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Monthly Archives: April 2011

One of the most annoying and confusing things you hear from happily married people about finding love is: “You know when you know!”

What?

Maybe it doesn’t always come down to the same type of moment for everyone, or an elusive and mind-boggling knowing-when-knowing. But, from another perspective, I think you can just look at a couple and unexpectedly glimpse something there that indicates it might be true love.

Did you catch the royal wedding? I’m not a 4 A.M. kinda gal, but I did manage to watch part of the recaps of the exchange of vows. I definitely have NOT been following the wedding leadup, so this was really my first time seeing the royal pair interact.

Call me irreverent, but I found the vow exchange to be cute and endearing. I was tickled pink, because royalty or not, the two acted like a pair of teenagers giggling during a first date. It was adorable! When the priest and bishop are speaking, you can kind of tell that the couple (and Kate especially!) is trying really hard not to crack a smile. A few times, before the vows, you even see them lean in and whisper to each other with mirthful looks, as if sharing a secret joke. How many couples, let alone those on a global stage, share a nuptial moment like that that’s even noticeable? I’ve been to my share of weddings, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it!

It might be just a tiny glimpse into what’s surely a complex relationship, but at that moment they stopped being two celebrities and seemed REAL. Genuine real, and so obviously more on the same wavelength with each other than a lot of couples who just go through the motions. Love is nothing if not down to earth and unequivocally authentic, right?

Did you watch the royal ceremony? Did you get chills at the beauty of it all? (Or tears? Yeah, I’m a sap!)

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Are you excited to watch the royal nuptials that officially begin tomorrow at 6:00am?! As someone who grew up hearing about the royal family and seeing Prince William in magazines (he’s only a year older than me!), it’s kind of weird to hear all about his wedding now. It’s definitely an am-I-grown-up-already? moment when your contemporaries, even celebrities you don’t even know, get married in droves!

Can you imagine planning a wedding of royal, epic proportions that billions of people will be watching and talking about for generations?! Everything is streaming and minute-to-minute updates are downloadable as we speak. (Check out the official site.) I can’t help feeling overwhelmed for Kate Middleton, and glad I’m not in her shoes. Take this as coming from someone who is unmarried and unengaged, but I would find the process of planning a humble, non-celebrity and very low-key wedding overwhelming enough! I’ve witnessed lots of friends go through the wedding planning process, and to me it does not sound fun at all. I’m sure my feelings might change later, but a quick stop at city hall sounds good to me!

I guess I’m just uncomfortable with the notion of being the centerpiece (along with the guy) of a lavish affair. The very thought is terrifying; I mean, I’ve never even liked opening birthday presents in front of people! Guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t meant for a royal betrothal. Someone’s gotta do it though, and Kate seems to be handling it all with class–pretty befitting for a future queen!

Remember when I wrote about the new site Cloud Girlfriend, and how it was still in testing mode and not yet live? Well, it came to life this week, and it’s a little different from the original spin.

Even though the name of the site hasn’t changed, girls as well as guys can now sign up for the service free of charge. Not sure what made them go in another direction, but turns out the site will NOT be doing stuff like posting on users’ walls and the like (in order to, as they originally aimed,  boost one’s dateability and appeal in the eyes of prospective interests).

Here’s the twist- Cloud Girlfriend’s new mission is summed up pretty well in one of the changing taglines on its homepage: “Cloud flirting. Practice here.” Shy of actually signing up for an account and putting it to the firsthand test (sorry! haha), what I’ve gleaned from articles is that it’s basically a romantic fantasy world. You know how you create an avatar of yourself if you’re playing a video game or Wii? You do the same thing here except the avatar is idealized to your heart’s content-your ideal physique, looks, dream job, everything. The site then matches you up with someone whose idealized self is compatible with your fake self. It’s the beginning of a beautiful faux-mance!

With Cloud Girlfriend’s updates, the good news is that now you no longer have to worry that the gushy and overly attentive posts on your crush’s wall were in part fabricated by him or her. The bad news? I just don’t see how engaging in romantic fantasy is going to help a shy person get better at real relationships, as the site’s founders are touting. Even if two users form a true connection despite the walls they’ve created with false personas, they still have to let down all their hangups and insecurities. It’s hard enough to do that in real life!

And I have to admit, even though I thought the original premise was kind of weird, it was certainly original. (This just seems like a dating version of a Facebook app!) But hey- you never know.

Readers: What do you think? Does interacting with others under avatars help you beyond the game-playing role itself?

Do you like playing a game of chicken? Unless you’re a thrill seeker…probably not! At least not in the traditional car-racing-toward-each-other sense. But we do play the relationship equivalent, in fact. It can be summed up in three little words: “I love you”! Yep, that very risky and usually relationship-changing (or ending?!) moment.

According to a study done by MIT psychologist Josh Ackerman, in which the 205 people studied were all involved in heterosexual relationships, men are more likely than women to be the one who drops the L word first (even though over 60 percent of those studied said they thought women tend to be the initiators!). Also, men reportedly feel happier than women after those words are exchanged. (Although, the study concedes, it’s not ALWAYS because they have noble intentions…but sometimes it is!) Ackerman even provides tips to women for when and how to say those three powerful words when dealing with commitment phobes, with men who are looking for longer-term relationships…and, when to just hold out till the guy says it.

I remember a few years ago, I was tearing my hair out wondering why the guy I had been seeing seriously wasn’t saying those words. Of course, being that that relationship was obviously destined to end, right now I can’t remember if I wanted to hear it because I felt the milestone was just appropriate, or because I was bursting to say it too. Maybe it was my slightly competitive nature; but I do not tend to yield (and in that case, I didn’t)! But, there’s not necessarily a right or  a wrong, and every situation, every relationship, is different.

Until I meet a situation where my emotions overwhelm my reason (and, um, my pride), I definitely have to agree with the study’s indirect recommendation that [if they’re not willing to risk being met with the sounds of dead silence, or whatever reason they do have] women should hold out as long as they can i.e. wait for the guy to give in first…because, as Ackerman’s study indicates at least, he probably will. Heh.

Do you speak what you feel when it comes to “I love you”, or do you wait for it to be said first? Is pride an issue for you? What if he/she just didn’t give in?

Check out Yahoo!’s Shine article on the study here.
And for those of you who really wanna know all the info, here is a full copy of the study.

Quick test! Have you got the knack of Tweeting down to its awesome micro-blogging science? Can you put together 140-character updates in a snap and get in everything you wanna say?

Well, short and sweet has its advantages, but not when it comes to relationships, apparently. Not according to one of the hilarious charts that dating site OKCupid put together (check out chart 4!). Yep, that’s right, a whole TWO MONTHS shorter and sweeter. Maybe all that connectedness and succinctness come with a price?!

How long are your average relationships? And how many social media sites do you actively participate in? If you’re not married, have you seen the longevity of your relationships decrease as you use more and more social media sites, apps, etc?

I recently purchased an original Nintendo system from eBay, and it got me thinking. As I’ve mentioned, I can be slow to embrace technology. This has nothing to do with not actually LIKING technology. (I joined Facebook as soon as it opened up at my university back in 2005.) It’s just that I like continuity, and the fast-paced, upgradeability of technology just isn’t my thing.

But, well, the landscape is changing. Of EVERYTHING. And relationships, romantic or otherwise will never be the same thanks to technology, and some of those tried-and-true rules that our moms told us (whether about guys or finding a new job) no longer hold water. Don’t call him? OK, but what if he doesn’t know how to use that ‘dial’ button on his smartphone? (Does anyone know how to use that button anymore??) Some remnants of the old-fashioned kind of love might remain, but we’re on our way out.

Nintendo or Xbox? Phone call or text message? There’s nothing wrong with preferring it old school, or embracing the new technology-fused style. But either way, the biggest change might have to be our expectations. It’s not as easy to write someone off for not following the “correct” (and perhaps outdated) approach! (Time to reassess those dealbreakers, maybe?)

I think Uncle Sam DEFINITELY has something against the unmarrieds…at least (especially!) during tax season.

Every year I see the amount I OWE TO THE GOVERNMENT steadily increasing, and I hate it. OK, so I don’t own a home, have any student loans needing payoff, or have any children. Or a husband. I get it. My net worth as far as tangible and nontangible assets is solely ME, and therefore I should give relatively more of everything I earn back to the national purse. Cruel logic, but fine. But since I hear nearly all my friends or family members around me sighing in agony about the pittance they’re expecting of a refund (or, about the tiny windfall, although that’s all relative)…it’s a tougher pill to swallow. Really? Shut up! is what I wanna tell them. I’ve gone through my taxes with a fine tooth comb and I still owe more than just a chunk of change.

And yes, I’m aware that many others have it much worse so…rant over.

Anyway, if you are similarly depressed and already looking ahead to 2011 taxes, here are some really small tips (coming from a non-financial advisor, mind you), and possibly useless bits of info I’ve gleaned in my attempt to find a silver lining in the cloud known as “Pay to the order of: IRS”…

1. Both the standard deduction AND the personal exemption will increase slightly for 2011. It’ll be $5,800 and $3,750 for singles claiming themselves. Does this mean the tax is also proportionately increasing for varying income levels? Er, I have no idea. But I figure an increase in both numbers can’t be a bad thing.

2. The first-time homebuyer’s credit of $8,000 will expire after April 30 of this year. Is this good news? Well, it is for those of us who aren’t really sure we wanna buy a home right now (me), and don’t want the tease of that tax credit clouding our judgment.

3. Apparently there’s a small credit available for current homeowners who install certain energy-improving accoutrements like windows, doors, furnaces, etc. Does not help me whatsoever. Still: good to know, right? Maybe it will help you!

Here’s my really short and not-so-ambitious recommended 2011 Taxes To Do List:

* Start a savings sub-account NOW for what you think you’ll owe in 2011. If you get a refund, great. If you’re like me and you don’t think your income or homeownership status or the like will change dramatically, you had better start saving. I recommend ING Direct for their comparatively awesome interest rates.

* Talk to a tax advisor… Really, how does one prep this far in advance for taxes? Increase 401K contribution? Reduce my withholdings? Oh, the possibilities are endless… You know, I don’t even WANT a refund! You hear that, Uncle Sam?! I just want to finish out my taxes and come to big fat $0. Never has a zero seemed so appealing!

Have any tax tips you wanna share? (Rants and raves are also welcome.)


P.S. I’m totally not a tax expert (in case you couldn’t tell). Here the sources I gleaned for some of the 2011 info above:
http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/12820274/article-It-s-not-too-early-to-think-about-next-year-s-taxes?instance=secondary_story_left_column

http://www.northjersey.com/news/119994704_Done_with_your_taxes__Get_started_for_2012.html?c=y&page=2