Bay Area Matchmaker

Weekend Getaway with the Beau!

When your beau asked you to meet his parents, butterflies rumbled in your stomach….you were excited, a little nervous, elated, and the sound of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons flooded your mind…a wedding in the future perhaps?

Luckily you had the perfect ensemble to wear thanks to Tog + Porter’s Meeting the Parents style guide. Classy, feminine, and lady-like. You nailed it and remembered that the most important thing in preparing to meet the parents is to simply be yourself. Brunch with his parents was delightful and so fun! He was at ease, his parents down-to-earth and excited to meet you, and you felt like a princess.

The following day he shared that his parents absolutely loved you and have invited the two of you up to their Lake Tahoe lake house for a weekend getaway. An invitation to spend more time with his parents and immerse yourself in their world seemed to be the absolute perfect timing. How lovely!

The week leading up to the lake getaway you pamper yourself with pretty ballet slipper polish for a mani/pedi, waxed in all the right places, highlights and a cut, and a spray tan for any time spent on the lake. The Mr. shares to pack casual but said there would be a lakeside BBQ oyster shucking party with his parent’s neighbors the first night, boating on the lake the next day, followed by an intimate dinner at the house and dominoes fireside with after dinner drinks.

Casual isn’t really in your vocabulary and as much as you love your walks in nature, heading to “the woods” isn’t necessarily as easy as it seems for a city girl! Channeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw you put on the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie visits Aidan’s country cottage. Aidan-and-Carrie

You hope to fare better than Carrie did when she visited Aidan’s cabin. Clearly, comfort is key, but you don’t want to compromise your keen fashion sense that he has grown so fond of.

Not only do you need to plan some cute outfits but you also want to bring his parents a nice little gift to say Thank You for the lovely invitation and weekend at their lake house. What to get them that is a kind gesture but still not trying too hard?

And considering that you don’t know what their lake house is like at all or his mother’s discerning taste, the pressure is on. You do know that his parents are East Coast types who moved out to San Francisco ten years ago for his father’s job in private equity. Like father, like son. His parents definitely are on the more conservative side and money no object.

You also want to surprise your beau with a little something unexpected…. afterall, it is your 6 month anniversary that Saturday! We understand how any girl can feel a little overwhelmed by this scenario, which is why we sent an S.O.S. over to our friends at Tog + Porter for some outfit ideas. Stylist Camilla Basse broke it down for us and gave us suggestions for each activity on the trip.

For the oyster roast, she suggests your favorite and most comfortable pair of boyfriend jeans, a classic white button-down and a cozy sweater.Oyster Party

On day 2, a chambray button-down, your beloved go to denim shorts and metallic boating shoes for the boat excursion. Wear your new summer bathing suit (and sunscreen) underneath she says.BoatinginLakeTahoe

For dinner, Camilla says you can wear the same chambray top from earlier back to a white cotton or lace skirt or go for sleeveless plaid or tribal print top with your denim shorts. Intimate Dinner

She also says one statement piece is always a good idea. And, nothing says statement piece like a beaded shirt toned down and made cabin appropriate with denim.

With your packing list complete, it’s time to set out on what is destined to be one weekend to remember.

As for the gifts, you know him best, but us gals here at T+P think a picnic basket tote from Brookstone for his parents would make a useful, yet thoughtful gift for future boating trips. If they already have something of the sorts, a monogrammed Pendleton wool blanket is always a winner.

Need help packing for an upcoming getaway? One of Tog + Porter’s amazing stylists would love to help you. You can even schedule an appointment with Camilla by simply clicking here.

Linx Visits Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley

Today started out very early in hair and make-up getting ready for a TV interview for ABC 7 local Bay Area news about the Bay Area dating scene and the professionals that hire a firm like Linx to find love.  Air date in May TBD.P1080279

I was clearly very focused and shall we say serious here?! Listening and seeing if our first screening appointment meets a match for one of our current VIPs. 

I arrived to the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley to meet the lovely anchor, Kristen Sze, who I worked with behind the scenes to develop exactly the fun story she wanted for the piece.

Beyond the story, my assistant and I were at the hotel meeting a ton of female candidates who submitted their information to see if they have that “it” factor to meet a Linx VIP guy. The first female agreed to let her screening with Linx be filmed for the piece which was great. All mic’ed and wired up, we chatting as we would anyways about men (in some cases boys 😉 ), dating, and what she desires in finding a mate. P1080284 2

After the first screening, I had a male and female 40-something client show up for mini chats with Kristen on camera about their quest to find love. Everyone was super enthusiastic and generous to carve out time out of their busy days for this unique opportunity.

We also got footage of my male clients lunch date at the hotel which was fabulous and it turns out it is a match! I found a smart, fun, and adventurous client to match him to who also willingly agreed to be part of the story (caveat not showing her face and revealing identity). Outside of the context of the TV date, they actually hit it off and plan to see one another soon both texting me saying they were pumped up and excited to have met one another. P1080296Yes! I finally use a Mac after years of being a PC user. I love my Mac!  Was I ever resistant and getting me to switch was an uphill battle but no regrets. 

At around 12:30pm, the cameraman and Kristen cruised out and off to other stories and Aimi (assistant) and I resumed our business as usual. We met with many additional ladies who were each impressive in their own way. It is now up to my team to digest all of the information we gathered and see if there is a unique fit at this moment for one of our VIPs. If that is not the case, I will hold their info and ask they they touch base in a few months. As “not so sexy” as it seems, running a matchmaking business is a game of inventory, supply, and demand.

As always the Four Seasons Hotel Palo Alto went above and beyond the call of duty being so gracious and kind to us. From free wireless, little berries and chocolates to keep us going (on the house!), super friendly staff, and a very easy place to meet clients, I highly recommend the hotel for any of your business needs and also for date night (head to Quattro for amazing food and wine!) I hold the hotel close to my heart as for some of you know, it’s where my hubbie proposed back in 2007! Yeay for getting engaged! IMG-20130424-01073Excuse me…bonjour! …the way to a matchmakers heart is absolutely through fresh berries and little “guilt free” chocolates (in a silver box no less).  

A matchmaker’s job is never ending. I now have many clients emails to tend to, a match here and there, quick trip to the office, and then to bed early for another casting day tomorrow!

 

Last Week in Perspective

This past week, we completed two intense and inspiring days of individual interviews at our Spring casting in Palo Alto. Meeting after meeting, we met exceptional women and men of all ages coming out to see if they have what it takes to meet some of our current VIP clients. 49_191_popup-1I always learn so much from these candidates. One funny woman shared enthusiastically the Shanghainese tradition of gifting 18 hams to the matchmaker who has successfully matched you. Being Shanghainese, she said “Marry me off and you’ll have 18 hams coming your way! I hope you like ham.”

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So, what are these high caliber, successful single professionals saying? A lot! Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from our meetings we’d like to share with you:

I’ve been on a ton of dates, the men only seem to be interested in their own time table and agenda.

The well for getting set up from friends is shrinking by the minute!

I feel like I need to stop doing online dating. I don’t want to become jaded. I need to take a break, breathe, and get a fresh perspective.

I love flirting! I try to make eye contact in my everyday life and never look at my cell phone as a crutch when walking down the street.  Make eye contact, you just never know.

I am a modern woman who appreciates traditional values. But that means monogamy and a partnership. A relationship where it is one man and one woman. Not multiple partners.

The girl I was really into just did nothing all day and her life revolved around mine. It is so important to have a match who has her own thing going on. She would wait for me to come home, like a puppy dog, and just glum on. It was stifling. She had no life outside of mine.

People need to stop being hot and cold in relationships. Finding someone who is emotionally predictable is important. I hate always feeling like I am walking on eggshells.

It is a gift to put a woman at ease when dating. I love a man who is a gentleman and kindhearted.

My mother recently said just find any husband. As long as he has a pulse, the whole family will be delighted!  😉

New to the City | Ways to Make Friends & Attract Lovers into your Life!

Dear Amy, 

I‘m 34 years old, in tech, and recently moved to San Francisco from the Mid West. I’m a pretty simple girl with honest values- think cornbread, apple pie, and balancing my checkbook every night before bed! 
 
Being new to the city and a city in general (always lived in pretty small towns), I signed up for a few different online dating sites. What I seem to keep running into is that I struggle feeling the chemistry with these guys but overall, they are really nice yet not for me. The good girl Mid West part of me hates to let them down after a date and share I’m just not feeling it. Is it OK to keep some as friends and how do I do that? 
 
A:  Welcome to the Bay Area. I am huge into telling friends and clients to always do at least 2 dates to really see if that chemistry can develop. My question to you is, are you giving each of these chaps a fair chance or writing them off too quickly. Remember that chemistry can grow in all sorts of funny ways and in order to see if there is something there, you need to go out a couple of times. If you follow my plan and do two dates and still feel nothing, by all means you can keep whomever you like as a friend. The question is, will he want to?! Rejection on whatever level is a sensitive subject and not easy for guys to handle with their ego in the way.   
A girl who is new to the city can never have enough good friends in her life, so one way to go about this is to pay him the biggest and most genuine compliment you can after your second date. Do this in person and not over email and definitely not text.
After the compliment, pose a question to him, inquiring if he is feeling the chemistry. Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t. Get a conversation going. Then go in with the “I’m not entirely sure if the romance thing is there for me 100% but being new to the Bay Area, I’d like to keep you around, even set you up with a friend at some point. What do you think about that?” 
After you do this, your plan of action to not only keep him as a new friend but instantaneously get your name on the social map in the city is to be hostess with the mostess.
 
Our featured song for this entry is Sarah Vaughan Whatever Lola Wants by Gotan Project. This is a great song to get you into the party mood and to crank up at your soiree.
After your conversation with him, immediately get to work and don’t lose any momentum. Plan a festive and intimate party with him.
Have him invite 2 professional guy friends (if you are 34, their age is max early 40’s) and those guys invite 2 professional girls (ideally under 40) and those girls invite a friend each. Have everyone collaborate over email and each person brings an appetizer and bottle of wine under $20 from around the world. 
You host the party on a Friday or Saturday night and make sure your home is sparkling clean, candles lit, fun music on, and ready for your new friends party!  In doing this, you will meet new friends, possibly meet a cute new guy who you will feel that chemistry with, and feel welcome in your new city by the Bay!
The email invitation reads something like this: 
Who: Amanda Smith and Craig Baylor
What: Drink your way around the world and meet new friends for some networking, friendships, and fun
Where: Amanda’s new city apartment on Jackson street.
When: September 22nd at 6:00pm
Why: Everyone needs a reason to have fun after a long work week and I’m new to the city!
Please bring a bottle of white or red wine under $20 and it must be from out of the US. Think Australia, New Zealand, South America,
Iceland?!  Feel free to bring an appetizer too. I will be making my favorite artichoke dip and savory cheese fondue as well.
Please bring a friend of the opposite sex too!
Parking is grim, so cab if you can or roll the dice with parking.
See you soon!
Kindly,
Amanda and Craig
If you try this, you are guaranteed an entertaining night and to get on the social grid. You will be considered by these new friends to be a sophisticated catch, who is sweet, social, friendly, and smart.
The word will buzz around and next thing you know, the boys will be calling.  This social strategy for meeting new people could be applied to even those who are in graduate school programs at Stanford University. What a great way to meet new prospects for friendships and love!
And no concerns if you have a tiny apartment. At the end of the day, your guests will be thankful for the invitation and don’t care about a small space. You can move tables, chairs, stand around, ask the guys to help move furniture if needed. No excuses! Now get party planning and report back to amy@linxdating.com.  I want an invite too! 😉

Linx Wardrobe Consult

One of our newest summer bachelors’ has come to us after spending the last several years focusing on his career, traveling and enjoying time with his buddies.

After meeting him and getting to know him – we are thrilled to welcome a kind, intelligent and charming new client to Linx.
Our featured song for this entry is Digital Underground’s Humpty Dance 
We immediately began with the basics – a little wardrobe consultation to align his personal style with his quiet and confident personality.

I had him send over his measurements and clothing preference, from there I visited Neiman Marcus over the weekend and pulled some conservative and tasteful looks for him.
This week, our bachelor arrived to NM to a rack filled with looks (casual day date to a dressier night out on the town look). Guys don’t want to have to think about clothing. Our services make it so easy for them to simply show up and *magic* the work is done!
It’s amazing what a huge difference a few pairs of perfectly fitted jeans, nice button up’s, a couple cashmere sweaters, basic t-shirts, a gorgeous Armani sport coat, light
jacket, and Ferragamo drivers can do! And to top that…what some good tailoring can do! 
It was so much fun watching him transform before our eyes, literally and figuratively! With just a few tips and feedback on his attire – he was truly so happy and excited with his new looks.
A few fall fashion tips for any men out there who would like to get the inside scoop on what women think. 
– Layering is a very sexy look (especially for Fall and Winter.) A nice pair of fitted pants, t-shirt underneath, button up, a nice sweater/cardigan and coat.
– Get creative! Try new colors, patterns, mix and match for a fresh and stylish look!
– A pair of nice casual shoes and one that is dressier.
– Whatever you choose to wear, be sure you are comfortable and aim to look good effortlessly!
-If you aren’t feeling “it”, don’t buy it. You need to be yourself and feel good
about your new look.

Linx on ABC News Nightline!

We have been so completely inundated with matchmaking requests since Nightline aired nearly two weeks ago, that we are just now placing this entry up! It was so exciting getting to see the final product of our nearly 1.5 years in the making of this feature story.

Our featured song for this entry is Peter Gabriel’s Big Time. 

With only about 7 minutes of total airtime, a lot of great footage of other clients having participated never made it to the final cut. We had three other client stories and my actual interview with Bill Weir was 45 minutes! Such exciting stuff for our little business out of quiet Menlo Park, CA!

By KINGA JANIK

July 10, 2012

 On paper, Sundar Iyer seems like quite a catch.

He has a doctorate in computer science from Stanford. His second company sold when he was just 28 years old. His interests include ballroom dancing, standup comedy and recreational math.

So the ladies of Northern California must be lining up around the block to swoon over his intellect, dream about having children with him and splitting up the stock, right? But Iyer says not so much.

“I‘ve tried Match.com, I’ve tried eHarmony,” he said. “It’s hard to find people you can really relate to.”

And there’s others like Iyer. Silicon Valley may be the most recession-proof corner of the country, packed with brainiac billionaires, but the Revenge of the Nerds won’t truly be complete until these guys can find love.

And that is where self-made matchmaker Amy Andersen comes in.

I think when people initially visualize that Silicon Valley guy, they’re really picturing these mini Bill Gateses running around with coke bottle glasses and maybe pocket protectors, just totally clueless around women, and there is definitely some of those, let’s be honest here,” she said.

About a dozen years ago, Andersen said she realized that the dotcom boom in Silicon Valley created a lot of very successful and very lonely men. Meanwhile, nearby San Francisco was crawling with smart, attractive and single women. So Andersen launched Linx Dating in 2003 to bring the two groups together.

I find a lot of the guys in Silicon Valley can be so exceptional on paper. These guys have been absolutely rock stars in their academic careers. Professionally, they’ve sold companies. They are just going incredible places. And when they come into my office, I often see this deep insecurity, especially in landing or trying to pick up and attract a beautiful woman. It’s very hard for them,” she said.

Andersen started out beta-testing her idea on her friends and researching dating advice. Almost a decade later, Linx Dating has grown into a prosperous business with more than 1,000 paying clients, according to the company’s website.

But Andersen’s services don’t come cheap. Packages start out around $1,000 and go up to the VIP level with a hefty price tag of $50,000, which includes wardrobe consultations and date coaching, Andersen said.

For instance, he might show up for a first date in a really shiny sports car. And that’s really great and all, but the wrong woman is going to end up with him for the wrong reasons. My advice for these guys, and it’s happened so many times, is to rent a car. Borrow your buddy’s Prius or Honda. And if you’re with the right woman, she will be with you for the right reasons, and not the wrong ones,” she said.

For his part Iyer says he signed up with Linx not for coaching, but for introductions to women he might not otherwise meet in the male-centric Valley.

When Andersen meets with clients, she has them fill out a vast and deeply personal questionnaire, which includes such questions as “rate your physical appearance on a scale of 1 to 10. She then works to build their confidence and match them up on dates.

I think a lot of the Silicon Valley-based guys who are so incredibly successful and cerebral tend to be very analytical. They can be very preprogrammed and robotic in the motions that they carry on through life. It’s their mind that has led them to be so successful. Now the issue at stake is that that analytical mentality doesn’t exactly compute over to the dating world where emotion and feeling and that emotional intelligence is really important,” Andersen said.

Andersen said her method works better than Match.com or eHarmony — websites that use computer algorithms to match people’s profiles — because she can help her clients get over their anxieties and teach them how to present themselves on dates.

A computer can’t whisper into your ear and say here’s a little history into your match, and this is what you should wear. These are points to talk about. Avoid this,” she said. “It’s really that very personalized approach that makes this incredibly unique, and that no algorithm could do, no computer, no geeky piece of technology or iPhone app could figure out.”

Perhaps she is right. Maybe, even in Silicon Valley, love is tech-proof. 

Date Night at Home

Summertime is the perfect season for staying in and doing date night at home. Gathering the freshest ingredients, prettiest backyard flowers, using Tuscan party string lights suspended throughout trees and bushes, lighting tons of votives, and opening a gorgeous bottle of champagne creates magic for any couple.

Our featured song is Kool and the Gang Summer Madness. 

Last night, we wanted to stay in and chill at home. Husband cooked a delightful meal of heirloom tomatoes with burrata, chilled spinach fettucine with roasted chicken and sesames, and a vanilla scented whipped creme and fresh berries for dessert. 

Here are simple ways to add sparkle to your backyard:

Restoration Hardware “Party Globe Light String” (I have had ours in the backyard for a few years now. Have a handyman come out to string multiple rows together, using duck tape along the way and nailing on your fence if you have a fence.) Another festive idea is Restoration Hardware’s “Starry String Lights” for a tree.

Wine bottle candelabra- Amazon has a few varieties. Keep a special bottle your honey and you shared from an anniversary and use that bottle for home entertaining. All you need is the candelabra and some tall candlesticks.  Another cool idea is to get a larger wine bottle like a magnum w the candelabra, smaller bottle with candles next to it, and a third bottle as a vase. Group all three next to one another.

Fresh garden flowers and flower petals on your dinner table. Romance is created.

The best bubbly you can afford. Champagne is so fun to drink. Make French 75’s if you really want to add a special twist you your evening. I prefer high quality bourbon French 75’s over gin. He will love it! Trust me. Dip the champagne flute rims in a little colored sugar for an extra sweet touch.

Fido Helps You Get the Girl or Guy

Have you thought about the impact a four legged creature could have on going from single and searching to blissfully coupled up?  

Previously, I’ve shared some insight on my beloved pup and how much joy he’s brought to the lives of my husband and I. Now, I’d like to elaborate a bit on why you should get a dog, especially if you’re single! (and of course love pets)

Chances are, you probably haven’t considered how impactful  a dog can be for you in terms of getting more dates.

Why? Here are just a few reasons:

They get you out & about! — this is the first step to meeting more people in the first place, outside of your apartment!

They naturally draw you to the company of other people who already share a common interest (people like you)  – ie. at the vet, the dog park, around town, or just about anywhere you’d be walking or spending time with your dog.

Having a dog really helps you “break the ice” – I see it happening time and time again even when I’m on a stroll with Marshall – if people are within close enough proximity, they will take a moment to make a comment or strike a conversation.

Having a pet gives you something to talk about – sharing training methods, dog foods, funny stories and so on. 

AND if you’re talking about dogs for quite some time – you’ve already surpassed a huge hurdle in the dating world – and that is finding a shared interest. 

Linx on BBC World News Update

I was contacted by a producer yesterday at the BBC News and did an interview with them today at 12:00am PST via Skype.

Dan Damon interviewed me (they never told me exactly ahead of time what I would be asked but I speculated the geeks finding love in the Silicon Valley.)

The Linx interview is 24 minutes into the podcast.

BBC World News Update June 8th 2012

 

My 48 Hour Juice Cleanse

I decided to do an easy 2 day juice cleanse to put some seriously good nutrients into my system and to help give me a nice boost of energy, a glow to my skin, and a more balanced and healthy feel. For the last 6 years I have started each January 1st with a 30 day “Amy cleanse” which has become my own personal ritual to kick off the New Year, and I love it! Given that we are approaching mid March and the weather is icky, I felt I wanted to just feel that my insides were clean and clear of whatever toxins that tend to pile up in our bodies from everyday living. This past January I did a 3-day juice cleanse in conjunction with my standard 30 day cleanse and enjoyed the results very much.  Spontaneously, I felt why not do a 48 hour cleanse, hence this blog.

Day One – this was pretty easy. I started the day by picking up a nicely packaged box of 12 juices in Woodside that were packed on ice – very professional. My first juice was a mint and grapefruit – definitely refreshing and yummy. The second was sweet green (romaine, chard, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, and lemon). It too was very good. At around 1:00pm I enjoyed the third juice which was “red greens” (cucumber, celery, beet, carrot, romaine, spinach, rainbow chard, collards, parsley, lemon, and ginger). I loved the little kick at the end of it with the nice ginger to heat it up on the palate. I started to get hungry and was craving “normal” foods around 3:00pm and felt myself not wanting the next one, to be perfectly honest. #4 was spicy citrus which truthfully is my least favorite.  I think for me it feels as if it is the least nutrient-rich and not as satisfying.  It is a blend of water, citrus, ginger, cayenne, and stevia. The cayenne definitely is hot and this one for whatever reason isn’t my fav. Although I had enjoyed 4 so far, I did feel I needed some actual protein so in conjunction to #5, I had a piece of plain grilled chicken with some herbs for taste on it for dinner. Since I’ve been working out a fair amount recently, my body was telling me it needed something more, since my metabolism is up. Plus I do find that when I juice, I sort of miss chewing something. Funny right? You don’t realize these things till you stop chewing and when you just drink, it is a sort of a weird sensation with no chewing. Juice #5 was daily green. This is a combination of kale, romaine, celery, spinach, cucumber, parsley, dandelion, lemon, and ginger. I am not a huge kale fan. Finally, I ended my day with Liv Juices almond milk blend which is filtered water, almonds, dates, vanilla, and Himalayan salt. I love this – it tastes sweet and like a liquid dessert! I think it would be even tastier with some cinnamon blended in there too!

Day Two: I woke up feeling refreshed and balanced. Energy level is up and my body feels good. Today is a repeat of day one. The exact same juices.  It is the afternoon and I almost feel hyper and harmonious. I’ve already enjoyed three so far. I know today will be great too and since I am going to be doing a tough workout, I am going to eat the protein too for dinner. Note, I am a coffee drinker and I have not abstained from coffee. I really need it. I know, I know. If I were uber intense and doing a 7 day shock the system, I wouldn’t do coffee but, for me, it is absolutely my morning ritual and I love the effects of it. I wake up! Trust me, my clients wouldn’t want to know me without coffee and my husband can attest to this! After my third juice today, I was craving some almonds, so grabbed a handful to snack on.  Three more to go. Super easy and it feels great!

A quick update. It’s 5:00pm on the second day and I just finished the spicy citrus which today I liked better. I definitely feel good right now, a little hungry to be honest (might have a bite of grilled chicken in 45 before my dance class) and then will finish the day with 2 more. This is easy! I look forward to more juicing days and also enjoying normal foods too!