A sunny day at Brighton's mill pond
A Date Night: Newborn Style

February 18, 2020 | Story by: Olivia Monte

Please enjoy this guest blog from Livingston County resident, Olivia Monte.

Arranging a weekly date night after having a baby can seem like it requires way more effort than ever before. Prior to having a baby, we had to be so adamant about scheduling our date nights to ensure we would make them a priority or they wouldn’t happen. When we were about to welcome our firstborn baby into the world, I remember telling my husband “make us get out of the house when she gets here!” I was terrified to be those parents who are intimidated by taking the baby out in public. I was also on high alert for Postpartum Depression after hearing several fellow mamas stories and every doctor at the hospital giving us fair warning– “it happens without you thinking about it!” So getting out of the house regularly was high on my priority list. It was also so shocking how many people would see us out with her and comment, “Good for you! Getting out of the house!” Bringing her along with us was fundamental to readjusting to our new life.

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Of course, going out looks a little different these days though. Our old choice for going out was hopping around all the local bars downtown or we would go out and spend an evening at a sit-down restaurant where we would have a few drinks, eat a long, intricate meal, trying several small plates. Living downtown Brighton, I cannot tell you how lucky we are to have such a good handful of places where taking a baby is no hard feat.

Olivia Monte and her baby at the millpond in Brighton

@livymonte on Instagram


Our neighborhood favorite is El Arbol. El Arbol is the old Yum Yum Tree (an ode to the name, Arbol meaning Tree in Spanish!). What I love most about El Arbol, besides the delicious food, is the speed of the service. From the time you sit down, to the time you are eating, this is the place to get in and get out (ideal with a newborn/infant)! What has worked really well for us is putting our baby in the backpack/sling and sitting in their window seats. Especially now that she’s getting older and more observant, she loves watching the traffic drive by. As we smash some street tacos and tamales, the atmosphere is perfect to accommodate families. Quick service, delicious food, and a wide variety of food offerings that suit my dietary restrictions, not to mention their friendly staff.


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If you’re anything like me, the moment you’re finished with your dinner, you get an emergency sweet tooth. Emergency meaning it needs to be addressed ASAP.  We love to take a little after-dinner walk around the Mill Pond to let our food settle and we usually end up at the Brighton Coffeehouse and Theater. Opened just under a year ago, owners Marcus and Amy have done wonders for the downtown scene with this new addition. The evening boys will make you the most perfect hot chocolate (I request mine to be made with cacao) and if you’re lucky you can snag one of their gluten-free vegan banana nut muffins. I love ending up here because they have tons of board games that make for a good time. We love playing a game while sipping our hot chocolates. Baby can hang with us here in her stroller or in the sling and it’s easy to relax in their family-friendly, cozy environment.


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Date night doesn’t have to be complicated. As I mentioned, it looks a lot different these days than it used to, but I’m okay with that. Our baby girl is now 7 months old, and I am happy to report, staying with our routine “date night” has been one of the best things we’ve done as new parents. We love including our sweet girl on the things that bring us closer together. I am thankful to have some local go-to places for this so close to home.

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Olivia Monte is an Artist and Founder of Verbinding House, a lifestyle wellness brand, blog and art shop. She is the Director and Movement Instructor at The Space, a yoga based fitness studio in Brighton located in Green Oak Mall. She’s a Wife, and Mama who lives in Brighton with her family and pup.

You can follow Olivia on Instagram, learn more about Verbinding House from their website and Instagram, and learn more about The Space from their website and Instagram.


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El Arbol Taco

El Arbol Taqueria, 140 West Main Street, Brighton, MI, USA

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Brighton Coffeehouse & Theater

Brighton Coffeehouse & Theater, 306 West Main, Brighton, MI, 48116 USA

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Brighton Mill Pond

424 Mill Pond Ln, Brighton, MI 48116, USA

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