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.  

September 03, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Love

This week’s Beauty of the Week is Irene who is 91 years old.  Irene is an old family friend who is as dear as the day is long.  I was particularly curious of course to find out how someone her age can look so great and be so sharp.  She said that her mother, who was from England of "hardy country stock" took care of her youngest grand-baby at the age of 93. It is plain to see that Irene is another example of the apple not falling too far from the tree.  When I visited Irene she was dressed in shorts and flats and was still very agile and fit for her age. She showed me that with a quick rock in her chair- she is able to stand up easily :-)

Irene said that what keeps her young and healthy is her love & enjoyment of family, friends, and neighbors.  She said that her mom use to say, “You are whatever your neighbors think of you.” Irene clearly adores her three grown boys, and their wives, and all of her grandchildren.  She even had framed photos of her neighbor’s children in her home.

When I asked Irene about exercise and nutrition I was surprised to hear that she has never exercised a day in her life AND that she enjoys a cocoa cola and candy bar for breakfast!  This sure shoots a hole in all the stats on healthy living! Here is another of her health-tips: since 1970 she has enjoyed two glasses of wine every night at 9PM. With all the heart problems in my family this is one tip that I think I can safely follow.  Irene said that she has never smoked, and only drinks one cup of coffee a day.  In addition to her connection with people, Irene has also brought enjoyment to her life by playing bridge, doing cross-stitch & sewing, going to church, and buying gifts for all the people that she loves.

Irene also shared this interesting article by Boston columnist Robert Powell called Follow Your Personal Path to a Good Life. 

Irene, sweetheart, thank you for being our Aging Beauty this week. I loved seeing you and your wonderful husband again, and enjoyed hearing all that you had to share about your life. xoxo