Feb 28, 2010

Best Date Spots: Seattle

Free-thinking, green, free-spirited, unlike any other.  Those are a few words and phrases that could describe Seattle and it's unique culture.  Besides being home to my favorite coffee retailer (and beverage brand, period!) Starbucks, Seattle has a unique culture that's at-once urban, nature-loving, and laidback.  Home to the Grunge Movement in the early '90's, the city has never lost it's free-spirited attitude, and is filled with many great places to visit and things to see with your date!

1) Maximilien Restaurant - For delicious French food in a relaxed atmosphere, come to Maximilien. A charming and romantic restaurant located in Seattle's Pike Place Market in downtown, Maximilien has gorgeous views of the city, a seasonal outdoor patio, and great happy hour specials that make it ideal for either a full dinner or as a place to grab drinks and appetizers before heading out on the town. Take in the panoramic view over the city and water (enhanced by the antique mirrors hanging on the walls) while enjoying such favorites as the Coulibiac de Saumon Sauce Dijonaise (salmon baked in a puff pastry with goat cheese and spinach), Tournedos de Bœuf (pan-seared beef tenderloin), and Escargots à la Bourguignonne.
2) Serafina - Quiet, serene, and romantic, Serafina has the perfect atmosphere for a romantic first date.  This upscale casual restaurant with dark walls and dim lighting has friendly waitstaff, beautifully-presented, delicious dishes, and an inviting warmth that will make you feel right at home.  The exquisitely-crafted Italian cuisine, with dishes such as Fettuccine Nero (squid ink fettuccine with garlic, anchovy and salsa verde, topped with seared sea scallops shaved bottarga di muggine) and Porchetta (oven-roasted hazelnut-finished pork with fennel and rosemary), are almost too pretty to eat, and the wide selection of fine wines will satisfy most vino lovers.  Finish off your meal with some dolci in the form of Torta di Formaggio (persimmon-caramel-mascarpone cheesecake) or Fritelle di Mele (fried apple pie ravioli).

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Feb 26, 2010

Q & A - I'm In A Relationship, But Have Feelings Someone For Else

Q. Dear Alannah,

So, I've been having a problem and figured you could help.  I've been with my girlfriend for about a year now.  We were good friends before we started dating, and then it developed into more than that.  We've been really close, and haven't had any issues.  We're both good communicators and whenever we have an issue, we work it out, but I'm not always happy.  That's an issue we haven't talked about...

So anyways, recently I met one of my best friend's (Kevin) childhood friends (Jean).  Jean goes to school in another city so she is rarely around, but I can't seem to stop thinking about her.

I met her about a month ago and we talked a bit.  I actually dated someone that went to her school, so we had a bit in common to talk about.  After the first few meetings, we started talking on Facebook.  But it felt weird, I felt like I wasn't being truthful/faithful, and at one point my girlfriend brought Jean up.  She asked who she was, not in an accusing way, just out of curiosity.  I got really defensive, or a better word would be nervous.  It was really weird...

So ever since then, whenever I see Kevin, I always ask/talk about Jean, and she's on my mind quite a lot. Honestly I feel like I should be with Jean...that's how strong my feelings are for her.  I like a lot about her, but then again, I barely know her, and I know I'm not her type.  She probably doesn't even think about me like that, while I think about her way to much...

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Feb 22, 2010

For the Guys: How Female Friends Can Boost Your Love Life

So, you pursued a girl under the guise of "friendship" and things didn't work out as you'd planned - oh well, life goes on.  Before you write her off into the realms of casual acquaintanceship, though, you should realize that there are many benefits to having female friends in your life, the majority of which can directly boost your love life.  Read on to learn how having female friends can help you score more dates with hot girls, expand your dating pool, and more!

1) Wingwomen.  As mentioned in my previous post, female friends are great wingwomen.  Women are non-threatening to other women as "wingpeople" (we can more easily approach a girl you've been eyeing for an introduction with greater success than your guy friends can), will boost your status (see below), and can give great feedback while you're out in the "field".  A female friend will tell you if you're wasting your time trying to talk to that chick at the bar, or can tell you if that girl on the dance floor has been eyeing you all night.  Female intuition beats a male buddy's drunken encouragements any day! ;)

2) Hook-ups with hot friends.  When you're friends with a girl, you have access to a wealth of potential dates that's too good to pass up!  Rather than asking a girl friend randomly if she has any friends she could hook you up with (she might not be able to think of someone right off the top of her head), let her know what you're looking for (sporty girls, brainy types, girls with an adventurous streak) and she may be able to set you up.   (Just be sure not to blame her if things don't work out!)

3) Boost your status.  That's right, female friends can help "boost" your status, not only with male friends (what guy doesn't love walking into a club surrounded by a bunch of hot ladies??), but also - and especially - with other females, specifically, ones whom you may potentially date.  A guy who's constantly surrounded by attractive females who like spending time with him and enjoy his company will definitely spark the attention and interest of other females.  Don't be afraid to invite a female friend (or two) when going out clubbing with the boys sometime, or as a friendly date to your college roommate's wedding - she can help you single out potential dates (and put in a good word or two!).

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Feb 18, 2010

Q & A - First Love

Q. Dear Alannah,

I have a problem.  Recently, I was contacted by an ex-girlfriend (not just any ex, but my "first love", you could say), and I don't know what I should do.  Let me give you the backstory. 

We met 6 years ago online while we were both still in high school, and lived 1,000 miles apart at the time.  We were friends at first, but eventually developed feelings for each other and started dating long-distance for about a year or so (I would travel to her town several times a year and stay 2-3 weeks at a time to see her).  Once we both turned 18, she moved north to live with me. 

We lived together for one and a half years, and were very happy; we felt like nothing could get in our way.  Her parents, though, weren't so happy; her family had opposed our relationship from the beginning, saying we were too young to get so serious, and wanted her to focus on school.  Then one day she went home to visit her family, and they convinced her to break up with me - I was devastated.  During the first month after the break-up, we would call each other, but ended up fighting so much. 

I started drinking a lot to forget the pain.  I tried to forget about her, but it didn't work, so I just drank some more.  It's been 6 months since we broke up, and I still think about her.  I've tried to start dating other girls to get her off my mind, but I haven't gotten far enough to be able to even kiss another female, because I'm not fully over her.  Recently though, I met this girl who I've become interested in, and I was thinking this is someone I wouldn't mind getting to know better.  I was ready to try to really start moving forward, because I believed my ex no longer had feelings for me.

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Feb 16, 2010

Food for Thought: Wanting What Isn't Yours

Have you ever wanted someone who was unavailable?  Ever lusted after someone who was already taken?  Everyone has been here at one time or another, and that is wanting something that isn't yours.  Whether it was as a child, wanting a toy that belonged to someone else, or a teen, coveting your friend's brand-new sports car, most of us, at one time or another, have wanted something that didn't belong to us.  What we do with those feelings can be either productive or destructive.  (For instance, envying a friend's successful career could inspire someone to work harder at theirs to attain similar success.  Or, on the flipside, a person could let jealousy consume them and wallow in misery, or even worse, lash out and try to sabotage someone whom they envied.)  When the object of your desire - or "thing" you covet - is a particular person, though, that's where things get tricky.

Most people with at least a few years of dating experience have been here before, and that's been interested in someone who's not available.  What is it about someone who's taken that makes them that much more attractive?  Is it the fact that we can't have them?  That someone else wants them, too?  Maybe it's the challenge, who knows.  I know you can all probably agree with me that the instant you're in a relationship, all of these interested "prospects" seem to appear out of nowhere, when they seemed to be nowhere to be found when you were single!

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Feb 13, 2010

A Little About Me

My blog is fast-approaching it's 1 year mark, and many exciting changes are on the way!  Thank you to all of my readers who make it possible!  Check back often over the next few weeks to see some major changes, including changes to the blog posts, and an introduction to new forms of media used! ;) 

Since I've rarely mentioned anything about myself here, I wanted to tell you a little more about myself.  Some random facts about me include:

1) I love Starbucks - anyone who knows me would definitely agree!  Love would probably be an understatement - addiction might more closely describe it =P  If Starbucks were to close down tomorrow, I seriously don't know what I'd do - I have their Frapps almost daily!

2) I love driving at night, especially when the roads are empty...it's the best time to clear my head and think.  Was pretty sad when gas prices skyrocketed a few years ago!

3) I love animals, especially dogs.  I have always had mixed breed dogs, but my favorite breed is Siberian Huskies (love them because they look like wolves!).

4) I love fashion. 

5) I love fast food.  (Quite a "habit" I'm trying to quit, or rather, control!)

6) Love beautiful Fall days, with cloudless skies, 50-60 degree weather, and lots of sun!  (Basically, Cali weather, where I probably should be living!)

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Feb 11, 2010

Q & A - Four Years and Tired of Waiting

Q. Dear Alannah,

I've been in a relationship for about 4 years now.  I am 25, and my boyfriend just turned 30.  We've talked about marriage before, but he keeps delaying it into the future and pushing it off.  Everyone around me is getting married, having babies, and moving forward in their relationships, but my boyfriend keeps delaying marriage for us.  We've had "the marriage talk" before and he tells me that someday we'll get married, but more and more each day I feel like that "someday" is just never going to happen.  I can understand why he would've wanted to wait when I was younger, like still 21 or even 23, but come on...it's been 4 years now!  I know it's NOT a race to get married, and I'm generally a patient person, but it's becoming more evident to me over the past few months that 4 years is clearly pushing my limit.

Another thing that bothers me is that when we talk about it, he seems to always have an excuse.  Like, "Oh I just have so much going on at work right now, I'm so busy." OR "I really want to get school out of the way," (which he has officially completed now, by the way).  Now, his current excuse is getting home renovations out of the way.  A friend of mine recently got engaged and her fiancé bought her a $10,000 engagement ring (I don't expect something that expensive, by the way; in fact, I don't care much about the cost) and I told him about it, just to see what he would say.  Well, he said that he couldn't believe that my friend's fiancé would spend that much on a ring, and then proceeded to tell me that I would never be getting anything worth that much for me if we got engaged, and that I'd be lucky to get a ring half that cost.  That weekend, we flew out of town for a little trip together, and he ended up buying HIMSELF a piece of art...worth, you guessed it, $10,000.  I did not say a word.

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Feb 9, 2010

Q & A - My Relationship is Becoming Boring

Q. Dear Alannah,

I am 23, and have been in a relationship for 6 years.  It's been a good relationship so far.  About a year ago, though, my roommate starting dating my boyfriend's roommate.  Their relationship is new and exciting, and it's been making me feel very envious of them, causing problems with my boyfriend in all aspects of our relationship, even in the bedroom, where things often seem boring.

We've talked it over and have fought over it, and I'll get over it for awhile, but the feeling that our relationship is dead in the water will start to creep up after awhile.  He's a wonderful person and loves me so much, but I don't know if I can handle this feeling much longer.  It seems as if we've been together so long, our relationship is starting to feel more friendly lately than boyfriend/girlfriend.  This is my first and only long-term relationship, and none of my friends are in long-term relationships, so I don't know how common this is.  Any advice on what I should do?

Sincerely,

Crystal

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Feb 6, 2010

Things That Set the Mood for Valentine's Day

Whether it's the day of or just days leading up to Valentine's Day, it's never too early to start setting the romantic mood for that special person in your life.  Here, some sweet, thoughtful little moves you can use to get your girl or guy in the mood for a little romance this Valentine's!

1) Leave sweet/saucy messages on their mirror, in their email, or via text a few days before.

2) Burn a mix CD of songs that are significant to your relationship.  Or, burn a CD of 80's songs that remind you of them (I say the '80's because they had, in my opinion, the best ballads and romantic songs of any decade!).

3) Make a sweet, heart-shaped dessert for dinner.  (No need to go all "Iron Chef" with a fancy dessert; a cake, cookie, or cupcake that's heart-shaped - with or without a sweet message on top - will do!)

4) (This one is for the ladies.) Wear different red or hot pink lace undergarments each day leading up to Valentine's Day, with an extra sexy ensemble the day of! ;)

5) Have dinner by candlelight (on Valentine's Day or not).

6) Have finger foods for dinner so you can feed each other.

7) Send them a love letter (it's old-fashioned and romantic!).

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Feb 3, 2010

Q & A - Are We or Aren't We?

A. Dear Alannah,

So, I've been seeing this guy for almost 2 months now. Things are going great--like, scary great. I've never felt like this about anyone...things between us are just so...easy, like completely effortless. It's so strange to me.

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, he brought up the relationship topic. He said that he's not seeing anyone else, and that he likes being with me and would be ready to be in a relationship if I was. I can't remember exactly what I said, but it was to the point of, "I'm not quite there yet, but I'll let you know."

So, this past weekend, the topic somehow came up again...and I, in a few words, let him know that I was ready to talk about it, and was open to the idea. Then, he totally backtracked!! He keeps saying he doesn't want to put that label on it, and maybe would consider it in another few months and what-not. I'm shocked. I mean, I didn't want to pressure him into it if he wanted to backtrack, so I just dropped the subject.

But then, he kept bringing it up, and then kept backtracking and joking around it. At one point he said that I was practically his girlfriend...and then said, "Let's just do this thing", in a kind of exasperated manner. I laughed and said that he didn't make it sound too appealing when he put it that way. Which, now I realize might not have been the best response.  It made me feel like I was pushing him, though, when he was the one who kept bringing it up. I have made it a point not to push him at all, because I know that never ends well and it's still early in our "relationship".

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Feb 1, 2010

Non-Cliche Valentine's Gift Ideas

Tired of giving the same, cliche gifts every Valentine's Day to your significant other?  Are they tired of receiving them?  This Valentine's, mix it up with some "non-cliche" gift ideas for your beau that's original, useful, and fun!

1) Instead of giving him red, silk boxers with hearts and cupids all over, why don't you give him a nice grooming set or travel blanket?

2) Instead of red roses (if you've already given red roses to her before and she doesn't have a preference), send her an arrangement of different types of red or hot pink flowers, such as tulips, lilies, and/or chrysanthemums.

3) Instead of dinner at a stuffy restaurant, set up a romantic picnic under the stars at a (preferably safe) neighborhood park, or at the local planetarium or city botanical gardens.

4) Instead of giving just regular Valentine's Day cards, give a small donation to his/her favorite charity and present them with the certificate.

5) Instead of chocolates, give cupcakes (Sprinkles, anyone?).

6) Instead of lingerie, give her silk sheets.

7) Instead of clothes, give him pictures of you...wearing not much of them ;)

8) Instead of a watch, give him cufflinks.

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