Dec 31, 2009

Q & A - My Girlfriend Acts Too Needy

Q. Dear Alannah,

I've been going out with this girl for about a year and a half now, and I love her very much...she makes me happy and is a great girl. However, within the past several months, she's become very clingy (or "needy"), and I don't know what to do about it. When we first started dating, she was very independent, had her own social life, went out, saw her friends often, and basically was a social butterfly. Lately, though, she pretty much only hangs out with me or stays home after work, doesn't talk to her friends much anymore, and on the weekends when my friends call me to go hang out, if I tell her I'm thinking about joining them for a boy's night out, she says she's fine with it, but then pouts and acts sad, so I almost always end up staying in.

I definitely see long-term potential with us, but if this continues, it will definitely be a problem. I love the time we spend together alone, but sometimes, I just want my own space, or just to be able to chill with friends again. I want for her to have her own social life as well like before, but I don't want to hurt her feelings by being blunt about it. What should I do?

Sincerely,

Feeling Claustrophobic

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Dec 29, 2009

Q & A - Bad Boy Crush

Q. Dear Alannah,

I'm 15 years old, and I like this guy who's wrong for me...he smokes weed, and he's pretty much your typical bad boy. I found his Myspace profile online, and it said he's 17 years old. I'm not sure, but at school, he is in 9th grade, and I'm in 10th, a grade ahead of him...since my parents are Asian and don't like for me to befriend those who they don't consider "smart", I can't see us together in the future, but I really want to be with him right now, because I know that high school romances don't last long anyway, so I might as well give it a shot, right? I don't know why I like him, I just do. I think he has a girlfriend, too, but I see him flirting with another girl who already has a boyfriend, so I don't know how serious it is. I don't know what I should do.

This may sound cheesy, but I like him because he's sooo hot! I love his eyes, and I think that's what drew me to him. I have never crushed on anyone like this before. I don't know what I should do about my crush for him. I get nervous when I'm around him. We've talked before, but he's always the person who says something first.

I am a pretty funny person, and I'm only serious usually when it comes to grades, morals and gossiping (yeah, lame, I know). But yeah...I pretty much have no clue what to talk about when I'm around him. I know he is into football, but I don't want to be the girl who gets along with guys cause of similar interests. I know a lot of his friends, no joke. Sometimes I go say hi and hug his friends just to be near him. I like seeing his face in the morning, it makes me happy.

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Dec 26, 2009

Food for Thought: The Mating Dance

If you've been a reader of my site for awhile now, you may have noticed that much of the advice I give for men and women are very much the same.  Sure, on the surface, it may seem different...for the guys, make a woman laugh, entertain her, be chivalrous, sweep her off her feet...for the gals, turn him on with strategic dressing, flirt, be coquettish, let him chase you...but, underneath it all, some of the most important elements remain the same for both sexes, and those elements are confidence, knowing what you want, and (in the beginning) making yourself scarce enough to leave the other person wanting more.  In other words, making yourself available enough just to let the other person get to know you, get a "taste" of being with you, but, not so available as to become undesirable, or to appear "desperate".

For instance, in my previous post about why women love bad boys, I mentioned to the guys not to plan to see a woman too often in the beginning of a courtship, that twice a week max is good enough until you two are officially an item.  For the gals, in my post on how to meet the right man by dating like a man, I mentioned that clingy behavior in the beginning of a courtship isn't appealing, and that seeing more than one person in the beginning is okay (as long as you're open about it) until you decide to become exclusive with one person. 

These tips, though different on the surface, have the same desired effect, and that is to make yourself scarce enough to show desirability...the majority of people aren't as attracted to someone who is too available in the beginning as they are to someone whom they have a chance to miss and think about, so both sexes have their own moves that contribute to the cat-and-mouse game that is dating, a back-and-forth dance you could call "the Mating Dance".

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Dec 22, 2009

Quick Confidence Boosters for Women

Everyone has those days sometimes where you're feelin' a little blah, things don't go as planned, and/or you could use a little mood or confidence booster, a nice pick-me-up to get you back in gear again. Sometimes, it can be as easy as putting on your favorite shirt or sexy pumps...read on for quick ways for the gals to boost your mood and confidence when you're feelin' a lil down and out!

1) Wear a bright color. Bright colors attract attention and take confidence to wear. Depending on the color, they can also boost your mood in positive ways. Hot pink, yellow, cobalt blue, and bright green are great choices.

2) Get dolled up. Nothing gives a quick shot of confidence like looking sexy, so go ahead and doll yourself up, even if you're just out running errands. You never know who you might run into ;)

3) Allow yourself to reminisce/be nolstagic. Remember that summer fling you had a couple of summers ago who made you feel so sexy? Or that great summer vacay you had with friends a few years back that was so much fun? Allowing yourself to reminisce about good times can boost your mood, as long as it's occasional and you're not constantly living in the past. In fact, research has shown that naturally nolstalgic people have high self-esteem and are less prone to depression. So allow yourself to remember good times when you're feeling down - it'll help cheer you up, and give you a boost of confidence to relive cherished memories with people who've made an impact on your life.

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Dec 19, 2009

Q & A - Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Q. Dear Alannah,

After being raised in the states, I had to move back to Korea to go to school there, which I totally hated since I'm Americanized, was considered an outcast by my own people. I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, started getting back into doing drugs, but at this time, it wasn't just ecstasy, I started doing meth to lose weight. I've never been a size 0 like most Asian girls are. Weight issues are big there and I was considered fat, even though I was a size 4.

Both mentally and physically torn, I was lost. That's when Kevin found me on an online social networking site. We hit it off so fast. We talked about anything and everything. I've never met anyone online but, I wanted to meet him. He was strong, independent and intelligent. I fell for him head over heels. Our feelings were supposedly mutual. I hated what I was doing then. I wanted to get out of Korea. When I found out he's a tattoo artist, I decided to learn from him. That plan went smoothly until my parents took my passport and green card so I couldn't leave the country.

I told him what was going on, then I found out that he had a girl, whom my friend in St. Louis knew of. From then, I stopped talking to him, started hanging out with a worse crowd, the Navy guys. I ended up marrying a guy who wanted to be with me to get the hell out of my parent's control. That was the worst mistake I've ever made. I'm still with him after 6 years, with a 2 year old child. He was stationed in Korea for little bit, then in Illinois (where I had my baby and found my career). He was told he is going to San Diego on a ship, which he found out will be gone for 6-9 months. I told him I wanted to stay in Chicago and work. He agreed at first, but told me later we'd have to move with him. So we did. It's obviously difficult to live with one paycheck unless you're a millionaire here, especially with a military salary. We started getting ourselves in debt in San Diego. I told him I wanted to go back to Chicago to work, but the answer was of course no. His solution to all this was to send my baby and I to his parents.

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Dec 16, 2009

Q & A - No Matter of Color

Q. Dear Alannah,

I was wondering if you could help me out on a rather, I guess, bizarre issue? So, I'm a half African-American, half Caucasian, British college student, and I've dated/spent time with a lot of different guys (well excluding African-American guys for whatever reason). It has been my experience that I really enjoy spending time with Asian guys, and my Asian male friends are really great. I find them to be less obnoxious, more fun, and more reserved than my white male friends, and others generally. I am pretty inexperienced sexually (sorry if that's TMI) and it's often a big deal when engaging in a relationship with a male friend that I tell them I'm a virgin, but my Asian guy friends aren't as focused on sex as my non-Asian friends.

My point is, I think I'd like to date an Asian guy, I'm just not sure if it's totally taboo (at least for Asian males) to date a black/mixed girl, whatever you want to call it? I do have one guy in mind...his name is James, and I've known him since my freshman year in college. He's a year younger than me. So far, we've only hooked up, but we like spending time together.

Sorry this is incoherent, but any thoughts you could throw out would be great!

Thanks,

Vicky

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Dec 15, 2009

Gift Ideas for Guys

Gift-giving for us females has never really been particularly difficult...whether it's a sixth sense or intuition (or just plain 'ole detective work), we usually have an easier time than our male counterparts deciding on what to give our loved ones around this time of year. However, if you're needing a little assistance this year in choosing a gift for your man, or are just looking for some fresh ideas, below are some gift ideas - some tangible, some not - that will definitely make him love the holiday season, and you even more for knowing just what he wants!

1) An "All About Him" day/weekend. Assuming you have an awesome boyfriend, he probably usually is the gentleman and lets you choose the activities the majority of the time, eat at your favorite restaurant when eating out, does thoughtful things to show that he cares, pays for most meals, etc. For Christmas weekend, turn the tables and make it all about him, and plan it out so that he can't protest. Whether he loves sports or playing video games, plan a weekend of all his favorites, even if they're hobbies you usually don't enjoy - he'll appreciate the effort and love you even more.

For instance, is he a Halo addict? Have a weekend "holed in" playing the video game with him (or just watching), cook his favorite meals, and maybe get a subscription to his favorite "gamer" magazine (or the latest video game he's been eyeing for awhile) - just lots of thoughtful actions that show you care. Or, if he's a sports fan, take him to watch his favorite team play, and/or get an upgrade on his television cable plan that allows him to watch all of his favorite teams play at once; these are the little things that distinguish a good Christmas present from a great one.

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Dec 14, 2009

Gift Ideas for Women

So you're counting down the days to Christmas, and scrambling around like a madman trying to think of the perfect gift for your girlfriend. Well, worry not, fellas; below are a few gift ideas - some practical, some not - that your girlfriend will love and will definitely appreciate!

1) Start a vacation fund. Put in $100-$200 to start out, and each week or month, you and your girlfriend will each contribute to the fund. This is a great idea if your girlfriend has always wanted to go on a trip to a certain locale, but hasn't had the chance to yet, such as on a trip to Europe or Hawaii. Set an approximate date for when you want to go by, and have a set amount each week/month that you will each contribute.

2) Clothes, jewelry, shoes, purses and such are also good, but make sure you know what she likes before buying. A simple way to ensure that your girlfriend loves your gift is to tell her to make a wish list on a few of her favorite sites online, then you choose from the lists and get her present from there. Sure, it does mean she'll have an idea of what you'll end up getting her, but at least you'll know she'll end up loving it, and it won't end up in her closet or back at the store as store credit ;)

3) Recreate a favorite childhood memory of hers. Ice-skating on the lake, ceremonial Christmas tree lightings, going to see Christmas light decorations on houses - if any of these were things your girlfriend loved as a child, planning a weekend that includes them and adding on some thoughtful touches (such as a prepacked picnic when heading to see lights or go to the lake), would be a sweet and thoughtful idea for Christmas.

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Dec 10, 2009

Style Files: December '09 Men

Winter is officially in full swing, and holiday parties and New Year's celebrations are around the corner. Stock your wardrobe with some essentials that will carry you through the holiday season and on into the New Year in style!

1) Suits. The dressier types of suits come out to play during the holiday season, and at the forefront are the tuxedo and iridescent suiting trends. Choose from tuxedos or iridescent suits for a Christmas or New Year's Eve party, and pair with a contrasting button-front shirt for a stylish look.

a) Tuxedo jackets/suits. One of the hottest and "freshest" trends this season in men's suiting, tuxedo jackets and suits are the perfect choice for all the holiday parties you'll be attending this time of year. Whether it's an office party, a friend's formal dinner, or an all-night rager downtown, tuxedo suiting infuses elegance and class into your outfit with minimal effort on your part.



Tuxedo suit on the runway at Dries Van Noten.



Salvatore Ferragamo Fall/Winter 2009/2010

b) Iridescent suits. A hot trend in menswear this year, iridescent suits are a wonderful choice for the New Years Eve shindigs you'll be attending, and will definitely get you noticed in a sea of black and white. Pair a jacket with a pair of dark-rinse jeans and a white-button front for a casual yet stylish look, or wear a full suit for more formal events - either way, you can't go wrong!



Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 2009/2010

2) Outerwear. Outerwear trends for men this year have been more abundant than ever, with coats, jackets, trenches and more that transition seamlessly from work to play. For holiday parties, go with a long coat for more formal looks, and a peacoat for casual ones. Leather jackets work well in either!

a) Leather jackets. Ever since James Dean immortalized the leather jacket in his movie "Rebel Without a Cause" over 50 years ago, the leather jacket has symbolized "tough" and "rebellious", or "bad boy". You don't have to be a rogue troublemaker in order to rock this look, though - whether choosing a cropped moto jacket or Matrix-length trench, wearing leather definitely adds to the tough and mysterious appeal of a guy, something no female can resist!





Gianfranco Ferre Fall/Winter 2009/2010



Armani Exchange Vintage Leather Coat, on sale $390 (original $495) at Armani Exchange

b) Peacoats. Part of the military trend that has been so popular this year, peacoats are sporty and casual, yet functional and fashionable as well. Wear it to work for an office appropriate look, or pair with your favorite weekend wear for a night out.



Gap Wool Peacoat, $128 at Gap

c) Trench coats. Always functional and eternally a classic, trench coats look great worn anytime, anywhere. At work or play, with suit or jeans, trench coats always fit right in. Choose a leather trench for a slicker, more updated look, or stick with a twill trench for a more classic, year-round look.



Salvatore Ferragamo Fall'09

3) Color. Colors in menswear for Winter '10 continue the trend of bold colors, with reds, greens, blues, grays and golds still popular for the season. When choosing a shirt or accessory (such as a tie or scarf) in a bright color, for the best effect, contrast the rest of your outfit by going muted with neutral colors (such as a neutral-colored suit or pants in black or gray, for instance) so that the color can pop. Or, if you're feeling bold, work a monotone look with different shades of the same color (for instance, a dark blue suit with a lighter blue button-front and complementing tie); same color dressing takes confidence, but can be very flattering and stylish.



Old Navy Men's Poplin Shirt, on sale $20 (regular $24.50) at Old Navy



DKNY Dress Shirt, on sale $44.99 (regular $52.50) at Macy's



Geoffrey Beene Dress Shirt, on sale $32.99 (regular $49.50) at Macy's

4) Cardigans. Something traditionally more popular in womenswear, cardigans have found their way into men's fashion this year, with a more masculine incarnation. Cardigans for men are boxier, longer, and worn in much the same fashion that a vest is - as a layering piece over button-front shirts - for a look that's perfect for work or casual weekends.



Theory Double Cardigan, $295 at Neiman Marcus

5) Accessories Accessorize your weekend outfit with one or two accessories that will make it stand out - whether a functional scarf for warmth or a bold tie for a party, accessories are the small touches that go a long way.



Banana Republic Wool Beanie, $29.50 at Banana Republic



Banana Republic Wool Striped-Edge Scarf, $49.50 at Banana Republic



Movado 'Musuem' Watch, $495 at Nordstrom



Express Narrow Silk Tie, $39.50 at Express

Source:

- fashionising.com

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Dec 8, 2009

Style Files: December '09 Women

As temperatures dip to freezing, everyone is bundling up. Just because you're piling on the layers, though, doesn't mean you can't look sexy - the holidays are right around the corner, and this season, there are more different styles than ever to keep you looking hot through the holidays and into the new year! Below, the latest warm weather fashions for winter, as well as sexy party frocks to have you hitting the holiday parties and ringin' in the new year in style!

1) Dresses. Holidays are all about the parties...social gatherings, office parties, family get-togethers, and of course, New Year's Eve shindigs. Look your best in one of the season's hottest dresses; the plethora of different styles this season include frocks that are sequined, sparkled, studded, sheer and more - plenty of sexy styles that'll turn heads and have 'em doing double-takes ;)



Rebecca Taylor Metallic Party Dress, on sale $245 (regular $350) at shopbop.com

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Dec 5, 2009

Guidelines for Gift-Giving For Your Significant Other

The holidays are right around the corner, which only means one thing - time for that all-too-fun task of holiday shopping! (Insert sarcastic tone here.)  For those of you who haven't started searching for a gift for your significant other yet, below are a few guidelines to keep in mind before you start, to help you find that perfect gift that he/she will love.

1) At the beginning of the relationship, start the bar out relatively lower on the price of gifts, and then "work" your way up. I'm not saying that you need to shop at the "Dollar General" or what-not, but if you aren't ballin' outta control (and in this economy, who really is??), start with something reasonable and not over-the-top expensive, and as the relationship progresses, "work" your way up to pricier items (if that's what you can afford and feel you want to give your significant other).

For instance, guys, you might think it's sweet and generous to give your girl a super-expensive designer purse your first Christmas together, but any gal friend would tell you that if that's not something you could normally afford, you are shooting yourself in the foot by doing that. Next year, she will most likely expect something equal (whether consciously or unconsciously), if not better, so anything less would be seen as a "downgrade".  She might not tell you, but trust me, she'll notice; you want to "build" your way up to more expensive, pricier gifts, not start out with them from the offset.

2) For people who are romantic, thoughtful gifts work best.  If your boyfriend or girlfriend is the romantic type, "sentimental" presents will probably mean more to them than say, a shirt or a watch.  Make a scrapbook of your relationship together so far, think of a well-planned weekend of activities they love, get tickets to their favorite musical artist who's coming to town, or any other gift that has significance to an important moment in your relationship. 

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Dec 3, 2009

Q & A - Abrupt Break-Up

Q. Dear Alannah,

Just last night, this guy that I was dating for about 3 months decided that we should just remain friends. I don't know if that would be considered a break-up or not, but it did to me, and it really hit me hard. During our talk last night, he brought up some good points as to why we should be just friends. There is a big difference in our age. I'm 20 years old and he had just turned 39. I know that's a really big difference, and I had never considered in my life going out with a guy that much older than me. But the more I was with him, the more our age difference meant nothing to me, and I didn't think it would mean anything to him either. I didn't think our age difference would interfere with what we had.

Yesterday was his birthday as well, and I thought that we were just going to enjoy ourselves and spend some good quality time with each other; I was really looking forward to it. And then all of a sudden, out of nowhere he starts talking about how sometimes he feels bad for me; that I'm dating somebody who's 19 years older than I am. I understood what he meant, but I really was not prepared to end our relationship right at that moment.

Over the past three months, we had been through so much; he even introduced me to his family. I hadn't introduce him to my family, but I had planned it in the future. I really thought we were doing fine and that we were in a stable relationship that would last for quite a while, and his decision was just so unexpected. I never thought that he would bring it up this soon. Also, because of the fact that I'm only 20 years old, he says that I have so many years ahead of me. I'm guessing that he doesn't want me to get caught up with a guy his age. He also said that he thought that he was wasting my time, but I told him that he wasn't, because I really enjoyed my time with him.

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Dec 2, 2009

Best Date Spots: Denver

With the cold season rapidly settling in, many are already planning the perfect cold-weather getaway. Denver, the Mile-High City, is the perfect destination to relax and enjoy the wintry weather with your date as temperatures drop outside...besides the multitude of ski resorts nearby and restaurants in the city, Denver also has many other creative date options to enjoy and heat up the night with your date!

1) John Holly's Asian Bistro - Can't decide between Japanese, Chinese, or Thai? For all you Asian cuisine lovers, you're in luck - John Holly's Asian Bistro combines the best of all these cultural cuisines, with delicious, well-presented dishes served in an ambiant setting that's sleek and romantic, and knowledgeable waitstaff providing friendly service. The restaurant is one of the finest Asian cuisine restaurants in Denver, with a full sushi menu and Thai and Chinese favorites such as Pad Thai Noodles and Peking Duck, as well as fusion dishes such as Seared Scallops with Guacamole. With excellent food and a sexy, romantic atmosphere, this little bistro is the perfect first date restaurant.

2) Duo - For a casual date in a trendy and inviting atmosphere, go to Duo. The restaurant has a slight "industrial" feel with its exposed brick walls and decorative wood frames hanging from the ceiling, yet has a warm and inviting feel that'll make you feel right at home. On the menu are all-American favorites such as Sirloin and Short Ribs, as well as House-Smoked Trout and Venison Loin. Duo also serves a full brunch menu, so come for an early lunch date or for dinner.




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Nov 28, 2009

Q & A - In Between

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, I met a guy a few weeks ago and we hit it off right away...I thought he was amazing and he liked me as well, too. We were dating for awhile, but didn't get to see each other very often because he works a lot, but the time we did spend together was amazing - I was so happy when we were together. Then, all of a sudden, he stopped getting in touch - I tried getting in contact with him, but I guess he was ignoring me?? At the end of the week, he finally sent me a text saying that he's been really busy with his parents, and that he promised to get in touch as soon as he's free...it's been 2 weeks since that text, and I've heard nothing back from him.

I don't really know what to do...I miss him so much. A few days ago, though, I met this guy who seems pretty interested in me, but I don't exact feel the same way, mainly because of the previous guy. This new guy has been so persistent in trying to spend time with me, though, that I figured since the first guy has totally disappeared on me, I should get to know this guy and maybe give him a chance.

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Q & A - How Do I Progress the Friendship?

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, I met this girl at a party through a mutual friend a few weeks back, and we got along pretty well...I got her number, and gave her a ride home that night (nothing happened). From that night on, we've been on the phone almost every night (she usually calls first - we've been on the phone for two hours straight once). Then one night, she asked me to hang out...we went to dinner and chilled, and had lots of fun. At the end of the night, though, nothing happened, except for a "goodbye hug".

At the moment, I feel like we are more like really good friends, rather than two people dating, and I'm having trouble taking it to the next step. We usually joke around and goof off, so I'd feel pretty random just launching into a serious talk about being interested in her....what should I do?

Sincerely,

Bryan

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Nov 24, 2009

Food for Thought: Are Your Dating Expectations Too High?

(This is a new feature I'm starting that will discuss relevant dating topics that often provoke discussion.)

If you ask anyone what they expect in a potential mate, you'll most likely hear something like this...someone I'm attracted to, who's fun, smart, has similar goals and interests, and - depending on the individual - the list will vary to include other attributes tailored to the person's wants and needs. It's important to know what you want in a potential mate, and to not ever settle when dating.

However, there are some people who have what some might consider "unrealistic" expectations when it comes to dating, and, by setting their standards so high, they end up setting themselves up for failure. You know the ones. The girls who are looking for Mr. Right, who's 6'2", a successful and handsome doctor/lawyer, who's great in bed, has great fashion sense, volunteers on the weekends, and has charm to spare. Or, the guy who wants a smokin' hot girl with a minimum MBA/doctorate degree, is ambitious and traditional, will cook/clean, is a sexual minx, and is fine with keeping it casual (a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture!). Not only are such expectations often unrealistic, they also prevent you from noticing many great catches along the way while waiting for Mr./Ms. Right to come along.

Even if your dating "Must-Have" list isn't as lengthy as the ones above, are your dating expectations realistic, and aligned to what you truly need in a relationship? For instance, if your significant other sharing the same faith is an important factor to you, that should obviously be towards the top of your list; shared values and common beliefs should also factor in. Also, what is more important, someone whose company you thoroughly enjoy, or someone whom you find very attractive? There's no right or wrong answer, and, of course it's possible to find both, but which has a higher priority?

Another factor to unrealistic dating expectations is that people sometimes may expect more than what they currently have to offer...although sometimes a rude awakening, it's only realistic - and in one's best interest - to realize that if you expect much of a potential mate, you should also have qualities/traits of equal or greater value to offer in return. This means focusing on self-improvement in order to attract your ideal mate, not just setting the bar high and hoping for Mr./Ms. Right to come along.

For instance, a guy who wants a girl who's an 8-10 on the looks scale needs to be either very attractive himself, have a great/entertaining personality, or be successful careerwise in order to attract such a mate. Likewise, a girl who wants a successful, Ivy League-educated man must have equivalent success herself, be charming, have a great personality, or offer some other desirable trait of equivalent value, such as looks.

What this boils down to is, know what you want in a potential partner, and if your dating expectations are high, focus on improving yourself so that you can be the best possible version of yourself that you can be; as the saying goes, "If you want to get the guy/girl of your dreams, you must first become the person of theirs!"

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Nov 21, 2009

How to Stay Out of the "I Would Never Have Sex With You" Zone

Most guys have probably heard this before, that most women, within the first 10 minutes of meeting a guy, decides whether or not she would ever have sex with him. To some extent, this is true. Yes, it sounds drastic, but, first impressions are very important.

For those who don't automatically fall into the "I don't know if I'd date you, but I might hook up with you" category purely by default of good looks, you're in luck! There are other ways to increase your chances of avoiding the "I would never have sex with you" zone when first meeting a woman (and thereby, increasing your chances of attracting and possibly scoring a date with her). They are:

1) If you meet a woman who's attractive and obviously gets hit on all the time, refrain from drooling all over her. Refrain from using the clichéd lines she's probably heard a million times before, such as, "You are so hot!" or "You're the most beautiful girl here." Yes, it's nice to give compliments, especially if they're sincere, but lines like those aren't very original, and she'll probably think they're cheesy or that you're trying to get in her pants. (For examples on the right kind of compliments to give a woman, click here.)

2) Make her laugh. Women love men who can make them laugh. Instead of putting the moves on her (in an oh-so-obvious way), entertain her, make her laugh. Be random, and use backhanded compliments or cockiness to tease her. For more examples on the different kinds of humor that attract women, click here.

3) Don't be creepy. Nothing gets you into the "I would never have sex with you" zone faster than giving off a "creepy" vibe when first meeting a woman. Ensure you don't by following the next few rules: no prolonged staring, no uninvited, "accidental" touching. Don't act "possessive" upon first meeting a woman, and definitely don't expect anything in return for any niceness/generosity you may show (such as buying drinks at a bar, covering a tab, etc.). It'll seem as if your generosity had a hidden motive, and if there's one thing that will instantly turn a woman off, it would be that!

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Nov 18, 2009

Q & A - Disappearing Act

Q. Dear Alannah,

I've been dating someone for a little over 2 months now, and we see each other about once or twice a week (we both have kids, and each have custody of them). On Saturday, we had a great date. As we were ending the date, he suggested we get together the next day on Sunday to take my dog for a nature walk. I said okay, and he said that he'd call. He did call on Sunday morning, and texted a few times while shopping for his kids. Then, he sent a text later that night saying he was sorry about the walk...basically, he blew it off, and without a proper reason, which surprised me, because he has always been very good about keeping his word.

After that, he sent a text late on Monday night, and hasn't called or texted since then. So, what the heck is going on here? Things were going so well, and it suddenly seems now like he is backing off. Is he just busy, or am I being dumped? Yes, I know this might seem like an overreaction, given it's only been 2 days, but this is totally uncharacteristic for this guy, so I am a little confused, to say the least. I've gotten advice from friends to call and say "Wtf??", and also advice to wait it out and do nothing.

How long is this supposed to go on for without me hearing anything from him? How am I supposed to feel about this behavior? I've been "trained" (for lack of a better word) to expect daily contact, so when it gets pulled away (and calls/texts I send his way are ignored), what am I supposed to do?

Sincerely,

Mandy

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Nov 16, 2009

Cheap Dates Part II

In this economy, saving a buck or two wherever you can is at the top of everyone's mind; that's why date-planning shouldn't cause you stress. When you want to plan a fun date, but don't want to blow big bucks, there are many date ideas you can choose from which won't empty your pocket. Below are just a few cheap, creative date ideas that won't set you back much, if at all!

1) Free night at the museum. Many cities have museums that have a free night once a week or once a month, so look up local museums in your area, and "get cultured" with your date by hitting the museum to check out the latest exhibits.

2) Learn a new hobby together. Check out your local recreation center to see if they offer any free guitar lessons, pottery classes, or cooking classes that you and your date can attend together. It's a great way to learn a new hobby and have fun. Expanding your horizons while having fun with your date - what's not to love?

3) Look up free shows. Many major musical acts will sometimes tour and throw free shows (as a promotion for albums and such), so check events schedules at performance centers in your area for free shows. (The All-American Rejects was in Dallas recently and had a free concert.) Get tickets and show up early, though, because anything free is bound to go fast!

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Nov 13, 2009

Articles You Should Check Out

Kissing: a way to show affection, a sign of love (or lust), the universal way for couples to say "I love you" without actually saying it, or to some, just a way to "warm up" before gettin' down to business! Whatever your feelings about it, there's always room to learn more about it and how to do it better ;)

9 Things You Didn't Know About Kissing

As if you needed a reason, here are some surprising health benefits to having sex:

10 Suprising Health Benefits of Sex

Fellas, do you agree that these hobbies make a woman sexier?  (Hint: most of them relate to hobbies that would increase bedroom skills! ;))

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Nov 11, 2009

Q & A - For the Love of Heels

Q. Dear Alannah,

I have a little issue - my girlfriend and I got in to an argument recently, and I'll admit, it was my fault. We're currently in a long distance relationship at the moment (she went overseas a few months ago for work and will be back in a few months), and I mentioned to her recently over the phone that I loved some heels a female friend of mine had on.

The issue here is that I like heels...I think they're hot on a girl! I always comment on either heels on girls or even just ones in the store - I just like heels! My girlfriend doesn't like this at all! She doesn't really wear them. (It's like that Taylor Swift song!) I really like my girlfriend, though, and am not trying to change her - I don't want her to wear them if she doesn't want to! I'm not expecting her to!

So, a few weeks ago she got really mad at me when I mentioned my friend's shoes. My question is, is it bad that I check out a girl's shoes? I get why she's mad, because when checking out a girl's shoes, I'm bound to check out her body as well, which I have been doing a lot recently. It's bad, and I'm doing my best not to.

So, if I keep having the urge to check girls out, does that mean that I'm not happy with my girlfriend? I don't get it - is there something I can do about this? It's horrible - it's like I have a heel/hot girl radar...sometimes I don't even realize I'm checking a girl out. What do I do?

Sincerely,

Hot For Heels

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Nov 9, 2009

Style Files: November '09 Women

Winter is right around the corner, so time to stock up on warm outerwear for the season. This season's picks won't disappoint, with many different looks, styles and inspirations to choose from that will satisfy the cravings of all fashionistas for stylish protection from the elements.

1) Outerwear. Outerwear trends for Fall '09/Winter '10 include a variety of different styles that run the gamut from dramatic and elegant to fun and flashy. Whatever your taste, there's sure to be something for everyone!

a) Capes, capelets, and cloaks. This is one of my favorite outerwear trends to come along in awhile - capes, capelets and cloaks add a sense of drama to any outfit, as well as infuses elegance into your every day look with minimal effort on your part. Choose a capelet for wear to work or a cloak out for your night on the town and you'll be sure to turn quite a few heads!



Capes on various designer runways.

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Nov 7, 2009

Q & A - Timing Issues

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, this guy I kind of had a little thing for asked me out a little while ago. However, at the time I was dating someone, so I'd told him, "I'd love to, but just as friends. I'm seeing someone right now," and he had said he understood, and that it wasn't a problem. Anyhow, as luck would have it (or maybe not so much) that relationship I was in ended, and after some time, I'm still interested in going on a date with this other guy.

However, how should I tell him that I'm not seeing anyone else and would love to go on a date with him, without seeming like I'm jumping from one guy to the next? I just want to see if he's still interested, and am trying to think of the best way to do it. What do you suggest?

Sincerely,

Helen

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Nov 4, 2009

Mistakes Girls Make When First Dating a Guy (Part II)

In my previous post, I discussed common mistakes girls make when first dating a guy, and why they should be avoided. Today, I'll be continuing my discussion of more mistakes to avoid when first dating someone new.

6) Not trusting your gut instinct. If your gut instinct is telling you a guy is trouble, then he probably is. With relationships and love, it’s better to be cautious in the beginning than to regret later. If a guy is in to you, he’ll be patient in winning you over. Watch his actions, not his words. You think he’s not being upfront about something? Don’t just ignore it – ask yourself why you’d feel that way, and then be cautious. You rarely ever hear someone say, “I wish I hadn’t gone with my gut instinct,” but rather, the other way around.

7) Letting him slide on the "little things". He says he is going to call you after work tomorrow night. You wait by the phone, and 7 pm rolls around. Then 8 pm. Then 9. Next thing you know, it's 11, and not a sign of him -- no call, no text. Then he calls you the next evening and says, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry, I was SO tired after work, I got home and just knocked out!" You say, "It's okay, I understand," and let it slide.

The next week, it happens again. This time, he doesn't acknowledge it until you point it out. Same story, same excuse. "It's just a phone call," you tell yourself. Why be so anal about it and give him a hard time? Besides, you like him so much, why should you ruin things by being demanding, especially when you two aren't even official yet?

Because, if he can't even keep small promises like making a phone call - especially at the beginning - how is he going to be able to keep the bigger ones later on??

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Mistakes Girls Make When First Dating a Guy (Part I)

When you're first dating someone new, it's so easy to get caught up in the moment -- you've met a new guy, and he's wonderful...fun, handsome, makes you laugh, and, knocks you off your feet. It's so easy to be tempted to throw all caution to the wind and just live in the moment, do what feels right at the time and forget everything else.

As tempting as that may be to do, though, it's always best to keep in mind a few things when first dating someone new, some common mistakes females make when first dating a guy that can hurt her, and the blossoming relationship, in the long-run. Here, common mistakes girls make when first dating a guy, and why they should be avoided.

1) Ditching your girl friends for him. Good friends are hard to find; don't ditch your girls just because you're seeing someone new. This is something that most females, especially early on, usually have done at one time or another, although most of the time, it truly is unintentional. You meet someone new, he is amazing, you're falling head over heels, and soon enough, you're spending all of your time together, and your friends start feeling neglected. As wonderful as love (or like, or even lust!) can be, it's always a bad idea to neglect your friendships when involved with someone new. There are several reasons, but some of the top ones include:

a) If things don't work out between you and the guy, you'll turn around one day and your girl friends will be nowhere to be found, or they're completely distant from you, and it can be a long road to re-establishing that bond.

b) It's not healthy to spend all of your time with just one person, no matter how great things are in the beginning (there definitely can be too much of a good thing).

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Oct 31, 2009

Q & A - My Boyfriend Watches Porn, and I Hate It

Q. Dear Alannah,

I have a problem...my boyfriend watches porn, and I hate it. Whenever I catch him watching it, my self-esteem drops. It makes me think I'm not pleasing him, or that I am not good enough (in bed). I've tried to get over this, but it is very difficult. I've confessed to him how I feel about this and that I don't like it, and he told me that he would stop watching it. He said for my sake that he'd stop watching it, but I caught him again. I don't want to make a big deal of this issue, but it affects me so much. How should I deal with this, and what can I do to make him stop?

Sincerely,

Melissa

A. Dear Melissa,

This is a topic that can be a very sensitive one between men and women...the majority of women dislike porn and view it as something that's negative in their relationship, and are offended to know that their man watches it.  They see it as a sign that their guy isn't sexually satisfied with them and that's why watch it. The reality is, the majority of guys watch porn, whether or not they're in a relationship....most females don't see why a guy would do this when he is already sexually active in his own relationship, but, the majority of the time, this has nothing to do with the girl they're with and whether or not she satisfies them, but more to do with having a natural, healthy sexual appetite.

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Oct 28, 2009

Q & A - Library Love

Q. Dear Alannah,

I am interested in this guy at school. He's in one of my classes. I do the friendly flirting, wear cute outfits, make conversation, smile a lot, ask about his day/life, etc. But, how do I get him interested enough in me to ask me out?

He's smart and quiet in general, but is talkative with friends. He works at the school library, so I've been dropping by when he works to check out or return books, and I've been striking up conversation with him. Usually we talk about class, common interests, potential Halloween costume ideas, friends that we have in common, etc. I do this frequently. Today he told me that he was working and that I should drop by and visit him at work (which I did)...so I'm pretty sure he's on to my really obvious plan...I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

I know he's single and not dating anyone. We have a mutual friend. Should I just ask the mutual friend to tell the guy that I have a crush on him? Or is that a bad idea? What do you do to get a guy that you like to ask you out?

Sincerely,

In Limbo

A. Dear In Limbo,

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Oct 26, 2009

Best Date Spots: Boston

Often referred to as the "Unofficial Capital of New England", Boston is one of the oldest cities in America, rich with history, culture, beautiful architecture and gorgeous scenery, making it an ideal place for a first date. A true New England town through and through, Boston has many wonderful sights and sounds that will easily keep you and your date very occupied. Below are some of the best spots to check out around town.

1) Sonsie - An upscale casual dining restaurant loved by locals, Sonsie has wonderful food and a lively, fun atmosphere you'll thoroughly enjoy. The dark, classic American decor and candlelit tables create an intimate setting that's classy and romantic. The upstairs dining area is great for mingling (with a happening bar scene at night), while the wine room downstairs is quiet and intimate, perfect for couples. The front part of the restaurant has an open-air seating area with a nice view that's great for people watching.

On the menu is an American-blend cuisine with a strong Italian influence. Start out with Skillet-Steamed Mussels (with chardonnay, aromatics, beurre blanc, and garlic toast) or Flash-Fried Calamari (served with hot cherry peppers, lemon tartar sauce, and fried parsley). For your main course, the Adobo Chicken Ravioli (with black beans, tomatillos, and queso fresco) and Grilled Swordfish (served with citrus butter, crab sweet potato hash, and batter-fried fennel) are flavorful choices sure to satisfy.

The dessert menu has rich, decadent choices such as Hazelnut Crème Brulee (with cinnamon palmiers and hazelnut clusters) and Black Cherry Sorbet (with lychee, broken meringue, and yuzu caramel) that you'll love sharing with a date.

2) The Upper Crust - Famous for its thin crust pizzas, this pizza joint off Branch and Chestnut in the Beacon Hill neighborhood has customers raving for its creative pizza selections and friendly service. The restaurant has a bright, airy feel, with the large glass front creating an inviting space. The delectable pizza pies here have customers returning time and again, and the wide variety of different topping combinations will have your head spinning. Whether you're a pepperoni and cheese kinda gal or pile-on-the-meat-toppings kinda guy, the pizzas here are made to order, and include the usual toppings such as sausage, mushrooms, and pepperoni, as well as specialty toppings such as baby clams, shrimp, scallops and veal.

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Oct 24, 2009

Q & A - How Do I Get Over My Ex-Boyfriend?

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, I need advice on how to get over this guy...it's a long story, but basically, I liked him for the longest time before we started dating (two and a half years, to be exact). When we finally got together, the relationship was short-lived, but I was very happy with him during that time. Well, he ended up breaking things off, and it's been almost a year now, but I still can't forget about him. I still have very, very strong feelings for him, and I don't know how to get over it. I think about him constantly, and my friends all say I should move on, but I don't know how.

The thing that makes it more complicated is that we're both still friends, and he wants us to remain friends, too. My girl friends have been saying to keep my distance, but I don't want to do that; I still want to have him in my life as a friend. What can I do to get over him, and yet still maintain our friendship?

Sincerely,

Can't Get Over It

A. Dear Can't Get Over It,

I hate to break it to you, but your girl friends are right; the only way that you will ever be able to get over him is if you cut off all contact with him, if only for a little while (I lie, longer than a little while!). There is no way you are going to be able to move on if you keep him in your life right now. It might seem drastic - cutting off all contact - but if you're honest with yourself, the reason you're still friends with him right now is probably to see if there's a chance that you two will get back together again...you may be secretly hoping he'll change his mind and want to get back together, but the truth is, it probably won't happen, so the longer you hold on, the more hurt you will get.

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Oct 22, 2009

Q & A - My Boyfriend Won't Tell His Ex He Has a Girlfriend

Q. Dear Alannah,

I have a problem. I've been dating this guy for about 6 months now, and everything seemed to be going great. We got along very well, I was feeling very happy with him, and I could see the relationship heading somewhere. Then one day, I saw his phone and noticed all these texts from this other woman. I asked him who she was, and he said it was his ex-girlfriend. This made me really upset, and I asked him how often they talk. He said every once in awhile, but that it's nothing. I asked him if she knew he had a girlfriend, and he said no. I told him he should tell her, but he refused to, and wouldn't give me a straight answer why. He just said he didn't see a reason to, and that he wasn't going to. He said he could date her right now if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to, he wants to be with me, so I left it alone. There was also another girl who had been calling him for awhile (constantly!), until I finally told him to tell her he has a girlfriend, which he did, so she finally stopped calling.

Well, then yesterday, I was over at his place, and the little girls from next door came over to play with his daughter (she's about 5), and one of them (who's 7) said something that made me very upset. They asked if I knew that he has other girls who come over a lot. Then they named the one I saw from the texts, his ex, and this made me so angry. I confronted him about it, but he said something that did make sense; he said that she hasn't been over in a year, and that they're young kids, so they remember stuff from awhile back and feel like it was yesterday. Still, I told him that he needed to tell his ex that he has a girlfriend now, but he still refused. I was so upset, I left the house but was still talking to him, and he closed the door behind me. I called him about half an hour later to let him know if he would just tell her he has a girlfriend, I won't be mad anymore, but he didn't pick up. That was yesterday, and he still hasn't tried calling me.

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Oct 19, 2009

10 Things to Say That Will Piss Off Your Girlfriend

1) Asking her, "Are you PMSing???" when she's mad or upset about something.

2) "So what if I think she's hot?? I'm dating YOU, not her."

3) Prefacing something you're about to tell her with, "Now, don't get mad and freak out like you always do, but..."

4) "You really think you should eat that, baby? You know that will only make you pack on the pounds, right?"

5) Telling her while with a group of people, "But you just said the other day that (fill in the name of casual acquaintance here) annoys you, why are you inviting him/her to your party??"

6) "My mom loved your cooking the other night -- she did say you have room for improvement though, and that you should come over sometime and she'd teach you!"

7) "See, I knew you'd be cool with me going on the all guys trip! Gary was so wrong, saying you'd never allow it!"

8) "My sister didn't really like you when we first got together, but I think you've grown on her now that you let her borrow your clothes."

9) "I always thought I'd end up with someone taller/more domestic/more in to sports, but I'm still glad I have you!"

10) "My mother really loved my ex-girlfriend, and I don't think anyone else will ever be good enough for me in her eyes, but hey, you can try!"

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Oct 17, 2009

Q & A - Long-Distance Communication Issues

Q. Dear Alannah,

My girlfriend and I are currently in a long-distance relationship. Our situation is only temporary because she went to China to work for awhile, and she's staying for half a year. She's been there for two months now, and lately, we've been having issues. She's works a lot, so she has a fairly busy schedule.

There are a few problems - the first is the fact that it's so hard for us to stay in touch. Our free times don't match at all...I used to wake up at 4 am to talk to her, but I got really burnt out doing so. If I don't wake up, though, I wouldn't be able to talk to her until the weekend! We use Twitter to stay in touch as well. It's great for texting each other.

Lately, though, I've become really frustrated, and I don't reply to messages sometimes, or to emails...It's so bad. I'm super busy nowadays, but I used to be very prompt with replying even when I was busy back then. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I feel I put more effort in to the relationship lately than she does.

The major problem that is frustrating me so much is that she doesn't listen when we talk on the phone (and that's a big problem if you're dating long-distance and can't see one another). It's like she's distracted and doesn't care about what I'm talking about...it happens pretty frequently! One time I actually said, "You're not listening...you're STILL not listening!!!" She answers, "Yeah yeah, I heard you, something about your uncle and interest payments...this meat bun is soooo good!" Wtf??

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Oct 15, 2009

Style Files: October '09 Men

Cold weather is rapidly settling in, which means time for a rotation in your closet -- put away those tanks, tees, and shorts, and update your wardrobe with some of the season's hottest cold weather looks, including updated suits and casual clothes with a stylish twist!

1) Men's suit trends. Men's suiting and formal wear trends don't change often and usually last for several years, but this year marks a definitive change in the style of men's suiting that gives a fresh look using old elements. The defining changes in men's suiting for this year include:

a) Fine tailoring. The new suits are more finely tailored, with broader shoulders, tighter waists, and slimmer trousers, for a better fit that flatters the wearer; it makes the wearer appear more well-built and leaner, which is never a bad thing!

(If you don't want to splurge on a new suit for the season, bring an old favorite in a classic pattern to a nearby tailor to have the waist brought in and trousers slimmed down and voila! An updated suit at a fraction of the cost!)



Tom Ford Spring 2009 Collection

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Oct 13, 2009

Style Files: October '09 Women

With Fall currently in full swing and temperatures rapidly dropping outside, it's time to put away those "in-between-seasons" clothes and bring out your Fall clothing. This season's selections however don't skimp on sex appeal, and with the short hemlines, skin-baring cuts, sheer fabrics, and dipping necklines abounding, you'd think it was summer all over again! Wear something skin-baringly sexy underneath, and cover up with one of the season's latest coats or jackets to keep warm...you'll be sure to look extra-hot on your date or out and about! ;)

1) Accordion-pleat necklines. The structural elements popular in many of the clothes of the past Spring continue to be very popular in Fall's clothing trends, featuring beautifully sculpted, accordion-pleat tops and dresses that are both elegant and sexy. The pleats beautifully highlight the sexy décolletage area without revealing too much, making them flattering for both flat-chested and busty gals alike.


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Oct 9, 2009

Q & A - My Girlfriend Has Too Many Guy Friends

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, my girlfriend and I have been together for about a year - she's hot, social, and very outgoing. Before we got together, she would go out often, and had many guy friends. Now that we're together, that hasn't changed. Her having guy friends, that is. She doesn't go clubbing every weekend anymore like she used to, but her guy friends still call her every weekend when we're together, and it pisses me off. She doesn't pick up when they call (when I'm with her, anyways), but it still really irritates me.

I've told her to change her number, but she won't. I've told her about how I've basically cut off all contact with my female friends, and I don't see why she won't do the same with her guy friends. She refuses to see why it would bother me that her guy friends call her every weekend to come out and hang out, and I've even considered picking up sometime when they call and telling them to lay off (one of them called three times in one day when I was with her, even when she didn't pick up!!).

This guy friend and phone issue has gotten so bad to the point where once when we were arguing about it, I was telling her to change her number again and she said if I was so unhappy about her having guy friends that we could break up if I wanted. (For the record, I don't want to break up.) What should I do to get her to see where I'm coming from?

Sincerely,

One Annoyed Boyfriend

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Oct 8, 2009

Moves That Will Make Her Swoon (Part II)

Today, I'll be continuing my discussion of moves you can use on a date that will leave her swooning!

6)The slightly "disheveled" look. When a guy has a slightly "undone" look to his overall appearance, it can look very sexy! The "I just rolled out of bed, threw something on, but still look hot" look. Of course, you don't want to look like a bum, so there's a fine line to walk. What you'll want to do is wear a pulled-together or stylish outfit, and have some "unkempt" elements to your look that balances out the "polished" factor; it gives off a confident, relaxed vibe that women find so appealing.

Use one or two of the tips below at most to look just unkempt enough to pull off this look - all four and you'll just look messy like you didn't try!

a) The 5'o clock shadow. All I have to say is - SO. DAMN. SEXY! A guy who can properly rock a 5'o clock shadow looks so hot, it hurts! Of course, the clean-shaven look can also be very attractive, but a 5'o clock shadow on a guy every once in awhile gives off a very "manly" vibe that's so hard to resist. (Think of Armani cologne ads and how most of the male models always slightly rock the facial hair...they look sleek and stylish, and yet strong and masculine at the same time.)

b) Sleeves rolled up to expose forearms. Women love seeing exposed forearms on a guy (especially toned forearms), because again, it emphasizes a guy's masculinity, and, just makes you want to reach out and touch them!


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Oct 5, 2009

Moves That Will Make Her Swoon (Part I)

Many men wonder what it is exactly that sweeps a woman off her feet...is it charm, good looks, humor, an exciting personality, or, knowing how to say just the right thing at the right time? Why is it that some guys - who may not have all the qualities you'd think women want, such as looks, money, fame or power - seem to wield some kind of "magic" that makes them so irresistible to women? Their secret is part intuition, part practice, and part trial-and-error, but, what it definitely isn't is unattainable. Today's post will be about tips you can use that will leave her swooning! (Part 1 of 2.)

1) Be decisive. Women like men who are decisive and know what they want -- it shows confidence and a sense of purpose. There's a fine line to walk, of course...you don't want to come across as being pushy, and yet also wouldn't want to be seen as being "wishy-washy". The idea is to not be afraid to take the lead during your date. With things such as plans for the night and what to do, think of an idea and follow through with it.

[Note: A good guideline for first dates to "feel out" your date - not in that way, perv! - to see where she stands, and to see how "take charge" you can be without seeming pushy is to ask ahead before the date to see if she has any preference for the night's plans. If she says no, tell her you have something planned, then keep it a surprise. Think of something creative, or that you think she'll like and follow through with it.]

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Oct 2, 2009

How to Drive Him Crazy On a Date

So, you just got a date with that guy you've had your eye on for ages, and can't wait for the weekend to come! You have the time, place, and date set, and now on to that crucial, most important question...how to blow him out of the water during your date?

Below, some tips to use during your date that will drive him crazy!

1) Dark eye make-up. Men love dark eyes. It's sexy, alluring, and draws them in. Go for a smokey-eye look and light on your lips, and you'll be sure to have him mesmerized all night long!



For tips on how to get the smokey eye look, click here.

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Sep 29, 2009

Best Date Spots: Houston

Houston: a bustling hub of diversity and life. One of the largest cities in the South, Houston is a melting pot of different cultures, with no shortage of things to see and do, making it the perfect city to explore with a date. Below are some of the best date spots around the city that natives affectionately know as H-town.

1) Backstreet Cafe - Have a lunch date with your beau? Check out Backstreet Cafe in River Oaks; quaint and cozy, this streetside cafe has a beautiful view and award-winning menu that will satisfy even the most discerning foodie. Executive Chef Hugo Ortega has received multiple awards and rave reviews from critics both in and out of Houston, creating an impressive menu that's definitely not your ordinary cafe-fare; with dishes such as Shellfish Risotto and Duck Confit, the exquisite and carefully selected menu will both delight and frustrate you, if only because of the length of time it'll take to pick a dish!

Each entree is well-prepared and beautifully presented, served by a warm and attentive staff. For lunch, choose from a list of delicious seasonal choices (check the restaurant's site menu for updates) such as Petit Pan Roasted Chicken or Crispy Lobster Sandwich (crispy lobster on toasted brioche with bacon, tomato, arugula, spicy onion rings and red pepper remoulade, served with potato salad). Locals rave for the restaurant's Sunday brunch, which includes hearty, sating choices such as the Bistro Breakfast (grilled 4 oz. tenderloin served with two poached eggs, rosemary potato cake, spinach and tomato hollandaise) and also Crawfish Grits Cakes and Eggs (poached eggs over stone ground grits cakes with crawfish, andouille sausage and choron sauce).

The dinner menu also won't disappoint, with dishes such as Jalapeno Fettuccine and Conchiglioni (baked, giant shells stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and pine nuts with a rustic tomato sauce topped with Pecorino Romano) for pasta lovers and Pepper Crusted Braised Beef Short Ribs and Grilled Rib Eye Steak for the meat lovers.

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Sep 26, 2009

Q & A - How Do I Pick Up Where We Left Off?

Q. Dear Alannah,

So I went on a date with this girl from my university earlier this summer...I'd been liking her for awhile, and our date was right before summer break, before she headed back to her home country to visit family. We went to the movies on our date, went to grab some coffee after, then took a walk around the park, and we ended the night with me walking her to the front entrance of her house and giving her a goodbye hug. This was sometime after the semester ended, and soon after the date, she headed to Asia.

Now school has started up again, and I don't see her often around our university campus, but I want to get in touch with her again. I don't know if she's seeing anyone right now (she was single before summer vacation), but I definitely want to see if we could pick up where we left off, if she's available. She doesn't have Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, or any of the other online resources that make it much easier to send an informal "hello". The only means I have to contact her is her phone number, and I've tried calling once, but didn't reach her (I didn't leave a message, either). How long should I wait before calling her again, and - assuming I can't reach her when calling again - how persistent should I be before I give up?

Sincerely,

Pete

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Sep 24, 2009

Q & A - Friends With Benefits?

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, I have this friend who is a couple of years older than me and whom I've known all of my life, but we've only truly become friends within the past 5 years. We've been close and distant throughout that time, close when we were working together or if we were dating each others friends. For a long time we had a flirtatious relationship, even when one or both had significant others. This flirting had dwindled down, so I was surprised when texting him one night when we started to recognize the fact that we were both single and not looking for relationships, but also both have physical needs wanting to be met.

I'm not going to lie to you, I can be an awkward person. I seem to become more awkward when I'm around him, which makes me a little nervous. I've never had a friends with benefits relationship, but now it seems almost too convenient that we're both in this situation and happen to be living 5 min away from one another. Obviously he and I are not best friends, but I do value friendship above physicality.

Do you think it's possible to maintain friendship throughout and after in a friends with benefits relationship? Do you think it's a good idea for me to go for it?

Jennifer

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Sep 21, 2009

Things That Scream "Douche(bag)!"

In a world where shows such as "Tool Academy" and "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" are becoming more commonplace, you have to notice an unsettling trend in the mainstream media, and, even more unsettling, in real life, in the clubs, bars, restaurants, malls, and other establishments that we frequent (and even the streets that we walk)...that trend I'm referring to is "the douche(bag) trend". It started with "faux" celebrities such as K-Fed and any number of the reality TV "celebrities" on VH1. It's now overtaken your hometown establishments and weekend night haunts.

The Urban Dictionary definition of a douchebag:

“An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intelligence [sic], behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears.”

My post today is one part "what not to wear/do/say" for the guys, one part "who not to date" for the ladies. (Kidding! Douchebags need love, too!)

Below, 10 telltale signs a guy is a douche:

1) Unbuttoning his shirt 3 buttons down from the top, with no t-shirt underneath...if we have a nice, full view of your perfectly waxed chest, you're showin' way too much!


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Sep 19, 2009

Q & A - I Always Have the Stronger Feelings In Relationships

Q. Dear Alannah,

In my past relationships, I have always had problems with having stronger feelings for the other person than they do for me. It started with my first boyfriend in high school, which was my longest relationship to date. I thought he was the one, but he hurt me deeply...ever since then, I've been trying to meet another "the one".

I really want to figure this problem out, because I was (maybe am) dating this really great guy, and I think I may have sabotaged it. It's weird, he was very interested at first, but then all of a sudden, he backed off and said he wasn't ready for a serious relationship, which he thought I wanted (which secretly I did, which is my problem because I always think of a guy I'm dating as a possible future husband). I told him that I wanted to keep things casual and didn't know where he got that idea (I lied because he's such a great person...is this a sign that I have low self-esteem?).

I called him the following night and said that I didn't think we should date anymore because I needed some time to be single and it sounded like he did too. (That was also a lie...I'm not usually a liar so I don't know what's going on...I would feel too vulnerable if I told him that I just didn't want to get hurt if we dated casually). Well, he told me he'd be pretty devastated if we didn't stay friends, so I agreed, and we've gotten together once since then, and it was so much fun. I then drove him to the airport, because he was going on vacation for the weekend. I drunk-dialed him that night (I know, big mistake!) and said that I like him, and he said he likes me, too, and I said I wanted to keep dating, but don't want to get hurt. He asked why I would get hurt...and I said because if I started getting really deep feelings and he didn't want anything serious. He said to make sure that no creepy drunk guys got to me and to get home safe, and that we'd talk about it when he got back.

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Sep 16, 2009

Long-Distance Relationships (Part II)

In my previous post, I discussed long-distance relationships and what you should first consider before entering one. Today, for those who are (or are considering being) involved in a long-distance relationship, I'll discuss tips on how to make it work and keep the spark alive over any distance!

1) Make your time together memorable. When you are in a long-distance relationship, the time you spend with your significant other (SO) is very limited, so you should make the most of each moment you have. Make your time together memorable, especially in the beginning of the relationship. I'm not saying that every trip to see each other has to be an adventure, but plan your dates out in advance when possible. Maximize your time together.

Since your SO doesn't live right around the corner from you, your first few visits together should consist of at least a few well thought-out excursions (not just time spent at home chilling in front of the TV, for instance). Plan dates to go sightseeing in your (or their) city, do things around town that you normally wouldn't do, or go on trips out of town together. Doing "chill" activities is okay, but balance it out with some well thought-out, romantic and/or adventurous dates, so your time together is as memorable as possible! (Well-thought out dates don't need to be expensive, either - just showing you put in effort to plan ahead is what counts! For some great cheap date ideas, click here.)

2) Talk on the phone at least once a day. Try not to go a day without talking to your SO on the phone. This includes using video chat programs, such as Skype. These programs make a world of difference! If possible, video chat with your SO instead of just talking on the phone - it's the next best thing to having them there with you.

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Sep 14, 2009

Long-Distance Relationships (Part I)

Long-distance relationships have always been an interesting topic of discussion; some people are up for it - for others, it's out of the question. My first relationship was a long-distance one, and I will admit, it could be pretty tough at times (it eventually ended not because of the distance, but due to personality differences).

My thoughts on relationships are that it is already difficult enough as it is to meet someone and have these three criteria fall in to place in order for you and the other person to begin dating:

1) You both need to be available (duh!)
2) You need that chemistry, that initial spark (sounds simple, but is very hard to find -- in the minds of most women, anyways!)
3) You both have to be good for each other and treat each other right (again, sounds simple, but when combined with #2, so very hard to find!)

To me, it is already difficult enough as it is to find these three criteria in a potential mate (all at once), that when you do meet someone who fits the bill, if they just happen to live a few hundred (or thousand!) miles away, I feel the tough part of meeting or finding them is already one of the largest hurdles you'll already have overcome!

As mentioned earlier, though, long-distance relationships aren't for everyone, so if you are contemplating one with a special someone you've just met (who just happens to live a couple of hundred miles away), here are some things you should first consider before entering in to it.

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Sep 11, 2009

Style Files: September '09 Women

With cooler weather comes a change in our wardrobes...more layers, lower hemlines, bulkier fabrics, and less skin. Of course, that doesn't mean the fashions are any less fun! For Fall '09, check out the latest styles for women to hit the runways!

1) Hot pink. This fun, sassy shade is making a comeback this Fall, in everything from clothes to accessories to even make-up (hot pink lips, anyone?). All over the Fall '09 designer runways, hot pink dresses, tops and skirts made a vibrant splash on models, and, worn as part of a hot new color pairing, with red (a pairing formerly thought of as a fashion faux pas), anything hot pink is sure to attract loads of attention!



Versace Fall 2009

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Sep 10, 2009

Q & A - Does He Like Me, or Is It Just Work-Related?

Q. Dear Alannah,

I need your advice on this issue. I met this guy at work 4 months ago who had just started working there, and we hit it off since the first week we met. We became friends pretty quickly, would have lunch together, and were always smiling at each other at the office. I started to feel really attracted to him, and I got the feeling he felt the same. I think even our colleagues at the office started noticing.

After 2 months, I got a very good job offer elsewhere and left the company. Of course, we exchanged phone numbers and even added each other on Facebook. After I left, he called me so we could get together and hang out (and talk about how things are at work), but I couldn't on that particular week, so we postponed the hang-out date. So, we're planning on meeting soon, but I'm quite confused about what his real intentions are with me. We've chatted a few times online, and he told me that that he misses me at work, but now he doesn't get distracted by me (which seems to me to be a way of showing interest in me); at the same time, each time we chat online, he ends up talking about things at work, and always mentions that we should get together to speak about work! To talk about the changes in the company since I left and how he's dealing with things there.

So, I'm a bit confused about whether he's really interested in me in a romantic way (because I am in him), or, if he just wants work advice since I have much more experience in this particular field than he has. Or maybe he doesn't feel totally at ease with me yet, so he's using work as an excuse to meet me, since he doesn't know how I feel either? I really like him, and I don't want to meet him if he's only interested in talking about work! Well, when I was seeing him every day at work, I felt as if he was attracted to me as well, but who knows!? Can you please give me some advice?

Sincerely,

Susie

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Sep 7, 2009

Style Files: September '09 Men

With summer now over and fall weather slowly creeping up on us, it's time to pack away those summer clothes and give your wardrobe a fresh update for the new season! Below, the latest looks for Fall in men's fashion.

1) Tuxedo jackets. For Fall '09, tuxedo dinner jackets are very hot, and you don't need to wait for some fancy-shmancy dinner party to wear them, either! Worn over trousers or jeans, the tuxedo jacket helps infuse elegance and style into your look. Look for satin finishes and notched or peaked lapels on jackets to incorporate this style - bow-tie optional!



Dinner jacket trend on the runways at Dries Van Noten, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Kris Van Assche.



Salvatore Ferragamo Fall '09



Dinner jacket, McQ by Alexander McQueen

2) Plaid. For more casual looks, go with plaid. Plaid has been a popular pattern this year, and for Fall, it is still a strong trend, showing up on shirts, scarves, hats, even outerwear. Pick up an item in plaid in a bright color to stand out against the sea of neutral colors prevalent in Fall.



Newlook plaid shirt.



Old Navy Men's Patterned Dress Shirts, on sale $15.00 (regular $24.50) at Old Navy

3) Denim. Men's jeans styles for Fall '09 includes a wide range of choices from which to choose. Whether you prefer comfort in "looser" fitting jeans, a slimmer, straight-leg fit for a "neater" look, or you prefer perennial favorite bootcut jeans, you won't be limited in your choices this season!

a) Relaxed fit jeans. Don't let the recent rash of "skinny" jeans for men deter you from this style -- there's room in men's fashion for both styles, and if your preference is comfort, relaxed fit jeans are a great choice.



7 For All Mankind Men's Relaxed Fit Jeans in Montana Wash, $195 at Bloomingdales

b) Straight leg jeans. Somewhere between the skinny jean and relaxed fit jeans lies the straight leg jeans. Comfortable and yet "put together", the straight leg jean easily takes you from a casual day at work to a night out on the town!



Rock & Republic Henlee Jeans, $205 at Neiman Marcus

c) Bootcut jeans. As mentioned in my previous post, bootcut style jeans are considered universally flattering (for both men and women). For guys with long torsos and/or wider mid-sections, bootcut jeans help balance out their frames, and helps give their lower half a leaner appearance.



Levi's 527 Jeans, on sale $36.99 (regular $54.00) at Macy's

4) Color. As mentioned in my previous post, colors for menswear this Fall include a wide range of rich shades, including bottle green, blue, gold, burgundy and gray. Find shirts, ties, scarves and other accessories in any of these shades for a quick update to your wardrobe!



AX Seamed Slim Fit Shirt in Blueberry, $78, at Armani Exchange



Banana Republic Slim Fit Military-Style Shirt in Pearl Gray, $70 at Banana Republic

5) Outerwear. Many outerwear trends prevail in menswear for Fall '09, but the ones that stand out the most are the military trend (as mentioned in my previous post), and the classic trench coat.

a) Military trend. As mentioned previously, the military trend is very popular in menswear for Fall '09, and it can be seen prevalently in men's outerwear. The details that make this trend are in the buttons, necklines, and silhouettes.





Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter 2009/2010 Collection



Burberry Raised-Seam Peacoat, $895 at Neiman Marcus



Coat from H&M, Men's Fall 2009/2010 Collection (plaid pants optional!), hm.com

b) Trench coats. A seasonal classic, this is one coat that never goes out of style. Night or day, rain or shine, the trench coats offer protection against the elements with a classic yet stylish edge. Their typically lightweight structure allows for easy movement and light coverage, perfect for cool Autumn weather!



Rag and Bone "Great Coat", $745 at fastforward



Banana Republic Double-breasted Trench Coat, $200 at Banana Republic

Sources:

- fashionising.com
- gq.com

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