My humorous relationship advice book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates, is now more than a book – it’s a decadent hen’s night extravaganza! (See my listing HERE. Only available in Sydney and Melbourne at this stage.) Otherwise known as a bachelorette party, the Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates hens-travaganza is a NEW, UNIQUE and ULTRA-FUN hen’s night experience. Read on to discover how you can delight the bride-to-be and all her gal pals on her hen’s night…
From Book to Extravaganza
See Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates break free of its pages and come to life. Presented by the author herself (me!), you will be treated to two hours of secret girls’ business, tasty morsels, singing, dancing, games, prizes, non-stop laughter and goodies to take home.
The Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates hens-travaganza includes
1. Welcome Drinks & Treats: Chocolate cocktails, bubbly, cupcakes and other munchies
2. Secret Girls’ Business: Hilarious, interactive, multimedia presentation by the author of Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates, Elly Klein
3. Man-datory Lessons: Learn the delicious secret to understanding men and pick up some tasty tips on how to handle the opposite sex
4. Goodie Bags: Signed copy of Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates (valued at $19.95) and customized box of chocolates for each guest
5. Uplifting Vibe: A Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates hen’s night will get everyone in the party mood before you all head out for the evening
Where? When? How Much? Bookings?
WHERE: A private home, a hotel room, a function room in a pub or restaurant, or almost anywhere you like – I’ll bring the gear, you bring the gals! I’ll arrive well ahead of time to set up and, of course, leave the place spotless. I’d be open to travelling out of town as long as costs were covered. WHEN: Anytime. The most popular is Saturday afternoon. HOW MUCH: Incredible value for money at $60 per person, a Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates hen’s night extravaganza is the ultimate girls’ night out – and one the hen and her gal pals will never forget. BOOK IT!: For further information or to make a booking, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your phone number and I’ll give you a call as soon as I can.
One More Thing…
While strippers, life drawing, dance classes, karaoke, cocktail-making and spa pampering can be a lot of fun for a hen’s night, if you’re looking for something fresh, entertaining and truly memorable, you simply must give the Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates hen’s night experience a go.
Yes, I’m on holidays. But I’m not lying in a hammock somewhere – far from it. I’m in New York City living, studying and writing for the entire month of April. I’m doing an online business course that’s teaching me how to make this website kick-ass, so stay tuned for exciting updates! In fact, that’s what I wanted to tell you – Song of the Week is going on holidays until the re-launch. So, naturally, this week’s Song of the Week is Holiday, by Madonna. Ah, it sounds so tropical.
When next we meet, I’ll have a shiny, new website. Yay! Can’t wait.
I started reading dating and relationships advice books from the age of 11, which I’m sure sounds extremely young, but that was around the time I started liking boys. I was terribly curious, and reading about boys was far preferable to experimenting with them, where I could learn from a safe distance in the comfort of my Laura Ashley-decorated bedroom (I’m showing my age here!).
It wasn’t long before the teddy bears, board games and My Little Ponies were replaced by Girlfriend, Dolly, Cosmo, CLEO, the entire Sweet Valley Twins series (which I still have in mint condition – surely they’re worth something by now) and a collection of self-help books that indulged my boy-mad brain. Thus began a love affair with love affairs – and I wanted to be armed and dangerous for when I finally stopped reading about it and started living it (which, much to my frustration, didn’t really happen until I was 15/16 – damn private girls’ school education).
The first relationship advice book I ever read was Girltalk About Guys – Honest Answers to Candid Questions, by Carol Weston, which was published in 1988. It was brilliant. I still think it’s brilliant. I have it on my bookshelf, covered in clear contact, and will never part with it. You can still purchase one called Girltalk but, sadly, I think Girltalk About Guys is out of print. (I did see it on eBay, though!)
The book that became my bible in my early-20s was The Real Rules – How to Find the Right Man for the Real You, by Barbara DeAngelis. It was a counterattack on The Rules, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, which was the 50 Shades of Grey of 1995 – an unexpected and controversial phenomenon, minus the sex – and encouraged women to go back to 1950s-style dating in order to land a husband. The Real Rules was published in 1997. It’s still in print, and I’d highly recommend it. It’s short ‘n’ sweet – and simply fabulous! It’s basically about cutting the BS, the games and the pretense, and getting yourself into a real, loving relationship. That’s not to say there was absolutely NOTHING to take away from The Rules but, on the whole, it preached a fairly disastrous approach to dating. Leave that one in the mid-90s where it belongs.
My adoration for Barbara De Angelis continued into another one of her books, Are You the One for Me? This is a great book for when you’re finally IN a relationship and want some guidance as to whether or not it’s likely to last. She explains why love, although an essential ingredient, is not enough to sustain a relationship long-term. She takes you through the 10 relationships that won’t work, fatal flaws and compatibility time bombs – and outlines your options. But it’s not all doom and gloom. She also takes you through what qualities to look for in a partner, and how to know when it’s “right”. (Psst: You’ll never know 100%, but you’ll have a fairly good idea after reading this book.)
I had a break from relationship advice books for a while until an absolute game-changer came along in 2004: He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt (a Sex and the City comedic consultant) and Liz Tuccillo (a Sex and the City scriptwriter), which was later made into a movie with an all-star cast. I have a girlfriend who hates it (the book), and we argue about it all the time, but I absolutely love it. It was the book I WISHED had been written before I was a teenager – frustratingly simple advice that I was embarrassed I hadn’t known all along. Clearly, I wasn’t the only clueless one, as it was an international bestseller, and Greg was on Oprah (twice) preaching the gospel to fellow naive females. Oprah said it was “six words that will change your life”. Well, it certainly changed Miranda Hobbs’ life – the Harvard Law-educated Sex and the City character. You can catch the episode that sparked the book, Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little, halfway through Season 5.
He’s Just Not That Into You is a book every woman should read. Not only that, it’s a book I’m sure every MAN wishes every woman would read, as men have a tendency to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING other than tell you they’re just not that into you in an effort to squeeze you out of their life. I’ve had men swear black and blue that if it wasn’t for their career/ recent break-up/childhood trauma/the fact that they live somewhere else (ever heard of moving?!) or the classic “I’m just not READY for a relationship right now”, we’d be together. And I believed them. Why wouldn’t I! When you’re an honest and verbal person, as I am, you take people at their word, as you expect them to take you at yours. Ladies, it’s crap. In some instances, he may not even realize it himself, but it’s crap. For whatever reason, he’s not stepping up to the plate, and that’s all you need to know. Don’t waste a second psychoanalyzing it, waiting for him or forging ahead with the relationship anyway. Take it as a flashing neon sign that he’s not “The One”, and move on. I’m able to do that now, with finesse, thanks to this book. I think one of the best lessons you can learn in relationships, and life, is to know when to move on from something that’s not meant to be.
I’d also recommend Greg’s other books, It’s Called a Break-Up Because it’s Broken (the absolute break-up bible) and It’s Just a Date! (the absolute dating bible). Great stuff. Love Greg. And guess what – he signed all three of my books when I met him, and the incomparable Janeane Garofalo, after a stand-up comedy gig at the Sydney Opera House. Sweet!
The last relationship advice book I read, which was a couple of years ago now, was Marry Him – A Case for Settling for Mr Good Enough, by Lori Gottlieb. Published in 2010, this is a good one for women who are too picky – or, more specifically, picky about the wrong things. If you’re serious about finding a life partner, it’s worth a read.
As with any advice, whether it’s a book, a course, a tip from your mother or something a friend swears by, you need to exercise good judgment. And be particularly wary of advice that says “all” men are like this or “all” women are like that. If only it were that simple. Everyone, and everything, must be treated on a case-by-case basis. So, never take anything too literally. Arm yourself with all the information you possibly can, and then act according to the situation. Be smart, and you’ll be alright.
Relationship advice books aren’t the only books that can help you with your love life. Self-help books that aim to improve you as a person will go a long way to assisting you in finding, and keeping, that special someone. Developing your self-esteem, inner peace, communication skills, anger management or spirituality will set you on the right path. Here are some of my all-time favourites for that:
Life Strategies, by Dr Phillip C. McGraw (yep, that’s Dr Phil, but I can assure you his books are way better than his talk show – this is my No. 1 favorite self-help book).
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart, by Gordon Livingston (one of the best bits is his three-part secret to happiness: something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to).
Over to you! Please help make this a timeless resource of dating and relationships advice by telling us:
What dating/relationships advice books you recommend
What dating/relationships advice books you suggest we avoid
Top tips you’ve gleaned from dating/relationships advice books and/or personal experience
‘Live from New York… it’s the late show with Elly Klein…’
Sorry for being so late on Song of the Week this week, all. But I have a good excuse. I’m here in New York City, and despite the fact that I’ve had a couple of major setbacks, I’m absolutely loving it.
The first setback came on the second night, when I got a violent case of food poisoning. A simple grilled cheese & tomato sandwich turned my world upside down for the next two days. I’ll spare you the details.
Just as I was feeling better, I was strolling home from a late-night cafe when I stepped off the curb, landed in a pothole and came down on my ankle like a tonne of bricks! Again, it took a couple of days to recover. It’s still really swollen, but I can walk on it.
So… Having said all that, I’m madly in love with New York. It’s even better than I remember it. It’s really hard to describe, but a vague summary would be that famous line from the Australian film, The Castle: ‘It’s just the vibe.’
I’ve rented a one-bedroom apartment in the East Village/Alphabet City (Manhattan) for the month of April. I feel so at home in this neighborhood, I dare say I’m not going to want to leave. Everything from cafes, restaurants and bars to supermarkets, pharmacies and shops are within walking distance – some no further than my little block. Many things are open 24hrs. There are people out and about at all times of the day and night. And I’ve noticed that many cafes double as offices while enterprising creatives (such as myself) work on chasing their dreams – with laptops and free wi-fi. Clearly, I’m in good company.
I’ve already made three new friends, despite having had to stay in most of the time so far. I love how you can strike up a conversation in a cafe with the person sitting next to you without looking like a weirdo. And it’s likely you’ll get chatting about something interesting and meaningful.
So, for this week’s Song of the Week, I’ve selected Got That Vibe by R Kelly, because the word ‘vibe’ is the best possible word to describe New York City. New York has got that vibe, and I’ve got New York for another three weeks – after which, plans will be made to make a permanent move.
As you may have guessed from the writer/entrepreneur/general misfit status, I am one of those people who are attempting to live a life of non-conformity. My dream is to make a living from entertaining people through writing. But I sometimes get a little annoyed with the bombardment of messages that everyone who chooses this kind of path will be: a) successful, and b) happier. Something’s missing from the dialogue that I’d like to add…
There’s a great scene in one of my favourite TV shows, Entourage, where the feisty (and that’s putting it politely) Hollywood agent, Ari Gold, attempts to explain to Turtle, best friend of his movie star client, how hard it is to ‘make something of yourself’. It’s hilarious, especially the line about ending up on the street doing heroin with the ‘two Coreys‘. Gold! (No pun intended.) You can watch that here:
Anyway, there’s a serious, unglamorous and often deflating message underpinning all the hilarity – and that is that making something of yourself is really hard.
It’s a message we don’t often hear. If you’re plugged into the media, hardly a day will go by where you won’t stumble across advice such as ‘find your passion’, ‘live with purpose’ and ‘do what you love and the money will follow’. There may be a lot of truth to it, but what no one ever tells you is how hard it is, how boring, tedious and frustrating it can be, how much sacrifice is involved, how much risk is required and how, in the end, you may or may not succeed and it may or may not make you (or anyone else) happier.
Attempting to make something of yourself is wrapped up in a big, shiny bow and perfectly packaged by magazines, self-help books, motivational speakers and Oprah (although, I do love all those things – especially Oprah) as though it’s the holy grail of fulfillment, and that life will be blissful from there on in. Reality check: That’s simply not true.
You constantly need to reassess whether ‘living your dream’ is really worth it – and the older you get, the less ‘worth it’ it can become. Sometimes, having a stable job, reasonable money and enough time to spend with your family is more important than slaving away trying to create the next social networking platform, land the lead role in a film or score a recording contract. And not everyone who strives to live their dream will achieve it – or as Jay-Z preaches to ambitious New Yorkers in his song, Empire State of Mind: ‘half o’ y’all won’t make it’. So, then what? The dream morphs into something more attainable, and that’s okay.
No matter what you do for work, everything becomes a job eventually. Even being a rock star, the ultimate dream for many a teenager and karaoke singer, comes with tremendous personal sacrifices we rarely think about when we’re listening to our favourite music or excitedly heading to a concert. Being on the road away from family, friends, home and stability for long periods of time, playing gig after gig every night with the same level of enthusiasm for the last audience as the first, being stalked by paparazzi and having rubbish written about you in the tabloids must take its toll. Frankly, I don’t think it’d be worth it for me (although, if I were blessed with a voice like Christina Aguilera‘s, I’d have to get back to you on that one). I’d rather have a little less money and a little more freedom and privacy.
Thankfully, my dream is still within reach. I’m really proud of my first book, Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates, a humorous, mouth-watering and truly unique relationship advice manual. The book and book-related activities, such as the super-fun Men Are Like a Box of Chocolates hen’s nights / bachelorette parties, are rapidly gaining momentum, but only as a result of my single-minded focus, patience and persistence. I’d be lying if I said it’s been a smooth ride. The uncertainty that goes hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship can be extremely uncomfortable (excruciating at times) and, as any successful person will attest to (although, perhaps begrudgingly), you need to have at least one lucky break to ‘make it’. In short, being your own boss isn’t always fun. It’s bloody hard work. Ari Gold was right.
By all means, challenge the status quo. Identify what your dream/passion/purpose/calling in life might be and have a red-hot go at living it, but know that it’s no Cakewalk. In any case, it’s better than ending up on the street doing heroin with the two Coreys, especially since there’s only one Corey now…
Okay, you’ve heeded the warnings, but you still want to take a flying leap at your goal. Good on you! I know exactly how you feel. Here are my Top Five Down-to-Earth Tips for Making Something of Yourself, you little go-getter:
1. Failure is not the opposite of success. It’s definitely worth trying your hand at something you’re passionate about, if for no other reason than so you won’t die wondering. Even if things don’t work out as planned, you’ll learn so much along the way that it won’t be a waste. You’ll be able to parlay that knowledge and experience into your next venture.
2. Do everything. Expect nothing. What that means is take the risks, make the sacrifices, work hard and hope for the best but be prepared for the worst (emotionally and, possibly, financially).
3. Research, but don’t over-research, then make up your own mind and go for it. Every ‘guru’ will offer you something worthwhile, but they don’t know it all. Use the bits that resonate with you, discard the ones that don’t, and try not to spend so much time researching that you never get around to doing anything. This is one of those occasions where it is NOT the thought that counts. Life rewards action.
4. Be adaptable. As Derek Sivers says in his book, Anything You Want, ‘No business plan survives first customer.’ While it’s great to have a plan, it’s likely to change the moment you start doing business. This has certainly been true for me in my entrepreneurial endeavors. Be adaptable. If your customers aren’t responding to your product, service or offer, change it. Or if building your customer base is taking a little longer than expected, consider taking on some evening work waiting tables or bar-tending. Told you there would be sacrifices!
5. Practice the three Ps: Perspiration, Persistence and Patience. ‘Perspiration’ means work hard. ‘Persistence’ means don’t give up (unless you truly know it’s time to call it quits, but that’s a discussion for another post). And ‘Patience’ means that success usually takes a lot longer than you’d like it to – you have to hang in there.
Have you found it difficult to ‘make something of yourself’? What are your thoughts on ‘living the dream’?
Greetings from Los Angeles! Santa Monica, to be exact – one of the only places in LA you’d ever want to live. I’ve been here for almost a week now, visiting friends en-route to New York City.
One of the best things to do around here is roller-blade from Santa Monica to Venice Beach and back. It takes about an hour. I’ve done it twice now, and will probably do it once more before I leave – it’s good exercise! I hadn’t been rollerblading in years, but the stretch of concrete between those two beach suburbs is all set up for rollerblading, biking, walking, people-watching and being seen. So, when in Rome…
I really needed this trip. All I’ve been doing for the past few years is working my ass off. While my friends were enjoying numerous overseas adventures, getting married, having children, buying houses and generally moving forward, I was sitting in my room every day in my pajamas with my head down trying to make my career dreams happen. It was definitely my turn to have a break from the grind. And as I was cruising down the smooth path, my ears full of music, this was the song that seemed the most appropriate: Alive, by Krewella. Some lyrics for you:
Just the beat inside my soul
Take me home
Where my dreams are made of gold
In the zone
Where the beat is uncontrolled
I know what it feels like
C’mon make me feel alive
Krewella is a dubstep trio that I’ve only recently happened upon. The two girls (sisters) are hot, the guy is cute, and they’re pretty much too cool for school – I almost feel too old to like them. But some of their tunes are so darn catchy, and I think Alive is their best one to date.
As for my trip, the best is definitely yet to come. We’re off to Las Vegas this weekend (‘Vegas, baby, Vegas!’), and then I’m in New York City for a month. To be honest, I can’t wait to get to New York. I’m living in a hostel in LA, but in New York, I’ll have my own (awesome) apartment in a cool pocket of downtown Manhattan.
What makes you feel alive? Travel? Extreme sports? Music? Do tell!