Category: new year’s resolutions


A Fabulous Girls Night Out

January 9th, 2014 — 9:17pm

Last weekend, I enjoyed a girls night out double header.

The evening began at Saju Bistro, my favorite French restaurant in Midtown, with my friend Anna. While i enjoyed heavenly escargot and healthy chicken paillard, the two of us caught up on life, work and dating.

We talked about taking chances and breaking rules–two things I’ve been trying to do more of. It’s not always easy, especially when what you consider to be going far out of your comfort zone is viewed as no big deal in today’s complicated singles world. I was reminded of that recently when another friend said–

“This is going to be the year Melissa takes big risks.”

Clearly I still have some work to do.

After dinner, I met up with galpal Ayesha to see “Saving Mr. Banks.”

Saving Mr Banks: one of my favorite movies in a long time

Saving Mr Banks: one of my favorite movies in a long time

Richly deserving of the positive buzz about it, the movie is a witty, poignant tale of Mary Poppins’ journey to the screen. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are spectacular, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the theater at the film’s moving end.

As the credits rolled, Ayesha and I talked about fun to dos for 2014 – from new Broadway shows we want to see to delicious desserts we want to indulge in again (churros, please). If these final weeks of my thirties are any indication, the big 4-0 is going to be fabulous!

| Girls Night Out, new year's resolutions, turning 40

Girls Night Out With Allure And ESQ Movado

November 24th, 2013 — 11:40am

Thursday night, my good friend Sara and I headed over Lord & Taylor’s flagship store in Midtown for a Girls Night Out with Allure Magazine and ESQ Movado.

The evening featured Champagne, sweet treats and the opportunity to try on a sassy, colorful ESQ One watch. We also got to enjoy mini manicures. Sara chose a festive gold color while I went for my usual pale pink (note to self: be more adventurous with nail color in 2014).

All smiles: Sara enjoying a mini manicure

All smiles: Sara enjoying a mini manicure

One of the evening’s highlights – a Q&A session with dating expert and author . Andrea has long been a favorite of mine when it comes to dispensing practical advice that is based on common sense rather than outdated rules.

“The best thing you can do for your love life is to love your life,” she told the crowd of about 200 women.

Dating expert Andrea Syrtash

Dating expert Andrea Syrtash

Andrea also encouraged taking risks this holiday season, whether it’s approaching someone at a party or exploring a new hobby that answers the question, where do I shine?

As for the right time to broach the subject of where a relationship is going, Andrea maintains there’s no one size fits all answer.

“Some couples know after 3 weeks, some couples take seven years,” she said.

Everything Andrea said truly resonated with me. 2013 has been a very bumpy year when it comes to dating – one that has raised more questions than it has answered. It’s forced me to reexamine long held rules which may be holding me back, and to see how hard it is to check your emotional baggage at the door when you’re getting to know someone new.

With 2014 right around the corner, I’ve already decided on my first New Year’s resolution – to not make any that have to do with my love life. That’s a first for me, so maybe the approaching end of my thirties has made me a little wiser after all.

Hope springs eternal.

| dating advice, dating in your thirties, Girls Night Out, new year's resolutions

In Praise Of Speed Dating

March 10th, 2013 — 8:22pm

(photo courtesy: howstuffworks.com)

As the first quarter of 2013 races to a close, I’m happy to have stuck to one of my New Year’s resolutions – speed dating more often. With other, more time intensive resolutions being a work in a progress, this one is proving to be a lot of fun. And a reminder of how important it is to inject some fun in to the dating process.

Readers of this blog know I’ve been a big fan of speed dating for years now. And I’ve also found time and again that it’s the number one thing singles tell me they want to try but haven’t. Interestingly many of these same people have done online dating. I guess it’s less daunting to flirt via cyberspace than to face the prospect of a dozen or so mini dates with complete strangers. In my experience, though, the payoff is much, much greater when you get back to basics and interact with fellow singles in person.

There are so many advantages to speed dating. First, of course, is the obvious – meeting a lot of people in a short space of time. Second, it gives you the opportunity to practice your flirting skills and elevator pitch about yourself, always a good thing in the competitive dating jungle that is New York. Perhaps the most important thing, though, is it levels the playing field.

As a thirtysomething single woman, it’s very easy to think you’ve got the market covered on feeling frustrated with what it takes to make a meaningful romantic connection. A quick chat with just about any guy you meet speed dating reveals that’s most definitely not the case.

Even though, statistically speaking, the odds are more in their favor, single guys go through their ups and downs just like we do. And I can’t help thinking that discovering such common ground helps break down the walls that often divide us in this great city where playing it cool is practically an Olympic sport.

So if you’ve been on the fence about trying speed dating, now’s the time to jump off and give it a try.

| new year's resolutions, online dating, speed dating

Does Dating Online Make You More Disconnected?

January 6th, 2013 — 8:45pm

As I recently mentioned, I’ve already met one of my top New Year’s resolutions – taking down my online dating profile. When I shared this on Twitter, a fellow single gal responded—

“Internet dating does suck. But, what other choices are there for single moms, career women, 35+ women, etc?”

And therein lies one of the main reasons I’m going offline: online dating, even for those of us who aren’t lucky with it, perpetuates the false notion that it is the only avenue available to single women of a certain age. It deceives you into thinking that you’re putting yourself out there. But that’s like saying you’re actively job hunting simply by putting your resume on Monster.com.

It’s no secret that a successful job hunt requires networking and a variety of other offline activities – and I believe the same rule applies when you’re looking to meet someone special.

Many single women (myself included) here in New York – and elsewhere, from what I’ve experienced in my travels — gripe about how hard it is to meet good guys. But how can we really justify that complaint if we’re relying on the Internet alone to attempt matchmaking on our behalf? This is a city where there’s no end of culture, entertainment and activities in just about every category you can think of. I think sometimes the problem — and granted it’s a good problem to have – is figuring out where and how to dive into it all.

Which brings me to another reason why I’m no longer on OkCupid or any traditional online dating sites. Looking for love in cyberspace can be very unromantic and drain you of energy to mingle offline. I’m at the stage where I want to connect with people in a non-meat market environment. And I’m excited to explore the many opportunities my beloved hometown offers to do exactly that.

| meeting new people, new year's resolutions, online dating

Ringing In 2013

January 2nd, 2013 — 8:52pm

It is often said that how you start the New Year is a good indication of how the rest of it will go. If that’s true, 2013 is shaping up to be a fabulous year.

I spent the final night of 2012 with some of my favorite people, enjoying some of my favorite things about NYC – great food, unexpected connections and first class fun. It began with dinner at Zucchero e Pomodori on the UES. Without reservations, my good friend Bobbi and I managed to secure a table at the cozy Italian bistro and pay normal prices for a delicious dinner: caprese salad, vegetable ravioli in a creamy mushroom sauce and fresh fruit with whipped cream.

Bobbi and me at 675 Bar

Our next stop was 675 Bar in NYC’s Meatpacking District, where a more than reasonable $20 cover offered admission to the downstairs venue replete with balloons, DJ and a lively crowd. Much to our delight, a 25-year-old guy chatted us up, happily taking our picture and then asking where we went to college. Nothing like being asked that question to take the edge off of entering the final year of your thirties!

As the music grew louder and the bar got more packed, Bobbi read my mind when she suggested we move on to another venue – THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, newly opened at my workplace home, the Westin New York Grand Central. With its trendy yet laidback vibe, THE LCL features delicious craft cocktails, a seasonal locally sourced menu and DJ entertainment after 8pm.

Bobbi and I arrived around 11:30pm, in plenty of time to watch the Times Square festivities on TVs behind the bar and clink our glasses in a Champagne toast at midnight. Not long after, my beloved cousin Carla and her best friend Amina joined us.

Carla, me and Amina at THE LCL

We shared some laughs and conversation about 2013 plans – including renewed efforts to mingle more.

To that end, I’ve already accomplished New Year’s resolutions #1 and #2: taking my online dating profile down and booking a speed dating event, the first of my new monthly speed dating outings this year. With my 39th birthday only a few weeks away, I’m excited to grab 2013 by the tail and make it my best yet!

| Girls Night Out, New Year's Eve, new year's resolutions, Westin New York Grand Central

A Second Date With A Semi-Surprising Outcome

December 8th, 2012 — 7:40pm

My second date with Long Island bachelor and OkCupid member E began much like the first – at a fabulous nightspot in Chelsea.

We met for drinks at The Darby, an upscale jazz club and restaurant with rich, elegant décor and great music. As we clinked glasses, E said I looked pretty and we made easy small talk about the holidays and our plans for the evening.

For dinner, E chose Crispo, a first-class Italian bistro with a cozy main dining room featuring exposed brick, a waterfall and wrought iron chairs. The food was amazing – I had black truffle ricotta ravioli and we shared a sublime tiramisu for dessert. Along the way, E asked a lot of questions and listened intently as I told him about my travels to Australia over the years and what I learned during my U.S. Dating Blitz.

Crispo serves delicious, authentic Italian fare (Photo Courtesy: Whollygastromony.com)

I found myself thinking maybe I had read too much into his gay-related observations on date #1 — until we got to Canal Room down in Soho.

As we waited for awesome 80’s tribute band Jessie’s Girl to take the stage, E quoted some advice a friend had shared with him–

“’If you like this girl, don’t tell her you like Neil Diamond.’”

While I’m processing why he’s telling me this, E reflects on how popular tight jeans were during the 80’s – and gestures toward the rear end of a guy in front of us who’s wearing them.

At this point, I can’t ignore the fact that my gay-dar vibe is sounding an alarm. I try putting that aside once the concert starts, doing by best to just enjoy Jessie’s Girl’s energetic set of 80’s classics. But when E leans over – twice – to comment on the band’s muscle-shirt clad male backup singer, my patience begins to wear thin. Nothing’s a bigger buzzkill than having your date make eyes at other men.

E and I shared an awkward cab ride back uptown.

“I’ll talk to you soon,” he called out as he shut the door and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Because clearly, he has a few things to figure out when it comes to who exactly he wants to date.

Though I managed to eventually find the humor in this unexpected episode, it also served as a cautionary tale of what can happen when you rely too heavily on the Internet to find love. I’ve said it many times and it bears repeating: online dating is a lot like gambling. There are the lucky few who hit the jackpot and then there’s everybody else. I, for one, have had my fill of cyberspace-instigated dates. So I’m officially taking my online profile down and making a New Year’s resolution to get offline and back out there again.

The quest for love continues.

| 80's cover band, Canal Room, Chelsea, new year's resolutions, OKCupid, online dating, second dates

My Next Big Adventure

January 19th, 2012 — 9:22pm

Readers of this blog know I’m not one to rest on my laurels when it comes to being a single gal in the city. I’m always thinking of new ways I can get out of my comfort zone and shake things up dating wise. Every once in awhile, inspiration strikes – and that’s exactly what happened last night.

Maybe it’s because I’m a few days away from turning 38, because I’ve decided 2012 is the year of Just Say Yes or a little of both, but I’ve come up with my next big adventure. 

After two Dating Blitzes, memberships with various dating websites and about a dozen rounds of speed dating, it’s time to try something a little different. Something that will take me on a new journey without (necessarily) taking me out of my zip code.  Having explored single life across the U.S. and Europe, I’m ready to take one of the biggest lessons I learned from my travels and apply it right here in my hometown.

And that’s where you come in. This next adventure will be a much more interactive one, one that combines a dash of romance, a generous helping of modern technology and a healthy portion of good old fashioned fun.  It’s a recipe I can’t wait to share and I will — on Valentine’s Day.

Want to chime in with your thoughts or follow along as I gear up for the February 14th reveal? Post a comment here or follow me on Twitter with hashtag #2012Adventure.

The countdown is ON!!

| Getting out of your comfort zone, new year's resolutions, Uncategorized

Sponsored Post: Find a New Fitness Buddy with Gaiam TV

January 11th, 2012 — 11:17pm

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, one of my biggest ones is a pretty popular one — getting back in shape. Between changing gyms and going back to work full time, I kind of lost my fitness mojo in 2011. Since getting a personal trainer to kick my butt isn’t in my budget (for now!), I’m embracing other tools that will help me fit into the clothes currently relegated to the back of my closet. A new favorite —  Gaiam TV.

It’s no secret that TV and having a fitness buddy can make a big difference when it comes to sticking with an exercise plan and making your workout time fly by (Millionaire Matchmaker is one of my guilty viewing pleasures at the gym, heaven help me). Gaiam TV combines both as the first streaming video subscription service designed for health and wellness. Like Netflix for the fitness minded, it has hundreds of hours of online yoga, Pilates and cardio classes. When I took advantage of a free preview, I was impressed to find that you can practice with top, nationally known instructors like Rodney Yee, Seane Corn, Jillian Michaels, Mari Winsor and Kathryn Budig.

In addition to being user friendly, Gaiam TV’s yoga and fitness studios are flexible. You can customize workouts for weight loss, total body sculpting or increased energy and narrow down your options based on level, style, instructor and amount of available time. And it’s also easy to search for videos, make playlists and preview selections. As a subscriber, you can rate and review programs.

Again, like Netflix, Gaiam TV offers 24/7 instant access. The company’s complete library of award-winning videos is available anytime, and streaming capabilities include personal computers, iPads and smartphones. With the $9.95 monthly subscription fee, you can stream unlimited content and members can cancel at anytime.

Not sold yet? Gaiam TV is offering a free 10-day trial — no strings attached — to prospective subscribers. for more info.

| getting in shape, new year's goals, new year's resolutions

A Return To Speed Dating

January 9th, 2012 — 10:23pm

As part of my Just Say Yes mantra for 2012, I’m getting back into the swing of things dating wise – and that means taking another stab at speed dating.

Though I’ve done it a handful of times over the years, Thursday marked my first experience with NYMinuteDating. The event was held in the back room at cozy Latin American fusion restaurant La Zarza in NYC’s East Village. During the pre-event mingling period, I chatted with friendly fortysomething bachelor David about why we love New York more than California (seasonal changes, more to do anytime day or night, etc.) and the rush of zip lining.

La Zarza: the cozy East Village restaurant and lounge is an ideal venue for speed dating

David casually mentioned he was divorced – one of many bachelors on hand in this category. Much like bars or restaurants, every speed dating company has its own personality and attracts a certain kind of clientele. If Thursday’s event is any indication, NYMinuteDating attracts its fair share of divorced men with children and guys who work in IT. Of the 17 bachelors in attendance, about half of them were software developers.

Another trend with this group – revealing a little too much. One of the divorced men took up most of our four minutes together talking about being divorced, why his teenage daughters want him to start dating again and the new house he just moved into. Speaking of real estate, another bachelor was a little too eager to talk about his 10,000 square foot pad on Central Park West and the huge New Year’s party he hosted.

Then, there was the bachelor who began his conversation with the girl to my right by asking—

“Why are you still single?”

Call me picky, but that’s not exactly the friendliest conversation starter.

Thankfully, there were a handful of guys who reminded me why this round robin approach to meeting new people can be so much fun. Nashville native turned Brooklyn resident Chyld charmed me with his slight accent, affection for barbecue and playful smile. World traveler Greg entertained with tales of a recent visit to one of my favorite cities, Berlin, while Canadian-born Alistair admitted that he trekked all the way from Connecticut for the event.

As someone who’s a big fan of crossing state lines to put yourself out there, I loved his candor about it. David was equally candid his agenda—

“I want to meet someone.”

Who says all NYC men are players?

FYI – NYMinuteDating is a great last-minute option for a fun night out. While most speed dating events sell out for women well in advance, many of the singles (myself included) booked on Thursday and the event was still well attended with a balanced ratio and guys and girls. Bottom line — $35 well spent.

| East Village, new year's goals, new year's resolutions, speed dating

By The Numbers: Farewell 2011 Edition

December 30th, 2011 — 8:09pm

As 2011 draws to a close, I can’t help feeling a little reflective about the last year and where it’s taken me.

I began the first half of 2011 doing freelance work before pounding the pavement for a full time gig. It took dozens of mind numbing interviews at 17 companies before landing at Evins Communications – an exhausting process that made dating seem like a cakewalk by comparison. Still, I opted to scale back on the search for Mr. Right and focus my energies elsewhere (including a new passion — cooking). Here are some of the highlights of 2011, by the numbers:

Number of companies interviewed at: 17
Number of job interviews: 38
Number of Weekend Getaways: 12
Number of concerts: 6
Number of Europe Dating Blitz bachelors seen in NYC: 1
Number of dates:  14
Number of friends who got engaged: 2

Bride-to-be Faith and me at my recent holiday party

Both of my betrothed friends met their respective fiancés online, which leads me to think I may have to incorporate cyberspace dating into my Just Say Yes mantra for 2012. One of the brides to be, my fantastic galpal Faith, has asked me to be her maid of honor – a delightful duty I haven’t had in more than a decade. I couldn’t be more proud or excited to stand beside her.

Who knows? By the time Faith’s big day comes around, maybe I’ll have a plus one to join me.

| By The Numbers, new year's resolutions, online dating

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