Samantha's Book Pick-Steamy Beach Read


Some of you may know Meg Cabot as the author of the Princess Diaries. But this summer, Cabot has a new book that is sizzling on the shelves. Overbite is the second book in Cabot's own vampire series. This steamy story is about Meena Harper, a mortal with the gift of knowing how everyone she meets is going to die. She is hired by a secret demon-seeking unit in the Vatican, along with New York City's most charming and attractive priest. However, Meena doesn't seem to trust him. As she begins to unravel the truth, she discovers her true feelings and the fact that she cannot resist vampires even though she previously swore them off. This book is filled with mystery, suspense and steamy vampire and human sex scenes that make Cabot's newest work a true page turner and the perfect summer read. Make sure to pick up your copy today!

Samantha's Dating Thought-Avoid the Baby Blues

This past week, it seemed like every celebrity had a baby! Over the weekend, David and Victoria Beckham welcomed daughter Harper Seven into the world while Kate Hudson and finance Matthew Bellamy gave birth to a baby boy. Yesterday, Jewel and husband Ty Murray welcomed a baby boy named Kase. Of course, a couple is always so excited when they welcome a new child into their family, but what I always wonder is if they remember that they have to keep their marriage and love alive at the same time as they are adoring their new baby?? Here are a few tips so you and your honey don't suffer from the baby blues...

1. Plan multiple date nights. Leaving your newborn at home may be the last thing you want to do in the early months of giving birth. However, once your new baby develops some steady sleeping habits, take that time to do something with your honey. You don't have to go far or have an extravagant date; just get out of the house for a little with only the two of you. Make it a habit to have one date night a week, whether you go out to dinner, catch a movie or just take a stroll around the neighborhood, make sure it is just you and your beau. If you are nervous about hiring a babysitter, keep in mind that grandparents are always eager to take care of their new grandchild.

2. Take turns. It is important to alternate who gets up when the baby cries during the middle of the night or who will get to have their girl/guys night out each week. By taking turns, you will relieve some of the stress on your partner and vice versa. When you both feel more stress free and get an extra hour of shut-eye, you will see that appreciate what your partner has done for you, which will keep your marriage strong.

3. Help each other. Although starting and raising a family is hard work, there is nothing more enjoyable. Couples should work together to raise their family. Sharing this experience together will make you love and appreciate your partner so much more. You should do small things to show how much you appreciate your spouse-helping them make their favorite dinner, buy them flowers, write a card, etc.

4. Have fun with sex! Remember what it used to be like before the kids? The spontaneity and excitement of sex with your spouse? Well don't let that disappear! Keep things fun and alive. Just because the kids are around, doesn't mean you have to stick to the "same old same old" routine. If you are having trouble, get away for the weekend! Leave the kids with a babysitter and hit up your favorite weekend vacation spot with your honey so you remember what it's like to truly appreciate and love one another.

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!


Samantha's Romantic Pick- Romance in the Great Outdoors

A cozy camping trip a deux is the perfect way to find rustic romance while nurturing both your animal instincts and your love of nature. You can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a weekend in the wilderness by renting a kayak, swimming in a hot spring, and eating a meal by the water. And the best part about this romantic pick is the cost. You can’t beat a night with your beau sleeping under the stars whether it’s in the Poconos, in Cape Cod or just in your very own backyard.

Samantha's Celebrity Scoop- Celeb Coupling

Summer is officially here and let’s not let Mel Gibson’s mess ruin it for all of us. Between the sparks flying between Jessica Simpson and ex-NFLer Eric Johnson and all the celebrity I-do’s between couples like Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, Jana Kramer and Johnathon Schaech as well as Jenna Fischer and Lee Kirk, love is definitely in the air. Even former first daughter Chelsea Clinton is tying the knot later this month!

Matchmaker in the know: Bad breath foods that kill a date

Have you ever wondered what foods and things are the biggest bad breath offenders??

Here’ s what I know…

-Red wine is the biggest offender. A lot of people prefer red wine, a lot of people say that red wine is good for your health and a lot of people think red wine is more sophisticated. However, red wine makes your breath smell bad and its stains a lot of people’s teeth. Translation- you breathe smells bad AND you are talking to someone you like with purple teeth. Choose vodka instead. Its odorless

-Not eating gives you bad breath. If you didn’t eat all day, then you have that I am hungry breath and that is very hard to get rid of. Make sure you pop several mints when you leave you office and grab something like a banana that should take the smell away.

-Peanuts give you bad breath and the smell lingers on you. I know its tempting to eat those peanuts on the table at the bar but choose the cashews or the pistachios instead.

-Olives give you bad breath. Don’t eat a bowl of them at the bar and on a date, don’t ask for extras in your martini so you can chow down on them, they are bad for your breath.

-Garlic- everyone knows garlic is a breath killer but these days a lot of people don’t care because they love these Pasta Puttanesca. Keep in mind that not only does garlic kill your breath but a lot of people sweat garlic out of their pours so you wind up with body odor as well as bad breath! If you want a good night kiss, save you pasta craving for football night with the guys!

Here's what I know...Sometimes you just won't know what someone's actions mean.

Do you ever just feel stumped when it comes to deciphering a person's behaviour in the dating world?

Here's what I know...

(1) There are two sides to every story.

(2) No one is mind reader, so regardless of how many interations you come up with or how many ways you look at a situation, sometimes you just won't know the real truth.

(3) It's a waste of time to obsess over every little thing someone does and try to figure out what each thing in a vacuum means.

(4) Sometimes even the person who is doing the action doesn't actually know why they are doing it; sometimes they just act first, think later.

(5) Sometimes there is, in fact, an underlying message in how someone acts and sometimes there's not, you just won't be sure, unless the person says it to you directly. Sometimes it's better just to wait and see.

(6) Your mental psyche will take healthier if you have lower expectations about a certain situation. This way you might be pleasantly surprised, instead of disappointed.

And for some comic relief, check out one of my all time favorite "mindless entertainment" movies, Clueless with Alicia Silverstone.

Here's what I know... If he stopped calling you over something little, then he wasn't yours anyway.

How many times have you obsessed over the littlest thing that you did in your relationship, thinking that your one small action was the reason for it's demise?

Here's what I know...

(1) Guys don't break up with girls over little things.

(2) Once a guy decides he is attracted to you, he won't break up with you over something that only you notice- that one pimple you got on a Tuesday or the fact that you wore a bra that didn't make your boobs look as big as they usually do.

(3) Guys don't pay attention to how many "xo's" you put at the end of your text message and he certainly won't break up with you over that.

(4) Guys read emails very quickly and they don't labor over every word you wrote and what you meant by them, the way girls do. Absent your writing something really awful, he is not going to break-up with you because of your LOL or because you had too many typos.

(5) It is natural to question the last little thing you did with a guy if he ends things with you and you are not sure why. However, to find out what really went wrong, you need to dig deeper and look at the full picture and the patterns of behaviour.

(6) When you are dating someone, it's more important to learn the things that would bother HIM, not obsess about the things that would bother you that don't even register on his "notice" meter. (Example: he won't notice if the smiley face in your text was a full smile or a wink, but he will notice if you need to have a "relationship conversation" by email during work hours, when he is in his office!

Here's what I know... You should be able to "agree to disagree" if you want to be together.

Have you ever gotten into a situation with the person you are dating where you just cannot come to terms?

Here's what I know...

(1)Sometimes two people have opposing viewpoints on a subject and just cannot agree.

(2) If you care about someone, you should give them the space to have his or her own opinion and for you to have yours.

(3) Sometimes a disagreement can be healthy for a relationship as long as you can move by it.

(4) Two people will never agree on everything and this can add dimensionality to your relationship.

(5) If you have a disagreement and you cannot come to terms, you need to think about whether you can respect the other person's point of view although you don't agree w it.

(6) Perhaps you can learn something from your partner's differing viewpoint. Take a step back and try to understand how they are looking at things.

Here's what I know... You need to be with someone who loves "the real you."

Have you ever wondered why you would put yourself in a circumstance where you are apologizing for just being you?

Here's what I know...

(1) You are pretty damn great. You need to find that person who understands that.

(2) You need to be with someone who loves all that you are and all that you are not. Marlene told me that and it's very important.

(3) If someone is questioning who you are, have you ever stopped and asked, who are they?

(4) If you are asking why you are compromising yourself, then you are in the wrong situation.

(5) If you constantly need to hide the real you, then you aren't in the right situation.

(6) If you know deep down that you are trying to fit a square peg in to a round hole, take a step back and don't do it. Do you real want to take all this time to pick someone, only to then get divorced?

Here's what I know... The "trolling the party" guy is not ready for a real relationship.

Did you ever wonder why a guy who says he wants to be in a relationship spends more time trolling parties than trying to work on having a relationship?

Here's what I know...

(1) You need to take time to be in a relationship and make it work.

(2) If you want to be in a relationship, you will be willing to give up a trolling night to be with a girl you like.

(3) If a guy is not willing to give up the trolling night, chances are, he is not into you enough to forego it.

(4) A guy might say that he trolls parties because he really wants to meet someone but there is a difference between hitting the occasional party and going to the opening of an envelope!

(5) Some guys troll for sport and because it's a game to them and others troll because they think it is a necessity. Either way, do you really want to be with that guy?

(6) You have been in situations before where when a guy is crazy about you, he drops everything and can't get enough of you. If the trolling guy can't do this, it's time for another guy.

Here's what I know... there is a lid for every pot

Do you ever feel like what you are looking for in a relationship is so much deeper than what most people can handle?

Here's what I know...

(1) You are not alone; many people feel like there are very few people who really understand them.

(2) There are people out there that want to have a very deep relationship, you just need to keep on the look out for them and not settle for someone who isn't of your caliber.

(3) It usually takes a person who has had some drama, loss or difficulties in their life to make someone want to have a deeper relationship. If you are dating Mr Happy Go Lucky, it is probably going to be difficult to get him to understand you.

(4) Not everyone is for everyone. You need to find who is right for you, not obsess over who isn't.

(5) You need to make room for the possibility that someone can catch up to you in desiring a deep relationship; you just need to give them the time and the space to try.

(6) You need to be open to understanding someone else's definition of a deep relationship and see if perhaps the two of you can find a happy medium.

Here's what I know.. You need to marry "a man."

Have you ever thought to yourself that you just wish he could step up and be a man?

Here's what I know...

(1) Men mature more slowly than women do. This is a fact.

(2) Men don't really get "it" unless they haven't experienced "it" in quite the same way as you have.

(3) Men who have never real been in love, don't really understand what love is and you need to figure out how to teach them or the relationship is doomed.

(4) Flirting and game playing is fun and good foreplay, but in order to get into a real relationship there has to be more than that.

(5) Men who are very surface and do not even try to dig deeper are not for you. The man you are going to marry is going to get down and dirty with you.

(6) Men who can't handle real raw emotions and a little drama are not for you. You need a guy who will cry with you, want to listen to everything about you and want to really understand all there is to know.

Here's what I know...The "break-it off conversation" is difficult.

Did you ever notice that a "break if off" conversation never goes the way you want it to?

Here's what I know...

(1) There are two sides to every story and during a break it off conversation those sides are usually very different.

(2) It is very difficult to not get defensive during a conversation of this nature and if you did get defensive, you shouldn't feel badly, the other person knows why you acted that way.

(3) If you wanted to say that you were sorry and to ask nicely for a second chance and you didn't because your pride got in the way, you can always say that now. If you were with a good person,they should be willing to listen.

(4) Break ups are very rarely final the first time around. If someone cared about you enough to be in it with you and then to break it off with you instead of just blowing you off, then that person should be willing to explore, at least once, if there is still something there or if there is a way to rectify, simplify or alter things.

(5) Even if your feelings got hurt by the person's honesty and you had that "stinging" feeling, try to learn from what they said and effect positive change in your life.

(6) If you think there was a miscommunication or you were judged unfairly or incorrectly, re-open the dialogue and calmly try to explain how you are feeling. If you were with a good person, they should be willing to listen and explore.

(7) If someone cuts you off at the knees and gives you no wiggle room at all, you should be wondering about their ability to connect and their desire to be in a good and communicative relationship because no one's perfect and those that can't realize that all humans have some flaws will go out on hundreds of date and have trouble ending up with someone long term.

PS- Maybe go rent The Break Up with Vince Vaughn and Jen Aniston, so you can add a little comic relief to the situation!

Here's what I know... Slow and steady wins the race.

Didn't you used to think that the only person you could fall in love with was the person who you have this instantaneous, "I need to see you every minute of every day" attraction to?

Here's what I know...

(1) Relationships that start off fast and furiously almost always crash and burn.

(2) Slow and steady relationships might just be slow and steady, but if you think about all the time you have wasted dating people who are wrong for you, isn't it worth it to give time to a slow and steady one that has real potential?

(3) Fast and furious relationships almost always have a sexual component too quickly. Sex should be sacred, especially with the person you are going to marry. It's okay if you wait a bit to do it. And it's a good sign if both people think that way.

(4) Most married people you will talk to will tell you that the dating they did with their spouse was different from any other relationship they had ever had. Most will tell you that they weren't exactly sure in the beginning, but there were ingredients there that made them stick around and build something substantial.

(5) If someone is crazy about you and thinks you are terrific before they know you are terrific, you should be suspicious.

(6) Fast and furious relationships go full speed ahead without looking at if two people have the building blocks for a solid relationship- respect for each other, laughter, similar intelligence and similar values. Then once the excitement wears off a bit, most people will realize that those key ingredients were not there, and the relationship will crash and burn.

(7) A slow and steady relationship should not scare you, it should excite you. There is something to be said for a relationship that stays its course and where you learn something new and different about the person all the time. It takes time to build the right relationship.

Here's what I know... If you get invited, you go!

Do you sometimes feel like you would rather just sit home alone and watch TV, rather than be disappointed in a social setting yet again?

Here's what I know...

(1) My grandmother always told me that "if you get invited, you go because you never know who you are going to meet." These words are on the second page of my book, Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern-Day Matchmaker (Simon & Schuster) and are words to live by.

(2) If you think about it, each time you actually do leave the house, something does happen. You might not meet the man of your dreams or your wife but you might run into an old friend, make a new and interesting business contact, or just have a good laugh.

(3) If you do leave the house, make sure you do it with positive energy; otherwise you are sabotaging things before you even leave.

(4) Pick chatty, outgoing people with whom to surround yourself. These people are connectors, and they attract people in their direction; you will reap the benefits.

(5) Keep in mind that every day is different. The last four Friday nights might have been busts, but this does not necessarily mean that this Friday night will be.

(6)Let's say tonight is the night that you are going to meet "your" guy. How are you going to meet him if you don't leave the house?

(7) Get excited about the idea of possibilities. Unpredictability is what keeps life exciting!

Here's what I know...You should feel good about the relationship you are in.

Have you been thinking to yourself that there is no way that your dating situation should be making you feel so down in the dumps?

Here's what I know...

(1) When you are dating someone, you should not have to negotiate phone time or face time. They should not be able to get enough of you, all the time. And visa versa.

(2) When you are dating someone, they should want to do little sweet things for you, this might things that are as simple as planning a fun night, sending you a sweet text message or bring you one Hershey kiss but there needs to be that desire to make you feel happy and loved. And visa versa.

(3) When you are dating someone, they should want to show you off to everyone and should not have excuses as to why you can't come places all the time. And visa versa.

(4) When you are dating someone, speaking of the future, whether it's next weekend or next year should not cause a panic or a fight.

(5) When you are dating someone and you have reached "that point", you should be having sex and a lot of it. If there are excuses in this category, there is a problem.

(6) When you are dating someone, they should constantly be finding you to to be so funny, so witty and so attractive. If they don't, it's just a matter of time before they end it. And visa versa.

Here's what I know... Men approach a certain "type" of girl at a bar

Did you ever wonder why some women get hit on in a bar or at a party while other do not?

Here's what I know...

(1) Most men think that they approach a woman because of her looks, but most of time that is just a small part of it, that is the initial draw only.

(2) Men actually wind up being "attracted attracted" to the energy or essence of the woman and many things factor into this, not just looks.

(3) Often times, a man will initially approach a group of girls because one girl in particular caught his eye. However personality and energy can change that dynamic very quickly, so always let him see your good side.

(4) Men like women who smile- this makes them glow. Men are not drawn to negative sour pusses at all. You need to believe this and if you are feeling negative, you are better off staying home.

(5) Men like women who have welcoming energy. Most men get nervous about the approach- they are afraid of getting rejected so it's much easier to approach an approachable woman.

(6) Men like women who play a little hard to get by acting a little mysterious and a little aloof but as a woman you need to know how far to take it. There is a big difference between flirty aloof and just plain bitchy and negative.

PS... Check out another blog that I really like called Single-ish. It's written by Erin Meanley of Glamour Magazine.

Here's what I know... Women pay attention to patterns of behaviour

Did you ever notice that women keep track of everything specific thing that goes on in a dating situation and men remember things more generally.

Here's what I know...

(1) Women pay attention to every little thing that happens when she is dating and she microanalyzes all of it with her friends. She knows she shouldn't do this because this is always when "her crazy" starts to rear it's ugly head, but most women can't help it.

(2) As soon as a woman "likes likes" a guy, she gets nervous that it's all going to blow up, and is constantly searching for the slightest little thing that might alert her to the fact that things are going awry, so she can be mentally prepared. When the patterns stay constant, this keeps her calm.

(3) The most common thing a woman will microanalyze is a man's pattern of behaviour- he wrote long flowing emails all last week and only one word answers this week or he made sure to ask me out 6 days in advance last week, but this week it was only the day before and then try to make the change mean "something."

(4) Immediately when a pattern of behaviour changes, a woman believes that you have changed how you feel about her and has a hard time believing that you couldn't call her or email her for 24 hours because you were crazed at work or you didn't call her when you got home from a guy's night because you passed alone, not with a bodacious blond!

(5) Women tend to keep their pattern of behaviour observations to themselves and to their "council of friends" until they can't take it anymore and then they will hit you with "the laundry list" which will always scare the crap out of you because most days, you can't remember if you put on clean socks.

(6) If you like a girl, try to stay consistent with her and if you need to change your behaviour for legitimate reasons, just clue her in. "Just wanted to let you know that I have a presentation on Friday so I won't be able to see you for the next few nights." "I am going out with my derelict college buddies, who I only see one time a year, and I will probably get wasted and pass out." Or "I am not a big sleep-over during the week guy, but I can learn." Communication can save her a lot of anxiety and save you from a big unnecessary blow-up!

Here's what I know...If you smile, you can get a guy

Did you ever notice how you get a lot of opposite sex attention when you are feeling good about yourself and in a good mood and how you are pretty much ignored when you are sporting the sour puss?

Here's what I know...

(1) Men like happy women.

(2) Men might say they are attracted to negative girls or dramatic girls but they don't wind up marrying those girls or staying married to those girls.

(3) Men get reamed all day at work. When they come home at night they want happy and easy- this is what they are really looking for when they are flirting.

(4) A happy girl with positive energy who isn't that pretty will attract more guys than the sour puss supermodel, at least for the long haul.

(5) If you have positive energy, you should stay clear of your negative friends, they will just repel the men.

(6) A smile is welcoming, it just is.