How to Get Ready For Date Night FAST

I KNOW you have been there. Uber is coming in 15 minutes and you need to make dinner for the kids, brief the babysitter AND get yourself ready. What are you currently wearing? Comfy clothes, of course, because you don’t live in adorable dresses and heels. Your hair? In a messy bun, ’cause ain’t nobody got time for a daily blowout. Makeup? Huh? What makeup? How do you get ready in minutes and still look (and smell) like you put some effort into your appearance? I am sharing my top products and methods that help me get ready for date night fast!

How to get ready for date night fast

Dirty Hair? You Care!

I could wash, dry and style my hair every morning but by the time evening hits, it has fallen flatter than post-nursing boobs. You know what I am talking about. Most mornings I am multitasking like a mother and have about ten minutes to hop in and out of the shower. If your hair is dirty, dry shampoo can be a GODsend but you need to apply it correctly or else you will look even worse.

How to Apply Dry Shampoo the RIGHT Way:

  • Spray the hairline around your face from at least a few inches away
  • Take sections of your hair parallel to your roots and flip them; spray
  • Use your fingers to massage the powder into your roots, bending over to move the product toward the ends of your hair
  • Brush gently after flipping back over

For volume, I like Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo. For drugstore brands, Batiste is my go-to. Their Tropical Scent is lovely, or you can get a shade to match your hair color which eliminates that white powder buildup.

Speedy Makeup Application

Ok, you now have five minutes left and need to put forth a fabulous face. I always start with clean skin because oil and previous product residue can melt my new makeup application. I am a major fan of Dove’s White Beauty Bar, and never knew that you can use it on your face! I have used it on my body since I moved to Chicago and will NEVER switch.

I spoke with their dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba, and she uses the Dove beauty bar on a lot of her clients’ faces before applying product. It doesn’t dry your skin out like soap, so you don’t have that tight feeling after washing. I am ALL about doing my makeup once at the beginning of the night and not having to worry about it for the rest of the evening. I love products that are long-lasting and can withstand a little wind, rain or sweat.

Here are my steps on a way to get ready for date night fast with a quick makeup application with products that I use. I have this DOWN so it takes me about 5 minutes:

  • Wash face. Dove White Beauty Bar
  • Moisturize. Honestly, I use whatever came in my beauty subscription box most recently. Olay or Neutrogena are solid choices.
  • Apply foundation. I need full coverage, so my top pick for liquid is Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation. I find that if I use this, I don’t need to go in with concealer so it cuts that step out. I use IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream for everyday use, but their shade range is limited. If you want a powder foundation (which I use to set my liquid) my favorite is bareMinerals Original Loose Powder
  • Add blush. I use Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-hour Blush. I used to be a Nars Orgasm fan but grew out of the “shimmer” because it was sliding towards glitter.
  • Apply eyeshadow primer. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. If I forget this step, my eyeshadow creases, and slides. I use Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, but I hear CoverGirl’s Lid Lock Up is a less expensive alternative.
  • Apply eyeshadow, liner, and mascara. I use the Naked 2 Palette which is often sold out (and can be faked if you don’t buy from an authorized reseller, so I wouldn’t get this on Amazon). For liner, I recently discovered Muse’s ESUM Dual Eye Pencil at the Makeup Show Chicago that is super creamy AND double-sided. One end is a basic color like black or brown, and the other is metallic for adding a little shimmer in the corner. For mascara, my drugstore favorite is CoverGirl Lash Blast Volume. At just over $5, it is the best bang for your buck. It beat out designer mascaras in my test, performing better than Dior and Lancome. For a luxury brand, I use Urban Decay Perversion.
  • Use a setting spray. This is if you want your makeup to actually stay put all night. I use Urban Decay All Nighter, but many say the Elf Illuminating Mist & Set is a massive bargain that works well.
  • Don’t forget your brows… especially if you are blonde! Anastasia powders and pencils work well, and if you are a light blonde like me try Muse’s Esum Brow Defining pencil in blonde. I spoke with the Muse team at the Makeup Show, and they told me they added in green (instead of red or orange) to their formula so it would appear cooler. PERFECT match!
  • Lipstick is my last application. I use LipSense if I am going to a formal dinner where I need to look good throughout a looooong meal (this stuff lasts 18 hours if you apply the gloss repeatedly). Otherwise, I like a moisturizing, creamy, highly pigmented lipstick or gloss.

No Time For a Shower

Of course, we would all love to luxuriate in getting ready for a date night. I used to take half-hour showers before responsibilities in the form of children and well, life, came on the scene. I would even use delicious-scented lotion after showering, taking the time to have a glass of bubbly and turn on my favorite jams. Now? No time for a shower and I probably smell like a line cook because I have been making my kids’ dinner.

Dove Deodorant Wipes and Dry Spray

I recently discovered Dove Deodorant Wipes which is a major game-changer for freshening up in minutes. These can be used anywhere on your body- stinky feet? Give ’em a wipe. Armpits no so fresh? Yep, tackle them with the Dove wipes. These remove odor and sweat, so even if you didn’t have time to hit the shower after the gym (or chasing your toddler), you can still smell fresh. They are the perfect way to get ready for date night fast! I use the Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant after because it dries fast, meaning no residue gets on my clothes.

Comfortable Yet Stylish

I have been on dates where I get a stomachache because my pants are too tight. Or I keep pulling up my strapless bra because it just won’t stay put. You want to be comfortable and focus on the conversation and company, not underwear riding up your butt.

I love dresses because I don’t have to match two pieces of clothing together, this allows me to get ready for date night fast. They also make me feel a little fancy and are honestly more comfortable than pants in my world (more room for food). I love fabrics that I don’t have to iron, because, again…ain’t nobody got time for that. Jersey material doesn’t tend to wrinkle if hung up and stretches as you move. A wrap dress in this fabric is my go-to, and shirt dresses in something other than 100% (wrinkly) cotton or linen are an easy option as well. In the video, mine came from Apricot Lane.

Date Night Dress

Also, try a maxi dress or a jumpsuit. I have a basic black jumpsuit that I can wear solo, put a denim jacket over, wear with a sweater, add a blazer…you get the idea. Super-versatile. I spent money to have it tailored because it is a total chameleon- no one would notice if I wore it every day because I can add things to it.

If pants are your thing, make sure you balance loose with fitted. A loose top + loose bottoms = sloppy, and a tight top + tight bottoms = no room for dessert.

Let’s talk about underwear. There is nothing that ruins an outfit more than that dreaded VPL (visible panty line). I prefer either Commando or Hanky Panky, but Target makes some laser cut undies that are a lovely low-cost option.

Oh, shoes. You don’t necessarily want to wear sneakers (’cause that’s what you have been running around in during non-date-night times) and stilettos make you want to weep. I think ankle booties are a perfect compromise, and heel height can range from kitten to towering depending upon your pain preference. Even if you want to wear all black, popping on a pair of printed or patterned ankle booties can make it seem like you put more effort into your outfit.

Jewelry. It is often a last-minute thought, but I always feel more pulled together with fantastic jewelry and a lovely lip. I do either small earrings and a statement necklace, or statement earrings and a delicate necklace so I can get ready for date night fast. Bonus points for adding in a bracelet if you have time.

Cheers to looking fabulous FAST for date night!

Disclosure: I received Dove products for review purposes, but was not compensated for this post. I just REALLY liked them. All opinions are honest and my own as always.

Day Date: Spa Self Care at Lincolnshire Marriott

When you hear the word date, do you automatically assume it is with someone else? I mean, you can’t really date yourself…or can you? Dating is about communication, respect and getting to know someone. I would say that we ALL need to do this with ourselves from time to time, and this is what self care is truly about. Self care is a term that is tossed around and tends to have the connotation of selfishness, associated mainly with getting massages and manicures. What self care truly is, at its core, is taking care of our mental, physical and emotional health. When we set aside time on our busy calendar to check in with and treat our health, this is self care. The Lincolnshire Marriott is a hidden gem for spa self care, and I planned a day date for myself there! I am sharing my experience as well as some at home spa self care tips.

Spa at Lincolnshire Marriott

Self Care at the Spa

The Lincolnshire Marriott has a spa that is open to the public and includes and array of top notch services. The hotel itself recently underwent a $28 million dollar renovation, so stepping into the lobby feels incredibly upscale and updated. For me, massage is a mandatory part of my self care routine as is excellent skincare. Massage helps increase circulation, reduce stress & anxiety, lower blood pressure and SO much more. I actually schedule a massage every two weeks- it has helped my anxiety immensely.

Spa Treatments at Lincolnshire Marriott Spa

Skincare is also at the top of my priority list. Every night before bed, I wash my face religiously (even if I have had a few too many cocktails and all I want to do is crash). I also schedule seasonal facials to address current concerns due to weather, aging, and stress. Both massages and facials help me listen to my body, what it needs at any given point, and respond accordingly. They also help me feel and look my best- clear skin and relaxed muscles go a long way in the self-confidence department.

MAssage bed at Lincolnshire Marriott Spa for self care

Spa tip– Leave your cell in your car. Hearing any tech notifications makes my mind wander to stressful thoughts, so I make sure to ditch my coms.

Honey Infusion Anti-Aging Facial

I scheduled the Honey Infusion Anti-Aging Facial at the Spa at Lincolnshire Marriott, which is 80 minutes of masks, creams, eye serums and moisturizers, 100% spa self care. Many of the products used are infused with honey, which is moisturizing, full of antioxidants, and has antibacterial properties. The Lincolnshire Marriott has huge ties to this golden gooey goodness- they actually have an apiary that is host to 600,000 bees! These bees have produced nearly 50 gallons of raw honey this year, and the resort celebrated National Honey Month in September with many honey-themed specials, including this facial.

self care Spa products at Lincolnshire Marriott

The facial was more than just someone slapping on some masks and calling it a day. I always debate whether I should get a massage or a facial. One feels better, one is probably more visually effective. The best part about this 80 minute mini-vacation is that massage is involved as well as a complete anti-aging regimen! Plus, everything smelled DIVINE since many of the treatments and masks used natural fruits and honey. The product that smelled the best was a Citrus Lip Balm (that I of course had to have, and it is available for purchase). It is part of the Lip Trio that they sell as well- a complete exfoliation and moisturization for your pucker!

Spa self care Citrus Lip treatment

Spa tip: Can’t make it to the spa? Create your own spa self care DIY Tumeric Honey mask at home! Mix together 1 tsp. organic tumeric root powder, 2 tbsp. organic ground oats, 3 tbsp. organic plain yogurt and 3 drops raw or Manuka honey. Spread onto face, let sit for 15-20 minutes and rinse with warm water.

Solo Lunch

Have you ever intentionally eaten lunch solo? I do it quite often, and I relish the time alone with my thoughts. Although I LOVE going on dates with my husband, friends and family, a little time to myself is a slice of heaven. Table for one is not intimidating if you look at the time as self care. I always order a cocktail when I am having lunch by myself- it is just more fun that way. No judgement from my lunch partner, right?

Self care cocktail at Wright's Bistro

I also tend to look at the menu more because I am not chatting and exchanging pleasantries with my table mate. I don’t hurriedly pick something at the last minute because I was answering questions about my current obsessions.

Wright's Bistro- post spa lunch

I popped into Wright’s Brew & Bistro after my spa self care services. Midweek, the lunch crowd was fairly sparse, so I was able to snag a seat by the window with a view of the pool deck. I ordered the Carnitas Tacos (delish) and of course a post-massage cocktail to continue the whole relaxation thing I had going on.

Post-spa lunch carnitas tacos

Spa tip: Make sure to hydrate after a massage! Cocktails are probably not the best idea, so do as I say not as I do and stick to something more along the lines of H2O.

Self Care at Home

Heading to a spa once a year is a lovely treat, but continuing with rituals and healthy habits at home that lift you up and calm the noise? THAT is when self care truly makes a difference. I carried a few of the spa self care tips I learned at the Spa at Lincolnshire Marriott to my own home.

*Bedtime Routine-

*Find a tea you love (I just discovered Vadham Teas– great story, even better TEA!)

*Walk in nature (Lincolnshire Marriot has gorgeous grounds for wandering)

*Sit down and eat lunch by yourself and savor the food

*Treat yourself to a cocktail midday (as long as you aren’t driving…)

Cheers to scheduling a date with yourSELF and taking care of business…the business of listening to your body, mind and emotions and taking CARE.

Disclosure: I received a spa treatment for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own as always.

Dog Date: Big Star & The T-Shirt Deli

Since adding Ginger (an adorable teddy-bear-ish Australian Labradoodle) to our family in October of 2018, I never thought about having a date with my dog. I was focused on training, and scooping poop, and crying over the loss of a few good pairs of sandals (RIP my limited edition Ipanema solemates). I didn’t think taking this cuddly yet crazy creature out in public was ever going to happen. With the typical puppy behavior of:

  • Jumping up on friends, family and strangers alike
  • Straining at the leash like she was giving Usain Bolt a run for his money
  • Employing her puppy play tactics of nipping our kids

…a dog date was not in the cards.

DOG DATE: Big Star & T-Shirt Deli

Eventually, I spoke with a few friends that had rectified similar situations and shipped sweet and scattered Ginger to doggy boarding school. She was able to interact with other dogs, learn some basic commands, and settle down while walking on a leash.

Planning a Dog Date

A month after her return, I knew we were ready to have a day out with friends- a puppy play date with cocktails (for me, ice water for her), and a little shopping spree. The thing was, I had NO clue what establishments were puppy-friendly. What do I do if she decides to take a downward derriere move at a restaurant? Lift a leg inside a store? Could we have an outing that consisted of something other than bootie-sniffing (her, not me) and ball throwing (me, not her)?

My answer came in the form of an email from the T-Shirt Deli. I used to live in Bucktown and as a person who simply adores apparel and creativity, I would peer into the window and marvel at the marketing genius that created this concept. The T-Shirt Deli is a storefront (and online shop) that creates custom t-shirts in a deli setting. The T-Shirt Deli now has two locations- Andersonville (1482 W. Berwyn) and Bucktown (1739 N. Damen). They asked if I would like to come in with a friend and make a shirt on them to test out their set up. There was even a mention that I could bring a four-legged friend (!). I was thrilled. Now to set up my dog date.

First stop, Wicker Park

On a hot summer day, Ginger’s tongue is usually lolling outside of her mouth as she grins happily, prancing along, excited to go on adventure. Our first stop was Wicker Park, where they have a dog-friendly area that includes off-leash allowance and a doggie drinking fountain. I wanted to tire Ginger out so she would crash at lunch, not crash my lunch and allow her to use the *ahem* facilities prior to dining.

Tip: Windy City Paws, a Chicago Dog Walking company, has a great blog for dog owners that offers a ton of info about your pooch and the city. They also have a Dog-Friendly Event Calendar to plan your next dog date! If you go to a park without a doggie water fountain, make sure to bring a water bottle and bowl for your pup, or a nifty product like this. The Lesotc Pet Water Bottle is ideal because it has a cap that transforms into a stand-alone bowl. Grab it on Amazon for around $15 here.

Second stop, Big Star

A favorite restaurant of mine (and all fellow taco-obsessed Chicagoans) is Big Star. Side note- why are restaurants housed in former gas stations always so charming? Anyways, I recalled walking by Big Star previously and seeing puppies chilling on the patio. As I walked my weary puppy up to the hostess stand, she immedately seated us at an outdoor table in the shade in a corner, out of the way of other patrons (leashes can totally be tripping hazards as can wandering dogs). After we were situated, she returned with a water dish just for Ginger, which my waitstaff kept filled to the brim with icewater. Honestly, I don’t even get this treatment at many restaurants! We met our friends Roxy (a rescue Chihuaha) and Aneesha & Tina (both human) for an afternoon of Palomas, tacos, and dog treats for our dog date.

Tip: Bring a friend with you just in case you have to go to the bathroom. Most restaurants allow dogs on the patio, but not inside the restaurant, so you better hold it if you gotta go. Don’t tie your dog to the table- this could be a disaster if your dog bolts. Hold the leash or clip to your belt. I also bring treats and quiet toys to entertain, as well a plenty of poop bags and a sanitizing spray + paper towel just in case there are emergencies.

Third Stop, T-Shirt Deli

After wrapping up our lovely lunch, we walked a few short blocks north to The T-Shirt Deli. Immediately upon entering we were greeted with grins from the staff- they seem to truly love dogs and friendly faces. The concept of the T-Shirt Deli is this: plan your t-shirt like you would plan your sandwich. Pick your color and style, font and saying, customize it to your taste and your humor. They have books upon books of inspiration as well as a wall of colors, prints, cuts and weights of short-sleeved t-shirts, long-sleeves, tanks, sweatshirts, baby apparel and, of course, dog attire.

T-Shirt Deli Dog Tshirt

I knew what saying I wanted before I set foot in the store- a little mom/dog humor that stole a few lines from a cult classic film of the aughts, Mean Girls.

I tossed out my idea to the gals behind the counter and they were on it. They figured out how many lines it would take, how to center it, then asked me to pick a color and font. I selected a charcoal sweatshirt for myself (because um…in the Midwest we wear sweatshirts over every other piece of apparel about 5 to 1) and a light grey t-shirt for Ginger. I loved the “Lunchbox” font- a little retro, not too bubbly, and chose a gorgeous metallic for my saying. Ginger, being the little lady, received magenta letters.

Tip: You can spend hours persusing the books, searching for the perfect design. Ask the super helpful staff for their input- they are graphic artists and know what look best!

Mean Girls Quote Dog Tshirt

As we waited, I chatted with friends and checked out the decor of the deli. If deli chic was a thing, the T-Shirt Deli definitely would embody every aspect. The walls were decorated with faux sausages and hanging baskets chock full of deli-style wrapped goodies. Font, color and layout samples were on display under glass in a massive deli counter and books were available to peruse at a table complete with leather-topped swivel stools. A small bistro table with slatted chairs invited customers to visit while their orders came to life.

T-Shirt Deli Sample Shirts T-Shirt Deli Stock T-shirt Deli T-shirts, Sweatshirts

Retail Therapy with Your Dog

I waited for around 30-40 minutes while my two designs were freshly prepared by their t-shirt artists. Wait times vary depending upon their traffic, and you are welcome to lounge or head to nearby shops for a little retail therapy. Lush, the cult cosmetics and beauty store famous for their bath bombs, is located a few doors down and allows dogs to shop along. Plus, Lush is majorly active in the fight against animal testing- yay for Fido!

A little video to sum up our dog date in Chicago:

Here is our complete look from The T-Shirt Deli- doesn’t Ginger look totally Fetch? What an adorable souvenir of our dog date!

Custom Dog T-shirt from T-Shirt Deli

She even sported her new custom T-shirt at a Chicago Dogs Bark at the Ballpark game and received many compliments.

Dog T-shirt from The T-Shirt Deli

Overall, we had an absolutely fantastic dog date and fondly recall our outing every time we wear our matching T-Shirt Deli attire. Ok, maybe I fondly recall it and Ginger tolerates me stuffing her into a skinny T, but it was a memorable day date for both of us!

Cheers to spending having a date with a four-legged friend who is the epitome of unconditional love! And if you want a human date night idea, check out this show before it wraps!

Disclosure: I was provided with products from The T-Shirt Deli for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own, as always.