Posts Tagged ‘wealth’

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

energizing your career area

June 23, 2009

an interview with feng shui master Kate MacKinnon

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As we explore feng shui and how to work with it in your home, it seems to be a good time to work with your “career area”.  In the bagua, this area is located is on the lower center area as you walk in your home.  If it turns out that your home or your apartment is square in floorplan and fits easily into the bagua diagram below, the “career area” is in the center lower area as you walk in your home.  For those of you who live in a traditional colonial home, that will be right as you walk in your front door with the living room to the right and the dining room on the left, that small entry way/vestibule/foyer is your “career area”.  For those of us who live in a city, that is not what happens, often we open our door either to a narrow hallway.  In my case, we enter into the “mentor corner” and my entire career area was missing.  So Kate has helped me with feng shui cures to create the area in my home that was energetically missing.

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a feng shui diagram of your “career area"

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In the ideal situation, your career area is a generous foyer/entry way allows the chi – the life force, as known in Chinese culture, into your home.  The idea is to do everything possible to welcome this energy into your home with ease and grace.  Traditional, the color of that area is dark blue to black, like water – the element associated with this area.  The color can be used as painting a wall, or in accents or the actual element of water – a fountain or a fishbowl or tank.  These elements, a fountain, are “active water”, bringing good energy, money and abundance to your home.  Additionally this is a great spot to have bookshelves in your career area, books about your career, your aspirations, your passions, etc.

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Foyer by Shaun Jackson, Elle Decor October 2007, Photographer Roger Davies

Foyer by Shaun Jackson, Elle Decor October 2007, Photographer Roger Davies

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In my case, Kate needed to energize  the “career area” because that area was missing because you enter my home through a slender corridor.  Her recommendations were to place mirrors the entry foyer.  In addition, I installed bookshelves in the niche in my entryway, which were perfect in the “career area”.   So after a bit of ruminating and pushing and pulling with Kate about the placement of these mirrors – she really wanted the whole place plastered with mirror and I just couldn’t walk into my home and into one of those 70’s discos, I mean who wants a mirrored ball in the foyer – ok, so Hugh Hefner would be ok with it, just not for me.  We came up with a solution, to mirror the three sides of the bookshelf alcove and add a slender frame to accent the architecture of the space.  On the wall facing the alcove will be a large mirror with a floating photograph in the center of a library that I particularly love.

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Foyer by Dan Barsanti, Metropolitan Home, December 2008, Photographer: Antoine Bootz

Foyer by Dan Barsanti, Metropolitan Home, December 2008, Photographer: Antoine Bootz

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In your home, if you have the “skinny hall” version of an entry foyer, Kate recommends mirroring as much of the walls as you can stand and there are many way to achieve this.  This is to allow for the expansion of the energy, bringing you abundance in your career.  If you have the career area of your home and it is not your entryway, reference the Bagua chart above, then this is a good spot for your home office/desk area.

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Aquarium at the Galleries Lafayette, Paris, France

Aquarium at the Galleries Lafayette, Paris, France

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This same position for your career area of your home, is also the location of the career area in room, however Kate made a point to say that she often does not emphasize the career area of each room, often only focusing on the entry way, the living room and the home office.  Since you really don’t want to have a fish tank as you enter each room, Kate recommends that the career area of your living room or office is a good spot to have a fountain, bookshelf, a painting of moving water or a if you are doing painted accent walls then this is where you might want a dark blue wall or painting with deep blues and blacks.

Jean Jorges Vongerichten's Restaurant 66

Jean Jorges Vongerichten's Restaurant 66

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Interesting footnote, when you sit at your desk, you are sitting in the career area of your desk.  So use a beautiful, comfortable chair.

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If you have any questions, please post them to blog and Kate will answer them.

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dale b. cohen

posted from Eilat, Israel

Summer grilling

May 26, 2009

Summer has unofficially begun with the passing of Memorial Day!  And with summer comes entertaining, and that means grilling and cocktails long into the evening.   So now comes the question, what kind of grill?  The query is beyond just the usual gas vs. charcoal (gas is the obvious choice at this point, it has a smaller carbon footprint) for some people there are limitations because of where they live.  You might have a swell backyard deck, replete with pool and fancy umbrellas.  Then again, maybe you live in the city and have a balcony or terrace. Or maybe you do not have a balcony, terrace or summer house and would like those nice grill marks on your steak or fish … now what?  We have suggestions for everyone.

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For the man who has everything and wants the BMW of grilling, sleek, sexy and nice handling, there is the Viking Outdoor Series.  I love cooking with Viking indoors and their outdoor equipment comes highly recommended.  They have a feature, called “TruSear which is 30,000 BTUs of searing infrared power.”   You want the hottest grill possible and this is one of them.  In addition, Viking has everything you could possibly imagine to create an elaborate outdoor kitchen.

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Viking 30" Ultra-Premium Gas Grill
Viking 30″ Ultra-Premium Gas Grill

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I imagine you thought I would recommend one of Weber’s charcoal grills, in truth, I do not recommend anyone use a charcoal grill unless you are camping.  Why?  Because it is not a responsible choice for the environment.  Research into this question by the Oak Ridge National Labratory has determined, “the majority of carbon dioxide emissions are from grills using charcoal briquettes, because the amount of carbon per Btu of gas is about one-third that of charcoal … A liquefied petroleum gas grill operated for an hour would emit 5.6 pounds of carbon dioxide while a charcoal grill would emit about 11 pounds.And then I read on Huffington Post, “Bobby Flay in Boy Meets Grill expresses his preference for his gas grills, because, he says, “the real flavor boost (from grilling) comes from marinades and seasonings, and from quick searing directly over a very hot fire—which a good gas grill does as well as charcoal.” So there you have it from the mouth of the master.

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That being said, Weber does make some of the very best gas grills on the market.  If you are not creating an entire outdoor kitchen with a suite of matching appliances, then I recommend the Weber.  Their Genesis EP-310 series has 42,000 BTU-per-hour output and really, what more could you ask for since the hottest grill possible is always the best.  Searing the outside, seals in  juices and creates a delicious, moist product with a beautifully caramelized exterior.   How do you know that your food is done?  Firmness is the answer.  Do not cut into the meat, touch it, as it cooks the flesh gets firmer, the more firm the more cooked.  As the grill master, Bobby Flay says on his website, “A rare steak feels squishy; a medium steak feels more springy; a well-done steak feels as taut as a trampoline.” It will take a bit of experimenting until you get it just right.  Allow your meat and chicken rest for a few minutes before serving to allow the juices to congeal inside the meat, keeping it moist.  Since your food is still cooking while it rests, it is a good idea to under cook your food slightly.

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Weber Genesis Series Grill
Weber Genesis Series Grill

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For those of you who would like to grill and feel impeded by the lack of outdoor space there are several easy solutions.  All-Clad, one of my favorite kitchen suppliers, has a wonderful indoor electric grill.  This will not have the very high heat of an outdoor gas grill, it will produce nice grill marks and use less oil than pan sauteing your food.

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All-Clad Electric Indoor Grill

All-Clad Electric Indoor Grill

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If the thought of another indoor appliance has you running out of your local kitchen store, and you still want those lovely grill marks and some of the flavor, then a grill pan is a great alternative.  I recommend Le Creuset’s cast-iron square grill pan.  Their enameled cast iron is industrial strength , it will last your lifetime and beyond.  As Le Creuset says “Cast iron has been used as “the” material for cooking pots since Roman times.”  And the Romans know something about cooking.  Their products come in several colors, just in case that is more inspirational for your cooking.

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Le Creuset Square Grill Pan
Le Creuset Square Grill Pan

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Lastly, marinades and dry rubs are the key to enhancing the flavor of anything you throw on the grill.  A marinade can be as simple as salt, pepper, olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar.  A friend of mine from South American used to marinate his lamb chops in a serious layer of sea salt and vodka.  They were incredible!  For steak, often salt is all you need.  For fish and chicken I recommend something more elaborate.  Experiment with dry spices, fresh herbs and citrus.  If that seems a bit too risky, Whole Foods has their own pre-packaged dry rubs and bottled marinades, which are wonderful and take all the worry out of getting it right.  Make sure you have a few basting brushes to apply the marinade and a good set of kitchen tongs to work with.

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Footnote, if you are going to use a charcoal grill because that is your only choice, I have two footnotes.  One, use a chimney starter to heat your coals, it is easy and does not require the use of lighter fluid.  Two, buy only charcoal that is made of wood ONLY.  Typically charcoal that you find at your local convenience store is composed of saw dust and lighter fluid. Really you do not want that in your food. Additionally, Oak Ridge National Labs did research and found that “Common charcoal has a heating value of 9,700 Btu per pound while solid wood charcoal has a heating value of about 13,000 Btu per pound.”  As I mentioned before, the higher the heat the better the better it is for searing.

Happy grilling!

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dale b. cohen

new york city

activating your “wealth corner”

January 16, 2009

Ok, I hear you looking at this page and saying to yourself, what on earth is a wealth corner?  Well, let’s back up and let me share with you a little bit about feng shui.  At its most basic, feng shui is about creating balance in your home and workspace. It addresses the need to energize your dwelling spaces – where you eat, sleep, work, play – so that more good things can flow into your life.

This week launches a series of conversations with my friend, feng shui master Kate MacKinnon. She trained in the form of feng shui from China called the BTB School, as taught by the feng shui master, Professor Lin Yun.

Today’s conversation centers around activating your “wealth corner”.  In the school of feng shui that Kate practices, as you enter through the front door, the far left corner of your home is your wealth corner. This same position, the far left corner from the entry door, is also the location of the wealth corner in each room of your home, and your office.

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a feng shui diagram of your “wealth corner”

So, for those of you who are considering creating a home office, the far left corner of your home would be an ideal location for it.  And if your bedroom happens to be in that area, this is good, simply place a lovely green plant in the wealth corner.  However often the existing architecture of one’s home, prevents the installation of an office in that far left corner . . . your kitchen, for instance, may already be there, or your bathroom, or a stairwell.  Feng shui has solutions for these architectural impediments to the flow of chi, or energy, through your dwelling.  Since every room has a wealth corner, a feng shui master would work within those spaces to improve the flow of energy through them.

Here are a few things that you can do to “activate” or “energize” your wealth corner:

1. The placement of your desk – facing the doorway of your office is the best position.  Make sure it is not directly in line with the doorway but is either to the left or right of it.

2. Placing a beautiful tree or plant in your “wealth corner” is a great addition.  Plants represent money.  Of course, make sure that it is a big, healthy green plant.  A few examples of possible plant choices are money trees, bamboo plants, or ficus trees. And remember to water them! Whatever you do, don’t let them languish!

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Jade plant, in flower

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Lucky Bamboo

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Sea Grape, beautiful round foliage

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Takashimaya vases (these look like plants, so can also be used)

3. Another good idea is to have ‘moving water” (ie. a water element or fountain) in this location, as it is a great way to energize wealth.

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4. And, lastly, mirrors are a way to expand energy.  If possible, put a mirror in your wealth corner. Maybe place it on the left wall – if it can be centered there, that is ideal, but anywhere that makes sense on the wall is great.  Alternatively, let’s say you have a view of the river, put a mirror there to reflect the water into your space.

Additional thoughts from Kate!

She emphasizes that, in feng shui, intention is everything.  In other words, as you are working on your wealth corner, visualize what you want to bring into your life – maybe a bigger apartment, more money, a promotion or bonus, a better job or even a new career, a new car, new furniture, a gianormous TV with surround sound… remember, this is about your wealth and prosperity so the clearer your vision, the more command you will have over creating it.

Kate has been in banking for 20 years and for 14 of those years she was a management consultant.  She was certified in feng shui in 2001 and works in both homes and businesses.  As we were starting our session today, she remarked to me that she has lately been working more with businesses, as many companies use Feng Shui, even Donald Trump!

If you have any questions, please post them to blog and Kate will answer them.

blog editing by Lacy Waltzman, a friend and screenwriter in los angeles
you can find her at blondeplanet.blogspot.com