September 19, 2010

I Gave My Boyfriend 'A Night Off' -- With Another Woman

BY: Carmen Rodriguez

My boyfriend David and I had been dating for a few years when, one night, we decided to spend the evening at home. We had a few drinks, watched some TV, then had this innocent conversation:

"If you could have sex with anyone in the world, who would it be?" he asked me.
"You," I replied.
"Other than me."
"Russell Crowe."
"You didn't ask me who I wanted to have an interesting conversation with," I protested. "You asked me who I would want to do. I'd do Russell Crowe and in my fantasy he's really good at it."
"There's no way a guy THAT into himself is going to be good at sex."
"Good point."

Our conversation went on long into the night -- but what if it weren't a fantasy? What if it were reality? What if, in the course of our relationship, we each wanted to do someone other than each other who wasn't Russell Crowe? Then what?

It was almost exactly the same conversation that is the crux of the new movie, "The Freebie," a Sundance hit directed by and starring Katie Aselton, along with her co-star Dax Shepard. Part of the mumblecore movement, the film opens today and is a talky, thinky, indie romantic comedy about a young married couple, bored with their sex life, who each agree to spend one night with someone else.

"It's kind of like an itch you can't scratch any other way," admits Annie, the wife, who enters into the bargain -- at least at first -- a bit reluctantly.

In the case of me and David, we, too, wound up talking for hours about taking our fantasies out of the safety of our bedroom. Here's how it played out in real life when it finally happened.

"If I cheated would you consider it an unforgivable offense?" David asked me, that fateful night, as we sat, a bit sloshed, on our couch.

"Depends," I replied.

And it truly does: I mean, you think you feel one way about it, but in reality, nothing in life is truly black and white. Personally, I'd never cheated on anyone, ever. Well, there was one kiss... But I'm not even sure that I consider a kiss cheating. Kissing is human. It means you're alive. I guess I hadn't really given the concept of monogamy much thought up until this point. We, like many couples in LTRs, sort of went on autopilot.

But together that night, we agreed that a one-time pass on monogamy might not be the worst thing in the world. And then I didn't really think about it again. It seemed like the sort of hypothetical conversation you have after drinking, then life moves on.

Right up until the night David told me he'd actually taken his "night off."It wasn't right after our Discussion. Summer became fall and then, one night, months after we'd first broached the subject ... we were lying in bed when suddenly David put his hands to his face and said, as if in one breath: "I cheated on you and I'm scared to tell you because I'm afraid you're going to get mad at me, and cry, and break up with me."


"Do you want me to break up with you?" I asked slowly.

"No." He responded.

Good answer, I thought.

Then, that night, we had another long conversation about us, and our relationship. I wasn't sure what the heck I was feeling or thinking. I was kinda mad. Clues started to add up in my head -- like, him putting on a nice dress shirt and going out one night. But before I passed judgment, I needed to know all the facts, so I asked him tell me every last detail of their "encounter." I wanted to know exactly how something like this could happen. He told me exactly how it did.

David was a sports nut: He watched sports, he played sports, he talked about sports. Football, basketball, NASCAR, baseball ... you name it. More specifically, he played baseball in the park with his friends every week. So there was this girl, he told me, who would walk by with her dog all the time while they were playing, and the boys would look, and she'd look at the boys and she'd say, "Hi." Your basic field flirting. We've all done it.

After an evening game one night they were loading the equipment in the car when she walked by. "Hey," she said. "Hey," they said, and David's friend jokingly pushed him in her direction. That's when my boyfriend found himself face to face with Baseball Girl.

She was cute and he thought about our "night off" talk, and he made a date to have coffee with her a couple days later. They had coffee. Oh boy, did they have coffee. After coffee they went back to her pad and "talked" a little bit -- a casual conversation which led to casual kissing which led to casual sex.

And that, David told me, head in hands, was it. His one night off. Now he felt bad. Really bad.

"It felt wrong," he told me. (Meaning, I think -- and chose to believe -- that I was better in bed and more fun to hang around with than her.) He cried while he told me how bad he felt. Specifically what did he regret? He felt guilty for not telling me about his night ahead of time. Despite our "night off" conversation, he said, it felt like cheating. We had always been so honest with each other, and I guess, by acting on the fantasy, however much we'd agreed to it, he felt that he'd trespassed on that.

I felt like he was being honest. OK, he may have spent a few days -- or weeks -- thinking about it before telling me ... but, I thought, everyone is entitled to a little privacy. Besides, it was a true one night stand.

As far as I was concerned, in terms of how "nights off" might go, his was ideal. As ideal as that situation can be. He had stepped out of the relationship and hated it. I didn't know until after it happened, and he wanted everything to go back to the way it had been between us before. I couldn't have written the movie script better myself. I mean, I had told him months earlier that I could forgive such a transgression under the right circumstances, and these seemed like the right circumstances to me.

Today, several years later, I'm older and wiser -- and David and I did break up a couple of years later, but not because of this. In retrospect ... I still kind of feel the same way I did that day. In my opinion, a relationship isn't sex. Sex is important, but it's not the end of the world, and if someone has sex outside of their relationship, it doesn't have to end the relationship.

I knew that after David had taken his night off, I could do the same. I mean, what could he say? He'd have to forgive me. But I didn't. I guess I just never met the right person, or was in the right situation, so it never happened. I mean, I didn't want to force it, just to get even. He felt so bad that day, I didn't really have a desire to "get even" anyway. It actually made us closer than ever, so I never really felt the need.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, even in one relationship, no two situations are the same. Should you take a night off from each other? I don't know -- you'd have to talk with your lover to decide if it's right for you. Do I think it can help a relationship? Yeah, I do. I think it can settle a curious mind. If you end up breaking up ... well, to me, that's just fate, and it was meant to happen anyway. No matter what you do, you can't make a bad relationship work. In turn, you can't ruin a good relationship with a silly one night stand. Not a real one. We're raised to believe that stepping outside of a relationship is a bad thing ... I don't think it has to be.

Besides, I'm still holding out for my freebie with Russell Crowe.


Question: If it were you, would you allow?

September 18, 2010

How to Plan a Romantic Backyard Picnic for Two


There’s still time to enjoy a warm summer night of romance with a romantic, relaxing, evening backyard picnic for two. No distractions and no interruptions—just you, your honey bun, and a blanket of stars above. Keep things simple, focus on romance, enjoy each other and a delicious meal together. Here’s how to get started.

Just like an outdoor picnic at the park, preparing for the perfect romantic backyard picnic requires planning. What essentials will you need? What time do you want to get started? What sort of theme (if any) and food will your picnic center around? Have fun and be creative. A Hawaiian luau, fiesta, Mardi Gras, western, safari or a beach theme are just a few fun ideas. If you’re not in the mood for a themed picnic, you may just want to pack a picnic basket as though you are headed to a local park. The best part, all you’ll have to do is step outside your back door and let the fun begin!

Use your imagination, the possibilities are endless. Determine your budget for food and beverage, activities and decorating. Try not to go overboard, and remember, it’s all about the romance, and the main ingredients are you and your sweetie.

Picking the perfect backyard location is essential to your outdoor experience. If you have a backyard, lanai or deck, make the most of your private outdoor setting on a pleasant night. Consider continuing your date night into the early morning hours to watch the sunrise. If you are feeling adventurous, bring sleeping bags and set up a tent and pretend you're camping. You will need a blanket to sit on and another just to snuggle under as you talk and wait for the stars to come out for little star gazing.

The Necessities
Be sure to have essentials on hand like bug spray, a flashlight and trash bag so you don’t have to be distracted by running in and out of the house. Will you need a table or will you just use blankets? Chaise lounge chairs work as well. Is there an electrical outlet in the area out back for a portable speaker system? Select your romantic music ahead of time so all you have to do is push a button. If there is no electrical outlet, be sure to load up the player with fresh batteries.

Food and Beverage
French baguette slices; spinach dip; fresh strawberries and grapes with a dipping cream of some sort; fresh figs; a simple platter with a variety of cheese like brie, gouda, cheddar and fruit is visually stunning as well as delicious. I love prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and cold shrimp cocktail with a sauce. You can also drop by your local grocer and pick up a loaf of French bread, some sort of ready-made salad, a rotisserie chicken and a bottle of wine. Choose something that will have minimal preparation and clean up; you want to focus on having your sumptuous meal and sipping your glass of wine or champagne while relaxing and most of all, enjoying each others company.

Set the mood for your party with candles or lanterns. Hanging lanterns will create a pretty summer scene. Use fresh flowers, candle votives, and pillar candles to create a warm and inviting centerpiece for your table. Don’t forget to throw in several Citronella candles to help keep the bugs away. Assorted colors and fragrances will help set the mood for a fun and festive party.

No activities needed for this romantic evening for two. Our lives are full of activities on a daily basis. I suggest you reserve the time for enjoying a delicious meal, listening to music, or simply the crickets and night frogs. Most importantly, it’s a perfect way to take time out for talking, reconnecting, and renewing.

What to Wear
Wear something comfortable like shorts and a tank top for ladies and for men, shorts and a t-shirt. Ladies, if you want to dress up a little and still be comfortable, wear a comfy short dress or sundress. You’ll want to have easy access later on when the fire ignites!

The Element of Surprise
Think of something special to do that invokes spontaneity into your romantic picnic, making it all the more enjoyable and memorable. Hide a small gift in an obvious place for your spouse to find. We all love surprises! You are also creating memories to reflect on that will last a lifetime.

Remember, the beauty of planning a backyard picnic at home will allow you to combine sweet romance with the familiarity and comfort of your own home. A picnic at home also saves you from lugging around food and drink, trying to find a secluded location, and gives you the ability to concentrate on what’s most important...each other. Talk about raise the roof and have some fun! You don’t need Lionel Richie to get it started, just think–there is no roof, you can be as frisky as you want, and when the flames of passion ignite, you won’t need the fire department!


August 12, 2010

"Snap and Share It" in Newport Beach and Win Big - Story & Photo Contest

In a place where endless summers reign, nostalgic snapshots tell stories of romantic getaways, family fun and adventurous days under sunny skies. A photo might be worth a thousand words, but now it's also worth thousands of dollars in prizes at Visitors who share their photos accompanied by a short story have an opportunity to win a variety of prizes, including a vacation to relive unforgettable moments created in Newport Beach.

"'Your Story Awaits' Story and Photo Contest encourages travelers to get creative and make us laugh, cry or gawk over the memories they've created in Newport Beach," says Kim Severini, Senior VP of Marketing at Visit Newport Beach, Inc. "Once you log on and submit your story, you can see how your anecdote measures up with other adventurers and you could win an opportunity to create new magical memories in Southern California's favorite beach town."

Ready to let your photo lead you back to Newport Beach? Visit to upload your photo and submit your story beginning July 27, 2010. The contest is also live on the Visit Newport Beach Facebook Fan Page where more than 15,000 fans can share their memories of visiting Newport Beach. By entering, each contestant receives a $50 discount code on Travelocity for a future trip to Newport Beach. For 10 consecutive weeks, a weekly winner will be announced and gifted with prize packages through October 5, 2010. The grand prize winner will receive two roundtrip Southwest tickets to Newport Beach, two nights at the Hyatt Regency, $100 gift card to Fashion Island, a dinner cruise for two onboard the Hornblower and two rounds of golf at the OCC Gold Coast Coyote Hills. Winners are based on public votes so entrants are encouraged to spread the word to rack up votes for their story.

About Newport Beach is the official online destination for traveler information on Newport Beach hotels, maps, restaurants, attractions and everything to plan your next beach vacation. Located on the beautiful Newport Coast of California, Newport Beach offers travelers a selection of some of the best beach hotels in Orange County, or as the locals call it "The OC." With over 10 miles of sunny beaches, the largest recreational harbor on the West Coast of California, and "one of the cleanest beaches" in the United States, we want to help you plan your Newport Beach and Southern California vacation now!


August 11, 2010

Exactly Where To Go For The Very Best Holiday Places For Couple

Many factors influence the more or less subjective preference. Budget, location, time of the year and special circumstances have a heavy word to say in the matter. Some romantic getaways are pretty close to home, no matter if it’s in the mountains or at the seaside; moreover, couples often learn to have fun with their children, while still enjoying each other’s company. Mountain cabins, romantic beaches to watch the sunset, spa massage treatment for couples, vow renewal under moonlight and so much more are waiting for you to make a choice.

Hawaii is definitely one of the best vacation spots for couples. Travel agencies have lots of offers and packages to lure you with if you’ve decided to visit the ‘Aloha’ state. Couples usually prefer to retreat to some exotic vacation corner, but can they afford it? Hawaii definitely ranks high in terms of costs. Yet, if you visit the islands off season you have great chances to make savings.

Paris is another example from the numerous best vacation spots for couples. There is something so very romantic that wakes up within us when we think ‘Paris’. This seems the right place to always go and enjoy in the company of your beloved. The sights, the cuisine, the music and the entire atmosphere of the French capital make this city a major destination for romantic vacationers.

The Bahamas are an excellent choice for both the summer and the winter season. The Sandals enjoy a reputation as great romantic getaways. Much in the same line, you could choose Tahiti. There are wonderful beaches and absolutely exciting cruises to embark on. Warm Bahamas remain among the best vacation spots for couples ever.

Further examples include Las Vegas, Rome, Cancun Mexico, Ireland, Greece, Crete and other Mediterranean resorts. However, the more popular the location, the more expensive the vacation packages. Although lots of people associate beaches, sand and exotic waters with romantic getaways, not everybody agrees. There are wonderful mountain resorts to enjoy both in the US and in Europe, and they are less expensive than the seaside.

The opinions on the best vacation spots for couples therefore remain divided. While some resorts are unanimously recognized as fitting the description, others are not even taken into consideration. In the end, it’s your impression that matters most!

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August 9, 2010

Romantic Ideas : How to Have a Romantic Dinner at Home

A video on romantic ideas and how to answer the question, "How to have a romantic dinner at home?" Watch this video and learn.