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.


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,


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


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.