Cheryl Hines and Robert Kennedy Jr.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
03/22/2014 at 03:00 PM EDT
has learned a lot since she started dating environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr.
"I've changed out all the light bulbs," she told PEOPLE at the UCLA IoES Evening of Environmental Excellence in Beverly Hills on Friday. "It sounds ridiculous, but I turn off my air conditioner and heater. We have beautiful weather in L.A. I don't know why I never opened my windows! Now I turn off everything."
But there's something else she's learned: The Kennedy clan is ruthless when it comes to ball games.
"I have been a part of some holiday football games, softball games, game nights. I can tell you it's very competitive," she admits. "You really have to hold your own. Or you get left behind. It's true."
star was the host of the event held at the multimillion-dollar home of Hyatt hotel heir Tony Pritzker and his wife, Jeanne. And when it came time to call her boyfriend of almost two years up on stage to present an award, Hines was practically blushing.
"I really like this guy," said Hines, 48, who called Kennedy "a devoted dad
and all-around good guy." Then she got quiet and emotional for a second, adding, "I'm sorry, I just really like him."
The couple's connection was clear to see on the red carpet before the event, as they held hands while posing for pictures. While the pair maintains a bicoastal relationship – and Hines tells PEOPLE there are "no plans" for Kennedy, 60, to move to L.A. or for her to move to the East Coast – their relationship is solid. "I'm very, very happy," she says.
Reporting by Matthew Cole Weiss