Posts Tagged ‘guide’

Dating 101 with matchmaker Janis Spindel

September 15, 2009

Working with bachelors I learn about their dating life in the course of conversation.  And while I operate with my clients under the premise of “if you build it / decorate it, she will appear”, my interviewee takes a much more active and truly effective approach to dating, marriage, etc.  Janis Spindel is the country’s leading matchmaker with approximately 869 marriages to her credit, 1000 long-term committed relationships and zero divorces.

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JaniceSpindel

Matchmaker Janice Spindel

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Janis Spindel has been interviewed by the New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Wall Street Journal and many more.  She has been seen on 60 Minutes, CNN, the Today show, ABC, NBC.  Janis has serious credibility and is serious about her passion, finding you your wife!  Her services come at a dear price, however her wisdom is there for us all to learn from.

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"What's Love Gotta Do With It?" New York Times Magazine, February 13, 2005

"What's Love Gotta Do With It?" New York Times Magazine, February 13, 2005

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I pulled up to the Bridgehampton home, complete with heart-shaped street number, of Janis and her husband of 27 years on a busy summer Friday afternoon to ask her questions about the pitfalls and secrets for men about dating women, in counter balance to her recently published a book for women,   “How to Date Men” (which she has her male clients read).  Janis is fiercely dedicated to her mission and she will tell you, “I am not a dating service, I am a matchmaker.  I am here for the exclusive purpose of finding my clients the woman whom they will marry.”

During our interview a Mr. X. calls, Janis takes every call from everyone, no screening.  This is a woman who means business even if her business is love.  Mr. X is hemming and hawing about coming to a party of Janis is throwing out in the Hamptons the following Sunday evening.  I am uncertain if he is a current or potential client, Janis is to the point regardless, “What are you waiting for? You are 40 plus years old … “  She is very clear, he needs to be there, she has someone for him to meet, he needs to get off the fence and be there.  I ask her a few days later if he is coming to the party, she said “He’s coming, of course I DON’T take no for an answer.”

Part of what I learned from interviewing Janis Spindel and reading many of the articles written about her is that while she is direct, almost withering, she has a point.  We’ve all been waiting around looking for the right person, or staying in a relationship too long because it is easier than finding a new one.  Janis is gifted in her craft, and an important part of the services she provides is to prepare the field.  She gets her clients ready, she is grooming you to take your life and getting married seriously.

Graciously, Janis shared with me some of her thoughts about dating a woman.  Most of them seem obvious to me, and since Janis says, “I own the minds of men” let’s listen to her advice directly.

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“What are the first date do’s and don’ts?”
– (and she applies these to the second and third dates as well)
1.    do be on time.
2.    do pick her up at her home (but do not go in).
3.    do bring a small gift, maybe a single rose or some chocolate or a book.
4.    do be a gentleman, open her car door, open all doors for her, pull out her chair – serious brownie points.
5.    do go out for more than dinner on your second and third date, a movie, an activity, a charity function or a sports event.
6.    don’t talk about your Ex-anything! Your ex-girlfriend, ex-fiance, ex-wife, ex-business partner – whatever! Nothing negative!
7.    don’t be pushy, rude or anxious, to your date or anyone you come into contact with.  If a woman sees you yelling at the parking attendant she is going to think that you will yell at her that way someday too.
8.    don’t be desperate, relax, this is fun.
9.    don’t talk about politics.
10.    don’t bring your baggage to the table. She doesn’t want to hear about your tragedies, keep it light and fun.

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“What creates a lasting relationship?”
1, 2 and 3 – communication – as this is so important, I asked Janis to elaborate on this
– never go to bed angry, talk about it, make peace.
– communication with the woman you are seeing is a 24/7 thing, not a call twice a week.
– share the good and the bad stuff, be a team.
4. really get to know her, be incisive, ask questions and listen to her answers.
5. respect her and listen to her.
6. commonalities – whether they be upbringing, lifestyle, or interests you need to share things that matter to you in common or respect the things you do not share.

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“How do you work with your clients?”
1.    Initially there is a phone interview with one of my assistants.
2.   The home visit – like it sounds, we visit his home, look inside the drawers, the fridge, the closets, as you know best, someone’s home is very telling of who a person really is and I need to know it all to find “the right one”.
3.    The simulated date – the man takes me out on a series of dates so that I see how he treats women.
4.    The dates – our service is a 12 month contract and we usually we find “the right one” in two or three dates.
5.    if he doesn’t find “the one” in these first two or three dates, I talk to him about this because either he is not articulating what he wants or he is just “dating” and I am matchmaker.
6.    If he begins to date someone then his membership “freezes” for up to a year, and he has up to 24 months to be matched. However if he’s been dating someone for a year and he’s not to “I do” then there is something else wrong.

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“What makes for a good client?”
1.    he has to be emotionally available.
2.    commitment minded.
3.    well educated and successful in his chosen profession.
4.    well traveled.
5.    healthy, athletic.

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While Janis works with the elite of our species, her words are not wasted on the rest of the crowd.  What she says is valid for every man and woman, be your best, take care of yourself, be polite and be determined, there is someone out there for everyone … but you have to have done the work to prepare yourself or else you will have the same life you have today. Ouch!

Without a doubt Janis’ unsaid motto is life is short, find a mate, you’ll be happier and then she can move on to find the next great match.

dale b. cohen

new york city

a few luxuries for your summer beach or country rental

July 23, 2009

Summer is well underway and here in New York City that means summer rentals or summer shares everywhere from the Hamptons, to Connecticut, the Hudson Valley and more.  And with those rentals come surprises, so best to be prepared.  Here are a few “luxuries” to bring along, re-creating a bit of home in your summer rental.

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1   sheets

My very top must have, beautiful sheets!  While thread count is not everything, it is a big part of the picture, as well as the type of cotton, where it is made and where it is finished.  My favorite sheets are made by Signoria di Firenze.  They are silky smooth, come in a myriad of colors to work with anyone’s palette and they are so very luxurious.

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Signoria di Firenze, Fine Italian Linens

Signoria di Firenze, Fine Italian Linens

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2   down duvet and pillows

Along with your sheets you will need a full down duvet and pillows.  Everyone says to me, and I mean everyone, I have allergies and I cannot have down.  This is simply not true! you cannot have down feathers!  You can use a full down comforter and pillows, just make sure it is 100% down without any feathers.  I recommend Scandia mid-weight with a set of firm 100% down pillows.  Nothing feels sexier than a bed made with luxurious sheets and a cloudlike down comforter and then falling into down pillows!

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Scandia Down Comforters

Scandia Down Comforters and Pillows

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3   bath towels

Bringing a few sets of fine bath towels because you never know what you are going to encounter at your rental property.  They may have locked away the lovely turkish towels and you will be left with the usual mis-match of old, worn-out towels.  My preferred bath towels are from Yves Delorme, match the color of your towels to the bedding for a complete look.

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Yves Delorme Bath Towels

Yves Delorme Bath Towels

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4   votive candles

As this is not your home, you never know what you are going to encounter upon entering someone else’s home.  The odors may be unpleasant, with a stale, dampness in the air.  A box of fragrant votive will go a long way to creating a more pleasant environment for your sensitive olfactory and add some ambiance as well.  A close friend of mine gave a box of Voluspa votive candles to me when I moved into my new home and I simply love them.

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Voluspa Cream Candle Set

Voluspa Cream Candle Set

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Please watch for next week’s blogpost, an interview with the famous matchmaker Janis Spindel.

Enjoy your summer travels.

dale b. cohen

new york city

knives, knives, knives … part one

February 20, 2009

An interview with  Gretchen Young, Chef

This week we are going to begin to delve into knives and as Chef Gretchen says, “If you’re going to cook, you need good knives since scissors and ripping by hand are two methods that do not work in every food prep situation.”  As with any tool, it is a given that all are the not the same in terms of quality or function.  There are reasons to buy the very best and different knives do different tasks.

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In my conversation with Chef Gretchen, she stressed quality matters more than quantity.  Her feeling is that you begin your knife drawer with 3 knives and build from there.  Those 3 knives should be of the highest quality you can afford and “be based on how you cook. If your repertoire is limited to burgers, pastas and the occasional stir-fry, why have every knife known to man? Keep it simple!”

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Here are the selection of knives that Chef Gretchen recommends;
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Shun Kaji Chef’s Knife

A good quality chef’s knife will cost in the range of $75 to $300.  A chef’s knife comes in 8″ or 10″ blade length, choose depending on your size, and is for general all-purpose knife work.  This Shun Kaji Chef’s knife comes in a 6″, 8″ and 10″ blade.

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Shun Kaji Paring Knife, 4 1/2″

A good paring knife is $35 to $80.  Which you use “for the details, like coring apples, cutting limes, etc.”

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Shun Kaji Bread Knife, 9″

A good serrated bread knife is $60 to $150.  A serrated knife is used to slice through breads and other baked goods, and can also be used for tomatoes.
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Chef Gretchen had a few other salient points about knives, buying them, choosing them and why …

First, she stresses that you need to buy your own knives, as she said “Even if you move mom’s well-worn couch to your new apartment, it’s best to leave her old knives at home.”

Second,  you choose a knife because of how it works for you and how it feels.  To that end, she remarked “Similar to car shopping, before you plunk down any money, take the knife on a test drive — have the salesperson in the store take the knife out of the packaging (or use a floor model) and feel the knife in your hand. The handle should fit. It should feel balanced and not weigh your arm down.”

Thirdly, if you have a girlfriend and she cooks when she is at your home,  Chef Gretchen says “I always suggest that couples each maintain their own chef’s knife.”  This is so you can cook together and because the size and weight of the knife is related to the height of the person using it and the size of their hands.  “So if you are a tall guy with big hands, an 8″ chef’s knife will be like a toothpick in your hand, it is better to get a 10″ or longer bladed knife.  Alternatively, if your significant other is smaller than you, she’ll have a hard time maneuvering the knife (no kidding!). So in addition to giving a her a set of keys, she will also need her own knife.”

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As for which manufacturer to buy, there is the question of Japanese or Western.  Chef Gretchen has the following thoughts.  “Japanese knives, such as Shun, Global or Kyoce, are single ground; meaning, they’re sharpened only on one side, at approximately 22 degrees, and are designed for people who are right handed (they can often be special-ordered for left handed users).   The German, or Western, knives are double-beveled, sharpened at a 45 degree angle on both sides.”

If you are left handed you may prefer a Western knife, such as Lamson Sharp, Cutco, Wustof and Henckel.  “These knives are made primarily in the German tradition of knife making. As these knives are double-beveled, they are therefore ambidextrous.”

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Here is the real deal, when I spoke with my friend Chef Mitchell London, owner of Burgers & Cupcakes and Mitchell London Foods, about Japanese knives, and the Shun specifically, he spoke longingly, fondly of his now lost Shun Chef’s knife (someone else in his kitchen loved it so much that they ran off with it).  Chef Mitchell talked about the feel, the weight and the knife’s dexterity.  He said “it was a dream to work with”.  And when I was wondering around the knife department with Chef Gretchen, she too was clearly enamored of the Shun and while she liked other knives and thought they could do the job, you could see in her eyes how much she loved the Shun knives.  My next knives will be Shun, thank goodness I am right handed.

There is much more to say, as Chef Gretchen remarked to me, “I could talk about knives for days”.  To be continued …

Please be sure to share your thoughts about the blogpost and any ideas you have for future posts.

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Gretchen Young has a culinary career that stretches over 10 years, satisfying high profile individuals, restaurants, small businesses and non-profit groups through a catering business, cake design studio and as a private chef. She teaches cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Education Center. During the Fragrance Foundation’s 2006 Fragrance Week, Chef Gretchen partnered with Takasago Perfumerie and Bacardi to create a multi-sensory experience of food, cocktails and scent.  She earned an MBA from the University of Michigan and trained at the Institute of Culinary Education.

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dale b. cohen

new york city

why your white dress shirt is your best friend

February 13, 2009

The lost art of dressing is our topic for this week’s post.  Even when casual dressing, your white shirt is your best friend and I might say that your white shirt is possibly a better friend to you when dressing casually.   In conversation this week with a friend of mine, Gabriel Zeller, who is a Brooks Brother’s Master Specialist, we spoke about men’s casual dressing and the art of it.  What has been misplaced in the era of dressing casually is that dressing well takes thought and that often times men without the compass of a suit go astray.  Ask any woman you have gone out with, as beautiful as you look in your suit, when you pull something together for a Saturday night date or dinner with friends, it does not show you at your best.  Of course, it is when you are dressed casually that we spend the most time with you.

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Paul Newman

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Upon looking up the definition of casual on http://www.merriam-webster.com, casual is defined as;

1: subject to, resulting from, or occurring by chance. 2 a: occurring without regularity : occasional.  3 a  (1): feeling or showing little concern : nonchalant.  (2): lacking a high degree of interest or devotion  (3): done without serious intent or commitment. b  (1): informal, natural   (2): designed for informal use.  Synonyms see accidental, random.

Gabriel remarked, “The issue being that even Webster views dressing casual as synonymous with accidental and random.  Lets avoid some accidents out there.  Casual is  an opportunity for being natural and relaxed, and being comfortable.”   So from our conversation, what we came up with is a man needs a casual uniform the way he leans on his cadre of suits as his professional uniform.
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Steve McQueen

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The key is to keep it simple and elegant.  This is where we get to why your white dress shirt is your best friend.  “Not only is it one of the most understated and elegant ways to be appropriate and taken seriously, it is as simple as it sounds.  An understated white dress shirt,  with a white undershirt, will be a perfect choice from work transitioning into dinner on Saturday night. Pair it with a cleanly pressed chino or untucked with dark jeans for the more casual outing.”  I know many men prefer khakis or chinos, my vote is for jeans with an untucked white dress shirt.

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Robert Redford

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Gabriel had a long conversation with me about the custom fit shirt.  He feels that when a man walks down the street in a shirt that is properly fitted, you know it and it defines the man.  “I’m a big supporter of the ‘your shirt should fit you’ club. Not all men have the same build and not all shirts are made the same either.  More and more clothing companies are becoming aware that fit matters.  From the multiple fit options ready made at Brooks Brothers, (traditional, luxury and slim) to the best in show, made to measure or custom made shirting.”

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Daniel Craig

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Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

And no matter what, be sweet to your sweetheart!

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Jeff Koons ‘Hanging Heart’

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dale b. cohen

new york city

the top 5 kitchen utensils, part one

January 8, 2009

For this post I interviewed my friend and chef Gretchen Young.  She is a chef for William’s Sonoma’s store at Columbus Circle and personal chef for a bachelor in New York City.  I will share her top picks for kitchen utensils and equipment over the next few months.

So to begin, this month’s top 5 kitchen utensils.  The things you simply cannot live without.

ONE Pepper mill (and Salt mill if you are so inclined)

Peugot Chateauneuf Adjustable Salt & Pepper Mills

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Did you know that the French car maker Peugot also makes world class pepper mills? The mechanism was created in the 1840s and this same engineering has been the best since then! Sleek and shapely, this traditional grinder is top quality and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Mini Salt/Pepper Mills

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Let’s say you don’t have a lot of space on your counter, yet you still want fresh pepper or salt on your plate. Try the “Pump N Grind!” In one hand, hold down with your thumb and pump away. No adjustment possible to the coarseness of the grind.  Salt and pepper grinders fit easily in utensil drawer.

TWO Utensil Set

All Clad Utensil Set

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Oxo Utensil Set

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While I prefer All Clad’s stainless tool set, this set has a bit of everything and it is non-stick which means that you do not scratch your pots and pans (something I do not seem to worry about, but does seem to stress out others).


THREE
Wooden Spoons

Beechwood Spoons

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You’ve invested a lot of energy equipping your kitchen. Now it’s about the maintenance. Wooden spoons are the way to go when cooking. They will not scratch metal pans, clean up is easy and there is no scraping. Save the metal spoons for serving. Just remember not to toss wood spoons in the dishwasher.

Batali Wooden Spoons

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A wooden spoon is a basic and beautiful tool to have in your kitchen.  When I pull out my wooden spoons I recall fond moments of watching  images chef’s and home cooks the world over I have watched in their kitchens.  Gretchen likes the beechwood spoons, I love the lines of the Batali spoons.

FOUR Measuring Tools

All Clad Standard Cups & Spoons

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Heavy stainless measuring cups and spoons. All-Clad makes wonderful tools for the kitchen. They are perfect for recipes that call for “scoop and sweep” methods. And they won’t rust. Gotta love that.

OXO Angled Measuring Cup

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The OXO Angled Measuring Cup is another item on the “must have” list. No more raising the measuring cup to eye level to figure out just how much is in one of these things. Just pour liquid into the cup and read levels instantly. Dishwasher safe. Colorful and easy to read.

As for the dry measuring utensils vs. wet measuring utensils.  As Gretchen remarked to me, you cannot use one in lieu of the other, dry ingredients and liquids are volumetricaly dissimilar.


FIVE
Microplane Grater

Microplane Zester Grater

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No more scraping your knuckles with a box grater. This brilliant, versatile tool is used for lemon/lime zest (you’d be surprised how many uses you can find for zesting), for Parmesan cheese and chocolate shavings (on those nights you want to make dinner special for your honey).  Rinses clean, dishwasher safe.

Microplane Grater-Zester without Grip

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This is my favorite, though Gretchen claims that men will like the one above more as she finds it easier to handle.  They both do the same job and do it beautifully.
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Gretchen Young has a culinary career that stretches over 10 years, having satisfied high profile individuals, restaurants, small businesses and non-profit groups through a catering business, cake design studio and as a private chef. She has taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and the Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Education Center. During the Fragrance Foundation’s 2006 Fragrance Week, she partnered with Takasago Perfumerie and Bacardi to create a multi-sensory experience of food, cocktails and scent. She earned an MBA from the University of Michigan and was trained at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Intimate Gifts for the Women in Your Life

December 17, 2008

The everyday bachelor has many women in his life.  When the holidays near you never really know how to choose the perfect gift.  Here’s our guide to intimate, fun, stylish gifts for every woman in your life.


Mom

La Perla, Long Robe

La Perla, Long Robe

Sister

Bleu Clair, Tokyo Top Pants

Grandmother

Natori, Dynasty Caftan

Girlfriend The keeper, you can bring her home to mom.

La Perla, La Grinta Slip

Girlfriend The casual lover

Chantelle, Africa Demi

GIRLFRIEND   Best friend
She’s been with you through thick and thin and every stupid decision,
she has attended countless thanksgivings in between your vast array of girlfriends, she’s been your “stand-in” for years.


Josie by Natori , Lucky Dragon PJ