Monday, February 13, 2012


Valentine's Day Gifts: A Guide To Last-Minute Presents Sure to Impress

by Samantha Daniels
(republished from the Huffington Post)

Tomorrow is the big day, and if you are still scrambling to find a gift for your sweetie, don't despair. I am a professional matchmaker and here are a few last-minute gift ideas that will bring a smile to your partner's face:
Unique Flower vase from Art Style Innovation
- Flowers in a cool vase. It may seem like the obvious choice, but if you put them in a great, unusual and interesting vase, then your gal with think you took that extra step. When you purchase the flowers, do NOT get them at the supermarket or the corner bodega; they always look cheap and she can always tell. Additionally, if you want to go with roses, don't do red roses -- that's too easy -- go with a peach or pink rose or forget the roses altogether and go with her favorite flower if you know it and then put them into an Art Deco Vase like the one at Art Style Innovation.

Amanda Sterett Savannah Choker
- Jewelry. You don't have to break your piggybank to give her a bauble. Go ahead and pick a wonderful costume piece but just make sure, SHE, not your mom, your sister or your ex, will actually like it. If she is a statement gal, go with a necklace like the ones from Snook N Company. (No not the gal from Jersey Shore). If she is more classic with a whimsical side, go for a necklace like from Amanda Sterett.

- A unique Wine. Wine is a great unisex gift if your honey enjoys it. Neither you nor your partner need to be a connoisseur to give wine as a gift. Try a bottle of Prosecco or an Iced Wine. These are both a little fun, different and something you can share together.

Lazy Susan Wine Spinner from Sashi Dekor

- Spending a little extra. If your sweetie does enjoy wine or just interesting home decor, why not get him or her something like a Wine spinner. This is the height of home decor and it acts as Lazy Susan for drinking. You put it on your coffee table and you can put your bottle, your wineglasses, even your coasters on it and it can stay out as a design element in your home to boot.

Toscano Ethanol Indoor Fireplace
- Go uniquely romantic. If you have given candles in the past and you are looking for something that sets the mood, one of a kind and just cool, go with an indoor fireplace. They come in all shapes and sizes, you add some ethanol and poof, you have a fireplace right in your home. Gorg, fun and romantic all at once. Or you can choose a fabulous whimsical serving tray with Q-tips or spoons inside it; it's one of a kind, a conversation piece and it's uniqueness makes it, oh, so romantic.

Planning A Romantic Valentine's Day Getaway

Valentine's Day is a great time to take a romantic getaway with your special someone. Love is the air and Valentine's Day happens to fall near a long holiday weekend. However, if you are going to plan that special weekend, you need to make sure it is really spot on.

I am a Professional Matchmaker and here are some tips for making your romantic weekend away perfect.

Location, Location, Location

You need to pick a place that is easy to get to without a lot of complications since it is only a weekend getaway. An island is great as long as there is a direct flight to get there or Florida is always a great old standby.

Great Weather

The key to a great trip is going to be the great weather. After all, if you take the time to go away, you want to be able to tke advantage of all the activities that are offered. Some people might say, that rainy day activities like breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed can rise up to true romance, but you can always do that at home.Pick a place like Mexico, Turks and Caicos or St. Barts where you have a higher guarantee of great weather.

Great Sunsets

It's incredible how staring into a sunset can make someone feel all lovey-dovey. Maybe it's the spectrum of rainbow colors or the ability to gaze off yonder and dream about the future. Whatever it is, a sunset really gets you in the mood.

Privacy and Service

If you choose to never leave it and spend the weekend just the two of you, you will be in bliss. Check out the villas at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba -- each one has it's own private swimming pool and outdoor hottub with no one around but you, your honey and some chirping birds. The villas are so secluded that you can swim in the buff and luxuriate in the hottub together. They will even have a dinner cooked for you in your villa or send a masseuse to you, so you don't have to leave at all. Or you can check out a suite at the Seven Stars resort in Turks and Caicos which seems like a full service apartment because it has a kitchen with every modern amenity in case you want to cook for each other or have them send in a chef . There is also a large balcony that feels like it's suspended above the turquoise waters of the sea where you can dine al fresco.

Private Pool villa at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba

A romantic getaway would never be complete without a couples massage, especially one right on the beach. If you stay at ta beach resort like the Seven Stars you can request your couples massage on the beach or in an outdoor cabana. They will set you up right on the beach or even under the stars and the two of you can get massages at the same time, even hold hands while you do it. Can you imagine anything more romantic?


You want to choose a hotel that have someone on staff whose primary job is to take care of you and your every desire, especially when it comes to planning romantic activities for you and your sweetie. Check out the romance specialist at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba who is staff at the hotel and will plan anything you want. If you have a special request, she will grant it, and if you are clueless but you know you want it to be romantic, she will come up with some ideas for you, like a private dinner for two on a boat around their mangroves or a private scuba trip for two with your own guide.


The spa is always key for romance on a weekend getaway. Choose a hotel that offers couples spa services and one of a kind signature services. At a hotel like the Viceroy Miami, there is a one of a kind spa that resembles a whimsical Alice in Wonderland theme-land; it's truly magical. There are multiple co-ed hot and cold soaking tubs, a killer view of the water and the two of you can luxuriate together staring up at the stars. Plus they offer exercise classes like Zumba, Yoga and Pilates that you can do together.

Spa at the Viceroy Miami
Outdoor Dining

When you are on vacation, dining under the stars is always a great way to set the mood. Your lady will be in a sexy cocktail dress, the wind will be blowing in her hair and the stars will reflect off her skin. Better yet if you can find a place for outdoor dining that has live music so you can also dance the night away, that will be the optimal romantic evening. Go ahead and try the Deck at the in Turks and Caicos. They have live music nightly, a great menu where you can try the islands specialities which are conch and local lobster. And then you can dance under the moonlight to one of their live singers. Feels like paradise.

The Deck, outdoor dining at the Seven Stars resort, Turks and Caicos
Have Fun

Sometimes the most important ingredient for a romantic weekend getaway is to connect with each other over silly things, act like playful children and just have some fun. Whether it's snorkeling on the barrier reef in Turks or bicycling around the Playa del Carmen or shopping for gifts for each other in Miami, just make sure you inject some fun into your romantic weekend and then it will be perfect.

For more Huffington Post articles by Samantha Daniels, please click here

Friday, February 10, 2012

How to Prep Your Place For Valentine's Day (Republished From NY Daily News)


Friday, February 10th 2012, 1:36 PM

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Why shouldn’t you do all you can to help your hookup potential, even if the date is with the old ball and chain? New York City neighborhoods and home decor can help much more than any silly wingman.

The right city streets can be the perfect place for a kiss. But you’ll need more romantic savoir-faire than that. Prepping your home for love doesn’t have to be a chore, nor does it have to be expensive.

New York and Los Angeles-based matchmaker Samantha Daniels (at left, BRYAN SMITH FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS), who founded Samantha’s Table, has put together 125 marriages in a decade. She believes a person’s feelings for their home should mirror those they have in the “right” relationship.

“How you feel in your home should be similar to how you feel in a relationship with that perfect person,” says Daniels, a former divorce lawyer who was the model for the NBC dramedy “Miss Match,” starring Alicia Silverstone. “You can tell right away when you walk into someone’s house if they’re ready or not for something serious. If it’s messy or has decorations done by an ex, well that’s a red flag.”

Daniels says you can prep your home for a hot date or set the mood for love with art, furniture and the right props.

“Whether you are male or female, your home can be the perfect place to evoke a little romance by adding touches of warmth, and interesting home decor pieces that are personal to you,” she says. “These days, there are many home- decor items that can style your home while, at the same time, evoke a sense of love.”

As we approach Valentine’s Day, here are 10 tips from the matchmaker for creating the right mood in your home:

Lighting first. Dimming lights is so yesterday. Make sure that lighting creates the perfect romantic glow so that the two of you can get into the mood. Use a portable fireplace to evoke that romantic feeling. Empire ­Tabletop Fireplace, $99.99, www.any­

Candles are warm. Lanterns are hot. These days you can find items that will let you incorporate candles into your home decor and be available all the time. Try placing candles in a great lantern or candleholder, like the Mini Mogador pair of stainless lanterns, $24,

Romance smells good. A person’s olfactory sense will identify a pleasing sense and translate that into a romantic feeling. Think about a stylish Scentilizer masking your gym bag stink with something lovely, like Sweet Orange or Peppermint. The Lantern Scentilizer, $129.99,

Flowers work, but faux works forever. Flowers are always romantic, but a lot of women feel a sense of loss when they wilt quickly. Why not try faux flowers that you can keep permanently which give off the smell of your choice, continuosly? Hervé Gambs Purple orchid, $49;

Yes to wine — bigger yes to a wine caddy. Sipping a glass of wine can turn the mood from casual to romantic. In your home, it’s important to have a stylish place to set out that vino. Try a hardwood tray or a hand-crafted wine spinner to create that great look of romance. Dog Wine Bottle holder, $79,

Moisturize it — a hands-on approach. It’s surprising how hand products can actually help someone get into “the mood.” Try Tarocco Sicilian blood orange wash and moisturizer, $28,

Cuddle in comfort. Sometimes cuddling can be more romantic than “sealing the deal.” Make sure you have a scrumptious throw on your sofa in case the two of you get cozy. Chocolate channel throw, $150,

Music man or woman. Nothing works better than this. Make sure you have a great selection on your iTunes. I like Bruno Mars or Michael BublĂ©. Don’t knock it till you try it.

Just in case, more than clean sheets. If your evening takes you into your bedroom, it’s key to luxuriate in luscious sheets. Try a set of high-thread-count sheets to feel like you are lying on a cloud. A 400-thread-count cotton sateen hotel collection double sheet is $79;

Go with a classic, chocolate. Sometimes romance can come from connecting over the silliest of things. Why not make some ­Popsicles together and cover them with the best ­aphrodisiac out there, chocolate? Zoku Chocolate Station, $19.95;

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


How to Date a Wall Street Man

(republished from CNBC blog 2012)

Published: Tuesday, 7 Feb 2012 | 1:14 PM ET
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By: Samantha Daniels
Professional Matchmaker and Dating Expert, Founder and President of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking
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As a professional matchmaker with an office in New York City, many of my clients are very successful, high profile Wall Street men.
I have spent the better part of 12 years learning all of their habits, their likes and dislikes when it comes to dating, women and relationships and what they want specifically from me, when I am matching them with women.
Hence, I know, better than anyone, what makes Wall Street men tick.
Here are a few tips for the women out there who are dating or would like to be dating a man on Wall Street:
1. Be prepared to charm him out of talking about work when he first arrives to the date. Unfortunately, a lot of guys on Wall Street have a hard time leaving work at the office; it’s your job to get his mind on you and off theS & P.
2. Learn a little something about the financial markets and notice if something huge happens on a given day, negative or positive. Things like the fact that Facebook is going public is not just financial news, it’s world news and you don’t want to seem clueless if you completely missed something like that. You don’t have to become an expert but at least if you know something you can participate in a conversation with your guy. Additionally, you need to be prepared that the volatility of the markets might make your guy’s mood unpredictable, especially on a day that his personal portfolio went down dramatically.
3. While a Wall Street man tends to like a little bit of a challenge when it comes to dating, he still likes things to be convenient and easy for him. A lot of women think that if they play hard to get, they will land a Wall Street man. This is NOT the case. Yes, you should be confident and avoid being a pushover but, at the same time, you shouldn’t be difficult. You need to be accommodating or his schedule and time constraints or he will get frustrated and find another woman.
4. Tell stories that are short and sweet because the mind of a Wall Street man is always moving so rapidly and focusing on so many different things that his attention span for social stories is very short; don’t be insulted by this, just tell your stories in a way that he can listen. Save your long, draw-out stories for chit-chatting with your girlfriends.

Samantha Daniels Professional Matchmaker
Samantha's Table

5. Be sexy. Wall Street men tend to like women who are attractive and that other men notice when they walk in the room. This does not mean that you should look sleazy or inappropriate, this just means that you should bring your “A game” when you go out with him, whatever that is. Every man is attracted to a different look and a different type of woman so if he’s interested in you, he’s attracted to you but you need to maintain his interest by continuing to look your best.
6. Don’t get upset if he checks his BlackBerry or takes a call during a date; this is very common of a Wall Street man and has nothing to do with whether or not he likes you. The advice that I give Wall Street men about their need to bring business onto the date is that they should forewarn you when they first sit down that a call or a message is coming and apologize in advance.  Albeit the fact that this would be an easy thing to do, they won’t always remember to do it, so don’t get offended.
7. Don’t get upset if your Wall Street guy isn’t as romantic as you would like him to be. Men, by nature are never as romantic as women want them to be, but Wall Street men especially are very business-like and think practically not romantically. If you want him to be more romantic, you are probably going to have to lead the way, and teach him what you want.

8. Wall Street men tend to be attracted to women who are in industries other than Wall Street. This does not mean that if you work on Wall Street, you won’t end up with a Wall Street man, however his eye tends to be looking towards non-Wall Street women. Hence, if you are a Wall Street woman and you are interested in dating a Wall Street man, you need to make sure that you let him and others see that you are not all business all the time, that you have a soft, feminine, family-oriented and fun side when you are not in the office.
9. When it comes to getting you a gift, a lot of Wall Street men are all about extravagance over thoughtfulness. If you are a decadent woman, this will work well for you, but if you are a woman who prefers a man to be thoughtful over spending lavishly on something you don’t really want, you might be disappointed. This does not mean that a Wall Street man can’t be thoughtful, many are. However, a lot of Wall Street men are so busy making lots of money, that when they think to buy you something, they don’t care about the cost as long as it’s easy to get for you.
10. Don’t get upset if your plans get scheduled by his assistant. Even though, it is dating 101 for a man to pick up the phone and call you for a date or in this day and age to text you for one, many Wall Street men are so reliant on their assistants that they prefer to have you on their schedule just like a business meeting. Do not take offense to this; this does not mean that he likes you all the less, it just means that he likes to be organized and efficient and his assistant helps him accomplish this.
Samantha Daniels owns a bicoastal matchmaking service called Samantha's Table. She is ivy league educated and a former divorce attorney by trade. She is frequently relied upon dating, relationship and romance expert, and is seen regularly on television, in national newspapers and magazines and on radio. She has been a national spokesperson for a number of consumer brands including Crest, Oral B and Febreze. She was also the inspiration for and a producer on the NBC/Darren Star dramedy, Miss Match starring Alicia Silverstone, the show was based on her life story. She is the author of the book, Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern-Day Matchmaker (Simon &  Schuster).
© 2012