Thursday, 06 March 2014 23:09

Dating | 3 Ways to Date Better

Dating // March 9, 2014

This article was originally published on Danielle-Dowling.com.

Our relationships are a direct reflection of our own self-worth.
Who we love is intrinsically tied to our level of self-esteem.

Every day, clients tell me that they’re in a relationship with a person they care about but their needs aren’t being met. And every day, my sweet, smart, lovely clients ask me how they can change to keep that (mediocre, unfulfilling) relationship going.

Stop right there.

The only change they need to make (that any of us needs to make) is to be more authentically ourselves.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll never have to make another compromise. But it does mean that you should never abandon yourself to please another.

It’s human nature to fear the unknown and fear being left alone.
But, sweet friend, it’s not your partner’s fault if your needs aren’t being met.
It’s yours.

Responsibility and accountability are yours to wield.
Communicate your needs and choose someone who respects, enjoys + loves you.


We must practice getting comfortable with the unknown and with letting go of toxic relationships.  We must trust that we can co-create and design the life of our dreams -- not as we change to satisfy others, but as we embrace love and delve into deeper integrity.

Want to date better + find someone who’s as amazing as you are?

:: Practice self care + self love
 
You won’t find a calm, centered, happy partner when you, yourself, are frazzled and wound up. You won’t land that confident, loving guy when you’re fraught with self-doubt and anxiety.  Spend some time working on yourself and cleaning up your side of the proverbial street, and you’ll be that much more likely to find someone who is also balanced and self-aware.

Don’t worry about cultivating a six pack or getting an MBA if that’s not really what you’re into, just focus on becoming the best possible version of you and loving who you are.

:: Express your needs
Some people like to text every day.  Some people need a lot of alone time.  Some people want their partner to plan exciting dates.  All of these needs are equally legitimate. But your partner will never know what your needs are if you don’t tell him.  You needn’t open a first date with a checklist, but once things are clicking along, it’s okay to say “I want you to feel loved and appreciated.  How can I do that?”  When you’ve heard his suggestions, you can share yours.  And then when he does that for you?  Lots and lots of acknowledgement and appreciation.

:: Don’t settle – set a higher standard for who you date
Dating can be exhausting and demoralizing.  I know. (I really, really know.)  And I know it can be tempting to date that Really Nice Person Who Likes You. But please, hold out for the person who gives you what you need.

No more dating that hot guy who cancels at the last minute.  Or the sweet girl who hates her job and is buried in credit card debt.  Or that cutie who’s super negative and says snarky things about everything and everyone.

Time and time again, I’ve seen my clients struggle through subpar relationships. Eventually, after heartbreak and hassle, they find their person and – every single time – they say “I didn’t know it could be this good!  I want to shout from the mountain tops!  I wish I could convince my friends that they don’t need to put up with that foolishness – they deserve so much better!”

He’s out there.  He’s waiting for you.
And you’re wasting time with that cutie who isn’t right for you.
(And you know it.)


Of course in any relationship we have to compromise and find a middle ground. But please yourself first and then you will attract someone who is pleased with you.
This means embracing the unknown and being okay with letting go of something or someone that isn’t meeting your needs.

Ask yourself this question: “If I wasn’t afraid, what would I do?”



Published in Dating
Monday, 24 February 2014 08:11

Dating | Dating Diary: The Mile High Mistake

Dating // February 24, 2014

This piece is a part of our "Dating Diary" series, where real women share their dating horror stories. Yikes. Read the other stories in this series here.

I was living in Atlanta and dating a pilot -- yes, a pilot. I decided to get emotionally and physically connected to someone with one of the top five career paths known to influence infidelity; because I naively believed that not every pilot is a cheater who uses the fact that he travels for work to be dishonest (HA!).

In the beginning of our relationship, he would spend four to five days on the road and two to three days at home. His work schedule was convenient for me because I'm not the type to want to spend every waking minute with my man anyway. We didn't live together, but on his off days I would come over to his place and cook him a home-cooked meal and clean up a little bit so he didn't have to come home to chaos. For six months I would work a full day, leave my job, drive to the grocery store, drive 45 miles one way to his place, cook dinner, clean the house, start laundry, get sexy and await my man to come home for us to share 24 hours together before he hit the road again. It was ridiculous. I was exhausted, but I thought that in order to accommodate the special kind of relationship we had, certain concessions had to be made.

One night I found myself driving to his place after one of the hardest days I’d ever had at work. Once I got there, he looked like he was about to leave to go somewhere. "Where are you going?" I asked.  "Oh...Pinky, one of my flight attendants, invited me over for dinner so I'm going to run over there real quick and grab a plate. Do you want anything?" Stunned, I just looked at him. He couldn't possibly think his response was okay.

"Pinky?" I said. "Who the hell is Pinky? And what grown ass woman outside of the porn industry has a nickname of Pinky?"

“Don't trip, it's nothing. She's a real down-home type of girl and she doesn't know how to just cook a meal for just herself, so she made a big dinner tonight and just invited me over. Do you want me to bring you anything back?"

Not in the mood to argue, I just drop the issue. The next morning I wake up for work and venture into the kitchen for coffee. I see PILES of Tupperware in the fridge. I see this chick Pinky cooked this man a feast. *Side eye* Again, not in the mood to argue, I just got ready for work and leave the apartment. It’s only food right??

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A week later, we're back to our routine of me going to his house, cooking and cleaning. While I'm emptying groceries into the fridge, he comes in the kitchen and tells me he has to make a run over to Pinky's house because something is wrong with her plumbing. I’m thinking...oh, so you're Roto-Rooter now? You're just Captain Save 'Em and you have to rush over there to "fix her pipes?!"

In that moment I realized that Pinky held more of an important role in his life than I was willing to admit. It all became so clear -- a pilot and his flight attendant have a fling going on. How could I have been so blind? That's like a textbook couple!

Fuming, I stormed out of the kitchen and he left through the front door. Yup, he left. I grabbed my belongings and left moments after. We didn't talk for days after that fiasco. After enough of my cold shoulder and the silent treatment, he finally came to my job one day and invited me over for game night to meet his friends from out of town. I agreed and was looking forward to salvaging what was left of our broken relationship.

After work, I headed over to his apartment. I knocked on the door and a woman in all pink opened the door like she was the woman of the house. She was warm and friendly, but b*tch if anybody has the right to treat this apartment like its their home, it's me!

So I walk inside and he formally introduces me to Pinky and the rest of his friends -- that are all couples. Pinky is being the hostess with the mostest running around refilling glasses and making sure everyone is comfortable all while still cooking in the kitchen -- MY kitchen as far as I was concerned. Not trying to raise hell at his game night, I just made mental notes of all the foolishness and how comfortable she was in his place.

She then informs everyone that dinner was ready and we all made our way into the kitchen. That's when I saw it and that's when I lost it. All the groceries I had just bought days before were her ingredients in that night's meal. Her Houston, home-cooked recipe was sponsored by me!

I excused myself from the kitchen area and asked him to speak with me outside. I told him I wasn't about to bear witness to his date night disguised as a game night and that I wished him and his flight attendant girlfriend all the best. He tried to explain, but I couldn’t have cared less.

I got in my car and drove 45 miles home and never looked back for him or that relationship. As women, sometimes we neglect the obvious signs of infidelity that are right in front of our faces. This story is my lesson learned that if he walks like an asshole, talks like an asshole and looks like an asshole...he's probably an asshole and you shouldn't stay around to get the details.

Published in Dating

Love + Dating // February 10, 2014

Yes, Valentine’s Day is all about the romance, but there are some practical gifts that every lady secretly desires on this day of love. Just say no to the giant stuffed teddy bears. Give your honey one of these items and watch her eyes light up with joy -- since she won’t have to sneak back to the mall to return your gift for what she really wants. Ouch.


Brook, 27, Single

You know what every girl (or guy) needs? A get out of jail free card. If your partner has any unpaid parking tickets, surprise them with a clean slate. Who needs chocolate when you can be citation free?

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Jessica Dumont, 29, Married

My husband and I aren't big on the Valentine's Day gift exchange. Instead, we splurge every year to go to dinner at a nice restaurant we wouldn't normally go to. We always pick a place we've both wanted to try for months, get all dressed up and indulge ourselves in good food and cocktails. It's much more fun for us than trying to pick out a gift!




Christina Chen, 21, Single

This is the perfect gift because it’s TIMELESS. Any girl would love a rose gold Marc by Marc Jacobs watch to match her everyday outfits. Not only is it lovely under the sun, it looks beautiful at night as well! On top of that, it would go with her outfit for that Valentine’s Day date tonight! It also comes in classic gold and silver.

Available online or at Nordstrom, $225.00



Jasmin Martin, 24, Long Distance Relationship

The Love Is Art kit is a DIY paint kit that supports you getting down with the get down all in the name of art. For $60, the intimate paint kit encourages lovers to paint their bodies with paint or to just throw the paint on the canvas and uh, well...er..."make a masterpiece". What's left after your wild time, is a custom piece of abstract art created by you and your partner that is a physical representation of the love you shared. When it comes to making your one-of-a-kind artwork, the messier the process the better, but when you're tired of being a bedroom Picasso, rest assured that the clean up won't be a mess. The kit comes with a painter's tarp, disposable slippers, non toxic body paint and a body scrubber to get the paint out of those unspeakable places.

I love this idea as a VDay gift because my beau and I are always looking for new and interesting things to do, since our time together is always limited. Making this piece of art is a unique way to not only spend time together, but to create something that we can look back on and remember how much fun we had making it.





Ava Puckett, 22, Long Distance Relationship

Well, I know what all of us girls really want for Valentines Day: a seat at this ultra chic and exclusive Beyoncé themed V day dinner at Brucie in NYC. Unfortunately, I live almost 3,000 miles away and it’s already sold out. Darn! But, if I were to think up some more great Valentines Day gift ideas I would pick the book Love Poems by Pablo Neruda ($11.95 at Anthropologie).




Jillian, 20, Single

While everyone loves a great gift, it’s the experiences that matter most. This Valentine’s Day, why not go on a road trip to a place where you both have never visited? This way you don’t have to hyperventilate while he/she opens their gift, and you’ll have stories to tell when you get back.




Beth, 29, In a relationship

Shoes are like jewelry for the feet. I've been eying these Ginny Gem Point shoes for a while. They are $95 on the Miss Selfridge site.




Mia Xuan, 21, Single

Look at that packaging!! YSL’s line of Rouge Volupte Shine lipsticks are known for being long-lasting and moisturizing even after hours of wear. This shade called ‘Nude In Private’ is a breathtaking, natural shade and works well in any situation. It applies flawlessly and has a gorgeous finish.

Available online or at Sephora, $45.00




Patricia Orr, 29, In a relationship

My boyfriend hogs the TV for months during football season. I don’t mind, but I think for V-day it’d be nice to get control of the remote all day long. If I want to watch The Notebook for the millionth time he can just pass me chocolates. All’s fair in love.


Have any more great gift ideas for Valentine’s Day? Come on, let’s help out everyone doing some last minute shopping for their significant others! Leave a comment below!

Published in Love + Dating

Style // January 13, 2014

In dating, as in life, how you show up speaks volumes before you even get the chance to share how witty, smart and accomplished you are already.  So, you have to show up as the best version of you. How can your potential partner connect with you if you aren’t feeling like your most beautiful, confident self?

We may be talking dating and attraction and style here, but the first step for attracting your ideal guy is all about YOU. Your hopes, dreams, career ambitions, lifestyle wants, values, etc. You want a guy (or gal) who complements you, your goals and your lifestyle. Maybe they push you a bit outside of your comfort zone, but in a way that helps you grow.

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Style is not about frivolity. Great style means creating an outer presentation that reflects the inner you. So be clear on your values and WHO you are before you even start to incorporate the following hints and tips to put a little extra polish on your look.

Wear Color

Color influences your mood as well as how other people perceive you. How many times do you get complimented when you’re wearing your favorite hue?

People notice color. Especially in a sea of boring black and white.

Your favorite color actually speaks volumes about your personality. My website has a great, yet quick summary of the meaning of each shade.

Flattering Fit

This is the number one mistake women make. Either their clothes are too big or too tight. Neither is good. Usually, women who want to hide are wearing clothes that are too big so they don’t show their body. Well instead, you’re making yourself look bigger than you are! You want clothes to skim your body and show your shape. You shouldn’t have to tug at a dress to keep it in place, nor should it bunch up in a funny way because it’s too tight.

An easy go-to look if you want to cover a bit, but still look alluring? Skinny jeans + heels + flowing blouse + sexy accessories.



Now when I say flowing, I mean something that really flows. Not a potato sack. You should be able to see your waist and shape, but be forgiving.

Accentuate the Positive

If you’ve got a great bum, rock it by wearing blouses that hit at the hip bone. If you’ve got a great rack, flaunt it (tastefully)! If you’ve got strong legs or arms, show them off!

Dress to accentuate your assets. Every woman’s body is different and there is someone to love every body type. So stop trying to have the tiniest waist or the smallest thighs. Your body is perfect just as it is, to that perfect person. So, work it!

Wear skirts if your legs are your assets. If you’ve got killer curves, focus on fitted outfits that define your waist.

Be YOU

If you’ve got some rock n’ roll in you, let it rock. If you’re the girl who could spend a whole day reading, own your nerdy. If Saturday morning golf sounds perfect, then you may have a bit of prep in your style. Maybe you’ve got a blend of preppy-rock-nerd that is uniquely YOU.

The bottom line is that you can’t try to dress like anyone else. You can go outside of your comfort zone to grow to the next level in style, but do not go out of your comfort zone for the sake of a trend. You have to be you. Bring out the best version of yourself by wearing color, clothes that fit and adding a bit of personality to your style.

You can take these tips and apply them to dating, speaking on stage, showing up for work and in your everyday casual life.  Your personal style should translate across all of these different lifestyle needs. If you’re being true to you, your style can attract more than just love.

Published in Style
Thursday, 09 January 2014 19:22

Dating | Do You Have Daddy Issues?

Dating // January 9, 2014

Daddy issues. Do we even know what that means? Usually we hear it tossed around to describe a woman who we perceive to be “damaged” in some way. Or we use it to slut-shame her. (You know, where society jumps all over a woman because she is sexually liberated or behaves in a way that one considers to be “too much like a man…” God forbid she doesn’t play by society’s prescribed rules).

The truth is, the term “daddy issues” should not be taken lightly. Rooted in ideas of psychotherapy, the term "daddy issues" implies that a woman’s problems in her romantic relationships are at least in some way connected to a dysfunctional relationship (or lack thereof) with her father. But these relationships do not always have to scream dysfunction. Sometimes the things a woman learns or experiences in the relationship with her father (or other male figure in her life), can subtly affect her romantic relationships. You would be surprised at how even the smallest things about your upbringing can have a huge impact. So, that begs the question: How do I know if I have daddy issues?

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Sorry to break it to you Made Woman, but there is no cut and dry response here. We all have issues, circumstances and events that cause us pain and affect our behavior. Including you guys out there. (Hello!) The key to identifying daddy issues is to make it a goal to achieve some insight about yourself and your patterns in love. Think about the relationship you had with your father or other paternal figure when you were a little girl. What examples did this person set for you? How did he shape your idea of what a man is? How did he contribute to your idea of what a healthy relationship looks like? If you did not have such a person in your life, where did you get your ideas about love and men from?

After you explore the answers to some of these questions, identify maladaptive or non-productive patterns in your relationships: Are you drawn to men who do not value you as much as you would like to be valued? Are you lenient with disrespect and “second chances”? Make some connections and where you see the issues…work on correcting them. Write them down. Think about them. You would be surprised how many women keep dating the same type of man (that is inherently terrible for them) over and over again. And these women don’t know why they are doing it! Be aware of your deficits and weak points.

And what happens if someone snickers at you one day and accuses you of having daddy issues? Laugh it off. At the end of the day, all women are shaped by their father figures and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You are figuring it out. And you shouldn’t let anyone make you ashamed of it.
Self-exploration and getting at the root of “daddy issues” will not be fun, but in the end you will be a self–assured woman, and less likely to be taken advantage of in an unhealthy relationship.


Published in Dating

Dating // December 30, 2013

In many ways, I'm quite the typical guy.  I like football, fast cars, and I love a good home-cooked meal. I quote Coming to America whenever I get the chance.  And I love to turn things into a competition, just for the fun of it.  Like I said - typical.

But because of my unique journey, I'm also very different.  Growing up in Oakland makes you develop a little faster.  As a young entrepreneur, swimming in an ocean full of sharks will teach you some cold, hard lessons about business.  Searching for meaning in a world full of chaos tests your resolve.  And getting your heart broken time and time again will challenge what you really believe about love.

Because of culture, media, and our experiences, we can fall into the trap of believing in myths instead of seeking the truth.  If the truth has the power to set you free, myths can keep you stuck in patterns of dysfunction.  This is especially true when applied to relationships between men and women.  While men could stand to learn a thing or two about women, that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now.  I’m here to help squash some of the long-standing beefs women have with men in the dating scene, and it starts with killing some of these myths that keep us at odds. I know it’s hard out there, but I hope these insights help you navigate your relationships with the men you meet.


Myth #1: All Males Are “Men.”

A Made Man operates under a different code than other men.  He’s a leader that lives his life according to clear principles and values.  Men like this stand out and you notice one when you meet him, not because he’s flashy, but because he commands your respect.  And a Made Woman won’t be satisfied in a relationship if she’s not with this type of man.

Myth #2: If He’s Single, Either He’s Gay, Crazy, Or He’s Lying.

If I had a dollar for every time a woman asked me why I was single, I’d be waking up in that new Bugatti that Ace Hood raps about.  I often talk to women who are puzzled by the single man that isn’t actively looking for a wife.  They assume there’s something wrong with him or that he’s afraid of commitment. To me Phonte from the rap group Little Brother said it best: “A woman’s life is love. A man’s love is life.”  For a Made Man, to find a good woman is one of the best gifts he could receive.  But the ultimate pursuit and prize lies in that man finding his purpose and passion, establishing himself in his work, and leaving his mark on the world. The great Steve Jobs talked about “making a dent in the universe.” All Made Men have this inherent desire to make an impact.  It’s how we’re programmed.  We don’t view women as less important than our passions.  They are to be our companions and partners as we go on our journey towards meaning and significance.

Myth #3: There’s No Such Thing As A “Guy Friend,” And If He Says He Wants To Be Your Friend, He’s Lying.

This is a tricky one because there are a few ways guys can act when it comes to friendship with women. Many women can remember a time where they thought they had built a solid friendship with a guy who just genuinely seemed interested in being their friend.  But in the end, it turned out that he was trying to figure out how to use his charm to get past her defenses and make his move.  This cunning scheme has broken the trust of women around the world, and it has ruined it for men that value platonic female friendships.  Some men are mature enough to enjoy the company and energy of a woman, and some men aren’t.  It’s too bad that the wolves in sheep’s clothing ruin it for the good guys that just want female companionship.

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But there are, in fact, some men that want to establish a solid friendship with a woman before taking it to the next level.  These men need to get know the real woman before they consider them as a potential suitable life partner.  They need to see the woman as she really is, and without the veneer that’s often put up during courtship. There is nothing conniving about this.  In fact, with the divorce rate what it is, it's probably smart for him to do his homework in this way. Women need to be able to identify this man, and appreciate the fact that he cares about his future and his family enough to choose his mate wisely. The difference between this guy and the wolf in sheep’s clothing is that instead of just saying he wants to be friends he proves it over time by showing he cares about you.

Myth #4: Men Are Intimidated By Strong Women.

Men can be just as insecure as some women are, and strong women can scare them.  But a Made Man is never intimidated by a strong woman.  He’s excited about her.  Because he’s secure in his identity, he isn’t threatened.  Instead, he’s excited to see her grow and thrive.  If you find yourself scaring off all the men you encounter, you could possibly be around a bunch of fragile boys in men’s clothing.  Steer clear of them for now.  But a word of caution: don’t confuse the word “strong” as a license for you to be disrespectful or insensitive.  It can be easy slip into cynicism, but don’t give in to it.  You might miss a Made Man when he appears.

Myth #5: Age Equals Maturity.

Just because a guy is older doesn’t mean he has his life together.  I know some 40 year-old guys who look for a  girlfriend that will take on the role of  their mother.  And I know some 20 year-olds that are ready to be the head of their household. From an emotional and psychological standpoint, some guys never leave the nest. They expect their woman to be compliant and always able to fix whatever mess he gets himself into.  Every man wants a woman who will be his biggest supporter and cheerleader.  But any guy who would rather have an enabler more than a co-pilot is not a Made Man.  A Made Man knows that every power couple is made up of two strong individuals.  He’s not looking for his mom.  He’s looking for his match.

These are just a few of the myths that women believe about men, and we’ll explore a few more in the next column.  But I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think these are myths?  Or are these realities that men will never be able to escape from?


Next Issue:  10 Myths Women Believe about Men (Part 2)


Published in Dating

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
Thursday, 31 October 2013 16:11

MW University | 10 Tips For Dating In College

MW University // November 4, 2013 

A few days ago while I was having lunch with close friends (also recent grads), we talked about the dating experiences we had in college. The four of us had high’s and low’s in the college dating world. And, we agree that every dating story ended with a well-noted lesson, and possibly allowed us to have better relationships after graduation. Our stories include epic episodes of passion, love and lust, as well as tragic failures. We encountered Prince Charming, who ended up being a mere frog, and frogs, who grew to be kings. It is all very confusing. Some of the lows felt traumatic because we thought that our situations were unique. Yet when I have these conversations, all of my friends share similar stories. Looking back, there are a few things that I wish someone would’ve told us in regards to relationship commitments in college.


First of all, college is a time to learn about ourselves, our passions, our talents, our limits and our resiliency. In order to learn our limits, we have to experience triumph after adversity. In regards to dating, having bad dating experiences makes the good ones a thousand times better. A lucky few find their spouses in college, but the majority of us move through a few dating experiences before sticking to one. Just as internships teach us more about our passions and talents, dating teaches us about our likes, needs and love.

Below is a list of ten tips I wish someone would have whispered in my ear.

1. Listen to your heart, and be honest with yourself.

There are multiple times in college that requires you to stop, take a breath, and check in with yourself. Getting through college alone is a task, but it is even harder if you are unhappy. And, if you are unhappy, you have to adjust your surroundings or change your priorities.

2. It’s okay to have a change of heart.

Some times things don’t always happen the way we would like them. In the beginning of my freshman year, I started dating a football player, who was being bombarded by the thrills of being a campus star. I was falling for him, and his distractions left me doubtful of a future. So, despite our attraction and friendship, I moved on. At the time, I felt awful about it, but now I see that it was for the best.

3. Realizing what you DON’T want is valuable.

When things don’t go well, it can be a blessing. My close friend said to me the other day, “A set back is just a set up for a come back.” Defining your dislikes is essential to creating a situation that brings joy. Some times a person is great, but may not be compatible for you. That’s ok, because you will be better able to sense when someone is compatible once you move on.

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4. Commitment requires an investment of time and energy.

All commitments require your time. With classes, exams, projects and papers, you will be lucky to have time to yourself or with your friends. Before you dedicate yourself, take some time to think about if the relationship fits with your short and long term goals.

5. Finding a mentor can make life a little easier.

It is always a good idea to befriend someone slightly older than you that can give you advice based on their past experience. This could be senior female in a healthy relationship that you admire, or your sister that recently graduated from college and landed the perfect job. These women can help you balance your classes with your relationships, or may give you advice when a relationship isn’t working.  

6. The most compatible partner is usually found through networking.

When you are focused on your academic and career goals, you will most likely find yourself with likeminded people. This can be a good environment to date. BUT, as a woman, be cautious of partners within your industry. You don’t want a bad reputation to precede you.

When considering dating on campus, evaluate the relationships the person you’re considering has with other students, women, professors, etc. It is in your benefit to know that this person is respected on campus.

7. Dressing for the occasion is a must.

If you are on date, you must know that the person sitting on the other side of the table already finds you attractive. When styling your outfits, aim for something that complements your shape, rather than displays your body. The goal is to feel confident, so you can present the best version of yourself.

8. Avoid burning bridges.

When things aren’t going well with your significant other, it is always more beneficial for you to maintain a decent relationship with that person once it’s over. You don’t have to be friends, but you should be able to say hello in the hallway. You’re ability to overcome the adversities of the relationship mark your truth strength and your inner beauty. Plus, you will run into that person again—believe me.

9. There is no competition.

Believe in yourself. When we spend time worrying about others, we instantly invite negativity into our relationships. There is a reason that guy decided he wanted to date you. Stay secure within yourself and your worth. Trust your heart.

10. There are always opportunities for growth.

All experiences in life are meant to teach us new things about ourselves. But, in college, new experiences happen every day, and sometimes it can be draining to have so many things happen at once. But, it is comforting to know that many of our perceived “unique” dating experiences are common. Whether you fall in or out of love, there is always an opportunity to become a better person.

The best thing you can do is to acknowledge that you are a human being in a period of immense growth. Always follow your heart, and don’t get too bummed when things don’t turn out well. Unlike college, you don’t get a grade at the end of a relationship. It’s all a learning experience. Happy dating!



Published in Dating

Dating // October 7, 2013

Whoever coined the quote, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” was wrong.  For many men, the way into his heart is through big hits, touchdowns and highlights.  Women may hate how obsessed guys are about football.  And they may hate that they have to work even harder during football season to pull guys away from the sports bar TV screen; but that’s the wrong approach. The savvy women that find love during football season are the ones who have figured out how to use guys’ love for football to their advantage.  

So here are a few strategies for turning happy hour into a love connection. Master them and you’ll have guys inviting you out every Monday night.
Know the Teams that are Playing

So, you’ve decided to go to hang out with the guys while they watch the game. That’s a great first step! But not knowing which teams are playing is a sure way to get ignored for the rest of the night. Show him that you’re a genuine girl by displaying a genuine interest in what’s going on in the football world. Check game day listings on ESPN, FOX Sports or any other sports outlet.
Know the Rules and Understand the Situations

While many guys don’t expect you to know the difference between defensive holding and pass interference, they will expect you to know that there are no “home runs” in football.  So re-read this article on understanding the basics of football before you embarrass yourself by cheering Adrian Peterson for pitching a slam dunk.

Wear His/Your Favorite Team’s Jersey

If you have a favorite team, a great way to make an impression on him would be to wear a football jersey during the big game. It shows where your allegiance lies, but it also shows off your fun sense of style.  Feel free to channel your inner fashion designer and create your own look. Tie or cut your shirt in the right places to make your look feminine, while still honoring the gridiron. You’ll get compliments that will make all of the other girls jealous.

Give High Fives

When your (or his) favorite team scores, join the celebration by giving the guys a couple of high fives.  It may seem trivial, but it shows that you’re a team player and that you share excitement in something he’s excited about. No need to do too much, but if he’s doing a touchdown celebration dance in the middle of the bar, give him a high five to show him that you’re right there with him.

Feed the Beast

You may feel a little out of your league by being in a loud bar full of guys.  But a good way to win over the crowd is by chipping in for a pitcher of beer or a basket of wings. This simple gesture shows that you’re selfless, generous, and down to earth.

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Know a Few Stats

You don’t have to know who had the most rushing yards in last year’s Super Bowl, but knowing that the team you’re watching is in first place in the division will earn you some cool points.  Knowing a few relevant stats shows that you’re good with numbers...and possibly money and credit…

And if you really want to wow the guys...

Talk Fantasy Football

For the advanced-level ladies who understand football enough to be a part of their office’s fantasy football league, letting the bar know that you’re, “10 points away from winning your matchup this week,” will show that you’re really smart and you know your stuff.  This is a surefire way to become the coolest girl in the room.

Be There From Kickoff to the Final Whistle

A guy wants nothing more than a girl that will support him and stick it out ‘til the end.  One way to show your commitment is to stay for the whole game. You may think hanging out at a loud restaurant for three hours is a big waste of time -- and you might be right. But coming late and leaving early communicates that you honestly didn’t want to be there.  Show him that you’re into the game (and into him) for the long haul.

Give Him a Hug after a Loss

In the event that his team comes out on the losing end of the game and he’s taking it hard, console him with a big hug.  A loss is a great opportunity to show him that you’re nurturing and can take care of his broken heart. That’s the type of woman he wants to bring home to mom.

In short, football may seem like a bunch of dumb guys running around bashing their heads together, but the game is very close to our hearts.  As a kid, every guy had dreams of being a great player.  Today, we might not have those same dreams anymore, but we’re still looking for our #1 fan.  With the tips mentioned earlier, show him that you want to be on his team.  If you do a good job, you might walk away with a win and a man.

Published in Dating
Monday, 23 September 2013 02:21

Dating | Get Closer With the Closer App

Dating // September 23, 2013

Are you a bit like Cher from Clueless… always looking to make the perfect match? Or are you like Tai aka Brittany Murphy who was open to getting matched up by her best friend?

If you answered yes to either of the above, you’re in luck!  Two young entrepreneurs -- aided by the advances in technology (thank you, iPhone!) -- have come in to save the day with a new app called Closer which is “totally bangin!” (sorry, had to bring the Clueless references full circle). Closer lets you play both the matchmaker and the matchmakee all in one place. It’s a mobile tool that makes getting people connected simple.

Here’s how: the application works by connecting with your Facebook account and loading in all your friends. You simply click the friend that you want to match up and the person you’d want to match them with and it sends them the introduction. And if you are looking to meet new people, you can handpick specific friends on Facebook whom you trust and request them to set you up with people they suggest. You just slide to the right or slide to the left to either “get matched” or “start matching.” It’s easy to use and has a very sleek, cool vibe to boot!

Adding on to the basics, there are a few cool extra features like the “You are Close!” feature that allows users to receive push notifications when matches are close by them and the “Matchmaking Feed” that allows users to see when the friends they set up interact on Facebook (become friends, get tagged in a picture together, change their relationship status, etc.)


So, who spearheaded this awesome idea? Ladies of course! The concept came from two friends, both serial female entrepreneurs in their twenties. Pretty awesome, right? Eugenia Kuyda and Taisia Antonova went to school together in Moscow, but lost touch for many years, until they randomly ran into each other at a bar, reconnected and then came up with this idea for an app.

The co-creators say that Closer is their way of fostering authentic human connection -- because at the end of the day, our friends really know us better than any computer algorithm can. Who better to match us than the people who know us best?

Taisia and Eugenia look forward to expanding this project and opening this up as a way for people to not only meet new dates, but also meet new quality friends and business connections. “The tool is there to create matches and this could support various types and forms of relationships throughout life,” Taisia says.

If you’re digging their mission and want to check out Closer, it is FREE on the iTunes App Store. It’s not yet available on Android or on the Web, but that is in the works as well, according to inside sources.

They are looking for feedback on their app as it continues to grow and improve, so if you can, add some comments below and tell them what you think! Cheers to amazing matches in our lives!

Published in Dating
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