Dating // November 18, 2013

For many, surviving the holidays involves the daunting task of giving a gift to everybody on the friends and family list. And because of the stress of holiday shopping, many of us give uninspired and underwhelming gifts. Within a few weeks, this gift usually finds itself on the shelves of the nearby Goodwill store or making an appearance at next year’s white elephant gift exchange.

But this year can be different. The key to choosing the perfect present is simple: give him something that enhances his life.  It’s not the expensive gift that always wins (though that can communicate how much you appreciate him).  Its all about choosing the right gift for the right guy.

Here are some of this year’s top picks to make his holidays a little happier.

Braven 850 Speaker System

Does he like music?  The Braven 850 is an excellent alternative to the Beats Pill.  Its 20 hours of battery life make it uber portable, you can stream music wirelessly, you can make calls with it, and even charge your other devices.  It may be the smartest portable speaker system in stores this year.

PlayStation 4

When he needs a little down time, the PS4 delivers the slickest entertainment experience.  Not only are the graphics stunning, but the new PS4 has the ability to learn his preferences and recommend content including new games, TV shows and movies.

Randy Watson Tee

This tee is sure to bring a smile to anyone who remembers the greatest singer to ever come out of Jackson Heights.  And he’ll love wearing it and being the talk of the dinner party.


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Pokket Mixer

Ever been to a house party that was in desperate need of better music?  This nifty contraption allows you to connect and mix between two devices (a phone, mp3 player, or tablet), making you the rescue DJ.

Improv Classes

Want to give him the gift of creativity?  A series of improv classes are the perfect gift for the guy that appreciates the arts or wants to increase his fast-thinking skills.

Find a theater company near you.

 

Cooking Class

For the seasoned gentleman who knows how to get around the kitchen (or wants to learn), a couples cooking class is a great way to learn a new dish and spend some quality time.  Get instruction from a top chef like Hipcooks, learn a new recipe, and then enjoy eating your new creation together.



Game Tickets

Is he a sports fan?  You can find deals on seats for his favorite teams on an online secondary-ticket marketplace.  Be savvy when scouring the available tickets and get him courtside - (or close to it).

StubHub is a great place to find tickets.

A Good Book

To many Made Men, a great book is priceless.  Help him “sharpen the tools in the shed” with a classic book like Robert Greene’s Mastery, or a new title like Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath.


Premium Mens Grooming Package

Many men know the value of a good haircut, but many men have never experienced premium men’s grooming.  Treat him to a premium haircut, shave, and nail care.  They’ll love the soothing pampering that’s usually only reserved for A-listers, and others will notice their enhanced look.  They may never look at a regular barber the same again.

Find a master barber near your like Julian Payne of the Original Mobile Barber Shop


Personal Styling Consultation


If his appearance is important in his line of work, give him the gift of an updated image.  Buy him a day with a stylist like Melynda Choothesa of Couture Zen in LA to reinvent his closet or create a new wardrobe.  And don't worry about how expensive a personal stylist might be; you don't have to be Akon, Aisha Tyler or Chad Coleman to look like an A-lister.  In the end, he’ll appreciate a newly refined personal brand - just in time for the new year.


PhotoShoot

Could your Made Man use a little boost for his personal brand?  New headshots or studio photography is the perfect tool to help any young entrepreneur make a good first impression.

Look for a professional photographer near you.  If you’re in LA, Kimberly Yatsko Photography is a great place to start.

Weekend Staycation or Getaway

For the guy who’s too focused to play video games or go to a basketball game, a simple weekend getaway is the perfect escape.  He’ll appreciate being acknowledged for his hard work and being treated like a king for the weekend.  Get him a gift certificate to a nice hotel just outside of town so he can recharge and refocus on his goals for the new year.

Published in Dating

Business // December 17, 2012

Someone says, “The office Christmas party is next week!” You think, “Bring on the booze!”…and we have a problem. I really don’t know the origin of this idea that the office Holiday/Christmas party should be a near-orgy, booze fest but I’m pretty sure the cast of Mad Men is to blame. Be that as it may, we don’t all have to succumb to the tequila and free-for-all thinking. In fact, if you play your cards right, this year’s Holiday/Christmas/Kwanzaa party could be a strategic success story for you and your career. I’m here to help you navigate your way through this minefield party. Watch and learn.

What to Wear
Yes, the hottie from the mail room will be in attendance at the party. But no (please God, no) this does not mean you should wear your hoochie-fied Vegas outfit to get his attention. Keep in mind the other 200 or so guests, some of whom may have the clout to get you a better, higher paying job. That is if you don’t blind them with your cleavage in that itty bitty dress first.... 

Here are some cute looks suitable for a Holiday/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah party:

     

                  Bebe, $69                                                    Bebe, $139


      

               Urban Outfitters, $199                           Forever 21, $22.80


How to Drink
So, they have turned the copy room into a wet bar and the free alcohol is flowing…everywhere. You are itching to do a round of shots with Phillip from accounting just ‘cause he dared you to. But before you do that, do me a favor. Close your eyes and envision all the pictures your co-workers are gonna take of you going "Gangnam style" on your boss’s desk once you get blitzed. Envision the embarrassment you are going to feel when HR calls you the next day and asks you to explain the photo copies of your butt, signed by you, and left all over the lunch room. Then think about how you will feel when people tell you that you got on the mic and demanded a raise from your idiot boss. In those words. Now, open your eyes and just say no. Keep it classy with one or two glasses of wine.

How to Dance
Things are getting loose now. The marketing department has taken over the dance floor and are attempting dance moves they saw in a Lady Gaga video. My advice to you is to proceed to the dance floor with caution. If you are a bad dancer your lame gyrations will only make people realize that you are…well, lame. If you are a good dancer but did not heed my warnings above (see “how to drink) you may end up doing a dirty dance with the maintenance guy which will be the talk of the office for weeks. When in doubt, just fall back on the faithful two-step...or go play poker.

How to Network
Now everyone is having a good time. The higher ups are letting their hair down, ties come off, and everyone seems a bit more approachable. Warning: this is all an illusion. No matter how many drinks your boss has had if you guys were not best friends before the Holiday/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Ramadan office party, now is not the time to force the issue.  Do not tell embarrassing or overly personal stories. Don’t follow him or her around subtly (or not so subtly) asking for a promotion. Instead, use this time to network among your entire company, meeting new people or talking with those you work with but never had the time to get to know. Introduce yourself to someone you think may be a good mentor. And if you do get some one-on-one time with your boss or someone you think could be beneficial to your career, have your one minute “elevator speech” ready. An elevator speech is a concise, pre-prepared -- but casual -- speech about yourself and what you do that will make you memorable to someone.  And as always…have your business cards ready!

Yes, parties for Holiday/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Ramadan (or whatever you kids celebrate these days) should be fun and are great way to make friends with your co-workers. But never forget that you are still in a work environment. What you do can and will be used against you come Monday morning. If you make the right moves, however, this will not only be a great party…it could shape up to be a great opportunity.

Published in Career

December 19, 2011

The Christmas season is upon us, and that means shopping for the special man—or men—in your life. I’m not just talking about who you are dating. When you are making your list of who’s been nice enough to come out of pocket for, there might be a few men on the list that you wouldn’t expect. Take a look.



Your Boss
Hopefully you have a great relationship with your boss. If he has taken time out throughout the year to help with your professional development, it might be a good idea to show him some love around the holidays.  Try this collection of books from Malcolm Gladwell, author of Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. I’ve read Blink so I know that Gladwell’s writing style and point of view gets people talking. Buying the Malcolm Gladwell: Collected set ($50)for your boss will be an opportunity to discuss some of the topics he covers. Plus the new packaging and illustrations from Brian Rea make this set look classy.



Your Gay Best Friend
Save some room on your list for this one: your gay best friend. Every girl needs one. And this is what he needs for Christmas. These are InCase Terra Bags are great for a friend that is always on the go. I’m loving the soft, casual exterior and the bright red interior. These bags are great for carrying everything from laptops to gym clothes. Made from all natural materials and ranging from $50 to $100, you can find the perfect gift for someone special. And it’s so much better than a manbag.


Your Brother
So your brother has everything: iPod, iPad, iPhone...he’d have an iCar too if they made that (Ohhh! They should make that!). Instead of adding to his cult like following of all things Apple, try adding to the functionality  and fun of his iPad with this iCADE. You just download the games from the app store, slide your iPad in through the top and then use the joystick and buttons to play some Atari games. At $80, it is a low cost way to spread some joy to your gamer/geek/techy brother.


Your Father
Get your pop something a little techy and a little retro this year. Crosley has proven that these two can coincide with this analog to digital Keepsake USB Turntable. Not only do these look great but they serve a really cool purpose. You can use them to play your vinyl records or to convert them into cds. Or use the USB ports to upload the record quality sound right to your computer.  This awesome gadget would make any music lover happy and the $150 price tag should be music to your ears.


Your Male Friend/Roommate/Co-worker
What to get the guy who is in your friendzone? How about this SuperHeadz Clap Camera? It works as a memory card reader and a really tiny camera. And it’s so cute! You can even record mini movies with the camera. It has a USB connector so that you can upload your photos and movies directly to your computer. At $50, this gift says, “I’m glad we’re homies”.

I left off suggestions for what to get your boo for Christmas because there are 14,500,000 other articles out there on the web about that. But this year be sure to make the other men in your life feel special. Happy shopping!

Published in Lifestyle
Monday, 05 December 2011 11:10

Holidays | We Wish You a Thrifty Christmas

December 5, 2011

Novice shoppers walk into a mall during the holiday season trying to remember how many family members, friends and co-workers they need to get gifts for. They spend hours wandering aimlessly from store to store, hoping something will scream out "Buy me! I’m the perfect gift for your mother and I’m on sale."  Come closing time, they are probably over-budget, overwhelmed and over it all. Bah humbug. Well, I’ve had many years of shopping experience and I can tell you it all should start with planning. While setting up a budget doesn’t seem like the first step toward Christmas cheer, it can help you spread more holiday spirit than an IOU.

Making a List, Checking It Twice…

First things first, make a list of all the people you need to get gifts for; don’t forget your co-workers! You see them every day and giving them a little sumthing sumthing this Christmas can only improve your working relationship.

Naughty or Nice?

Once you have the list, go over it and decide how much you want to spend on each person. People should fall into three categories: Splurge, Bargain Shop or Homemade. Don’t feel bad for breaking the list up this way. You can’t buy everyone a diamond ring this year, even if you love them all. Plus, homemade gifts show that you went the extra mile and created something unique. If you have the money, set it aside for a few small gifts in case you happen to forget someone. This can save your butt when the next Secret Santa party comes around.

Once you have decided how much you are going to spend, it's time to hunt down a bargain. Check online for deals first so you can compare prices without driving around town. If you are into eBay you can try bidding online to get a cheaper price.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Planning...

Okay, I hereby officially remove the stigma from re-gifting. Let’s face it: the economy outweighs your delicate sensibilities. Besides, your friend Sarah might look great in that dress your aunt gave you that was two sizes too small…. Your aunt was probably trying to be funny anyway.

Christmas is also a great time to put reward points to use. Most people rack them up and forget about them. Check with your credit card company to see what deals they can offer.

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…

An easy way to stretch a dollar and spread some cheer is to cook a gift instead of wrapping it. A co-worker of mine gave out homemade jam around the holidays last year. It was a tasty treat and completely unexpected. You can try that or whip up a batch of Christmas tree-shaped cookies, gingerbread men or Rice Crispy Treats, bag them and add a bow. Ta Da! Christmas right out of the oven.

This holiday season do all you can to spread the love, but stay within your means. If giving a gift to someone is detrimental to your finances then the spirit of the act is lessened. Your loved ones wouldn't want you to go bankrupt in order to get them pricey stocking stuffers. So have the best holiday season ever!...No Pressure. 

 

Published in Lifestyle