Six ways to use Angie's List to spice up your romance
Whether it’s your sweetheart’s birthday, a milestone anniversary, or you just want to shower your special someone with attention, service providers on Angie’s List offer a variety of choices. You can stick with the old standbys — chocolates, flowers, promises you don’t intend to keep — or you can search the List for services that might add a little flair to your romance.
Roll with the classics
Romanticism doesn’t come any more old-school than a ride on a horse and carriage steered by a driver in a top hat.
Peggy Best, owner of highly rated Yellow Rose Carriages in Indianapolis, says people often hire her carriages for brief tours, extended rides to pop the question, or just to enjoy each other’s company. A 25-minute ride costs $50, while extended rides cost $100 per hour.
“When couples want a romantic ride, the drivers know they can tailor the route to whatever they want,” Best says. “They might go around to historic spots and learn about the history of downtown, or go dancing and hit all the hot nightspots.”
Best says carriage rides bring an old-world ambience not often found in modern fast-paced life.
“The carriage is moving slowly, you hear the clip-clop of the horses, and it’s like a slower time when people weren’t in such a hurry,” Best says. “When you’re driving or even walking, you have to be looking where you’re going, but riding in the back of a carriage you can really see the nuances of the city.”
Get your portrait taken together
Lauren Touryan, owner of highly rated Lauren Gallery Photography in Great Neck, N.Y., says portraits provide an opportunity for couples to see themselves in a new light, particularly if no one’s photographed them professionally since their wedding.
“I know a lot of married couples who’ve been together five or 10 years, and they don’t have a lot of great pictures of themselves together,” she says. “It’s a great gift for each other to recapture the romance. I do everything as naturally as possible, to capture the interaction and love between the couple.”
Her session fees begin at $250, and go up depending on the extent of the shoot and what kind of photos the client orders.
Snap a very special portrait, wink-wink
Angie’s List member Kristen Hite of St. Louis wanted a series of boudoir photographs as a special gift for her husband, so she chose highly rated St. Louis photographer Alecia Hoyt to bring out her spicy, glamorous side. She says she paid $1,700 for an in-studio photo session, hair and makeup artist, print album, digital copies of all photos and a metal wall print.
“I was self-conscious about every little imperfection in my body when I went in, but at the end, I was strutting my stuff feeling like a million bucks!” she says. “My favorite print is less revealing than a picture showing a swimsuit, but manages to be beautifully sexy without revealing too much.”
Touryan also offers boudoir photos that she takes in the client’s home, and says they make memorable gifts. “It can be as risqué or classy as you want,” she says. “It’s seductive, erotic and sophisticated, but tasteful. Once you get your confidence, you really shine.”
Hite says she found her husband’s reaction to the surprise gift priceless. “He was speechless for several minutes,” she says. “Let’s just say it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
Heat things up together
Harry Rosenblum, owner of highly rated The Brooklyn Kitchen in Brooklyn, N.Y., offers cooking classes throughout the month, and schedules at least one class for couples each month to help break up the daily routine. “You’re in a new environment with new people, but you’re also there alongside someone you decided to come with,” he says.
He says his classes, which cost between $200 and $275 per couple and last about two hours, usually sell out several weeks in advance. “People really like the idea of being in a space where they’re doing something together, but able to engage with other people,” Rosenblum says. “It’s a nice alternative to going to a restaurant. A little more interesting, and we accommodate all skill levels.”
Trip the light fantastic
Gregory Day, owner and instructor of highly rated Chicago Dance, says partner dance lessons engender newfound intimacy for couples. “You’re truly doing it together,” he says. “Lots of skills you can do together, but you’re still acting separately. But with dance, you have to learn nonverbal skills and awareness of each other.”
Rates at his studio vary, but range from $47 to $100 per 45-minute private lesson.
Day compares dance lessons to a date night and says they help improve communication, as well. “You really have to focus on each other and pay attention to the feedback you’re receiving, in a very quick cycle,” he says.
Let’s get physical
Improve your health and your chemistry — literally — by taking fitness classes together.
”There’s a mind-body connection when you’re working out and endorphins are released,” says Robin DeMarco, owner of highly rated Robin DeMarco Fitness in Studio City, Calif. “People just let their guard down and get all the tension out.
“There’s something about moving your body that improves your mood, and what better person to be happy with than your significant other?” she adds.
DeMarco charges between $125 and $150 per one-hour session in a couple’s home, though she adds that prices vary among trainers nationwide. She says hard work pays multiple dividends for dedicated couples.
“It brings them closer together and helps to be a team effort,” she says. “And when you start losing weight and feeling better, you attribute some of your success to your significant other, which of course helps the relationship.”