Being yourself

Cheering each other on


Two Surprisingly Simple Vogue Dating Tips

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

It was a happy day in our household this week. Why? We just got Apple TV so we could easily watch our streaming Netflix on the big screen. Huh. Guess our 1000 cable channels, On Demand options, Netflix DVDs and the 1 Terabyte hard drive full of movies and TV episodes Gustavo’s friend Mike gave us wasn’t enough to watch. In any case, it’s already paying off.

Dating advice from this documentary? Who knew?

I finally got to see The September Issue, which has been on my “to see” list for a year now. You know the film, right? It’s the documentary about the making of Vogue magazine’s September 2007 issue. It follows all the major players, including editor in chief Anna Wintour and creative director Grace Coddington. And I was so taken by the talents and attitude of Grace that I wanted to share two things she said in the film that can help you in your love journey as a dating optimist. Your two very Vogue tips for love:

1. Embrace being a romantic!

When Grace was in Paris for work, she took a side trip to the Palace of Versailles. As she looked out into the garden, she quietly took in the view and said this:

“It’s beautiful. I think I got left behind somewhere because I’m, you know, still a romantic.”

I meet so many people—women especially—who scoff at the word “romantic.” Heck, I was one of those women. I used to say I didn’t want cliché flowers and dinners on Valentine’s Day, that I didn’t want a nice engagement ring, that I wasn’t about holding hands and using nicknames and showing PDA and other ooey gooey love stuff. But now that I’m with my half-orange, I’ve realized something: Believing “romantic” doesn’t mean you embrace Hallmark cards and candlelight dinners. It means you’re open to life and open to love. I think the more “romantic” you are in life, the greater your opportunity to have love.

How can you be a romantic in life? Believe in hope, believe that there is vulnerability and love in all of us and that bad situations can be handled by shifting our perspective and embracing the good within it. Believe in quiet moments where you listen to birds chirp and smell fresh cut grass and feel the wind on your face. Believe that even a bad date can be salvaged by finding what’s worthy or interesting or hilarious about the person you’re with or the situation you’re in. And believe that you—that we all—deserve a great love in life, a teammate to travel the journeys of life with. Be a romantic. Find what’s beautiful at the Palace of Versailles or the view from your own front door, and be open to the beautiful experiences life has to offer.

2. Forget about perfect—we’re meant to be different!

After Grace styled a “color blocking” fashion shoot that featured a profile shot of the documentary cameraman Bob, Anna Wintour apparently looked at his little belly in the printout of the shot and joked to him that he needed to go to the gym. When Bob told Grace this, she scoffed. This is what she said:

“Personally, I think it’s better that you’re not, like, skinny skinny. I really do. To me, it much more makes the point that you’re real people and not models. Everybody isn’t perfect in this world. I mean, it’s enough that the models are perfect. You don’t need to go to the gym.”

There again, Grace nails it. There’s enough “perfect” out there with all the Photoshopped ads, plastic-surgery pumped up people, and graphically enhanced characters we’re faced with every day. Our aim in life shouldn’t be to mimic that. We’re all different and we’re all meant to be different.

So if you find yourself grumbling about some physical aspect of yourself that you worry no one will love (that mole, those toes, that crooked tooth) remember that your half-orange isn’t looking for a picture of perfection. Your half-orange is looking for a fun, fabulous life-affirming love. With you. Yes, stay healthy, live your best life. But you don’t need to work off or Photoshop out every “flaw” you think you have. Your half-orange is going to love you just the way you are.

You might also like:
Love Yourself Big C Style

Big love,


4 Tips For Taking Your Happiest Half-Orange Photo!

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I came across a great little story in Psychology Today about a survey done by And it inspired me to share some thoughts on taking great photos for your online or Facebook pages that will help show you in your best light.

Use your picture to your authentic advantage!

For the survey, OKCupid asked millions of users to rate other people’s attractiveness based on their photos, and then analyzed the settings of the cameras of the photos themselves. How cool is that, right? Which means that armed with information on things like what time of day the pics were shot and with which lens, etc., they noticed some trends.

Here’s my take on some of what they found as well as my own thoughts: overall, four great tips to taking a photo that will help attract your half-orange.

1. Take photos in late afternoon sun or early evening twilight. Psychology Today notes that the lighting at that time of is more flattering, and it’s true: it creates soft shadows which creates more a slimming effect. It’s different than the harsh shadows created by bright sunshine. If you want to take a photo on a bright sunny day, just try doing it in a soft shadow of a tree or patio umbrella to create softer shadows.

Me (far right) with my gorgeous girlfriends. I took this from that "slightly-above angle."

2. Take the photos from a slightly-above angle. This is a tip of mine that works every time. Now, I don’t mean holding the camera above your head, but if you have your friend hold the camera at, say, their forehead level and tip it down toward you…hello gorgeous! It creates a slimming chin definition that takes away those double chins and hating your neck like Nora Ephron does. And there’s something about how your eyes end up looking slightly up at the lens rather than straight on—kind of adorge. I do this with all my shots of my friends, and I’ve been crowned the “staff photographer” for the flattering pics we get because of it. That picture (at left) is a perfect example.

3. Post a happy late-night photo. The OKCupid study found that late-night photos got stellar ratings from viewers. They couldn’t pinpoint exactly why that is, but consider the fact that many late-night photos are taken either with or when you’re among friends, which puts you in exactly the state of mind you want to be in with your half-orange. And, sure, sometimes you’re a cocktail or two into a night, which relaxes you more and probably brings out a much more natural smile—and as I talk about in Meeting Your Half-Orange, it’s that natural smile, the one that makes the corners of your eyes crinkle up, which feeds information to your emotional brain that you are truly happy, which affects the energy in and around you. And that stuff gets picked up in a photo, boy. So consider that: If you are trying too hard to get a flattering photo in the daytime, get someone to take a snap of you at night.

4. Be real. The three tips on taking a good photo are all about planning or altering the angle of the shot so you look your best. But even then, a photo won’t mean squat if it isn’t reflecting the real you. The way I see it, a fake-ish photo is not only setting you up for disappointment (because you may be disappointing your date if you’re not really the person you sold yourself to be), but it also isn’t building you up in the right way. You should be proud of yourself for who you are, not who you wish you were. If you don’t ski, for example, posting five shots of that one trip you rode on the ski lift three years ago isn’t so straight up, is it? And if you have a few smile lines or wear glasses, posting the one shot of you that’s kind of far off at that fancy event where you once wore contacts with your friend cut off at your side…again, that’s not the real you, is it? If your potential dates don’t like you for who you really are—your likes, your dislikes, your desire to have kids, your freckles and glasses—then you don’t want to be dating them anyway!

So post the most flattering shot you can of the real you in a happy state of mind, and you’ll be one step closer to your half-orange seeing you for the awesome partner you plan to be.

You might also like:
Real Love is Not a Catalog Shoot

Big love,

The Fork

Friday, October 8th, 2010

I was talking to a single friend of mine who brought up the fork in the road that so many singles hit. Her fork went like this:

You have two choices when you're single. Choose the path of "more." (Image by Amy Spencer)

“I haven’t been able to find what I want in love, so I guess I’m wanting too much.”

“The road you should take isn’t the one in which you want less,” I said. “The road you should take is the one in which you want more.”

More?” she said. “But I haven’t gotten any of it yet, so why would I ask for more?”

What I told her is what I’ll tell you: If you take the road in which you ask for “less” in love, you’ll be less excited about getting it, which makes you more negative and less hopeful in life—less of yourself. The less you are, the less you get.

But if, on the other hand, you start upping your wants, you start getting excited about getting it all, which makes you more positive and hopeful in life—more of yourself. And the more you are, the more you get!

Dating optimism is about using your energy for the best and creating a buzz inside of you that radiates out to all the people you meet, drawing in the most positive things around you. The stronger your buzz, the more you’ll be led in the right directions: You’ll want to pop into the smoothie shop on the way to work, and you’ll want to get together with that new friend for a glass of wine, you’ll want to hit that lecture you got a mailer for at work. The greater your buzz, the more you’ll feel inspired and hopeful, and the more you’ll choose the experiences that will lead you toward your healthy relationship.

So. If you ask for less than you want in love, how big will your buzz be? Not very. But if you ask for more in love, you can build off your excitement and bring you all you want. Choose the path of more: Ask for a partner who listens, likes you, makes you laugh, and thinks you’re brilliant and sexy at the same time. With buzz like that, you’ll be heading closer to love, not further away.

You might also like:
10 Reasons Not to Settle In Love

Big love,

WIN a FREE copy of Meeting Your Half-Orange!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Happy Friday, people.

If you’re a single parent, I contributed to a new story that’s chock full of my dating advice for you. Even if you’re not a parent, there’s some insight here about where to meet the right partner and just how honest you should be on your online profile (it’s all about where you focus the lens as you tell the truth). I think it’s pretty good stuff, but check it out and see what you think.

Just click on Amy’s Dating Tips for Single Parents or click the image of the story below to be directed there.

Plus, if you don’t yet have a copy of my book, or you really want another to give to a good friend who could use a dose of the orange buzz, check out this fun Book Giveaway. Just share your worst or funniest dating disaster and you’ll be entered to win.

And while you’re at it, enjoy the dating success story of single mom writer Christine Coppa. But I warn you, her posts are addicting…

You might also like:

Live, people, live.

Big love,

An Optimist Tosses Her Dating Books!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I wanted to share this story I just came across from writer Abigail Pickus, who writes a column for The Jewish Week about her dating life called “Abigail in Love (maybe).” In this column called “Am I Still a Dating Optimist if I Throw Away All of My Dating Books?” as she talks about reading my book as well as others, I think you’ll appreciate her frustration with not just dating, but dating books that tell you how to do dating right.

In the end, Abigail says she’s decided that because even Meeting Your Half-Orange, which she liked, doesn’t have the formula for love, she’s going to live her single life without dating books from now on. As she writes:

“In other words, people, I am done with all the dating books. Even the nice ones. From now on I am only reading books that are going to engage my mind and imagination – not give me another formula for finding love. That I will just have to leave to fate.”

What do I love so much about a cool woman who isn’t saying, “Run and buy this book”? That, inadverently, she’s come to the conclusion to live her life in the way I want all of you to. She’s not going to obsess over her dates and her single status. She’s not going to scan online for advice on how to flirt her way to marriage. And she’s not going to buy a book a week on how to change herself for the right guy. Instead, she’s going to read and do things that engage her mind—in other words, she’s going to engage in what Meeting Your Half-Orange readers know are “gratifications,” those activities that make you feel smart and strong and fulfilled. Follow Abigail’s lead and make those same day to day choices for yourself that lead to eudaimonia, the gratifying happiness of being satisfied as your true self.

If you’re feeling like this writer and want to just toss your books into the trash, go ahead and do it! (Be gentle with mine, though, would you?) Then start fresh by living your day to day the way you want to. Read the books you want. Watch the movies on your Netflix list. Make the vacation plan you’ve been putting off until you met “the right person.” The more you live life as your true self and the more truly, eudaimonically happy you are, the better the energy you’re putting out there, and the easier it will be for your half-orange to recognize you as the happy, kick-ass person you are.

Big love,