December 30, 2011

Happy New Year

I am not big on celebrating New Years. I would just like to dance tonight, with a 40+ crowd preferably, which might be a hard thing to find outside our living room window.

For me the best thing about New Years is that I have eleven wonderful months until the hectic holidays roll around again. Still, every time I hear Auld Lang Syne it touches me, especially since hearing this incredibly delicious recording by Scottish singer Mairi Campbell on Sex and the City.

Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish poem that was written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The words 'Auld Lang Syne' literally translates from old Scottish dialect meaning 'Old Long Ago' and is about love and friendship in times past. The lyrics 'We'll take a Cup of Kindness yet' relate to a drink shared by men and women to symbolize friendship.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

So on this note I wish you all a good New Year.

Best wishes to you for health, happiness, and enjoying life in 2012,


December 29, 2011

She'll Be There

So who is on the inside?

Because that's the girl you have to fall in love with.

She'll be there, regardless of your looks, or your age, or your physical abilities, until the day you die.

To search for something more is to chase something we'll never catch.

By Elizabeth Davies

To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom and the one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. 

By Henri Frederic Amiel

Photo by Tree Faerie, Australia

December 23, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Enjoyment

This week's beauty is Bonnie Matheson who is about to turn 70. She is the author of Ahead of the Curve, which is an intimate conversation with women in the second half of life. Bonnie has a story to tell, and all sorts of steps for her audience to take towards a more enjoyable, fulfilling life. I look forward to reading her book.

In addition, Bonnie is a health and wellness coach, motivational speaker, mother, and grandmother. She was the executive director of the Institute for New Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and eighteen years ago became a doula. That was about the same time she caught her own grandchild in her hands when her daughter came home to have her baby. Several years later she started a website for women with information about pregnancy and birth called Childbirth Solutions.  To this day Bonnie strives to work towards better, more empowering births for women worldwide.

Bonnie says she is enjoying her “second fifty years” immensely and has this to share about growing older:

As I reached the age of 50 I began to think about how much I had accomplished in the first 50 years of my life. It turned out to be quite a lot. School, marriage, 5 children, real estate career and childbirth advocate, daughter, sister friend and volunteer as well as student of life. I decided right then that no matter how long it took I would go back to school to earn a BA and eventually maybe find time for a Ph D. It dawned on me that the years would pass whether I was in school or not, so why not just go and accomplish this goal. And I did it. Later I divorced amicably, started yet another career as a health coach and writer. The point is this. It is NEVER too late to change your life. We can remain young at heart, juicy, and healthy far into our 90s. My mother is 93 and going strong. She is happy and she is pretty. You can choose the way you age by choosing your attitude. This is entirely within your power to do starting right now. 

 I will be 70 in January and feel that I have many years ahead to do more of what I love. Even if something were to happen to me prematurely I FEEL as if I have a lot of time. And that is the important thing. Feeling good about aging and not letting it become a discouragement is key to enjoying every day.

Thank you Bonnie for being this week's beauty.

I love what you have to say on this video:

December 19, 2011

Coming Around Again

Like many of you probably, I always feel a little overwhelmed this time of year with all the holiday hoopla. I have whittled my gift giving list way down, and I don't put nearly as much energy into holidays as I once did, but's busy and crazy, nevertheless, with everyone arriving so soon for Christmas.

I yi yi...

Truth be told- as much as I enjoy being together with everyone, I love the month of January when it is all behind us for another year. 

I often feel in January, like I do after winter's thaw in March, that I can relish the many carefree months ahead, before things get zany again.

Last summer my camera got dropped down the stairs and I have yet to repair it. I'm still in a quandary whether to pay the $180 to fix it, or just get a new one, so unfortunately, I don't have a single holiday photo to share. As you can imagine, a blogger without a camera is kind of like a cook without a Cuisinart, or a seamstress without a seam ripper. The good news is that I can at least recycle last year's photos of Christmas if you happened to have missed them.

My favorite thing about holiday gatherings is when dinner is all ready, and we pause, and take a minute to be silent, to give thanks. 

When the kids were young I made up a simple grace to say each night before dinner. It goes like this:

Let us be thankful for all that we have-

for our home,

and our health,

but especially, 

for each other.

Each day is a blessing.


I hope you all drive safely, have fun,
and are able to be with someone you love.
(and get more sleep than I am getting)
XO, Louise

Blue spruce photo by Aleksandr Kutsayev.
Pine cone photo by  Rachel Kirk, Grand Valley, Ontario

December 17, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Enthusiasm

This week's beauty is Brazilian born Gigi Schilling who is 53-years-old. When Gigi wrote me she said, "My English is not so good but my words are from the heart."

If you ask me, that's all that matters!

I bring you Gigi:

My name is Gigi Schilling, Brazilian by birth but a nomad by nature. I am the Mother-in-Wonder of Alexander the Great-est (he is 14). For the past 18 years I have owned a distribution company of imported beauty & hair care products in Brazil that sells to salons and retail. Currently I live in Miami, but I lived in New York City for 10 years in the 80s, amongst many other cities.

In March 2010 I founded a group on Facebook named Over Fifty & Irresistible (OFI) because LIFE is irresistible regardless of its sorrows. OFI is all about Ageless Philosophy for Men and Women.

I was inspired by the PARADOX I observed on people not embracing their 50's ~ One is too YOUNG to die at 50 - yet - too OLD to live being 50. I also believe that at 50 and beyond the reflection is from within and the mirror no longer matters.

At 53 years of age I am thankful and I truly celebrate being ALIVE in every sense of the way... it's as simple and as profound as that.

I love quotes and I have created over 100 of them all about being Over 50... they are either funny or profound... so here is the first one: Keep on Fifty-ing... that is the new Vibe!

Stay tuned for my Over Fifty and Irresistible website that will go live in March.

Thank you Gigi for being this week's beauty, beauty.

December 13, 2011

Money, Money, Money

I thought as we promenade head-on into the holidays I would share this neat clip that I found on Consciously Frugal about the new American dream. It's beautifully illustrated, which is helpful for any of you attention deficit, visual learners, like myself.

Every day we are bombarded with gazillions of messages telling us that the good life is attainable by making lots of money and spending it on things that claim to make us feel happy, loved, and good about ourselves...

Unfortunately this can come at a high price for our well being, as well as for the earth's.

As the clip explains, research consistently shows that the more materialistic people are the lower their happiness is. Strong materialistic values also effect our social relationships and effect other people's well being. As materialistic values go up, social values tend to go down. When people have money on their minds they are less likely to be generous, cooperative, and care about the environment.

We tend to focus more on material things when we feel insecure.

Luckily, we can begin to diminish the power of  materialism by doing a few simple things:

  • The next time we have a blow to our self esteem, we can circumvent going out and being a consumer by stopping to enjoy people, nature, or being creative instead. A good question to ask ourselves is "Do I really need this, or do I just want it?"
  • The more that people are exposed to the media the more they prioritize materialistic values. It's helpful to hit the mute button when ads come on TV.
  • It's also helpful to pay more attention to intrinsic values such as growing as a person, being close to people, finding meaningful work, volunteering, and improving the world. As intrinsic values go up, materialistic values go down.

So this holiday season think about giving a gift that doesn't cost a thing. Imagine that. Perhaps it's simply being 100% agreeable for an entire day. Imagine that! Maybe it's running errands for an elderly neighbor or checking in on a friend who is lonely. Maybe it's the gift of sex (did I just say that?), or being the designated driver on New Year's Eve. 

Or maybe it's one of these 17 other ideas in this little slide show, that don't cost a cent :-)

Photo by David Castillo Dominici.

December 10, 2011

Aging Gracefully With The Truth

This week's beauty is Connie Banford who is 61-years-old. Connie and I grew up in the same neck of the woods along the lower end of the Niagara River in New York. She is a certified internet marketing consultant and heads-up her own company Banford Enterprises. They provide an all-in one marketing platform that combines Video Email, Webinar/Webcasts, Mobile Marketing, Email Marketing, Lead Capture, and Social Media into one easy to use system that allows companies to dramatically enhance their bottom-line sales all while personalizing their approach to clients.

Banford Enterprises also offers Customized Mobil Apps.

Connie has a blog called Now What If and has this to share about growing older: 

As each year approaches more quickly than the last, I have come to realize that there are certain things that simply keep one young in mind and in spirit. First is mindset and attitude. Each new decade can bring exciting adventures if you look at them as being exciting.  Two people can look at the same gray hair, for example, and have totally different perspectives. One person might think “old” yet the other thinks “beauty,”  and you have a choice in that thinking! Positive thoughts and a positive attitude certainly can be the key to mental, spiritual and physical health.

It’s crucial to exercise and to eat a proper diet, I’ve found. There is still a lot of world yet to explore so you want to be healthy! Whatever the age, people just need to remember not to “sweat that small stuff” because that just contributes to ill-health and stress.

Interestingly, I used to be somewhat reticent to change, but as years pass, I have totally reversed that reluctance. Change can be very difficult, but to embrace it can be invigorating and exciting. Being open to learning new things, learning technology, and keeping up with the world keeps your mind young and alive.  Reading , and continuation of personal development should be continued activities! 

Babies, little people and young adults will keep you in awe of your surroundings. You forget how beautiful a simple flower or butterfly can be but young people show you that beauty once again. They help you remember those exciting “firsts” – the excitement of tying one’s shoes for the first time, riding a bike “with” and then “without” training wheels, and driving a car! Young adults keep your mind and ideas fresh. 

A huge advantage to becoming older is that it has become progressively more apparent that it makes no difference what others think as long as I am true to myself   Life is great and keeps getting better! 

Thank you Connie for joining us on Lines of Beauty. I love what you said about being true to yourself. If there was only one life lesson to be learned, I think this one might be very close to the top of the list.

December 06, 2011

Shake Your Booty

My mom is turning 90 in January.  Last winter she fell, broke a few bones, and ended up needing a pace maker. She had four hard months of recovery where she couldn't do much. Having been an active woman, this was a big change for her, and there were a few times when I wondered if she was going to be able to snap back. It turns out that she did and is feeling great. I credit this to her being able to exercise again- she is doing Tai Chi and going to Silver Sneakers exercise classes.

Exercise is so important. No one is ever too old to start.

I have this theory that part of the reason people like to smoke is that they love taking a deep breath, which we can get many times over, and much more healthfully, of course, with exercise.

A good friend of mine, who is a therapist, says that the first thing she asks people when they come to her for anxiety and/or depression is if they are exercising.

When we need to heal something in our lives, exercise is the first place to start.

Being fit makes everything in life run more smoothly.

I can't say it enough.

Yesterday Jane Fonda was on the The Today Show. She is now 73, has had a hip and knee replacement, and is out with two new exercise videos for seniors. She had some interesting things to say. She said that exercise is the number one ingredient for successful aging. Having had an eating disorder, she says that people can really get over food addictions. I can attest to this. She explained that she finally decided if she was going to live or die, and to go towards the light. Three times married, she also said that it's hard to find someone who isn't afraid to really show up, be intimate, and be fully present in a relationship, but that in her 70s, she has finally found him :-)

More on exercise in my post Never, Ever Stop Moving.

Yoga photo by Meepoohfoto.

Swimmer photo by Africa.

November 27, 2011

To The Morning

I am not a morning person by nature; I love the solitude of night, when everyone is sleeping, and no one needs me- leaving me to be the introvert that I sometimes am.

Even still, I have this image of myself later in life- nestled with a cup of tea, and birds chirping, looking out over the water in the early morning.

Night owls miss what I know are some of the best hours of the day.

On Mondays my alarm goes off at 4:55 AM now for swim practice. "Oh my Gawd!," is what I usually think.

Who the heck wants to get out of a warm bed, put on a bathing suit, and jump into a cold pool?

But I have to say that there are some nuggets of goodness in doing it, and one of them is that it has allowed me to begin to experience the beauty of the morning.

Today's clip is one of my favorite songs called To The Morning by Dan Fogelberg. Circa 1972.

Laying across my bed as a teenager in the 70's, I probably listened to it hundreds of times. Some of the photography is fabulous too, especially as you get further into it.

So if you have the time, sit back, and enjoy.

Watching the sun
Watching it come
Watching it come up over the rooftops.

Cloudy and warm
Maybe a storm
You can never quite tell
From the morning.

And it's going to be a day
There is really no way to say no
To the morning...

And maybe there are seasons
And maybe they change
And maybe to love is not so strange...

November 25, 2011

What We're Thinking

Like many of you, I imagine, it’s becoming more difficult to remember certain things. Such as people’s names, for instance, or trying to recall a word when writing a post, an email, or speaking. I’ve always been a poor speller, but it is getting even more difficult with age. I’m saved by word check for the most part, but not when sending a text. The other day I texted a friend and said that if he found himself bored this weekend that maybe he could begin writing an intro for an idea that we’re brewing. The problem is that when I went to write the word “bored” I wrote “bord” instead. I knew “bord” wasn’t correct, but in the moment, and in my haste, for the life of me I couldn’t remember how to spell it.

“I’m losing my mind,” I half-thought.

My brainwaves are definitely short-circuiting.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that in many ways I feel, like many of you probably do, that some of my thinking is clearer than it has ever been. Perhaps this is partly the wisdom of aging, but I also read recently that some areas of our brain aren’t fully developed until we are 45-50 years old. How great is this? So it’s not just that we have more life experiences to draw from as we age- but also that we’re able to access associations more quickly than ever before.


In particular the brain’s prefrontal cortex doesn’t finish developing until mid-life. Among other things, this area of our brain is responsible for organizing thoughts, problem solving, considering the future, making predictions, as well as inhibiting inappropriate behavior, initiating appropriate behavior, controlling impulses, and delaying gratification.

Maybe because of this older people are more apt to grasp the big picture. Maybe this is partly why that at social occasions I am drawn to talking with them.

It is also why there is a group called The Elder Wisdom Circle. This network has more than 600 advisers, age 60-105 that offers free one-on-one advice online.

It’s great to know they are there- the next time any of us are in a bit of a quandary.

 Light bulb photo by Digitalart

November 19, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Diabetes

This week's beauty is 80-year-old actress, singer, teacher, author, and minister, Della Reese. Della is also a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association. She has type 2 diabetes but has been able to control it without insulin because she has slimmed down, exercises, and eats well. And because she feeds her mind good thoughts.

 Della has this to share about life:

  • My advice about diabetes? You can be stronger than it. This is not terminal cancer. You can be stronger than this; you just have to change your mind and change your life.

  •  My idea of forgiveness is letting go of resentment that does not serve your better interest, ridding yourself of negative thoughts. All they do is make you miserable. Believe me, you can fret and fume all you want, but whoever it was that wronged you is not suffering from your anguish whatsoever.

  • You get old when you stop being interested. You get old when you don't create any more.

  • If you're not getting the things you want, need or desire, it's because you have not accepted that you can have them.

  • So whatever it is you want, need or desire or just like to have, you better try to get it now, 'cause this is the only time there is.

Thank you Della. You are a wise woman.

November 15, 2011

Who We Are

"We are all aging everyday, that is the process of living. When we fight it and try to alter it, we lose out on the moments that teach us who we are and not what the outside world wants to see. We all need to age fearlessly so we can embrace... our entire existence of self through birth til death. The very young, young, and old, have their own unique beauty to share with the world. We just have to pay attention to what we are truly seeing."

~ By Maria Certo 

 Photo by Arvind Balaraman

November 12, 2011

Photojournalist Robbie Kaye

Photo Robbie Kaye

Former beauty of the week photojournalist Robbie Kaye's project Beauty and Wisdom is part of Exposure's photography competition. Two years ago Robbie began driving around the country to interview and photograph golden ladies in beauty parlors.

Photo by Robbie Kaye

It is Robbie's goal to not only preserve and highlight the rituals and roles of this overlooked generation in a culture that focuses so heavily on the beauty of youth, but also to demystify the aging stigma and show that older women are beautiful, vibrant and have very much to contribute to society.

Please take a minute to vote for Robbie's Beauty and Wisdom project here.

Muchas gracias!

November 09, 2011

Whatever We Say We Are Is What We Are

This past weekend I went to hear Wayne Dyer and Caroline Myss speak in Boston. I was familiar with Wayne from his seminars on PBS, but had never heard of Caroline. Unfortunately I felt that Caroline was all over the place in her presentation and I carried very little away with me that she had to say. Wayne however, being the master of self- development, had many insightful things to share.

At dinner on Monday Tom was curious to hear what I had learned. I immediately wanted to reach for my notes but he suggested that I skip them and tell him about what popped into my head, which turned out to be a better approach.

So I explained to him that when something new presents itself in our lives, oftentimes our conditioned response is to think that we aren't capable of being successful with it. This conditioned response of course keeps us from achieving what we want.

Wayne Dyer explained that before going to bed at night it is very important to make a statement about what we are trying to be successful with as it will marinate in our sub-conscience all night like a meditation (whatever we say we are is what we are).  He said the last thought we have before we turn out the light is very important- as in "I am_____ " (fill in the blank).

So I explained to Tom, and our younger daughter, that I think my last unconscious thought recently is usually "I am scattered."  He asked what I would like to replace it with and without thinking I said I'd like to switch it to "I am magnificent." I know. Really! This immediately brought me to tears because one of the things that I've been working on is to be more humble. And how does the fact that I want to be the fastest 50-year-old sprinter in the US go hand in hand with humbleness? So you can see that I am having a conflict here.

As Wayne explained- we are all magnificent. After some thought, however, I've decided that my last thought before drifting off into sleep- at least for right now- is going to be "I am focused."

Wayne said that we manifest into our life who we are and that when we change our thoughts, we change our life.

I will say it again because it is so profound:

When we change our thoughts, we change our life.

~Kind of like what we think, we become.

November 05, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Photography

This week's beauty is Terry Lee Cafferty who is a new friend of mine, but already a dear one. We met through The Revelation Project. Terry Lee is 53-years-old and is a fine art portrait photographer specializing in babies and children. She owns the photography studio Lovesome Images which creates family artwork with natural style images that have been described as intimate, heartwarming and timeless. Terry Lee is married to singer John Cafferty of The Beaver Brown Band.

Terry Lee has this to share about growing older:

I am a children's portrait artist and I love what I do. I am fascinated by human nature and consistently strive to capture and document the elements of life that connect each and every one of us. I photograph children because I so love their pure precious light, energy and the way they help us remember to see the world with a sense of awe while reminding us to live in the present moment.

As I grow (older) I've noticed an "ease" and freedom that feels natural to me. I believe that my human task here (on earth) is to learn, and stretch to be the best "me" I can be. With each passing year I get closer to understanding what really matters: family & friendships, faith, kindness, passion, puppies, honest work, saying “i'm sorry”, saying "i love you”, flowers, gratitude, imagination, home, charity, curiosity, the sounds of music & laughter, a good book, wisdom, memories, hope, courage, summer nights, family dinners & a good cup of coffee...just to name a few!

The more I learn and know myself the more I can embrace each aspect of myself (positive and negative) while realizing that those pesky things outside myself bothering me are my teachers -and I use these moments as opportunities to look within. Acceptance of myself and others has taught me that we are all connected in our human search for purpose and meaning. I've found that surrender, letting go & willingness to fail is a fine art - and each challenge teaches me and moves me toward fulfilling my life's divine purpose.

Life is magical- and each experience is so necessary. If we are open to learning and looking at life through the eyes of a student we can experience joy, heartache, milestones, struggles, birth & death all as deeply fulfilling experiences interwoven in the beautiful tapestry of life. I feel awake and alive now- which I have discovered are the gifts of age and wisdom.

The most difficult part of getting older is facing the mortality of ourselves and others.  Missing loved ones who have passed on and then learning how to live and adapt without them in the world has been most challenging for me. Secondarily, I've watched my body change, my facial lines soften but with each "stage" of life, I too, am experiencing a certain level of freedom with myself that was not available before. Focusing on my exterior has become less important and I find joy and peace with who I am inside instead. Don't get me wrong- I do care what I look like!  But, I am so much more at peace with who I am inside- and as the years pass.

Before I turned 50 I spent far too much time worrying about what other people thought. I took on pain and challenges that were not necessarily mine and would try to "fix" things, thinking that I was helping people. It was a huge relief when I finally learned that I can only control and change myself…and that sometimes loving someone and helping them means letting them figure it out for themselves. 
I've learned that I have the power to choose my thoughts and change my thoughts - and that this has provided a path that helps me to interpret and perceive life and it's happenings in more positive and fulfilling ways.  

When I envision myself as an older woman I see someone who is conscious, enlightened, graceful, and kind, and strives daily to love- unconditionally- toward myself and others. I am content to live up to my ideals without stretching to meet anyone else's standards now and this in itself is so freeing. 
I am not interested in growing "old" simply by living a certain quota of years. I feel that the most instantaneous threat of age is when we desert our dreams and ideals. I strive to trust, grow, believe, and flourish rather than to worry, doubt, and distrust…to me, this would be way worse than the years that wrinkle my skin. 

I don't ever want to lose my sense of joy & wonder.

And so it goes....I'm just getting started.

~Thank you Terry Lee for being this week's beauty. Louise

November 01, 2011

The Annex

My Dad named his second to last sailboat The Annex. It was only big enough to sleep two, but he considered it the annex to our home.

He would simply go down to the dock under the old willow tree, row out to her, push off into the current, and contently sail away with the wind.

A friend of mine once said that it's best to have two places for each of us to go. Her annex was a studio on the other side of the island from her home.

For me lately, my annex is in the pool. I no longer struggle to keep up. I no longer feel possessed to keep track of how far I’ve gone. I become a dolphin there. free. unencumbered. playful. streamlined. usually graceful.

For some of you

your annex might be a trail in the woods.

Or a friendship.

A church, or a temple.

Or simply sitting under a tree.

A place where you can sing or yell from the roof tops.

Where you do not have to be good.

And where,

most importantly

you can find yourself

amidst this crazy


wonderful world.

October 28, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Change

This week's beauty is actress Susan Saint James of McMillan and Wife and Kate and Allie fame. Susan is sixty-five years old and every time I've heard her speak she inspires me. Among many things, she is a mother who has survived the death of her fourteen-year-old child. She is also one of those rare women in Hollywood who has the guts to age naturally. Earlier this year I featured Susan when she discussed aging with her good friend and make-up artist Bobbi Brown on The Today Show.

Susan has this to say about life:

  •  Feed yourself well and take good care of yourself so that you think straight. Get rid of the alcohol, and the the drugs, and the stuff that is slowing you down- because then you will make good choices, and your instincts will come back, and they will lead you in the right direction.
  • The only responsibility that you have to make changes in your life is to desire to be happy and really work at saying "okay there's a lot of stuff in my life that works over here, and there's a lot of stuff in my life that does not work, and I need to know the difference. I need to know what 's changeable or what I should maybe figure out."
  • There is a great saying "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Sometimes a really crummy boss or a really bad situation can change if you decide that you are going to have a different attitude about it. And sometimes, you have to leave a situation if it's toxic.

Susan Saint James will be featured in the soon to be released book The Prime Book which is a collection of photos and essays about what it looks like to be a woman in her prime.

October 25, 2011

A Different Phase of Life

The older I grow, the more Dr. Andrew Weil catches my attention. I have yet to read an entire book of his but I open them from time to time as they are great references. This Harvard educated doctor is a very wise man and has lots to say about the aging process. What I do with many books, instead of starting at the table of contents, is just randomly open to a page and start reading. Very often I land on something that interests me.

Dr. Weil has many good quotes about growing older and I thought I'd share some of them with you today:

  • I had thought that turning 50 was going to be the big milestone. But, in retrospect, it wasn't. You know, I think life went on pretty much as usual. But turning 60 was different for me. I think it was impossible to avoid the fact that I'm in a different phase of life. 

( I love his term "different phase of life". There is something very freeing about the aging process when put in these terms: Hey, no wonder I feel different... I am in a different phase of life! I am supposed to feel different.)

  • I think in this culture, we are entirely youth-obsessed, and so we view aging as a catastrophe -- that it only brings negatives. When you look in other cultures where aging looks different -- and the example that I've used in my book, the main one, is Okinawa at the southern end of Japan -- whole communities make efforts to include the oldest [of the] old in all community activities so they have a chance to interact with people of all ages. 

  • I have to say, coming there as an American, what most struck me was the different cultural attitude toward aging. The oldest old are really honored. And they're celebrated. And they look different. To me, they're beautiful. And I think beauty has two roots. One is good health, and the other is your relationship to yourself. And these old people I saw there, they like themselves. And they are happy with being old. 

  • My concern is when people do things -- you know, whether this is Botox or cosmetic surgery for the purpose of making it easier to pretend that aging is not happening. I don't think that's mentally healthy. I think it is healthy to observe the fact that we're aging, that we're moving along this continuum of life. I don't think it's good to deny that.

Health nut Jorge Cruise has interviewed Dr. Weil on the importance of staying away from flour and sugar as much as we can because they cause inflammation and joint pain. I also posted about inflammation and aging awhile back here.

There is also lots of helpful info on Dr. Weil's website above.


October 21, 2011

Aging Gracefully with a Disability

This week's beauty is Marion Leeds Carroll who is sixty-years old. Marion has quite a story to share about living with Multiple Sclerosis.  

I bring you Marion:

One day a friend with colitis and I were comparing our differing challenges. She pointed out: We have it all over our Temporarily-Non-Disabled neighbors. *They* find the limitations of age a frightening, depressing shock. *We've* been finding ways past our limitations all our lives!

So... when MS fatigue hits hard but I must eat *something*, I can find the pantry with my eyes shut, grab a can of soup, slide along the kitchen counter, and plop onto the stool I've set where I can reach the bowl, the spoon, the microwave- all without standing. I can even sit there and eat my warmed soup without getting up.  Is this disability? No, it's finding solutions.

Disabling fatigue is a hallmark of MS, so any career I might have pursued was impossible. The last time I tried to work a simple 40-hr week, I was hit with an MS relapse and had to quit. But I can't spend my life lying in bed, doing nothing! My solution: lots of little careers, working mainly from home.

- I joined a club, asked what I could do to help out, and spent ten years editing their newsletter (I still maintain their web site), making e-friends around the world in the process.

- Afraid of leg problems, I offered to direct rather than perform in a show- and fell into a long career of directing the shows I love.

- I went to services, sang along with prayers- and found myself leading the music for key holiday services.

- I accepted a role in an opera, moving carefully to avoid making it obvious that standing was becoming a problem. When the director saw me later, after I'd started using a cane, he asked me to join the chorus of another production... and when I said, "Only if I can come on as a little old lady who shakes her cane threateningly!", he replied, "That's just what I wanted you to do!"

- Hooray for the Web! Not just for shopping or researching on-line to save energy: A bit of training led me to a part-time, flex-time, telecommuting web-design job. I work enough hours to receive full benefits, but I can rest whenever I need to.

I've always been the one to hold a door, to move chairs, to help... but when my legs gave out, I had to let others help me. It finally dawned on me:  If it gives me pleasure to help others, it probably gives others pleasure to help me! So I can give pleasure by accepting help.

I can't sing for hours as I once did- but I can organize concerts and let others do most of the singing.When I heard about the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, I was so impressed by their work that I wanted to support them with a benefit concert. So I invited talented friends and started my annual Music to Cure MS concert.  If you are in the Boston area catch our 9th concert on October 30 in Arlington, MA.

When I turned 60 last month, I really wanted to sing an entire concert all by myself... but I got real: I called it a party instead of a concert, invited friends, warned them I hadn't rehearsed- and everyone had fun.

...and- what's next?  If a door closes, there's still a window open.There's always something I can do, and if I can't do it the way I used to, I'll find another way!

Thank you Marion for sharing your inspirational story.


October 18, 2011

Simple Ways to Live Our Dreams

Photo by Crissie Hardy

About six years ago, when both my daughters were in the thick of being young teenagers, I found an interesting list in Organic Lifestyle magazine that I have posted for you below. At the time I cut it out and put it on the wall in the bathroom. I posted it as a reminder to everyone in our house. Somehow though over the years it disappeared...but I found it recently again on The Hole Thing.

My thinking is that I have to put it back up again- maybe framed this time- because it is such a great reminder no matter how old we are. With my youngest going off to college in less than a year I find myself in transition again in many ways. More on all this later, I am sure, but for now I wanted to share the list with you.

Maybe it should be called The Five Best Commandments:

  • Spend time alone and you'll hear your inner voice.

  • Break the rules. Do what you want, if it harms no one.

  • Follow your passion- whatever it takes.

  • Stop worrying about what other people think. It's your life.

  • Get over your fear. Fear is normal, so embrace it and then you'll get past it.

Have a good week everyone.
Do something that scares you.

October 14, 2011

He Aged Gracefully with a Message

This week's beauty is Steve Jobs who died at the age of 56 last week. Steve co-founded Apple and designed, among many other things, the Ipod, Iphone, and the Ipad. I personally never paid much attention to Steve Jobs. I knew who he was, I knew he was sick, and I knew he passed away.

It wasn't until I read the following quote of his that I knew that he had something really important to say:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others'opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.   ~Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was given up at birth. Dropped out of college. Was fired by Apple. His second company failed. He had a major comeback 11 years later.

And he changed how the world will communicate forever.

October 12, 2011

The Beauty of Touch

Photo by Ambro

My dad once said that the best thing that retirement homes could do is to put residents in double beds so that they can hug each other and not be lonely. Excellent idea. I bet it would also help defray costs and reduce the amount of medicine people need to take.

I'm in the middle of reading The Happiness Project. Gretchen Rubin's #1 New York Times bestseller is chock full of ways to increase contentedness and her year spent researching satisfaction is inspiring. Happiness really is contagious.

I was particularly struck by what Rubin has to say about hugging. Apparently if we hug for at least six seconds it promotes the flow of oxytocin and serotonin which are the mood enhancing chemicals that promote happiness and bonding. Which kind of explains why some people pull apart before six seconds! It amazes me what scientists have figured out. Six seconds I tell you. That's all it takes. Imagine what 3 minutes does.

Hugging helps our body's immune system.

It helps depression.

Reduces stress.

Is invigorating.


Maybe it's a cure all!

No wonder why I love children, animals, and massages so much.

When it comes right down to it-

we just want to love, and be loved,

and embracing someone is a great way to feel this way.

Lots more on the Happiness Project here.

Ambro's photos here.

October 07, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Self-Acceptance

This week's beauty is Maureen Umehara. I met Maureen this past summer at a weekend gathering up in Maine with some of the women from The Revelation Project. I was immediately attracted to Maureen's warmth, honesty, and intelligence, and was hopeful that she would someday share some of her insights about the world around her with all of us at Lines of Beauty.

I bring you Maureen:

"Louise is such a kind and insightful soul. I am honored to have met her and to be asked to write a post for her blog.  In thinking of aging gracefully, as with many things, I have to say I don’t have all the answers. But I do enjoy asking the question and seeing what arises.  

I think aging gracefully is about staying active. One thing I admire about my parents is that they continue to stay active physically and mentally. Whether it’s a walk for exercise, a book club, a game of golf or just a social hour with friends, they keep busy doing the things they enjoy. Interestingly enough I think this can be both challenging and beneficial at any age.  

I found when I turned 40 that I had not been making time for the things I enjoyed (and started to lose touch with what they even were). So I made myself a “Passion Pact” to rediscover and make time for things that renewed and energized me. Ultimately that meant making time for and rediscovering me.

How would I describe myself right now? I'm a wife and mom of 2 beautiful daughters, an expressive therapist, an organizer of a women’s club (soon to be closed), and a writer for A Mom Knows Best and the Tiverton Patch. This year I am getting back in touch with myself and my creativity through art and writing. I also really enjoy finding opportunities to connect with insightful people for insightful and inspired discussions.

However, one thing I have learned is that these and any roles I choose to do and be don’t truly define me. We are so much more than any role we take. If I let one role go I am not less of a person. I am just making room for other parts of myself to surface (this took me a long time to learn!). I remember an accomplished, sprite older woman informing me that she figured she re-created herself about every 10 years!  

I think our self-concept continues to change as we grow older. As our old self-concepts break, we often grieve for the loss of that self-concept and feel broken. However, we can also choose a different perspective. We can choose to see our self- concept like an egg. It feels whole for a short time, however, eventually it needs to crack and break in order for new life and new opportunities to arise. If we cling to the old shell/self-concept we will be stuck in what is broken and miss out on the new expanded self-concept that can arise.  

think a big part about aging gracefully is accepting yourself for all of who you are, the good parts and the imperfect parts (the more we live the more we find of both). So maybe it’s about finding a way to be at peace with ourselves. The more we are at peace with ourselves,  the less time we’ll spend being distracted by our inner hurdles and the more time we can focus outward helping and connecting to others. 

I started by saying that aging gracefully is about staying active. Maybe we need to be active in many ways, including having and allowing movement in our self-concept. Who we “think” we are can never fully encapsulate all of who we are, life is a continual game of discovery.  

Ultimately I think aging gracefully is about accepting who you are and continually learning about and embracing life.  But actually, maybe it’s not just about aging gracefully. Maybe it’s more about living gracefully at any age."

Thank you for your great contribution Maureen. And thank you for your reminder that it is absolutely okay, and healthy, to let go of things that have formally defined us to allow us make space for the new.  I also like the quote that was at the bottom of your email:

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~ Viktor Frankl

Egg photo credit: Digitalart

October 04, 2011

Remembering What We Want

Photo by Belovodchenko Anton   Russia
I stumbled upon this quote recently:

Discipline is remembering what we want.

It's a good one, don't you think?

For some reason I have hardly ever been at a loss for knowing what I want. It shifts, and morphs, and re-balances to be sure, but like most of you probably, at any given moment, I am pretty adept at putting my finger on what it is that is going to ring my bell.

So maybe we know what we want, especially the older and wiser we grow. We could make lists about what we want in every little area of our life. From what we want to make for dinner this week to the big picture in life- like how we want our world to be. We could make lists about how we want to feel, how much stress we want in our life, how much downtime and together time we want. We could make lists about what we want to do with our time, who we want to hang with, and basically how we want to operate.

Every day we make decisions about who we want to be actually.

So where is the disconnect between knowing what we want and then doing something that is totally not in line with what we want?

Ahh yes- we forget what we want. Sometimes just temporarily but frequently for way too long. Or, what we want seems so outlandish and outside the possibility of who we have always know ourselves to be that we give up on what we want before we even try. Usually out of fear.

Or maybe it's that we get too tired or too hungry or too overwhelmed, or sick, or too exhausted from having someone else be sick, and we forget to listen to our internal compass. Life happens. Things get in the way. There are bills to pay, and fires to put out, and mouths to feed.

Sometimes there are just too many flies buzzing around our head.

Well this I know- the only remedy for remembering what we want- is to slow down long enough, and get quiet enough, so that we can hear ourselves. For some people it's meditation but for me I can pinpoint so many things in my life, and zero in my happiness, when I am out running, or hiking, or swimming laps.

Discipline is remembering what we want.

Gosh I wish I knew this back when I was fifteen.

For more related reading there is another post here.

And, if you are in the Boston area, there is an upcoming workshop with my good friend Brenda Stanton about reinventing your life here.  She is fabulous. If you click on her name there is a great post she wrote about trusting ourselves.

Have a good week.

Get quiet.

Listen to your heart.

Oh yes- and one more thing- be sure to click on the magnificence of the photo above. Among other things, like the lighting, I love the peeling paint.

Belovodchenko Anton, you have outdone yourself.

September 30, 2011


There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.
~Vicki Baum

All I wanted to do for my 50th birthday this past winter was to have a rock & roll dance party. So I did. It was really fun, but besides the party, the 2nd best thing about it were the weeks leading up to it when I was choosing what tunes to play from the 50s,60s,70s,80s and even 90s.

After days and days of dancing in the full length mirror next to my computer while picking my favorite dance songs (kind of like dancing with a partner..), I was primed. Then my firstborn burned four CDs of the music and we were ready to let the mid-winter partay begin.

The 3rd best thing about the party lives on. I still listen to the music from it all the time while driving around, making dinner, or just hanging around the house. I've been dancing for nine months now and I don't have any plans to stop.


Dancing really is a shortcut to happiness.

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. ~Dave Barry

Or sit down and do it :-)

Forget about what you look like, or what anyone thinks, and just have fun.

Life is too short to be self-conscious don't you think?

Yeah baby!

September 27, 2011

Fall 2011 Fashion Forecast

It’s time for the seasonal fashion report. I want you to know that I bring you this more for myself than for all of you. Actually, I frequently write about what I need support with! Who am I kidding? Now that I’ve been out of the corporate world of fashion for several years I have this fear of wearing inappropriate, outdated clothing.

In fact, I worried about it even before I left:

What???  I LOVE this skirt! So what if it's from fifteen years ago and no one has worn the silhouette since the Clinton administration. My black wool, knee length, A-line, twirly skirt is fabulous I tell you!

Actually this season it just might be. Don't ever throw anything away that you really love.

Ninety-year-old Iris Apfel says that "Dressing is an exercise in creativity." An inspiring concept to keep in mind as we continue along in this journey of growing older and better.

Okay, so new for fall...

For fall, and winter, the waist has returned. Whether on a belted swing coat, a curvy dress or pencil skirt, the emphasis is on the waist. I know, I know. Many don’t like to hear this but I thought I’d at least pass it along. Think peplum silhouettes.

Or wear whatever the hell you want!

The season’s most distinctive looks, include big shoulders, Victorian lace, glitter shoes, fish-scale-like paillettes, and enough fur to keep everyone warm no matter how cold it gets. Ick. Double-breasted is the season’s most classic look. Now this I like.

Fall 2011's Freshest Hues

Also hot this season:

Chunkier sweaters (love.)
Tartan plaids
Choker necklaces
Lots of leather- especially leather leggings (really?) and leather dresses
Black and white
Orange, rust, mustard, midnight blue, and brights!
Clutches and snakeskin
Long coats and dresses with high slits
Mixed prints, graphic prints
70s styling
To the knee skirts, midi and maxi skirts
White tuxedo jackets
Military styling

Humm this forecast sounds a bit similar to the spring one I posted.

 Gawd I love this. How cozy can you get?

I also recently stumbled upon two good fashion blogs. Nowness, which showcases the most inspiring stories influencing global lifestyle, fashion, gastronomy, art, music, design, travel and sport. Basically if you are craving to know what is new and hip it's a great resource. And Advanced Style. This one I really like. Creator Ari Seth Cohen roams the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks out there.

Also Tina has once again alerted me to a great documentary about 80-year-old New York photographer Bill Cunningham, a Harvard dropout, who pedals around on his bike taking photos of what people wear for his weekly column in the New York Times. 

Here is the trailer. The movie is available on Netflix. I hope to watch it tonight.

September 23, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Going Gray

This week's beauty is Anne Kreamer who is 55-years-old. Anne has been fortunate to do many wonderful things in her life from being part of the team that distributed and co-produced Sesame Street around the world, to launching Spy magazine, to be being a creative director for Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite where she created and launched Nickelodeon magazine.

Then at the turn of the century Anne switched careers and became a columnist for the business magazine Fast Company after which she created the monthly "American Treasures" column for Martha Stewart Living. In 2007 she published her first book Going Gray, What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity And Everything Else That Matters. Her lastest book, It's Always Personal, explores the new realities of emotion in the workplace.

Anne is also a mom and is married to novelist and host of public radio's Studio 360, Kurt Andersen.

I mentioned Going Gray in a post last March but it wasn't until reading Anne's book recently that I knew I had to contact her. Going Gray was one of those books for me that wasn't just enlightening and interesting but was delivered with such warmth and candidness that I didn't want to put it down, or have it come to an end. Going Gray is about going gray but it's even more about life, about aging, and mostly, about being authentic.

So it is with this that I bring you Anne's honest and to the point answers to a few questions about aging:

What is the best thing for you about growing older?

Anne: I'm gratified by many things. In no particular order of preference, here are a few of my favorites: hanging out with my adult kids, traveling with my husband, feeling liberated to be consistently who I am, and re-connecting with earlier passions like painting.

What image do you have of yourself as a much older woman?

Anne: Not much different from today except with totally white hair!

What do you wish that you had let go of long before you turned 50?

Anne: Chronic worry.

Gosh can I relate to that!
Thanks for being this week's beauty Anne.
I can't wait to see what you do next.

Photo by Lucy Andersen