Should You Get Married Or Is Monogamy Enough For You?

(Originally appeared in the Huffington Post on March 18, 2013.)

You have been with your beau for awhile now. You are exclusive, boyfriend and girlfriend, you are known as a couple in your social circle and you might even live together. And all seems copasetic. However, society favors marriage over just being a couple which is why living together without marriage has the old nickname of "living in sin". So how do you know if you are meant to be a happily unwed person forever or if it's time for you to head to the altar? Here are some things to consider when trying to make that decision....

1. Do you personally believe in matrimony? Deep down before you became all modern, did you believe in matrimony and like the idea of marriage? If so, maybe it's time to get back to your roots and take the plunge.

2. Will matrimony make you feel safer and more secure in your relationship? After all, marriage is more permanent than just being in a relationship. As easy as it is to get a divorce these days, it still requires some effort to get one. You can't just curse each other out and never speak again like you can if you are in a relationship without the legalities.

3. Is there a reason why you are "living in sin" at the moment? Is it because that was the next step in your relationship trajectory and marriage is next and you have just been lazy, or is it because this is what you and your partner decided was right for both of you? When you ask this question, make sure that the answer is coming from yourself , not your partner.

4. Have you refrained from taking the plunge into matrimony because you are acommitmentphobe and marriage seems so much more permanent than cohabitation? Be honest with yourself about this and if you are just scared sh**less about taking that next step, talk to your partner or to a professional about your fears and maybe you can work through them.

5. Have you hesitated about walking down the aisle out of lack of desire to plan a wedding?
If this is the case and you actually would like to be married, go ahead and elope or just do the ceremony in front of a justice of the peace. Getting married is about the love you have for each other, not the party.

6. Have you stayed away from matrimony because deep down you are not sure that your significant other is the RIGHT significant other for you forever? If this is the real reason why you are "living in sin," maybe it's time to admit this and do something about it, instead of staying in the wrong relationship for even longer than you already have.

7. Are you scared of divorce? Are you one of those people who grew up in a divorced family and swore that when you got married, you would never get divorced? You need to take the pressure off yourself on this. Just because your parents got divorced, doesn't mean history will repeat itself. Stop getting ahead of yourself, and jinxing your relationship. Why not go in thinking positively that you are going to work on your relationship and make it last forever, and then maybe it will.

8. Are you holding yourself, your partner and your relationship to an impossible standard because you grew up with picture-perfect parents? If this is the case, cut yourself a break. Regardless of how you remember your childhood, chances are, your parents' relationship wasn't as perfect as you remember it. All relationships have their ups and downs and relationships take work. If you love the person you are with, go ahead and get married and make your own recipe for your great marriage which might be very different from that of your parents.

9. Are you scared that marriage might ruin your relationship? Don't pay attention to those annoying friends of yours who tell you that "getting married ruined their relationship." This is a lot of nonsense; if their relationship is ruined it's because they ruined it, not because they got a legal document that made them commit to each other.

10. Are you scared that your sex life will suffer or become non-existent if you get married? Your sex life is what you and your partner make of it, irrespective of whether you are married, living together or simply monogamous. You and your partner need to work to make your sex life interesting and fun and then it will not matter what classification you have on your relationship.

What other reasons do you have for not taking the plunge into the marital swimming pool?

Samantha Answers: What Is The Problem With Dating?

In New York City, there are too many choices of people to date and this makes it hard to focus on one person. Sometimes, girls are too obsessed about finding the most good-looking man, or the most successful man, instead of looking for their proper match.

It is best to look for someone with which you have a genuine connection, and really focus on him instead of focusing on all the other men who might be wealthier or better looking.

If you find a true connection with someone, hold on to them – connection is rare!

Celebrity Couplings And Breakups: 2012 In Review

Katie and Suri in New York
(Originally appeared In The Huffington Post, January 16, 2013.)

Now that 2012 is over, it's always interesting to look back and see what our favorite Hollywood couples have been doing in the romance department and make some predictions of what will happen in the year to come.

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise: They landed in Splitsville in June. It seems to be for the best for Katie as she has really taken to her new life in New York. I predict that her next guy is going to be a cool business guy and not a celebrity, but time will tell.

Taylor Swift and Conor Kennedy: They were going strong and everyone was wondering if Taylor was going to be socialite royalty as well as music royalty. Then they parted ways in October. Judging from the fact that she quickly canoodled with One Direction's Harry Styles and how beautiful and happy she looked at both the New Year's Eve ball drop and the Golden Globes, she doesn't seem worse for the wear. I think going into 2013, Taylor would be better served choosing a guy her own age or older if she is looking for a real and more appropriate relationship.

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth: Miley got engaged to Liam in June who is three years her senior. She seems happy, but I wish she could have waited a little longer to get engaged even though they have been together for awhile. She is very young and her taste in men could change dramatically as she continues to mature. My advice would be to let some more time pass before they walk down the aisle.

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds: These two Hollywood heartthrobs tied the knot quietly in October. I love these two together and I am sorry to say it, but I think it's quite a step-up for Blake from Lonely Boy.

Heidi Klum and Seal: They seemed like the Golden Couple until they announced their split in January. I personally thought their pairing was genus given they are both at the top of their game and famous yet in different industries (similar to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban). I wonder who's next for each of them.

Rihanna and Chris Brown: To the dismay of most of the country, this couple seemed to reconcile at least from her actions and what she said to Oprah in August. I worry for Rihanna and I hope that Chris Brown has been and continues to be in therapy for his anger management issues.

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West: Not long after Kim ended one of the shortest Hollywood marriages ever with Kris Humphries, Kim found comfort and attention in the arms of uber-musician, Kanye West. Now they are preggers and it sounds like on the way to the aisle. I think this one has more of a chance for success for Kim as long as she is careful to keep her relationship with him off of reality television.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis: This couple went from friends to lovers in 2012. They knew each other back in the day from That '70s Show. After Ashton waited the requisite amount of time to put distance from his split with Demi, he looked towards his old co-star Mila for some romance. This couple is still going strong and given that they are age-appropriate and started out as friends, I believe that this couple has a good chance for success.

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson: This couple bounced back and forth to and from each other like a ping pong ball. First she cheated, then he left, then he returned and now they are together. It's hard to work together and play together. Hopefully since they are in love, they learned their lesson and will try harder to keep it together this go-around.

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel: This on -again, off-again couple finally tied the knot in October. I commend Justin for finally making an honest woman out of Jessica. These two seem to work as a couple, however they need to really focus on making time for each other in light of their busy Hollywood schedules or their relationship might not be able to withstand the test of time.

Samantha Says: Wear Color On A Date

Many women think black is their safe color, especially in colder months. However, men really do prefer women who wear color. It makes them seem more light, more feminine, and more fun. So when you are getting ready for a big date, try adding a little color into your wardrobe, even if it is just as an accessory or a jacket.

Katy Perry Movie: A Part of Me

A Teenage Dream
Katy Perry has gone from singing in churches, to selling out world tours, to starring in her very own biographical 3D movie. A Part of Me shares behind the scenes footage from Katy's Teenage Dream world tour, including her dazzling performances and candid interviews.

In the movie, we see the popstar at her most exposed. Yet, she is still real and relatable. In one scene, she is caught minutes before she goes on stage, hysterically crying from the pressure of the show and the pending divorce of her marriage to Russell Brand.

Through tears and laughter she reveals her true self to her fans, coming across as a normal, fun girl living in a magical popstar bubble.

Check out when and where you can see the movie.

A Summer Dating Thought: A Romantic Picnic

Lovely summer picnic
The best dates are those where you  are really connecting with someone when you aren’t really doing anything and just spending time together.  Take a picnic, for example, you can sit in a pretty park with no other distractions and really get to know each other better. The best thing about a picnic is that it is just the two of you on your picnic blanket with food and drinks to share and no pesky waiter to interrupt your tranquility. 
Sunny day in Hudson River Park

If you don’t feel like cooking, Perfect Picnic NYC is a great alternative.. This company offers you the choice of  European and American style picnics, to be delivered to wherever you are having your picnic (a park, apartment or on a rooftop). And for location choices, don’t discount Central Park because you have been there so many times, it is still one of the most romantic places in the city with all it nooks and crannies for private little interludes. Hudson Park along the Hudson River spans for miles and beautiful this time a year. Go ahead and grab a blanket!

A Summer Read: Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter is a perfect summer read to enjoy on the beach or in the park on a warm day. The book opens in 1962, where an Italian innkeeper spots a beautiful, young, woman approaching him, on a boat. Through the introduction of unforgettable characters, and a story that spans fifty years, Walters tells the story of the innkeeper, searching for his long lost love, the beautiful woman he saw years before. 

The book continues to the modern day, and places its characters everywhere from the set of Cleopatra, to an arts festival in Scotland. This story of love and hope will keep you entertained from beginning to end.

A Romantic Movie Date: Titanic Is Back In 3D

Jack and Rose on the 'Ship of Dreams'
If you are looking for a romantic movie date this Spring, look no further than the re-release of James Cameron's 1997 movie, Titanic. Cuddle up to your date while you watch the love that blossom between Jack and Rose while they voyage on the ‘unsinkable’ Ship of Dreams. Watching Jack fight for Rose, until she admits her own feelings for him, will make you remember watching it for the first time 15 years ago. The 3D movie is being released in April, to mark the unfortunate 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

The dramatic and emotional parts of the movie seem even more real in 3D, giving you an excuse to hold onto your dates arm throughout the entire movie.

Spring Style Pick: Bright Colored Wedges

Stylish Dolce Vita Wedges 
Not only are wedges very comfortable, they are also very stylish and totally in season for spring and summer. They are the perfect shoes for Spring, because they can be worn with jeans, skirts and shorts, so even if the sun isn’t shining, you can still wear them. Also, a peep-toe style, gives you the perfect excuse to start getting ready for the warm weather and get a pedicure. 

Bright colored wedges are fun, and will stand out, whatever you’re wearing. Black and nude styles are perfect for the office, and they will match almost anything. And guys are very attracted to women who seem tall but who are also wearing sexy shoes. Coming into stores in a variety of styles you can guarantee you’ll get a pair to match almost any outfit. Dolce Vita have a great selection of bright, stylish and practical pairs. Go grab a pair of wedges, and walk comfortably into summer!

Samantha's Dating Thought-Add More Fun to Date Night!

Tired of the same old date night at a local restaurant? Well, head to a comedy club instead! Whether you prefer improvisations or stand-up comedy, there is something for all personalities to enjoy. Comedy clubs usually serve dinner and can provide a more intimate setting between you and your beau because you will be sharing many laughs and whispering about how funny the performances are. If you want to plan ahead, do some research and see when your favorite comedians are in town. Most comedy clubs feature large tables so gather your old friends to share a great time had by all! You and your honey will be sure to remember all the laughs you shared which, in turn, will strengthen your relationship and improve your bond with each other.

Samantha's Book Pick- Steamy Beach Read

Fake Perfect Me

Cari Kamm's first novel features Isabella Reynolds, a party girl who lives a life of luxury in New York City. For most people, she seems to live the perfect life; she has a rich, Italian boyfriend, lots of fabulous friends and started her own successful skin care line. As you read on, cracks appear in the surface of Isabella's seemingly perfect life. Isabella learns the truth that nobody is perfect and nobody can have it all. Isabella's experiences represent something to which every reader can relate. Once you pick this book up, it will definitely be hard to put it down!

Samantha's Do Good Pick- If it makes you happy

Robin Hood rocks Sheryl Crow

This past weekend, the Robin Hood foundation hosted a fabulous soiree to raise money to help poverty stricken people in New York. Not only were there over 400 people who were socializing and networking but the main act was none other than Sheryl Crow who sang for over 2 hours. She sang all of our old faves like "If it makes you happy" "All I wanna Do" and "The first cut is the deepest" and then she sang some new songs as well as a few romantic ballads with Citizen Pope. The song was outstanding and Sheryl looked like the Rock Star she is- cool and sexy. If you didn't make it to this event, definitely keep an eye out for it next year!

Samantha's Restaurant Pick- Asian fusion anyone


I recently tried this restaurant and let me tell you, it was yummy. It is located on the ground floor of the Duane Street Hotel and its definitely worth a try. Ir is the newest restaurant from Jehangir Mehta, the owner of the small plates restaurant, Graffiti.    They categorize Mehtaphor as asian fusion, indian, eclectic and small plates; I know, that's sounds like too many types of food. However, whatever you want to call it, the food works. Don't miss the Shrimp Ceviche appetizer, the sauce is divine. And Shaved Fois Gras with the Raspberry Compote was just right, served with a side of the most succulent salad; I have no idea what they put on those greens but I literally had to order an extra plate of just the lettuces! And the Banana Leaf Cod with Green Chutney was the perfect mix of sweet and a little spicy. Then, the Hazelnut Souffle was the right ending for this meal. Two words of caution when going here, go for the food, not for quiet conversation; this place is very noisy, fun and upbeat, but noisy. Second, make sure to request an actual table or you might wind up at the bar or the common table. Enjoy!

Samantha's Do Good Pick- Entrepreneurial Endeavors

Endeavor Organization

There are a lot of do good organizations out there these days so it takes a lot to capture a philanthropist attention. And the Endeavor Organization does just that, makes everyone sit up and take notice. This organization helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets start or grow their companies all with an eye towards creating more job and economic growth for the country. The organization started in 1997 and since that time have expanded into over 10 emerging markets. I learned all of this at the very lovely event they hosted in New York City where they honored the entrepreneurs who founded the Gilt Groupe. Notable  people like Edgar Bronfman Jr.,  Paula Zahn and Nicholas Beim were in attendance. And the evening's entertainment was sexy crooner, Bruno Mars who sang all his hits songs including my favorite song, Just the Way You Are!

Samantha's Restaurant Pick- Midtown Meals

Casa Lever

I recently returned to Casa Lever for dinner. This hotspot is located in the Lever Building on 53rd Street right of Park Avenue. It is a great place for a date if you are trying to impress her with food . The food was yummy. I had an amazing Carciofi salad first which had hearts of palm, artichokes of course and baby arugula with shaved and a light but tasting dressing, then we went to one of their signature dishes, Tagliatelle Bolognese with veal ragout and the main course was scrumptous Sardinian-style lamb served with polenta and a wine reduction. Then, we even saved room for a nibble of their Gianduia dessert, one of my favorites because I love hazelnuts. The food was top notch. One word of caution, if you are service snob, this might not be the place for you- the staff was very confused- bringing the wrong dishes and drinks to tables, stuttering over reciting the specials and just not as attentive as you would think they would be at a place of this stature. I am hopeful it was just an off night because the food is not to be missed!

Samantha's Dating Thought--- Should all married men wear rings?

Men and Rings

Recently on Facebook, a single girl posted an entry about married men hitting on her, a lot and that she thought that all married men should have to wear wings to give the single gals a hint that they are unavailable. Not a bad idea in theory but will that really solve the problem? Isn't the ring just a symbol and don't we see plenty of men who are wearing a ring still flirting? Moreover, don't we see too many women flirting back even with the ring clad man? In reality, shouldn't it really be all about the men and how they present themselves to the world at large?

Samantha's Event Pick- Ping Pong for a Cause

The Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund

I recently attended a ping pong event for the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer fund at the hot spot, Spin. The room was packed with young social creatures, all turning out for the cause. Great place to meet someone, all for a great cause. There was a tournament going on in the middle of the room  between the Super women- Breast cancer survivors and Super Models. And people were playing pick-up ping pong games all over the room. Then Kelly Dooley was there peddling her Bodyrock Sportsline all for the cause. I even got a photo with Stephen Baldwin. Make sure to come out for the next one...

Samantha's Restaurant Pick- Go French all Fall

Many people quickly forget about the Hamptons and all its hype after Labor Day. However for those of you like myself who love it out there in the fall, go back to Pierre’s in Bridgehampton. It is open 7 days a week all winter long and the meal I had this past weekend was truly one of the yummiest I have had in a long time. From the second you walk inside, it’s very cozy and oh so romantic- perfect lighting, a divine smell, a french feeling  (but without the snobbery),and a perfect climate temperature. You just feel at home. And both the lamb and the chicken main dishes were out of this world We literally couldn’t get enough. And you can actually get a table and have a little chit chat with Pierre himself at this time of year.  I can’t wait to eat there again!

Samantha's Movie Pick- When you least expect it...

Life As We Know It

This movie definitely looks like a chick flick from the previews but I screened it this week and yes, its a chick flick but it's funny and heartwarming so even a "dude" can enjoy it.  Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel have great chemistry and then there's that super hotty, Josh Lucas who finishes off the love triangle. Plus the movie has an unexpected twist that the previews don't mention that makes it interesting and fun.  Its certainly worth a look-see when it opens on Friday and its a great movie with which to barter, "I will go see it, if I can do Monday night football with the guys!"

Samantha's "I'm impressed" Pick-- Pink football

NFL and Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Most people think of football as a male sport. And many women curse the NFL for taking their men away from them all day Sunday, Sunday night, Monday night and now Thursday night. Well ladies, even though you might be a football widow during the fall, curse the NFL no longer because the NFL has made a truly impressive commitment to Breast Cancer. If you watch a football game anytime during the month of October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, everywhere you look, you will see breast cancer pink. Their hope is to raise breast cancer awareness.  The players are wearing pink cleats, pink sweat-rags, pink gloves, there are pink footballs and there are even pink lines of scrimmage on the field. And all the apparel worn by the players and coaches as well as all the paraphernalia will be auctioned off at NFL Auction. Make sure to tune in !