Saturday, October 31, 2009

Game Day Violations

It’s game day- can’t you smell it in the air? If you are up north- the aroma of burning leaves, crisp earthy air- beer that remains cold in your hand outside but no clear picture of a woman’s figure under all that outdoor gear. If you are in the south- Clever Girls are sporting their game day finest- jeans which fit and complement their figures, a fitted but not too tight t-shirt or sweater, and shoes or boots, the air is redolent of chili or burgers on the grill, and a huge cooler of beer is at the ready.

One of the only aspects of football we have not covered are penalties. I want to explain a few you’re going to hear while watching any game and then, with the help of a VERY Clever Guy named William Haeck, I have devised some practical definitions as they apply to girls that could learn a few things about being Clever.

The first rule of being game day Clever is not asserting. If you don’t know for CERTAIN (and usually, it is tough to tell)- zip it. Let the guys battle it out- argue and just listen. If you MUST throw your new or amassed knowledge around, pick the most common opinion and agree.


Offside- a player is offside when any part of his body is beyond his scrimmage or free kick line when the ball is snapped or kicked.

Ladies- you are offside if you are reaching for ANYTHING which puts you in front of the TV when the ball is snapped or put into play or is in play at all.


Encroachment- when a player enters the neutral zone (the space the ball takes up between the two scrimmage lines) and makes contact with an opponent before the ball is snapped.

Ladies- any attempt to distract a man from the game- and this includes lingerie or partial nudity is considered encroachment. Ladies, be prepared because this penalty can be declined- and you might find yourself being encroached upon.


Neutral zone infraction- the space the length of a ball between the two scrimmage lines. The offense and defense must remain behind their end of the ball.

Ladies- the neutral zone is the space between you and the other dudes watching the game. While it is an honor to be invited, critical you are your normal Clever and charming self, make sure you maintain the neutral zone, you don’t want to be “misunderstood” and considered a party favor.


Delay of game- refers to any action causing the game to be delayed. It is often intentional to interrupt the opposing team’s momentum.

Ladies- this is transparent, all things such as the Honey Do list and errands can cause a delay of game. Brunch with the family and church often interfere with the early game. Manage your expectations on game day. I know what you are thinking- What about Tivo? It’s not the same- especially if he is supposed to host game day, make it to a tailgate party or meet the guys to watch. He will be harangued endlessly for being late and do you want him to blame it on you for being a “nag”? Do you know what a nag is? A term referring to a broken down horse. Now, honestly. Clever Girls do not nag- they just refuse to share their lives with men who “need” to be nagged. Clever Guys don’t “need” to be nagged. They manage their time and space continuum.


Face mask- incidental or otherwise, the facemask is not to be grasped and can cause serious injury. It will result in a penalty every time it is witnessed.

Ladies- if a dude is wearing a helmet to watch the game- you have every right to tease him, but do not touch it.


Unsportsman-like conduct- any behavior determined, by the referee to be unsportsman-like conduct.

Ladies- the list is long and depending on how patient your guy is with your talking during the game (especially about unrelated topics), complaining, and I really hope this doesn’t happen- being late with the delivery of the requisite kick-off beverage. Totally not Clever. If you don’t want to watch- make yourself useful for goodness sakes. Fetch drinks, replenish snacks- go get wings from Hooters and if you are really bold, get a Hooters Girl uniform to do so in. Ha! Totally Sportsman like.


False Start- is movement by either the offense or defense prior to the snap and after they are in position. This can affect the play and will result in a penalty, usually of five yards.

Ladies- pay attention. Imagine this, they guys are poised, the ball has been kicked off and it’s looking good for an opening run back for a touch down. The returner catches the ball and is in motion. Suddenly, an alert from Tivo or your DVR comes up saying you have previously set the recorder to change when “Dying Young” begins. A melee will commence during with several people scramble for the remote at the same time. The return will be missed and while there is a replay, it’s not the same. You will likely get a Game Misconduct penalty for this and might be kicked out- plan on watching “Dying Young” in the other room and maybe every Saturday for the rest of the season.


Ok- this is enough torture for one day. You know I am just trying to help- Clever Girls are not offended. Make me proud today and DON’T make me create Clever Girl Flags for Guys. He will have them at the ready and throw them down when you are in violation of any of the above and many other rules. The penalties could be stiff. On second thought, looks like I have some work to do.

Friday, October 30, 2009

NBA- National Basketball Association- NOT- No Boys Allowed

Ok, Clever Girls and Fumbling Husband- it is time to talk about the orange round ball. Basketball is not my favorite sport nor is it my least favorite- but it is similar in style to both my favorite (hockey) and my least favorite (soccer). I don’t mind watching it- especially the playoffs in college and professional.

You will rarely see better acting off the stage and screen than a professional basketball player trying to draw a foul. One of the most theatric in history was Bill Laimbeer, former four time all-star Detroit Piston. The man could turn a sneeze into two free-throws. If that makes no sense to you, don’t worry- we will cover it all- together. I personally recommend alcohol when I am about to partake in something unpleasant, but my dentist finds this inappropriate.

The logo for the NBA is not just a logo, but a rendering of former Los Angeles Laker Hall of Fame guard, Jerry West.

In 1946, the NBA (initially known as the Basketball Association of America) had but eleven teams. Sixty three years later- expansion, reduction and franchise has grown the league to 30 teams comprising two conferences: Eastern and Western. Each conference is broken up into three divisions.


The Eastern Conference

Atlantic- Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors (the only Canadian team in the NBA), Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks

Central- Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks

Southeast- Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Wildcats, Miami Heat


The Western Conference

Northwest- Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Seattle Super Sonics

Pacific- Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers

Southwest- New Orleans Hornets, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies

David Stern is the current NBA commissioner.


The Object of the Game

Which ever of two teams in a match up scores the most points (baskets) wins. Overtime is five minutes. Five minute overtime periods go on until someone wins. NBA games can not end in a tie. Seems easy right? WRONG.

I think this is enough for the first day, basketball is seemingly simple but there are so many intricate rules and the rules for NCAA (National College Athletic Association) basketball are totally different, so when we get to the rules, I will be outlining those for the NBA. This gives you a good opportunity to ask pointed and informed questions (during commercials).

Now, as promised- I have a game day recipe for you. This one is perfect for cool weather and travels well. I’m a bit of a stickler for quality when it comes to this recipe, so I apologize if you have a hard time finding the sushi grade Ahi tuna. I have, in a pinch substituted for non-sushi grade Ahi and no one ever complained.


Classic Ceviche


What you need:

1 lb of sushi grade ahi tuna or the highest quality ahi tuna you can find. (If it is frozen, as the sushi grade often is, gently defrost it in a bowl of room temperature water. Leave it in the plastic it is hermetically sealed in. Change the water out every fifteen minutes until the tuna is almost thawed)

10 limes (I select large semi-soft ones- juicy and plentiful)

1 serrano or jalapeno pepper

1 small red onion

1 bunch of cilantro

salt

garlic powder

your favorite tortilla chip. I love Rice Works- brown rice chips and Food Should Taste Good Multi-grain.

1 lb of frozen, peeled, deveined 15-20 shrimp. (The number in a shrimp description refers to how many of that size shrimp there are in a pound. The higher the number, the smaller the shrimp) (Thaw the shrimp by pouring into a bowl of room temperature water and leave until soft)

Once all your tuna and shrimp is thawed, cut the tuna into ½ inch squares and the shrimp need to have the tail removed and cut into four pieces. Put both the tuna pieces and the shrimp pieces in a bowl and pour fresh squeezed lime juice over the meat until it is submerged. Salt generously and refrigerate- turning gently with a spoon and re-submerging every fifteen minutes.

Wash the cilantro by cutting off the leaves and throwing away the stems- putting the leaves in a colander (pasta strainer) and running cold water over them. Pick through and remove any leaves, which are brown or unattractive. Chop one quarter of the leaves coarsely and set aside.

Shave ¼ of the small red onion and save the shavings in the same bowl with the cilantro

Shave the pepper and store with the other vegetables.

After an hour or so, you will notice your tuna has turned opaque and the shrimp is now pink. Some people think the lime juice is curing the meat or cooking it, but it is actually pickling it. I wait until I’m ready to serve the ceviche before I remove it from this lime bath. It cannot marinate too long.

When you are ready to serve the ceviche, drain the lime juice, add the cilantro, the pepper and the onion, the juice of two more limes and a bit of salt and garlic powder. Stir gently until it looks pretty and serve with tortilla chips.

Generally speaking people are not really excited to try this dish, I tell them it is Peruvian sushi and it’s gobbled up so fast I always keep a second dish on hand. I like it to remain cold if possible, so I keep a second quantity marinating until I dress it.

Enjoy- this one is a winner. I have also prepared it with grapefruit juice instead of lime and have, on occasion, finished the lime ceviche with a squirt of fresh squeezed orange.

Next Monday we will begin discussions on wedding planning. So many Clever Girls out there have no idea they are about to get engaged! How exciting. If you do know someone who is engaged, make sure you send them to the site- these tips are not to be missed, unless you’d rather light money on fire.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Strong Women and the Clever Men who Love them

Clever Girl- what is your opinion on men feeling inferior to women who are "stronger" or more dominant professionally? How does a man feel when a woman is more financially "smarter"............and if it's a proven fact why won't they listen to advice from the one who shows a successful track record?

This is an email I received some time back and had to ponder for a while because I wanted to give it it’s due.

There will always be those who feel inferior- regardless of the situation they are in. This is something you can not accept responsibility for- changing who you are in a business climate in order to make others comfortable is not an option. To not act, for fear of recrimination in your relationships, is also not advisable. However, those who are strong, have an obligation to acknowledge others are not strong, not always strong and while they might not be- they still have feelings, opinions and deserve a forum to share them. Never do you have the right to put others to shame for not being strong- if there weren’t people who were less strong- we’d probably have all killed one another by now.

It takes courage to be a strong woman- it takes more courage to recognize the limitations of others and to be kind and patient. That being said, I assume you are talking about a relational context. If this paradigm existed prior to the relationship becoming legal or serious, then you have entered into the situation with eyes wide open and should not whine you are with a man who is insecure or envious of your strength or success. Fact of the matter is- nothing gets better after marriage- nor does it or he change. More aptly- the frustrations you experience prior to getting married are compounded by all the trials of every day life, children and family.

If, you became more successful years into your relationship or marriage- the signs of potential trouble must have been lurking- if not, then you really need to make certain he feels comfortable in another significant role. Try never to diminish him or his contributions and perhaps you will get the support you deserve instead of being harangued by his jealousy.

This is a natural conflict as women have been encouraged to concentrate on relationships, family and the home and men have been conditioned (and I am talking about through out history) to judge themselves and other men on their ability to compete and provide- so, a man brought up in a highly traditional home, will find discomfort with a woman whose ambitions lie not only out of the house but in the business community.

Since financial stress is the number one reason for divorce- I think it is critical for couples to examine this issue long before marriage takes place. Make your aspirations known- “I might be a bank teller now, but I plan on being the bank president in five years- this will require a lot of overtime and dedication. Are you OK with that? What if I end up more financially successful than you are at certain times in our marriage?” You are a team- act like it. Clever girls support him in becoming successful and let him know his support is invaluable. Let him know he is a major source of your strength to gain success for your family or future family.

This leads to the second part of your question. Men do not like to be dictated to- actually no one does, but as men- our social norms and conditioning make it more difficult for a man to digest being told what he can or can not spend money on. We all do it- some more gently than others. Fact of the matter is, if you are married- you need to discuss finances and purchases and budgets (if that word does not cause a rash). You both need to be considerate of each other’s needs and wants.

This leads me to a concept called “preparing to be single”. Couples who keep separate finances are planning to be separate. I had a friend who was writing a check and it didn’t have her husband’s name on it. I said “Does Mark have his own account?” She snorted (for real) and said, “I would never share an account with him- he’s so irresponsible”. I was stunned!! I said, “Why did you marry him?” She shrugged. I understand a lot of people keep separate finances- what I don’t understand is why. I can comprehend a household account- but if you have issues, which cause you to keep separate finances going into the marriage- you can count on constant issues regarding finances.

I see women all the time struggling prior to their wedding to manage their “budget” as put forth by their fiancés. All I can think of is that if they are fighting this much about money now … what will the marriage look like? Consideration and respect is critical in all aspects of your relationships- be patient with your guy if his pride is hurt a bit- reassure him you could not be who you have become without his support.

One of the most Clever Girls I know is about to get married. She works twelve hours a day and he is self-employed and works at home. This Clever Guy delights in keeping the home, doing the grocery shopping and preparing the meals. She comes in exhausted every single day wishing she could spend more time with her intended- but he greets her with a smile, a glass of wine and a ready ear. She makes sure to tell him his support, help and enthusiasm for their home, her goals and their future is invaluable and one of the reasons she loves him. This praise will resonate if someday she makes more than he does, or when she takes time off to raise a child and finances get tight- their mutual appreciation for the collective goals is paramount and supersedes petty individual agendas.

I hate to bring up COMMON SENSE again- but I must. What ever you fight about before marriage will become almost intolerable after without recognition and management. How hard is it to dedicate some time to communicating aspirations, goals and desires? If he is threatened by you before you get married- it will continue to fester and with your every success or attempt to manage the finances- there will build resentment.

I hope this helped and thank you so much for inspiring my post today. I value feedback and ideas above all.

The NBA is cranking up, hockey is in full swing, baseball is serious and football is getting gritty. Count on some commentary regarding all of the above- tomorrow along with a game day recipe for Ceviche.

I've been asked for some Clever wedding planning tips by a newly engaged young lady and will begin to impart ways to beat the system beginning Monday.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gift Ideas for Your Clever Girl

If I hear one more dude say, I have no idea what to get her- I will beat him about the head and neck. Why? Because it means he is anything but Clever and most likely lazy and self involved. All you have to do is know the girl is alive to come up with the most basic cop-out gift. Let’s move beyond her having a pulse to something she might not only enjoy but treasure. A gift which will make her feel known- by you.

Who is she? What does she like? What does she talk about in her less Clever moments as she goes on and on about (insert topic which makes you want to pierce your eardrum with an ice pick as opposed to enduring)?

The Homebody

Is her home well appointed? Does she delight in new towels or linens? Then this will be easy. Many designers are creating a new niche- lifestyle collections. It is a lovely concept which marries the fragrances you wear on your body with those you surround yourself with at home. Jo Malone is my favorite lifestyle designer- her scents are natural and light instead of overpowering and cloying. The living colognes and scent surround are perfect for linens, towel cabinets and closets. The candles are in complementary frangrances and the clean packaging is an elegant edition to any room. You can purchase Jo Malone at Neiman Marcus, select Nordstrom stores and on line at www.jomalone.com or www.neimanmarcus.com

The Gadget Girl

This girl is always lusting after the latest toys, so indulge her and she might indulge you. If she needs a new computer, APPLE is offering the MacBook for just under $1000.00. And the Mac mini (least expensive way to go Mac $599.00) has multiple USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port, which allows you to connect your keyboard, mouse, iPod, iPhone, digital camera, DV camcorder, external hard drive, and printer. Mac mini even lets you connect up to two displays, including your TV, with the mini-DVI port and Mini DisplayPort. On the front of Mac mini is the ultrafast, slot-loading SuperDrive for playing DVDs and CDs — or burning your own. It is the most energy efficient computer in the world- making it so very green. www.apple.com

The Product Junkie

I like to consider products for stocking stuffers and have come across a comprehensive organic skin care line called, Juice Beauty. I especially adore the fragrances- light and natural, including my very favorite- Green Apple. Yum. They offer several kit/gifts under fifty dollar so she can give it a try. www.juicebeauty.com Organic is not a word this company throws around, they are actually up to 95% certified organic which is among the highest in the skin care industry.

Spa-la-la-la-la

I usually call the spa gift certificate a cop out, but if your Clever Girl takes her spa time very seriously (we all need time to wind down) then send her to Woodhouse Spa. It is a nationwide spa which offers a huge variety of services from facials, manicure, pedicure, scalp massages, reflexology to my personal favorite- the hot stone massage. The environment goes far beyond soothing and relaxing- the staff is conscientious and not insulted if you wish not to speak during your service. If you really want to indulge her, keep her there for the entire day while you indulge yourself with the guys. Or, if you are inclined- book yourself for some treatments- they do offer a couple massage.

Clever in the Kitchen

Neiman Marcus rarely disappoints me- this time, they are offering a color coded set of cutting boards so you can avoid cross contamination. Fish, poultry, veggies and meat. Brilliant- and I do worry about it. This Clever gift can be found at www.neimanmarcus.com

If you are looking to impress the entertainer- Riedel glasses are always appropriate. Select wisely as they offer such a vast array of options. The new trend I see is the stemless glass (I am not a fan at all- but many enjoy them), Riedel offers plenty of options including a pink tinted set in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. www.riedel.com will give you an overview and put your selections in a price category- you still have to go to a different site to purchase online. www.glassware.riedel.com These stunners are also available at www.crystalclassics.com and www.neimanmarcus.com Clever Girl, Pam informed me Riedel is newly offering a line at Target, which makes this brand a little more practical for those of us who are clumsy.

The Bejeweled Babe

This Clever Girl’s appetite for the next bauble cannot be quenched. So, if you don’t want to break the bank, try a couple of these brands which couple style and budget. Robert Lee Morris does spectacular designs in precious metals (read- no gem stones to drive up the price) and can be purchased at www.neimanmarcus.com Allen Schwartz has generated his own line of jewelry called ABS and the price point is manageable without compromising quality. Find ABS at www.neimanmarcus.com

I know what you are thinking- Tiffany, right? I can pretty much guarantee any woman over the age of thirty has been there and done that. However, if she is well under that age- she needs to get started. Tiffany is a timeless and classic company and every woman needs to collect her fair share. Caution- do not buy the Elsa Peretti open heart necklace if you don’t HEART her- it sends the wrong message. www.tiffany.com

If you are looking to spend a bit more- one of my favorite jewelry designers is Roberto Coin. He is well known for his tasteful and poignant pieces. A gorgeous and simple cross or initital necklace will run you about $425.00, but count on it to have a small ruby imbedded on the backside as proof it is authentic. www.neimanmarcus.com

The Fashionista

This Clever Girl is surprisingly difficult to shop for due to her general need for quality AND quantity (this is a polite way of saying Label Queen). Having said that- there are ways to cater to her desire for the luxurious without having to take out a second loan on your home. Supplement a couple small fashion items with some of the above more modest gifts.

Judith Leiber is a must have for this Clever Girl- most have only one of the coveted clutches for evening and they can be found for under $500.00, but in general- you are looking to invest thousands. My personal favorite- which I DO NOT OWN is the cupcake. www.judithleiber.com or www.neimanmarcus.com

The new trend in dining out is the handbag holder. This little number counterbalances the handbag on the table before her. No more Gucci on the floor or Chanel being knocked off the corner of the chair- Swarovski offers a variety at www.neimanmarcus.com No Clever Girl should be without at least ONE.

UGG are generally UGLY, but they are in fact, warm- so, if you are staying in- she might as well cozy up with a pair of slippers. They also make and indoor/outdoor slipper for that late night run to get a bottle of wine. www.uggaustralia.com or www.nordstrom.com

Gucci anything will be coveted as well as Burberry. For the Clever Girl who adores these brands, she will not be disappointed. Do not buy Burberry for a girl who isn’t into it- there are Burberry girls and non-Burberry girls. For example- I am not one- would I like a scarf- not particularly- it would be wasted on me. Would I like a Gucci scarf? YES PLEASE! Just pay attention to what labels she wears and seems to gravitate toward when you are shopping. You do not have to buy the Guccie Crest Boule Leather Tote for $2,500.00- the good news with the high end designers is they offer great gifts at lower prices. www.burberry.com www.neimanmarcus.com

OK- more Clever Gift ideas next week on Wednesday. Don’t panic- you still have almost two months to generate ideas. If you have questions- contact me soveryclevergrl@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gift Receipt PLEASE! Clever Gift ideas for Clever Guys

I will admit it- I abhor shopping, which is not the same as buying. I embark on a purchasing expedition- never a shopping expedition. Sounds like a supreme waste of time- but then, I have very little time and what I do have does not turn shopping into a leisure pursuit of mine. So, with that in mind- I will concede there has never been a better time to buy gifts for men- efficiently and preferably online (but that's just me). Between now and Christmas I will be devoting Tuesdays for Clever gift ideas for the Clever Guys in your life. Fear not Clever Girls- I plan to devote equal time to Clever gift ideas for Clever Girls on Wednesdays.

I am going to say this upfront and hammer it home every week- do not invest so much emotionally that your feelings are hurt if the gift does not inspire the exact response you have dreamt of. Include a gift receipt- because I PROMISE you- he will purchase for you something you do not care for and if you have made him feel comfortable returning something- he will feel comfortable as well.

Here we go-

The Home Body

These gifts are for the man who cherishes his home- his domicile. Whether he decorated it himself or had help, he will still appreciate gifts which celebrate his bastion of peace and tranquility.

I have spent time selecting brands and designers who offer items in varying price points so as not to assume.

Kosta Boda is a Swedish art glass company with several designers contributing to a unique line of home décor items consistent with the clean and simple elegance of Scandinavian design.

Find hundreds of vases, sculptures, candle holders, serving pieces and limited edition collector’s items running the gamut of $70 to upwards in the thousands. Most of the items are a celebration of color or alternately, the absence of it.

Some of my favorite items were the Fidji Bottles in three different sizes beginning at $200 and the Macho decanters- each of which has it’s own style and shape sealed by a nut and bolt- ideal for chilling and serving vodka.

The full collection is available for viewing and purchase at www.kostaboda.com and I was thrilled to notice gift wrapping was an option- because as much as I detest shopping- everyone who knows me understands their gifts are likely to come in the packaging they arrived in, a shopping bag or a gift bag if I have one left over someone gave me.

I was able to locate some Kosta Boda discounted at www.swedishartglass.com and www.crystalclassics.com and am not sure how I feel about the fact it can be ordered at www.nordstrom.com. If your guy is highly discerning and a collector- be careful about buying anything, which can be purchased at a department store. Instead- look at galleries or products available only online.

The Clever Cook

If he is the one waiting on you hand and foot, preparing your meals and delighting you with his culinary genius- show your appreciation and reinforce such behavior by purchasing gifts for him to do so.

Kalorik is an interesting brand offering professional grade appliances as simple as the electric toaster (their first product) and 18 bottle wine captains. Recently they have been stocking at Target- so, if your guy is a snobby chef- do not shop here. However, if he delights in tinkering, and enjoys toying with new gadets- this is a perfect treasure trove. You can purchase so many handy gifts and NOT break the bank.

A few items I found amusing were the portable ice machine- not that I am a camper, but I have found myself in situations- such as tailgates and campfires with a limited ice supply. While it is $300.00, this little contraption makes ice in your choice of three sizes and styles in 10 minutes. For those guys who don’t drink beer but do love to camp- this is a great idea for long trips and great mixed drinks.

One of my biggest culinary challenges is Eggs Benedict- due to the simultaneous preparation of each ingredient. So, this Egg Cooker ($24.00) will be at the top of my list this year. It will perfectly poach four eggs while I am whipping up the hollandaise and toasting the English muffins.

I am on my third electric juicer due to the fragility of the receptacle- it is beaten up easily. When I saw the Kalorik version- I had visions of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice mimosas for Christmas morning dancing in my head. At $14.00, I can not afford to be without this little masterpiece. Further- soon I will be posting my recipe for Ceviche and this will come in most handy.

Www.kalorik.com will feature the entire product line including vacuums, blenders, toaster ovens, mixers (great 4 in 1 combi) and the above mentioned faves of mine.

I did find some pieces at www.target.com and some on www.overstock.com- it bears noting the prices on overstock were alternately lower and higher so do not assume they are less expensive than www.kalorik.com.

I will cater to the more perspicacious cook next week as I high light some higher end items. Honestly, for certain items, most notably small appliances- it is not necessary to spend a fortune as long as you are purchasing a quality item.

The Adventurer

This man values experience over possession almost exclusively- but fear not, he will need some gear. I mentioned in a previous post, www.gilt.com a private shopping site (if you email me at soveryclever.com with your email information embedded in the message, I will send you an invitation) is worth it if only for the extension called www.jetsetter.com. This website is a form of overstock for luxury trips. For example- Four Season’s property, The Pierre was listed yesterday at $349 per night over the holidays- now this might be the best time to plan a trip if you can afford to. This price on a hotel in NYC is impossible- let alone a property of such extravagance. Can you imagine ice skating in Rockafeller Center next to the tree- hot coffee at Serendipity and then strolling Fifth Avenue window shopping with your favorite guy?

The great thing about www.jetsetter.com is the trips are not last minute- this gives you time to plan and budget (if that isn’t a dirty word)- and purchase “gear” if necessary.

Speaking of gear. Two companies with exceptional rugged outdoor wear for the Outdoorsman. www.keenfootwear.com and Victorinox.

Keen is a leader in environmentally sound footwear featuring superior durability, wearability and functionality. Not only are the designs Clever, most are quite fashionable and exceedingly practical for hiking, fishing, walking, running and all around outdoor fun. The designs begin around $100 and go up from there. There are water shoes, sandals, clogs, boots, shoes and the hybrids of all the afore mentioned. You can also find Keen at many popular sports and outdoors stores such as REI.

One of the most interesting features on the site was an icon you could click which would show you what the shoe looked like with jeans- because let’s be honest, not all of us girls are totally comfortable with the exposed male foot- knowing what it will look like with clothing helps.

Victorinox is an unique label carried by www.saksfifthavenue.com or in Sak’s stores (might find some items at the outlet, Off Fifth) and also a few items at www.sierratradingpost.com and www.nordstrom.com

These clothes are classic and rugged and designed to build on the layering concept I spoke about last week. I thought the zipper front and half zipper fitted sweaters were stunning and the sheer variety of outerwear was heartening. Down, wool, cashmere are offered in hooded, quilted and vest varieties in a spectrum of colors. This brand is the antithesis of trendy.

The Sportsman

If he already has a Porsche (feel absolved of buying him one- haha), Adidas now offers a line of clothing and accessories for the Porsche enthusiast. I found fault with a good number of these items because honestly, the only two people on Earth I could see utilizing them would be Niles and Frasier Crane on Frasier. For those of you kids who are too young to know who the hell I am referring to- you are missing out on one of the funniest shows ever to grace TV. Either way, let me outline this for you.

So, your boyfriend or Dad owns a Porsche, does he need oil repellant driving pants? Not unless he has a tendency to wolf down submarine sandwiches drenched in olive oil while driving. How about the Team Bag M? How shocked would you be if your date arrived to enjoy dinner at your home and had what looked like a bowling bag with his shoes in it? Additionally, he had to change out of his driving pants, shoes, gloves, jacket and scarf and get “dressed”. I am all for the driving shoe or moccasin (I’ve already stated the necessity) and even gloves if you must- but the rest of it?

If, he is a major Porsche enthusiast- they now outfit met for tennis, golf and skiing. The clothing is sharp and luxurious and not all of it screams PORSCHE OWNER. I was surprised they offer a tennis racquet. www.adidas.com

Sports Enthusiast

Several teams, which have recently built new stadiums are offering tokens from the original structures. Yankee seats and turf are Clever ideas for the man with every single jersey, framed photo, artifact and ball from their favorite sports team or player. www.skymall.com or www.amazon.com both have Yankee Stadium seats for sale in pairs. They are pricey- or priceless? It is a piece of history.

www.sportsmemorabilia.com and www.fieldofdreams.com are great online resources for anything under the sun for the collector.

The Well Groomed Man

If he is as conscientious about his appearance as you are he will find sanctuary in Kiehl’s. This line was developed in a pharmacy in New York in the 1800s using the finest available natural ingredients. The men’s product line is cohesive and addictive. Pre-shave, shave, post-shave, skin, hair and lip products are available online at www.kiehls.com or at stores nationwide.

Clever Guys- tomorrow is the day I being to make your life easier to manage for the holiday season.

Clever Girls- next week we will cover a whole new set of ideas for your Clever Guys!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Importance of Sincerity

A Clever compliment is truly an art form. Why? It is the right mixture of sincerity, intention and guile. In giving a compliment, you're not only expressing appreciation, but encouraging future behavior which conforms to your liking. Do not read this wrong- this is not manipulation- it is, to coin an over-used decade old buzz term- a form of “positive reinforcement”.

It goes so much deeper than the dynamic between men and women- this concept transcends simplicity and applies to all relationships. I am going to site a few examples I overheard over the weekend and in one case tell you why it was worthless and how a Clever person would go about relaying a similar compliment.

I was at a bar, waiting for my friend and a woman was waiting for what I over heard her explain to the bartender was a first date with a friend of a friend she’d met a few times. She appeared nervous- had put what amounted to no effort into her transition from work (office job- sensible attire) and had already belted down two glasses of wine “to calm her nerves”. When her date walked it- he eyed her, waved, came over and they did the awkward half hug, attempt to kiss on the cheek and then part quickly with nervous laughter thing during which the following dialogue (if you can call it that) took place.

“Hey! You look nice.” (if nice means she is not wearing pajamas and is clean)

“So do you.” (there is nothing, truly nothing that annoys me more than the utterance inserted into a conversational turn slot. This goes for “I love you” … “I love you too”. “I miss you.” … “Me too.” Arrrgggg. How about this instead- insert a pregnant pause, generate a thought which does not mimic the other person’s and then issue it forth).

How a Clever Guy would have begun this exchange. (Disregarding the fact if I were the Clever Guy, I would want to say- “Oh, I’m sorry you didn’t have time to change, do you want to drop by your place on the way to dinner?” HA!)

“Hi there! Thanks for meeting me.”

A Clever Girl would respond, “I was really glad to hear from you”.

If the “you look nice” is entirely perfunctory (which it obviously is since the term is so overused no one even hears it anymore) and they don’t really look that nice, skip it and wait for an opportunity to compliment later.

A Clever Girl might enjoy a man’s unshaven face, and since it is later in the afternoon, she might say “Thank you for not shaving before you met me, the shadow works for you.” This will not only relieve him of the chore of shaving before he sees her, but knowing she likes it will be aware of it- thinking he looks good will bolster his confidence and likely translate to giving a compliment back. Thank goodness, in this case he can’t say- “you too.”

The point to all this is the compliment needs to be inspired- which means you need to be paying attention- admiring, analyzing, being aware of the other person so when the opportunity presents itself, you are prepared. A well-crafted compliment will leave an indelible mark on the complimentee and have them awaiting more.

A most Clever Mommy dazzled me at the park today while I was reading. Her daughter looked at her and said, “Why are you smiling, Mommy?” Her mom knelt down to receive her at the bottom of the slide and looked her in the eye. “ Because when I see your smile it makes me so happy.” Her three year old child launched herself into her mom’s arms and I became a little choked up when they fell over- broke into peels of laughter- both of them with their eyes closed- embracing the moment. The exchange had all the critical elements of a perfectly executed compliment. It was inspired, her mother felt compelled to relay it, it wasn’t hollow “you are pretty”, it reinforced future behavior “when YOU smile it makes ME happy” and the acknowledgement and eye contact led to some intimate contact for both of them. Never did mom complain about the dirt in her hair or being squished- they were in the moment and the appreciation for each was obvious.

No one expects a poet- just one who is not blind or so self-absorbed as to not observe the person they have chosen to spend time with.

At the same bar, a married couple walked in and since it was a bit chilly- the woman had a wrap on. She went directly to the restroom and upon her return- he helped her remove her wrap (very gentlemanly). Her back was to him and when he saw the tremendous expanse of skin the back of her dress revealed- he allowed a finger to trail down the center of her back- as if unconsciously. When she turned, this Clever Guy said, “You are, without a doubt, the sexiest woman I have ever met.” I was proud of him for a number of reasons. She bore no resemblance to the “sexy” Hollywood is selling- she was attractive, but would barely turn a head. He seemed unable to keep from caressing her back lightly in acknowledgement. His compliment came from the gut- almost breathless. This told me a few things about their relationship. She dresses for him as well as for herself (perhaps because he is SOOOO appreciative of her efforts), she likely captivates him on many levels amplifying her sexiness (which runs so much deeper for some than how one looks in lingerie) and they were very connected.

The best way to compliment the person you are with is to pay attention to them, to listen and to ask questions. Why? It makes them feel good and if you’re lucky- they will return the favor. In doing so- staying focused- you will find so many things to compliment.

In case you are just learning how to appreciate and spit one out, statements such as those below qualify (think of them as compliment training wheels).

“Wow, that is a really interesting perspective …”

“That is a great question.”

“I’d never thought of it that way …”

"I appreciate you making time for drinks tonight, I know you're really busy."

"Dad, I saw the movie Flags of our Fathers over the weekend and, well, we've never talked about your experience in the military. If you are comfortable talking, I'd love to hear." (This is a compliment of immeasurable worth as you are showing interest, preparing to devote time to listening to another person's experiences).

I had a woman tell me the other day she felt silly complimenting the man she began seeing because he is so handsome and charming- “he must hear it all the time”. I know this translates to a high pressure situation for men and women alike- but don’t panic- if there is that much content to work with …

OK, so she has dimples and a fantastic laugh- look for the nuances of that smile. For example- when she seems shy does she do a closed mouth smile- during which her dimples become impossibly deep? Tell her. Or, when he makes you laugh, tell him how witty and entertaining he is. Ask who designed her dress and tell her the designer did so with her in mind- it fits flawlessly. Tell her the backless shirt she selected elevated the evening or that her shoes have left an impression. Take note of his hands- are they purposeful (translate that to how they will feel when they fall upon you at some point) are they random and playful when he talks? Tell him how expressive he is when he's talking about a subject he really enjoys. Or say- “So, your parents are hot”- haha. That should get a laugh and you are telling him how attractive he is without saying the obvious.

It just isn’t that difficult. Here are some great adjectives for those of you who can’t seem to move beyond “beautiful” or “handsome”.

Riveting, intoxicating, inspiring, alluring, striking, CLEVER, enthralling, provocative, evocative, stunning, engaging, enchanting, captivating, mesmerizing, hypnotizing, charming, seductive, scintillating, beguiling, radiant.

Keeping in mind- none of these adjectives work if you don’t know what they mean nor do they work like this “you look radiant”- that is a cop out with Clever intentions. Instead- “You’re absolutely riveting- how did you learn so much about …” “Are your eyes green? They seem to change before my eyes. It’s quite mesmerizing” “I hope you aren’t this charming when you’re trying a case- no one would pay any attention to what you were saying. It would be mistrial based on the fact the attorney is captivating”.

A mother and daughter walked into- you guessed it- the same bar- and approached the daughter’s friend. The friend smiled at the mother and with great purpose said- “Holy cow! You look fantastic. Did you ladies tear up Dallas today to find the perfect outfits?” The mother beamed, obviously felt special and even more so when her own daughter followed up with- “Doesn’t she look amazing in burnt orange- goes perfect with her hair.” So much better than, “You look so nice!”

I’d asked the bartender for a recommendation on wine because I’d heard about Pinot Gris and wanted to try it. He guided me- let me try a couple and once I selected one was genuine in asking how I enjoyed it. When my friend arrived I paid out and waited until the bartender was free- I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I just wanted to thank you for helping me with the wine, I really appreciate it.” He looked surprised and said, “You just made my night.” We both walked away feeling validated and valued.

It doesn’t matter who you are complimenting or acknowledging, put some thought into it, make it relevant and purposeful and you might receive the same. If you don’t you will still feel good at having spoken such words of import over others.

The anti-thesis of the person who either never compliments (we don’t like these people) or offers trite acknowledgement is the “over complimenter”. This person is usually the master of the trite platitudes. “Oh, I like your shoes”, “you look pretty”, “this is good”, “I had fun”, “you are smart”. You know this person, they make your teeth itch to be around them because they are full of insincere compliments- so when they turn their focus to you and unload an arsenal of obvious statements- they might as well not be speaking at all since they already offered the same to everyone else in the group. Count on the over-complimenter to say "take care" when you all part ways.

It should be a great day for a great many Clever people who are not only giving Clever compliments but feeling good about it! Tomorrow I will be giving some holiday gift ideas for men and on Wednesday the same for women.

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