The Friday Five: What To Do Besides Netflix + Chill
While I love a great binge-sesh now and then (The Great British Baking Show, anyone???) I actually try to keep my TV time to a minimum. This goes double when my boyfriend and I hang out (read: almost every night).
I’m actually mildly afraid of eventually becoming a boring, sedentary couple who live and die by the TV schedule and spend our nights quietly watching whatever trendy series is playing instead of, well, spending quality time together — although knowing the two of us, I don’t think we’re in real danger of that happening. Frankly, that same mentality goes for my female friendships, too. I’d much rather spend time talking and doing things then sitting next to someone staring at Instagram (although I’m guilty of that from time to time).
The best way to combat zoning out on the couch is to make a conscious effort to do things offline. The more you make those decisions, the more those habits will become ingrained in you and the more natural they’ll become. Not sure where to start? Here are five easy things to do instead of Netflix + Chill:
Be A Tourist In Your Own City
Not too long after Nils and I started dating, we took an impromptu evening visit to the top of the Empire State Building. The long lines actually gave us a change to really talk, and it was amazing to try something ~on~ the beaten path that we normally wouldn’t gravitate towards.
While touristy activities aren’t necessarily great all of the time, there’s something fun and refreshing about reminding yourself why you fell in love with your home city and looking at it through the eyes of an outsider. Historical landmarks, museums, zoos, and festivals are all worth hitting up now and then.
Gear Up For A Game
I grew up in a family of game-players (and I don’t mean Playstation). From Skip-Bo to Phase 10 to truly any board game imaginable, my immediate and extended family could often be found dealing out the deck and settling in for a loud-mouthed competition full of sore losers and low-key cheating.
I tap into this side of me in large groups and one-on-one with my boyfriend. Some nights, we won’t even turn on the TV, and instead play a tiny tabletop foosball set, easy card games like Golf (check out the rules HERE) or Monopoly Deal (I canNOT recommend this one enough). Plus, instead of hosting big parties or going out to a bar, I’ll have a slightly smaller crowd at my peanut-sized studio for cocktail-fueled game nights featuring Cards Against Humanity and The Game Of Things, among others.
Fire Up The Oven
While I prefer following a cookbook and buying my own ingredients to a semi-pricey subscription service, with Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Hello Fresh and books like Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings, there’s no reason you can’t fight your way through a recipe — complicated or not — together. Even if it doesn’t look pretty at the end of the journey, there’s solidarity in trying out something new and being able to reap at least ~some~ benefits (read: food) when you reach the finish line.
Since I am much more experienced in the kitchen, I’m usually in charge when Nils and I cook — whether it’s an easy recipe or something more complicated. Plus, after gaining some serious inspo following my Netflix conclusion of The Great British Baking Show, I’m determined to become a better dessert provider. Luckily, I have a friend, Rachel, who is a legitimate pastry chef and has said she’ll help my friend Kelly and I reach that goal. Updates to come…
Educate Yourself, Together
Nils often likes to unplug his Apple TV to avoid temptation, and usually when he does this, we grab our respective magazines (Wired and Marie Claire, guess who???) and cuddle on the couch for a reading night. I love these nights particularly because they perfectly solve the problem of I want alone time but I also want to hang out with my boyfriend SOS. Plus, I have a giant stack of magazines on my coffee table that I don’t usually get through on my own.
I replicate this with my friends through a ladies-only book club aka literary wine night. Through a very informal Facebook messenger group chat, we pick books from easy beach reads to feminist memoirs and gather once every month or two (unless things get crazy busy, as they did this spring) to discuss for 10-20 minutes then drink wine and gossip for 3-4 hours. It’s honestly my favorite thing that I do.
Get Up ‘N’ Out
Just getting out the door and doing something — ANYTHING — is a step in the right direction towards a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Lucky for me (and unlucky for Nils, probably…) we belong to the same gym down the street, so sometimes we’ll workout together, explore different boroughs, ride bikes through Central Park, or take tiny Mel to the East River to play with other dogs. This isn’t limited to the weekends, either — he’ll often suggest we extend the dog’s nightly walk and head into Central Park if it’s a particularly nice evening.
In addition, I try to keep abreast of upcoming festivals, events, restaurant//bar//ice cream shop openings (remember that sweet tooth?), or just creative activities, like Escape The Room or a night of bowling, and gather a group of people to do them. And I have to say, I’ve rarely regretted a night out like those above as opposed to several hours alone on the couch.
What do you like to do to combat too much screen time?