Seven Dating Mistakes Men Make

Couple with red rose. Guian Bolisay/

Couple with red rose.
Guian Bolisay/

Anyone who’s strolled down the relationship aisle of a bookstore knows that dating manuals disproportionately hold women accountable for how a date turns out. If the guy never called again, it’s the woman’s fault. If he asked her out again only to act like a jerk, somehow the woman’s to blame for that, too.

While some men would certainly like to believe they can do no wrong on dates, the reality is that men can and do screw up with women all the time. Their behavior on dates can cause a budding romance to wilt or bloom. A man may improve his chances of nabbing his dream woman by avoiding the dating mistakes below. Continue reading

How to Trick Yourself into Eating Mindfully

Fork with sprinkles. Matthew Reid/

Fork with sprinkles.
Matthew Reid/

An acquaintance of mine just completed a 25-hour fast. The other night he ate a whole pot of Mexican-style rice, which he followed up with a chaser of Reese’s Pieces and M&Ms. He skipped meals for a day as penance.

“I have an addictive personality,” he said.

But does he? Given that a study released in August found that U.S. citizens consume nearly twice the amount of calories they should be, I doubt that my acquaintance is any more addicted to food than the typical American. I know that all too often I’ve suffered the bloated belly and regret that follows an evening of comfort eating. Working in a deadline-driven environment where sugary snacks are as free flowing as marijuana on Willie Nelson’s tour bus hardly helps matters. That’s why I’ve been researching mindful eating, the meditative eating method in which practitioners take time to notice the texture, aroma, flavor and color of their food.

“Mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all,” the New York Times noted in 2012. “It’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it. You can eat a cheeseburger mindfully, if you wish. You might enjoy it a lot more. Or you might decide, halfway through, that your body has had enough. Or that it really needs some salad.” Continue reading

5 Signs Your Relationship May Lead to Domestic Violence

 No More Domestic Violence

No More Domestic Violence Ted Eytan/

With Oscar Pistorius dodging a murder conviction for killing his mate and Ray Rice losing his contract with the Baltimore Ravens for beating his, domestic violence topped the news headlines this week. Survivors of such violence shared their decision to stand by or leave their abusers, causing the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft to trend on Twitter. News agencies asked experts on domestic violence to discuss why men, particularly athletes, hit women. And the NFL faced accusations that it had long known the extent of the brutality Rice had unleashed against his wife.

Largely missing from media reports about domestic abuse are the signs people can look for early in their relationships that hint their partners could turn violent in the future. Contrary to the Lifetime movies you’ve seen, people typically don’t switch from Prince Charming to raging brutes overnight. Beware if your mate displays any of the following behaviors: Continue reading

Your Favorite Books From Childhood May Be Back in Print

DebutanteHill/Lizzie Skurnick Books

DebutanteHill/Lizzie Skurnick Books

Lois Duncan. Paula Danziger. Richard Peck.

If all of these names ring a bell, you’re likely over 30-years-old and spent your tween years gobbling up one young-adult novel after another, living vicariously through characters navigating puppy love, puberty and out-of-touch parents. While today’s YA fiction has taken a different turn—series about vampires, werewolves and aliens are all the rage—the book industry has caught on to the fact that Gen Xers and Yers want to revisit the books of their youth. The popularity of blogs about bygone series such as The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High has proven that.

Now a new imprint, Lizzie Skurnick Books, is reissuing YA classics from the most beloved authors in the genre. The imprint will kick off its launch with Lois Duncan’s 1958 novel Debutante Hill about a teen from the right side of the tracks who gets the cold shoulder when she opts not to be a debutante. Is anyone else reminded of the “Gilmore Girls” episode when Rory makes her debut? But I digress. In addition to Duncan’s work, Lizzie Skurnick Books will give fans of classic YA the opportunity to read the works of Ernest Gaines, Lila Perl and Ellen Conford, to name a few. Continue reading

Six Ways to Prepare for Surgery

Operating Room

Photo by Ruhrfischer/

A handful of years ago when my husband, Anthony, and I were still dating, he quizzed me about my experiences in hospitals. He wanted to know if I’d ever been hospitalized or rushed to the emergency room. I answered no to both questions. The only times I’d visited hospitals were to visit sick relatives or to report on healthcare for newspapers. I still remember the look of disappointment on Anthony’s face when I made this revelation. He, after all, had been hospitalized multiple times. Over the years he’d suffered from appendicitis, sports injuries and once in college was even struck by a hit-and-run driver as he stood on the sidewalk with friends. How did I have the good fortune to pass through my childhood, teens and twenties with no serious injuries or illnesses?

Little did we know that my luck would change in 2011, our first year of marriage. After just 10 months of matrimony I suffered a severe allergic reaction to hair dye that ballooned my face to triple its size. Off to the emergency room we went—at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. Nine months after that I discovered that I had a huge uterine fibroid tumor (the doctor likened it to the size of a newborn’s head) that would require major surgery to remove. I had the surgery, an abdominal myomectomy, in the spring. But I wasn’t quite finished going under yet. Just more than a month ago I had all four of my wisdom teeth extracted.

The combination of that surgery and starting a full-time newspaper job in August resulted in me taking an abrupt break from writing for this website. Now I’m back, and though I won’t be able to write as frequently as I once I did, I’ll aim to write at least once weekly. I’m devoting the first entry upon my return to the tips I’ve learned about surgery over the past year. Continue reading