December 31, 2010

Beauty Is An Inside Job


What if we think of aging as an art?

This week's beauty is artist and author Sophie Lumen who is 53-years-old.  I can't think of a more inspirational person to ring in the New Year with. Sophie is the creator of Feed The Beauty and the Art of Aging Creed, which I wanted to tell you about first because it is so good.

Here it is:
  •  I will age with humor, serenity and to the best of my efforts, health.
  •  I will continue to express my creativity and personal style.
  •  I will challenge the stuck way our culture looks at getting older.

The Three Pearls


 Here is what Sophie has to share about her project:

"I’ve always believed that life is not about dogma, niches, or stereotypes. It's about what creates beauty, laughter, and the energy we use for goodness and healing. Using my creative process as a visual artist as a foundation, I wrote White Rose to communicate all of the above, and it changed my life. Getting clear and practicing what is in the book led me to start The Art of Aging Project.

Because I experienced an early menopause and grandmother-hood; there was no way around aging for me. I wanted to find role models and relevant information for this new phase in my life.

I found aging issues online were centered around selling me something; wrinkle creams, annuities, healthcare products, etc. Born at the end of the 1950’s, I was supposed to be fitting into some kind of ‘Boomer Box’ - one of those niches I’ve spent my life avoiding.

I created The Art of Aging to form a real community of women powered by heart and wisdom, not marketing agendas. I started by asking and refining my own question:

“What if we think of aging as an art?…an effort called out of the soul that takes skill, guts and devotion to manifest…with the power to create laughter, seriously tweak stereotypes, and inspire?”

I moved on to The Art of Aging Facebook Page. The response was fantastic, passionate, and has rapidly grown into a 9300+ community full of open-hearted, diverse women. Women who are witnesses, listeners and encouragers of one another. I named them 'The Beauties'. They are an inspiration to me every day."


Below is just one of the many videos Sophie has made called RU Anti-Aging?. There are many more of her videos on the facebook link above.

Thank you Sophie for all the great inspiration for 2011, and beyond.



December 29, 2010

Does Your Mind Feel Like A Sieve?


Are you having a harder and harder time remembering things? Like where you put something? Or coming up with someones name and forgetting words when you are trying to talk, or write? Me too, especially since I've started this site and I'm writing more.

This is one of the things that is suppose to happen as we age. It's normal. As frustrating as it seems, it makes sense actually. I am sure there is a medical explanation for what is happening but on the lighter side just think of your mind as your bedroom closet. Like clothes, over the years if we keep putting more facts and details into it- after awhile it won't be able to hold everything.

Somethings just have to go, you know?

Okay maybe that was a ridiculous analogy...

Recently on NPR, 69-year-old Nora Ephron, who has written among other things, When Harry Met Sally, Silkwood, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie, Julia, spoke about her newest book of reflections on aging called I Remember Nothing, which I'm looking forward to reading. One of the things she said is that many times we are fortunately saved by Google because we can so easily look something up that we're having a hard time remembering.

That's if we can remember what we forgot long enough to write it into Google's search box :-)

Among many of the other things Ephron discusses in I Remember Nothing is doing what you love to do. On NPR she said, "You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can't put things off thinking you'll get to them someday. If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I'm very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it."

This reminds me of what Oprah once said that was so profound that I haven't forgotten it:

"Life is about finding out what you love, and getting about doing it."

A great thought with which to start to the new year.

      

December 24, 2010

Merry Almost Christmas


I promised myself I wouldn't post this week until all the hunting and gathering was done for Christmas. Which it is, but yesterday I had to cut the cord with the outside world and force myself not go on the computer, or pick up the phone, or all hell would break loose.

You know how it is- you go on to check your email quickly and two hours later you're still on here and NOTHING has gotten done. Grrrr....

 

Kind of blurry, last minute photographs...



Yesterday the gifts were finally all bought and the pantry was stocked for our twelve weekend guests to arrive for Christmas Eve and I got to do what I consider the most fun: wrapping gifts & setting the table.

Hal-le-lu-jah!

Then last night we went to the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker which I hadn't seen since their million dollar make-over years ago. It was beautiful. A whole new symphony of Christmas cheer and merriment.


I still have some last minute things to finish making, as usual. And it's time to start cooking....but, I wanted to take a minute away from all the elfing to wish those of you celebrating this weekend a very Merry Christmas.


Thanks to Carolyn for sending in this holiday video.  It's one of those flash mob scenes like the one that was made in Grand Central Station a few years ago that was so good.

This one ushers in the true spirit of the season.

All my best to you and yours,

Louise

December 17, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Her Daily Green


This week's beauty is Kim Urig who is 44 years old. Kim is a freelance writer who grew up on an organic vegetable farm.  A few years ago she founded Our Daily Green, a website geared to helping people nurture a more ecological and economical household.

Our Daily Green is chock full of good tips for environmentally frugal folk, such as how to make your own firestarters, and solar powered exterior Christmas lights that turn on automatically at dusk. I like that.

Kim has this to share about aging:

I was honored to be invited to participate in the Lines of Beauty site. It took a moment for me to admit, yes, yes, I'm that age. I am a line of beauty and I embrace it.

When Louise invited me to her site, I was humbled and frightened. What advice could I possibly offer to women about getting older, when I still feel like a kid myself. Yes, I know, I'm almost as close to 50 as I was to 40. I don't think I look it. I wish I could bottle my secret, but I don't know what it is. My own grandmother also was beautiful until her passing at 94. She was a lovely woman who sat on Santa's lap until her last Christmas. To quote my cousin at her funeral, If you knew her, you KNEW you were loved. She had that magic, that devotion. It's why I chose one of the last photos of her and I together for this profile. She was the ageless one, I only hope to follow her.

I think the biggest piece of advice I can share is from my best friend's grandmother. We were teenagers at the time and grandma (who we called Beba) went shopping with us. She pulled up crocheted string bikinis. Yes, a grandmother. Who was large. Holding them for us to try on. We giggled and shifted nervously. Even then, my friend and I were shocked. But we heard her. Shuffling self consciously to the dressing room, we tried them on. At that point, she said to us words of advice I will never forget. "Girls, you need to wear it while you can." She smiled at us from her cane and large self and said, "I wish I had worn a string bikini. I wish."

It stuck with me. It's important to embrace each minute and moment that we are given. It's important to wear that string bikini while you can. It's important to do your best for as much time as you can. Embrace the woman you are.


Thanks Kim! I think your secret might be all those organic veggies, and your good self esteem :-)


December 14, 2010

Perfection

Photo by Peter Gustafson

Hello fellow elves,

In the swirl of holiday preparations I thought it might be a good time to share with you one of my favorite quotes that I came across awhile back:

Perfection is one of the highest forms of self abuse.

Good one huh? Especially as so many of us try to beat the clock this time of year, searching for perfect gifts and trying to ready ourselves so perfectly for the festivities that lay ahead. 

Sound all too familiar?

I had another swim meet this weekend and had a very imperfect race with a terrible start and a bad flip turn. The irony was that even with the imperfections I took a second off my race time.

Just goes to show once again that we don't need to be perfect to have things turn out well.

Recently Jane Fonda was on Oprah discussing her new face lift and her life and one of things she said was that "The challenge isn’t to be perfect, it’s to be whole."

To which Oprah responded: "What if our goal in life wasn’t to be successful, but to be whole?"

Good food for thought.

I say screw perfection and have a good time!


P.S. Peter Gustofson your pine needles are perfection

Thank you.

Click on them and step inside.

December 10, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Resilience



This week's beauty is Elizabeth Edwards who died of cancer on Tuesday. Like some of you maybe, I've been thinking about her a lot.

This year she not only faced the fight of her life health-wise, but she did it while her marriage dissolved after confirming that her husband fathered a child with another women while she went to battle for him to win the 2008 presidency- knowing that her cancer had come out of remission.

Good lord! Forgiving a partner for infidelity must be hard enough, but going to bat for them in a presidential election when you are sick & he is cheating on you? Unforgivable.

I didn't know it then, but Elizabeth was the best thing John Edwards had going for him in that election. The selfish little schmuck.

Or "licentious cad" as my 89 year old mom would say :-)

Anyway,  I applaud Elizabeth not just for her resiliency in dealing with such a private matter in the public eye while being so sick, but for all the wonderful things I have read about her in addition to the fact that she was a great civil rights activist.

The above photo of Elizabeth, with her great new sassy haircut, was taken in September 2010 at a Stand Up 2 Cancer event where they interviewed her about her battle with cancer.

December 07, 2010

Your Inner Circle




Relationship coach Lisa Merlo-Booth recently caught my ear with her straight talk on relationships. Frequently when she begins working with a new client they start by discussing who is in her client's inner circle. She stresses allowing only those who treat us well to be in our inner circle. Sounds so simple, but I bet most of us can think of at least one person who we give (or have given) this privilege to who really doesn't deserve it.

Above is Lisa speaking on Smart Women Creating Smart Relationships. It's worth taking a minute or two to listen to it. She also has lots of great advice on her blog Straight Talk 4 Women. I  like her piece on Control and Criticism. Especially good to remember when we're so crazed this time of year don't you think?

More from Lisa in the future I hope.

December 03, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Love and Laughter



This week's beauty is Linda Labourene who is 65 years old. Linda is a mother and a grandmother, as well as an educator. She also has a wonderful spirit, and radiates great energy. Linda came to my annual trunk show a few weeks ago and when she told me she had turned 65 I was shocked, and curious to find out what is creating such vitality. A few summers ago I was in line behind Linda and her husband at an ice cream stand.  Because it was kind of dark, I didn't know it was them at first but I was intrigued with how sweet they were with each other and how much they were laughing.

Here are Linda's secrets to growing older:

"Getting older is just a state of mind.....go forward everyday feeling young, dressing to please yourself, and looking forward to each day with a warm feeling! Love and laughter are so important!!!"

Thank you Linda for being this week's beauty.

November 30, 2010

When I'm Sixty-Four



When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine?
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine.

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?


My oldest brother Fitch, who lives on Bowen Island in British Columbia, turned 64 this past weekend and his daughter Jasmine made him this sweet clip to honor the year. Paul McCartney and John Lennon's When I'm Sixty-Four runs the first few minutes of it.

Happy birthday Fitch and to all you other end of November, early December, babies out there :-)

November 26, 2010

Aging Gracefully On Slender Threads


This week's beauty is Kay Moates who is 66 years old.  Kay is a lifelong dancer & teacher who also creates a line of beautiful hand knit shawls called On Slender Threads.  Made of  luscious fibers and earth gems, Kay specializes in wraps for all the transitions and celebrations in life including marriage, birth, illness, and mourning. Her shawls empower, ground, and delight.


Etchings
By Kay Moates

My entire story resides in these lines . . . lines on my face, lines on my hands, lines on my sagging body, even I’m guessing, lines on my heart.

Probably I’m on the fringe, maybe even the edge, about many days in one’s life. You see, I didn’t know my grandparents and to this day still feel slighted. There’s an empty space within me from not experiencing their embraces, words, and personalities; also, from not breathing the same air with them. Oh, long have I looked at their wizened faces staring at me from familiar shaped heads, knowing eyes, and silent lips. Living in their gene pools I could sense their wisdom sparks but photographs didn’t fill the void. This not knowing gave me a different perspective from our culture’s views/pressures/lack-of-teachings about aging. Sounds strange even to me, but at 16, I was wishing to have white hair as I aged. Got that wish in my thirties.

As a young adult, I found Sulamith Wulfing’s work The Transition. It is a powerful symbol/truth holder companioning my way as each decade asks me to make changes either physically or energetically. Some are slight, others massive. Mostly the massive ones have been soul shifts, radical new topography offering release of obsolete patterns. Done in my 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and now my 60’s these shifts are teachers softening my opinions, waking me to the moment, adding time to my day, and giving me my self. Wonder if modern psychology will ever offer retrieval of our inner elder?

The unspoken truth behind denial about aging is our culture’s extreme fear of death. Death is the other side of the living coin, the kiss between two consciousnesses. It’s as natural as each line that marks me. Here I am a new Grandmother late in my days, yet early enough to leave vibrant memories speckled with wisdom . . . where my many etched lines are signs of wonder, streaks of mystery, keepers of stories, harbingers of hope.

Kay's shawls are available on Etsy and Craft is Art.



On Slender Threads is also on Facebook.
Thank you Kay for being this week's beauty.

November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving



I wish I was this far along with Thanksgiving preparations but I'm not yet ( the photo is from a photo site). But the pumpkin pies are in the oven as I write this and I wanted to stop and take a break from the party prep and wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

If you are traveling I hope you travel safely and enjoy your time away, and if you are having family and/or friends to your home, I hope you have a yummy feast, and a nice time welcoming loved ones.

My sister has said that having guests brings fresh air into our homes. I think this is so true.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems called Wild Geese by Mary Oliver.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

XO,
Louise

November 19, 2010

Aging Gracefully with the Love of Art



This week's beauties are some of the ladies from our 5th Annual Holiday Trunk Show which was held at my friend Jayne's beautiful & very crafty home last week. Every year we usher in the holiday cheer with a two day festival of handmade works of art, food & wine, and fun.

This year's holiday market featured four artists, including Anni Mackay from the Big Town Gallery in Rochester, Vermont, and yours truly The Hole Thing.

Be sure to click on the above collage to capture all the treasures.

Many thanks to Jayne and Doon for the photos.

November 16, 2010

Holiday Promenade

Photo by Claudia Meyer    Paris, France

As we round the corner to the busiest, merriest, but also what can be the most unhealthy time of the year, I thought it might be good to remind ourselves to take-it-easy as we start scrambling to prepare for more than a month of putting ourselves in high gear once again.

The seasonal stress of getting it all done is now at our doorstep. Not to mention the lack of time to sleep and exercise, and the constant onslaught of holiday food and cheer- as my physician so perfectly describes as being "a cookie in every corner." I love that.

Aldra, my humorous cyberspace friend on the left coast, has a great post about the Holidaze on her blog Consciously Frugal to help put it all in perspective.

And be sure to get out for a holiday promenade with your buddy or sweetie to take in nature's healing beauty & to remember what life is really all about.

To capture all of Claudia Meyer's splendor click on the photo above.

Ou la la :-)

November 12, 2010

Aging Gracefully with the Layers of Life


This week's beauty is knitwear designer Kristin Nicholas.  Kristin is also an artist, and the author of seven books on knitting & embroidery. She lives on a sheep farm in western Massachusetts with her husband Mark and their daughter Julia. Kristin and their home have been featured on Martha Stewart as well as in numerous publications. She also has a great blog called Getting Stitched on the Farm, and a very colorful and fabulous website.


I'm happy to introduce you to Kristin, and her thoughts on growing older:

"My theory on aging is to not really think about it. It seems like I was 30 just yesterday. Where did the time go? What did I do with all those years? Now I’m starting to think about my life in decades, not single years. The 20’s, the 30’s, the 40’s and now the 50’s. The one thing I do think about every once in a while is how the heck am I going to fit in everything I want to do and learn in the next year or the next decade?

Getting older has given me more layers of life and experience. I remember something my octogenarian friend Charlotte said to me one day when I was visiting with her at a party attended by family and friends. We were watching the kids play and she said “Oh, I wish I was your age again and knew as much as I know now.” Her comment has stayed with me a decade later. I think it is great way to look at aging – to see the layers of experience build up and make you a more complex, interesting, intelligent person. Aging is about life experience – whether good or bad.


The first time I saw a photo of myself with creases, I was shocked. I had just spent a couple years taking care of my daughter who was born with hydrocephalus. I became a mother just a couple months short of 40. We were in and out of Boston hospitals and doctors’ offices for multiple surgeries and follow-up visits. I hadn’t had the time to even look at myself, nor worry about what I was doing or accomplishing with my life for over two years. My husband and I were just trying to take care of Julia and get her better with the help of the doctors. In between it all, I had written a book on embroidery for children. My friend John Gruen, the photographer, was taking my photo for the back flap. I looked at the Polaroid (that was back when there was film and Polaroids) and I said to him, “When the heck did that happen?” He told me I had earned them and they looked good. I love that way of looking at wrinkles – that they are earned. They are nothing to worry about – they just are.

If I am fortunate to have lots more time on this earth to get more wrinkles, I will count myself a very lucky woman. I don’t think I knew that when I was 30 but I do now.

Thank you Louise for making me think about this."

You are welcome Kristin. Thank you for your contribution! Looking at your photos makes me want to go knit :-)


November 08, 2010

Pretty



This piece grew more and more fabulous the longer I watched it.

It had me in tears.

Katie Makkai, you are terrific.

Bravo girl.

I want every teenage girl and woman to see it.

And every male too.

Thanks to Kamala for unearthing it.

November 05, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Humor & Insight


Be still my heart…

This week’s beauty is Lines of Beauty’s first guy:

Kevin O’Shea.

Make that Kevin Patrick O’Shea.  He looks a bit like a younger Burt Reynolds don’t you think?  He wore green in his photo in keeping with his Irish heritage.  I love that.

Kevin is a wonderful soul who came into my life with his rich Irish humor, great human insight and musings, honesty, and his gift for words, when I was just a young gal. Most importantly though he is a very good friend with whom I'm never at a loss as to what to talk about. When my Dad died and we needed ushers for his memorial, Kevin was the very first person I thought to call. That just goes to show how much I love him.

On this note, I bring you Kevin and his thoughts on aging:

"There was an old tavern on Main Street in Niagara Falls...Bramer's.  Absolutely nowhere to sit down. No tables and chairs and in fact no bar stools.  A shot and a beer joint that conveyed the message clearly: NO WOMEN ALLOWED.  Surely women can appreciate the times where they'd prefer no men.  Exercise class, Pilates...getaways etc.  When Louise first asked if I'd be a beauty of the month, yes I felt a little sheepish but mostly I was concerned she'd have a mini insurrection on her hands. I've been following Lines of Beauty since she started it and as insightful and informative as it is, it's definitely a woman's site.  I'm an interloper. That said I believe Louise is wise enough to know her readership and if she feels a curve ball is good now and then...so be it.  At my next Teamsters meeting the chance to list "Aging Beauty of the Week" among my credentials is too irresistible.

1). I'll confirm what’s already known.  There's not 1/1000 the pressure on a man to attain and maintain a standard.  Other than health and the self generated motivation to" not let one's self go completely" there's precious little pressure from media and mass culture.  I haven't experienced the opposite of this, only observed it.  Yes, I feel lucky....it's liberating I guess.

2).  That said, we do age and naturally notice it in a variety of ways.  Humor is a good tool.  I'm convinced at night I'm lifted away by fairies, leprechauns and assorted wee folk.  They carry me to my front porch and compress my face on the wicker furniture.  They bind me in vines and have mini switchblade fights.  That's the only plausible explanation for the changes in my face.  But if these merry men take such delight in transforming my face who am I to take issue with the changes?  Aging is a gift not everyone receives.  I'm at ease and well satisfied with the ongoing process.

3).  If I knew then what I know now:  I have a physical job.  If one of my co-workers told me in 1984 that they practiced yoga on a mat I would've thought they were inches away from shaking a tambourine at an airport.  I acknowledge the ignorance of this. My son Michael is 20 yrs old and a serious practitioner of yoga.  I'm certain it will serve him well.  As for me, it's never too late to start but I'm still trying to rely on above mentioned humor to get me through the aches and pains. Not as effective.

4). That which doesn't defeat me only makes me stronger:  Yes.....in every area but stress.  This axiom has so much merit in so many applications.  Conquering a fear whether rational or irrational.  Making it through an anxiety producing first day of a job.  Accomplishing a physical feat that seemed beyond my grasp.  Stress however, is deceptive.  One never actually conquers it, only manages it well or poorly.  I was almost masochistic about functioning and fulfilling my responsibilities under stress.  Thought I was growing stronger but stress's effects are accumulative and corrosive.  Make changes in life if there's an imbalance. Aging has given me the clarity to see certain truths and the peace of mind to trust my instincts.

5). I will state on those rare, perfect occasions skinny-dipping is one of the most beneficial, mental, emotional age reducers I can think of.  Talk about thumbing your nose at Father Time and not conceding an inch.  The perfect antidote for emotionally feeling old.  It's benefits linger for months beyond the moment.


6). Finally...an observation/comment on the fairer sex and their aging process.  It's presumptuous but please indulge me.  I think women who have a close relationship with nature tend to fare better in the aging process.  This is a generalization. Women who garden and hike etc. have an earthy appreciation for nature's changes and therefore may be more accepting of their own changes. Don't get me wrong, I love it when women (like my wife Rhonda) get dolled up to borrow a term from Sinatra.  Some cultures elevate this and certain social stratas and professions require this polished appearance.  Beautiful. No complaints. I just think if you can't transition to the earthiness of getting your hands dirty or working up a good workout sweat, you're lingering in rarefied air.  Then it becomes artificial and natural aging is more fearful. Just a thought.  I welcome any contrary or enlightening views."


Kevin, from the bottom of my heart, as they say in Ireland, go raibh maith agat   :-)    

November 01, 2010

Help, Hope and Healing



This past weekend I had the honor of being interviewed about Lines of Beauty by my lifelong friend & soul sister Cynthia Brennen on her radio show Help, Hope and Healing. This photo,circa 1978, is of Cindy and me senior year on deck at our high school swimming pool.

Two fish out of the water goofing around as usual :-)

Cindy is a mind, body, spiritual and emotional wellness therapist and each week she interviews a new guest on her very inspirational show. This week we covered such topics as the positive sides of aging, and the physical, mental and emotional aspects to aging gracefully & enjoying life. Plus, several surprise topics thrown into the mix :-)

If you'd like to hear the interview you can easily download it to your computer, or to your iPod -so that you can go for a walk one of these glorious autumn days and enjoy the show.

To access the interview simply go to Cindy's website and in the 3rd column under "AM-WWLZ 820 Talk Radio" click on Lines of Beauty.

And have a good week everyone!

October 29, 2010

Aging Gracefully With Children


This week’s beauty is Kamala Madhu.

Kalmala and I were lucky to meet recently through a mutual friend who I went to high school with, and with whom she went to college. Small world.  Kalmala, and her husband of almost twenty-five years, have two college-age children. In addition, she has been teaching nursery school for thirteen years, and is a former president of the PTA, not just once, but twice.

Kamala has this to share about growing older:

For me, it's all about accepting how you look and who you are. I come from a family of women that don't do much to enhance their natural beauty, such as it is. I do wear make-up occasionally, but have never dyed my hair or even plucked my eyebrows. Writing this has made me wonder whether it's a matter of principle or the path of least resistance!

I still feel young in spite of my graying hair-I actually really like the way it looks. Working with young children keeps me on my toes. Occasionally the children will comment on my gray hair and say, "You look old!” but to a three year old, almost everyone looks old.

I have a relatively young mother (72) who has been an inspiration to me. She found a new path after her children went to college, becoming a professional photo archivist at the Eastman House in Rochester, NY, traveling extensively with my father, and gardening.  Her latest project has been keeping chickens-she loves them!

I am fifty and have never had a problem telling people my age.

You are as old as you are.


Thank you Kamala for being this week's beauty.


October 26, 2010

Coming Around Again


I swam competitively for the first time in 30 years on Sunday morning. The day started off on the wrong foot as I anxiously awoke at 4:22 AM, more than two hours before my alarm was set to go off. Then I got in the shower to shave and cut my legs in three places…which made me a bit late for the warm-up at the pool.

But by the time I got on the starting block to race I was relatively calm and my finish time was less than 5 seconds off my best time ever. I am determined to improve my time at the next meet.

Masters Swimming is a national program for anyone over the age of eighteen. Sunday’s swim meet featured about 115 racers including an 84-year-old woman racer, and an 80-year-old man! So fun! Men and women race against each other, and it’s a great community event. Plus, you can join Masters Swimming and you don't have to race.  It’s a good program for those who just want to swim for fitness too.

Returning to racing felt like going to a reunion of sorts for me- except all the people and the swimming technology are different now. I guess it was more like a reunion with myself!  Being under water is one of the most calming and centering things I have ever done. Kind of like yoga, for fish :-)

The photo above is of me 32 years ago. I'm hoping that I can get my arms at least half as strong as they were back then at this ripe old age of almost 50.

It’s gratifying to circle back around to things we once loved to do but moved away from for whatever reason.  Maybe it’s a sport, but perhaps it’s playing the violin or singing, or writing, doing art, being in a play, or learning a language that we once loved.  After college, parts of all of us get put on hold -or even forgotten about- as we start jobs and/or families, but it reconnects us with our souls to unearth them again. And, it adds a new dimension to our lives.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress...

 

October 22, 2010

Aging Gracefully With Photojournalism


This week’s beauty is Robbie Kaye. Robbie is a photojournalist and is currently working on a book and exhibit called Beauty & Wisdom from her travels around the country photographing and interviewing women in their 70s,80s, and 90s in beauty parlors.

The women in Beauty & Wisdom live in a culture where the beauty of youth is hugely valued but the beauty of age is often ignored. In the beauty parlors across America, this fading generation of women share their humor and wisdom, as Robbie learned in New Orleans when Mrs. Guste, 88, who lost every piece of her jewelry when her house was looted during Hurricane Katrina, reminded her, "everything is borrowed and when it goes away, it's time to give it back."






Here is what Robbie has to say about growing older:

The older I get, the more privileged I feel about living each day and having the opportunity to learn and work on mastering this thing called life.  I spent over 20 years as a musician and songwriter and when I was 43, I fell in love with photography so much that I decided to study it.  That was 8 years ago…when I went back to school for English and photography.  I was twice the age of my fellow classmates but I wanted to learn so much that it didn’t bother me and because it was fine with me, it was also fine with them and it was one of the best experiences of my life.  I learned that instead of being afraid of something, like academics or failing, that I actually thrived in it and enjoyed being in school, learning, reading and relating to others in literature and art. At age 44 I had the honor of being on the Dean’s List, an accomplishment I never even dreamed of.

The universe is a tricky one, with lots of goodness in store, and now I find myself combining the two subjects I studied and love to do, photography and English. As I work on my photojournalism project, “Beauty & Wisdom,” I am grateful for the opportunity and the learning from such great professors on my path. I tell you this because I want others to know that they can start a new career at any time, at any age…it’s never too late, to discover your dream and then follow it.

Congratulations Robbie on creating such an exciting and important story.

Below is an interesting clip of Robbie's project in the making.




October 19, 2010

What's Love Got To Do With It?



I am just finishing reading Slow Love-How I lost my job, Put on my pajamas & Found happiness by Dominique Browning. I have been savoring each page, and I'm sad to have it come to an end.

Dominique is in her fifties and lost her job as editor of House & Garden when the magazine folded at the end of 2007.  Like so many people lately, she was suddenly out of work. At the same time her children had left home, and she ended a long love affair, as well as sold the home that she thought she would live in forever.

Having lost my knitwear design job after sixteen years in 2007, I can relate to suddenly losing the main thing that she so accurately says “defined her days, paced and regulated her life.” She had feared losing it for many years, and when it happened, it nearly flattened her. With the busyness of her work gone, she was left with plenty of time to think about life, which she writes about with bold honesty and humor. It is like reading someone’s diary.

I especially like her quote of Adam Nicolson’s from Sea Room:

“At the back of that hurry is the knowledge that it is a screen against honesty.”   

That is one powerful sentence.

Slow Love is about living life more slowly. As Dominique says, it is “the love that comes of an unhurried and focused attention to the simplest things, available to all of us, at any time, should we choose to engage…..Perhaps even importantly, slow love comes out of the quiet hours, out of learning from the silence that is always there when we want it.”

Slow Love is about finding peace. It's a great read.

Below is an interview with Dominique on CNN about Slow Love, which might be especially interesting to any of you who have lost your job, or are close to someone who has.





October 15, 2010

Still Doing It




I came across this entertaining preview of the film (and book) Still Doing It, which is about women continuing to enjoy sex after age 65.

This is very encouraging :-)

Who says that as the years go on we have to work harder to create the magic?

Plus, sex is as important for our health as eating well, exercising and sleeping writes Dr. Christiane Northrup.

Dr. Ruth says, "Times are not easy-so put your worries outside the bedroom door, and make sure that you engage in some wonderful sexual experiences."

Keep it coming Dr. Ruth :-)


October 13, 2010

The ABC's of Aging


The ABC's of aging from Cottage Style Living comes in two sizes. I have The ABC's of Life  in the bathroom just outside my studio that Gray Gorgeousness gave me as a gift a few years back (see below).  It's a good reminder.

PERSPIRE WITH APLOMB.....I've been trying to find the enjoyment in these power surges...sometimes I almost can when it's cold outside :-)

I also like QUIT WHINING.

Hope you're all having a good week.

October 08, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Style


This week’s beauty is Abby Forestall the principal and owner of Embellishments located in Lexington, MA.  Embellishments believes the image you project can positively affect your personal well being and career success.  When you feel good about how you present yourself, and you live/work in pleasant, inspiring and well-designed spaces you feel better and accomplish more.   

A few years ago Abby designed my knitwear studio top to bottom and did such a great job that it was featured in 2009 spring/summer issue of Studio Magazine.

Abby has this to share about aging:

Growing Old…Maturing…. I think more appropriate, Getting Better.

I don’t know about you but the older I get, the busier I become, yet the slower I am in a way.  I stop and think about things more.  I take a breath and notice what a nice day it is or what is still blooming.  I love to look up and see the tops of trees against the sky.  Sounds silly doesn’t it but the older I get the more appreciative I am.  I am lucky enough to have one of the best men as my adoring husband for over twenty-five years.  He is my support, my “business coach” and my mentor as well as all those other things you count on in a partnership raising two children.  I started my own business as an interior decorator/style and wardrobe consultant over 5 years ago and have achieved a client base of over 50 wonderful clients and am now starting my second year as President of one of Massachusetts’ premier Business Network International (BNI) chapters in historic Lexington.  In this world where so much is amiss, and there is so much misery, I think we all need to step back and be ever more thankful of what we have, what we have become and hold on to what we know the world can be.  Do what you can, appreciate those that do more and always, always look forward.

For more information about Embellishments and the services it provides please call Abby at 781.608.5634 or visit their website at AddStyleToYourLife.com

October 05, 2010

New For Fall

With cooler air arriving for most of us, I thought a quick glimpse into the fashion trends for fall 2010 might be timely.

Being a lover of knitwear, I am always curious to see what is new and exciting each season. Fashion is a great way to embrace aging, as many women really begin to understand their personal style.

And it's fun!

Plus, the other great thing, especially this year, is that we can sometimes recycle pieces from our closets from years past that have come into vogue again & just need to be reworked a bit.

So what’s hot for fall 2010?

  • Bold colors: Red, purple, blue, and olive (and also camel).  Scared of bold colors? Try pairing them with a neutral.

  • 50s silhouettes, classics like capes and ponchos, pattern mixing, faux fur, military looks, sweater dresses (oh la la), menswear inspired belted jackets, velvet and velour, sleek turtlenecks, wide legged pants with volume, and shimmer for daytime and sparkle for night.  Also layering is still big which is helpful in covering lumps and bumps. And guess what else?  Long skirts are coming back (great for covering the veins in my legs :-0 ).

I always like to see what Michelle Obama has been wearing and thought you might enjoy this slideshow.

Also, I have two very good books on style to introduce you to and a video clip below this post from Marie Claire about fall fashion trends with Tim Gunn.

I got these from my local library:


  •  Kendall Farr's Style Evolution- How to create an ageless personal style in your 40s and beyond.

 

Top Five Fall Trends

October 01, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Filmmaking


This week’s beauty is Laurie Schur who is the creator of the documentary The Beauty of Aging. Laurie is also a Clinical Social Worker, is happily married, and is a mother and grandmother. She is 65 years old.

Laurie has this to share about growing older:

“Over the years I have noticed - for myself and as a therapist, I have added a spiritual dimension to my life and work. I focus less on exploring the problem and more on the solution and a broader perspective on how to deal with what I now call challenges instead of problems.

My decision to create The Beauty of Aging was out of a desire to explore a differently creative aspect of myself than the creative skills used as a therapist. Because my mother died before her 64th birthday and she was an unhappy person, I was drawn to explore aging in my film and to find women who could show the way to a better and happier old age, despite their challenges. While I've been a seeker of truth, wisdom, healing and knowledge all my life, I think as I've aged I am better able to integrate what I learn and have a stronger intention to “do the practice”.

I strongly believe that one size does not fit all - that lessening the judgment of myself and others is an important part of the journey and I am more willing to do that now then when I was younger and was more fixed in judgment - at least I catch it now and work to release it.

I think that whatever makes someone happy and doesn't hurt others is okay - e.g. - some want gray hair - others color their hair - some feel good about wrinkles - others feel the need to "fix" them. While it would be great if we could all feel great about ourselves, both internally and externally, I don't think I can judge how people deal with such issues - especially given the influence of families and culture on such things. And - I work to release the hold of the external pressures and to remember that beauty really is - for me - not what someone looks like (though, of course, we are all attracted to different standards of beauty) - but that energy, spirit, vitality, attitude, interest in life etc. are the true things that create beauty - like the women in my film The Beauty of Aging exude.”


September 28, 2010

Botox Me Not

  
I keep reading more and more about Hollywood’s latest take on botox, especially casting director’s, who no longer want to hire frozen, robotic looking faces. This is such great news seeing how they are at the forefront in our media of what is put before our eyes as examples of beauty.  Even Julia Roberts has come forward recently saying that she never wants to have plastic sugery. Recently in Elle magazine she explained, “I want my kids to know when I'm pissed, when I'm happy and when I'm confounded. Your face tells a story and it shouldn't be a story about your drive to the doctor's office."

Julia, congratulations. You will go down in history as one of the first women in Hollywood to take a stand and set a great example not only for your own daughter, but for young girls and women everywhere.

A few month's ago there was another good article in the New York Times about the change in tide in Hollywood.

I leave you this week with a pictorial of aging actresses at More Magazine

I think Annette Bening looks especially fabulous :-)

September 24, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Simplicity



This week's Beauty of the Week is Jennifer Prince Bronstein.

What are Jennifer's words of wisdom about aging gracefully you might be wondering?

"Everyday is a surprise worth waiting for."

Short, sweet, and so true.

Thanks Jennifer.

September 22, 2010

The Art of Aging

Below is a wonderful clip that I have been wanting to post for awhile of artists Richard and Alice Matzkin. The Matzkins realized, as they began to enter middle age, that if they didn't change their attitudes about aging they were going to be very unhappy. So they decided to use their art to heal their fears and negative views about growing older. What was born is a beautiful book called The Art of Aging, Celebrating the Authentic Aging Self.

I will say no more as their interview speaks for itself. Take a minute to watch it. I promise you won't be disappointed.





September 17, 2010

Aging Naturally




This week's Beauty of the Week is Gail Lewis Lord. As Lines of Beauty's second guest blogger, Gail has written a great piece for us about growing older:

Rarely do I believe I am “growing old gracefully.” I struggle with the same insecurities all women face when we look in the mirror and see our own mothers staring back at us.

I am a 63 year old, divorced mother of three grown children with three grandsons, who is retired but still not sure what I want to do with the rest of my life. Currently, I volunteer at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and the Lady Bird Wildflower Center, consult on marketing, keep up many friends, read and travel. Frankly, I do not know how I ever had time to work! But I treasure my alone and down time. Learning how to love my own company has been one of the greatest gifts in my process of maturing gracefully.

I have also learned there are no magic potions or bullets to change the course of time. We are all largely products of our genes and environments, whether we like it or not. For example, my genes dictated that I would turn gray in my 20s. At first, it just looked like my hair was heavily frosted -even my hairdressers thought so.

That first year I fought turning gray with every hair color product available until I turned my hair GREEN! Thankfully, a hairdresser was able to reverse my coloring disaster. But that experience cured me of trying again. My hair was even resistant to beauty parlor products. Forced to accept my silver locks, I embraced them, and never looked back. Friends say my hair is my crowning glory; I am blessed and grateful to have good hair. Complete strangers stop me on the street to tell me how beautiful they think it is. But life is full of good hair days and bad hair days.

Another lesson learned is that our emotions are inextricably connected to our bodies and that stress can kill. We can suit up and show up, and do our best, but that is all we can do. Trying to control how others think or act only causes us stress. Coping with this reality is an ongoing challenge, but I keep trying. I’m not as hard on myself anymore if I don’t succeed.

Over the years, I have been blessed with wonderful, supportive friends, without whom I probably would not have survived. For me, maturing gracefully is an ongoing process of appreciating those friends, self-discovery, acceptance, gratitude, and curiosity about life. And it doesn’t hurt to have good hair!

September 14, 2010

Extending The Story

Like some of you maybe, I was born into a family with much older siblings. The photo to the left is from 1961 of my sister Sarah, who was nearly ten at the time, and me, on vacation in Cape Cod.  For as long as I can remember, Sarah has been one to seek the truth, and examine what resides under the layers of life. This is one of the things I appreciate most about her.

Sarah of course is one of my biggest supporters of Lines of Beauty, but because we are so different in some ways, her thoughts carry her to topics for this blog that I might not ever travel to.

So today I introduce Sarah Becker, my first guest blogger, whom I’m grateful, once again, for peaking under the layers:

"I think about Lines of Beauty often.  I wonder about the possibilities for stories that talk about the territory between recognition that one is aging in some way at any given moment and accepting the process of aging as it appears at that time.  Actually it's not about accepting the process of aging because having to "accept" it sees it from a negative stance from the beginning.  It's about understanding the transition one is in at the moment and looking forward to change, no matter what it is.  But I think I can say that because I have come to this understanding with time and experience.

I’d like to hear those specific stories from women which would tell us more about the internal processes we go through in change - more than optimism and "can do".  Because I think that the most optimistic of us have times of needing a good talking it through with ourselves to move ourselves along toward growth and realization.  This process of aging happens any time in life, as we comprehend the changes and stages of our lives - really from the earliest years.  We start by seeing it as "growing up", becoming adult, and then so often it's "oh no, I'm going to turn 30, 40, 50, etc."  One hears the dread around one all the time as people we know turn specific ages.  Where is the welcoming of wisdom and experience, of moving forward?

But it is broader and deeper than that...what am I doing with my life?  What needs to change?  What can change? How do I have to see differently in order move myself along?  How do I understand my living-self knowing that some day my life ends?  All of us hit roadblocks or stagnation in this process but something moves us along to get to the other side toward new understanding.

So while aging can be seen from the point of view of our bodies and spirits and beauty, it's really about moving through the life cycle.  We inhabit our bodies from the beginning.  They come to define so much of living.  I'd like to hear the stories of our minds and hearts, and yes, of our bodies too - all within the crunch and grind and breath of life."

More about Sarah here.

September 09, 2010

Aging Gracefully With A Quest For Positive Change



This week’s Beauty of the Week is Ginny Hutchinson who turned 50 this year. Every now and then we need a reminder of how good life is.  Luckily, Ginny and her long time friend Cathy Haffner, who are both former business executives, have written a very handy book called Better Because of You, that does just this. Their book encourages readers to change how we think, and reminds us that we can be an irresistible force for positive change. One of the book’s core beliefs is that life is what we think.

I totally agree.

Ginny has this to share about aging happily:

“As I mark this year with a 5-0, I’m thrilled to be getting older.  The alternative is much worst!  To truly celebrate my 50 years on our planet, I’ve chosen to embrace my life and this year try 50 new things….or about 1 per week. They range from small, new activities – like standing on my head in yoga or baking bread from scratch, to larger feats like trekking near Everest Base Camp. I’m Better Because of Aging. With each new day, I am getting older, but wiser and better, too!  I look at age as gain, not drain. By keeping life fun and interesting, it helps keep me young at heart.”

Better Because interviewed Harvard Professor, Dr. Nicholas Christakis who was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World (2009) because of his findings from a 20+ year study on the affect of positive and negative emotions. What is his take? That happiness is contagious.  If you would like to hear more about what I think is a very interesting study click here.

Also, below is an interview with Ginny and Cathy on the NBC Seattle Evening News.

Ginny and Cathy, I'm not kidding when I say this:

I feel better because of you.



Better Because Interview

September 06, 2010

The Sound of Silence

My firstborn went off to college this week. Confidently making her way into her new world, while leaving us behind to discover our own. Oh how I miss her. Luckily, we've all been partly broken in over here by her having taken a gap year last year to travel.  But still, there is something more permanent about her leaving this time. Something a little more, I don’t know what…I guess it’s just sadness.

It strikes me how quickly the child rearing years pass by. I wish I could  have young ones around me forever.

I finally read the wonderful Eat, Pray, Love when she was away this past year and just saw the movie which I didn’t have high expectations for but ended up liking- especially the gorgeous cinematography and many of the very profound messages, particularly about letting ourselves experience the quiet in our lives, the silence. I especially like this quote from the author, Elizabeth Gilbert:

“The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That's where you need to go.”

If your life is suddenly feeling quieter because you just dropped a child off at school you might enjoy what I think is a great story on the subject titled The Bridge, written by fabric designer & writer Anna Maria Horner.  Thank you to Cathy for sending this in.

Also, below is a clip of Simon and Garfunkel singing The Sound of Silence at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert in Madison Square Garden this past October.