In the news

On March 10th, 2010

It’s Wednesday, spring is nearly here… and love is in the air!

• On Feb. 22, a Skype interview I did with Currents, a NY-based Catholic TV station, aired and got great feedback.

• As the marriage age in India rises, many SWANS® there are taking heart in my good-news statistics and targeted advice.

• It’s the 5th anniversary of my Pure Sex, Pure Love column on BustedHalo.com — and wow, the kind words and good wishes from readers just blew me away.

• Also, check out my latest column full of love and relationship advice from the new book 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot.

Top Valentine's Tips

On February 13th, 2010

After doing several interviews with TV and print media leading up to Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post a few tips I’ve been talking about:

Top Valentine’s Tips for Singles

• Break out of your pity-party mode by planning a Bring-a-Friend party for next month: Pick a date and a venue, then invite 10-20 friends and tell them to each bring one single friend that you don’t know. Just think of all the new people you’ll meet!

• Look through your contacts and email at least three friends who you haven’t been in touch with in a while — guys or girls. Getting into a new social group can mean introductions to your perfect match

• Consider an online dating site — many are offering free trials over this holiday weekend

Top Valentine’s Tips for Those in a Relationship

• Showing your love doesn’t need to cost a fortune: Consider a picnic in your living room, a nearby day-hike or snuggling up and watching your favorite romantic comedy.

• Love letters never get old: Write at least five reasons why you think your special someone is the tops. Or slip a little love-note in your spouse’s wallet so they’ll find it later in the day and be surprised.

• Figure out each other’s “language of love”: We all give and receive love differently — some show love verbally, others through hugs, others through actions. Which way do you show love–and which way does your significant-other receive it?

Here’s to a great day of love, chocolate and cheesy movies!

Can Love Make You Rich?

On February 12th, 2010 2 Comments

I’m quoted — and my mate-preference research is cited — in a piece up now on CBS MoneyWatch.

The Beatles told us that all you need is love. And maybe that was true in 1967. But these days, love alone doesn’t pay the mortgage. So, as we approach Valentine’s Day, it’s a good time to consider the other side of the coin: Can love bring you money?

Check it out and learn how red hearts can make you see more green this Valentine’s Day… it’s part of a larger package on love and money, with other interesting articles, including:

10 Ways to Stop Fighting About Money

Love and Money: He Spends, She Saves, They Fight

Money Tips for Gay Couples

Thowing Men Off the Scent

On February 11th, 2010

A rather silly “study” emerged from England this week: According to a survey of some 2000 respondents, many men struggle to remember their partner’s date of birth, let alone what their favorite scent is. Mind you, this study was conducted by The Perfume Shop, a chain of perfumeries throughout the UK — and they are probably just trying to guilt guys into ponying up for more sweet-smelling sprays for Valentine’s Day.

But they came across my mate-preferences research and in yesterday’s UKNetGuide, I’m used as the foil to the argument that forgetful guys aren’t serious about love. Or something.

Ladies, in my expert opinion, it’s OK if your man has no idea what scent you wear. If you want him to buy you perfume on Sunday, I’d recommend printing out a detailed description online. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. Or something.

MacFreedom: A Must-Have for Every Writer

On January 28th, 2010

A new writer friend, Siobhan Vivian, just introduced me to the coolest program ever: MacFreedom. It’s a free download (but they suggest a $10 donation) and when you run it, it shuts down your internet access for whatever period of time you set — up to 8 hours. During that time, the program appears to be unresponsive… you can’t undo it without shutting down the whole computer.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been haunting coffee shops where there’s no free wireless (like Starbucks–it’s only a few $$, but it’s the principle of it that keeps me offline) but overhearing girls dishing about relationship sagas, or groups of yoga types fresh off a “really zen session” always had me irritated and distracted.

With MacFreedom, I just got a book review written in the peace and quiet of my office, in two hours–the time I set MacFreedom to keep me offline. I left blanks where I needed to do web searches to fill in information, and, like a drug addict unable to get her next hit, I opened my browser occasionally, “just to see if I could get back online yet” … but after 2 hours, MacFreedom congratulated me on my efforts.

When I write a self-help book on achieving self-control, there’s going to be a whole section on the brilliance of this little piece of software…

Just in case you don’t believe me, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and many others have sung its praises as well.

Now get offline and get to work!

Are You A Little Bit Married?

On January 26th, 2010 1 Comment

Via my friend Ian Shapira, I e-met author and journalist Hannah Selgison as her excellent new book, A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door, came out last week. This is an useful and informative book for SWANS® (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse) who are sailing in circles in long-term relationships that don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Check out my HuffingtonPost blog about the book and my three top bits of advice for women who are “a little bit married” and struggling with what to do next.

For smart, successful women, you’re odds of marriage are great. (Want to know how great? Use my Odds-of-Marriage Indicator based on Census data to find out. And just out today, a report on marriage and divorce rates for college-educated women.) For more good news for SWANS–and advice on how to achieve your personal and professional goals–check out Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love and A Little Bit Married today!

Thank Your Wives, You Lucky Bastards!

On January 20th, 2010 2 Comments

Yesterday, the good folks at Pew put out a report about the “new economics” of marriage: Women are more likely than ever to earn more and have more education than their spouses.

The New York Times went into a tizzy about how this is terrible news for smart, successful women. But why does this have to be bad news? (I liked this posting complaining about the piece, too)

Maybe it’s time men started to really appreciate what we’re bringing to the table! Check out my analysis of the Pew report on the Huffington Post today.

2010: The Year of The Happiness Project

On January 9th, 2010 1 Comment

2009 was a bit rough for me. Indeed, I heard that from a lot of people.

So Gretchen Rubin’s new book The Happiness Project was a welcome addition to my before-bed reading because, well, it makes me happy and gave me new energy to start 2010 off on an upbeat note.

Top pointers from the book include:
Your family is only as happy as it’s least happy member. If that’s you, start a Happiness Project of your own and raise the happy in your household considerably.

• As a kid, and even through our 20s, we had clear opportunities for “gold stars” — getting good grades, graduations, awards, new jobs, marriage, big birthday celebrations etc. But in your 30s, those gold stars seem fewer and farther between. You do your job, you do your errands, you raise your kids, you try to make time for fun with your significant other… but as you put in so much effort, you feel unappreciated. Where’s your gold star? Rubin advises all of us to make a list, do your stuff and then give yourself a gold star. That’s what being a grown-up is about.

Be Yourself. I know, it’s clichéd, but Rubin’s description of how she decided to “Be Gretchen” inspired me to be clear about who I am. She writes that learning to be herself means “accepting my true likes and dislikes… I have to face the fact that I will never visit a jazz club at midnight, or hang out in artists’ studios, or jet off to Paris for the weekend, or pack up to go fly-fishing on a spring dawn. I won’t be admired for my chic wardrobe or be appointed to a high government office. I love fortune cookies and refuse to try foie gras.” What does it mean to be you?

The Happiness Project isn’t quite a self-help book — it’s more of a memoir of a year of research into self-help — but even without quizzes and action lists, it does the job of any good personal improvement book: It inspires. Check it out and make 2010 your year for a Happiness Project of your own.

Single on New Year's? You're Not Alone

On December 30th, 2009

A new CatholicMatch.com poll has given us some data to prove what we already know: The holidays are a tough time to be single. Among more than 3,700 online CatholicMatch users polled in the December survey, 40% said that Christmas was the roughest time of the year to be unhitched… with New Year’s Eve a close second with 32% putting it in the number one “ugh” slot.

“I think all holidays are bad without someone special to share them with, but I have my family for most of them,” reported Michelle-407188. “I would have to say the worst is New Years. New Years is for being with close friends! I is way more fun to share it with someone special then alone!”

Women were slightly more likely to vote their solo New Year’s as most depressing – 35% of women compared with 28% of men – and the older you were, the worst it seemed to watch the ball drop without someone to smooch at the end.

If you’re ringing in the New Year solo this year, try to get with a larger group of friends and head out to a party or local bar. There will be other singles there, too, and who knows who you might meet. Or try online dating: It’s going to be a New Year’s Resolution for many to get online to find a good match.

A few other tips for finding true love in 2010:

1. Get out there. No, seriously. Leave your house. I hear from many of you who tell me you’re looking for a relationship, but you’re too tired to go out when you come home from work, or you spend Friday and Saturday nights with your closest friends at someone’s house. God is very powerful, but it seems unlikely that Mr. or Ms. Perfect will appear with flowers outside your door. Go out and meet some new people!

2. Host a singles pot-luck dinner party. Invite four single friends, and tell each friend to bring a single friend—and something to eat. Make sure you’ve got even numbers of guys and girls, and see what happens!

3. Use props. Dating coach Nancy Slotnick recommends wearing or carrying something unique with you to provide a conversation starter. I have a friend who wears six watches on one arm, and another who has various funny-sloganed pins all over her bag. Even a hat might do the trick…(Check out a Q&A I did with her a few years back.)

4. Take a class. Boys, cooking school classes are a great way to meet girls. Ladies, your local climbing gym, perhaps? Classes where it will only be your same gender don’t count. Mix things up a bit!

5. Ditch your bad attitude. When someone pays you a compliment, do you explain yourself, downplay yourself or otherwise diminish the achievement? Be positive and upbeat—and be free with your compliments to others as well.

6. Throw out your list. So many of us have a checklist of things we’re looking for in a mate. “He has to be these 10 things and then I’ll know he’s the one…” or “As long as she can be all the best of myself, my mother, my sister and my best friend all combined, she’ll be perfect.” I met the man who was all 10 things on my “perfect-match” list…and he was a total dud. Love evolves, emotions can surprise you. And you’re not perfect, so your partner won’t be either!

7. Girls, ditch your “Cinderella Complex.” You are a successful accomplished woman in your own right. You don’t need to be rescued. Your success and accomplishments enable you to broaden your horizons in your search for a husband. The idea that you would only marry a man who has more education and makes more money than you do is antiquated—and might cause you to overlook your soul mate.

8. Guys, leave your ego at the door. Among men and women in their 20s and 30s, the majority of college grads are women—and women also make up the majority of master’s degree recipients as well. Women are climbing in the ranks in every career—including those that were traditionally male-dominated. If you meet a SWANS (Strong Woman Achiever No Spouse don’t be intimidated! Be proud of her success and enjoy all the benefits.

9. Enjoy being single. Ninety percent of Americans marry, so odds are good that you will meet the right match for you and get married. And once you meet the person you’re going to marry, you’ll never have another first kiss, or that rush of adrenaline when you wonder whether the words “I love you” might burst out. You’ll look back on your single years and wonder why you were so worried all the time. Have fun, be confident in your odds of meeting the right person and enjoy all those nights out with friends and new potential dates. Enjoy the ride!

10. Check out Gretchen Rubin’s new book, The Happiness Project. … and create a Happiness Project of your own that involves finding out who you are. Remember, before you can say “I love you,” you must first know how to say the “I.”

But single or married, engaged or having relationship problems, I wish you blessings and new joy for 2010. I hope this new year, this new decade is one of love, laughter and happiness for us all.

Happy New Year!

Top 10 Feelings Worldwide: We Feel Fine

On December 30th, 2009

Feel festive, cheerful and blessed around the holidays–but then slide into the doldrums in the first weeks of the New Year? Financially illiterate and then suddenly started blogging about how the ups and downs of the stock market impacted you emotionally? Felt patriotic–or depressed–when Obama was elected?

Oh yes, the internet knows.

Talk about following the zeitgeist: Computer programmers Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris have spent more than four years collecting some 12 million emotions posted on Internet blogs. Turns out we’re a pretty predicable bunch: Patterns of the calendar, news events and even the weather influence how we say we feel. And as an increasing number of bloggers worldwide share their lives publicly, we’re developing a new relationship with computers, our fellow bloggers and ourselves.

And this holiday season, you can track your emotions in their strikingly beautiful, glossy gift book, We Feel Fine (Scribner, Dec. 1), that uses sophisticated computer science to underpin its findings about modern human emotion. The brainchild of Kamvar, a professor of computational mathematics at Stanford University, and Harris, a systems designer, the data collected comes from a program that scans all blogs every few minutes and extracts the sentences that contain “I feel” or “I am feeling.” Since blogs often have public profiles, the duo was able to determine the gender, age, and location of the people expressing these emotions to boot.

Kamvar said he and Harris hope to tell both macro stories of emotional trends, including informational graphics and maps, and micro stories of individuals complete with a photo and corresponding feeling. “We wanted the reader to be able to seamlessly transition between the high-level statistics of emotion and the individual stories that make up these statistics.”

“Our [original] intent was to show that there was beauty and humanity in the web,” said Kamvar of their 2005 website born as social networking media was coming of age. ” As time went on and we collected large amounts of data, we realized that we were also building an archive of emotional history.”

As We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion hit the shelves yesterday, Kamvar, a college classmate, sat down with me for a Q&A.

Check out my interview on the Huffington Post… and tweet it up for one and all!

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