Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just Do It

When you work from home you've got to be self motivated. The picture at left is of my office door. I've been trying to transform this room into a more productive, inspiring space - an incubator of creativity and productivity and organization. Thus the new vibrant green paint job and the big message to myself on the wall.

I'm a person with a lot of ideas and plans and lists, but I often have trouble getting started. I can prepare to begin something for hours.

 But, as Amelia Earhart so wisely said,
"The most effect way to do it, is to do it." 

Starting a new project or effort is like plunging into a cold pool - you know it's gonna hurt at first. But to get into the swim of things, you've got to get wet. So enough of this dipping my toe in the water.  It's time to BEGIN my day.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Nonlinear look at Friendships

There was an insightful article about navigating changing friendships in this weekend's New York Times by Alex Williams titled, It's Not Me, It's You.  One of the concepts he discusses is linear versus nonlinear friendships.

Linear friendships are based on a deep lasting connection. Nonlinear friendships are based on a shared experience, like a job or a certain stage of life, and aren't as likely to endure when those circumstances change.

It made me realize how my friendships have changed over the years. When my kids were small I had a wide circle of friends who also had small children. Being a stay at home mom was a lonely job and hanging out with other women in the same situation was a lifeline. Outings like apple picking or heading to the park were a lot more fun when there was another mom around to chat with, haul strollers, and watch the kids while you ran to the bathroom. Back then I orchestrated my children's social lives around the moms I liked to hang out with.

When my kids were in grade school, I socialized with women I volunteered with, or carpooled with, or whose kids played on my kids' sports teams.

Women's friendships go through changes
Image via ABC, Desperate Housewives
But now that Nick and Emma are in high school, I've lost the day-to-day contact with many of those pals. As my kids' world has expanded and my involvement in their school and social life has diminished, my circle of friendships has pared down too.

I still like these women! But we're just not in each other's lives as much anymore, unless we make an effort to get together. And that takes, well, effort. I guess that means we're nonlinear friends.

The plus side is that, while my immediate circle may be smaller, my friendships are more fulfilling now, because I spend time with the people that really mean something to me (i.e. my linear friends) and my new non-linear friendships are based on my activities - writing, theater, tennis, etc - instead of my kids' activities.

But maybe I've let a few linear friendships slip into nonlinear mode without meaning to. Friendships do evolve over time, it's only natural, but they also take time and energy to maintain.

So what does this all mean?

I don't know if this is the complete answer but  - I feel a girls night coming on!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

3 Great make-up tips for women like us!

Today, let's talk make-up. We've been wearing it for decades, but do we really know the right way to apply it to look bright, refreshed and natural? Well, I didn't, until awesome make-up artist Sylvi Davidson (who also is co-owner of Enamour Photograpy) showed me the techniques demonstrated in the short video, below, which include:

1. The right way to curl your eyelashes and apply mascara.
2. How to "tightline" your eyes to add definition without looking made-up.
3. The importance of a groomed, defined brow to our overall appearance (especially as we get a little older.)

 So check it out and feel free to share any comments or tips of your own.

Special thanks to my friend Kimberly for being our lovely model. More make-up advice from Sylvi is still to come, so please visit here again soon.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My $170 boob job

Changing boobs and shapewear are not new topics here on Forty Fabulous, but this is a fresh find. Last Christmas, Liam presented me with a beautiful La Perla bra (just like the one pictured) and boy short panties. Very tasteful and expensive, but kind of awkward to open in front of our two teenagers.

Oh well.

Over the last year, I have donned my La Perla lingerie for, ahem, special evening occasions, but I've never been able to treat it like everyday underwear until yesterday's laundry crisis, and oh the joy! This bra was miraculous! As I pumped gas, ran errands, did the dishes, I marveled at my transformed bust. My boobs were so happy nestled in the shaping, luxurious cups. They were lifted and full and youthful and round; they curved together with a hint of cleavage.

"Look!" I gushed to Liam, preening in my v-necked sweater. "Look at what this bra does for my chest! It's amazing! How much did this thing cost anyway?"

Apparently about $170. Whoa. That's at least four times what I pay for a bra. But I have to say, yesterday my tits looked at least four times better than usual. I'm definitely gonna get some more wear out of this baby.

Move to Chicago, Demi and Heather, you'll be happier here

Accepting the changes that come with aging isn't easy for any woman, but it must really stink if you're a beautiful, middle-aged actress living in Hollywood. Imagine the pressure to stay thin and unlined and luscious when you've built your whole career on that image and live in a society that values little else.

Moore in 2010
Image via Wikipedia
Take Demi Moore, 49, for example. I've admired Demi since her days as husky-voiced ace reporter Jackie Templeton on General Hospital in the early 80s and I've been truly saddened to watch her recent struggles in the media.  Her marriage to much younger husband Ashton Kutcher has collapsed and, amid rumors of drug abuse and speculation on her very gaunt frame, Demi was hospitalized this week. I don't know what her problems are, but whether it's heartache, exhaustion, addiction or illness, I don't need a doctor's diagnoses to see something's wrong. Even dressed to the nines on the red carpet, she looks like she's in pain.

And she's not the only middle aged Hollywood star suffering. Blonde, blue-eyed, vixen Heather Locklear, 50, of Melrose Place fame was also hospitalized earlier this month. Apparently Heather has struggled with drugs and alcohol for years and is now "under a doctor's care" as she seeks recovery.  She and long-term love Jack Wagner (who I also adored on GH) called off their engagement in November.

Demi and Heather aren't dimwitted starlets trying to break into the business; they're intelligent women, established professionals, and mothers. They're about my age, for god's sake! But I'm not judging them, I'm judging the system that makes these women feel like failures if their knees begin to sag or their lips begin to thin. Both women have invested a great deal of effort into maintaining a youthful appearance, but in Hollywood, when gorgeous 20-somethings regularly nip and tuck, how can a 50-year old woman compete? No wonder they're turning to mind-numbing substances. The mere thought of being judged by my flabby stomach or jiggly thighs makes me feel like throwing back a couple kamikazes right now, and it's only 11am.

But luckily, I live in Chicago, a land that is much kinder and gentler to middle aged women. Why? Because first of all, because we have our values straight. In the Midwest, we like keeping it real - and that means a woman's intellect, humor and generosity are as important to her appeal as a firm ass. Secondly, our weather stinks for at least seven months of the year so everybody spends a lot of time covered up in boots, jeans, sweaters, and jackets. Women over 40 can look every bit as good as our younger counterparts when we're not being constantly evaluated in our bikinis. Finally, Chicagoans are foodies and take pleasure in eating - a little meat on our bones as a result is no big deal.

I'd like to invite all the unappreciated, angst-ridden, aging actresses out in LA to take a stand. Move to Chicago! We have an abundant theatre, arts and music scene so you'll get work. Not to mention you'll love it here. Rosie O'Donnell does.
"As a New Yorker, who was born and raised in New York and lived in Los Angeles for 10 years, I never imagined living anywhere else. But I could totally see myself living here. It’s very relaxing and family-oriented. It’s unlike any place I’ve ever been.”  Chicago Tribune, 12/11/11

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Meaning of Coincidences

I'm sure I saw a
Great Horned Owl
Image via wikipedia
Happy New Year my Forty Fabulous friends! I am so excited about what 2012 will bring. And you know why? Because a few days ago, for the first time in my life, I saw a wild owl.

As I drove home through the neighborhood, the huge bird swooped showily through my headlights, as if demanding my attention. It flew up to a gabled rooftop, and perched there calmly, as owls do, with it's distinctive tufts pointing to the moon. I stopped the car, rolled down my window and called up to it.

"Well, look at you."

The owl didn't respond. But just like the birds in the Harry Potter books, I think it had a message for me. Check out my conversation with my wise friend  Carol Moss about why this owl sighting was no coincidence.

You've probably experienced some uncanny coincidences in your own life. Or maybe you think this is all a bunch of bird poop. Either way, I'd love to your thoughts!