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August 31, 2018

Date Night In Box Review, August 2018: Dream Together

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Overview of Date Night In

Date Night In is a monthly subscription box service that offers a complete date-at-home experience. Each box includes several items that form a unique and cohesive experience for you and your partner. Date Night In offers a regular box option as well as a faith-based option and subscriptions start at $42 per month, with discounts for quarterly, semi-annual, and annual subscriptions. Shipping is free within the US, but not internationally. 

This is my first time Date Night In (DNI) box and it was provided to me by DNI for reviewing purposes. The box we received is the faith-based Dream Together box.

​​I first learned about DNI when I was researching my 15 Amazing Date Nights post and I was really excited to try it out. My husband and I are looking for new and creative ways to connect on our dates since we’re usually too tired by the weekend to come up with interesting plans for ourselves. DNI seemed like the perfect option.

Our box arrived on Friday and we scheduled our date night for Sunday so we had time to prep for it. Each box comes with an optional dinner menu designed to complement the monthly theme and I needed to hit up the store for a few items on the list.

When you sign into your DNI account, you can view the menu, recipes, and shopping list for the month(s) you’ve subscribed to. The shopping list is a great feature as it has everything you need for the meal plan and it’s conveniently organized into different sections of the grocery store. This made shopping for the dinner a breeze. I also received an email from DNI with an invitation that I printed out and left for my husband on his desk.

However, I made the mistake of not opening my box until the actual date began because I wanted it to be a surprise for both of us. Unfortunately, I found that the recipes didn’t print very well from the website, and this was a frustration point for me, but of course when I opened the box, the first thing I saw was a beautifully designed pamphlet with all of the recipes right there. Next time, I’ll start by opening the box!

The Dream Together Menu

The menu was fantastic. It had three courses, all of which were delicious. We started with a refreshing panzanella salad, followed by a summer pasta salad with homemade pesto, and ended with fluffy coconut and almond macaroons. The wine pairing recommendation was a rosé, and there was also a non-alcoholic suggestion. The whole meal took me one hour to prepare, not including the baking and cooling time for the macaroons.

I loved that the meal was healthy (except dessert!), fresh, simple, and vegetarian. It was incredibly enjoyable.

Dream Together Ambiance

The DNI experience also includes ambiance. First, there is a Spotify playlist designed around the theme. When I first opened the playlist, I was a little disappointed because I felt that the theme had been taken too literally. All of the songs had “dream” in the title (think: Teenage Dream, Dream a Little Dream of Me, and California Dreamin’). I didn’t think we would enjoy this playlist, but I wanted to fully immerse myself in the experience, so I was prepared to give it a shot.

But then, a wonderful thing happened: I realized there was also a faith-based playlist for each box and all subscribers have access to both sets of playlists. The faith-based Dream Together playlist had some of my favourite songs on it (It is Well, Build My Life, Do it Again), and the mood was instantly set when we turned these tunes on. The box also included a Tahitian Vanilla candle from Northern Lights, which was also lovely. I normally can’t do scented candles because I find them too overpowering, but this one was just right. I had lit other candles around the room and we left this one on the table in front of us so we could enjoy its scent.

As we enjoyed our dinner, we reflected on the Table Talk questions provided in the Dream Together pamphlet. To be honest, the meal and this conversation alone would normally have constituted a great date for us, but we were just getting started.

Before I go on, I’m going to pause for a moment and make another recommendation: if you’re going to serve wine with your meal, it’s a good idea to read through all the discussion questions and activity instructions before opening the wine. We did not heed this advice, and I found it a little more difficult to read the small print in the discussion guide after having a glass of wine.

The Activities

Okay, on we go. The next activity was to build individual dream lists. The box included two individual dream lists and a pair of pencils. We each spent a few minutes writing down our individual short- and long-term goals. Then we compared and discussed. The next step was supposed to be the creation of a master dream list that combined the shared items from both lists, but we honestly didn’t make it this far. We felt like we needed a follow up date to make it to this step! The discussions were very worthwhile and inspiring nonetheless.

The kit came with a creative project: a dreamcatcher kit. This includes a round ring, small feathers, strong, and some plastic beads, as well as instructions on how to make a dreamcatcher. I think this was a cute idea, but it’s not really our kind of thing, so we’ll probably give the kit to one of our kids and let them make it.

Next, we were invited to enjoy the mid-date snack provided in the box, which in this case was a bag of gluten-free beef jerky. I don’t eat beef, but my husband does, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t mind having this to himself. I wasn’t quite clear on the connection between this snack and the dream theme, but the instructions read: “Whether one of your dream locations is a beach, countryside or mountain top, imagine yourself one with nature, as you take each bite of this handcrafted jerky.” Hmmm. That may be a bit of a stretch for my normally active imagination.

The final activity in the regular DNI box was a dream-themed variation of the game Scattergories. I am impressed with how they fit everything you need for this creative twist on a classic game into this little booklet. Again, we didn’t even make it this far. I guess we enjoyed talking about our dreams a little too much, because there was so much here that we didn’t have a chance to get to. Really, each one of these activities could be its own date night, so you’re actually getting more like three or four nights of entertainment out of this box.

The pamphlet for the regular box concludes with a list of suggested movies you could watch if you wanted to extend your Date Night In, but I don’t know how you could have time to add a movie, unless you eat really fast and have a short list of dreams!

The Faith-Based Date Night In Box

What sets the faith-based box apart—aside from the different playlist—is a separate faith-based discussion guide. Reviewing this in hindsight, several days removed from that glass of rosé, I think that maybe this was an alternative to the discussion of individual and shared dreams. This one discusses dreams in the context of faith, encouraging you to ponder, for example, how you might determine whether your dreams are God-given.

The faith-based discussion questions include scripture references, reflection questions, and a closing prayer. I think this is the type of discussion we might be more inclined to have at on our tiny group night, rather than on our regular date night, but I love that it was included. This box has so many great options for exploring dreams together in creative ways.

The Verdict

Overall, I was quite impressed with the box. It’s a small and simple-looking package, but you can tell that DNI has put a lot of work and thought into making this a special experience. Even though I was involved with some of the set up (shopping, cooking, setting the ambiance in our space), it still felt like we were being treated to something that someone else had planned for us. There was an added sense of excitement in the air that is not normally present during our stay-in date nights.

For future boxes, I think we will alternate who preps the meal and sets the scene so we each get to take a turn being totally surprised.

If you’re interested in ordering a Date Night In box for yourself, you can learn more here.

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