Book Review | Become Your Own Matchmaker by Patti Stanger

Patti Stanger is the popular, controversial force behind The Millionaire’s Club, an international dating service that caters to, well, millionaires. Her club spawned the hit show Millionaire Matchmaker, which aired on Bravo.

I was drawn into reading this book because of Patti’s sassy attitude and no-nonsense advice. She seemed to know what she was talking about on the show and often bragged that her track record was impeccable. As far as dating books go, it was pretty good. I purchased it myself and read it on my Kindle about a year ago, then re-read it for this review.  Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from Patti’s dating guide.

Audience: This book is geared toward female daters who are seeking a man to marry. The man does not have to be a millionaire, but if you’ve ever watched Patti’s show, she encourages men and women to embrace traditional roles. Therefore, future hubby should be a provider who displays desirable male traits (no “coffee shop” men, whatever that means). This is a secular dating guide, so if you’re looking for something focused strictly on Christian principles, this isn’t the book for you. Lastly, you’ll have to be willing to make some changes to yourself. If you’re already perfect as-is, you don’t need Patti.

Goal: The goal of the book is to lay out a step-by-step plan from dating to the alter. As a caveat, I should mention that Patti is not married and never has been (she’s 50). So, take all marriage advice with a grain of salt. Patti gives a lot of background information about how she got to where she is in her career, as well as the dating woes that she’s been through.

The Plan  (I’m putting Patti’s plans in to my own words to provide the summary below):

(1) “You” Time. The plan is simple – first take some time and get to know yourself. Heal from your past relationships and pamper yourself. Get your physical appearance in order and learn how to dress for your shape. Get your hair done professionally. Spend some time with the girls or whatever it is that you need to do to feel your personal best and gain your confidence back.This is an essential step to prevent you from dragging old baggage into new relationships.

(2) Meet Men. This is where Patti gets a little radical. Basically, she encourages women to do whatever it is that they need to do to meet men. If you have to go online, go online. If you have to move to a city with a better male-to-female ratio, then move. Put yourself out there. Smile at and talk to men. Let people know that you’re looking. People love to play matchmaker and if you’re really interested in finding a mate, you’ll be open to suggestions.

(3) Evaluate Potential Mates & Present Your Best Assets. A lot of women want a great man, but they don’t bring much to the table themselves. Patti provides tips for how you can present yourself as a great potential wife, while evaluating your potential husband. If he’s not marriage material and you are looking for marriage, you are wasting each other’s time. Patti talks about ways you can tell whether a man is looking for a future wife, just dating, or just playing around. It’s also essential that you make a (short!) list of non-negotiable characteristics that you desire in a husband. This will keep you focused on your core needs without becoming too nit-picky about every man you meet.

(4). No Sex Before Monogamy. Patti is a stickler on this point. She talks in detail about how females produce oxytocin during intercourse. This is a bonding hormone that women produce in much greater quantities than men. It’s what makes it difficult for women to walk away from a man once they have taken that step in their relationship. Her points on this topic are pretty much scientific and common sense; she’s not a religious person (although she doesn’t downplay religion’s role in evaluating compatibility).

(5) Set a Timeline.  This is a another key factor. Patti believes that a man who is looking for marriage will not string a woman along in a relationship for years at a time. So, set a timeline and stick firmly to it. If he’s not talking marriage in a year – as in ring-on-finger, date set, then walk away. This point sets Patti’s plan apart from other dating books. Many books say to give a man two years or longer. Patti says that women don’t have that kind of time to waste. As we grow older, our marriage prospects only diminish further.

I think this is a valuable guide for women who are a little lost in the dating game and really ready to get married. It’s packed with information and Patti gives reasons for each point in her plan. It’s not for the faint-at-heart, since it requires diligent effort on the part of the woman. If you’re just dating “for fun,” then this is probably not the book for you. If you’re interested in finding a hubby worth having, then give it a read.

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(Raw) Cookbook Review | Raw Food: A Complete Guide…by Erica Palmcratz

I picked up Raw Food: A Complete Guide to Every Meal of the Day by Erica Palmcratz and Irmela Lilja after a few interns and I purchased this book for a co-worker last summer. She was excited about making the bell-peppers that are on the cover of the book. They looked tasty, and the book seemed like a good book for a raw food beginner, so I decided to try it!

This book is a great starter raw food book for newbies. The recipes do not require any of the expensive, complicated materials that are often associated with the preparation of raw food, such as dehydrators. You need a blender, a food processor, and a few other common household kitchen items to get started. Last summer when I originally purchased this book, I made quite a few of the recipes.

The smoothies were great for pre and post-workout “pick me ups.” The recipes such as lettuce wraps that called for the use of avocados were downright delicious and very easy to make. My favorite recipe was the stuffed bell pepper recipe featured on the cover of the book. That recipe called for the use of leaks. This was my first time using leaks. I thought I had to go to Whole Foods to purchase them, but they are carried at many regular grocery stores. I had just been overlooking them for years.

One of the best features of this book is the beginner guides included. Palmcratz gives the raw food newbie a breakdown of common ingredients and tools with an explanation of how to use them and where to find them. She describes how to “progress” from simpler recipes to more complicated ones without feeling overwhelmed.  The book also included vivid color photos of the “finished products” so that the reader will know what to expect once the recipe is completed. For raw food veterans, this may not be the best book. Many of the recipes may be too simple. Also, many hard-core raw foodists may not like the fact that the author is not 100% raw. Instead, she advocates well rounded healthy eating and a majority-raw food diet.

The only con to this book is that, although it does not require expensive equipment, it does require time. Like many raw food recipes, the prep work can take hours even though the actual (non) cooking time is fast. The author is Swedish, so it’s hard to find concrete information about her in the US, but you can check out her website here. Google will translate it for you!