Great NY restaurant- Romantic With An Old-World Feel

If you are looking for an excellent and unique place in what is usually staid- midtown, try Bill's Food & Drink.

I do not know what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn't expecting this gem. The restaurant is housed in an elegant town-home. The bar. with just the right amount of lighting, is on the main floor, right as you first walk in. You head upstairs for the main dining- a modern room but with a cozy feel.  And then there is a parlour room on the floor above for private dinner or to have an intimate drink on a comfy couch in front of another bar. We had the Halibut which was superb as as a yummy heirloom tomato salad and a tasty Kale salad. This place is a great date place. I highly recommend it.

10 Tips For Finding Romance On Halloween

Halloween is a great time of year if you're single and looking for a new romantic interest. Everyone is out and about, in a good mood and ready to have a fun evening. In fact, Halloween might be the best night of the entire year to meet someone and find some lovin', so grab a costume or a mask and get out there. Here are some tips on how to make the most of the evening and meet someone great:
Choose a costume that will
elicit compliments.

1. If you're going to a costume party, you must wear a costume, no matter what; no excuses. If you can't get into the Halloween spirit, chances are that you will not be meeting anyone. (Nobody wants a party pooper!) If you're having a really hard time, think of your costume as a way to get out of your shell and a way to become the person you always wanted to be. Think Clark Kent and Superman. Use your disguise to be daring, bold and flirty.

2. Choose a costume that makes you look and feel great so that you can confidently make the rounds at that party. Choose something that flatters your figure, makes you feel sexy and is fun to wear. Nothing is better than people telling you how great you look, so choose something that will elicit those compliments. Some ideas are a Sexy Fairy, a Foxy Lady or the Queen of the Nile.

3. Don't choose a costume that is over-the-top scary or grotesque. It's one thing to be a vampire or a zombie from The Walking Dead, but it is another thing to have bugs crawling all over you or to be carrying a severed, bloody leg. This is the night to be sexy and interesting, not creepy and awful.

4. Don't choose a costume that is so odd that it will scare people away. If you can't explain your costume in one sentence or less, choose something else. You don't want someone to be curious about what you are, only to be frightened away by your oddness. Examples of some no-no's are Pregnant Tinkerbell or a Wet Shirt Lady.

5. If you are stumped on an original costume, go with a play on words. A play on words costume is a great conversation starter, as people have to walk up to you and ask you what you are, and you can flirt with them while they try to guess. Some examples of good one are a Cat Burglar, Chick Magnet, White on Rice, Cereal Killer or Spice Rack.

6. Don't choose a costume that requires you to be with a pack of people all night to pull it off. You do not want to be the whole bag of M&Ms or the cast of Glee because you will spend the whole night parading around with the group instead of meeting someone new.

7. If you're looking for an excuse to approach someone who you want to meet, just compliment their costume. Everyone loves to be told that their costume is awesome. Use this to your advantage and march on up to that cutie and say you love his disguise. You will have him eating out the palm of your hand.

8. Choose a party that is not too large and crowded. It's tempting to go to the party that is boasting a 1,500-person turnout with an all-night open bar and a celebrity DJ, but that will only be a see and be seen party. Choose something a little more intimate so you can meet someone and actually get to know them.

9. Pace yourself with your drinking. It's okay to lose your inhibitions a little bit, but it is not okay to lose your mind completely. People sometimes stir up a little mischief on Halloween, so be aware and be alert. Never leave your drink alone when you head to the dance floor.

10. If you are interested in someone, get their email or cell number early on so they don't disappear in the sea of costumes. It's hard to keep track of people at a Halloween party because people get camouflaged by all the costumes. So, if you are interested, exchange digits quickly, so you can be in touch come November.

Who Should These Hollywood Bachelors Date?

I recently helped contribute to a really fun article for The Nest, "9 Celeb Match-Ups We Wish Were Real" by Kristin Koch.

If you'd like to know why I would match up these celebrities, click here to read the article!

10 Types of Friends Who Are Toxic to Your Dating Life

(Originally appeared on The Huffington Post on May 17, 2013.)

Have you ever wondered if you have friends in your life who are inhibiting you from meeting a great guy? Have you ever really considered which of your friends are truly good friends to you, like you are to them, and have your real best interests at heart? There is something to be said for going out on the town with the right kind of friends, friends who care about you, want you to meet someone great and help you look and feel your very best. If you are truly serious about meeting the One, it's time to take stock of your gals and get rid of these toxic friend types:
Are your friends hurting your dating life?

Miss Centerstage: This girl somehow always finds a way to make her stuff and herself seem better than whatever you have going on, especially when guys are around. She is the friend who shows up right as he is asking you for your number and makes herself seemmuch more interesting than you. And, then he promptly forgets all about you. Even on YOUR birthday, she figures out how to get all the attention. This girl is blowing your rap, so now you need to blow her out of your social circle.

Miss I Already Dated That Guy: This girl has been around the block a few times when it comes to dating. She has been out with just about every guy there is and she has somechoice words to share about each and every one of them. The result is that you fail to pursue many men because she "knows that you will never like him." This girl is not good for your posse; you need to make your own observations about the men you meet.

Miss Can't Handle Her Booze: This girl is basically a drunk, even as she sits there innocently sipping her white wine spritzer. She is always making a huge scene and needsmucho attention. Eventually, she scares off all the men. You know what you should doabout this friend.

Miss Blabbermouth: This girl just cannot keep a secret. She doesn't understand girl codeor the definition of the word private. This girl is a walking time bomb because you never know what is going to come out of her mouth that might embarrass you or put you in an awkward situation. If you keep this friend in your life, be very careful about the things you tell her, so you don't get caught in a big heap of dog-do.

Miss Always Having A Blonde Moment: This girl is a ditz regardless of her hair color. She has said,
"Oops, I didn't even think of that," one too many times, especially when she is around men. You have a brain and you want men to respect you, so don't let this girl pull you down.

Miss Finds Fault In Everything: This girl is hypercritical. There is rarely a time that she thinks her surroundings, the people around her and especially you passes muster. And because she is so critical, she comes across soooo negative. Men hate negative. Do you need a girl in your circle who makes you feel like crap and tramples on your confidence?

Miss The Sky Is Falling Down: This girl is always going through the world's largest issue except that it is usually a big deal only to her. Her problems seem to always become everyone else's problems, especially yours which makes her tiring to you and to men whom you might date. Of course, if she had a real problem, you would be there for her in a heartbeat, but don't let her "dramas" get in the way of your dating.

Miss Too Pretty: This girl has done nothing wrong other than the fact that she born beautiful. Everyone, including you, is drawn to her, but the question is can they take their eyes off her long enough to notice you standing right next to her? She is a good guy magnet as long as she is willing to share the wealth. This is NOT a friend to get rid of, but you might need to have a heart to heart with her, so that you can devise a system for your socializing together.

Miss Desperate For A Man: This girl is crazed to meet the One. It's as if she has the worddesperate stamped on her forehead because men see her coming from a mile away. This is NOT a good look for you because the kind of men you want to date are not interested in desperate, insecure women. Relegate this friend to Sunday night movie night.

Miss Ditches You The Second She Finds A Guy: This girl is a fairweather friend, to say the least. She seems to be there for you, makes plans with you, invites you places until she meets a guy and then she disappears into thin air. You deserve a friend who is friends with you even when she has a boyfriend.

Can you think of any other types of friends who are toxic to dating?

Samantha's Dating Tip: Spring Clean Your Dating Life

Spring is definitely in the air. As you clean your closets and put away your gloves and hats, think about  what you could be doing to clean up your dating life. Here are five tips:

  • Over the winter, did you go on a first date with someone about whom you couldn't make up your mind? Consider shooting him a text about meeting up again. You could find that your chemistry heats up with the warmer weather. 
  • Is there someone in your dating life who you continue to see even though you know it cannot, or should not, go anywhere? Throw off the weight of winter and sever ties with this person. Spring is a time for fresh starts. 
  • If you broke up with someone during the winter, use spring as an excuse to chase away your winter blues and become proactive about finding a great new guy. Let all of your friends and family know that you are ready to be set up with any eligible bachelors that they may know. 
  • Can you think of someone you met in the past few months that you are interested in, but he might not know? Take a chance and send him a flirty Facebook message. With some spring in your step, you might just land the man of your dreams. 
  • If you started seeing someone during the colder months and things are going well, think about the next steps you could be taking in your relationship. Plan a springtime getaway, or find a summer vacation rental to go in on together.

Samantha's Dating Thought: Are You Spending Too Much Time With Married Friends?

Are you spending too
much time with your
married friends?

If you're single and looking for love, it's important to put yourself out there in as many situations as possible where you can meet other singles. This means not hanging out with your married friends all of the time.

This does not mean that you have to kick all of your married friends out of your life. However, it does mean that you should not be spending your Friday nights dining in with them.

If all of your close friends have already gotten hitched, you can always ask them to introduce you to any other single friends they may who that are also looking to go out and meet other singles. When you're on the hunt for Mr. Right, it's always a good idea to expand your social circle!

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?

Samantha’s Dating Thought: How Do Finances Change When You Move In Together?

A lot of people wonder whether their finances will get better or worse if and when they move in with their significant other. Here are a few things to consider:

  • You will be sharing the costs of all the utilities in the home, so this will mean more money in your pocket each month. However, the two of you need to discuss how these expenses are going to get paid and who is taking care of them.
  • You will discover very quickly that your spending habits aren't exactly similar even though the two of you tend to live similarly. For example, you might want to have a DVR in every room in your house whereas your partner thinks one for the whole house is sufficient. Or, he might want the heat or AC to be on all day, even when no one is home, whereas you always were in the habit to turning it off when you leave for work. This is okay as long as you discuss this and determine how the two of you are going to deal with the small differences that you discover.
  • You will need to decide who is going to be the one who pays the bills, as in, who is going to write the checks, push send on the online banking site, etc. It is usually better for just one of you to take care of this task, so that nothing falls through the cracks.
  • It is always a good idea to put together a budget. It doesn't have to be fancy or super detailed, but, by doing this, at least the two of you can see what's what, what you have, what you want to put away to save for the future and what kind of lifestyle is the right lifestyle for the two of you to be living without ending up in debt.
  • Regardless of how you are going to divy up the expenses, it is always a good idea to get a joint bank account that is ear-marked for household expenses. In this way, you don't have to have a discussion, every time you need more toilet paper, need to pay the housekeeper or need to do a grocery run. Make sure that you set parameters on how you use the joint account so there are no surprises.

What other changes did you notice in your finances when you moved in with your love?

What Your Drink Order Says About You on a Date

I was recently included in a great article on"What Your Drink Order Says About You on a Date" by Marcy Franklin. Below is an excerpt of some of my advice. Be sure to check out the rest of the article!

"Tipping is a must: 'Part of [the bartender’s] income is his tips,' says Samantha Daniels, dating expert and the owner of the matchmaking website 'If you don’t tip, it’s definitely noticeable.'"

A Matchmaker's Guide to Unique and Inexpensive Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

(Originally appeared in the Huffington Post, February 12, 2013.)

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, everyone is scrambling to come up with the right gift for their sweetheart. In my expert opinion, the right gift is all about being thoughtful with sentiment, understanding your audience and picking something unique. Plus, with today's topsy-turvy financial markets, focusing on "it's the thought that counts" is certainly acceptable in lieu of breaking your piggy bank.

Here are ten of my favorite gifts this year:

The tabCoosh
  • If your beau is an iPad junkie, why not get him or her a unique iPad cover? If you can't get him off that thing, at least you can make sure he is comfortable while using it. Check out the tabCoosh, the pillow for the iPad or Kindle.
  • If your sweetie runs around in flip-flops all the time, why not grab her some jeweled Sassy Clips? They are pretty and will work with a pair of flip-flops she already owns.
  • If your significant other loves music, why not get a great iPhone speaker? This way, instead of each of you listening to music on your own, you can more romantically listen together. Check out the Heartbeatz if you want to be all cutesy, or check out the Sonic if you want to get something unusual.
  • If you are always stumped on which Hallmark card to choose, why not go anti-card this year and make your gift be your card? If you get him the Boogie Board, you can write him a sweet card right on it and then he gets to keep the erasable tablet as a gift.
  • If your honey is all into sweets, instead of going that same old chocolate route, why not send her some gourmet marshmallows? Check out Mitchmallows and pick one of the many delectable flavors.
  • If your love is a bit of a klutz and finds him or herself constantly dropping their iPhone,go ahead and grab her a FlyGrip with a cool design on it. This gets attached to the back of your iPhone and allows you to grip it like a ring. And if he is on his phone so much that it constantly dies before you can reach him, go ahead and get him the Big Piggy Bank Power Bank case.
  • If you are planning to have your amour over for a romantic dinner a deux, why not buy some disposable placemats from Plat du Jour to serve on? You can write her sweet nothings right on the mat each and every time you serve a course.
  • If your guy or gal loves to go on picnics or sip wine on the beach, why not get a funky chilled wine or beer cooler from Bella Vita with their favorite bubbly in it. And then, the two of you can make a night of it.
Native Union Bluetooth Headset
  • If you want to go with jewelry, the always classic and lovely Valentine's Day gift, it's always smart to go with a unique piece that gels with your gals taste. Check out these interesting and one of a kind pieces from Pauletta Brooks.

Samantha Says: Stop Wasting Time When Dating

When you are looking  for someone with whom to to build a life, you need to be realistic as to which relationships have a higher probability of going somewhere, and which do not. 

You don’t want to waste three years dating a guy who isn’t ready to settle down, because at the end of those three years, you will be no closer to your goal of getting married and you will feel like you wasted a lot of time. 

Is Courtship Dead?

The cover story for this weekend’s New York Times Style Section asked readers if traditional dating rituals have all but died  amongst today’s younger generations. Is dinner and a movie, where the man picks up the bill, a relic of the past? 
Has texting made dating more casual?

Amongst today’s twenty-somethings, casual hookups and group hangouts have replaced the old traditions of dating. This change is the product of several cultural transformations, including the advent of the email and text (which are less formal and require less courage than a phone call), the rise of online dating services (which mean singles have more dating options than ever before), and changing economic dynamics between guys and gals (many women are earning more than their male counterparts). 

If this phenomenon concerns you, here's three tips:

1. Make it clear to your suitor that you won’t accept anything less than a proper date.

2. If you must  go out on a group date, try to steal your guy away from the crowd for some personal one-on-one time.

3. Suggest a less expensive date, like a movie and an ice cream instead of a full-blown dinner.  

Samantha's Dating Tip: Romance in a Blackout

Are you stuck in your New York apartment without power thanks to Hurricane Sandy? Don't despair. It may be dark and cold, and your iPad may have run out of juice, but, nonetheless, a blackout can be really fun and romantic if you have the right outlook about it. 

Lower Manhattan is dark. 
First of all, have you noticed how everyone looks especially good in candlelight? It's true, and that can boost your confidence (and your physical attraction to your partner). Also, without the distraction of electronic devices, you're going to have to make your own fun. Play a board game or a card game with your beau (strip poker, anyone?) and you'll revel in a new way to enjoy each others' company. Furthermore, when it's dark and freezing, sometimes the only thing to do is the cuddle up under a blanket and open a bottle of wine. Now that's romantic. 

If you don't already have someone with whom to snuggle up, why not find a local bar or restaurant that is still open and operating with gas stoves and candles? It seems that the hurricane has instilled a sense of camaraderie amongst New Yorkers so you'll have a common bond with anyone you meet. It's never been this easy to strike up a conversation with someone new!

How To Tell If Your Summer Fling Is The Real Thing

Summer is a prime time to fall in love. The days are long and the nights are warm. Your bronzed skin and beachy hair make you feel especially sexy. And, wearing skimpy clothing is perfectly dignified and socially acceptable. It’s no wonder that romance seems to particularly spark in this season. 

Is your summer fling meant to last?
However, not all summer loves are meant to last. Here are some tips to help you decipher if your relationship is built to endure through the fall and beyond, or if you should fling your beau to the curb on Labor Day.

It might be just a fling if: 
  • You find yourself looking forward to your return to “real-life”
  • You don't know his middle name, or other basic information about him
  •  You can’t picture him without his tan and surfboard
It might be the real thing if:
  • You have met his buddies, or better yet, his family
  • You spend time together doing normal things, like cooking dinner or watching a movie on the couch
  • You are already planning a couples Halloween costume 
So what are you going to do with your summer love?

An Interview With I-ELLA

The holiday of love is behind us, and if you didn't have a Valentine's this time around maybe this article will help! Matchmaker Samantha Daniels knows a lot about what it takes to find the perfect person for you (she’s helped 126 couples get married), and fashion has a lot to do with it! Check out what Samantha – also the author ofMatchbook: The Dairy of a Modern-Day Matchmaker and co-creator of the former TV series “Miss Match” – has to say about the secret to looking great and feeling great on your first date. 

I-ELLA: Tell us a little about your background and how you got into the matchmaking business:
Samantha:  I was a divorce attorney, and on the side, I was throwing parties for my single friends. Because I wanted to be a good hostess, at the parties, I would always introduce people to each other so that they would know each other and they would have more fun. And so, I found that I had a photographic memory for names and faces and I could remember that she was from Chicago and he was from Chicago and they both liked to play tennis, so I would bring them to meet each other just to be a good hostess. 

I-ELLA: What’s the secret to connecting? What’s the essence of it?
Samantha: What I do is I listen to people. I kind of get a sense of their energy, what they enjoy, what they don’t enjoy, what their life is like, and then I pick people for them that have sort of that same outlook, that same energy, who I really see clicking. It’s about laughing at the same jokes, finding the same things to be annoying, continually having that unspoken language between the two people. 

I-ELLA: How does fashion relate to what you do as a matchmaker?
Samantha: I think that when you’re dating, you really only get one chance to make a good first impression, so it’s really important what you’re wearing and, most importantly, that you feel good in what you’re wearing. Because if you don’t feel good in what you’re wearing, then even though it might be the trendiest, most fashionable thing, you’re there spending so much time wondering, “How do I look? Does it fit me? Do I look good? Does it work for me?” and you’re not really putting your best foot forward. So when I give fashion advice for people when they’re going out on dates, we talk about trends and what’s in and what’s hip, but at the same time we talk about what works for them and what they feel really comfortable and confident in, because that’s going to make them be the most flirtacious and the most beautiful to the guy.

I-ELLA: What kind of fashion advice, if any, do you give to your clients when they go on dates? Are there first-date fashion rules that ladies should follow?
Samantha: First of all,
you should always have that go-to outfit in your closet that you know you look really good in and that you’re comfortable in, because that way, if you’re having one of those days and you don’t know what to put on, you have that to grab and you know you can put it on and you look good. At the same time, you want to pick something that’s sexy, that you feel sexy in, but that’s not too over the top. 

I-ELLA: What are a few of your first date outfit picks?
Samantha: I like a woman to dress in a feminine way. I think she should wear color. So many men tell me that they’re not attracted to women who wear black, and a lot of women feel like they should wear black because they look good in it and it’s simple and it’s classic. But I can’t tell you how many men say, “I’m not attracted to women in black. They look like they’re going to a funeral.” Men a lot of times think women look older when they’re wearing black, so the advice that I give is always a color, pick a color in the rainbow. As we all know, loving fashion, there are all different shades of colors – fall, winter, spring, summer – so you need to pick colors that work for you, but I think that people look different when they’re wearing colors and it makes them pop and it makes them seem happier and brighter.

I-ELLA: How would you define your personal style?
Samantha: I’m very into ‘60s and ‘70s vintage clothing and handbags.  I have a very extensive handbag collection of ‘60s and ‘70s designer bags and whimsical fun bags. So a lot of times I’m looking to my handbags first, and then building clothing around that. I think that my style is a combination of ‘60s conservative with a little L.A. funkiness. I bring together a lot of different pieces, so I’ll go and find a great vintage coat and then I’ll have a vintage handbag, but then I’ll buy a modern pair of shoes or a great piece of jewelry and I mix it all together. I think my style is very eclectic, but I’m always picking things that I think look good on me and that are very unique. That’s why I really like the stuff that’s on I-ELLA because everything is one-of-a-kind.  

I-ELLA: Are there any designers or celebrities you look to for fashion advice or inspiration?
Samantha: I look to the fashion of the past. I don’t really look at any current designers right now because I like to be very unique. However, I love vintage Roberta DiCamerino and vintage Carlos Falchi handbags. I also love Courreges and Pauline Trigere vintage coats and clothing.

I-ELLA: How often do you edit your closet? Do you have any tips for our members?
Samantha: If there’s something that just doesn’t work for you anymore, then you have to get rid of it. However, we all go through cycles. We like it one day and we hate it the next. That's why it is always important to keep those classic pieces, because you never know when they will come back in style!

I-ELLA: What are your three rules to live by?
Samantha: You have to be willing to take risks. As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that you have to go for what you want to go for, and even if there are naysayers around you – which there always are – if you feel passionate about something, then you have to go for it because that’s how you get what you want. 

You always have to be ready to take apples and make apple sauce. If you have a problem while you’re working, you can’t give up. You just have to spin it another way and just take the apples and make a different kind of sauce.

Be confident in yourself. A lot of times, people aren’t sure about what they’re trying to do and it’s easier to take the straight and narrow path as opposed to taking this convoluted, unusual path. But there’s so many rewards when you create something that someone else didn’t create.

I-ELLA: Any final dating or fashion advice?
Samantha: In order to start dating, you have to feel good about yourself. A lot of times, fashion helps women feel good about themselves. Pick out items that really enhance who you are as a person so that when you go out dating, you can put your best foot forward. 

Grew up in Philly and lived in L.A. for 4 years, has helped 126 couples get married (and buys herself a handbag every time a couple gets together!), also has a book out (Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern-Day Matchmaker), make fashion your friend!; also created a TV show (“Miss Match)

If you want more information on Samantha Daniels and her matchmaking service visit her website

Samantha's article pick- Happen Magazine- Health Conscious Date ideas

by Jennifer Nelson

s non-stop dating contributing negatively to your health? Downing too many fat-laden restaurant dinners, ice cream cones and smoothies, or buckets of popcorn at the movie theater can do that, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are plenty of healthier date options, so save more traditional food-centric dates for special occasions and up your healthy date ante. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

1. Learn how to juggle.
"We all know that laughter is important in a romantic relationship," says Heather Wolf, an ACE certified personal trainer and founder and CEO of JuggleFit LLC in Gulf Breeze, FL. If you're newly dating and still need ways to break the ice, taking a juggling class together will not only elicit smiles and laughter, it'll break down any walls by bringing the two of you to a level playing field where you're both dropping the balls and working things out. When a couple learns to juggle together, it helps them not take like too seriously.

This kind of edginess makes the interaction exciting.
2. Do a "danger date" for an endorphin rush.
Dates where you're taking a trapeze lesson, bungee jumping, skydiving or white-water rafting can provide a kind of super-adventurous (and slightly dangerous) good time while creating an instant bond. "Anytime the two of you do something unusual that is scary or thrilling, it creates a different kind of chemistry," says Samantha Daniels, a professional matchmaker for over 10 years. Heart-pumping, bloodcurdling fear factor dates provide a feel-good high, help you connect with your date and create instant chemistry all at once due to the endorphin rush. But be careful, says Daniels: "You still have to do your due diligence to make sure the person is right for you on other levels." 

3. Play a competitive sport.
Tennis, racquetball, or bowling can make for a high-spirited activity date. "This kind of edginess makes the interaction exciting, stimulating and novel, which have been proven to keep the romance alive," says Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress(Wiley & Sons). It's a great way to get to know someone without any rationalizations or verbiage to hide behind. Observe your date's defense, offense and unpredictable moves while you play. Plus, the exhilaration exercise brings increases one's libido and spontaneity. If your date is a sore loser, restore harmony by betting on the outcome of the game with the winner's fantasy acted out or another steamy win/win prize. 

4. Walk for a cause.
Most couples have a cause that's near and dear to their hearts. One of you may have lost a loved one to cancer or heart disease, or maybe you're both passionate about politics or animal rights. Most non-profit and political organizations sponsor athletic events to help raise money and awareness. "By deciding to participate in a cause-sponsored walk, bike ride or other athletic event with your significant other, you have the opportunity to dig deeper during your date time and bond over something you both care about," says Laura Williams, a fitness expert in Stayton, OR. Plus, this type of shared goal can help you start creating "we stories" as a couple — as in, "we help raise money for cancer."

5. Hit the farmer's market and prepare a healthy meal with your purchases.
"What's so much fun about going to a farmer's market is learning about new foods, how they are grown or produced, and getting to know the people who grew or produced them," says Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian in Rye Brook, NY. Speak to the food artisans and farmers, learn about a new produce variety, and purchase some ingredients to prepare a meal. Ask about your date's food preferences and eating style, which says a lot about someone's personality. In the kitchen, work as a team rather than using the "divide and conquer" approach. "The focus should be on working together," says Begun.

6. Volunteer to walk dogs at an animal shelter.
Though most shelter organizations require their volunteers to submit applications, attend orientations and complete training before being allowed to handle or walk their dogs, you can plan it in advance. "Doing any kind of charity work 

Doing any kind of charity work together lessens the usual date pressures.
together lessens the usual date pressures by placing the focus elsewhere," says Roxanne Hawn, an author whose website,, won DogTime Media's Best Dog Blog Award in 2010. It also gives you a chance to practice teamwork, which is crucial in any lasting relationship. "The bonus of a volunteer date involving animals is that you can gauge your date's level of empathy and patience," says Hawn. This is especially important for people who love pets or who plan to have kids. Volunteering at an animal shelter can give you a real sense of whether your date truly loves animals or is merely faking it to win your affections. Plus, a few hours spent walking shelter dogs is great exercise — and good karma.

7. Take dance lessons and then go out dancing.
"Dancing is a fantastic way to burn calories, exercise the heart, gain leg, arm, abdominal strength, move the body in multiple directions and most importantly, have fun," says Monique Hollowell, CEO of Lafemme Mobile Gym in Sacramento, CA. Dancing to five songs burns about 150 calories. Latin rhythmic salsa dancing is one of the best calorie-burning options due to its repetitive foot coordination, torso/hip rotations and arm movements. "It's fantastic for partners due to the enhanced awareness you must have between each other to do the right moves," says Hollowell.

8. Join a yoga or Krav Maga class.
"Taking a class is not only a great way to get to know someone, but to truly see if you are compatible with that person," says Barbara Neitlich, a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. It challenges your relationship in a way that going out to dinner never will. Anyone can behave like prince (or princess) charming on a dinner date. However, in taking a class (such as yoga or Krav Maga) that challenges mind, body and spirit, you're evaluating whether this is someone you want to be with long-term. Classes like these allow you to see how your date does outside of his or her comfort zone and whether this person is resilient, patient and willing to take on new challenges.

9. Book a joint session with a personal trainer.
"Regular exercise can not only boost your confidence, which can help when attempting to meet your prospective partner, it can also increase your mood, which can help you keep your current partner," says Travis Steffen, exercise physiologist and founder of If you're training for something like a half-marathon, you'll not only bond as a couple during practice runs, you'll also be able to feel a sense of accomplishment when you both achieve your mutual goal. Sharing a powerful experience like this can be one of the best ways to make a deep connection with someone. What's more, working out boosts your libido!

10. Visit a vineyard.
"To make your date especially healthy, find out if the site offers walking tours of the vineyard," says Katie Heddleston, a Cleveland-based registered dietitian. Then, sample red wines. Reds have been shown to protect your heart against disease due to resveratrol and other antioxidants. But don't over-imbibe: dietary guidelines for Americans state that drinking in moderation for women equals one drink per day, while men may enjoy two drinks. "Remember, the spit cup is there for a reason," cautions Heddleston. 

Jennifer Nelson ( is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work appears in Self, O - The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, Family Circle, Women's Health and many others. She also regularly writes about health, lifestyle and relationships for Parade, Glamour, and WebMD.
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    Matchmaker in the Know: What women really want from a man they are dating

    Have you ever wondered what a woman really wants from a man she is dating?
    Here's what I know...
    1. A woman wants a man to make her feel like a womanThis means that even if you are dating a powerhouse woman -- a CEO of a company, a notable woman or just a woman with a big and bossy personality -- she still wants to feel like the woman in the relationship with you being the man.
    2. A woman wants a man to notice when she spent the time to look pretty. A lot of men think women pay attention to fashion, buy expensive shoes and spend time getting ready so that other women will notice. And yes, this is true but, at the same time, she actually cares more about dressing pretty for you, her guy. She needs you to notice and not just notice in your head but notice by telling her, out-loud and often.
    3. In that same vein, a woman wants a man to compliment her and compliment her often. Women by nature are
    a little insecure about their looks especially when they are living in a big city where people place a lot of emphasis on beauty. Even if you are dating a truly beautiful woman, a woman who gets hit on by men all the time or even a model, she still needs and wants to be complimented. She needs to hear out-loud from you that you notice her and admire her. And, chose words like "sexy" or "beautiful" or "amazing"; women like words like this because they arebigger and make it seem like you really are thinking they look incredible at that particular moment. Stay away from bland and generic compliments like "you look nice" or "you look fine." And one compliment that most women really don't like is "you look cute"; she is not a puppy, she is a woman.
    4. A woman wants a man to not take her for granted. Women need to feel appreciated. This means that you need to remember to notice little things that she does- if she goes to the store and tries to buy you your favorite coffee or if she hauls a 6 pack of beer home for you in the rain. Keep in mind that even if she chose the wrong type of coffee or bought a beer that you really don't like, you still need to thank her and commend her effort; if you don't, she will think twice before making any more efforts for you in the future.
    5. A woman wants to feel that you care about pleasing her in the bedroom. Everyone knows that it's much easier for a man to be pleasured than a woman, however sex is better if both people enjoy themselves. Even if you had a long day, it's still important that you reciprocate in the bedroom. And you need to keep in mind that not all women are the same when it comes to what they enjoy sexually. Just because your "signature move" got the last girl crazy, doesn't mean that it will even faze this girl. You need to try hard not to make her feel self conscious or guilty if it takes her a little time to have an orgasm or for the two of you to get your groove on together in the bedroom. You need to want to find out what makes this woman tick and then do whatever it takes to make her happy. She is working hard to please you (or at least she should be), so you need to do the same.
    6. A woman wants to feel like you want to get to know her specifically and that you don't just group her into the "female gender." A lot of men think all women are the same but the fact is that all women are very different; they all have very different likes and dislikes and ideas. Just like not all men love football or play golf or drink beer, not all women just like to shop, gossip and watch soap-operas. If you are interested in a woman, you need to see her for who she is and who she is not and figure out how to be in a relationship with the particular woman not just any woman.
    7. A woman wants you to understand her stuff -- her insecurities and her childhood issues and work hard to make her feel safe and good in those areas. A surefire way to make a relationship crash and burn is to exploit her weaknesses and use insecurities about which she confided in you against her. A woman needs to know that you heard her explain why something upsets her, puts her in a bad mood or makes her feel insecure in the relationship and that you will try your very best not to do things that bring up those issues for her. A good relationship means understanding your partners insecurities and doing what you can to make her feel good in that area of the relationship even if you might think that some of her stuff is crazy, unusual or immature. Keep in mind that you are not issue-free and you would want the same of her.
    8. A woman wants you to communicate with her when you are in a bad mood and it has nothing to do with her. Of course, everyone is entitled to be in a bad mood once in awhile but keep in mind that when your bad mood comes out of left field and when you snap at your gal and nitpick her every move, this can make her feel like your issue is with her, not your boss or your father. A woman needs you to reassure her that your moodiness is not going to result in your breaking up with her. A woman will be happier if you reassure her and ask her for a night of space than if you see her anyway, sulk and snap at her and make her all paranoid about the relationship.
    9. A woman wants to know that you are proud of her and happy for her to meet people in your life. A lot of men think that if he introduces a woman to his friends, his colleagues or his family, that the woman will automatically assume that the relationship is very serious and that they are three steps away from getting engaged. This is a falsity. Women look at introductions to people in your life as recognition that she too is part of your life and it makes sense for people in your life to know each other. If you make these sorts of introductions, the only way they become a big deal to the woman is if you make it be a big deal. Keep in mind that if you say, "I want you to meet my best friend John but you are the only woman I have ever introduced to him," then of course she is going to think that this is a big deal. However, if you just introduce her to John because he is your friend and she is your gal, it will just be normal. Normal is good.
    Samantha Daniels is a well known Professional Matchmaker, President of Samantha's Table Matchmaking and the author of Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern Day Matchmaker (Simon & Schuster).
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