Archive for September, 2009


Have You Tried Circuit-Dating?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

I like to think I could live on popcorn. But ask me again after I’ve eaten a super combo tub of movie theater popcorn with a few presses of “butter.” The fact is, too much of one good thing is too much.

Heart of all trades

Heart of all trades! (Image: AS)

As most fitness experts will tell you, for example, circuit training works better than spending all your time doing one single exercise over and over. And more generally, cross-training works well, to: If you’re spending all your time running on the treadmill, for example, you could use some yoga to balance your body and mind out.

It’s like life: If you’re spending all your time working, or all your time partying or all your time zoning out to Hulu, you won’t feel like you’re living a well-rounded life.

And, surprise surprise, the same goes for dating. If you’re looking for all your dates online, or seeking all your dates among your group of friends, or hoping to run into all your dates in your neighborhood, you’re not giving yourself a well-rounded opportunity to meet your half-orange. Try circuit-living and circuit-dating: Branch out!

Spend some time winking to cute folks online. Spend one night over cocktails at a fab spot. Spend one weekend visiting a park in a new neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon for Frisbee. And please, give yourself some time to sit alone on patch of grass under a Dogwood tree with a can’t-put-down book. Dating isn’t just about the face-to-face meetings, the one-on-ones. Dating is also a state of mind. You don’t always have to be “out there” dating to meet the right one. You just have to be living a happy, authentic life. Keep yours vibrant and full so your love life doesn’t get stuck in treadmill mode.

You might also like:
The Coffee Test

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

How I Met Your…Quirks

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

If you don’t watch How I Met Your Mother (Mondays on CBS), you’re missing out on some big laughs. It’s a refreshingly un-reality-based sitcom that’s not only full of brilliantly current writing, but also some surprisingly deep insights about life, dating and love.

Ted (played by Josh Radnor) makes a smart speech (Image:

Ted (played by Josh Radnor) makes a smart speech (Image:

Last night, for example, Ted ended up on a blind date with the same exact person seven years later. It took both of them a minute to realize, “We’ve been on this date before!” Yet, as true optimists who decided to gain something good from their date no matter what, they took turns telling each other what turned them off about each other the first time around so they could learn about themselves for the future—i.e. she didn’t like that Ted pointed out typos in the menu and made a lame joke about how not sharing the oysters would be “shellfish.” He didn’t like that she likes to dress her cats in costumes. In the end [SPOILER ALERT!], as the pair tried to figure out whether or not to have a go of it this time, Ted said this to his date:

I just remembered why I didn’t call you. I like finding typos in menus. And I know my shellfish pun is stupid, but the truth is, I’m not suddenly going to stop making stupid jokes. Shouldn’t we hold out for the person who doesn’t just tolerate our little quirks, but actually kinda likes them?

Yes yes yessss! I know that some people love to say that choosing a partner is all about compromise, but as I say in Meeting Your Half-Orange, it’s about possibly compromising later—once you’ve found someone you feel is compromising for. But you shouldn’t have to compromise who you are. You shouldn’t feel you have to hold back saying things, or feel you’re not allowed to love your cats, or think it’s no big deal if someone doesn’t get your jokes. Why? Because it’s a big deal if someone doesn’t get your jokes!

Your jokes are a representation of who you are. What you find funny is a combination of what you’ve learned in life, how your brain works, what your heart feels and what will make you laugh every single day for the rest of your life. Do you really think it’s okay to settle for someone who doesn’t get what makes you laugh for the rest of your life? Nothing comes between Brooke and her Calvins and nothing should come between you and what makes you laugh. Period.

So do as Ted says: Hold out for the person who doesn’t just tolerate your quirks, but absolutely definitely likes them. Because when you’re totally being who you are, that’s when you’ll meet the person who’s totally right for you.

You might also like:
Mad Men: More Than Eye Candy
A Gleeful Reminder

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

The Freakin’ Fun Dating List

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Last month, my friends and I got together on a Friday night. We were about to fall asleep on the couches in front of the TV when we decided to give ourselves some get-up-and-go: We made a list of all the fun things we could potentially do, cut the ideas into separate pieces and put them all in a hat. (Yes, we’re grown-ups.)


What's on your list? (Image:

We decided we’d do the first three items we picked from the hat. Suddenly, the adrenaline was running high: “Oh no,” I thought, “Someone suggested “Ring & Run”…what if we picked that one? (Wait, are we grown-ups?)

In the end, we picked “Get a cocktail,” “Go swimming in the bay” and “Dance to a song of Todd’s choice.” It turned out to be an epic evening of night swimming, dancing and dares as we tackled the items on the list. And it makes me wonder: If we can find the fun in living life like that sometimes, shouldn’t we be able to muster that same joy about love and dating? And the magic may be in the list.

An article in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research reported a few moons ago that exercisers who wrote down ideas about how to make their effort more enjoyable ended up doing those things, which did, in fact, make their exercise more enjoyable. Ta-daaa!

Sounds like a great idea to apply to your love life, doesn’t it? Now, I’m a big believer that if you’re not enjoying dating, don’t do it. But if you want to meet new people and see what potential mates might be out there, then maybe it’s worth making dating more fun so you’ll want to do it. Your Freakin’ Fun Dating List could help! The lead author of the exercise study said that drawing on positive past experiences is more motivating than abstract ideas. So use that to your advantage when you make your dating list: When have you had the most fun dating in the past? When you sampled a strange-sounding single’s event with a friend? When you signed up for a sailing trip? When you made a singles trip to scout the guys carrying lumber at Home Depot? When you played “Truth or Dare” at a friend’s party full of cute guys?

No, you don’t have to do all the things on the list—the way we actually didn’t do the “Ring & Run” on ours. I think it’s healthy just to remind yourself how much fun dating can be. So think about making the list—either on paper or in your mind—whether you do any of the items or not. I think you’ll be more positive for the process. And if you do end up on a double-bowling-date laughing your gutter balls off? More power and funny shoes to ya.

You might also like:
Walk a Mile in Your True Shoes
The Coffee Test

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

The Jazz Effect: Take a Risk!

Friday, September 25th, 2009

And by “jazz” I don’t mean the dance classes I took as a kid when I’d lunge across a mirrored room wearing a unitard and leg warmers doing artful gyrations to Frank Stallone songs. (Why, oh, why?)

The other night, my sister and I went to see her friend, Kate Reid, perform with her jazz quartet. Wow, what a voice this woman has. She was doing things with it I’d never heard an instrument do.

Taking chances wins big

The bigger the risk, the better the song. (Image:

It being jazz, of course, once they choose the song and the key, there’s a lot of leeway in the performance. So when we asked Kate how much risk she and her band take, she said they try something new each and every time. Then she laughed. “Sometimes we make mistakes,” Kate said, “and sometimes we get really lost in the mistakes and it’s all about finding our way back.” But, she said, it’s those very risks that sometimes pay off with a great moment in a great song. Without the risks, of course, it wouldn’t be jazz. And the bigger the risk, the better the performance can be.

That’s just like love, isn’t it: If we don’t take risks in our own lives, we’re just re-living the same old replayed song.

What about you? Are you dating the same types of people over and over again? Are you setting yourself up for the same relationships like a record you’ve heard a million times? Maybe you’re choosing people who don’t want to settle down, or people who don’t want to grow up, or even people who just don’t keep you interested. Don’t hold yourself back that way. Give yourself the chance to have something amazing by taking risks with your heart. Open yourself up and put yourself out there for something wonderful.

If you’re not ready to do something big for a relationship, start with something small. Wink at the cute person you always see on your way to work. Call that long-lost old flame. Accept the offer for a blind date. Kiss the friend you have chemistry with. Yeah, maybe you’ll make mistakes and get a little lost and have to find your way back like the Kate Reid Quartet, but it’s those risks that pay off. And if nothing else—like a few bad notes—at least you can laugh about it later and know you should never try that again. But the positive is possible, too: That risk you take may just turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done.

You might also enjoy:
Walk Toward the Rattlesnakes in Love

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Whaddaya doin’ New Year’s Eve?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

I was in line at the drugstore the other day (wait, how funny is that word: drugstore?).

Toast to yourself! (Image:

Toast to yourself! (Image:

Anyway, I heard these two girls talking about a guy who’d sent one of them a perfectly cryptic text message, and how she had decided, “That’s it! I’m over it!” The girl said she wasn’t going to call or text this guy back ever again. Well, as soon as she sent this one last text to put him in his place…

It reminded me that one reason lots of people have trouble embracing the idea of moving forward into a healthy relationship is because they’re still looking back on an old one! That’s where my friend Lisa Steadman, author of It’s a Breakup Not a Breakdown and “heartbreak reinvention coach” comes in.

Lisa is now prepping for one of her next projects, a bootcamp teleclass to Heal Your Heart by the Holidays.” And to give you a peek into what she means, I love her advice to ask yourself one big question:  Where do you want to be by New Year’s Eve?

Here’s some of what Lisa says:

“What do you want to be thinking, feeling and doing on New Year’s Eve? If, today, your thoughts are obsessing about your ex, wondering where he is, who he’s with, what’s happening with him, then you’re far too focused on his future and what will happen for him by New Year’s Eve. What you’ve got to do is take the focus off of your ex, and put it on yourself.”

I think that’s great advice whether you’re trying to take the focus off an ex or a million other things: your boss, your madcap family, your work, or even someone you have a crush on who’s not asking you out. Your happiness is all about you! So whether you’re in a relationship or not by the holidays, whether you’re employed or not, whether you’re balancing a to-do list like a toilet paper roll or not, how do you want to feel in your future? That, my friend, is all up to you.

It’s like what they say to people who are afraid to go to back to school. Sure, you might think, “If I go to grad school now, I won’t graduate until 2014.” So ask yourself: “Well, what will you be doing in 2014 if you don’t go to grad school?” The future is coming whether you like it or not! And you can either picture yourself stuck in a place of uncertainty and insecurity, or you can decide that you will be happy, fulfilled and kicking ass by the time the ball drops. I think confidence and happiness will suit that champagne glass so much better, don’t you?

You might also like:
Michael J. Fox, An Incurable Optimist, Has Dating Advice, Too!

Big love,

Amy Signature 4