January 28, 2011

Aging Gracefully With Coaching

This week’s beauty is Liz Blumenthal. Liz is a life coach who helps women take charge of their lives by creating awareness, empowerment, and connection. 

This is what Liz has to share about her life:

After WWII my parents gave me survival advice such as "fit in", "don't be the center of attention", "become the woman behind a man", and "marry a right sort". Growing up things happened that shouldn't have happened. Today I challenge myself to hear myself under the din of past programing.

I worked my way out of depression by taking on challenges such as coaching, empowering women through workshops, and learning new tricks such as creating my website and blogs.  I look for joy and beauty in life, and for something to do and care about. I managed to transform my loneliness into independence. When I am challenged, God sends angels and new friends. Coaching makes me happy because I help people move through tough emotions and show them how that movement can bring empowerment and joy. 

When people find the space between where they are and where they want to go, they can light a spark that carries them to opportunities far beyond their dreams. There are always opportunities just beyond our comfort zone that so many of us don’t take on because we are afraid or we have an inner voice that tells us that we can’t.  But when look beyond our fears and take the leap, we become more alive and more ourselves.

Lines of beauty show up when we get to the essence.  My lines of beauty show where I released fifty-pounds that hid my ability to shine. They are lines from my past grief to lines of incredible joy and opportunity.  

Thank you Liz for an inspiring piece.

January 25, 2011

Make-up artist Bobbi Brown and Susan Saint James Ebersol

I had an entirely different post ready for today but then saw this great clip on the Today Show yesterday with celebrity makeup artist Bobbi Brown and her good friend Susan Saint James Ebersol, of McMillan and Wife fame, and had to post it first.

Among other things, the two friends (ages 53 and 65) discuss feeling confident and well while aging with grace. It is very good, and worth watching if you missed it. Susan talks about the inspiration she has received from her 95-year-old mother, and Bobbi gives some great make-up tips for women over 50. She also mentioned a phrase for women who have had cosmetic work done- she calls it "wiping away your face" which was so great, but made me think of something else to call it. How about "erase your face"?  I like the image of this even better.

Once you click on the video, under "options" you can click on "full screen" for a better view.

Enjoy the clip and have a nice week everyone.


5/19/11  Post Script:
Susan Saint James recently signed up to play a guest role on the new USA legal series Suits. She is married to Dick Ebersol who resigned today from his post as chairman of the NBC Sports Group which runs the Olympics.

January 21, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Writing

This week’s beauty is Lynne Spreen who is 56-years-old. Lynne is in the middle of writing her second book and also has a blog called Any Shiny Thing. She is a retired HR manager and a new grandmother. I love what she has to share about growing older.

I Refuse to Play

As older people, we know that looks shouldnt matter, and yet they do. Dr. Vivian Diller calls this the beauty paradox in her book called Face It: What Women Really Feel When Their Looks Change. A few years ago, I paid a price for this confusion: I fell under the spell of a well-meaning aesthetician, a doctor of anesthesiology who had a beauty business on the side and gave me a free injection of Juvederm.  

Why did I do it? I already have big lips, so I wasnt trying to be Angelina Jolie, but I've got a couple of crevices around my mouth. The doctor said a collagen injection would smooth them out. The result? 

I looked like Daisy Duck! I almost cried on the way out of the office. I had an appointment with my hair stylist after that and I could hardly speak clearly. Sitting in front of his mirror, I held a magazine in front of my mouth and mumbled my instructions. I was so humiliated. 

 The doctor had reassured me that the swelling would go down, and that turned out to be true, but it didn't happen quickly. For maybe four or five weeks I looked like a fish, and then after that, I looked like well, not me. I hated the way I looked and felt, like a sellout. Like someone who was telling the world she didnt value her inner worth, and would go to such extremes to try to meet our stupid, commercial definitions of beauty. 

I have ranted on my own blog, Any Shiny Thing, about the way we older women sell ourselves short when we suffer to look younger, or bemoan the fact that we "can't compete" with younger women. Probably the reason I feel so strongly about this is because I tried it myself and felt so traumatized.  

Every woman has to decide for herself how much beauty matters. I wear makeup and get my hair done, watch my figure and get mani/pedis. I want to look as good as I can, but heres the difference: I am perfectly happy to look my age.   

There was a line in an old movie, War Games, where the Pentagon's supercomputers launched world-annihilation simulations. At the end of the simulation, the frustrated bank of computers gave up and concluded that the only way to win is not to play." That's my approach to trying to look younger. I can't and I won't try.  

In the years since that debacle I have had two abdominal surgeries, the latter of which appeared to be (but wasnt) ovarian cancer, a disease which killed two of my aunts. Getting ready for the surgery was sobering and sad, and it taught me something really important: that I didnt care what I looked like as much as I cared about living! Just to be well and strong seems like such a gift, and it cant hold a candle to a few canyons etched in my face. 

Ive never told anyone this story before, and I appreciate Louise and her blog, Lines of Beauty, for giving me a chance to talk about it in a constructive way. 

Thank you Lynne.

January 18, 2011

Fashion Forward

J. Crew's new catalog arrived and I was psyched to see that 67-year-old Lauren Hutton is in it once again. All wrinkly and gorgeous. The conversation is changing. Excellent marketing. Not only this, but Ms. Hutton gives fashion advice on their website.

Two of my favorite bits of advice, besides the one below, are:

  • Fashion is what you're offered four times a year. Style is what you pick out of that fashion.  It's what you make of it once you've learned what to accept and what to ignore based on what suits you.
  • Lavender is the unsung hero of hues. It brings out the warmth in most skin tones and lights up all eyes. Plus it adds a touch of cheer. Optimistic colors are always a good idea-especially in January.

I think I'll go put on my grandmother's lavender lambswool cardigan that I've had since she died in 1982 and love so much :-)

 I leave you with my favorite Lauren Hutton quote:

We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be. I don`t think I will ever cut my face, because once I cut it, I`ll never know where I've been. ~ Ms. Lauren Hutton

January 14, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Stretching For Health

This week's beauty is Deborah Farkas who is 58-years-old.  Deborah is a stretching trainer and massage therapist and is founder of the Stretching for Health Studio in Pinckney, Michgan. Deborah believes that regardless of your age, weight, level of fitness or lack of it, you can be better. You can feel years younger. You can be pain free. All in only 10 minutes a day. Can't make it to Pinckney, MI for one of her classes? Check out her site link above for lots of great stretches, like the one below, on video.

Here is Deborah's inspiring story:

I never really thought about growing older when I was young. I didn't have any good role models of older vibrant, active women. My mother was an "old" 40, no make-up, frumpy clothes and no physical activity. At 40 I was having my second child and still felt pretty young. As my 40's passed I started acquiring graying hair and some ache and pains. The graying hair I embraced, but not the decreasing flexibility and increasing low back and shoulder discomfort.

At 52 I started a stretching program for 15 minutes, a few days a week, and couldn't believe the change. It was like finding the fountain of youth! I felt years younger. I could move,sit, stand, drive a car for more than two hours without pain or stiffness. Now at the age of 58 I feel better than I did at 48.

Being able to do the activities I like (biking, hiking, kayaking) are the things that keep me feeling young. Not being able to do these things are what makes me feel old, not my graying hair, wrinkled neck or spreading bottom. I equate being old with being limited in mind and body. I love the saying "you're as old as you feel".

I've spent the past 8 years learning stretching techniques and studying with experts. Two years ago I opened the Stretching For Health Studio. My mission is to educate people on correct stretching techniques that in just a few minutes a day can change your life. 

Deborah you have me convinced. I am going to add a few of your stretches, like the one below, to the little routine I do before I head out for my run. What I like about this one is that it is so easy to do at my computer. Thank you for inspiring me. Louise

January 11, 2011

No Wonder Our Perception of Beauty is Distorted

If you've already seen this one minute video above it's worth seeing again. The other link to it on YouTube, which I was unable to embed, already has over 12 million views. 

The clip below is as equally powerful as well. No wonder there are so many women with eating and body distortion issues. I wish they didn't wait til high school health class to show these to the younger generation.

It all makes me want to go back to the "little house on the prairie" days.

Thanks to Julia for the heads-up.

January 07, 2011

Never Ever Stop Moving

Photo by Markus Huth    Berlin, Germany

I've been wanting to post this gorgeous photo for awhile.  I keep reading how beneficial exercise is for getting a good nights sleep, and for warding off depression, in addition to all the other things we know about it.

Having been a life long exerciser I think it's important to not work-out every day as this can cause burn-out and people tend to drop the ball after awhile. I've been running consistently for almost 30 years and I think this might be partly due to the fact that I only run about 3 miles, 3 times a week.

There isn't anything I want to do EVERY day but maybe eat, sleep, and read :-)

Last month my friend Carin called me and said "Are you listening to NPR right now?"  I ran to the radio and who was being interviewed but 91-year-old international track & field star Olga Kotelko. What a spitfire. She made my day. Olga didn't even start competing until she turned 77 and now holds 23 world records in her age group. She said that she still has the same energy that she had at age 50.

Wow. Talk about inspiration for the New Year.

Below is a one minute video of Olga, and if you're interested, here's her interview on NPR .

Thanks to Carin for the heads-up.

January 04, 2011

New Year, New View

Photo by Caroline Fernandes
Frequently New Year's resolutions are about making new goals but this year I decided instead to think about what I don't want 2011 to be about- what I’d like to rid from my life that has basically been driving me a little craze-eee. You all can probably relate about something in your own life that every time you have to deal with it you’re like “This is driving me insane AGAIN ! This _____ is making me cranky and isn’t allowing me to age gracefully damn it!”  Grrrr…..  So I've devised a list- a short, very simple list, of three things that I want to eliminate from my daily life as much as possible in 2011:

  •   Do any of you get in a car with someone whose driving scares you? Well I have this situation in my world and I am tired of bracing and breaking and white knuckling it. In 2011, I vow to take the wheel as much as possible when I am with them.

  •   Do any of you have a particularly messy person in your life whose personal things you always have to maneuver around?  Me too! This year we’ve already had a discussion head-on about it and we've made an agreement so that our physical space will be less chaotic. Sounds so petty but to me it's already made a big difference.

  • Lastly, like many of you maybe, I try to reply to emails and phone calls right away. This year I've taken on a new approach: unless it's time sensitive, tomorrow or even the next day, is fine. Or maybe never :-)  Enough of this verging-on-Type-A- personality behavior...

    One of my favorite comics has been on my studio bulletin board for years. It makes me laugh every time I  look at it. I've posted it below for you to see. I unfortunately don't have any idea who created it.

            Here it is close-up:

      No Thursday's out. How about never? Is never too late?

      Isn't that great?

      Have a nice week everyone.