These Are A “Few” Of My Favorite Things

Don’t you just love to share your discoveries, whether it’s a cool boutique you’ve found, a restaurant with the best burritos in town, or something as basic as a new kitchen sponge that cleans like no sponge you’ve ever owned before? I do, so I thought, Why not spread the word on FabOverFifty about products I adore?

I’m starting today with kitchen tools, one of my passions. As an editor and publisher in the home furnishings business for decades, I wrote about pots, pans, electric housewares, gadgets, tabletop and more, so I’m pretty picky when it comes to the quality and performance of the products I use for cooking and serving.

I’m not being paid a penny to write about the products in this new column. It’s just fun to tell you about them. We’ve linked each item to the amazon.com shop, which seems to sell just about everything these days.  

Muscleman Or Real Softie

“You have to get this sponge, Maz!” gushed my daughter when we recently went shopping together. She was right! The little guy works on everything from dishes and glassware to cast iron and stainless steel pans; from bathroom walls to the car’s exterior. He stiffens up in cold water, and softens in warm water, depending on whether you want to wash normally or seriously scrub. He doesn’t scratch, and he won’t become smelly after he’s had lots of tough workouts. The perfect man to have around the house. Shark Tank loved him. So will you! (more…)

What We Do When We Wake At 2 AM And Can’t Get Back To Sleep!

My friend, Alice, and I were both up at 2 am one day last week, she in Coral Springs, FL, and I in New York City. Avid fans of the app Words With Friends (Scrabble with slightly different rules), we started playing, and texting each other. WWF is an ideal middle-of-the-night activity because you don’t have to move from your bed. While we were playing, Alice and I came up with a list of other excellent diversions to occupy us when we can’t sleep. (You’ll have to get out of bed for some of them, unless you have a refrigerator next to it.)

1. Play Words With Friends (more…)

Joan Didion Is NOT My Icon For Aging Women!

That’s the famous writer, Joan Didion,
in the Céline ad.

She’s 80, and Céline has lately decided it’s cool to “celebrate” age. So they’ve chosen a “model” who they believe suits their “understated look.” (BTW, those are fashion buzzwords usually synonymous with over-the-top expensive.)

My cool 33-year-old daughter thinks Joan looks “totally chic,” as does FabOverFifty’s cool 25-year-old art director. As a matter of fact, so does my stylish FOFriend, Marla Ginsburg, who is the hottest fashion designer on HSN right now.

Call me vain (don’t become more disagreeable than that, please). I’m just not into that kind of “chic,” at 67, and I don’t want to look that kind of “chic” if I live to be 80. Although Joan’s writing is certainly inspirational, I don’t find her wispy thin hair, jowls and turkey neck especially inspirational, chic or cool, even if they are accessorized by trendy big black sunglasses, an oversized pendant, and a simple black (undoubtedly $4,000) sweater. I’m also not a fan of the anorexic look at Joan’s age. (One fashion writer called her “cigarette thin.”)

I know many women would think Joan is growing old “gracefully.” I’m not sure what that means. Does that make you unrefined, uncouth, unsophisticated, graceless, and unattractive if you color your hair, buy a wig, have your jowls eliminated, wear makeup, and shoot your wrinkled forehead with Botox?

Please don’t misunderstand me. If Joan Didion doesn’t mind showing off her crepey neck, good for her. Katherine Hepburn hated her neck but didn’t want plastic surgery, so she covered it with lovely scarves and high-necked sweaters, and I think she looked gorgeous, at 40 and at 80.

I think pretentiousness is the only thing the Céline campaign “celebrates,” something at which
the fashion industry excels.

On the other end of the “let’s celebrate age” spectrum, Dolce & Gabbana brings together two nonnas and throws four of its hip bags and a teddy bear into their laps (chic nonnas never leave home without two handbags each AND their teddy bears!). I’m not sure what message the creative geniuses at D&G are attempting to communicate (Be young again with D&G? D&G: Ageless?) but I also think its campaign is affected.

The last ad, from American Apparel (below), gets it right, as far as I’m concerned. Sixty-year-old with a great body modeling underwear.

I would not want to see a 60-year-old with a
jiggly stomach modeling panties. So why do I want to see an 80-year-old with jiggly jowls modeling eyeglasses and a pendant?

Then again, you don’t need to care what you look like when your eyeglasses cover your entire face.

Tell me, my FOFriends, which approach do you favor?

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Are You Starting To Let The Physical Changes In Your Body Change The Way You Think and Act?

Kirstie Alley looks marvelous again, having lost 50 pounds during the past year. She was beautiful when she was on Cheers in her mid 30s, and she’s still beautiful—and sexy—as she approaches 64. Without playing psychiatrist, I can safely say that Kirstie Alley didn’t feel too good about herself for many years, when she “let herself go,” as my mom would have said. She gained loads of weight, dressed slovenly, had messy-looking hair and didn’t wear a lick of makeup.

Kirstie recently told Matt Lauer on the Today Show that she was motivated to change this time because she wants to continue acting, “hook up,” and feel good about herself during this period of her life. She vows she will finally continue to take care of herself.

Although most of us would never dream of “letting ourselves go,” like the talented actress and comedienne had done, many women over 50 do, indeed, start to let physical changes in our bodies change the way we think and act.

“Not one of us has ‘come of age’ without weathering bumpy periods and having to make adjustments to a life’s plan. Each of us has matured through the life events that have shaped our characters. Now, as we meet new and inevitable challenges and opportunities, we can draw on a lifetime of experiences,” writes 70-year-old Anne Reizer in the introduction to her smart new book, Beautiful Encore, Makeovers For Mature Women.

“Women in our generation have worn all manner of clothing and hairstyles in our lifetimes,” Anne continues. “We spent our twenties in miniskirts. We have worn culottes, maxi dresses, wrap dresses, dresses that looked like nightgowns, power suits with dramatic shoulder pads, western and bohemian styles. We have idolized women like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Audrey Hepburn. Why are we now limiting our style and grooming to a much more narrow menu. Do we feel minimized by our ages? Do we feel that only young women have a right to feel beautiful? Have we decided, for the sake of convenience, to give up—to let apathy dictate that we let go of our curiosity and our commitment to looking good?”

I am not crazy about the term “mature women,” (at least it’s better than “senior” AARGH!) but I am crazy about the message in Anne’s book. If we relax our commitment to “looking good” on the outside, it won’t take long until we feel crappy on the inside. “Without a polished exterior, your interior is in shadow. Illuminating yourself by caring about your hair clothing, makeup, and most important of all your health is neither a superficial pursuit nor an insurmountable goal. Looking good leads to engagement and success in other facets of your life,” Anne explains.

Think about it this way: Have you ever known a put-together woman, in her 50s, 60s or 70s,
who didn’t care about her health, her work, her family, her friends? I haven’t.

Although Beautiful Encore presents before-and-after photos of 27 “real” women over 50, this is not a how-to book, Anne explains in the introduction. It doesn’t tell us what cut is best for our hair, what blush is best for our cheeks or what sweater and slacks are best for our shape. Rather, the photos are designed to inspire and empower each of us to “reinvest” in ourselves, “physically and emotionally.” Each of the featured women has a different story, body type and lifestyle. But all of them share the “curiosity and positive attitude necessary for change,” Anne writes. “A sense of curiosity keeps life interesting,” she explains. “New people, new experiences, new goals and new ideas add to my belief that life is expanding, not narrowing.”

Besides the stories and photographs of the women, the book includes 10 health and beauty articles, written by experts, that explore topics such as exercise, nutrition and hearing. “Older Wiser Happy,” the first article, by psychotherapist Pamela Benison, talks about the challenges of aging that we all face—no matter who we are or where we are—and how we can unlock and use our inner resources to welcome and overcome them, and “create a happy, healthy future.”

Pamela quotes Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself,
‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”

Help Me Choose My New Readers

Back in the day, I used to wear the same pair of glasses every single day for a couple of years. What was I thinking? Now I have a collection of glasses that I call on to complement my mood and my wardrobe and change up my look. They’re my favorite accessories, and when I heard about a website called Readers.com with over 600 frames, most under $20, I knew there’d be no stopping me.

Help me choose the glasses that look best on me. I’m planning to buy the three styles that get the most votes.

Cast your vote below!

Do I look like a star in the color purple?

Cat eye shape and leopard print for the tiger in me. Spring-loaded temples.

If I can’t be in the Caribbean, at least I can wear glasses that look as colorful.

Orange is my favorite color. Spring-loaded temples let them keep their shape.

Attention getters or forget them?
Temples are white.

Smart or go to the back of the class?

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