16 Creative Winter Dates That Aren’t Netflix and Chill
Dating as a creative is tough. Along with the common dating conundrums (finding something to wear, rocking fun date night makeup and combatting butterflies), figuring out where to go is infinitely harder. Not only do you want to get to know the person and have fun, you also want to add a bit of creativity and originality to the experience (since you know that’s what they really enjoy). For anyone stuck on where to take your boo this weekend, here are 16 unique date ideas that are sure to create sparks.
1. Have a Christmas Present Wrapping Party: Grab your S.O. for a night of funky wrapping paper combos, DIY bow offs and festive cocktails. Just make sure to keep their present hidden during the date!
2. Wine and Painting Night at a Local Studio: For the creative that’s always reaching for a canvas, try taking them to a wine and painting night at your local art studio. Whether your painting turns out to be the next Picasso or third-grade-project-adjacent, it’s a fun way to get to know your partner, plus your painting makes for a cute memento!
3. Brew Your Own Beer: Leave takeout and Netflix for another day. Spruce up your date night in by brewing your own beer. It’s hands-on, fun and completely foolproof. Try this kit ($40) for everything you’ll need (including step-by-step instructions).
4. Mix Up Your Sunday Brunch Routine With Pancake Art: There are tons of great tutorials out there for creating this trendy and artful breakfast staple. Try these heart eye emoji ones or create your own! (Photo via Tiger Tomato)
5. Attend an Art Class: Whether it’s pottery, needlework or nude painting, taking an art class together is the perfect weekly bonding session for the creative couple.
6. Create Your Own Wine at a Vineyard or Wine Shop: Take a day trip to a local winery and try your hands at winemaking. It’s surprisingly affordable and makes for a great personal addition to any collection.
7. Host a Taste-Testing Night In: Blindfold your partner and have a palate test just like Hell’s Kitchen (okay, with a little less yelling). You’ll be surprised at what your partner can think up! (Photo via WPA Pool/Getty)
8. Chopped-Inspired Cook-Off: Make your own mystery box for your partner (perhaps squid, artichokes and ranch?) and let the cook-off begin. Just make sure you have something premade in the fridge in case things go awry!
9. Take a DJ Class: For the creative that’s tried everything from painting to pottery, mix things up with something a bit more musical (and hip). DJ classes are usually run out of local music studios and are a great way shake off a dreary work week. (Photo via Cooper Neil/Getty)
10. Have a Cookie Decorating Bake-Off: Nothing says wintertime like a good Christmas cookie bake-off. Use premade cookies or whip up your own — it’s all about the decorations anyhow. Just make sure not to eat all the cookie dough before it reaches the oven.
11. Learn a New Instrument Together: You’re never too old to learn to play an instrument. Whether you sign up for lessons at a local studio or wing it with YouTube tutorials, learning something new with your date is bound to make for an interesting night. (Photo via Mike Coppola/Getty)
12. Learn to Knit a Cozy Blanket Together: There are tons of knitting tutorials out there for beginners. Plunk down in front of your laptop with your S.O. and start learning how to create a cozy blanket together. It’s perfect for fireplace snuggles.
13. Create Your Own Christmas Story: For the creative that’s always reading, create your own Christmas story for date night. Try imagining a new plot with all original characters, or do a fanfiction of a Christmastime classic. Your creative will love it!
14. Create Your Own Puzzle: Grab an old cereal box or extra piece of cardboard and make a holiday puzzle that’s endemic of your relationship. Cut up an old picture or scour Google for your favorite things — if you’re lucky, it just might lead to some good present ideas too.
15. Make the Outdoors Your Canvas and Paint the Snow with Spray Paint: Creatives can find inspiration anywhere — even in piles of snow. Swing by your local hardware store, grab some bright cans of spray paint and get creating. Just stay away from the yellow… (Photo via John Moore/Getty)
16. Dollar Store Ugly Sweater Challenge: Head to your local dollar store and grab all necessary supplies to create the ugliest Christmas sweaters ever.
What was your favorite creative date of all time? Let us know by tweeting us @britandco!
This Jewelry Designer Infuses ‘90s Hip Hop, Caribbean Spice + Vibrant Hues into Everything She Makes
This Jewelry Designer Infuses '90s Hip Hop, Caribbean Spice + Vibrant Hues into Everything She Makes
Vibrant hues, '90s-era boldness, and raw artisanal beauty — these are just a few of the characteristics that make the work of today's creative crush truly swoonworthy. Named for a potent Caribbean pepper, Tracey-Renee Hubbard's Scotchbonnet is a gorgeous line of earrings and accessories made by hand with love, thoughtfulness and a resolute passion for the art of making.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and super fan of Scotchbonnet! Like so many creative connections these days, I first connected with designer Tracey-Renee when she DM'ed the @britandco IG account and we featured her work in a story roundup of BIPOC makers. A few weeks later, she applied and won a scholarship to our first session of the Selfmade program where Brit and I both had the privilege of mentoring and working with Tracey-Renee on her brand, her business plan, and her mission. Since then she's been awarded a minority creative grant from JOANN Fabrics, and seriously upleveled her production process thanks to a collaboration with Glowforge. (PS: B+C readers can get 20% off their own Glowforge Pro by clicking here!)
Now I am thrilled to be able to share more about this brilliant maker's journey, inspiration and creative process in this edition of Creative Crushin'.
Anjelika Temple: Before we get into learning all about your creative inspiration, tell us a little about your background.
Tracey-Renee Hubbard: I was born and raised in Wisconsin. Yep, lots of cheese and cows. Growing up in Wisconsin right outside of Milwaukee provided me with a surprisingly diverse and eclectic foundation. My parents stressed the importance of academics, but they didn't believe that excelling at school needed to come at the expense of creativity or other hobbies. Art, music, books and softball were a big chunk of my childhood. Crafting and creating have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
One of my favorite shows to watch when I was growing up was "A Different World." It was about the college experience at a fictitious HBCU (Historically Black College/University) called Hillman College. Watching that show inspired me to go to Florida A&M University (an HBCU) where I received a BS in Business Management and an MBA.
The world changes quickly and I love learning new things! After completing my MBA program, I studied graphic design, multimedia art and completed the Merchandise Product Development program at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in San Francisco. My academic and professional experiences have given me the opportunity to live and work in lots of interesting places; but for now I am based in the San Francisco Bay area.
Anj: Did you always know that you wanted to be a professional artist/creative?
Tracey-Renee: Yep, but for a long time I was afraid to do it because of the "starving artist" stigma (all lies, btw). I tried to compartmentalize my creative practices as just a "hobby", but when something is truly in your spirit the desire never really goes away…and so now here I am!
Anj: What do you love about making things? What keeps the spark going for you?
Tracey-Renee: I've been inspired to create for as long as I can remember! I've always been fascinated by color, texture, travel and cultural connection. I grew up watching my grandmother quilt, sew and mend garments, I saw my Mom create beautiful home décor and heirloom holiday decorations and spent time in my Dad's workshop. Being surrounded by unique handmade items that hold special stories has fueled my passion for being a designer and maker.
Anj: Like so many artists, you've got a day job in addition to your creative hustle. Tell us about your career path.
Tracey-Renee: My first "real job" was in pharmaceutical sales and marketing. I loved the left brain/right brain mix of processing all the data and scientific information and then finding creative ways to relay that information to doctors and health care providers. That role really opened my eyes to the power of messaging and visual communication tools which ultimately led to me returning to school to study digital design and multimedia arts. I've had fun using my marketing and digital design skills in several different industries. I currently work as the Director of Marketing and Creative Strategy for a candy company. I spend a lot of time working in the digital realm – I think most of us do- and that makes me really appreciate the time I spend making handmade jewelry for Scotchbonnet.
Anj: Tell me more about your brand Scotchbonnet! How would you describe your brand's mission?
Tracey-Renee: I want to make pieces that are cherished - special but not so "precious" that they sit in a box stored away for special occasions that are far and few between. My accessories are known for their bold shapes, bright colors and eye-catching patterns. Each piece is handmade with love (I hope my customers can feel it when they wear their Scotchbonnet accessories)!
Scotchbonnet jewelry has been described as "conversation starters" and I love the fact that they connect people and get them to start conversing. I am excited about elevating those conversations by creating capsule collections connected to social causes; that way the chat can go beyond just "cute earrings, where'd you get them?"
Anj: At Brit + Co, we are enamored with bright colors, patterns and geometric shapes -- and clearly, you are too! How did you hone in on your aesthetic?
Tracey-Renee: I chose the name Scotchbonnet for my jewelry brand because scotch bonnet peppers add a distinctively potent spice to Caribbean food and I feel that my jewelry has the same vibe. My accessories are known for vibrant hues, bold shapes and eye-catching patterns. I am inspired by the flashiness of 90s hip-hop, the simplicity of modern luxury, and the raw beauty of artisan goods from the African Diaspora. My aesthetic continues to evolve based on the things I love, the places I've been and the community I want to serve.
Anj: We LOVED mentoring you + helping your business grow during our first Selfmade session. What were your main takeaways from the program and experience?
Tracey-Renee: Selfmade helped me understand the importance of having a clear vision and trusting my intuition. It can be inspirational watching other entrepreneurs "hustling and winning" on their social media feeds, but without clarity about my vision that "inspiration" can be overwhelming and make things confusing. It's easy to confuse movement with progress – Selfmade helped me craft an action plan that ensures each step builds momentum and accelerates me toward my goals. Selfmade also provided me with a vibrant, uplifting community of founders, entrepreneurs and go-getters.
Anj: When you get creatively blocked or burnt out, how do you reset? Do you have tips you can share?
Tracey-Renee: I take a break. We're inundated with "hustle culture" that can make us feel guilty for taking a break, but at the end of the day we're of no value to anyone when we're burnt out. When I have a creative block I usually log off for a while… there's this duality with the internet where on the surface it seems to be an endless pool of inspiration, but in reality everything that's on the internet has already been filtered or curated by someone else. Sometimes it's helpful to see things through a new lens and find inspiration in ("real" physical) books, at a museum or out in nature. Seeing things in a new light from a different angle can be a really refreshing creative jolt.
Anj: What does your workspace look like? What tools do you use and how has it changed over the years?
Tracey-Renee: I'd describe it as "choreographed chaos". It's organized enough so that I can be efficient with the administrative parts of my business like: inventory management, packing and shipping. It's creative enough so that it still feels inspiring, and it's tidy enough that it doesn't feel overwhelming to sit down and start working. It smells like coconut or tropical fruit (thanks to my candles) and it sounds like hip-hop, dance hall, soca or afrobeats.
The primary mediums I work with are wood, paint, glass beads and recently brass. With that being said my paint brushes, needle & thread and jeweler's saw are always within close reach. The most recent addition to my studio is my Glowforge Pro 3D laser printer; it is a game changer! It shrunk my product development cycle time infinitely. Prior to the Glowforge the process was time consuming and costly; now, I can literally "print" a new design within minutes of sketching out an idea. It's also been awesome when it comes to inventory management and sustainability. I no longer have to worry about over-producing or wasting materials; I can make exactly what I need right when I need it without any waste. The Glowforge can make millions of things and I'm excited about trying new design ideas in the future. I have a ton of sketches and inspo photos on my magnet board and in my notebooks waiting to be explored. (ICYMI: B+C readers can get 20% off their own Glowforge Pro by clicking here!)
Anj: What advice do you have for emerging artists and designers just getting started? What advice do you have for creatives struggling to find their unique voice?
Tracey-Renee: Start with your "why" and not your "what". Your "why" will be the secret weapon that competitors will never be able to touch. Once you have that part figured out; dive in! I think that now is a really exciting time for creatives. The rise of entrepreneurship powered by social media has removed a lot of barriers that used to make creative careers seem out of reach. Protect your work, but don't be afraid to put yourself (and your stuff!) out there. Connect with other artists and build a community, it's so important to have a sounding board for difficult times and a crew with whom you can celebrate your successes.
Anj: What's next for your brand?
Tracey-Renee: Scaling and growing in a way that feels authentic. I have new colors and new products coming soon and I am super excited about that! My upcoming premium capsule collections are close to my heart; designing jewelry inspired by social causes and having a "give back" component means the world to me. I want to keep having fun with my brand, sharing joy with fun colors and patterns and infusing love into each handmade piece.