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Fun alternatives to happy hour with your friends

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

The New Happy Hour

Ah, there's nothing like happy hour to unwind after a long workweek or even just a really tough day. But a few handfuls of chips and several calorie-laden margaritas can leave you with a bloated belly and a headache come morning. Why not trade in your happy hour routine for a healthier alternative? Here we offer some fun new ideas that will give happy hour a new meaning, and some creative suggestions for activities that will lead to healthy bonding with your girlfriends.

The New Happy Hour

Treat your Feet

Instead of meeting your girlfriends at the bar after work, why not schedule simultaneous pedicures? That way you can soak your tootsies and bond while you catch up on what's new with your gals.

 

Sweat Equity

Instead of adding calories to your post-work routine, why not burn a few? Try a yoga class to clear your head or a boot camp or high-intensity cardio class to blow off steam. If you need to reconnect with nature after spending all day in the office, take a hike or a nature walk.

 

Book Worms

Get your girlfriends together and organize a monthly book club. Rotate whose home the club meets at, and that person gets to select the next book to be read. Keep the group small -- no more than 10 members -- so you can really have a good discussion and each person can contribute.

 

Knit Wits

Need something to do with your hands besides lifting a drink to your lips? How about knitting? It's not your grandmother's hobby anymore. There are some great patterns and designs out there now. But even if you don't need another scarf, knitting circles are a perfect way to reconnect with your girlfriends.

 

Make Some Steam

Learn to make some amazing dishes by taking a cooking demonstration at a local kitchenware store. There are generally themes for each class, so if you are just taking one or two, be sure it's something that you're really interested in making. Bonus -- you'll get to sample some amazing good!

 

Give a Little Bit

Instead of indulging your own needs, why not give to the needy? There are so many causes that need advocates. Volunteer to serve food at a local homeless shelter, become a foster parent for a puppy at a humane society or pick up trash at a local park. Become a real part of your community!

 

Escape Reality

Take a break from real life and enjoy a movie or a theater production you've been wanting to see. Even if you go to your niece's dance recital or a children's production of Annie, the temporary escape from your daily grind will do you wonders.

 

Four-legged Friends

Give your dog walker the week (or month) off, and take your pooch to the park yourself. You'll both enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Ask your girlfriends to meet you there, and let the pooches chase each other around while you catch up.

 

Get Your Hands Dirty

Sign yourself and your best buds up for a pottery class at a local community college or check with your local crafts and hobby store to see if they offer any events. Working your hands through smooth, cold clay can be therapeutic. If you'd rather keep it clean, go to one of those pottery painting places, like As You Wish. Simply select a piece of pottery, decorate it onsite however you want, and then pick it up in a few days after it has been glazed and fired.

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