Jul 30, 2009

Q & A - Ex-Fling's Friend

Q. Dear Alannah,

So lately I've been indecisive about what I should do with this messy situation that I'm in right now. I met Tony awhile back and he introduced me to his friend, Jonathan. I dated Jonathan for 4-5 months or so but we never got together or anything. We stopped talking for 2 years now but of course I still talk to his friend, Tony. Tony and I have always been good friends for a long time now, but we just started liking each other recently. I'll always remember the "friendship rules" so that's why I don't want to date Tony because I know that will ruin their friendship. I even tried stop talking to him but it did not work out too well. It makes me happy each time I get talk to him and it made me miserable when I tried to let him go. I kept telling myself that letting him go is the RIGHT thing to do but if it was right, then why I do feel unhappy about it?

Part of the reasons why I'm indecisive is because I had a friend....and she lost a best friend because she got with the guy her best friends likes. They've been together for 5 years now so that got me thinking, what if Tony was "the one" for me too? What if I let that chance go by you know? Tony believes that it's OKAY for us to like each other since I never got with his friend or anything. We were just "dating." I still have a feeling that everything will be awkward between them 2 if Jonathan found out that Tony and I like each other. Do you think it's selfish of me for wanting this relationship to happen? Or should I just let Tony go so I won't screw them up?

Thank you!


A. Hi Paige,

I think that that's very considerate of you to be worried about the consequences dating Tony could have on his friendship with Jonathan. I've been in a situation similiar to yours before, and from how I see it, if you and Jonathan did not "officially" date (as in, become a couple), it should be okay if you and Tony dated...if you've already talked to Tony and he feels it wouldn't affect their friendship, that should be the extent of your responsibility, as cut and dry as that may seem. I really believe when it comes to dating and relationships that you should try to live without any regrets, and if you do have strong feelings for Tony, you should pursue things to see what could happen. Also, guys tend to be a lot more "forgiving" than are girls when it comes to their friend dating someone they have dated...as long as they weren't involved in a serious, long-term relationship with the girl, most guys are usually okay with their friend pursuing something with her (not all, but most).

I do need to ask, though, if maybe you're letting the reason of not wanting to mess up the guys' friendship as an excuse to not pursue something because your feelings for Tony aren't strong enough? If that isn't the reason and you truly just don't want to negatively affect their friendship in any way, you should go ahead and let Tony know that you'd like to try dating to see what's there. If you're worried about this possibly hurting Jonathan's feelings when he finds out, have Tony talk to Jonathan first himself about it (if you two do decide to date) to give him a "heads up"...that way, he'll hear about it first from Tony, and not from anyone else. How he'll receive the news is hard to say, but like I was saying earlier, guys usually aren't as sensitive in this situation if they and the girl in question weren't serious.

It sounds cliche, but it's true - you'll never know until you try! Best of luck! ;)



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Jul 29, 2009

Q & A - Wasting My Time?

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, I've been seeing this guy for awhile, and I don't know how to get him to "make it official." We've been dating for about 7 months, and about a month ago, I finally worked up the nerve to ask him what he thought of me, and what our "status" was. He said that he was "really starting to like me," and that even though he wasn't looking for a girlfriend when we first started dating, the more time he spends time with me, the closer he gets to me, and that he could see himself getting serious with me, but, that's all he said!

We've been continuing to hang out and I really want to take the next step and have a relationship with him, but I don't know what to do. I don't know if this is a lost cause or not. I'm getting tired of waiting for him, and have been very patient up to this point. I don't know what I should do or say, or if I should say anything again. I really like this guy and when we're around each other, he seems to like me. So why hasn't he asked me to be his girlfriend? I really need some advice on what I should do or say...please help!


Tired of Waiting

A. Dear Patient Girl,

It sounds like this guy is having his cake and eating it, too. He gets to be with you as practically his girlfriend, without any of the commitment. What you need to do is show him that if he doesn't make you his girlfriend, there's someone out there who will. Start going out on dates. Ask a friend to set you up with someone they know-just make it friendly if you want, but still a date. Then, make sure to tell him about it. Hey, the two of you are just "hanging out," no commitment, right?

If this guy is worth your time at all, he'll step up and make it official. If not and he keeps moseying along as if everything was okay, then you'll know it's time to move on...seven months and he's still not sure? Some people meet and get married within that amount of time! (Not saying it's recommended, but you know what I mean!)

Best of luck!



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Jul 27, 2009

Best Date Spots: Austin

Dallas may be my hometown, but Austin is hands down my favorite city in Texas...the delicious food, great nightlife, fun and friendly people, eccentric vibe, and (most importantly of all) infectiously relaxing atmosphere are just a few of the reasons why almost every person I know who has come through this city has fallen in love with it.

Below are some of my favorite spots in and around Austin:

1) Hula Hut - Although it's not your typical quiet restaurant for a first date (on the contrary, this place is usually bustling with activity, and many local students and out-of-towners), this is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin that's a must-visit every time I'm in town. The food (and extremely reasonable prices) are enough to warrant a visit all on their own! Located right on Lake Austin, take in a view of the sunset while enjoying your dinner on the patio right over the lake.

Hula Hut serves Tex-Mex fare in a kitschy environment that is both carefree and fun. Some of my favorite dishes include Shrimp Pipeline Enchilada, Thai BBQ Fajitas, and Grilled Fresh Fish Tacos. Other popular dishes include Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi and the Huli Huli Luau Platter (a generous sampler dish which includes B.B.Q. baby back ribs, four grilled chicken nachos, two B.B.Q. chicken tacos, four crisp chicken flautas, chopped salad, papas asadas & chile con queso with chips). The servings on almost every dish are generous...plan on taking something home, or share with your date!

The margharitas here are also delicious and a great way to complement your meal. My favorite drink, though, is the Fish Bowl, a large rum concoction definitely made to be shared!

2) Big Top Candy Shop - After many visits to Austin over the years, my first introduction to this candy lover's delight was last summer through a friend, and I really wish I had known of it sooner! Not an actual restaurant where you can bring your date, it is still definitely worth dropping by for something sweet after dinner, or to marvel at the many wonderful (and sometimes bizarre) candy concoctions this shop has to offer.

From ice cream, shaved ice, and chocolate truffles, to chocolate-covered bacon and potato chips, salt and vinegar crickets and even ants, this candy shop covers the gamut from the traditional to the strange. You'll feel like a kid again as you explore the many odd (and at times seemingly inedible) treats this shop has to offer. Hamburger marshmallows? Check! Candy cigarettes? Check! How about some bacon-flavored mints? Also check! (A forewarning on the mints...my friends and I tried it, and it's good for about the first minute it's in your mouth...afterwards, the bacon flavor really starts to kick in and can taste pretty gross especially after dinner, so try this as a novelty or for fun, but not as an actual after-dinner breath freshener, or you may have other problems besides bacon-flavored breath!)

Funny, naughty items you'll find here include Hands Off Anti-Masturbatory Gum or the (inappropriate but funny) Don't Have Ugly Children Gum. You'll end up staying longer than expected exploring all of the different things this shop has to offer. The perfect stop for something sweet after dinner or just to do a little exploring, you'll definitely feel like a kid in a candy store!

3) Kenichi - The premier restaurant for Japanese cuisine in Austin, this posh restaurant is located in downtown on Colorado Street right around the corner from Austin's busy nightlife scene. Stop in for dinner before heading out - the upscale, modern Asian decor and zen-like atmosphere combine to make the perfect environment for a sexy, romantic first date.

For starters, try the Blackened Tuna Tataki or Blue Crab Cake, or try the Macadamia Baked Goat Cheese or Smoked Squid Salad. Choose from the standard full sushi menu you would find at the typical Japanese restaurant, including favorites such as Volcano Roll, as well as Aleutian Island Roll (salmon with asparagus, cucumber, chives, sesame seeds, and sweet miso with a cilantro basil sauce) and Godzilla Roll (Unagi roll covered in fresh strawberries, sliced avocados and teriyaki sauce). Meat dishes include Lamb Chop Haji Kami and Tomohawk Dozo (the most expensive steak dish on the menu at a price of $70).

After dinner, head out around the corner to check out some of the Austin city nightlife...all of the hottest clubs and bars are conveniently within walking distance!

4) Mozart's Coffee Roasters - This cafe on Lake Austin is a favorite hangout of local college students, and a must-visit spot for those new to Austin. It is famous for its deliciously blended coffees and, more importantly, to-die-for desserts. The charming, intimate, Old World European-style setting is perfect for first dates; bring your date here after dinner to share some delicious dessert, or to take in the beautiful sunset view over Lake Travis.

Relax outside on the spatious outdoor patio or inside the comfortable, dimly lit cafe. Live music acts perform from time to time, so check the schedule and bring your date for a performance while enjoying something sweet!

The mouthwatering dessert menu includes Fudge Brownie Cheesecake, Italian Cream Cake and Carrot Cake, as well as Mozart's Raspberry Delight (an individual almond torte layered with raspberry preserves and covered in dark chocolate) and Mozart's Hazelnut Square (a rich individual sized chocolate cake with hazelnut buttercream frosting and sided with hazelnut croquant). Choose from a satisfying range of beverage choices to complement your dessert, including your standard Cappuccinos and Cafe Mochas, as well as Mocha/Smoothie Granita or Iced Mochachino.

5) Hill Country - Not a restaurant nor an establishment, the Hill Country - an area with rolling hills in Central Texas west of downtown Austin - has gorgeous scenery and twisting, winding roads snaking through the countryside that makes for a thrilling joyride too good to miss! If you're passing by the area, or are having a daytime rendezvous with your date and have some time to kill (it's best to navigate these roads during the daytime, because the sharp turns and twisting paths probably shouldn't be navigated at night if you don't know the area very well), take them for a spin in this area...the (almost) 45 degree turns in the roads and winding paths feel more like an amusement park ride than your average country road. Go for a cruise with your date in this area before getting the evening started...it'll definitely give a nice thrill and adrenaline rush, getting the date started off right! ;)

(Make some precautions when driving in this area to first make sure your tires have good traction...the sharp turns in the roads here are no joke!)

6) Nightlife. Austin's nightlife is extremely varied and there are a variety of different "scenes" in the city to satisfy each person...from the laidback bars with their distinct Southern feel, to the posh and sophisticated lounges, there is truly something for everyone.

a) 6th St. - World famous for its many bars, clubs, and lounges lining the street, 6th St. was a favorite nightly haunt of the The Real World: Austin cast when they filmed in town a few years ago, and it is still the hotspot in Austin. The thing I look forward to most after a night of barhopping on 6th St. is the vendor food on the streets after the bars close...you have not fully had the 6th St. experience until you've tried the bratwurst here...definitely the best!

Favorite clubs and bars on the street include longstanding 6th St. fixtures Spill, Coyote Ugly, and the Dizzy Rooster (where dancing on bar tops is encouraged, at your discretion!).

b) Pangea - Exotic African decor mixes with upscale modern to create the perfect exotic, intimate environment at Pangea. The intricate decor at Pangea pays tribute to east African game lodges. Candlelight on the tables and walls helps set the mood, creating the feeling of being transported to an exotic, faraway locale.

c) Qua - This trendy nightclub is famous for its dancefloor, or rather, what lies beneath it...the glass dancefloor is home to sharks swimming below, and is flanked by fish aquariums on either side.

d) Light Bar - Located in Austin's Warehouse District, this club mixes an industrial atmosphere with a sophisticated urban environment, making for one unique and interesting clubbing experience. Party inside or on the rooftop. Live music acts will perform every now and then, so call ahead to check the schedule.


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Jul 25, 2009

Q & A - On & Off

Q. Dear Alannah,

I am miserable and need advice. I have been involved in an on and off again relationship for 5 years with a man, and am still in love with him. I'm not proud to say that when we began the relationship, we were both married to other people (I got married at a young age); he chased me until I gave in. We were both having problems in our marriages and were unhappy. We were friends at first, and after we became involved, we both eventually got separations and were together for a short period of time, before he decided that he wasn't ready to get right back into what he just got out of. All of that happened in January; he called me in April saying that he misses me, but is confused about what he wants. He told me he now has a girlfriend, but still thinks about me all of the time. A mutual friend of ours says that they fight often. I am devastated and still in love with this guy. What should I do? Why can't I get over him and move on?

To make matters worse, I had to go back to work at an old job, and he works there, as well. I honestly could not find any other place to work, and he hasn't been making it any easier. He is constantly trying to talk to me at work and won't leave me alone. He even interrupted a conversation I was having with a friend five times while I was in her office. Why is he doing this? If he doesn't want to be with me, why won't he just leave me alone? I don't know what to do, since I need the money and cannot quit this job.



A. Dear Hannah,

This guy is clearly just stringing you along for his own emotional satisfaction; it seems to me that he may also have a case of SDS. When he was with his ex-wife, he ran to you on the side; now that he has a new girlfriend, he is doing the same thing. He sounds like the kind of guy who is never satisfied with what he has, and is using you as his "go-to" person, something you should not have to put up with. It's good that you acknowledge that your work situation can become a problem; however, since you do have to work there for now, you will have to find a way to not let this affect your work.

First, try having a talk with him to let him know it's got to stop. If you are ready, let him know that what you had is behind you, and that he is in a relationship now and should respect it. Then, let him know that since you two have to work together, you'd appreciate it if he would be professional at work and not continue to bother or harass you in a work environment. Hopefully, he can deal with this in a mature matter and respect your wishes. If he can't and continues to interfere with your work, you may have to take the problem "higher up" at work and inform your manager of this. Whether or not he is in the same department, he should receive the warning to stop this behavior (due to litigation fears from your company) and this should stop him dead in his tracks.



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Jul 22, 2009

For the Ladies: Attract the Right Man (By Dating Like a Man)

Most women have a certain flow when it comes to dating...you meet someone, date, try to figure out whether or not he is in to you (if you are in to him), and then once you're ready, get him to make things exclusive, whether by being direct, or through more "indirect" ways. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, there are more effective ways to meet (and hook!) the right man, and one of them is to date like a man.

Read on to learn how dating like a guy - and using other "male" approaches to dating and relationships - can improve your chances of meeting the right guy!

1) When you first start dating, go on dates with several different people. Don't limit your dating choices to just one person. Most females - myself included - tend to become focused on just one person when starting to date, whether after a long period of singleness or a break-up. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but, it can have negative consequences when things don't work out for you and that one person you've been fixated on (becoming too attached too soon, high early expectations, disappointment when things don't work out early on, etc.). Rather than doing that, go on dates with several different people.

There are a few reasons for this, but here are the most important ones:

a) When you don't limit your dating choices to just one person in the beginning, you don't feel as much pressure for a relationship. After one great date, you aren't putting much pressure out there - whether consciously or unconsciously - for a relationship since you are dating several people. Guys can sense this, and will usually find you more attractive because of it. Why? Because, it's the opposite of being needy (something most don't find very attractive) and it makes you more appealing in their eyes.

b) If you're dating more than one person, be upfront with each of them about this; this will usually work in your favor. You may have heard this before, but it's true - dating several people at once has many advantages; one of them is if you're dating several guys and let each of them know about this, it will draw out each guy's competitive side, and each one will "step up" his good behavior in order to win you over. The catch here, though, is that you do not have sex with any of them until you have become mutually exclusive with just one person. It is usually a deal breaker for a guy if he knows a girl he's dating is being physically intimate with someone else, so when dating several people, you should hold off on that part of the relationship until you've narrowed your dating choices to just one person.

c) Dating more than one person allows you to keep your options open, and see which one is the best match for you. Men have long been known to prefer playing the field (not all, but many), and by doing this yourself, you can better assess whether or not a guy is a good match for you. Instead of becoming serious with the first "suitable" guy who comes your way, dating several people allows you to "weigh your options" so when you do decide to become exclusive with someone, chances are greater that he'll be right for you.

If you date several guys at once and find that none of them are right for you, stop dating them and start fresh with a new "round" of guys. Repeat the process until you meet someone who you want to date exclusively.

[Note: If you use this method of dating several people at once, be prepared for the very likely possibility that the guys you're seeing are also doing the same thing, dating others besides you. If you aren't comfortable with either idea, use the method below for similar results.]

If you aren't used to or comfortable with the idea of dating several people at once, go on casual "friendly" dates with several people (hanging out with no PDA), but "truly" date just one. This helps you get the same result, which is allowing you to not "put all your eggs in one basket," and lets the guy you are actually dating know that he may have competition (granted he's aware of your friendly dates!). This should help encourage him to show his best behavior in order to win you over.

2) Maintain your independence by keeping an active social life. Both men and women are guilty of this, but usually women more so than men, and that is to lose touch with friends when dating someone new or in a relationship. It's easy to get comfortable in your dating/relationship routine, but if anything, becoming too focused on a relationship and not having enough balance in your life almost always has the opposite affect, and does more harm than good.

Guys usually "make time for the boys" even when in a relationship, and it would benefit many females greatly to do the same with their friends. This is because most guys appreciate when a girl they're dating has her own life, as well...whether or not they'll admit it, most guys find it more appealing when you have other things going on in your life besides him. He'll appreciate you more when he realizes he is one element of your life, not your whole life. Men - the secure, confident ones - find it sexy when a woman is independent and has other things going on in her life, as well.

Having an active social life helps you maintain your independence; creating time for friends and family helps you have balance, so that the time you do spend with your significant other (or the one you're dating) is even more enjoyable.

3) Show that you are happy, with or without a guy. By letting a guy see that you enjoy your life - whether or not he is in it - he, paradoxically, wants to be part of it more. As mentioned earlier, there are few traits that men find more attractive than independence in a woman...it helps add to the "thrill of the chase." A woman who already seems happy with her life, with or without a guy, is usually more desirable than one who seems hell-bent on finding the right one. (I believe this is also why people always seem to meet someone when they aren't searching.)

Many females (more so than men) base their happiness on whether or not they're in a relationship. Sure, there are guys who also do this, but women tend to focus more on romantic relationships in order to feel fulfilled. By showing that you're already fulfilled in other areas of your life, this lets a guy see that you're happy, and don't rely solely on having a significant other in order to be so.

This is especially important in the beginning stage of a courtship or relationship...if a guy sees he needs to put in effort to try to be a part of your life (as in, you aren't just sitting by the phone waiting for him to call, you have people to see, things to do), he will try harder to be with you if he truly wants to be with you, and will appreciate it more when he "gets" to be a part of it.


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Jul 20, 2009

Best Date Spots: Miami

In honor of the summer season, I wanted to write about date spots in one of my all-time favorite summer vacation spots, Miami. Miami has notoriously been known as a major party city, an extremely popular vacation destination, especially during the warm summer months. But, it is also a place with many great spots to take your date, not to mention many beautiful beaches with fantastic views. Nothing better than some sun, beach, great food, and some of that Miami flavor to bring some spice to your dates!

1) Ola Miami - One cannot visit Miami without trying some of the area's indigenous Cuban food, and Ola Miami has some of best that you will find. An upscale restaurant in the Sanctuary Hotel, it is right around the corner from many of Miami's hottest nightclubs. With a setting that feels more like a nightclub itself than a restaurant, Ola Miami is the place to enjoy creative, delicious Cuban fusion dishes - created by internationally acclaimed Latin chef Douglas Rodriquez - and take in some of the happening Miami night scene.

With colorfully lit bars and dining areas and furnished with upscale contemporary furniture, the mood is set with a distinctly "Miami" vibe that puts you in the mood for partying, or a romantic dinner for two, depending on your mood and preference.

Dishes include fresh seafood choices such as the Rainbow dish (a platter of tuna, corvina, and salmon served with white soy sauce, citrus juices, sesame seeds, sweet potato, and cilantro) or Fire and Ice (cobia marinated in sour orange, Thai chilies, cilantro, and jalapenos over Asian pear granita). For the meat lovers, an unconventional use of chocolate can be found in the Mar Y Tierra (NY Strip with smoked chocolate rub, served with lobster stuffed ancho chili relleno). And of course, there's also the Cuban staple, Churrasco.
The dessert menu offers a mouthwatering array of choices, including the restaurant's signature favorite, Deconstructed Key Lime Pie, and Da "Bomb" (a semi-sweet chocolate mousse with toasted hazelnuts finished with caramel and chocolate sauce).

2) Bella Cuba - For Cuban food that is deliciously authentic but won't hurt your pocket book, try Bella Cuba. Locals and tourists alike rave for its authentic, fresh Cuban dishes, served by friendly staff who will make you feel right at home. Located on Washington Avenue, conveniently right around the corner from South Beach's hottest boutiques and nightclubs, Bella Cuba will satisfy your craving for authentic Cuban food without breaking the bank.

For starters, try the Cuban Tamales with Sofrito and Pork, or Timbale of Tiger Shrimp, Yucca, and Avocado. Main courses include a wide range of traditional Cuban choices, including Roast Pork al Mojo or Sirloin Steak With Campestre Sauce. The Chicken With Chorizo Stuffing or Carribean Rack of Lamb are also among the many other satisfying choices from which to choose.

3) Cafe Prima Pasta - Located off 71st Street in Miami Beach, this quaint, Italian family restaurant is loved by both locals and tourists alike for its wide variety of fresh, homemade pasta dishes and friendly service. Decorated with numerous color and black and white photographs on the walls, the dimly lit restaurant has a very homey feel, helping to add to its romantic atmosphere.

Dishes include classics such as Lasagna and Fettuccine Alfredo, as well as Veal Saltimbocca and Linguine alla Puttanesca (a salty pasta dish with black olives, capers, anchovies, and pomodoro sauce). Other decadent dishes include Crab Raviolotti (pasta stuffed with crabmeat in a creamy lobster sauce) and Black Linguine Seafood (pasta with seafood with pomodoro or creamy lobster sauce).

Complement your dinner with one of the fine wines available, with prices ranging from $19 for a bottle of Concilio Pinot Grigio, to $600 for a bottle of Opus One Magnum 1.5 1998 (a little out of most of our price ranges, but still nice to know that it's available!). Finish your meal with one of Prima's many tempting dessert choices, including Italian favorite Tiramisu or Chocolate Mousse Cake.

4) Sushi Saigon - Located on Washington Avenue in the heart of South Beach, this quaint, beautifully furnished, Vietnamese and Japanese blend restaurant is both aesthetically pleasing, and a delight for Asian cuisine lovers. Drop by for dinner before hitting the town; the dimly lit, modern Asian-themed decor sets a romantic tone that's perfect for first dates!

The menu has Vietnamese favorites such as Summer Rolls and Spring Rolls (with Vegetarian options for both), as well as the ever popular Vietnamese favorite, Pho (which comes with your choice of beef, chicken, or meatballs, served to order). Other Vietnamese staples include Rice Vermicelli (served with your choice of meat), as well as (Hue-style) Spicy Lemongrass Beef Noodle Soup, a rarity even in most regular Vietnamese restaurants.

As far as Japanese offerings go, Sushi Saigon does not disappoint, with well-known favorites on the appetizer menu such as Tuna or Salmon Tataki and Soft Shell Crab, as well as Seafood Sunomono (octopus, conch, crab and cucumber in rice vinegar sauce) and Naruto Maki (kani, avocado & masago rolled in paper-thin cucumber with miso sauce). The sushi menu includes the full range of choices you would find at any Japanese restaurant, with Chef Special rolls such as the Lobster Titanic Roll and seafood dishes such as Ebi Ten (breaded jumbo shrimp, deep-fried and served with vegetable tempura).

5) Beaches - Nothing, in my opinion, is more romantic than having a date at the beach (or finishing one with a stroll along one), so why not take advantage of the multitude of beautiful beaches in Miami and impress your date with your romantic side? Some great beaches to check out are:

a) South Beach - Located on Ocean Drive, South Beach is located right in the very heart of Miami's busy nightlife, with many of Miami Beach's famous nightclubs right across the street. Take in a beautiful view of the sunset before a night on the town, or go for a stroll here to cap off the evening after a night out.

b) Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach - A very scenic beach at the southern tip of Key Biscayne, this beach is home to the famous Cape Florida lighthouse. The beach is also at the tip of Bill Baggs State Park, and aside from having a beautiful scenic ocean view, there are also walking and bike trails throughout the park, as well as picnic areas throughout.

c) Homestead Bayfront Park and Marina - This is the beach to go to if you want to avoid the tourist scene. It's located in the southern part of Miami Dade County, and offers swimming and boating (with a full-service marina), as well as has multiple picnic and grilling areas.

6) Clubhopping on South Beach - World renowned for its nightlife, Miami has no shortage of glamorous clubs, lounges, and bars to take a date out to for a night of dancing. Below are some of Miami's most famous clubs which have stood the test of time against the fickle nightlife scene.

a) B.E.D. - One of Miami's most famous nightclubs, this establishment is frequented by many celebrities, including Jamie Foxx, Sean Kingston, and Michael Phelps. It is set up with beds all over, and table service is done right at your bed. Take your date here for a night of dancing after dinner...who knows, you might end up seeing a celebrity or two!

b) Mynt - Getting past the strict doormen here may prove to be a challenge, but if you do, you're in for a treat. The futuristic decor and decadent "disco era" feel of the club, combined with the latest dance tracks provided by resident or celebrity guest DJ's, help to create the perfect Miami clubbing experience. Among the many celebrities that have partied here, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Colin Farrell, and Sean Penn are among the notables.

c) Mansion - This imposing club in South Beach is hard to miss - it towers over the other buildings lining Washington Avenue, and at night transforms into one of the most decadent venues in the city. Host to the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards and numerous other celebrity performances (including Britney Spear's Miami appearance), this club will easily impress you on any regular night; with its sweeping staircases, keystone arches, Venetian glass mirrors and exposed brick walls, it impressively blends elements of a lavish, luxe residence with a glamorous nightclub.


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Jul 17, 2009

Style Files: July '09 Women

A large part of the attraction process is putting your best foot forward...what better way to do that than by being fashion-forward? ;) My post today will include some of the latest styles and trends for women for Summer 2009.

1) Ethnic-style prints, jewelry, and accessories. This is a favorite that seems to come and go in influence from year to year, and this year, it is stronger than ever. From prints to necklaces, to shoes and bags, "ethnic" inspired clothing and accessories are everywhere this season.

Ethnic-inspired looks were strong on the Spring/Summer '09 designer runways, from the more extreme looks at Christopher Kane, to the more ready-to-wear ensembles at Louis Vuitton.

Tribal and animal prints mixed with a structured, geometric shaped skirt or flowy silhouettes at Christopher Kane.

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer '09 runway.

Ethnic-inspired shoe and bangles from Louis Vuitton '09 collection.

Here are some more affordable pieces that incorporate this trend.

bebe's Fay Exotic Sandal, $169, bebe.com

Arden B.'s Tribal Bead Maxi Dress, $48, ardenb.com

2) Bold colors & watercolor/ombre prints for clothing. This is one of my favorite trends of this year. Ombre print clothing made an appearance in the clothing styles of last year, and this year it returns, with an added variation on the style of last year, with a "watercolor" look to many of the prints popular this season. Bold, colorful clothes is always fun to wear, and the eye-catching, colorful prints this season that incorporate many of the season's hottest hues add something extra to the dresses, tops, and skirts that they adorn.

Colorful dresses from various designers' Spring/Summer '09 runways.

Ombre print dresses from the Milan runways.

Watercolor print dress from Warehouse that I adore.

3) Statement jewelry. Many of the major designers sent models down runways this past spring in chunky, statement-making jewelry pieces that are sure to grab attention. From the Louis Vuitton runway, to Lanvin and Christian Lacroix, statement jewelry was everywhere. From chunky necklaces, to colorful earrings and bold bracelets, these attention-grabbing pieces are sure to turn heads!

Colorful "garden" inspired necklace at Marni.

Tribal and garden inspired statement necklaces from Christian Dior, Giambattista Vali, Christian Lacroix, and Valentino.

Beautiful statement bracelets from Christian Lacroix, Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, and Alberta Ferretti.

Chunky metal, "toy" necklace from Subversive that I love.

You can find many affordable statement jewelry pieces at stores such as Forever 21, Charming Charlie's, and many boutique stores, such as Francesca's Collections.

4) Braids. This is one of my absolute favorite hair trends in a long time. Braids have been popular since last year when many of the reality stars of "The Hills" (most notably Lauren Conrad) made them very popular, and the trend is still going strong into this year. The thing I like most about braids is their versatility, as well as how easy it is to pull off a trendy, chic look with minimal prep time for your hair. You can wear it on a casual day out, or to more formal events.

For those with naturally wavy hair (such as myself), braids are a total timesaver when you want a chic, "finished" look without wanting to straighten, blowout, or do any prep-work beforehand to your hair.

This very bohemian chic braided look worn by actress Minka Kelly is simple to recreate, yet can be worn for dressy or casual occasions.

This gorgeous variation on the french braid worn by Diane Kruger at the Cannes Film Festival in May for the premiere of Inglourious Basterds is very stylish, yet relaxed, and surprisingly not as difficult to recreate as you might think. For directions on how to create this look yourself, check out:

Le Belle Et Le Blog: How-To: Diane Kruger's Adjoining Braids


- fashion-era.com
- fashionising.com


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Jul 15, 2009

Are You A Cyber Stalker? (Part II)

Today, I'll be continuing my discussion of what distinguishes the "sane" websurfer, from the cyber stalker!

Sane: Checking out an interesting person's Myspace page that you've come upon every now and then for updates.
Stalker: Stealing their pictures (and/or identity) and using them as your own to create an online profile to attract potential dates.

Sane: Asking your friend what he/she thinks of your ex's new boyfriend or girlfriend.
Stalker: Copying the new beau's style, haircut, and/or clothes, and calling your ex and trying to see them, to let them know whatever the new guy/girl can do, you can do better.

Sane: Looking at the page of someone your crush likes to "size up the competition."
Stalker: Googling the other person to find every possible website they're on, and analyzing every picture or detail you can find so you can look for potential flaws.

Sane: Looking at the pages of people who've left flirty comments on an ex or crush's page.
Stalker: Creating a fake screen name so you can leave threatening messages for those people leaving comments, and trash talking and telling them to "back the hell off!"

Sane: Adding your crush's girlfriend or romantic interest as a friend on Facebook.
Stalker: Creating a fake screen name to message the other girl and telling her your crush has STD's, saying, "Don't date him, girl!"

Related post:

- Are You A Cyber Stalker? (Part I)


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Jul 13, 2009

Are You A Cyber Stalker? (Part I)

Everyone who uses a social networking site has probably been guilty of some level of "stalking" of others' pages at one time or another (whether it was an interesting person's page who you happened to randomly come upon, friends' or acquaintances' pages, or an ex's or a crush's page) whether out of curiosity or sheer boredom.

However, the level of "checking up" activity - and the actions that may stem from them - are what distinguishes the "sane" person, from the "stalker." Read on to see what those differences are and where you fall!

Sane: Checking on an ex or crush's Facebook or Myspace page to see if they're currently dating someone new.
Stalker: Checking their updates hour by hour to see what they're doing and where they're going, so you can "randomly" appear at the same places and track who they're with.

Sane: Leaving a comment on your crush's page to say, "Hi," and see how they're doing.
Stalker: "Marking your territory" by leaving 20 comments or messages a day on their page, to let everyone know that they're "spoken for."

Sane: Looking at an ex's page after a bitter break-up, and feeling a little smug knowing that they haven't found someone new yet.
Stalker: Posting nasty bulletins about your ex on Myspace or Facebook, exposing all of their dirty secrets (and then some!).

Sane: Having an alert to know when your crush signs on AIM (Instant Messenger).
Stalker: Creating a fake screen name to "befriend" your crush to find out their idea of the perfect guy/girl, so you can use it to your advantage.

Sane: Checking out the page of the new boyfriend/girlfriend of your ex (or crush).
Stalker: Tracking down the new boyfriend/girlfriend to let them know they better "leave your man/woman alone!"

Related post:

- Are You A Cyber Stalker? (Part II)


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Jul 11, 2009

Q & A - Too Young to Get Married?

Q. Dear Alannah,

My boyfriend and I are both 22 years old, and I feel that we're ready to get married. I understand guys are slower to mature than girls, but I find that we are both mature and feel that we're ready for the next step. We have been together for over 3 years, and living together for the last 2 years. Our finances our intertwined, and we practically live like a married couple.

Do you think that 22 is too young to get married if you have already spent several years together, and know that you will spend the rest of your life together? He seems hesitant to take the next step because we are both young, but we both know that we'll be together in the long term anyhow. How can I make him see that even though we are young that that doesn't mean we can't get married?



A. Dear Jenna,

No matter how old you are, it's never a good idea to have to "convince" someone that they're ready for marriage, but especially so when you are both still young. You may both be mature for your age, but at 22, there is still a lot of growing and self-discovery to be made about who you are and what you want out of life. Between now and 30, you'll experience many changes to who you are as a person, and so will your boyfriend. The younger you are, the longer you should be together before deciding to get married.

Do you know why it is that you're wanting to get married right now, even though your boyfriend isn't ready? Do you not feel secure in your relationship, or feel that you will lose him if you don't? Feelings such as these wouldn't change just because a couple decides to get married, and is something you'd have to work through before deciding on such a big step.

Your relationship is long-term, but still young, so there's still plenty of time to fulfill certain goals for married life (such having kids, building a home together, etc.). You should respect the fact that your boyfriend isn't ready yet, and just enjoy being together and learning and growing with each other at this stage in your relationship. Who knows, in two years, he may be the one wanting marriage, and you may be the one wanting more time!

Best of luck!



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Jul 9, 2009

Style Files: Men July '09

This is a new feature that I'm starting that will be updated regularly with the latest fashion styles for both men and women. A large part of dating is being able to attract members of the opposite sex, and what better way to instantly improve your appearance - and therefore your attraction level - than through a wardrobe update? My post today will include some of the latest looks for men for Summer '09.

1) Denim. This is a trend in menswear that's been popular for awhile, and won't be going anywhere anytime soon. There's a wide variety of denim to pick from, with many different colors, washes, finishes, and styles from which to choose. If you're not much of a shopper (as most guys aren't), something to keep in mind when looking for new jeans is that the bootcut (style of jeans) is a universally flattering cut. If you're looking for a new pair, but don't want to spend too much time browsing, below are two easy styles that give off distinctive vibes which look flattering on almost all guys.

William Rast Spring '09

Dark blue, distressed, bootcut jeans are universally flattering on almost all guys, and are perfect for almost any occasion. If overly edgy, ripped jeans aren't your style, go with a bootcut style with distressing on the front and back; they're a modern classic for men and women. They can be dressed up for a night out on the town, or down for casual weekend days.

7 For All Mankind Bootcut Jeans (Dark New York Wash), $155, nordstrom.com

Another flattering, slightly edgier wash is the blasted black wash style for jeans. Black, sandblasted jeans give off a casual yet trendy vibe, and look great when worn with a white t-shirt and blazer for nights out.

Express Rocco Bootcut Jean (in Blasted Black Wash), $79.50, expressfashion.com

2) Iridescent suits. As mentioned in an earlier post, iridescent suits are a trend that is currently very popular for men. Suits made in an iridescent fabric in dark colors (such as black, gray, or navy blue) look classy and stylish, and are eye-catching without being too flashy. If you're daring, going for a lighter blue shade (such as on the model below) gives a flattering look, yet still looks masculine.

Spring 2010 Calvin Klein Collection

The great thing about this trend is that it's relatively new, and is still going to be a strong trend on in to 2010 as well, so investing in one or two well-made iridescent suits would be a wise wardrobe investment for the next few seasons. (Jackets can also be worn separately over jeans.)

3) Color.
As mentioned before, a quick and easy way for a guy to update his wardrobe is to incorporate clothes with currently fashionable colors.

a) Contrasting neutrals. An example of contrasting neutrals would be pairing white pants with a white t-shirt and black jacket, as on the Calvin Klein model below. It has a retro, yet modern look. You can also mix gray in with black and white.

Spring 2009 Calvin Klein Collection

Another flattering use of contrasting neutrals is to wear black and white with a pop of color, as on the models below.

Gucci Spring Summer 2010 Collection

b) Current colors. Incorporating some currently fashionable colors into your wardrobe gives it an instant style boost. Some of the latest colors for men in Summer '09 include cobalt blue, yellow, orange, and pale pink.

Here is a more "extreme" use of bright colors at Calvin Klein. Runway looks are usually more exaggerated or extreme; you don't need to go all out with head to toe color to make it work, but just incorporating a shirt, tie, or scarf in a current color is stylish, and flattering as well.

Calvin Klein Spring '09

Express 1MX Shirt, $49.50, expressfashion.com

4) Accessories. Men's accessories are usually not as "gaudy" or "elaborate" as are women's, but that doesn't mean they can't be interesting and stylish. For men's clothing and accessories, it's all in the details. The overall trend for men's accessories is simplicity and clean, sleek lines.

Mykita aviator sunglasses, $475, http://www.mykita.com/

Issey Miyake "Twelve" watch, $400, at Tribeca Issey Miyake

Express Super Skinny White Tie (in Texture Stripe), $39.50, expressfashion.com


- fashionising.com
- gq.com


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Jul 6, 2009

Q & A - Workplace Romance?

Q. Dear Alannah,

There's a girl at work who I've noticed for awhile now...hot, fun personality, smart, and seems to be interested in me. We flirt whenever we bump into each other in the breakroom, and have hinted a couple of times at grabbing lunch together sometime.

However, I've been hesistant to make plans and pursue anything with her yet, because we work in different groups in the same department, and I may soon be up for a promotion that would possibly make me her supervisor. There's some structural changes going on, and long story short, if I got the promotion, I may be her superior at work.

This can obviously cause conflict, and I don't want any romantic entanglements to possibly hinder my advancement at work. At the same time, I do really like this girl, and would like to see a way for me to try to pursue something with her. What do you think I should do?



A. Dear Matt,

It's good that you're thinking ahead about all the possibilities in the situation before going ahead and making a move. Do you know when upper management at your company plan on coming to a decision about your possible promotion? If so, you may have to wait until then to make your move. Of course, this means you'll basically be waiting and hoping to hear that you don't get the job before you can make your move with the girl, so it comes down to, "Get the girl, or get the promotion?" Either way, you'll be losing out on something, which sucks.

The best thing to do is to first research the rules at your company regarding workplace dating, before deciding on anything else. Ask someone in HR - who doesn't know about your possible promotion - about the rules there regarding this issue; don't tell about your specific situation, just ask about the general rules. Most likely, if you were promoted, being the supervisor of your crush would mean that you would be in charge of her performance reviews (and therefore possible advancements and raises), which is the whole reason why workplace dating - especially between a supervisor and subordinate - is either prohibited or restricted.

After researching the rules, the only thing left to do is to wait it out. If you do get the promotion, you could possibly ask your boss to see if there are other groups in your department with open supervisory positions – any other (equivalent-level) position that would keep you from being a direct supervisor to your crush. The chances of that are very slim, though, so you will just have to wait it out to see what can be done.

Good luck!



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Jul 1, 2009

How to Be Successful Meeting Women at Clubs Part II

Today, I'll be continuing my discussion on how to be successful with meeting women at the clubs and bars.

More tips you can use to increase your success include:

6) Don't be extremely touchy-feely. For many women, nothing screams "sleazeball" more than a guy who is extremely touchy-feely upon first meeting her. If you want to show your interest in her, "work" your way up with your physical flirtation. Watch her body language; make sure she's reciprocating first before becoming more "physically expressive" with your flirtation.

When you first meet a woman, progress slowly with your physical flirtation; don't go from 0 to 60 in 5 minutes flat. Do "smaller" moves to see how she reacts, before stepping up your flirtation.

Some "safer" moves to gauge her level of interest include:

a) Let's say you are both standing next to each other at the bar. A subtle move you can use is when you are both talking to each other and you can't hear what she is saying (because of the loud music) is to lean in close so she can speak closely in your ear - like whispering - and you do the same when talking to her; this allows you to get closer into each other's personal space (and can help create a feeling of intimacy) without being too obvious about it.

b) When talking and standing side by side, or when walking, touch the back of her arm/elbow area to gently lead her.

c) Use firm - but light - touches on her arm, hands, or shoulders when speaking to her to convey your interest.

d) When walking, touch the small of her back (the area right below the center of her back). This is a flirtatious place to touch a woman and conveys interest and she'll immediately sense it as such, but it's not in-your-face sexual, or slap-across-the-face inappropriate. (You should first gauge her interest and make sure she's reciprocating before using this move.)

Moves to avoid if you're unsure of her level of interest include:

a) Placing your hand on the side of her waist right above her ass. This is a very sexual gesture, and will definitely make her uncomfortable if she's not feelin' it yet.

b) Holding her hand (when she hasn't become physically flirty with you yet or shown any signs she would be okay with this).

c) Grabbing any body parts (ass, chest, etc.). This should be an obvious one! The majority of females would not find this flattering (or acceptable), and would probably return the gesture with a slap across the face or a drink thrown at you.

7) If you have friends in common, ask for an introduction. Having friends in common with a woman always helps break the ice. It'll help lower her guard and give you more of an "in." (She'll be less likely to blow you off as just some creepy guy trying to hit on her at the club.)

8) Don't ply her with drinks. Women know when a guy is trying to get her drunk in order to "get lucky." She'll usually only go along with it if: a) she doesn't mind and was intending to "get it on" with him anyway, b) she knows what she's doing and is using him to get her drinks, or c) she has a higher tolerance than he thinks, is using him to buy her drinks, knowing that he'll be sloshed long before her.

Overall, inundating a woman with drinks - even if you're truly just being generous and don't have any ulterior motives - isn't a good idea. (It can also get pretty damn expensive!)

9) Dress well. Dressing well will obviously have an impact on how you look, and help you present your best impression when first meeting a woman. For more tips on currently fashionable looks for men, check out my post on how to improve your external appearance for guys.

10) Show that you're having fun, not just there looking to "hook up." Enjoy the company of friends. Have fun. Show that you're having a good time, not just trying to meet or hook up with someone. People want to be around others who are enjoying themselves, so enjoying the company of your friends and others only helps to increase your level of attractiveness.

Related post:

- How to Be Successful Meeting Women at Clubs


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