Saturday, December 25, 2010

For Christmas, Help Me Get the Word Out



Did you know that you can give me the best Christmas present ever?

If you’ve read How to Get to ‘I Do’ and liked it, please let others know about it. Post a book review on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble’s website, or any other bookseller’s website that you like.

So many women have told me how life changing my book was for them. Some of them set aside a few minutes to do a review. Those reviews mean a lot to me and to all of the people who worked to get the book out there in the marketplace. A lot of us have extra time during the Christmas holiday, so if the book made a difference in your life, please post a quick review if you haven’t already.

Aside from making me feel awesome, great book reviews make it more likely that people who hear about my book will actually acquire it and read it. Think about it…. If you are on the fence about a book and visit Amazon.com, a bunch of good book reviews makes you think, “Oh wow…I don’t want to miss out on this.” It’s the confirmation you need to place the order or put the book on your wish list.

I’ve heard that some readers love the book, but feel too embarrassed to tell their girlfriends about it! They don’t know how to get the word out without revealing their own vulnerability and concerns about their dating lives. If that’s you, try to post a review under an anonymous name if it makes you feel more comfortable, and check out my articles. You can share an article on Facebook without immediately admitting that you read the book!

Thanks for the support and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Excitement & Former Flames

I got a special request a while back ago to talk about former flames who are now in friend status. The old boyfriend who keeps calling, for example. Or, the one who wants to hang out or attend parties together when you’re in town over the holidays.

A good rule of thumb is to assume that if the guy is still calling a lot or finding ways to get together, and there was a “past” – he still likes you. If you broke up with him, he wants what he can’t have.

His “like” will probably come through from time to time in the guise of nosiness, subtle jealousies, protectiveness, and little flirtations. Or, just being next to you. If he’s always with you, other guys may not make a move on you.

It’s really odd and confusing if he’s not coming forward with his feelings or saying something clear and articulate on the matter, but some guys won’t. He could be afraid of what you might say. He might not want the responsibility of a relationship with you, but enjoys being a bit of a voyeur, distracting you, and getting the little bit of attention he can from you. Wielding his influence could make him feel powerful, or maybe having a cute female friend makes him feel special. Or, he just doesn’t want to lose the common history and “bond” you share.

Ask yourself some questions. Are you really done with this guy? Do you have any expectations of a second try at the relationship? Is your attentiveness causing him to get expectations? Is he around enough to deter other men from pursuing you? Even if you are not “dating,” being with a guy a lot can cause you to become an “item.”

I think it’s always best to move on as soon as you know a romance is over, because time on this planet is so limited. Remaining in “in between” status can waste valuable time and confuse people’s emotions. Not allowing a former flame to lean on the crutch of friendship can force him to define his feelings and intentions.

My husband weighed in on this one and said that when guys stick around as friends after a break up, they are trying to weasel their way back into your heart.

So, if you don’t want to get back together with a former flame, I suggest distancing yourself from them when they want to be friends. Let him know you are dating other people, don’t always pick up the phone when he calls, and don’t feel pressure to immediately respond to emails. And if you’re at the same holiday party, chat with other guests. Move on!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Preserving Gratitude


Some of you may know that I am into health and wellness. I try to eat organic foods, meats without chemicals, and drink iced green tea like the supply is running out.

But this week I was reminded that taking good things to an extreme can leave you with problems you didn’t have before.

For instance, on Monday night I went to one of my favorite restaurants. It’s an Asian teahouse, and they serve wonderful soup, steamed veggies, rice, and some protein as the entrée. Yet, when I got my salmon, I found myself wondering, “Is this wild salmon or farm raised salmon? Are there any additives in it?”

And I thought, “ Stop! What am I doing? Here I am, in this wonderful restaurant, and I’m making myself miserable over the preparation of this delicious salmon! This is stupid.” I was disgusted with myself.

It’s possible to overdo “good things.” I wish everybody cared enough about themselves and the planet to be more health conscious and aware of chemicals – but obsess too much over things and you uglify your insides with self-absorption. Before you know it, you don’t realize how blessed you are to begin with. Then, you are just another pretentious and ungrateful perfectionist, with no perspective or maturity. Even if your efforts and possible paranoia have made you physically healthy, you now have no gratitude. That’s a pretty serious problem in my book. Frankly – I should have been thanking God for my ability to visit that teahouse on Monday night!

Then, today – I realized I was coming down with a cold. And, I was low on groceries. I nearly dragged myself a few miles down the road to Trader Joe’s to do my regular shopping run, but then my husband said, “Are you sure you want to do that when you aren’t feeling well? You should probably rest, or just go to the corner market.” He knew how I felt because he had the cold too. And, he was right. We have a market that is one block from our house.

Again, I over-analyzed and argued with myself. “I want my organic stuff, but I know it’s not kind to myself to go to my regular store.” Luckily, I had enough wisdom to realize that I should be grateful for the corner market – and stop fussing. They sell perfectly good food, even if it’s not all the same stuff I would get elsewhere.

If you’ve got a decent job in America, you’re going to have a lot of choices. Make healthy choices when you can, but try to be aware of extremism and perfectionism. It lurks everywhere – even in health and wellness circles. Always retain an ability to give thanks for the blessings you have.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

4 Tips to Improving the Outward You

Recently, a woman picked my brain about what I did when I was dating to attract men and build my confidence. I came up with some tips during this informal coaching session, and realized that they don’t only apply to dating. Looking good and believing in yourself will also help you move up professionally and succeed at whatever you do. The tips are simple:

1.Stop Dressing “Catholic Amish” or Nun-like – Although this tip didn’t apply to the lady I spoke to, it applies to many other young women. If you are one of those Catholic girls who wears long skirts every day, and doesn’t do anything to spruce up her appearance – think twice. You can wear long and flowing skirts sometimes. But, covering every centimeter of your body with black and brown clothing and rejecting all modern fashion sensibilities could hold you back. Years ago, my look was “Greek Orthodox goth” with my black flowing skirts and matching liquid eyeliner. I thought the cosmetic indulgences made it less nun-like. I was lucky enough to still attract some admirers, but my look was bland, inflexible, and uninteresting. It’s unlikely that your best features will be accented or showcased when you are weighed down by gobs of dark fabric every day. What are you trying to prove and what’s your vocation anyway? Modesty does not require you to uglify yourself.
2.Try New Styles – A low cost way to learn fashion is to watch What Not to Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly on TLC. They have pretty conservative tastes and will push you to consider style choices that you wouldn’t try otherwise. Like different colors, patterns, accessories, and even hairstyles and makeup. Stacy has a new company, Style for Hire, which features stylists across the country. Also, if you want to try new hairstyles and makeup at home, check out www.pixiewoo.com. Two ladies show you how to look like a star through YouTube skits. It’s so much better than old school magazine illustrations where you have to wonder, “Is this illustration telling me to do this, or that?”.
3.Remember That You Are a Star Too - Is there a star you admire? Someone you sort of resemble? Check out her style and experiment with it yourself. The idea is that if you resemble a star, her style will probably work for you too. She probably has an army of high paid stylists and makeup artists working on her – so steal ideas with pride. And remember that sometimes that’s the only difference between us and “stars.” They have the high paid assistants to make them look like a million bucks. So if you are a dark brunette Natalie Wood look-alike– get into that image. Modernize it a notch, but embrace the fun of having star quality. Make an entrance and expect people to notice you. Feeling like a star will make you look like a star.
4.Radiate Confidence - If you want to look great on the outside, things need to be great on the inside too. Silently tell yourself uplifting things in the serenity of your own mind. It can be, “I’m a great catch!” “I know I have it going on.” “I’m smart and cute.” “I’m achieving my goals.” “My dreams are coming true.” Some people call them affirmations, others call them mantras. You don’t have to share your magic words with anyone. By telling yourself inspiring things, you infiltrate your mind and heart with positive and transformational messages. When you surround your psyche with wonderful and powerful thoughts, it is hard to resist making them your personal truth and reality.

Confidence goes a long way. A reader recently told me that to her, my book was written in a tone that “breathed confidence.” Confidence is “woven” into the chapters. Anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Confidence will inspire you to do great things.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Faith and Film - Dragons Reminds Us to Embrace Artists


A new film is on the way – There Be Dragons. It’s due out in Spring 2011 and features St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, as one of the main characters.

I’m always happy to see a professionally done film with a storyline that has a strong faith element in it, so let’s see how it is!

About the Film:
Roland Joffe, the director who brought us the highly acclaimed and deeply spiritual film The Mission has returned to his roots with the epic movie There Be Dragons, a powerful story of war, tragedy, love and redemption. Featured in the NY Times, the $35 million Dragons is rated PG-13 and planned for release in theaters worldwide in Spring 2011. Set during the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War (early 1900s), Dragons tells the story of two childhood friends who become separated during the political conflict to find themselves on opposite sides as war erupts. One chooses the path of peace and becomes a priest while the other chooses the life of a soldier driven by jealousy and revenge. Each will struggle to find the power of forgiveness over the forces that tore their lives and friendship apart. The new movie resource website will be launching this week at www.dragonsresources.com.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhzYHnfViAQ

If you are inspired by art and want to create art, but feel like you’re in a rut or blocked, let me recommend a book for you. It’s called: The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron. I’ve been reading it and like how it acknowledges that God is inherently in art, and active in artist’s lives. By creating art, we learn what it’s like to be a creator….and so you might have this awesome experience of feeling extra close to your Creator when you take photographs, paint, draw, sew, write, or shoot film. Embrace your inner artist! It could be part of your overall life mission and vocation.

Also, we have to embrace other artists. I feel that some religious environments encourage people to view art with an excessive amount of suspicion. That attitude is probably because so many well-known, iconic artists have crashed and burned, or highlighted life experiences that are not always viewed as desirable or worth glorifying.

However, have you ever stopped to wonder if those artists were pushed out of their communities and churches as children because they were different? Because they were powerfully inspired in such a way that other people could not relate to them? Because they were extra sensitive? Or, had unusual talents? Could this rejection and feeling of being misunderstood be an underlying factor that attracts them to drugs (to kill the pain) and sordid social scenes (they just want to be accepted). I know I carry memories of the creative kids in high school being shunned and going off on their own.

Artists are great resources and channels of heavenly wisdom and inspiration. We should encourage them to do what God’s calling them do. Only then will we have more people who are willing to take chances and produce films like this one.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Out and About

First, some updates. I was on Relevant Radio – On Call today. Wendy Wiese interviewed me and the show is here. Also, I’ll be at the National Shrine next Saturday, November 13, to do a book signing. That begins at 1:00 p.m.

The book is doing great, and yet my regular 9-5 life continues on. I just got back from a work related training session in Boston. It was a Harvard-MIT class called “Dealing with an Angry Public.” I found this class interesting in light of the elections and the sometimes heated discussions within the Catholic community.

This class deepened my understanding of a concept I initially heard from a former staffer to Ted Kennedy. When I heard him speak, I wrote an article about the abortion debate on www.4marks.com that got a lot of attention and feisty comments.

A lot of these super educated and intelligent types who get big bucks to do consulting gigs are into negotiation. I have not personally met many Catholic activist types who embrace this way of working through problems though. Catholic activists usually aren’t open to negotiating agreements that feature mutual gains – it’s all or nothing. Or at least – that is what I usually read about on my news sources.

Further, it was interesting to hear how Catholics came up in the class discussion. There was one icebreaker that went something like: “A seminarian asked a priest, ‘Father, may I smoke while I pray? The priest said, ‘No son!’ Another seminarian asked the priest, “Father, may I pray while I smoke?’ The priest said ‘Yes!’” The point is that how you say things can influence if your proposals are ultimately accepted or rejected. But, I also had to chuckle because Catholics can be so particular about how things are worded – it comes from the theology and philosophy.

There were more serious examples though. Like, when Vatican officials or clergy have made public statements that seem insensitive and deny the value and legitimacy of concerns like child molestation in the Church. Catholics we may be – but our folks don’t always abide by basic public relations principles. It can make people very angry.

Then again, there was the example of a well-respected Boston priest who responded to the abuse scandal in a manner that gained public trust. Following the news, he said he’d be upset too and not trusting the clergy after hearing the news if he was a parishioner. His willingness to admit that the scandal was a mess and identify with the public’s shock (or, put himself in other people’s shoes) was heralded as a good way of dealing with the angry mobs. I also think it shows how communicating well can help people heal. Denying problems does not work.

I’ve got many blog posts in mind, so keep checking back. If you have this page bookmarked, I recommend changing it www.amybonaccorso.com - as that's my primary hub for information these days.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

There's No Place Like Home - CIC, DC Catholic Standard, National Shrine



Well, the time is coming - I will stop the updates to this blog in favor of my new blog and website soon, so just know that my most current info can be found at www.amybonaccorso.com.

Since my book came out, I’ve had some generous coverage from media people around the country, but it is really special when folks at home pay attention! I’m a 4th generation Washingtonian, and the Catholic Standard just published a full page on me and my book in the current edition. So if you are in the area, be sure to pick up a paper this weekend at church. If you can’t do that, go here.

Other exciting news is that I did a book talk at the Catholic Information Center (CIC) at 1501 K Street on Wednesday night. This was very special to me. They have an amazing window display up for me too!

I spent so many evenings at the CIC as a single at their book talks, discussion groups, and other events. I met Fr. C. John McCloskey there and heard the now famous “finding a spouse is like finding a parking spot in New York City” quote there in his office. The bookstore is part of my own personal history. So, it was heartwarming to go back there and share my work and lessons learned with locals.

If you want to see me in DC and missed the CIC talk, come out to the National Shrine on Saturday, November 13 at 1:00 p.m. and I'll be there to sign your book!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is Religion Important in Relationships?

“Is religion important in relationships?” When I am interviewed and get asked this question – inevitably on a Catholic program – I initially say that yes, religion is very important. I say this because in some ways, it is, and frankly, I could get heckled if the audience is full of Catholics and I don’t enter the discussion with this answer up front. It is expected and in some scenes, demanded.

There is truth and simple logic in the answer. It’s much easier to arrange a wedding with someone who shares your faith. It’s also much easier to baptize and raise a child. With the divorce rate being what it is, anything that is shared and well – easier - the better off you are. It’s one less argument and one more thing you have in common. I can stand by that because it’s essentially common sense. It’s certainly worth the effort when you’re looking for a spouse to attempt to find another Catholic if you are one yourself.

However, I always follow up with a qualifier. While religion is important…it is also simultaneously true that you are really looking for someone with good human virtue. You want someone who is kind, generous, committed, who will be there through thick and thin. These people are good finds too, and just as coveted as the Catholic singles.

It’s hoped for that you find someone who shares your religion AND has good human virtue. But sometimes, there is not the overlap you hoped for.

And here’s where I may differ from other Catholic authors/speakers/personalities…or perhaps am simply one of the few who has decided that the message is worth promoting. I say that when you cannot find someone who shares your religion AND has excellent human virtue – go for the guy with human virtue. Keep practicing your faith, but go ahead and love the person who treats you the best. This is my honest opinion, and based on real life experience.

I have come to think this bit of advice is common sense as well and not as controversial as it sounds. If you are at lunch and a Catholic kid throws a tomato at you, yet the non-Catholic next to you is the one who stays behind and helps you clean yourself up, who are you going to be friends with? Duh! Now, I’m sure your going to say to yourself, “Gee, I really wish the nice kid was Catholic too.” But – guess what – life isn’t a script that you get to write. Don’t pursue a friendship with the Catholic kid if it’s only going to end up in abuse.

This is probably the truthiest part of my answer, yet I tend to make it come second, just like I’ve done in this blog post, and nuance it. If I don’t say what people expect to hear first, I fear I’ll lose my core audience altogether. What’s the point of publishing if people won’t read it? Or, what if I have good thoughts to share but can’t reach people because someone has a knee jerk reaction and unfairly labels me. It was not that long ago that people were shunned in their church communities for marrying outside of the faith (this happened to a step-relative of mine), so it’s still a sensitive topic.

At the same time, I am learning that some of our Catholic media people do get it. I just did an interview with Lisa Hendey of Catholic Moments, which should be airing next week. She asked me this question, and low and behold, she married a non-Catholic. He converted after many years of marriage. She advised people in her situation to remember that they can’t go into the marriage expecting the guy to convert. It will happen if it’s meant to. I think that really loving someone entails accepting them as they are.

I don’t want to misguide people and have them think that they shouldn’t even try to find a Catholic when dating, because that’s not what I am saying. I married a Catholic. But, I am suggesting that people need to weigh the value of both traits, shared religion and human virtue, and recognize that while both are desirable, human virtue is more desirable. We don’t have forever on this planet, so hard choices sometimes need to be made. I feel very strongly that if this message was easier to get out, more Catholic women would be getting married to good guys.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pursue Relationships With Gusto

This holiday weekend, I went to New York City to the New York Writer’s Workshop Non-Fiction Pitch Conference. I love New York City, but let me tell you – if I was sure that I could easily get a publishing deal for my second book by sitting here behind my computer in the DC-area, I wouldn’t have bothered with the trip.

I’m a busy woman. I work full time, I write on the backs of crumpled and faded receipts whenever I can squeeze it in. I routinely cram too much in a day. Believe me when I say that I had many excuses not to go to New York this weekend.

I also knew that I could go through all of the effort that these workshops entail and get rejected by editors. Writers and artists get rejected a lot. I usually see at least one person leave writer’s conferences in tears or distraught. Writers have to develop tough skin, resilience, and passionately believe in their mission to succeed.

So what does this have to do with dating? Just like a writer, if you’re a dater who really wants something – and it’s not clicking for you “at home” – you need to be willing to put some adventure in your step. Put some resources behind your search. Get up and go…. Overcome the daily excuses. Get online if you are not already. Maybe it’s time to expand your search to include matches outside your city. Or, if you live in a small town without a Theology on Tap or similar event series, sponsor your own event or series.

Stepping outside your box and facing the possibility of rejection can be intimidating and discouraging. Honestly - I expected that I would feel somewhat alone at the New York workshop. That’s a realistic fear to have, right? Well, God is awesome and it’s a small world.

When I arrived at my workshop, I sat next to a woman who is married to a man who works at my DC-area workplace. He used to work with my boss, and I met the man myself after the workshop! He knew of my work. I met another woman who was friends with the head of my organization. Then I met a woman who lives about 30 minutes from where I grew up, and is hoping to publish a local story that is close to my heart and family.

The “coincidences” immediately began happening for me, and coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous. God was there to catch me when I was ready to take my big step out of my familiar fish bowl, and He’s there for people who are serious about their vocation to marriage and willing to pursue it with faith and some gusto along the way.

Actively contribute to creating your own success story. I saw a quote recently from Donald Trump (via Twitter) that said something like “If you have to think anyway – might as well think big.” Transform self-limiting thoughts into bigger thoughts with vision and purpose.

And, truly accept and believe that God is there, waiting for you to make a step that He can work with in your life. It’s amazing when you realize that Jesus really is looking after us, and all of our hopes, dreams, and plans –and is there to help.

Friday, October 1, 2010

No "Taken" Male Friends Allowed?

I talked to a single Catholic woman recently and she described her anxiety over going out for a casual lunch, even if it’s in a work context, with married men. She said, “That’s how affairs start.” Through the conversation, I was sensitized to the whole “appearance” issue and rumor mills. Also, to the reality that some men may take advantage of these situations and become flirtatious.

Then I started thinking of my own lifelong tendency to have close male friends. After analyzing it, I think some of my need for male friends may be that I grew up in a very small family. I didn’t have an older brother, no uncles, no male cousins, and never met a grandfather. When you are raised in a streamlined family situation, adopting “big brothers” and “uncles” can be a way of filling in what nature left out and creating a well-rounded support network.

Men may have different viewpoints on common situations than their female counterparts. They tend to be more fiercely objective and not as prone to emotionally colored thinking. At times, they cut through my naiveté instantly with one blunt remark and save me a world of trouble in the process. They may also have areas of expertise that my female friends lack, whether it is fixing computers or cars, to having inside knowledge about a particular group of people or industry.

I have never felt that my friendships with men were inappropriate and they have really helped stabilize me in life, however, I know other people have had concerns.

In college, I had a brother-sister type friendship with a guy around my age. He did not have a real sister. His girlfriend was around a lot, but my attempts to reach out to her weren’t successful and I was never able to build a real friendship with her. She broke up with my friend, citing me as one of her dealbreakers. Honestly folks, this came as a shock to me because my friendship with this guy was truly nothing beyond a brother-sister sort of thing, but my mere presence made his girlfriend feel insecure. Maybe it was just an excuse? I’ll never know. At the time, I thought she was way better looking than me, so I didn’t get it!

During another occasion, I had a male “best friend” who called me “sis.” Again, this was a brother and sister arrangement from my perspective. We dated other people. He’d call me for relationship advice occasionally (and vice versa), and we’d always update each other on our problems and plans. But truly, it was only a friendship. Nevertheless, after he got married, his wife wouldn’t become friends with me. Instead, she didn’t want me around, and his mother even warned that I could hurt the new marriage. I was stunned. We both thought this over-reaction from the women in his life was uncalled for and stupid, but as a newlywed, he ultimately complied with their demands.

The moral of the story is that although I personally am very comfortable with male friends, other people aren’t always that way. Part of maturing into an adult, for me, was recognizing that no matter how much I appreciate platonic relationships with the opposite sex, other people may not have the emotional equipment to understand them. Instead of always rushing to blame them for their close-mindedness, I have to be sensitive to their concerns.

Most people view things in a very simple manner, which is that you go out and find your one and only opposite gender companion for your inner circle, and that’s pretty much it. All of your other opposite gender friends are confined to the outer circle of friends, unless they are related by blood.

Truth be told, I still don’t like that rigidity. It seems unjust to me, and doesn’t account for people who are multi-dimensional and need a wide variety of friends.

But surprisingly, when I started dating my husband, I clenched my teeth over female friends he had (that were in his age group – somehow older female co-workers didn’t seem to matter)! I was not anticipating that kind of response given my previous experiences, but it is true that when you are involved with someone for real, non-threats may appear like blazing red flags. Even if they are not currently threats, you want to eliminate the possibility of something bad happening from the get go and the jealousy kicks in. You don’t care if the other woman feels hurt because you are concerned about marking your territory. You think, “Hey, that’s tough. He’s mine – stay away from him.”

Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Dating Inbox

When dating, women can get concerned about preserving their sense of privacy. Boundaries are important - what if a guy turns out to be a pest?

Here's a quick tip: Create an email address specifically for the early stages of dating.

Most of us have easy access to free email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. Use a special email address for online dating websites and for the guys you meet there. You may even want to use this email address for new men you meet in real life.

Having a separate email address will create a communications buffer. If you decide that you no longer want to interact with a guy, and he doesn't like that decision, he won't have access to your regular personal email address or your work email address. The emails will be on your terms. He won't be able to harass you at work by pinging you with unwanted or distracting emails.

Maybe you've had an annoying emailer before. I know I have. After one date with a new guy, and many emails and instant messages, I decided that I didn't want to see him anymore. He didn't like that and emailed me for years....trying to get a response. I marveled at his persistence, but his attempts probably would have been more troubling if they arrived in my work inbox or in my regular personal email inbox. But - they arrived in my Hotmail "dating inbox." Years into it, finding the emails was a bit of a hoot. Maybe it was funnier because unbeknownst to him, I had set a personal boundary and the electronic PO Box he had access to was kept at arm’s-length.

None of my dates ever turned into a stalker, but I imagine that the dating inbox decoy might make it harder for a stalker to track you, especially if you withhold vital information like your full last name. That's all up to you.

When you move beyond the first few dates and are pretty sure you want to continue seeing a guy, it's fine to gradually share more personal information, like a work email address, for quick logistical planning for after work events. But if you start out with your "dating inbox" strategy, you get to control when all of that occurs.

Even if you’re the one who gets rejected, the dating inbox can be nice. It may be easier to move on if you don't have a guy's contact information and old emails staring you in the face after a painful breakup.

And here's the really beautiful part. When you are done dating, you can simply cancel or discontinue using the email address. Poof! If you decide to make a clean break with your past when you get married, you can.

I didn't read about the dating inbox anywhere. This was something I came up with for myself as a practical way to put some distance between me and new guys. When you are dating a lot, "relationship management" techniques can help keep you sane.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Visit to the National Shrine Today


My husband and I dropped by the National Shrine today in Washington D.C. and above is a photo of my book in the new arrivals section. I must tell you how honored I am by the amazing sales! This evening, I noticed that the book is now in the top 100 list on Amazon.com and at #65, it is hovering right next to Confessions of St. Augustine at #63. I realize that these rankings go back and forth like a reed in the wind, but WOW!

I wrote the book because I really want to help Catholics date more strategically….so as part of pushing that message out, I’ve been trying to market the book as effectively as I can. If you have any marketing ideas for me, I’d love to hear them.

And if you are a bookseller who wants to help me get my message out, let me know – because I can send you a poster (that stands on a table) and promotional materials (flyers, cards).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Catholicmatch Special Feature

I'm doing media interviews left and right at the moment - would anyone be terribly upset with me if I started re-directing this URL to my blog at www.amybonaccorso.com? It's hard updating this website, my other website, Facebook (both personal and Fan page) and Twitter each and every time something amazing happens....because so many amazing things are happening lately.

Catholicmatch.com is featuring me on their blog.

A Q&A is available here:
http://www.catholicmatch.com/blog/2010/09/amy-bonaccorso-dont-expect-your-dating-lives-to-mimic-your-parents/

And an exclusive book excerpt is available here:
http://www.catholicmatch.com/blog/2010/09/exclusive-book-excerpt-how-to-get-to-i-do/

Plus, let me know if you are interested in free promotional cards and flyers to spread the word about the new book (church bulletins, coffee shops, etc). I am happy to send you some goodies.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Sold Out on Amazon.com – Don’t Worry, They Re-Stocked

Happy Labor Day!

Well, the book sold out on Amazon within the first 3 days of being available, and then they re-stocked. Phew! Thank you to everyone who has ordered it. Please feel free to let me know what you think of it. I am very happy that demand was strong enough to overwhelm a giant like Amazon.com. That says something about the hunger for the topic.

The media requests are coming in and I am updating the Appearances page frequently, and the Articles & Press page will also get updated as I do interviews that appear in writing. One very special one is coming up on Catholicmatch.com’s newly launched blog. They are featuring a Q&A with me and will also have an exclusive excerpt of my book.

If you are in the Washington area, you can come for a book signing at the Catholic Information Center on October 27, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Please visit my new web site and browse: www.amybonaccorso.com. I am trying to transition this blog over to the new website.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed!



My book is finally on sale! The books are arriving to their destinations!

It will probably be available in your local Catholic bookstore, but if you prefer online ordering, you can get it through Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/c9ry4u

Also, I will update my main website with appearances as I schedule them. This week, I will be on EWTN's Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick at 7:20 a.m. You can learn more about the show here: http://bit.ly/12jyBI

One more thing I want to share with you. I met with Anthony Buono of avemariasingles.com last week and he is a really great guy. Although he is a married man, he is very sensitive to the struggles that single Catholic women go through. His website is a great way to put yourself out there, and it sounds like he is very accessible to people who use it. I used it when I was single!

Blessings on your week.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stat Says There Are More Single Women Than Men

My new web site is up and running! Visit it at amybonaccorso.com. It has an RSS feed function….and a Wordpress blog. So, I’m pondering a transition from Blogger to this beautiful new Wordpress option.

Anyhoo, check out what I just read!

“More than half of the unmarried Americans are women. And for every 100 single women, there are 88 unmarried men available.”

The full article of stats is here:
Single? You’re Not Alone. : http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/08/19/single.in.america/index.html?hpt=C2

Many of us intuitively feel (or felt) this troubling man shortage. It’s that experience of doing all of the right things and being uber-smart and attractive, and still - it’s hard to find a good marriage partner.

Another article I read recently by a single woman boiled the success of finding a good husband all down to “luck.” Luck? Really? While I don’t completely agree with that, it is a sign of how hopeless some women feel.

In the Catholic community – some dating advice I got was very idealistic – sometimes over the top idealistic. The advice could certainly make women feel hopeless.

When stats say there are more women who are probably looking to get married than men, it means that the environment is more competitive and that idealism needs to be replaced with realism.

Women who are looking need to think about their dating strategy.

For example, I read a book when I was about 24 that advocated old school courtship. It said Christian women should have men go through their father to get dates. I’m talking old school stuff. This advice can also be found in conservative Protestant circles.

Is this realistic advice to be giving in 2010? Put dating advice through a logic filter.

If there are more women than men who are looking – why would a guy spend the extra time to go through a formal and outdated process for finding a wife? If he is a desirable mate (good personality/character, attractive enough, educated/has a good job) – he can probably find another woman who would be thrilled to date him - and who would not require him to jump through annoying hoops.

Put too many hoops up for a nice guy to jump through these days and he’s going to say, “What the heck? Am I a circus animal?” Choose hoops carefully. Make sure your “requirements” are meaningful.

After sharing the stat with my husband, he said “Yeah, men are in the position to make women work for it.”

Unfortunately!

So how does a modern woman get to ‘I Do’? Don’t put up with abuse (seriously, being a doormat sucks), but get serious about shaving off superfluous requirements, including outdated courtship obstacle courses.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fr. McCloskey Talks About Challenges for Older Singles

Fr. C. John McCloskey was my spiritual director in Washington DC and gave me the push I needed as a young woman to get out of my shell and start dating more. I like this clip of him - he discusses older singles. I appreciate his honesty about fertility concerns, but also his encouragement for older people to still pursue companionship!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8RuQ8eGnTg

You'll hear more from Father soon - he wrote the Foreword for my book.

Article Discusses How Hyper-Churchiness Can Keep Ladies Single

I loved this article: "Does the Black Church Keep Black Women Single?" Trust me - this discussion is not just about or for black women. Many Christian women are experiencing the same issues.

I certainly believe that hyper-churchiness can keep women single if they aren't careful.

Enjoy the article!

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/08/10/black.church.women.single/index.html?hpt=C2

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Get a Life Changing Reality Check!

I’ve been preparing for the launch of my new book in the next few weeks and am working with an awesome web designer to re-do my main website: www.amybonaccorso.com.

I spend so much of my life online that having a good website is important to me. More and more people get their information online. We pay our bills online, register for classes, buy our music, check our retirement accounts. Our lives are lived partly in an online universe.

As part of this website building exercise, I wanted to boil down what me and my product(s) are about into one easy tagline. I went through a bunch of options, and finally went with “Get a Life Changing Reality Check!”

As I was narrowing down the many intriguing options into the one simple phrase I wanted to go with, I told my husband, “Well, what I have to say is life changing and I started writing because I saw so many of my girlfriends literally wasting their lives. They weren’t taking charge of their lives at all, but couldn’t figure out why they weren’t getting anywhere they wanted to go.” When I'd try to help out, much of what I said had a "reality check" ring to it. This comes out in my writing.

He said, “You need to tell people that.”

So there you have it. When you see my tagline online, you’ll know how it was born.

Creating taglines is a really fun exercise and can be worthwhile if you are trying to develop a brand. It can also be a good exercise if you are trying to distill your goals into a bite-sized theme that will energize you and focus your efforts.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Room Cleaning Christianity

I enjoyed this piece by Jon Acuff – he does the blog: www.stuffchristianslike.net.

The CNN article, “My Take: Why Christians are jerks online” can be found at: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/29/my-take-why-christians-are-jerks-online/?hpt=Sbin.

I especially like the “Room Cleaning Christianity” synopsis. In the article, he says this:

“Why do Christians argue about drinking beer or why the tankini is the least slutty of all bathing garments? I think it’s because we sometimes practice "Room Cleaning Christianity." Think of it like college. When you’ve got a final paper due Monday, you will be amazed at how energetic your desire is to clean your room. You will scrub tile with a slow toothbrush if it means avoiding the bigger, more difficult work of writing your paper. The same thing happens with Christianity. Loving your neighbor might be simple, but it’s not easy. Maybe my neighbor is a jerk too. Maybe they hate God. Maybe they are actively and violently opposed to everything I believe. And showing them grace feels impossible. So instead of dealing with that, we get online and police people. We find small things to focus on that will distract us. I think God wants us to discuss the little stuff, but we make it an idol when we practice room cleaning Christianity at the exclusion of love. And we tend to become jerks.”

I don’t think this behavior is only online…

It’s not unusual for Christians to dismiss each other over little things and argue to death about stuff bordering on the inconsequential. In the process, they miss the whole person and larger spiritual goals…and may sew seeds of conflict in the process.

It’s good to be observant of “small things” as you get to know someone, because the details can help paint a complete picture of the person. But I think the reminder is to not be petty or so wrapped up in the small things that you miss the big picture and get sidetracked. The "room cleaning" concept can hurt budding relationships and also hold people back spiritually, so I thought it was worth sharing.


Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Available for Pre-Order

Hi all:

I just learned that my book is available for pre-order on all of the major bookstore websites (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million).

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Do-Dating-Catholic/dp/0867169524/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276287851&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/How-to-Get-to-I-Do/Amy-Bonaccorso/e/9780867169522/?itm=1&USRI=amy+bonaccorso

Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780867169522/?email=1&id=4753086634992

I love the pitch:

Ten years of eye-opening experiences on the Christian dating scene equipped Amy Bonaccorso to offer hard-hitting advice that will help you get real, get practical, and get married. As a happily married woman, she knows what works (internet dating), what doesn't (living a nun-like existence), and gives you the confidence to date strategically with an eye toward marriage. Forget about Prince Charming--he doesn't exist--but plenty of good men are waiting for a woman like you to throw away the checklist of idealized mate material and settle down with a real man.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Book Cover



I wanted to share the book cover for the new book. I love it!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

May/June - Family Foundations Magazine

Hey all -

Got my copy of Family Foundations Magazine in the mail recently - I'm quoted in one of the stories. It's called "Catholic Singles Aim to 'Grow in Faith, Fall in Love.'" Very cool!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Singled Out

You'll find a great article in the latest edition of Tobias Magazine called "Singled Out." I was interviewed for this cover story and my comments appear in the article. The working title for my new book was included rather than the actual title though, which is "How to Get to 'I Do' - A Dating Guide for Catholic Women." It should be out in August 2010.

You can sign up for Tobias Magazine at: http://tobiasmag.com/

So what else is new? Well - you can expect to see a brandsy new, super professional Web site soon. I'm working on some ideas for www.amybonaccorso.com. I was inspired by a fellow writer's Web site that was oh so amazing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CNN Interview with Lori Gottlieb

I recently blogged about a new book that came out...and just saw this interview with the author, Lori Gottlieb, on CNN of all places.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/02/24/lori.gottlieb.marry.him/index.html?hpt=C2

She said enough interesting things that I will probably end up reading the book now!

She confirms what I observed as a dater, which is that women tend to be much pickier than men, and the "I must have it all" attitude creates unhappy people. Apparently, if you can find someone who meets 80% of your "requirements" - you'll probably be happy enough.

Her story is a good motivator to nurture your own self-awareness early and end self-sabotage as quickly as you can.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Do You Want To Share Your Story?

Kate Basi is doing a cover story for Tobias Magazine. It's called "Singled Out" and topics will include times when others inquire about your single status, how being single can make you feel left out, and also - how to attend weddings as a single without feeling out of place.

It's amazing how little things can make singles feel - well, singled out. I was making lunch today and realized that Boca Burgers are now packaged in twos instead of single patties. I thought to myself, "Well, that's kind of messed up. Why should they assume that people are going to be dining in pairs?" I suppose the company would probably say that they are trying to save money and figured the packages of two was worth the cost savings, but it still sends a message that most people will at least be eating with one other person, and that's not always the case.

Anyway, if you are interested, contact Kate at basik@centurytel.net

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meet Online – Get Married Sooner?

An interesting stat just came out that suggests that online daters are likely to be older, have less time, and inclined to marry faster. A lot faster. Try 18.5 months compared to 42 months!

You can find the full article here:
http://futurity.org/society-culture/seniors-surfing-for-love/

The Internet certainly does streamline the dating process by search engine technology and email, so the stat doesn’t completely surprise me in one sense. Back in the day, I had to be by the phone to get a guy’s call. Remember that agony? Now – you can connect any time via email and start your search whenever the mood hits you. I guess that flexibility (and focus – after all, most people only join dating services if they are seriously looking for a spouse) can speed things up.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You Might Be Interested In….

A new book just came out that you might be interested in.

It’s a secular book…Marry Him!: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. An easy way to get the gist of the book is to read this article online by the author, Lori Gottlieb.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/single-marry

The author is a single woman who had a child on her own through a donor. She was probably besieged by fears that she wouldn’t be able to experience pregnancy if she waited any longer. The fear factor can get pretty intense for women in their late 30s and 40s who haven’t found a husband or had a child. It’s something I never wanted to experience!

However, the point is that she took bad advice when she was in her 20s - early 30s and this is her cautionary tale to single women who still have time. Don’t waste it. The longer you wait and the more men you dismiss for petty things, the harder it will get for you. There is a good chance that you’ll have to settle more as you get older because the best guys will be taken or divorced with complex family situations. And – if you complicate your life by having a child by a donor– a guy will be settling for you in a sense because he can’t build a family from scratch.

The author describes her difficult situation… In one sense, she can’t be as discriminating because she knows guys are settling for her based on her age and the fact that she already has a child. On the other hand, she must to be more discriminating because she has a child who needs a good father figure. To make matters worse, childbearing made her age faster and she doesn’t have the same freedom to go out and date that most singles (or even divorced women with joint custody arrangements) do. She’s stuck.

Honestly, I was more sympathetic to this than my husband. Her tale pulled on my heartstrings because as you know, I have an interest in helping single women. But, my husband reminded me that we don’t think “never marrieds” give the best dating advice because if they want to be married and aren’t, they are the ones who could probably benefit from sage wisdom. That’s strike number one. Remember that if you buy this book.

Strike number two is that he thought the title was uninspiring. In fact, he grimaced when he heard it. What man wants to be known as “Mr. Good Enough?” I have to agree that the story, based on the article, isn’t particularly inspiring in the traditional sense. It does give me yet another example to point single women to when I urge them to get their priorities in line though. Like, “this could be you!”

I sense that this author could benefit from an injection of positive energy, hope, and faith. I saw her photo – she’s an attractive woman and obviously quite intelligent. I think if she wants it bad enough, she could still find a good man. Maybe not somebody who matches every check box on the original checklist she had at age 22, but a good man. Come on – she’s a famous author. Plenty of men will be enamored with that! Think of the amazing emails she could write to someone on an online dating website.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tobias Magazine

A new magazine focusing on Single Catholic Living was just launched: Tobias Magazine. You can get a free copy by going to: http://www.tobiasmag.com/

I got a letter from a reader who saw some of my work in there (originally appeared on 4marks.com.)

Anyway, I signed up for a free subscription and think it's a great idea.

My new book should be out later this year and it looks like I'll have a nice assortment of radio interviews and booksignings coming - so stay tuned!