Category Archives: Inside Your Friendships

Help…I’m Eating Like I’ll Never Date Again!

So I have this friend, Jill.

Jill is lovely, and blessed with a naturally tall, thin frame. She doesn’t get fat, she just gets “soft.” But to me, Jill always looks long and lithe.

However, Jill, like many women (myself included, during my dating days) links eating and body image to self-worth and dating. Abridged Version: More food in; Less going out.

This is crazy.  With a heaping dose of self-love and self-confidence, Jill is ready and able to date. If she believes she’s a sexy catch in the body she’s in, her dance card will be filled with men who couldn’t agree more.

That guy across the room doesn’t know that she had extra humentashen last night (Happy Purim!) or that Jill’s extra skinny jeans are no longer buttonable without exactly three deep squats and a flop on to the bed. No, Mr. Man-Across-The-Room isn’t thinking about any of that. Instead, he sees Pretty Jill. She smiles, and he thinks she’s the most radiant being he’s ever seen.

I know what you’re thinking….Great for Jill. But what about me? I don’t feel so hot in this body o’ mine. How do I gain self-love and self-confidence in my body?

1. Feed it. Enjoy every morsel that you put into your mouth. Your body needs it, or loves it, or BOTH.

2. Move it. Yoga, running, walking, stair climbing, horseback riding, whatever. A moving body is a happy body.

3. Adore it. Treat yourself well. Pamper yourself with scented moisturizer, a new hair do, or a manicure. Delight in your soft skin, your curves, and your shiny hair. It’s all yours, and it’s fabulous.

Self confidence. Get it, and start going out!

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Filed under Inside the Yoga Studio, Inside Your Friendships, Inside Your Love Life, Inside Your Lunch Pail, Inside Your Make-up Bag

How To NOT Smother Your Boyfriend

My dear friend Ruth, who I’ve had the pleasure interviewing for The Dating Project, has been dating a great guy for a few months now. She asked, I answer.

I want to be open and warm and loving and attentive. But not smother my boyfriend. What should I be doing, or NOT doing?

Ruth, you are open, warm, loving and attentive. You’re one of the nicest people I know. You’re a pleasure to be around. You also have great friends, a loving family, and a creative career path.

So don’t hold back. And don’t worry about smothering your boyfriend. You won’t. You’re too solidly grounded in your own wonderful life to lose yourself in his. You have too many things going on to devote the time and effort it would take to smother your boyfriend. It’s not possible. You’re a busy girl with a big heart. You give him everything you feel comfortable giving him, and that’s a lot. But not too much. He won’t be scared of your kindness, he’ll be thrilled. Who wouldn’t love a sexy, gorgeous thing like yourself making nicey-nicey in their direction?

Go ahead, be as open, warm, loving and attentive as you are. You’re not going to overdo it.

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Top 10 Dating Tips: From Me. To Me.

Hello my loves! I’m still so ridiculously thrilled to present the Top 1o Dating Tips: From Me. To Me.!

Here’s the Deal: I have the honor of interviewing the bestest women on the planet for The Dating Project. And at the very end of these interviews, when the pen is down, the book is closed, the interview is ov-ah, I’ve been slipping in one more teensy-weensy little question:

“What Advice Would You Give Your 10-Year-Younger Self?”

Here’s what our women said:

1. Be more confident in yourself.

2. Have fun! Don’t be so serious about it.

3. Don’t have any regrets, everything you’re doing is perfect.

4. You have the power in the relationship.

5. Keep exercising. Even when you feel like it’s a lost cause. You need it to feel good in your body.

6. Allow yourself to get angry. It’s OK, it doesn’t mean you’re gonna break up.

7. Stop telling my mom about every first date. It’s emotionally exhausting.

8. It’s OK to be emotional.

9. You don’t have to work so hard to be sexy.

10. Focus more on yourself.

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New York is a (Girl)Friendly Place

It’s no secret that New York gets a lot of shit for being a terrible place to meet men. It’s too harsh, too intense, too driven, too darned impersonal. They say it’s hard to find love in this city.

But while men can be unpredictable, flakey, or just downright absent, my GirlFriends are stable. My GirlFriends stick around through first dates and break-ups and everything in between. Because we have each other in our lives, we know we can love. We know we can be loved. My GirlFriends remind me that love lives everywhere, not just in romantic relationships.

My love letter to this city is really a love letter to my GirlFriends. They are love. And they’re living right here in NYC.

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6 Ways to Describe Single Women

Single Women can be described in over 600 ways. Or Six.

I spend much of my time with Single Women. They inspire me, and they challenge me. Hell, some of my best friends are Single Women. And as you probably know, I used to be a Single Woman myself. Over the years, I’ve found that Single Women are…

1. Happy. Single women serve their own needs first. And a girl needs to be happy. If happiness lives in a box of Jacques Torres chocolate truffles and a restorative yoga class on Friday night, so be it. Who’s going to argue otherwise?

2. Connected. Single women have strong, solid relationships. They communicate clearly and often, with dear friends and chosen family. Single women have friendships that only deepen with time and trials and tribulations. Friendships can outlive boyfriend after boyfriend.

3. Feminine. Single Women tend to know other Single Women. And when you put a few Single Women in one space, you get a full-blown Goddess Gathering. That is, you get a group of women who are not afraid to be as “feminine” as they naturally are. Women communicate and share. Women tackle sticky topics like work, sex, babies, mothers, fathers, pain, fears, and true happiness. Women emote. Single Women emote a lot.

4. Hot. Single women are hot. Single Women are in your yoga class, rocking out in spinning class, and treating themselves to sushi dinners. Single women dine out on small plates and a glass (or 3) of wine. Most Single Women eat out a lot. And eating out, contrary to popular belief, is not fattening. However, it is expensive. Hence, the small plates, and the skinny jeans.

5. Stylish. Single Women have great wardrobes. They know where to shop, and how to shop. They know how to show off their best features. Single Women are peacocks, after all.

6. Rockstars. Single Women are Rockstars, at least according to Great Aunt Roz in Fort Lauderdale. If you’re a Single Woman, the relatives think you’re fabulous, or famous, or both. So what if they don’t quite understand what you do for a living, or how you spend your time and money? They can see that Single Women do things a little differently from most of the nice girls in your high school graduating class. Single Women have parties to attend, and people to see. Single Women are the family Rockstars!

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Filed under Inside the Yoga Studio, Inside Your Career, Inside Your Closet, Inside Your Family, Inside Your Friendships, Inside Your Love Life, Inside Your Lunch Pail

The Dating Project…Meet Rita!

Welcome Back to…

The Dating Project, the newest segment here at The Inside Voice! We’re talking to sexy, successful and smarty-pants women to find out what they really think and feel about dating. Because being single doesn’t mean you’re ALONE.

Let’s meet Rita!***

1. Age and Occupation? 23. Yoga Studio Manager, Continuous Student.

2. Are you currently in a relationship? Yes.

Ooooh, tell me more!

We started dating last June, and it was casual until September. Then I ended it because it got too serious. He continued to pursue me and I gave in. I wasn’t ready for a relationship until I was, I guess. We got back together in early November. It’s been good ever since.

Interesting! We’ll go deeper into your current relationship in a little bit. But for now…

3. Place in Order of Importance: Work, Friends, Love, Other.

Other, Friends, Love, Work.

What’s “Other” for you? Everyday happiness. Yoga. Good food. Self-Work–that’s definitely my number 1.

4. Can you spot any patterns in past relationships?

My friends call me a “Manizer.” I don’t make the men a priority. I tend to not take the dating relationship seriously. And I’m finding that that behavior can hurt people. I need to be up front about my expectations, right from the start. I usually don’t want to be in a serious relationship, and men often expect that I do.

Also, I have communication issues. I’m such a girl’s girl, I’m used to just talking and relating to women. Men have the capacity to listen and be there for you, but it’s not automatic for them. Men often interject, try to help, or solve a problem. They don’t know when I just want to vent. And I never think to ask for that, specifically.

5. Rate yourself, on a scale 1-10:

Self Confidence-It depends on the arena. Person to person, I’m a 9. In front of the camera, I’m a 1. It’s easy for me to just talk to people, one on one. But, my boyfriend is a photographer. And I realize how NOT confident I am when I get my picture taken. I used to be a model when I came to New York. I developed some unhealthy habits and ideas. I went through this period of not letting myself enjoy food. Yoga totally changed things for me, and I’m in a good place now with my body. I can enjoy the experience of being me, without all the restrictions. But still, that residual stuff with the camera is there. The camera makes me feel like I’m under examination.

Self-Love-10

Attractiveness-8. I’m not necessarily at my peak. I’m waiting for my 30’s.

6. What barriers keep you from meeting a guy you like?

If their lifestyle doesn’t compliment mine, I don’t give them a chance.

7. What does your dating life look like now?

Now I’m in a relationship. I have to stop questioning it, and accept that I’m here in this relationship. We do lots of activities. We have movie night, cooking night, going-out-with-friends night. We both love theater, plays and dance. And he’ll just go out and get a couple of tickets to music concerts. It’s nice. I’d been developing resistance to New York City lately, and this relationship makes me enjoy New York much more.

8. What attributes are most attractive to you in a partner?

Sense of humor. Open mind. Genuinely nice–It’s a deal breaker if a guy is rude to waiters, or anyone else for that matter. Creative. Cute.

9. a) What does your perfect love life look like?

Pretty domestic. I’m such a homebody. We have an intertwined spiritual practice. We may not go to all the same yoga classes, but it’s part of our daily lives. We have quiet meditative time around the house. We’ll both create. Maybe he’ll paint, and I’ll sit and sew something, and we’ll come over and look at each other’s work every now and then.

b) In a word (or words), what does that scenario feel like?

Like one of those internal smiles that can’t go away. It feels like something I’d never want to leave.

10. Last question, do you believe in “The One”?

No. But I believe you can create The One. You choose The One. If you make him your One, he’s The One. But if it doesn’t work out with that One, you can make another One.

Thanks Rita!

Inside Voice Wrap Up: Rita knows herself well. (She knows herself far better than I knew myself at 23. Just sayin’.)  Rita is interested in self exploration. She’s a perfect example what it looks like to use dating as a medium for self growth. She’s finding her place in the world. Without defining herself by her career–because really, at this point she hasn’t truly committed to one–Rita is free to define herself any way she chooses. She is soulful, artistic, and enjoys flirting with men in every which way. She also keeps things light. She has a knee-jerk flight response when relationships get too serious. With her current boyfriend, Rita can enjoy the freedom of being single, yet enjoy the companionship of a partner when she wants it. This is perfect for Rita. Because Rita is, at heart, a single woman. She’s figuring out to make herself as happy as possible. And when she does, a partner will only add to that joy. But until then, Rita is rocking out on her dating path of self-love and self discovery.

***Some names have been changed, some haven’t. Each woman has the option to use her own name or choose her fantasy pseudonym. I’m not telling which ones are which. Hear these women’s voices. Listen to their stories. They’re just like you!

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Dear Facebook Friends, Thank You.

Dear Facebook Friends,

A funny thing happened on the way to Williamsburg. I asked for help. I put out a call to action. I empowered you to support me, in a quick and actionable way. Simply, I asked you to click “like” to wish me luck.

And guess what? You did!!

I’m touched. Believe me, I understand that people move all the time. It’s not unusual, especially not in New York. People change apartments, swap roommates, move to new neighborhoods. People go through periods of adjustment. People watch as their furniture gets wrapped up by three surprisingly mindful moving men, and loaded onto a truck. Yes, it’s been done before. Nothing to see here.

And yet, you wished me luck. You gave me a little nudge. How did you know that underneath the excitement of moving, and the steadiness of moving toward an “our future” with Alan, I felt like a deer caught in headlights on Graham Ave. at night. At around 6:30pm I was so overwhelmed, over-tired, and exhausted that I couldn’t move, clean, or organize one more thing. I sat down. Eventually the spinning slowed, and the dusty, cleaning-fluidy tension headache dulled a little.

I checked the Facebooks. And there you were, cheering me on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, on to more unpacking.

Love,

Daniella

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Men and Gossip: When To Shut Up?

Dating is a series of stories I tell my friends. We giggle, commiserate, and bond over our dating stories. We’re story tellers. And these men are the stars.

But at some point I stop portraying my dates like cartoon characters, brought up in conversation only as entertainment over brunch. I think of them differently, and honor them as real live three-dimentional people whose inner life and emotions aren’t going to be broadcasted over mimosas. I stop gossiping, and just, well, shut up.

When my lips are sealed my friends know we’re serious. They know we’re for keeps.  When they ask “How are things with Alan?,” I can say “really good.” Because they are. Because the intricacies of how we’re improving, evolving, and learning are completely our own. And well, personal.

This didn’t happen overnight. But it did happen.

How long do YOU have to be in a relationship to stop the gossip and just shut up already?

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The Dating Project…Meet Jane!

Welcome Back to…

The Dating Project, the newest segment here at The Inside Voice! We’re talking to sexy, successful and smarty-pants women to find out what they really think and feel about dating. Because being single doesn’t mean you’re ALONE.

Let’s meet Jane!***

1. Age and Occupation? 34, but close to 35. I work in Public Health.

2. Are you currently in a relationship? Yes. We’ve been dating for a month. It’s brand new, there were no promises made.

3. Place in order of Importance: Work, Friends, Love, Other.

I’d like to put friends first. But instead, I’d order Love, then Friends, then Family as Other, then Work.

Why would you like to put friends first?

I value friends so much, I always have. My friends make me feel like I’m real. My friendships are reliable, supportive and nourishing. Friends remind me that even if I’m single, I’m not alone.

That’s my tagline! (see above)

Also, one of the benefits of being single is not having to negotiate my schedule, and having the time to build relationships with other people in my life, like my friends. Being single means not needing a man to comfort me in a certain way. I don’t feel like I need a man to hide behind, emotionally.

4. Can you spot any patterns in past relationships?

It’s important for me to feel adored. And sometimes I’ve stayed with men that adored me even when there were reasons why they weren’t right for me. I think that comes from insecurity. I constantly crave that male attention. These days, I still want to be adored, but I don’t make excuses for staying in a relationship when it just isn’t right. For the last couple of years, it’s harder to identify patterns. During that time, I was in a relationship for 5 months, but that ended a year ago. Other than that I’ve been single.

5. Rate yourself, on a scale 1-10:

Self Confidence-8

Self-love-9

Attractiveness-8

6. What barriers keep you from meeting a guy you like?

I work in a field that’s full of women. My world is all women. Meeting men isn’t organic to my life routine. When I have to try to meet men, there’s an artificialness to it. It starts to feel like “shopping for the perfect model,” especially with online dating. It makes me dismissive of someone who doesn’t seem perfect right from the start. I try not get into that mode, but sometimes it creeps in.

7. What does your dating life look like now?

Now I’m experimenting with being open to dating. I’m mostly online dating. I want a partner.

8. What attributes are most attractive to you in a partner?

Intelligence. Organization. Well, by that I really want to say “someone who has their shit together, by my standard of having their shit together.” They have a career that pays the bills. They’re happy enough. They’ve figured out what they want and already started making it happen. They have something to offer as a lover, and to potentially build a family. Also, they’re really cool, and really fun.

I have this saying. “I want the roof and the stars.” The roof is the security, the reliability, the trust, the financial stability. The stars are the inspiration, excitement, lust, the romance.

That’s a beautiful description!

9. a) What does your perfect love life look like?

I’m with a committed partner who’s really fun. Creative sex. And building a future. And traveling.

b) In a word (or words), what does that scenario feel like?

Spectrum. I want a variety. Someone who can do cozy and exciting, intellectual and animal.

10. Last question, do you believe in “The One”?

No. I believe in a set of potential partners, who come in to your life at the time you need them. I don’t also necessarily believe in forever. I do believe however, that when you make a commitment, you do owe your partner some degree of selflessness.

Thanks Jane!

Inside Voice Wrap Up: When I first met Jane about 2 billion years ago, she wasn’t single. And she had never been single. Indeed, she was adored by many. But when I sat down with her for this interview, she had embraced her single status. She seemed more settled, more clear, and more confident. She was glowing. She, like most of our Dating Project women, thinks deeply and speaks articulately. She’s curious, and she goes to therapy. She’s worked her shit out. And to be completely honest, I think she’s on the cusp of something great. Jane wants a partner. Jane is prepared to be a partner. And so she will have a partner. I heart Jane.

***Some names have been changed, some haven’t. Each woman has the option to use her own name or choose her fantasy pseudonym. I’m not telling which ones are which. Hear these women’s voices. Listen to their stories. They’re just like you!

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Men Are Strange. What’s A Woman To Do?

My dear friend Susan*** came to me with a perplexing scenario: She and her newish gentleman friend  of 3 months had a breakthrough conversation. He opened up to her about his dreams and fears. And for the first time, he spoke clearly about his particular brand of family dramas. He’d previously brushed it off in past conversations, but now it’s all out in the open. Phew, what a relief! Susan feels closer and more connected to her gentleman friend.

Just one problem, he’s not returning her calls. Well, to be fair, he’s taking a little longer to return her calls, texts, and emails. She feels the emotional distance. She’s not happy about it, and she doesn’t understand it. What happened?

Here’s what I told her: The good news is that it’s not about you. It rarely is. Think about it for a moment. Strange behavior that you don’t understand, logically, is strange because you’re missing some important information to make sense of it. And if it’s his strange behavior, it’s probably his thoughts and patterns that are making him act as he does. But what are they?  Honestly, I have no idea. It could be anything, from the cockamaymi far-off to the completely mundane. But be clear about this–You want Mr. Gentleman Friend to handle himself in an honest and clear way, right? You don’t want to be confused. Am I right on this?

You’re a smart and curious woman. You know you don’t know everything, but you’re willing to learn. DO this. And SAY this.

1) Remind yourself that you’re not the problem here.

2) Recognize that you’re working with just a sliver of all the information necessary to make sense of this.

3) Ask for help. Ask nicely, openly, and in a sincerely curious way. Say,”I loved our conversation last week. Thank you for being so honest and clear with me. However, it’s harder to connect this week. I don’t understand. Can you help me understand better, by sharing some information that I don’t have yet?”

What do YOU think? How do you think Mr. Gentleman Friend will respond?

***You know the drill. Names are changed (or not) to protect the innocent. Or they’re just shy.

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