Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dating: Reciprocating on the Cheap

Dating can get expensive. Whether your arrangement is that your guy pays and every now and then it’s your turn to treat, or whether you split each and every bill, it can all add up.
Here are some ideas for when it’s your turn to pay from our cost-conscious girlfriends out there in the dating world:

• Find out when there is a free wine tasting event at your local wine shop
• Invite him over for a Netflix movie and popcorn
• Ask him to dress up for an elegant dinner at your home (see our $10 ideas) and then go downtown to walk off dinner. Stroll into an ultra fancy restaurant for drinks and split a dessert.
• Check out the free concerts at the local music college
• Ride to the beach and go on a seashell hunt (okay, so we have some hokey friends…)
• Buy a selection of toppings and invite him over to make a pizza together. Follow that up by starting a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
• Go apple picking and later bake a pie together. Ditto for berries or peaches.
• Schedule a Saturday afternoon of art gallery hopping followed by latt├ęs
• Check the public lecture series at any local colleges
• Volunteer at a soup kitchen together
• Get tickets to a local high school basketball or hockey game
• Go to a driving range and hit a bucket of golf balls
• If you both own bikes, go cycling, and take it leisurely—respect each other’s endurance levels.
• Go for a hike on a nature trail. You bring the sandwiches.

Save these last three for when you’ve been dating him a good long time:

• Sign up for salsa lessons for two
• Buy a selection of scented massage oils and invite him over to choose his favorite
• Give him a manicure , or a shave

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Many divorce lawyers are taking a beating during the recession. Not only are couples postponing divorce until their home values and stock-portfolios recover, but many who have filed for divorce and reached settlements are refusing to pay their legal bills, according to a friend who is a divorce attorney. But there are still a few couples whose matrimonial matters are recession proof.

A 36-year-old countess is demanding that her husband double her divorce settlement to $100 million as she hasn’t enough to cover weekly expenses of more than $53,000. Marie Douglas-David wants to tear up a postnuptial agreement with George David -– a former corporate bigwig who is 30 years her senior and worth an estimated $329 million. Under the agreement, which she claims he coerced her to sign, she would receive a mere $43 million. They were married for six years and had no children together. (George had previously divorced his wife, with whom he had three children.)

The Swedish countess, previously an investment banker, says she has no income and has listed her weekly expenses in a court document. These include $4,500 for clothes, $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, $1,500 for restaurants and entertainment, $8,000 for travel, $700 for limousine services, $2,209 for an assistant, $1,570 for horse care and $600 for flowers.

She is asking for nearly $100 million in cash and shares, plus about $130,000 a month in alimony payments. Her expenses include maintaining a Park Avenue apartment and three homes in Sweden.

In response, her husband lists weekly expenses totally $200,000.

Mr David’s lawyer, Anne Dranginis, accused Ms Douglas-David of nagging and hounding her husband with “extensive, long diatribes” over little things “like how he held his fork or how he drafted invitations”. She accused him of having an affair with a younger woman.

They shouldn't get divorced. They deserve each other.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Recession Dates: Inexpensive But Not Cheap

After you’ve been dating for a while, even if your new beau has been picking up the bill for all the early dates, at some point good manners will dictate that you need to reciprocate.

Once you know you really like and trust him, invite him to dinner. You can make each of the following main courses for under $10. Add a simple salad, pick up a bottle of your local wine store’s bargain vintage of the week,and some berries for dessert, and wow him for under $25. Plus you’ll save more money--bring the leftovers to work with you for lunch.

Super Easy Meat Loaf for When You’re in a Time Pinch
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour, 20 mins.
1 can condensed tomato soup- low sodium
1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1/c cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup water

Mix half the can of tomato soup with the beef and the onion soup mix. Add bread crumbs and egg. Place mixture in 8"x4”loaf baking pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 20 mins. or until done.
Remove drippings from pan. Mix with the remaining tomato soup and ¼ cup water. Heat and serve with meat loaf.

OR
(This one takes a while to prep but it is both healthy and impressive)
Low Fat, Low Sodium Baked Stuffed Cabbage
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup water
1 large savoy cabbage
1 tbsp canoloa oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
4 tbsps. fresh squeezed lemon juice (plus a dash extra)
1 pound lean ground turkey
3 tbsps. chopped dill
1 ½ cups low sodium tomato sauce
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp honey
Cook rice per package directions until water is absorbed- approximately 30 minutes.
While rice is cooking bring a Dutch oven full of water to boil. Take the 12 largest outer cabbage leaves,rinse them and and place them in the boiling water for 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
Chop some of the remaining (uncooked) cabbage to make 2 cups. Set aside.
Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion and chopped cabbage. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook ½ minute. Add 4 tbsps.lemon juice and cook until liquid has almost evaporated. Cool.
Mix turkey, dill, salt, pepper, and cooled onion-cabbage mixture and cooled rice in large bowl. Coat 9 x 13” baking dish with cooking spray. Lay one cabbage leaf on cutting board. Cut out thick stem. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup turkey mixture in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides in, then roll closed. Place seam-side down in baking dish. Repeat until all 12 cabbage leaves are filled and rolled.
Whisk tomato sauce, broth, honey, and the leftover dash of lemon juice in a bowl. Pour over cabbage rolls. Cover pan with foil. Preheat oven to 375. Bake for one hour. Uncover and bake additional 20 minutes.

Be prepared to be asked on another date immediately!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cheap dates

Apparently the recession has been good for dating, and in particular, internet dating. Single people are motivated these days to find a partner with whom to share the misery, and online dating is cheaper than bar-hopping and ordering drinks. It costs about $35 to join match.com for a month, while Jdate and eharmony are even pricier. But free dating sites have proliferated, including speeddate.com, plentyoffish.com, loveawake.com, and connectingsingles.com. Beware of sites that claim to be free and allow you to browse, but demand membership fees the minute you want to email someone. The best bet is to sign on with a site that doesn't ask for your credit card information.

If you meet someone online and decide to go out, stick with coffee or a drink for the first date. It's cheaper and it spares you from spending a protracted evening with a miserable date. At our recent reading, one woman commented that she always winds up going dutch on dates, particularly because she always asks the guy if he'd like her to pay! But the other women who attended -- ranging in age from 26 to 60 -- unanimously agreed that they expect the guy to pay for the first few dates and that he does. We agree, recession or not!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Meetup-- Meet people who share your interests

We had a great time at our reading and discussion at the JCC on the Upper West Side in Manhattan last week. Billed as a 39+ workshop, we ended up as a group of women ranging in age from twenty something to septuagenarian, each with her unique view of dating.

The topics ranged from who should pay on a first date, a third date or whenever, to how to avoid the pitfalls of internet dating. One new thing we learned is that there are websites out there which help you find groups of people in your local area with similar interests. One of the participants in our workshop shared her experience that meetup.com is great way to meet people in general and prospective dates in particular.
We had never heard of meetup, but we have since learned that you can have an interest, say practicing your conversational French, and there are meetup groups in several geographical areas devoted to spending a couple of hours a week in French conversation.

We all know that the best way to meet someone special is when you are busy getting on with your life, pursuing your own interests rather than combing through piles of internet dating profiles always looking for a better prospect. So check out meetup and let us know what you think!

Monday, March 2, 2009

REVENGE: Spite after Divorce

We all know that living well and getting on with your own life is the best revenge, but sometimes even after the divorce decree is in hand, you can’t help feeling like a nice dose of spite would be oh so comforting. And there is no reason to feel alone or ashamed--clearly everybody feels the same way. Revenge businesses are all over the internet on sites like sweetrevenge.com, revengeguy.co.uk, xrevenge.com,and
the payback.com, to list just a few.
These sites offer a range of suitable “gifts” to send that cheap, sleazy ex-husband who raked you over the coals in divorce court. Or,maybe you'd like to gift his nasty shyster lawyer, or his girlfriend who slept with him in your bed while he was still married to you and you were out shlepping his mother to her podiatrist appointment. Or, there is always a chance that you may want to send the gift that says “This is what I really think of you” to your ex-best friend who has dumped you, and now hangs out with your ex’s new girlfriend, her new bff.
So what are the choices? We have narrowed them down to the two best categories- dead flowers and dead animalia. We say, “Say it with roses.” One dozen dead wilted roses can be sent either anonymously or with a nice little note for $24.99. Shipping is free. If the jerk is not worth the flowers, there is a stems-and-thorns-only option for less.
Our hands down fave, though, is the dead smelly fish, shipped in a sealed package and giftwrapped for $19.99. Free shipping. Maggots are another option, as is a bag of dog poo. For real!

Above and beyond these revenge giftings, you can go onto spellmaker.com and shop their voodoo boutique for the ultimate revenge kit--a curse of your choosing. Have fun and don’t forget to write in and let us know how it goes.