As I start typing this, my ex’s best friend sits at the counter of a café, six feet away from me. And I am doing everything I can not to run out of here screaming.

Because neither the Universe nor Fate have well-equipped social media teams with emergency alert systems in place just yet, today started like any Sunday. I woke up, lingered in bed to watch an episode of a show I missed that week, texted up some plans for later and decided to set out for a solo work brunch. I live in a neighborhood in Brooklyn dotted with coffee shops (also see: every gentrified or gentrifying ‘hood in the borough). With menus filled with locally-sourced ingredients and tables with locally-sourced singles, it’s no wonder that these are the places where I find the necessary fuel and inspiration to do my best work/day dreaming.

I walked the few blocks to a favorite spot, spied one last open table through the window and went in and up to the counter. I ordered a large iced Americano and baked eggs, eying what was left of the pastry/reward-for-being-so-darn-productive selection.

Sitting next to the pyramid of almond croissants sat a familiar face. My heart placed him before my head could — this was pre-iced Americano, mind you — and every part of my being told me to abort work breakfast and hightail it back home.

“Anything else?” the barista chirped, snapping me back to the present.

“Nooo, thaattt, willl beeee alllll,” I said in slow motion, forcing a perky smile, knowing I sealed my fate by placing an order that the menu warned would take ten minutes. Ten minutes!!

The guy at the counter fell into the 3rd worst case scenario category for a Sunday morning run-in: he wasn’t a sworn enemy (2nd worst case) or an ex (absolute 1st worst), he was an ex’s best friend (3rd).

Read the rest of this entry »

Sofia Vergara Most Desirable Woman

The "Modern Family" star tops AskMen.com's Most Desirable Women of 2012 List

Well that was fast!

Apparently while the rest of us have been busy breaking or making resolutions and enjoying this unseasonably warm June-uary, AskMen.com predicted the future of femme fatales in 2012 — and the vision in their crystal ball is muy caliente!

The website used all of their manpower to scour the globe for hotties and poll their faithful fans to rank ’em. On a list of 99 final women, “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara came out on top as the Most Desirable Woman of 2012.

If Sofia’s title is even a slight indication of what’s on men’s minds for this year, I think all of us funny, powerful, feminine and/or curvy ladies are in luck! Rounding out the top ten are some equally awesome (and diverse!) women, including newcomer Rooney Mara, rapper Nicki Minaj, supermodel Miranda Kerr and funny girl Emma Stone.

Now the question (for me, anyway) is – who will the most desirable man of 2012 be? Although Ryan Gosling had a successful year stealing our hearts in ’11, I think his lack of Oscar noms and new releases may shelf his main squeeze potential if only for some new contenders to step up to bat. If my calculations are correct, we’ll be devoting most of our lives to all things Hunger Games-related (Twi-what?) this year, and what a yummy cast of men to choose from: newcomer cuties Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, hot, sensitive rocker Lenny Kravitz, fun-loving Woody Harrelson, dark and handsome Wes Bentley. I don’t know about you all, but I’m ready to sit back and let them fight to be my celebrity crush, one smoldering GQ spread or Tom Ford tux on the red carpet at a time.

What do you think of Sofia Vergara as the Top Woman of 2012? And what star deserves the top spot among the men of 2012?

In the first week of January it’s impossible to get a spot on a treadmill at the gym. Frustrated frequent patrons give up waiting for a locker and schlep their purses and bags around from Stairmaster to elliptical.

But now, already a month into the New Year, it’s magically easier to secure a yoga mat in your favorite class. Coincidentally, that coworker who swore off sweets in ’11 is back to his chocaholic ways, and, come to think of it, you spotted an Us Weekly in the purse of a friend who swore she was only reading classic literature this year. Yup, it’s that time of year again, when many who made resolutions are breaking them.

And what about those of us who made love or sex resolutions for 2012? I went to the expert, VIP Life matchmaker Lisa Clampitt, to get her thoughts on making these self-help inspired proclamations.

We Ask: Is it good to work on restructuring your relationship destiny at the top of the year, or are you setting yourself up for failure with lofty, life-changing goals?

Lisa Answers: “I think anything that makes someone proactive is important when looking for love. So if in the form of a New Year’s resolution? Go for it! I think part of the largest problem folks have, especially women, when looking for love in a big city like New York, is everyone keeps their heads down to get from one place to another without ever taking a minute to look up at all the possibilities around them. There are amazing relationship-oriented men and women everywhere, but you have to see them and be approachable to make something happen. Every time you are out and about is an opportunity to find your love.

I think where we get in trouble is thinking that being motivated to find love makes us somehow desperate. It is just the opposite; by making a relationship resolution, you are creating a goal to be open and proactive in finding someone wonderful to spend your life with. It’s sad to think this isn’t at the top of everyone’s To Do List — all year round.”

So just like we should probably always be running that extra mile or getting a steadier cerebral diet of news to balance out a reality TV addiction, our outlook on love and relationships should be something we’re always learning from and improving on. January through December.

Did you make a New Year’s Love Resolution this year? What do you hope to do differently this year than last in the dating/relationship department?

Get to know VIP Life — and matchmaker Lisa Clampitt!

Visit the official VIP Life site here.

Earlier this year, TV writer Tracy McMillan wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled “Why You’re Not Married” detailing her views on exactly that. Her tough love approach to why some women haven’t found and created a bridal registry with The One made front (web)page news because it was, well, kinda harsh. If you consider being called a shallow bitch or a selfish slut kinda harsh.

I was ready to be offended or annoyed by McMillan’s classification system, but if you look past the highly buzzworthy, mildly offensive language, there are some helpful messages. First off, if you want to get married, you should admit that. As a young-enough single city gal, I see the unfortunate, sometimes internal, struggle between the “independent career” woman and the “looking for love/happy to have it” woman all too often (as if they have to be mutually exclusive!?) Blame it on the media, age, a particular wave of feminism, our mothers or whatever else, it doesn’t change the fact that it can be difficult to admit if we want to fall in love Cinderella-style. But playing coy about what we want out of life or love isn’t going to help us attain these goals.

VIP Life’s Matchmaker Lisa Clampitt would also agree with McMillan on the following: sometimes you don’t need someone to tell you you’re single because you’re awesome and everyone else sucks. We all need a friend’s shoulder to cry on now and then, but being a really great hostess of not-so-great pity parties isn’t exactly a title to tout. There’s not something “wrong with you” if you are single, but there might be something wrong with your dating style, mentality, approach or attitude. And if you can recognize and accept the problems, you have a better chance at fixing them.

Still not not that into Tracy McMillan’s advice? You just might have to learn to love her. After her HuffPo post was viewed almost 3 million times, both book publishers and studios fought for more. The book titled, Why You’re Not Married…Yet: How To Stop Acting Like a Bitch And Start Getting Hitched will be out next May and ABC is working with her on the made-for-TV version.

Is Why You’re Not Married a book you will read or a show you’ll watch?

In the good ol’ days, the cost of breaking up was a bargain: you bought a $3 pint of ice cream, a $2 box of tissues and hid out on the couch until you reached the bottom of both.

But long gone are the times when a scrunchie and raccoon eyes comprise your breakup beauty routine. A UK study commissioned by Duane Reade-like Superdrug stores polled 2,000 women to find out what they did after their breakups to get their hearts and lives back on track. Over half of them copped to dropping serious dough in order to reinvent themselves, and most agreed that the end result was worth every pretty penny.

The items listed in the Post-Breakup Reinvention include a cut and color, spray tan, new clothing, shoes, makeup, mani-pedi and a gym membership, all totaling £496.66, which comes in at a little under $800 at the going exchange rate. Simon Comins, Superdrug’s Director of Toiletries, explained that the beauty-full indulgences “can be just the tonic for those who have been heartbroken.”

Looking back on my most recent split and subsequent “Get Hot[ter] Now” Plan, it looks like I have a lot more in common with British babes than my love of William and Harry.  Below are a few things beauty and beyond that I’ll add to their list:

Waxes: Many of the following purchases were fueled by the need to prove to someone and/or myself that I still deserved to be treated. Why “let myself go” now that I was flying solo? Besides, I needed to be bikini-ready at anytime in case I fell in love with a jetsetting surf champion… or something.
Cost: $30 – $75

Fake Eyelashes: If you don’t understand the merits of eyelash extensions, you’ve never had them. Once you go black – full, lush, fringe-defying black lashes, that is – you will never go back. It’s not me; it’s you, mascara.
Cost: $60 – $400

Drinks: Going out comes at a price in New York City. And at roughly $8 – $14 per cocktail, going out gets expensive quickly.
Cost: Anywhere from $20 – $150 a week

Groupon Binging: After my breakup I added roughly a dozen daily deal sites to my inbox and found completely valid reasons to buy everything from eyelash extensions (see above) to wine pairing classes. For two.  I soon learned that nothing is better for your love life than dragging your best friends on a date-like activity because of an expiring coupon!
Cost: Ranging from $10 – $100 per coupon

Jewelry: If it’s a Kardashian-size engagement ring, you give it back. If it’s a $40 brass charm necklace, you keep it. But if it has sentimental value, do you wear it? I decided to replace a couple of my favorite jewelry items post-split to sparkle anew. No diamonds or major bling, of course, but heart shapes are fair game.
Cost: $200 (and, yes, I did use some Groupons)

What did you change or add to your beauty and “feel-good” routines after your most recent split? Share your biggest indulgence — and fellas, don’t be afraid to spill!

It wasn’t the lack of white after Labor Day or the barrage of back-to-school commercials – or even September’s first boot-and-tights pairing that signified summer’s end. This year, the true changing of my seasons was marked by one sweet goodbye to the love of my long days/ac-filled nights: my summer romance.

For me, winter ended with a breakup and my reemergence into singledom from a long hibernation. In spring, I defrosted the only way I knew how: with a hot-and-heavy rebound that left me as burned as that first sunscreen-less day under a quickly crowning sun.

Call it my just desserts (“just S’mores”?) for never attending summer camp as a teen and having been thusly robbed of my shot at puppy love by light of bonfire, but this summer brought a relationship that could only exist for as long as it is debatably-appropriate to wear sandals to work. The summer love may not be for everyone, so here are some key things to keep in mind when embarking on your next seasonal, situational romance:

Timing is everything, so dive in! When I met my summer boyfriend (on the field of a sport he was temporarily in New York City to play – doesn’t get much more summer than that), it was “love” at first sight. I was working on a short film with a friend and had no idea I would stumble upon a great guy in the process.

Instant attraction is crucial because your fling will most likely be more chemical than practical. Plus, your time together is limited. Even though mine may have been a proper July to September romance, this applies to any relationship defined by limited time together.

Celebrate your weird, cool or extreme differences. When your summer romance breaks the mold from your usual dating routine, you learn more about yourself and what you’re looking for. I’m not sure a tobacco-chewing, country boy is my type any more than a vegetarian, Brooklynite blogger is his, but we truly clicked. Labeling our love as carefree allowed me to let my guard down and explore something that I might have written off in different circumstances.

Although it felt like a unique one-off in my dating lineup, it broke me out of a rut, refreshed my palate and is helping me redefine what and who I’m actually looking for long term.

Read the rest of this entry »

On September 11, 2001, I was barely old enough to drive and I did not yet live in New York City. I remember someone telling me in the halls of our high school that “a plane flew into the Twin Towers.” He was laughing, either because he didn’t know or couldn’t understand the severity of the situation, and he definitely didn’t know that I’d forever carry that memory with me.

What I really know about 9/11 – what I’ll “never forget,” as has become the unofficial urging of the tragic date – is everything I’ve learned about it after. Not just after September 11, 2001, but after I moved to New York City. After I met people who knew someone who died in the attacks. After I talked to those who saw the things I could only Google or watch on the news or read about.

This past week, I read through New York Magazine‘s 9/11 encyclopedia issue never expecting to come across a love story in their in depth A to Z coverage. To honor this day and to honor true love, I have included the entry “Good-bye” below, which details the final telephone conversation between a woman and her husband who was inside the second Tower.

“Good-bye,” as told to New York Magazine by Beverly Eckert:
It was about 9:30 a.m. when he called. When I heard his voice on the phone, I was so happy. I said, ‘Sean, where are you?,’ thinking that he had made it out and that he was calling me from the street somewhere. He told me he was on the 105th floor, and I knew right away that Sean was never coming home.

Read the rest of this entry »

The phrase: “location, location, location” applies to a lot more than just apartment searching in New York. Dating in NYC is daunting, but sometimes picking the location of the date is the true headache. There are a lot of factors to sway your neighborhood-selecting decision: you want it to be close to your date’s home for convenience — but not so close you seem presumptuous. You want the ‘hood to have a cool factor understood by the accessible in-crowd, but over the heads of the B ‘n’ T.  And of course, you want the neighborhood to be a concrete treasure map of fabulous date activities that won’t leave you stranded after a successful Part 1.

The folks at fun dating site (they do exist!) “How About We” did a study of their users most successful dates by location to come up with a list of NYC’s most romantic neighborhoods. Below, the list that might woo you in to exploring a new dating destination:

10. DUMBO
9. Greenwich Village
8. Lower East Side
7. Hell’s Kitchen
6. Times Square

Click through and keep reading to find out what the top five romantic neighborhoods in NYC are!

Read the rest of this entry »

To be happy around the clock, you have to love what you do during your 9 to 5. For Matchmaker and VIP Life President Lisa Clampitt, her 9 to 5 is her 24/7. And she’s in the business of love. Here, she gives us a peak into life as a matchmaker and shares how she fell in love with her job!

“People always ask me what made me get into the matchmaking business after being a social worker for over 12 years. I am one of those people obsessed with helping singles find love. I never felt it was fair for someone to be alone if they didn’t want to be alone. It was my calling to set friends and acquaintances up — and, with quite a few marriages under my belt, I soon realized that this was more than just a hobby.

A career in matchmaking seemed like such a natural fit, and the concept that I could actually get paid to do something I was so passionate about was one of the most amazing aspects to me. You mean, I could get paid to talk about love all day??? I thought. Sign me up!!

Social, fun and rewarding on so many levels, being a matchmaker is mysterious yet exciting! At every party, you get to be the belle of the ball; people always want to know what the life of a matchmaker is like. This is a trade that combines a dash of networking, a pinch of social work, and a heaping cup of playing cupid. What I do is stimulating, never boring, and now, finally, recognized as a legitimate and respectable field. While it never stopped being my passion, matchmaking has gone from my hobby to my career, and nothing compares to how fulfilling and rewarding my profession is.”

-Lisa Clampitt, LMSW-cofounder of Matchmaking Pro and President of VIP Life

Stay tuned to the VIP Life Blog for more from Lisa, including advice, tips and thoughts on love. Visit the official VIP Life website if you want more information on how the master matchmaker herself can help find you love!