Meet with others to discuss current events and important issues. Take part in rallies. Work to get voters registered. Hand out pamphlets or literature in support of causes in which you believe.  When you find someone who shares your deepest convictions, the passion between the two of you might truly change the world.

 

What about the Workplace?

When all is said and done, the surprising fact is that the workplace is regarded as the best place for meeting prospective romantic partners. While it may be true that the workplace environment offers great opportunities for getting to know someone, it also offers a lot of problems. Most companies have strict policies about inter-office relationships, and in many instances, if the relationship gets serious, somebody’s going to be required to change jobs. Maybe it’s worth it. On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than an office romance that fizzles. Imagine seeing that fellow  you despise…every day… 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Imagine listening to him make snarky remarks about you to colleagues, or constantly whining and begging you to take him back.  With all the things that can go wrong in a relationship, getting involved with the guy in the next cubicle may be an invitation to disaster. He’d better REALLY be worth it.

 

What about Online Dating?

Sure enough. More and more people are signing up at online dating sites.  And yes, we all know people who’ve met online and made it work. But even if you do meet someone online, a relationship still requires getting to know each other, not just through photographs, computer chats, and emails, but face to face, as well…which means spending time together, sharing activities, and discovering each other’s interests.

Why not start with the interests first? Follow your heart, engage in activities you enjoy, join groups where you’ll find people who share your beliefs, your loves, your excitements, your passions.

This is where you’re most likely to find that special someone who can ignite all the sparks and make all your dreams come true.

 

 

 

Planning the Perfect Picnic

Picnic Basket   It’s summertime here in the states, and for me, that means picnics. Nothing is more romantic! I’m not talking about church suppers or family reunions, although those can brings lots of love and happiness into our lives. I’m talking instead about the romantic picnic for two, the sort of picnic where lovers stroll hand in hand to a quiet, secluded spot away from the rest of the world. The joy of picnicking — and the romance — comes, I think, from the idea of an idyllic retreat, a “time-out” from the usual routines of our day.

Of course, not all picnics are created equal. If you’re going to have a picnic, make it a REAL picnic. It’s more than throwing sandwiches into a brown paper bag, grabbing a can of soda, and hiking out into the woods. That sort of impromptu picnic can be great fun, but once in a while, take time to plan ahead and make your picnic into a truly memorable event.

To help you do exactly that, here are a few tips on packing the perfect picnic:

 

Tip #1: Location, Location, Location

 

Choose a romantic spot where you and your sweetheart can forget the rest of the world for a little while. A grassy spot in the park, a blanket on a rooftop, or a picnic table beneath a shady tree…all can be perfect places for your picnic. If you’re going to a public place, be sure you know in advance of any rules or restrictions. Check the site out ahead of time. And be sensible. If you’ll be walking a good distance to reach your picnic area, pack light! You don’t want to be worn out before the picnic begins. Choose paper plates, paper cups, and plastic utensils. If you’re planning a picnic close to your kitchen — under that gorgeous tree in the backyard, for instance — you can go all out with the fine china and silverware.

 

Tipe #2: A Well-Stocked Picnic Basket

 

Personally, I think a picnic basket is an essential item on any lover’s “must-have” list. Invest in a sturdy basket with handles, and keep a checklist of what you need for that perfect picnic. Nothing ruins the experience quite so much as having a yummy dessert then discovering that you’ve forgotten the spoons, or pulling a bottle of wine from the basket only to realize you neglected to bring a corkscrew. Be sure your basket is stocked with drinking water (freeze ahead of time), outdoor dinnerware, utensils, cups or glasses, napkins, corkscrews or bottle openers, tablecloth or blanket, sunscreen, bug spray (or citronella candles — don’t forget matches or a lighter), a decorative centerpiece, and a big trashbag for clean-up.

 

Tip #3: Add Food

 

The traditional food for a picnic is crusty French bread, a variety of cheeses, delicious fruits, and a bottle of wine. Simple. Romantic. Of course, you might choose to add other items to the menu, as well. A lot will depend on when and where you’re serving the food. Crackers, fresh veggies and dips, jams, jellies, and pastries can all be delightful treats for a picnic. Oh, don’t forget the butter for that bread! Check out your grocer’s shelves for packaged foods that travel well, and keep your picnic basket stocked with “goodies” from fast-food restaurants, such as little packages of honey, or salad dressings.

 

Tip #4: Use Common Sense

 

Ideas for picnic menus abound, but don’t get carried away, especially not on a hot summer’s day.  Choose foods that can be enjoyed cold — such as chilled soups — and keep them on ice until serving time. Don’t prepare foods that spoil quickly. Picnic foods should be thrown away if they’ve set out longer than an hour. Learn and follow “picnic safety” rules for food handling.

 

TAKE SAFETY ON YOUR PICNIC

 

 

Tip #5: Create a Romantic Mood

How many times have you heard the old adage that it’s the little things that count? There are lots of little things you can do that will make your picnic a special event.  They require a little imagination and a bit of planning, but the end result will be beautiful memories you and your partner will cherish. Begin by choosing a theme. Maybe your concept is “A Parisian Picnic” or “A Day in the Country”. You might choose an Italian theme, or in autumn, maybe an “Octoberfest” idea. Look for ways to bring your ideas to life through the tablecloth or blanket you use, the foods and drinks you plan, the decor your create. Send a card ahead of time to invite your special someone to join you, and plan for those “little touches” that add thoughts of love and romance.  Bring candles or hang paper lanterns from the trees. Create a playlist of romantic music, or if you’re musically-inclined, bring along your guitar to serenade your sweetheart.

 

Tip #6: Enjoy!

 

Things don’t always work out at picnics, no matter how carefully we plan. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes the bugs bite. Sometimes somebody else finds that secluded spot and then where will you go? If it rains, spread your picnic blanket out on your living room floor and have fun. If the bugs bite, pack up, run to the car, and have a good laugh. If you lose “your spot” on the riverbank, stroll into the woods. You might find an even better spot for love.

Having fun is what picnics are all about. Don’t get so caught up in planning a “perfect” picnic that you can’t relax and enjoy yourself. Dress casual and be comfortable.

 

Here are a few links for picnic ideas and menus:

Romantic Picnic Ideas

Make Ahead Picnic Recipes

Tasty Picnic Recipes