Felice Shapiro, Founder and Publisher of Better After 50, muses about life as a BA50.
I used to weigh myself 2 times a day all through college and until I had my first child — and began again after my second was born. It started because the daily dorm breakfast of buttered cinnamon toast (3 slices) ended up pushing on the seams of my jeans. When I finally got on the scale – it turned out I was up 8 pounds – Never had a weight issue before and now I was freaked.
That set the whole ritual of weighing in obsessively in motion. This is not a love/hate relationship — it’s something I saw as an obligation — hence — no fun! My scale and I have not been the best of friends. For the next few decades as I pass that scale in the bathroom my inner voice nags me, “check that scale to make sure you’re not getting fat “– and then if I’m really feeling powerful, I bypass it. Finally I have made a major power move and I think I’ve broken this annoying habit. It’s been 3 months and no-nagging inner voice cajoling me to step on the scale — I’m winning the battle but the war won’t be over til I throw the damn thing out.
As a BA50, I think my body is smart and knows how it’s supposed to look. All I have to do is feed it and exercise it and dress it and be grateful I’m able to do what I do everyday. I’m done with the “fight” to try to have the “boy” hips of some of my friends — I’ve learned to embrace my curves. Hey, have you seen the curvaceous top model Kate Upton –a full figured runway model who is now the face of Sam Edelman, Express and Guess Clothing, Bobbi Brown cosmetics and on the cover of Elle and Vogue. She’s got plenty of skin and it looks damn sexy. Fashion may be trending to a more full figured look and frankly I’m hoping that takes the pressure off our teenagers and 20-somethings.
So as I walk on by that ridiculous digital floor mat and bypass the poundage check I know there’s at least 4 good reasons why it’s about to be tossed in the recycle bin:
After 50, once again – I was face to face staring at my breasts thinking – “O.K., now what’s gravity got in store for me?”
We may not be scientists but my girlfriends and I love to talk about gravity – and it’s enormous pull on our bodies. For most of us, our breasts are where we see the dramatic powerful impact of this downward force.
And, that’s when we start to compare notes. “Does this dress make me look frumpy – (code for saggy breasts), Is this T-shirt giving me a lift – (code for perhaps it’s too tight and creating a breast mash effect).
How we support and dress our breasts is something women have been doing most of our lives. After all, breasts are a big topic at any age. When I was 16, I was still waiting for them and at 18 I could finally take the toilet paper out of my training bra– when I was pregnant I got to imagine life as a “C” cup – after 40 – it was back to “B” and now after 50 – I’m not sure what I’ve got.
I always say to myself on the way to my mammogram, “Please, give me a clean visit – I promise to be grateful for my aging droopy breasts. And once I’m out of the mammo’s breast-clamp and given a green light –I begin my ritual of gratitude. Relieved and exhilarated, I am ready to celebrate a big “Phew” moment, and then I drive directly to the mall.
Yes, it’s true, my ritual post mammo is to take my sore mashed breasts out for a new bra. They deserve some kindness after being squashed and pinched and traumatized. Kind as this sounds – once inside the dressing room at Bloomingdales – with no less than 10 bras to try on – I face myself squarely in the mirror and then my brain kicks in on repeat chanting the old mantra “who said small breasts don’t sag?”
Turns out even small breasts can lose their beans. But the good news is, this is all fixable. I mean one good bra fitting and Poof – Lift – Separate and feel 10 years younger.
A great bra can give the appearance of a surgical lift without the hospital stay.
So when I started to write this blog, and was researching great new bras, I was shocked by what “google” turned up.
I had no idea that there is a new product that increases your breast size. It’s Called “The Brava.” And it’s a battery powered suction system — brought to you by the people who make breast pumps. You’ve got to wear 2 cone-like cup devices 10 hours a day for 10 weeks for it to work.
Seems like you have to be very, very Brava – I mean brave, to use it. As I read through the description of how it works – well, it’s down right medieval. Here’s what they say about how it works: the contraption pumps and pulls on your skin and over the 10 week time period, your breast tissue expands and your breasts enlarge a fully cup size – Whoah! Who would do this?
Hey it was an Elle Magazine cover story “The Next Breast Thing” this past March.– I mean who knew. The author tried this device and apparently it worked – it’s been available to consumers just in the past year.
But hey- I’m not that Brava – so I’m sticking with the bra store. Sorry – no one’s pulling at my breasts in the middle of the night unless I invite “him.”
The Brava is a new product that increases your breast size.
(No this is not an ad – this was today’s on-line discovery.)
BRAVA now gives women a breast enhancement and enlargement option that actually grows their own natural breast tissue, with guaranteed results, in the privacy of their own home. Ok this used to be available onlBe sure to read Ms. Carolyne Weaver’s personal experience with the BRAVA System in the March cover story in ELLE Magazine (Elle.com), “The Next Breast Thing”. (Click on the headline of the article’s title to view the complete article.) Read on to learn more about this breakthrough approach to natural beauty.
My husband and I just hosted 2 couples at our summer home. It wasn’t the first time. These friends have come for a communal retreat for the past 6 years. It’s an easy group because we love to do the same things and we move between shared activities with ease– biking , golf and most importantly — eating.
This visit was no different than the last and this is how it went. Day one they lumbered off the New Bedford Ferry weighted down with coolers and grocery bags. We were excited to see them and their goodies. As they passed off their bags to us – the lists of delights began to flow:
“Here’s the 2 pound parmesan chunk you wanted– Oh, I brought my own tea –and I have that bread you love from Bradley’s – I had it sliced.”
“Oh and Ina Garten’s Orange Yogurt with walnuts and raisins– I know you love it so I made it for you guys.”
“Hope you don’t mind I brought a bushel of kale and 2 baseball bat sized zucchinis that I thought we could grill up” (I hadn’t told them I have a new bountiful veggie garden).
“Oh and wait til you try the phenomenal blended scotch I’ve discovered”.
We hadn’t even pulled out of the ferry lot and the women were in menu planning mode. Meanwhile, the guys had stacked the bikes, golf clubs and bags into our embarrassingly oversized car (we call it “The Beast”) and were instantly in deep conversation about biking routes.
Upon arrival at our home, I summoned my girlfriends into the kitchen as I needed help. I’d been wanting to tryout Farro but needed a support team to brave the cooking task. Turned out none of us had ever prepared this “ancient grain” and so began our group cooking. Immediately, we were totally ensconced in re-reading the prep directions for the 3rd time when the men appeared saying they were leaving to hit golf balls. We barely looked up.
That’s pretty much how the visit played out. Predictably the couples sectioned off into “Defending the Caveman” roles – Darwin called this one right.”
It makes me chuckle when I witness how the male/female natural divide is bizarrely stereotypical and predictable: yet here we were, three women happily in the kitchen reviewing the weekends meals – while the men busied themselves with pumping up deflated jeep and bike tires – rewiring the internet connection (no joke) and discussing our household electrical challenges.
Alas, women to the chopping boards – men to the grill! Seamless from the get go – we began our own version of a domestic square dance.
I am writing this piece as the weekend draws to an end – I hear them busy in the kitchen preparing the last lunch (I’m staying clear and am thrilled to have the excuse of writing – I’m totally done with meal prep at this point).
And as we sit down to this last lunch (see photo) all we can say is “Move over Ina Garten!”
We all are amazed at what we have created this visit. With one large pre-grocery shop before they arrived – we only visited the local farmers market once and managed to turn out outstanding healthy feasts that morphed brilliantly into substantial next day meals.
I can proudly say we mastered the Dinner Becomes Lunch challenge and the Lunch becomes Breakfast hurdle.
So – if you’re looking to stretch your meals creatively across a weekend with a full house of guests – here’s some ideas:
First Nights Dinner Next Days Lunch
Cold Farro Grains
We added cranberries and chopped walnuts to this recipe – Next Day – it was even more delicious and we actually didn’t add the corn until the next day.
Butter lettuce and Kale Salad with avocado tomato and toasted hazelnuts- lightly dressed with lemon and basil oil and plenty of salt.
Marinated grilled chicken breast in olive oil, lemon and herbs
Swordfish with our favorite rub (we keep in the freezer)
Next day sliced thin to top off yesterday’s salad
Radishes with butter and salt with dinner … Next day’s addition to salad.
Corn on the Grill for dinner becomes part of next day’s salad fix ins and Farro toss-ins.
Breakfast Becomes Lunch and Lunch Becomes Breakfast
A basket full of local hard boiled eggs from the nearby farm makes for great snacking all day long.
PB & J Farm Style: This is our pre-biking staple. Wild-diced strawberries on toasted multi grain bread with Justin’s peanut butter ($$$ but great). Next Day Panini Grilled PB & J made with Homemade Strawberry Jam and Justin’s on Multi Grain Bread from yesterday’s beach sandwiches. Just reheat them on the Panini and enjoy for any next day meal or next day snack.
Oh and here’s my friend’s secret “Ina” yogurt recipe she traveled to us with that lasted for 3 bountiful breakfasts and someones lunch.
Ina’s Orange Yogurt with walnuts and raisins http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/orange-yogurt-recipe.html
Dear BA50 Reader:
L’Oréal contacted us the other day and we were shocked, giddy and skeptical. OMG, finally we thought – the crème de la crème de beauty has discovered us.
After much to-ing and fro-ing we landed a call with 6 of their top product managers and began the discovery process of how they wanted to connect with our readers. Once again we were in learning mode. They needed some specific questions answered and so do we.
What we want to know from BA50 readers is what beauty products we are using and how we feel about them. For example, Foundation or no Foundation? If you are a user — what kind of Foundation do you like to put on your face?
I readily offered my thoughts to our friends at L’Oreal about our demographic of women after 50 and their relationship to Foundation. My research was based on my business partner Ronna’s preferences and my own – Alas, a focus group of 2! Our friends at L’Oréal politely listened.
We decided to dig a little deeper.
So here’s our request dear reader – we are hoping you can help us better understand women at mid life’s attitudes about make-up – specifically Foundation because we actually want to know.
Ronna and I will give you our feedback first:
So – what do we use?
We both love tinted moisturizers with SPF. It looks sheer and clean and protects us from the sun. Full stop.
Aging skin is a reality no one can escape. Exposure to the elements is unavoidable and I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t feel challenged by how their skin is changing.
Girls night out topics generally land on solutions for dark circles in the eye corners; masking smile and frown lines and brow creases, lines around endless tributaries around our mouths and of course, the dark spots from too much sun. How can we smooth out our uneven skin tone? We listen closely when anyone – who looks better than us and is our age– offers a beauty tip. We pull out our i-phones and write down their miracle product or treatment or even their dermatologist’s name.
So if there actually was a product or products that could soften the forward march of time on our faces – hey we’d love to know about it.
After noodling around on “The Google” I found a cool DIY make-up video narrated by a mid-lifer. I’m thinking we should all try making one like this — it would be fun to see what’s happening behind the scenes at our make-up tables. I found this one surprisingly mesmerizing to watch.
After you watch this one, we’d love you to tell us if it makes you want to go hit the cosmetic counter. I can’t believe how much stuff this mid-life woman is putting on her face and how natural she looks. I wish it weren’t the case that so many products made such a difference – but she does look way better after the applications.
Now we are hoping you can give us your feedback so we can share it with each other:
Thanks so much for your feedback – at this age we learn from each other so we plan to share the results with you all.
If you don’t know Marissa Mayer, she’s the beautiful and brilliant 38 year old CEO Of Yahoo who is reviving their stock price and believes in niche digital magazines. So right there, speaking as a publisher of an on-line niche magazine, it may sound a tad self-serving to say we LOVE this CEO — but it’s more than “she’s one of us.”
There’s no question that our demo loves to cozy up to a good read – not just flit from Twitter to Instagram — we are still gluttons for a “story” that transports us. This is why digital niche magazines are becoming Mayer’s focus. Plus, Mayer is putting an authentic voice to her on-line mags — she’s actually hiring boomer women as a voice in her empire.
One of our favorites is Katie Couric (57 years old). Yahoo just made her chief global anchor (what a great title). Does anyone else in the world hold that title? It almost sounds presidential. We BA50′s are thrilled to see that Katie is back in the forefront of interviewing and did not become invisible. Katie is one of us (a BA50) and she continues to be extremely relevant.
Also, Yahoo just hired the BA50 make-up guru and favorite boomer Bobbi Brown as editor of Yahoo Beauty. We know that Bobbi Brown speaks to us honestly and optimistically – a combination we relish.
These star power boomers’ voices speak for our niche and BA50 women are thrilled to follow them on Yahoo.
Marissa knows that “Americans over 50 control 77 percent of the total net worth and have nearly $46 trillion of wealth – and that by 2030, one in 3 Americans will be over 50. So she, is putting her funding behind this demo by giving them a public voice. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/profit-aging-baby-boomers-181051199.html
BA50 loves Marissa also because she is another woman in business leader role model for our kids and for ourselves – and we need more women leaders to be sure.
Hey did you know the Fortune 500 ranking of the 500 largest corporations in the United States included 12 women CEO’s in 2011, 18 in 2012, 23 in 2013 and 24 in 2014. And technically Yahoo isn’t in the Fortune 500, but actually it’s ranked #502 and that’s where we can find Marissa Mayer – Woman CEO #26. Women are making their mark but it’s a slow crawl to be sure.
Marissa is a stand-out in the media world man-o-sphere – (except for Gannett’s Gracia Martore) and turning stock prices up when they had been falling and falling for Yahoo. She is doing this by spending money on the what’s next. We love that. Hey – that’s what every woman we know hitting the mid-life mark does – we focus on our what’s next.
So, this week I wanted to take a moment and give a big nod to Marissa Mayer. And speaking of nods – I wanted to make sure not to over focus on what the Wall Street Journal ripped her on – and that was — well did you read about it?
Turns out Marissa overslept (yes big nod) and missed meeting up with key advertisers from the Inter Public Group in Cannes. She was two hours late and she got front paged (is that a verb?) She felt badly about it – and she apologized – publicly!
Marissa – we BA50s would not beat you up for tardiness. We know you were “late” because you overslept (note to file — you’d traveled 20 hours and have a one-year-old) but we don’t care that you were late – you know why?
Marissa, BA50 wants to give you a shout out and thank you for paying attention to boomers. We are thrilled you support our niche. And most importantly — we are hoping you continue to forge ahead on the minority woman CEO track giving our kids a woman they can emulate and strive to be.
Bravo, Marissa Mayer – keep on keeping on – and continue to show us what’s possible.
I never know what to eat for lunch anymore. The truth is, I really don’t like lunch in the summer. Sandwiches are so last year – what with the 2 slices of bread — and then what are you going to put between the slices?
Of course there’s always salad – but then what does that leave for dinner after a lunch of greens – more salad of course — BORING! As I peruse the menu at the local restaurants looking for something refreshing/different/healthy – I’m stumped. American lunches just never really taste fresh. Lettuces are rarely washed and have traces of the chemical flavor they are bagged with– tomatoes are usually mealy and cucumbers taste like soggy rice cakes. Unless I’m in Italy or Israel (2 x in my life) –there’s never really an original selection – so it’s the usual – I think I’ll have the Cobb, or the Caesar.– How novel – Not! It’s times like these I wish I hadn’t given up red meat — but that was back in1977, and I think my system would go into shock if I started up on burgers, sausages, and hot dogs.
So — What’s for lunch? This summer I’ve decided when at home, I’m going to drink my lunch. And, I’m going to drink it in a Chardonnay glass. I’ll be drinking liquid that’s elegant, fresh and crisp. The ambrosia will be full of fresh pungent and complex flavors that coat my tongue and throat. And, even better, I’m going to drink what I have harvested. No – I don’t own a vineyard in California but I do have a 16 x 9 foot garden in Massachusetts. This summer I’m drinking my garden.
Yesterday, my dear friend Debra came over for lunch. She’s a veteran liquid lunch girl. When we talked about menu options – she was thrilled I had the right equipment to make a magical meal. You bet. I am fully loaded with the big daddy of all machines – the Vitamix Professional Series 300. I bought it on Amazon last summer for a pretty penny – but it’s worth it. So here’s the essentials if you are thinking drinking lunch is for you.
Although I’m a neophyte greens drinker, so far I’ve learned– if it’s in the garden or the veggie bin – it’s going into my lunch mix!
Here’s what Debra and I threw into the Vita Mix for our liquid green lunch:
Yesterday morning, I woke up ridiculously late, like 10 am, feeling like a prizefighter who had taken in the full 15 rounds. It felt great to sleep in – “this must be what the kids feel like – late nights – deep long sleeps – delish.” Splashing refreshing cold water on my face – I looked up and I caught a glimpse of – someone else?
“Whoa, my eyes”, I gasped. Heavy, thickly settled lids blinked back at me – I moved in to examine more closely and it wasn’t pretty. Puffy yet flimsy under-eye skin didn’t even have the decency to push out the creases. Like a well-inked block print, the mascara stuck to my crow’s feet and grooves.
No, I wasn’t sick and I wasn’t hung over. I had been up until 2 am with my son and his friends – just hanging out. It was so much fun. I felt like one of them. This morning I am reminded I am not one of them – I’m 25 years older.
I heard Kate Hepburn’s beauty secret was to get in bed by 9 pm as often as possible – plenty of rest, plenty of sleep and a good facial scrub.
Recipes for the facial scrub informed me to “squeeze half a lemon and add water and a tablespoon of sugar to the mixture.” Hepburn mixed lemon juice and sugar and scrubbed her face with it every night to keep her complexion clear, according to Glamour. http://cometoverhollywood.com/2011/07/01/classic-actress-beauty-tip-14-clear-katharine-hepburn-complexion/
It certainly worked for her. Beauty regimens all talk about rest and cleansing. But, hey, I had my 8 hours of sleep. I guess I had the wrong 8 hours. Or maybe the Ponds Cold Cream wipe down and my any old night cream applications aren’t enough.
My morning face required another cottoning off with trusty ole Ponds Cold Cream, yet again. I dressed in Lulu’s “short” running shorts ready for a morning jog – and starting to feel my youth re-emerge.
Tip toeing out of the house – kids still in full sleep mode – I headed out to run the 3-miler. Happily singing and jogging along, I approached the coffee shop in town where I was to meet a friend and her husband. Glancing down at my legs I gasped. I had forgotten to put on dry skin cream. Scaly legs hungry for moisture and a good feeding lay all too bare. Dried snakeskin fish legs! I needed a louffah treatment – like now – wished I’d had some oil or cream in my fanny pack.
Brutal reality set in – I was witness to the skin on my legs in full decay. My thoughts drifted to the stories of leper colonies – islands where people were condemned to live in isolation watching while their bodies flaked away. Ok – time to refocus. Enough!
My friends greeted me with big hugs – they showed no sign of shock as they looked into my smiling eyes and seemed not to notice my fish legs. Instantly, I was transported to a happier place – listening, sharing and laughing and not talking about SKIN!
As I left them I was thinking about my Nana’s approach to her aging skin and obsession with routine. Surprise and shock about my daily skin health could certainly be softened if I had a plan – some preparation.
Hey I could cover up – almost everything. That would be one approach. At the age of 70 my nana wore a full body-leotard to the beach and sat under an umbrella – she seem pleased with her solution.
My dear friend who has what I consider the “perfect” figure told me she won’t even wear shorts any more that are 2 or 3 inches above the knees – she hates her knees – her skin is saggy she says. It made me a bit sad that she said that – she is so beautiful. Her knees look fine to me — I love wearing short shorts.
Many of my biking girlfriends over 50 wear capris instead of biking shorts – their aging skin embarrasses them. Really?
I put my foot down – nope I’m not giving up the short shorts, I’m still wearing a bikini not a wet suit to the beach and I am not biking in a hot long spandex leggings unless it’s below 50 degrees. And more importantly, I’m not going to bed before 2 a.m. if my there’s an opportunity to hang on the couch with the kids.
So for now – I’ve got a new skin strategy. I’m putting together a cocktail of a good dose of denial and a dollop of self-kindness. Once ingested, I plan to bypass the mirror until days end. My runs will be focused on the road ahead and not the legs that carry me there. I know I can get some comfort around the changes my skin is undergoing All I need is a lot of acceptance, a good sense of humor and a of course, a good exfoliant and night cream.
Last weekend my husband and I were part of my eldest son’s graduation festivities and we were blown away.
I had no expectations of what the weekend would provide. Frankly, I was mostly thinking, after all these years, how is it that I’m never prepared for these school happenings like other parents? That’s a rhetorical question – please don’t answer. Most of my friends would have had their hotel reservation booked the minute they got the graduation date.
In typical fashion, I was behind the eight ball trolling for rooms the August before the big day and none were to be found. My procrastinations had delivered the expected — a room 30 minutes away in a Marriott for $400 a night – their “special” graduation rate for Mom’s with delusional advanced planning problems.
Are you kidding — A Marriott in gorgeous New Hampshire, off the highway? Nope – I’d rather rent a Winnebago. As I earnestly began my search for campsites, I am serious, my husband laughed saying, “This is so not going to happen.” Finally, after a few deep yoga breathes, I got some perspective. Reality set in and we went mildly rogue landing a cabin on the Appalachian Trail, 5 minutes from our son’s place. Thank you airbnb. I’m a convert now.
Next I had to wrestle with my younger boy’s full-blown musical performance commitments to “encourage” him to clear some calendar space. Unfortunately, his schedule had been set by the time I’d delivered the last parental ultimatum of my life to the tune of – “only severe medical excuses will be accepted”. This time when I brought up our “family law” of showing up at all milestone events – it wasn’t going to be that simple. He had bookings locked in with 6 month lead times. Being a mom, the only command performance to my mind was his brother’s graduation. He totally agreed but he had a team, agents and was on contract for a music festival 3 hours away on both Saturday and Sunday of graduation weekend. Uggh!
Needless to say, our musician wanted to be at his brother’s big day as much as we all wanted him there. He promised me, he would figure it out — and alas, so he did. In cahoots with his amazing stepped-up step dad Bill, they hatched a transport plan between shows.
So, as graduation day neared, the pre-planning anxieties melted away. My worry list was blank — we were not in charge of this weekend. Our graduate was totally running the schedule. With emails and instructions about when and where to show up — Bill and I realized we were not in the front seat of any planning. We had nothing to do but “be the kids” and show up on command. Our job was to experience being his “guests” at his graduation.
Guests at our son’s graduation – Really! This was the twist we had not foreseen. Undergraduate graduations had been orchestrated by us; dinners, organizing the grandparents, showing up and being shooed as far away as possible from where the kids were partying. We were the outsiders then – but this time we were invited to be not only the insiders – but also the honorees. Yes, even better than being guests at the graduation – we were the honored guests. Welcomed into the classrooms, treated to cocktails, and invited to barbeques and beer pong. Given name tags saying who we belonged to (we were Jake’s responsibility) and treated to dinners organized by the kids. We were so not in charge of anything and it was fantastic.
Our boy sent us a case study to review 2 nights before the Friday afternoon classes we had signed on for. When I told him the night before I hadn’t read the case — he laughed. “Mom, that’s going to be pretty embarrassing if you don’t do your prep work because I emailed the professor and told him to ‘cold call’ you”. NICE! The threat worked, rising at 6 am day of class, I crammed the case. Needless to say, my husband was prepared well ahead of schedule.
The class went great — we were called on – thank goodness there were no wrong answers (at least that’s what the Prof. told us.) We loved being the students and were treated after all our hard work to ice cold beers after class.
The parties started that Friday night and ended into the wee hours of Sunday. The highlights are a little fuzzy as we embraced our student life. Beer Pong became our new favorite sport. Mom-pong, Dad-pong, brother-pong. Yes, we drank way too much beer losing many a match, ate too much BBQ and slept in way too late both mornings. But the best news — we got an A+ from our boy –he was proud of us. He shined with pride in his handsome cap and gown, introducing us to his friends and professors.
We’re thinking we could get used to this “kid” role.
P.S. Funniest stand out comment of the weekend. My husband boasted to me on our way home from the 2nd blow out Pong Party — “Did you notice, we were the last oldest people there tonight –pretty good huh?”
This Spring/Summer has come on with a blast. We have been catapulted from the couch to the tennis courts, from the kitchen to the grill and from warm red wines to crispy whites. We are off stationary bikes and onto road bikes, kayaking against strong harbor currents vs. ramped up tension settings on our gym rowing machines. Our lettuce comes from our freshly raked garden instead of the plastic box. And, it has taken just a few weekends to embrace outdoors life again in all its glory.
Friends show up for impromptu dinners, and group cooking winds it’s way into late night dinners. Weekend guests abound and our lives feel full again.
And all feels great until — slam, we realize that our schedules have out-stretched our energy and we desperately need to head for the couch. As we settle into the Sunday New York Times our lids go heavy – we find ourselves in a deep snore when curled up with a late afternoon book.
There’s no escaping it, we are desperate for a nap.
According to The National Sleep Foundation, “A short nap of 20-30 minutes can help improve mood, alertness and performance.”
Up until (like last week), I’d never given myself permission to nap. I power through heavy lids until I am giddy with exhaustion or I can’t string a sentence together. Napping has always felt like an indulgence.
I just can’t imagine leaving a roomful of people to go to a quiet corner for a nap. It sounds like something “elderly” do. But, it turns out that not all nappers are over-age. In fact, there are some really famous nappers in the textbooks including: Winston Churchill, JKF, Ronald Regan, Einstein and Thomas Edison.
Aside from not wanting to join the rank of elder nappers, I have always perceived it as incredibly unproductive. Hey if I nap, then I won’t get the laundry done, or finish my photo albums or I won’t get in 20 minutes of afternoon writing, or return those calls I never seem to get to. Napping means giving up 20-30 minutes and “losing” a precious piece of the day.
But my body has been screaming for a nap lately. And last weekend I gave in. I joined my guests on the couch who were watching afternoon baseball and closed my eyes for 20 minutes. I awoke refreshed. The next day I put in a load of laundry and lay down with my book for 20 minutes between cycles and snoozed. Again, I felt rejuvenated. I was way more alert, way more productive an hour post-napping.
So this summer, I’ve decided to give myself permission to nap. I’m adjusting the way I think about naps –reframing my attitude. I’ve even crafted 6 napping visuals to encourage me to go for the 20-30 minutes time-out:
What about you — Are you a napper?
Ok ladies, there happens to be an acceptable fashion accessory this season that we all have in our closets. Hint: it’s leather, you used to borrow it from your boyfriend, it covers your arms, it makes you feel Bad Ass. (totally BA50).
So run, don’t walk to the attic or to your kids’ closet and grab that leather jacket. This spring/summer season you can wear it with sundresses, skirts and blouses, jeans for sure, and even with your cargo shorts and tee’s. Leather is amazing because it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer – it qualifies as fashion that’s practical! You can get super creative with leather, but try to keep the jackets short and don’t be afraid to step out and go for a color. Leather jackets are like jeans – there’s no expiration date on age appropriateness.
So, let’s embrace the universal leather jacket and go shopping. Here’s a few I love but don’t own (yet)!
Vince.com is pricey and stylish - jackets are $995 – this favorite is not an impulse item to be sure but an investment.
Doesn’t this look like fun. Walk on the beach — throw on a scarf for a cool summer evening — wear with a white dress. I think my niece may nab this one from my closet -(the thought makes me smile). This piece is $885, again no small investment at thisisveda.com.
But who woulda thunk that neimanmarcus.com had a “better deal” on blue leather at $320 on sale – ok you do the comp on these options. Which one would you get?
BA50′s, have you seen these Leather Perforated Cardigans? - They dress up any outfit – breathable and chic/cool. Here’s a great one from neimanmarcus.com yet again.
We’re a pushover for petal pink leather. This jacket is “the bomb.” All summer long, fresh and upbeat with white tees. How can you beat the price. I’m ordering 2 now from riverisland.com. One for me and one for my girlfriend.
My travel bucket list just got really long because I stole my friend’s and added a few of my own to it. Just this past winter, I was on a women’s ski trip and met a new friend from Toronto. We were talking about travels and she told me she had a travel bucket list. I loved that she had it on her iPhone. I asked if she minded sharing it with me and so she did.
When I took a look at her list I realized I wanted to go to almost all the places she had on her list. I couldn’t believe, I had never been to most of them. I thought I was well traveled. That list combined with my own gave me a jolt because…
I’m actually not sure I can get to all the places on it in my lifetime.
Since I’m a firm believer in anything you set your mind to – you can pretty much accomplish – the reality that there’s more places to go on my new list than time available was hard to digest. TIME is the biggest obstacle to tackling this bucket list because I don’t see my husband and I taking more than one big trip a year. With more than 30 places on the list, I’m just not sure I’m going to get to check off all the must-sees and dos before the gong rings.
Travel budgeting is a cruel reality – my travel fantasies can be pricey. I would love to say that “Lonely Planet” is my guidebook, but I’m not a dollar a day traveller. My husband and I like a nice hotel that feels authentic, small and comfortable and we especially prefer a boutique style. Whether it’s a bike trip, hiking, kayaking or cat skiing adventure, a clean fresh bed at the end of an adventurous day in a place with comfort and character is preferred. Hiking biking, ski or history guides to take us beyond the obvious and eating quality local food all adds up to a big price tag for a 10 days to 2 weeks on the road so that certainly limits the number of trips we are able to take.
And last, what gets in the way is the stress of planning. I’m not an enthusiastic trip researcher. Booking flights is my husband’s domain (thank goodness), finding great inns or hotels are supposed to be my bailiwick. Obstacles abound in the planning process and clearing the calendars from the get go is always a challenge.
The bottom line — traveling takes effort, time and money and unless you’re really motivated, staying home or falling back on a repetitive vacation routine can easily be the go-to plan.
I have however developed a process for my trip planning. Whenever I think about hitting a new city I send out an email to my most well traveled friends – asking where to stay. – Where to eat – top sights to see.
Next, I put the list of recommendations in my trusty Notes App on my iPhone under “vacations.”
Then I put in some intense googling research and immerse myself in the destination. Once completely overwhelmed (which doesn’t take too long), I call American Express concierge service and let them do the bookings.
My husband and I recently put together a fabulous itinerary for Amsterdam all through American Express Travel services buttressed by recommendations from my well-traveled friend Susan. Unfortunately we had to cancel 3 days before due to family stuff – we couldn’t believe we were only charged $18 each.
So, as we sit and look at the year ahead we need to figure out which trip t opick from our newly expanded fantastic travel bucket list. This is the kind of stress we embrace (#travelbrats)
What’s on your travel bucket list? Feel free to steal from mine – after all don’t we get our best ideas from putting our heads together?
The snowfall was higher than my 9” tall dog Jazz. When we looked out the back window and saw that there was yet another 12 inches of snow on top of the 8-inch base we both felt defeated. This new light fluff was lovely but not for my short legged pup Jazz. Her morning constitution was yet again disrupted by weather and that wasn’t the worst of it. When I took her out to the street – she was shocked and pained by the salted sidewalk – gravely wet dirt and muddy winter melted mess on the “cleared” area.
Winter was miserable for Jazz and it took a toll on her hair. Like most women – how Jazz’s hair looks matters. You see her hair is her calling card. Jazz gets invited onto friends’ couches, she’s welcomed on sleepovers and is the favorite pup of even my non-dog lovin friends because – I hate to be so superficial –but…..when she looks good she’s way more welcomed in.
Jazz does not have fur – she has hair and and that’s what makes it so temperamental. Yes, she has a lovely personality, and her breath is not offensive, her eyes don’t have goobers and her nails are never too sharp – but that’s not enough. Not even her ability to hear and respond to every command gets her couch status. She has an exceptionally high EQ, her Emotional Intelligence rating is off the charts. But truly, it’s her hair that gets her the most attention.
The snow dried in dirty clumps all winter on her normally unshaved legs. No matter how many baths I gave her, she looked dirty. Even after a good grooming – within hours – she was disheveled. One evening at a book club gathering – my normally welcoming friends did not summon her onto their laps. She was sad – I could tell. “Get down” was most of what she heard. Not the normal “You are the cutest – you are my favorite pup”
The winter was tough on Jazz and what it came down to – was partially the weather – but mostly because the miserable dampness and snowfall took it’s toll on her hair.
Jazz is a perfect blond – one that Clairol has tried to imitate with their “Clairol #5 Medium Natural Blonde” Many a woman has snapped a photo of her for their colorist to mimic.
Jazz’s hair when perfectly blown – not poofed but “piecey” and soft, sans frizz – gives her face a shape that is irresistibly kissable. Her trims are best as a puppy cut despite her 9 years, because any variation makes her look too snouty and pointy. When the groomer gets in too close to her nose and doesn’t leave enough around her chin – why she looks and frankly acts a bit snarly and older. Softness around the mouth brings her smile on and attracts more attention and welcome patting from strangers.
Jazz looks younger with the right haircut. She looks friendlier and more approachable with a good facial trim. Jazz looks like a natural girl – and is more easily accepted by big dog lovers when her hair is naturally shaggy and not poofed like those foo foo poodles.
Jazz goes on 3 to 5 mile runs with me a couple times a week but seems to prefer walking now that she’s hit her later 50’s (9 years old). Her figure is still lovely and too much mid body poof can add an extra few pounds to her look. Too much shaving renders her – dare I say – rodent like.
Hey, it’s a dance this hair thing. Don’t we know it ladies.
If ever I could relate to my pup it’s truly about our hair. Next week we’re getting our summer trims. Can you relate?
One thing we can count on is, most of us are our own toughest critics so the grade we give ourselves may not always be particularly “generous.” Whether we score high or low grades as The Good Mother certainly depends on life stages and caveats. It is based on the rule of “it depends.” It depends on how the kids develop, stuff we can control and can’t control; it depends on life’s curve balls. It depends on our own definitions of whether our kids have grown up “successfully.” Are they thoughtful, egotistical, selfish, do they have skills, are they kind, balanced and motivated? Are they passionate about something/anything? It’s certainly a subjective discussion.
One of my closest friends had a top-level high-powered job from day one of her kids’ births through their college years. She often wondered if she was being a Good Mom because of the time demands of her job. She had a tough time showing up at school stuff and wasn’t around after school. Today with both kids in their 20’s, she is relaxed and happy with her relationship with her kids and they love hanging out with her too– both kids have very independent lives. She feels like she must have done something right although it didn’t always feel like she was being The Good Mother.
Another friend of mine stopped working within the first year of her child being born and has not gone back to work. She says she loved the early years and totally enjoyed being present for school projects, play dates and sports games. She defined herself as The Good Mother in those formative years. As the kids went off to college, she started to feel some regrets. She was experiencing the big void – and so were her kids. The kids were always calling and having a hard time adjusting to being away. Perhaps if she had given them more space – maybe if she’d had a part-time job – in this later stage she didn’t feel much like The Good Mother.
No question that being The Good Mother of kids in their 20’s is different than the early years – much like the difference between high school and college. In order to determine The Good Mother GPA, we need to break down the timeline of mothering into three stages.
I. Early Stage Mothering: Newborn to Kindergarten.
A+. I loved these early years. I loved being a Mom to a newborn up until they went off to their first day of school.
B+. I felt pulled in too many directions, it was hard for me to focus on being a Mom. I had work, sleep issues and I wasn’t totally on my game.
C. I couldn’t wait for them to start school.
II. Middle Stage Mothering: Until They Leave the Nest (up until age 18):
A+. I was a great Mom up through high school. I got involved just enough and enjoyed this entire time period.
B+. I was anxious for my kids and concerned about how they would do – it was a challenging time and I could have done some stuff better.
C. I’ve had it. This was the most stressful time ever and I believe once they leave it will be better for us all.
III. Later Stage Mothering: College through their Early Careers (22 through marriage):
A+. I love having an adult relationship with my kids. I feel connected and we both appreciate what we have to offer one another.
B+. I am constantly worried about my child and feel that I am not able to help them weather the ups and downs of jobs, relationships and disappointments. I am not sure I’m doing such a great job.
C. I am secretly hoping I won’t have to field any more calls and that they will just figure it out – or get married so I don’t have to be on the front line anymore.
IV. Latest Stage: (I can’t comment on this so will have to leave this out of the equation).
V. Curve Balls and Caveats. Everyone’s got them at every stage. If you’ve had a big curve ball, i.e. divorce, yours or your child’s health issues, loss, financial and/or work crises etc. – The question is how do you grade yourself as a Mother during that crisis.
A+. I was the best mom I could be, given the circumstances.
B+ I could have done better.
C. I would like a redo.
Well, how did you do? What grade do you give yourself this Mother’s Day? Would you dare discuss your GPA with your kids? It certainly could be a lively dinner table topic.
No matter how tough you are on yourself, chances are at some point along the mothering spectrum you have in fact gotten an A+ as The Good Mother.
Happy Mother’s Day — enjoy it as it is your day to be kind to yourself. Walk tall knowing you have done your best when you could. From one mom to another, wishing you a Happy Mothers Day.
I had a choice of six talks to go to at The Simmons Leadership Conference last week and I picked Dr. Helen Fisher’s, “The Female Mind: The Biology of Leadership.” Dr. Fisher is a Biological Anthropologist. Doesn’t that pique your interest?
Dr. Fisher has written 5 books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, gender differences in the brain and how your personality type shapes who you are and who you love. She also is the “Chief Scientific Advisor” to the Internet dating site Match.com. She is referred to as “The Love Doctor” over at Rutgers where she teaches.
When I heard that she was scientifically advising Match.com, I came home and started googling Dr. Fisher. I really wanted to understand how dating and science could be co-mingled. I found this great video called Dr. Helen Fisher: 4 Personality Types in Men.
Dr. Fisher talked about personality types and how figuring out which type you are informs the partner best suited for you. She called these personality traits our temperaments, and it was eye opening and confirming to the audience to see which category we see ourselves and our partner’s fitting into.
She talked about 4 brain systems that are linked to personality (not intelligence, but temperament):
1. Estrogen (pro-social/empathetic) “The Negotiator” – sees big picture, great verbal skills, imaginative, and great people skills. These men often choose Testosterone types to be attracted to.
2. Testosterone (analytical/tough minded) “The Director” — analytical, logical, direct, decisive, tough minded, good at math, computers, mechanics. These men go for their opposite- such as the high Estrogen type who is more big picture.
3. Serotonin (cautious/social norm compliant) “The Builders” — orderly, respect authority, traditional, conventional, conscientious, cautious, and social. These men go for women like themselves who are also traditional.
4. Dopamine (curious/energetic) “The Explorers” — risk taking, novelty seeking, optimistic, restless, spontaneously generous, creative, quite liberal and flexible. These men gravitate to women who are just like them, they want women who are also Explorers.
The above describes the “chemistry” of personality; not nurture- but the “nature” of our biological temperament. She developed a questionnaire for Chemistry.com (a division of Match.com) and got 39,000 responses – a statistically significant study, as my statistics teacher would say. The goal of the study was to help people determine what category they fell into as a means to match them best with a romantic partner.
She said that the biggest take away of her study proved that the myth — all men are alike — is not in fact true-AND, all men want to be needed by a woman no matter what their personality type. Fisher’s takeaways shake up some of our belief systems about men. My first stop from the Fisher study was to focus on personality traits to see if I picked the “right partner” in both of my marriages. I loved what I discovered and PS (Yes indeed I did well with both my picks).
As Dr. Fisher moved through her presentation, it was clear to me which brain system defined me. The woman sitting next to me was struck by how she clearly fell into a different brain system.
Let me say, listening to Dr. Fisher describe “me” was way better than reading my horoscope (which I admit to enjoying as a card carrying Sagittarian). This study was grounded in science and research not just intuition and planet alignment. It was fun to see how different personality traits fit neatly into one of these 4 categories.
At a minimum, whether this is real science or not, it is worth learning about as it makes for great dinner party conversation. So did you marry the right partner?
If you want to really figure out what “type” you and your husband/partner are then buy her book Why Him? Why Her? and answer the 56 questions in the book that are identical to those on the Chemistry questionnaire.
I was not one of the people who were addicted to soaps, and had their “favorite shows” but that was then.
During our child rearing years, we were never big TV show watchers and the only family TV time was watching sports and the Simpsons. But, that all changed ten years ago when Jack Bauer and “24″ first entered our living room. With the DVR at our fingertips we became irresponsible TV marathon “24” junkies and shamelessly drove our kids bleary eyed and late to school.
We weren’t proud of our addiction but frankly this was the best entertainment series we’d ever known. And, this was just the beginning as TV series have gotten even better.
Today I credit many TV shows as additive in my life; it’s great for at home date nights, super relaxing, delightfully distracting, girlfriend bonding, plus it keeps us connected and current with the kids.
What appears to have shifted over the years in TV series offerings, are the number of Leading Ladies who are dominating. There seem to be more women than ever who are at the centerpiece these shows.
Strong women role models, TV heroines, and more importantly for we mid-lifers, women in their almost 50′s are showing up in great leading roles. I started to make a list and wanted to share some of my favorites, and was hoping you’d share some of yours in the comment section below.
If you’re looking for great entertainment here’s some of my favorite Leading Ladies who are dominating TV these days — and –they are almost 50-somethings.
The Good Wife, boasts 2 mid-life super lawyers, Christine Baranski at 62 years old as Diane Lockhart and Julianna Margulies, 48, as Alicia Florrick. For those who have left the law profession, maybe this will inspire you to go back. If you haven’t started this series — pray for a few rainy days this spring and enjoy.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep. A member of the BA50 team. Ok, doesn’t she look amazing — she’s 52 years old. We loved her as Elaine on Seinfeld and she continues to make us laugh in Veep. She is truly the leading lady and this comedy series is fun to keep up with – but not as addictive for me.
Robin Wright, 48 years old in House of Cards. I admit it, I’m obsessed with Robin and just love to watch her steely, smart, conniving, sexy, coolness. She’s totally unrelatable to most women but fascinating in this drama of demonic Washington power politics. You will want to clear 2 days for marathon watching if you haven’t dosed on this already.
Connie Britton, 47 years old, dominates the TV series Nashville. Have you seen it? Michelle Obama has and will be on this week. If you love great singing, good family dramas and you are curious about the music industry — Nashville will suck you in. By the way, if you missed Connie in Friday Night Lights as Coach’s wife — put it on the must see list.
Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie at 51 years old, is totally compelling. Edie is far from being the “perfect” mother, challenged with difficult teenage girls, she is a drug addict, and cheated on her husband who is a great guy. So why is she so damn relatable for BA50s? Because she is flawed. The show is as habit forming as her addictions.
Have you see the new series Suits with Gina Torres at 45 years old? You’ll love the way Gina as Jessica Pearson, managing partner of the law firm Pearson Specter, keeps her testosterone-crazed law firm in balance. It takes a woman to balance out a pack of ego-crazed men.
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE YOUNGER LEADING LADIES:
Claire Danes, in Homeland is wacked and exhausting to watch and like Jack Bauer – she leaves us breathless in her attempt to keep America safe. And, she is forever flipping out. For many she’s an acquired taste but, she gets under our skin and you will most likely wake up on the couch in the wee hours hungover from Homeland. PS: she’s only 35.
Lizzy Caplan, Showtime’s Masters of Sex plays Virgina Johnson of Masters and Johnson. I’ve included her on the list because the subject of this duo who revolutionized how women view the big “O” is one that changed the landscape for BA50s. Lizzy is sexy, steamy and smart and there’s lots of explicit “matter” in this show. Stick with it because not every episode is great but once you’re in — your in. Lizzy is only 32.
At midlife, for those of us who love jogging, underwear is key. As gravity shifts the flesh on our chests toward the south pole, it is more important than ever to keep those girls from bouncing. The best kind of clothing to wear while running is clothing that keeps us feeling secure so that the only thing moving is our feet. And that’s where the sports bra comes in.
Oh hail to the sports bra as there’s so many choices now and we are lucky to have multiple options — but which ones are best, prettiest and most effective leaves many mid-lifer runners perseverating at the bra-rack. Sometimes the best test is a little jog in place behind the dressing room door.
We thought we could help out a little and cut through the myriad of choices so — we asked a slew of mid-life women runners “what’s your favorite running bra” for your small or large “set?” In terms of sizing, we learned that actual breast size is not necessarily indicative of bra size. Most women experienced having to move up a bra size due to larger “backs” versus more ample breasts. (Another fallout of mid-life bodily transitions) and, a challenge if you are ordering your sports bra on-line.
Here’s the skinny on what our survey of women runners recommended as favorite running bras to keep the girls safe.
For Small Breasted Women: (A Cup): Coobie Bras
Who knew that small breasts could sag and bounce? We learned that no-one wants underwires if they are have petite breasts and our survey resulted in a unanimous unconventional love of The Coobie, not necessarily a running bra but effective enough to feel secure. It is a mix of spandex and nylon with removable contour pads and no wire. The contra pads are key if you are not into your nipples showing or need a little shape. Lacey, plain, options of more or less support and color options as well as a fair price, ranging from $18 to $25, make this a no brainer. You can buy it here with one click.
For Medium Breasted Women (B to C Cup): Lululemon is super comfortable. A veteran mid-50 year old runner was very forthcoming on what worked best about her fav: “It holds up my big fleshy breasts and has lots of support. I love the fun colors it comes in. My new favorite is black and white stripe.” We googled Lululemon running bras and loved all the choices. Check out their fun running bra video to make it easier to pick the perfect one for you.
For Large Breasted Women (D Cup): A popular style among the more ample “set” is the compression tank. This piece is not measured by cup size but runs small, med or large and can be found on amazon as well. When searching for this category “compression tanks” you can find several options but keep in mind, not only is it supportive around the chest area, it also provides a lot of support and compression around the stomach. Our BA50 runner offered this: “I don’t like to wear a bra and a tank top because it’s too many layers floating around.” The Compression top generally runs according to normal ladies sizing so it’s easy to order on line. We love this one for $17.50 we found on Amazon as it is priced right, a combo of spandex and nylon, moisture wicking and odor resistant.
Ok BA50′s please share your favs with us in the comment section below.
Who is aging gracefully and honestly that we identify as women role models?
My mom says I am the first person to ever write about fearless aging. But, I’m taking my cues from the cosmetics industry and Hollywood. Years ago those two sources would have added misery to my self-image but times they are a’changin. Leave it to the baby boomers to put a new age spin of acceptance on the inevitable.
I am delighted to know that at mid-50 there are women at the forefront of these two industries who are softening our perception of aging. There are women in both cosmetics and entertainment who are not turning their back on the aging process. We have women like Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Dame Helen, Meryl and a host of others who are embracing aging with grace and talking about it.
We should just pinch ourselves that we are mid-lifers in 2014 vs. the middle ages (ha ha) of our moms’ era.
This past Friday the featured article in the NY Times style section highlighted key spokespeople on this topic starting with Andrea Robinson (cosmetics industry guru from Revlon, L’Oreal, Ralph Lauren and more), who is publishing a book for we BA50’s, Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+. And, here’s the most comforting quote of all:
“Her book intends to ‘unconfuse’ those women whom the industry has already dismissed, she said. Ms. Robinson writes that ‘most men running the major beauty corporations where you undoubtedly have spent a lot of money (even if you’re not a cosmetics junkie like me) think you’ve lost it at 50.’”
Don’t we feel better when we have women who embrace their aging honestly? Aren’t those lines on our faces in fact a road map of our lives – aren’t they the placeholders of our stories.
No way I could ever have made it to this ripe mid-50 age without facial fallout. If you’ve had some worries, shed a fair share of tears, parented children, dealt with loss and laughed until you peed in your pants – you’ve generated lines. It’s just life happening on your face. Sure I’d love the dewy complexion of my son’s girlfriend – who wouldn’t – but there’s no over the counter potion I could buy that will bring me back my youth. OUCH or No Ouch?
One of my favorite cosmetic gurus, Bobbi Brown, embraces her 57 years and believes:
“There is no cream that fixes wrinkles. I’m sorry, but there’s not.”
Now doesn’t that feel good to hear a cosmetics industry leader speak so honestly? What a relief to hear those words spoken from someone in charge of our faces.
Girls, we can stop trying to beat the wrinkles. Instead, she proposes makeup application methods to make women look “fresher,” like using liner and matte shadow to add eye definition and mask crêpey lids.
And what about Diane Keaton – we love having her on our team at 67. It’s a relief that she looks her age, not all pulled and stretched — so Annie Hall-like, so relatable and self-accepting. And, bravo to L’Oreal who has hired her as a spokesperson. That just feels right.
I am hearing a subtext from the cosmetics industry, or maybe I’m just hearing what I want to hear and that is: Embrace the lines – you earned them.
Entering my closet to look for evening wear is not a joyful experience, which is too bad because I love to dress up.
It’s not that I don’t own dress up clothes. It’s just that my “collection” was curated over the last few decades. It’s not the quantity or even the quality of offerings; it’s the timeliness factor. My stuff looks dated.
I am not a hoarder – I’m sure of it – I’m an optimist. (My husband laughs when I say this but it’s true). After 5 decades I’ve learned a thing or two about style; my favorite old stuff will eventually come back into fashion. For instance, I have plenty of great stuff from the 80’s but I’m not sure we’ve seen that decade’s fashion re-emerge (or did that already happen)? What decade is being recycled right now anyway? I believe it’s the 60’s. In ten more years my dress up clothes from the 70’s will be fetchingly vintage but I will be too.
I’m bummed because I may be at a recycling impasse. And, I need some outfits ASAP. My wardrobe library for this season’s special events is not looking promising.
Nevertheless, I’m relieved that unlike food in my pantry, clothing doesn’t have a toxic expiration date. I’m holding onto the decades old dresses that are not stained or spotted because Nana’s voice screams inside my head “Wait a few years, it will be back in style.” My Nana believed in buying a few quality outfits and wearing them forever. I’m down with that! But— after decades in the closet, my stuff isn’t back in style YET so I’m facing a wardrobe gap.
By the way, everyday wear is conversely quite easy for me – it’s the special events that challenge. I actually wear my daily outfits down to the thread each season so recycling is not an option. Whether I’m putting on my face, footwear or body wear – I’ve opted for simple but not necessary discount. Since I live my life with a suitcase half packed in the hallway ready for weekly trips between Boston and NY – I’ve reduced my daywear to “carry in, carry out, and carry on.”
My daywear uniform consists of an overpriced belt, which I have no regrets about as I always wear it. I love the Theory white blouses; I have 3, and rotate them throughout the week. And because I look dreary in black, my sweaters are mostly navy. Sweaters from J. Crew, and a few Soho finds are the go to choices that have carried me through this insanely cold winter.
Black Frye ankle boots cover my feet and the face is covered by Laura Mercier tinted skin cream. No stress dressing for daytime.
But evening wear, well there’s the challenge. This week, I’ve been looking for 2 outfits to wear to spring weddings – not formal but evening nonetheless. 5 pm cocktail to dance, non-black tie wedding guest dresses.
In my 50’s, I know what I want to look like – I’ve got the image fixed in my head but finding the outfit to match the visual is tough.
After perusing fashion sites I’ve learned a few things about what’s out there this spring. Dresses are short, fitted and tight and hard to imagine how they’ll fit without trying them on. Internet dress models are 20-somethings so envisioning these outfits with a little more hip and a bit of tummy makes it hard to visualize how they’ll look – (definitely not like they do on a 20-something). I decided to cut off the heads of the models in these dresses so the 20-something faces didn’t interfere with my visualization.
Nevertheless, there’s only one way to find a dress these days and that is to get out there and try them on or order in (and return).
I decided to contain my Internet search to one color – blue — and see what I could come up with.
Looking at major department store sites, Rent the Runway and my tried and true favorite affordable designers produced a few options.
Would these work for the evening festivities from 5pm to the dance floor? What do you think? Got another suggestion?
1. Nicole Miller: love the blue color, may need serious Spanx!
Ruched Taffeta Dress
2. Nicole Miller
Stretch Linen Tuck Dress
This only comes in White. A Robin Wright (House of Cards) looking number which would take wild confidence to wear but you only live once. Red wine drips could be deadly.
3. Anne Klein Tie-Dye Print Dress $139.
Great shade of blue and soft print, could be easy to wear – feels a little hippyish. Is it dressy enough for evening?
4. Kay Unger Kay Unger New York
Mesh Embroidered-Top Cocktail Dress, Navy
Blue and navy blue – love the boat line neck and mesh sleeves. Length could be good as it apparently comes right above the knee. Problem, a bit more pricey than the other 3.
If you haven’t seen the video of the Singing Nun in Italy on “The Voice of Italy,” you really must join the 36 million who have. “Glee”fully, I watched on youtube the 25 year old Sister Christina’s performance of Alicia Keys, “No One.” As the song unfolded I was swept along with the audience’s excitement as she drew us up and up, into her charismatic crescendo, and never let us down.
At first I thought having a nun perform on The Voice of Italy was a gimmicky move. I mean really, what could be more outrageous than hearing a nun, in full conventional nun garb, singing Alicia Keys on popular TV on the Vatican’s home turf. It seems almost irreverent.
But in reality, the Catholic church is getting way more relevant and approachable these days, as seen in the popularity of the new Pope Francis. Even the Vatican’s Minister of Culture applauded her efforts by quoting the scriptures when asked about her performance saying, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others (1 Peter 4:10).” Sister Christina went viral with her performance and her hash tag #suorcristina set the twittersphere on fire.
“I have a gift and I am giving it to you,” Sister Cristina said, according to the English captions on YouTube (to get the captions, click on the ‘cc’ icon on the bottom right). “Shouldn’t things be this way?”
So why do we love the Singing Nun? Why does this singing nun strike a chord in so many of us?
She’s doing the unexpected and frankly it feels taboo for a nun to be singing on an extremely commercial program such as The Voice. A nun on The Voice is a juxtaposition that is just not supposed to happen and that in and of itself feels outrageous and gets us revved up. What makes this performance outrageously delightful is the glaring contrast of the glam aura of the The Voice, which is diametrically opposed to the asceticism of a nun’s life. The contrast of commercial and spiritual merge seamlessly in Sister Christina’s performance.
We also love the nun because we love discovering superstars. Sister Christina blows away the religious barriers and stereotypes with just one powerful song. The Voice has created a fantastic venue for discovering new raw talent. Over the years of watching The Voice, we’ve heard profiles of small town hard luck kids and watched them come on the stage, defying their past, and creating a brighter future for themselves in front of our eyes.
So now we watch in awe as the Singing Nun finds her unique voice and takes over the stage with passion and soul and we begin to stand up and cheer with the audience as we realize that she is not only good, she is a gift to us all. Her joyous fresh spirit, and her soulful voice win us over.
And it makes us believe that anything is possible. Even in the guise of the most humble of all, a nun, we hear what people are capable of.
Make no mistake; Sister Christina is on the job so to speak. When asked what the Vatican thought of her audition. “I really don’t know, I am waiting for Pope Francis to call me on the phone. He always says we should go out and evangelize, telling us God doesn’t take anything away from us, but will give us more. I am here for this.”
A Singing Nun rockin’ out on The Voice — it appears there is no Hollywood style trickery here. Sister Christina is a reminder that there is power within each of us and given the right opportunity, the right stage, we too can find our own voice.
What makes for a great friend retreat? Most of the best stuff is never planned but who has time for spontaneity. I mean how can you fit that into a schedule locked down with work and family plans and staying in touch with friends. And trust me, I’m not complaining, I love my work, adore seeing my friends and planning nights out at restaurants, dinner parties and movie nights. But a 24 hour unplanned getaway with a girlfriend feels downright decadent. And there’s almost something not right about that – but that’s the reality.
So, When my business partner/girlfriend Ronna and I decided since we were clearing our schedules for the full week to work on our upcoming SHE DID IT event, we were on the final week’s countdown, we casually said – we should go away, hole up and work. We talked about heading up to her condo in the mountains of New Hampshire but couldn’t figure out how to get out of town – we had too may loose ends. By Wednesday morning – we checked in and decided – todays the day – let’s do it – we’re working anyway – let’s get out of here. Amazingly we were on the road by 2pm, with doggy Jazz and our laptops.
You gotta love the cyber world – you can work anywhere and where we were heading we had the essentials: Internet, heat, wine and free lodging.
When I think of what takes girlfriend time so far afield from family time, husband/wife time, parent/child time – this is what sings for me. It’s about flow, spontaneity, no planning, easy on the expectations, long on the humor, void of judgement, and comfort across topics – girlfriend time means fun and fun is a sweet 3 letter word for ease, joy and happiness.
So what’s so great about going away for 24 hours with a girlfriend – just one good girlfriend – I guess I’d have to look at what really was happening for those 24 hours.
Here’s what I came up as the essentials for the perfect girlfriend getaway:
Got a better plan?
Not me – I’d do it again in a heartbeat.