10 New Year's Resolutions to Help You Find Love in 2014

(Originally appeared on The Huffington Post on December 27, 2013.)

Every year at about this time, people start to think back on the year that is coming to a close, and reflect upon all the things they didn't accomplish that they had hoped they would. For single people, often high up on that list is the fact that they didn't get married or get into that significant relationship for which they had been looking. Instead of harping on things you can't change from the past, here are some New Year's resolutions that might actually help you find and fall in love in 2014:

Did your year not end with
a New Year's kiss?
1. Remove negative influences from your life. Whether or not you want to admit it, there is negativity all around you. Acknowledge this and do your darndest to remove it from your life. This means negative friends, relatives and colleagues.

2. Date people you wouldn't usually date. All single people get into dating ruts from time to time. If you know that your dating life has hit a familiar pattern that always ends up poorly, make a resolution to date differently in 2014. Date people you wouldn't usually date and see if this changes your relationship luck.

3. Join an online dating site, even if you think you are not that kind of person. Face the facts: in this day and age, almost every single person is either online dating or working with a professional matchmaker like myself. If you rationalize that online dating is just not for you, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to meet someone who could be your mate. Just take a deep breath and do it.

4. Move to a new home, if you have been procrastinating doing so. One of the things I constantly hear from single people is that they refrain from moving because they might meet their significant other, and then what? This is a bad excuse. You will be more apt to meet your honey if you are living your life and moving forward. It would be a high class problem if you need to figure out what to do with your new home because you met the One.

5. Reach out to old friends with whom you have been meaning to catch up. With sites like Facebook and LinkedIn being all the rage, you have no excuse for not reconnecting with old friends. Just friend them somewhere, make a plan to get together and then see if they know someone great for you. Friends love introducing their friends to each other.

6. Participate in an activity that is outside your comfort zone. Doing new things is a great way to expand your social circles and meet new people. Go ahead and choose something you have always wanted to do, but have never done. Join a baseball league, join a tennis club, take a cooking class, just do something and keep your eyes open for other single people while you are doing it.

7. Get a date makeover, so you look and feel your best. It's always good to change your look a little to shake things up in your dating life. Go ahead and get a new haircut, add highlights to your hair, go buy a new sexy date outfit that will wow the opposite sex or buy a new color lipgloss. Make a change and you will be surprised how many people will notice you in a different way and compliment you too.

8. Get fit and healthy. This needs to be a top priority in 2014. Stop making excuses that this doesn't matter, because it absolutely does. Being fit and healthy is the number one characteristic that both men and women tell me is of importance to them in a mate. Take a step to becoming more fit and you will see a huge difference in your dating life.

9. Do some self analysis about why are not in love. You are the only constant in every one of your dating situations and in every relationship which you have been in. You need to take a very long, hard look at how you are being perceived in the dating world and then make some important changes to improve that perception. Are you too negative? Do you play too hard to get? Are you not feminine enough? Are you too picky? Do you never have a plan for the date? Are you commitment-phobic? Figure out what you can improve or change and do it, immediately.

10. Stop the booty calls with people who are not real contenders. It's time to be smart if you are looking for a real relationship. My mother always told me that if you have someone in your life, no matter how inconsequential, you are not trying as hard to meet someone else because you are distracted. This is fact. Get rid of Late Night Larry or Late Night Linda if you want to meet your true love in 2014.

George: Which Eligible Heartthrobs Share This Name?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
introduce Prince George
(Originally appeared on The Huffington Post on July 30, 2013.)

Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have finally announced the name of their royal son: Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. And already, the world is in love with him. Prince George has many years to live up to the name carried by many a royal and many a celebrity, but we all know he will inevitably become a heart-throb in his own right. Here's a list of our favorite heart-throb George's of all time; it's only a matter of time before this newly admired George tops the list.

George Jetson: Our cartoon George was ahead of his time jetting around in a flying car, working 1 hour a day, 2 days a week and having robots as housekeepers. What lady wouldn't have wanted to live such an A-list lifestyle?

George Washington: Our historical George, he was a giant in his time. Towering at 6'2, he was much taller than the average colonial. Who wouldn't be attracted to the tallest man in the land who just happened to be the first leader of the United States?

Babe Ruth: Our George "undercover." Most people don't know that this sports legend was born a George, but he was. He was definitely "a catch" in his day; after all, who wouldn't want to be with one of the greatest sluggers of all time?

George Forman: Our famous boxing George. He is quite a catch, given his ability to turn from sports star to entrepreneur and businessman. And he is certainly a family man, given that he has 12 children.

Curious George: Our only famous animal George. Who wasn't in love with this adorable star of his own series of international best-selling children's books?

George Jefferson: We loved him in The Jeffersons, especially when he moved on up. Weezy was one lucky lady!

George Lopez: Our most hilarious George. Rumor has it that he is currently single after getting a divorce in 2011. What woman wouldn't fall for a funnyman who had his own talk show as well as his own sitcom?

George Hamilton: Our tannest George. At 70, this George is still quite handsome and supposedly single at the moment. I thought sun made people look older, not better!

George Harrison: Our famous singing George. This Beatle was one of the original American musical heartthrobs. Who wouldn't fall in love with someone who could serenade them with "Something" or "Here's Comes the Sun?"

George Clooney: And how could we forget our most obvious George and Hollywood's longest available bachelor. Plus, he is newly single to boot. Maybe this George should have starred in the movie, Catch Me If You Can, instead of Leonardo DiCaprio. Ladies, do your darndest!

Can you think of any other eligible George's you would like to see on this list?

10 Types of Men Who Won't Marry You

Have you ever wondered if there are guys out there that simply will not marry you? Are there certain men from whom you should just stay away because chances are, the relationship is going to be an exercise in frustration for you? You are not alone -- many women think about this all the time. And yes, there are certain types of men that you should just plain avoid because if you were playing the odds, the odds say these guys are just not going to seal the deal with you.

Here are 10 types of men that I, as a professional matchmaker, would recommend you steer clear of:

Mr. "Still Hung Up On His Ex": We have all been out with this guy. He says he is over his ex, yet at every turn, he talks about her and compares you to her. Please. He is not over her and until he is over her, he is not marrying you.

Mr. "I Am Not Ready For A Serious Relationship Right Now": This is the guy who dates a lot and then when he gets too close or decides he isn't interested in you, he uses the excuse that he's not ready. The question about this guy is this: Is he really not ready, or is that just a convenient excuse to dump you and avoid the commitment?

Mr. "Bigger Better Deal": You know this guy. He is the one who likes you a lot but is always wondering if there is a better version of you out there, somewhere in the universe. Honestly, do you need to be with the guy who is never going to think that you are good enough to marry?

Mr. "I Hang Out With Guys 15 Years My Junior": This is the guy who is 47 and a CEO of a company or a big-time executive and all of his contemporaries are married, so his BFFs are 25-year-olds and clubbing it. He is out until 3:00 a.m. several nights a week, looking to pick up and then he kids himself into thinking that when a 25-year-old girl says yes to a date with him, it's because he is such a good guy, not because she is dreaming of flying private.

Mr. "Still Trying To Figure Out His Career": If he is 40-plus and having a midlife work crisis, believe me, he is not going to marry you. Men need to be settled in their careers or at least know which direction they are headed on the career front before they can settle down.

Mr. "50-Something And Never Been Married": This guy is lurking everywhere. He is 50-plus and
never married, yet he will swear to you that he is ready. When you ask him why he is still single, he will tell you it's because he hasn't met the right one. Then the question becomes that if he hasn't found her in the hundreds of women he has dated before you, what is going to make you so special that you are going to be his one? Probably nothing.

Mr. "Doesn't Believe In Monogamy": This guy thinks he is very avant-garde progressive, but most people will say he is just looking for an excuse to cheat. Do you really want to be with a guy who tells you upfront that he won't be faithful?

Mr. "All About Me": This guy is all about himself, 24/7, 365 days a year. Sharing your life with someone is hard enough, so do you really want to sign up to be with someone who is so into himself that they will never even notice you, your wants and your desires?

Mr. "My Kids Are The Only Thing I Care About": This guy is a tricky one. When you first meet him, he is endearing because you admire how dedicated he is to his children. You think to yourself that you would like to be with a man who is that responsible. However, then you start to see that he doesn't have any room for you at all because he is only about the kids. If you are going to be with a man with kids, he needs to want to find a place for you, front and center, in his life at least some of the time.

Mr. "Dates Other Women Who Mean Nothing To Him": This guy is really a commitment-phobe in disguise. Why does he need to date women who mean nothing to him if he is dating you and you supposedly mean something to him? You do the math.

What other types of men would you add to this list?

Is Your Relationship Normal?

(Originally appeared in The Huffington Post, July 30, 2012.)

Everyone wants to be in a romantic relationship, and everyone has an idea in their head of what the perfect relationship should be. However, most of the time, we end up in relationships that never resemble what we thought we would have, and we start to wonder whether or not this is okay. Usually, the answer surfaces when we compare our relationship to other people's and try to figure out if ours is better, worse or the same. Of course, we can never make this determination because one never knows what goes on behind closed doors and what is actually normal. If you are wondering if your relationship is normal, here are some pointers so you can figure that out...

1. Relationships are difficult, no matter what. If someone tells you otherwise, they are lying, or they aren't in a relationship.

2. Your relationship is normal as long as it works for you and your partner. Talk to your significant other about what "normal" means to him or her. As long as the two of you are on the same page and being true to yourselves and what you really want, it doesn't matter what others think. In today's day and age, there is no normal; our society is all about "anything goes."

3. Don't get caught up in peer pressure. If marriage isn't for you, but a monogamous committed relationship is, go ahead and have that relationship. As long as you and your partner are being honest about what you both really want and you are not pressuring each other, embrace the relationship that you are choosing to have.

4. If you aren't in a relationship but you want to build a family, that is perfectly okay. Single parents are very of the norm today; if it works for you, go for it.

5. Look around you and really notice other people's relationships. Not what you imagine them to be, but what they really are. No one's relationship is perfect, so don't think that you are alone in the fact that you have some issues with yours sometimes.

6. Don't believe "the grass is greener" elsewhere. You might wish some aspect of your best friend or colleague's relationship were part of yours, but I promise, there are many aspects of other people's relationship that you would never want.

7. Spend some time being thankful for what you have, instead of wanting something different. If you focus on your own relationship, you will see how happy things there make you.

8. If you think that your relationship is not "normal," then you need to have a discussion with your significant other and figure out ways to alter it that will make you happier. You need to be true to yourself and to your feelings.

9. Everybody disagrees and argues from time to time. This is common in any relationship. Your relationship would not be a a real relationship if there weren't some rocky days. It's okay to love him one day and hate her the next; that's "normal" because relationships are challenging. They can also be very worth it.

10. As much as normal comes in all different relationship packages, keep in mind that you should be having more happy days than sad ones in your relationship. Yes it's "normal" to argue, but it is not normal to argue everyday and it is not "normal" to spend more time feeling unhappy than you do feeling happy?

Samantha's Dating Tips-Meeting Your Boyfriend's Ex

Have you ever wondered how it will be, if and when, you meet your boyfriend's ex? Have you wondered the right things to say, the right things to do and how to act?
I am a Professional Matchmaker and here's what I know...
1. You can be nice. Keep in mind that you have him right now, she doesn't, so there is no reason to be snippy.

2. Sizing her up will get you nowhere. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for chemistry. If you are scratching your head in disbelief that he was into her and now he's into you, don't bother, you will never be able to figure it out.

3. Don't do the old contrast and compare because chances are, this will just make you feel insecure. Just feel confident about who you are and the connection that the two of you are having in the present.

4. If you feel a little jealousy about his connection to her or the fact that another woman knows him as well as you do, that's okay. Feeling jealous and/or insecure is natural, but don't let it send you into a funk and just ride out the evening; it will end soon enough.

5.Be prepared for some reminiscing
and some inside jokes. This does not mean that they have a more special bond than the two of you have; it just means that when they were together, they did have some fun times and are bound to talk about them.

6. Don't get thrown if she is a little snide or tries to act like she knows more about him than you do. Keep in mind that if she dated him for a long time or a longer time than you have, she might in fact know more about him than you do. However, this doesn't matter because you are with him now and as you go forward in the relationship, you will have plenty of time to learn all the things she knows about him and then some.

7. If you are seeing her at an event where your guy's friends might be in attendance, don't get upset if they know her and are nice to her at the party. This does not mean they like her better than you, it just means that they know her and are being courteous.

8. Don't get upset if your boyfriend acts a little weird or odd or different in the situation. Keep in mind that it is very awkward for him to be standing with the girl with whom he is currently having sex and the one with whom he used to have sex.

9. Don't dwell on the situation afterwards or pick a fight. There is no reason to let her affect your current situation with him. The evening has already passed; let bygones be bygones.

10. After seeing them together, if you have any real doubts about whether or not it is truly over between them and/or whether or not, something between the two of you is genuine, make sure to have this discussion with him in a calm and more casual manner. You don't want it to blow up in your face just because you are feeling a little insecure or jealous.

Matchmaker in the Know: A Romantic Getaway in Santa Barbara

Have you been thinking about visiting Santa Barbara with your new beau or significant other for a romantic weekend away from home?

Here's what I know...

1. Santa Barbara is a highly accessible weekend destination. You can fly into Los Angeles, pick up a convertible and less than 90 minutes later you will arrive in splendid Santa Barbara.

2. If you are looking for a place to stay that is beach front and beautiful, choose the Four Seasons Biltmore. The property was fully renovated 5 years ago and they did an excellent job of maintaining the historic landmark while adding in a plenitude of modern amenities. They have a top-notch spa and gym and they give you access to one of the most exclusive beach clubs 

in Santa Barbara, the Coral Beach club. The Coral Beach club is located directly in front of the hotel, has direct access to the beach, a great restaurant and a gigantic Olympic size racing lane swimming pool for all those preparing for a triathlon. Make sure to request a room at the hotel with a deck on the ground floor so you can soak in some sunshine at your room while you are sipping wine from their extensive list. And don't forget to check out the piano player in the Ty Lounge, off the Lobby, where you will see other couples like yourself having after dinner drinks and dancing the waltz and the fox trot; a perfect mood setter before you head back to your room.

3. Even though Napa Valley is the area of CA that people think of when there is mention of CA wines, Santa Barbara County has quite the wine selection as well. With over 100 vineyards in the region and over 21,000 acres, if you are a wine affectionato or just someone who likes to taste new wines, Santa Barbara is a great place to visit. You should get a map of all the vineyards from your hotel and pick a bunch that you want to go experience. A few great suggestions are places like Demetria where they encourage you to bring a picnic lunch and eat while you taste their wines. The setting at Demetria is quite breathtaking especially as you are driving up the long drive and take in the view of the 213 acres on the property. At Demetria, make sure to try the 2008 Viognier and the 2009 Grenache Rose. Additionally, Bridlewood is a lovely vineyard for romance. It is one of the more manicured vineyards in Santa Barbara, resembling a Napa Valley vineyard. Their tasting room on property is very modern and fully air conditioned which is key on the very hot days. Make sure to try their Syrah Dusty Trail wine.

4. While you are in the wine country, make sure to save time to explore the tiny little towns there like Los Olivos. In these towns, you will find many tasting rooms like one of my personal favorites, the Epiphany Cellars where the tasting was just $5 and they gave you 7 pours; don't miss their 2006 Petit Syrah, Rodney's Vineyard. Additionally, if you are a movie buff, you can hit a few places in this area that became famous in the 2004 hit movie, Sideways like Solvang. Solvang is set up as an authentic Danish town with all the trimmings and definitely worth the stop.

5. Before you leave the wine country, you must eat at the not to be missed, Hitching Post II also featured in Sideways. The Hitching Post II is a quintessential family style Steakhouse where the prices are very affordable, the portions are larger than large and things like the barbequed sautéed mushrooms and the grilled artichoke appetizers are not to be missed. (We couldn't stop eating the mushrooms!). Plus, the Angus Rib Chop is one of the best bone-in rib steaks you will ever have. You can choose one of their own wines, our favorite was the Pinot Noir Highlander. And try not to miss the Leroy Neiman-esque portrait hanging on the wall of very friendly owner, Frank Ostini

6. If you decide that you don't want to drive to wine country and prefer to stay local, don't miss the urban wine trail right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. You can get a map and go from tasting room to tasting room, comparing and contrasting the different wines that they have you taste right on premises. Usually for just $10, they give you 6 to 8 different pours of their newest and finest wines and will explain to you what you are tasting. This is a perfect low cost prelude to a romantic bubble bath back at your hotel. A few tasting rooms I would recommend are the Santa Barbara Winery where you must try the 2007 Santa Rita Hills Reserve Chardonnay, and Oreana Tasting Room where they have a terrific Zinfandel, the 2006 Oreana Zinfandel - Sugar Mountain Vineyard. 

7. Dining out in Santa Barbara can be quite the romantic experience. If you are there for a long weekend, spend one night finding romance under the stars, dining at the Stonehouse at the San Ysidro Ranch. It has a world renowned wine list, interesting and inventive appetizers like the Braised Short Rib Raviolis with Ricotta Salata, Spinach, Cipollini Onions, Organic Mushrooms, in a Chianti Cream Sauce and don't miss the dessert sampler so you can try their Belgium Chocolate Pot de Crème, Brown Butter Pecan Tart, as well as their Chocolate Lovers Banana Mascarpone Tart! Yum! Make sure to request a table out on the deck and ask to speak to the Sommelier who will help you pick the right wines to accompany your dining choices and he might even give you his own personal vineyard picks.

8. Spend a second night dining right in the town of Santa Barbara eating at Olio e Limone, one of the top Italian restaurants in Santa Barbara. The husband and wife owners are there every night making sure all their patrons are happy as they feast delectable dishes like Tagliolini del Campo (thin ribbon pasta, leeks, spinach, green beans and parmesan) or Scaloppine con Carciofi e Limone (thinly sliced veal cutlets with fresh artichoke hearts and lemon sauce) while sipping one of the local wines. And save time to go for a romantic stroll along State Street, the main street of Santa Barbara where you will find blocks and blocks kitschy one of a kind stores mixed in with some of the national chains.

9. Riding bicycles beachside along the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara is a great way to be outdoorsy, athletic and romantic at the same time. All over Santa Barbara you will find bicycle outfits where you both can rent beach cruisers to use for the day. However if you want to get some exercise while holding hands at the same time, you can rent a Surrey bike which looks like a car with pedals; you actually sit side by side and bicycle in tandem. This is a great photo opp that is fun and very romantic at the same time!