Time to Leak Some Good News

This is a “sponsored post.” Willow compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

“Oh my God, I’ve got to get to a bathroom,” I thought as I attempted to dash across New York’s Fifth Avenue years ago, desperate to pee. My mom used to call me a “camel” because I could go for hours without hitting the toilet.  Those days apparently were behind me! Since that spring afternoon I’ve learned that bladder leakage is a fact of life for millions of women—-and men—particularly as we age. About 25 million people over 50 have the problem, as a matter of fact. Nearly 70 percent of menopausal women experience urinary incontinence at least once a month, according to a 2015 study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology. I’ve also learned that leaks I can’t control absolutely don’t have to control me, thanks to products like the awesome (yes, awesome) undies I recently discovered that keep me comfy and dry.

How Willow Works Wonders on Wee-Wee!

I wouldn’t mind if my body looked like hers. And notice how pretty Willow looks!

After trying everything from the uncomfortable and unsightly disposable drugstore brands with thick and bulky padding to overpriced microfiber styles with padding that’s too thin and barely absorbs a thimbleful of pee, I’ve finally found the perfect panty for leaks.

My lovely discovery, called Willow, not only gives me outstanding protection; this disposable panty fits really, really well on my anything-but-svelte body and is welcomingly stylish!

Made from a marriage of natural and synthetic fibers, Willow is ultra-thin and lightweightsuper soft, and wonderfully stretchable all over so it moves with me but doesn’t make a pee-p!  No wonder it’s called Willow. You won’t be bothered by constricting waist and leg bands that dig into your skin, or annoying panty lines, and the panty looks totally seamless. Featuring a modern rise, Willow actually feels invisible when I slip it on and comes in beautiful charcoal, sand and light gray. The Willow pad has a fast-drying inner layer that can absorb and lock in up to four cups of liquid, which is phenomenal, while the outer layer wicks away moisture so I stay secure and dry. Even when I’ve leaked a little more than usual, I don’t smell a thing.  Neither will anyone else. Many people are so mortified by their problem, they actually stop socializing. Willow gives you the confidence to lead an active life. “Sit back, stand up, or jump and dance around because you now have one less thing to worry about,” says the card in the pretty package.

>> CICK HERE to get your own free Willow trial subscription.

Never Get Caught Short Again

There’s more to love: Besides the ease and convenience of buying Willow online, I’ll automatically receive shipments throughout the year to ensure that I’m never caught short. I generally wear one pair each day, so I get my new Willows every 60 days, but if you need to change more frequently, Willow will customize your subscription to your needs. I’m wearing size L/XL, but happily Willow is being made in larger sizes, like XXL, too!

The folded undies are so compact, you can tuck one into your handbag to have on hand if you’re planning to stay out late. And, they cost about 40 percent less than undies that are even remotely comparable. Since Willow eliminates the middlemen and exclusively sells online, it’s passing the savings onto us.  Willow also is available for the men in your life who are experiencing bladder issues.

Right now, Willow is offering a free trial. You’ll receive 20 pairs of undies and pay only $4.99 for S&H. I was hooked after I wore my first trial pair for a single day. I think you’ll be hooked, too.  You can pause or cancel your subscription at any time.

to get your own free Willow trial subscription.

PS I adore seeing older women modeling Willow undies on its chic website. Real women, not models. You’ve got to love a company smart enough to do this.

5 Minutes That Can Change Your Health

Most of us require nutritional supplements as we age, but it became exasperating trying to learn which ones were right for me. The personable 30-something pharmacist who fills my prescriptions had no idea. Nor did my internist.  And even though the salesman in the specialty vitamin chain in my neighborhood tried to help, it was obvious he hadn’t a clue what supplements a FabOverFifty woman really needs.

As the editor of a website, I’m often invited to try out products and services for everything from foams to relieve leg cramps to seminars for my financial security. When an online supplement service called Persona contacted me, I was intrigued by its promise that I could get personalized, doctor-approved vitamin recommendations simply by taking a five-minute assessment, so I wanted to learn more.  Even before the end of my interview with Tamara Bernadot, one of the Persona founders, I knew this wasn’t just hype. When I told her I was taking statins to improve my cholesterol levels, she recommended I also take Ubiquinol to replace a critical enzyme that the statins were depleting. My doctor never mentioned that!

Sure enough, after completing the Persona five-minute assessment covering my health and lifestyle, as well as my prescription medications, my supplement recommendations included Ubiquinol. I ordered it, as well as the other Persona suggestions, right away. The supplements arrived in convenient daily packets with instructions when to take each one. Brilliant!

Whether you’re currently taking supplements or haven’t started because you’re confused by the constantly changing reports about what’s beneficial for you, and what’s not, I urge you to read on to learn why Persona will be a game-changer for your health.

                      Tamara Bernadot

FABOVERFIFTY   What motivated you and your two co-founders to launch a company offering customized recommendations for nutritional supplements?

TAMARA BERNADOT   “We’ve worked together for over 20 years in the nutrition industry, creating personalized nutrition programs for Dr. Andrew Weil, for the doctors at the Pritikin Longevity Center, and for Dr. Barry Sears, who created the Zone Diet. When ‘personalized nutrition’ was becoming the talk of the industry about two and a half years ago, we decided it was the right time to jump in with our own concept. We first spent six months researching, gathering data, and putting together a medical advisory board and a team of nutritionists.”


FOF
   How does your online assessment questionnaire help you arrive at the precise supplement recommendations for each person?

TB   “Our technology lets us create a highly personalized questionnaire, so our algorithm can lead you down one of about eight paths, depending on your age, your gender and your health goals. Your answers, combined with our ongoing research and the expertise of our doctors and nutritionists, inform our supplement recommendations.

“We also ask what medications you’re taking as part of our robust questionnaire and we clinically test over 850 meds for interactions with the more than 90 supplements we offer. Persona wants to make certain that the supplements it recommends won’t react negatively with your pharma prescriptions. And, if you’re taking a drug that’s depleting an essential vitamin or mineral, we’ll recommend a supplement to make up for the depletion. Our competition doesn’t do this.”

                                               Persona Nutritionist Team


FOF   What is the background of the doctors on your medical advisory board and the Persona nutritionists, and how do they work together?

TB   “Our Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Michael Roizen, who is the Chief Wellness Officer of The Cleveland Clinic and a New York Times best-selling author. He’s a walking encyclopedia of research and data. He and the other doctors on the board are up on the latest scientific supplement research and have been recommending supplements in their practices for years. They are keenly interested in what nutrition, diet and exercise–not just drugs–can do for their patients.

                    Dr. Michael Roizen

“Our team of nutritionists (one also is a registered dietician) helps to do the research and construct the questionnaires, then they send it all to the medical advisory board for final approval. We recruited them from Bastyr University, one of the best natural health schools in the country, which fortunately is located near our headquarters outside Seattle.  They were taught how vitamin supplements and herbs react in the body and have better cutting-edge training than what medical doctors learn about nutritional supplements in medical school.”

 

Take your 5-minute assessment and get your Persona recommendations today!

FabOverFifty Health News You Can Use

Did your mom ever mention in passing that sex might become painful after menopause? Of course she didn’t. But it did, and now even the thought of intercourse sends shivers down your spine, but not in a good way. Who would have ever imagined such a thing!!!!!!!!!

          Dr. James A. Simon

Friend, you’re not alone. Up to 75 percent of postmenopausal women report they have painful sex, said Dr. James A. Simon, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at George Washington University. You can blame your ovaries, which are no longer delivering the level of estrogen you once needed to get periods and have babies (even if being a mother didn’t interest you). Before menopause, estrogen also helps maintain the thickness, elasticity and lubrication of vaginal tissues.  

It’s bad enough that reduced estrogen can bring on hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, bone loss, mood swings and sleep disturbances. But when sex becomes painful that’s the last straw. It’s called dyspareunia (pronounced dis-pa-roon-ia), which is most often a symptom of Vulvovaginal Atrophy (VVA) due to menopause. Besides painful intercourse, VVA can cause vulvar or vaginal irritation, itching, burning, dryness and light bleeding.

        Dr. Mary Jane Minkin

But you don’t have to live with dyspareunia or vaginal dryness. You certainly don’t.  You can try treating it with over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers, suppositories, estrogen therapy or SERMS, which are “non-hormonal, synthetic molecules that bind to estrogen receptors in the body and mimic the effects of estrogen, without being estrogen,” explained Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale Medical School.

“SERMs are used to treat a variety of medical conditions, but the one used to treat moderate to severe painful sex due to menopause is called ospemifene and is sold under the brand name Osphena, which is an oral pill. Ospemifene helps counteract the changes in your vaginal tissues that resulted from low estrogen levels. By improving the condition of your vaginal tissues, ospemifene makes sex less painful, providing the relief you need without hormones,” Dr. Minkin said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has approved Osphena for the treatment of moderate to severe vaginal dryness. “The FDA’s approval affirms Osphena is safe and effective for treating this symptom of VVA, broadening its benefits to a larger number of menopausal women,” Dr. Simon added.

Please don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to your doctor if you’re suffering from dyspareunia and/or vaginal dryness. Too many women are, needlessly subjecting themselves to pain and stress. While your hot flashes and night sweats might abate, the symptoms of VVA won’t. They might even get worse.

GET READY, GET SET, GET OUTDOORS (with style)!

Get ready for the season of joyous alfresco dining with bright, beautiful and practical tableware and seating. Disposable paper and plastic do nothing for the mood, not to mention the environment. Besides, the selection of outdoor goodies we’ve put together from Overstock and Pier I Imports is so reasonably priced, why waste money on things you’re just going to toss in the trash!

SEATS OF POWER

Your supremely comfy, hand-woven chairs can be compactly stacked and stored at summer’s end. Or use them to add a splash of color to a bedroom or great room the rest of the year. Solidly constructed of wrought iron, polyethylene and polypropylene, they’re a cinch to clean with a soft, damp cloth. $399.96 for four chairs.

 

A CLEAR CHOICE

Keep your warm or cold beverages at the perfect temperature in 16-ounce acrylic tumblers with double-wall insulation. Condensation and sweating are eliminated so you won’t need coasters! We love the clear set, which will show off everything from colorful smoothies to homemade lemonade, but it comes in colors, too. Only $12.49 for a set of four tumblers.

 

SINGING A BLUE NOTE

Named after a town in France where this style of cutlery originated in the 1820s, Laguiole stainless steel flatware with French Blue curved handles will be a standout at picnics or elegant dinners. Each five-piece settling includes a dinner knife and fork, soup spoon, salad fork and dessert spoon. $79 for four place settings.

 

SHOW YOUR COLORS

It’s hard to choose just one of these beautiful, bright colors, so why not buy all four and set the happiest-looking table in the neighborhood, inside or out. Pretty and practical, the textured plates are made of shatter-resistant Melamine, and can be cleaned on the top rack of the dishwasher. Four dinner and four salad plates are under $35 and will serve you in style for many seasons to come.

 

GOING TO THE MAT

Set your colorful Melamine plates atop the snazziest placemats we’ve ever seen. Each mat is 15 inches in diameter and can be spot cleaned. But even if your four-year-old grandson tips over the mustard or ketchup bottle when he’s reaching for the bowl of potato chips, the whirlwind of colors will pretty much hide the aftermath. Just $1.98 a mat.





Money Doesn’t Do You Much Good in Prison

Feliciity Huffman seen leaving court.
Photo credit: PG/Rachpoot/MEGA

I believe rich people fall into two distinct categories: Those who never flaunt their money or act like they’re better than the rest of us, and those who think their wealth really does separate them from us, and act accordingly. They figure they’re smarter, more attractive, and more “entitled,” as in automatically deserving of privileges and special treatment. They can slip a $100 bill to the maitre d at a fancy restaurant to get a table when the restaurant is booked.  They throw around their titles to get in to see hard-to-see doctors. They call their other rich and well-connected friends to get favors they may not be able to get themselves. They expect to be treated royally by everyone from salespeople to hair stylists and waiters.

A  rich woman most of us know took her wealth to new extremes.  Playing one of the Desperate Housewives on TV she actually became one in real life.  Well, maybe not quite a desperate housewife, but a desperate mother so intent on having her older daughter admitted to a top-notch university that she resorted to fraud to make it happen.  By now, you probably know that actress Felicity Huffman was one of 50 people charged in a sweeping national scandal involving admissions to some of the nation’s most elite colleges and universities. I’m talking about schools including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown and USC. Coaches took bribes to get students accepted who didn’t even participate in the sports they coached. SAT proctors took bribes to change incorrect answers to the right answers.

Sadly, money does often talk pretty loudly, and legally. Donate oodles to build a cardiac wing at a major hospital and you’ll be taken first at their ER, even if someone is dying of a heart attack who got there first.  Hire a high-priced lawyer to get your 17-year-old out of a DUI charge, and it likely will be dismissed, even if another less-privileged teen in the courtroom is being led to a holding cell for the same charge.

I get it. I may not always like it, but I get it!  That’s the way “the system” often works. But my tolerance stops at rich people who resort to lying, cheating and manipulating the system, in addition to throwing around their money to get what they want.  That’s clearly the case with the college scandal that just broke. If your child isn’t qualified enough to get into one of the country’s leading universities, and you bribe someone to doctor her SAT scores, what will you do when she’s about to flunk out of the school that accepted her? Besides robbing a deserving kid of a place at the university, your bribe actually hurts your daughter’s chance of success. Why didn’t Felicity instead give a handsome donation to a second-tier college, where her daughter may have had a better shot at being admitted, and succeeding?  Come to think of it, that’s a form of “bribe” too. But at least it doesn’t put you behind bars.

What’s more, your money likely won’t benefit the person who accepted it.  My son loves this quote from The Jungle, which says it best: “They must not give up what was right for a little money—if they did, the money would never do them any good.”

Lori Loughlin, the other actress caught up in this mess, did a video with her daughter in 2017 where she claimed she never wanted to push her “beyond her limits” and always told her to do the best she could. “We said ‘give it your all, that’s all you can do.’ We put so much stress on kids and a lot of it is unnecessary. I never overscheduled my kids. I gave them time to sit in their playroom and use their imagination,” Lori stressed. When you think about it, Lori wasn’t lying. Why put stress on your children to succeed when you can bribe someone to make them look good?

A man in a high government position often brags about the distinguished schools he attended half a century ago and how smart he is, but he reportedly had letters sent to his high school and college forbidding them from releasing his transcripts. Curious that he wouldn’t want anyone to see grades that affirm how brilliant he is. Perhaps his wealthy dad donated a hefty sum to the university he attended because sonny isn’t as smart as he now claims. Which leads to a whole other truism: You don’t have to be smart to succeed.

I sincerely believe that every one of us deserves to earn as much money as we can for our talents, hard work and smart ideas. Good for you if you live in a mansion, travel the oceans in your own yacht and wear Chanel from head to toe. But money should not qualify anyone to get the best education, health care or legal advice. A smart, driven person from a poor family,  a sick person with no insurance, and an uneducated person falsely accused of a crime deserve the same opportunities, protections and advantages as you and I.

Of course, that’s not the reality in which we live.  We’re not on a level playing field. Our society gives people like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin huge advantages. The fact that they’d try to game the system on top of those advantages is just rotten. Shame on them.

The M Diaries

My long-time, 60-something, married friend (I’m calling her M, not her real name) met a new man about six years ago. Within two years, she left her emotionally abusive husband (she’d been married 37 years), found a full-time job (she hadn’t worked during most of her marriage, while she raised four children), and moved into a one-bedroom apartment (after living in a big, beautiful house for decades).

M was happy in her new life.  She loved her boyfriend, her work and her new home.  But, unexpectedly, she lost her job about seven weeks ago at the struggling company. Still unemployed, she feels like she’s losing the footing she’s worked hard to establish during the last few years.

         Julia Cameron

M was inspired by a New York Times article she recently read about author Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity in 1992, which has sold over 4 million copies. One of the seminal “self-help” books, The Artist’s Way proposes that absolutely everyone is creative and gives us the tools to release our “inner artist” in 12 weeks. That’s how long “it takes for people to cook,”  Julia told The New York Times.

An avid reader, M couldn’t wait to read the book and start following Julia’s central advice to write three pages, by hand, the first thing every morning about absolutely anything that pops into your mind. The exercise is called “Morning Pages,” and I asked M to share some of hers with me.  She generously agreed.

I admire M’s determination to put her intimate thoughts on paper, especially during this stressful period in her life. Too many of us are so busy running around we don’t take the time to think about what we’re really about.


M’s Morning Pages: Dreamy Sex at 60 Something

By the time you can have unprotected, carefree sex, you’re in a stale and unhappy marriage.  All the baggage you’ve been lugging around becomes so heavy, you don’t care about sex. Your menopausal body doesn’t want it.  You go through the motions to please a spouse you can’t stand. And, eventually the marriage becomes a quiet life of desperation.  With no sex. A convenience rather than a life. Stay married, financially secure, have a partner for those events that pop up and inwardly be miserable, unfulfilled and numb.  This, I wrote on the train yesterday because I had to write it as soon as I thought it. I was thinking about the exuberant sex I have with C. We go at it like teenagers, with mutual abandon and love.  We have fun, laugh, and try new ways of pleasing each other. It’s not an obligation or requirement.

We’re not trying to become pregnant or to avoid it.  It’s sex, purely to satisfy each other. Most women know sex goes hand in hand with emotions and mental state of mind.  If those two components aren’t in sync, the body doesn’t respond. Sex is dry and can be painful. But husbands want sex.  They need it. The guilt is heaped upon a wife for not being a willing partner. I’m not saying this is true for all married couples – most women won’t share their sexual lives with their friends.  My husband wanted sex all the time, even after not speaking to me for weeks. No apology, just move forward like nothing happened. I was a complacent wife and went along with his agenda to keep the peace. 

The first time I had sex with C, my head was screaming, What are you doing? And my vagina was singing.  This wasn’t young sex with a boyfriend who you wanted to please and hoped to marry, a one-night stand or, as the kids today say, “a hookup.”  The young people I worked with have “hookups.” They meet guys online or in bars, go home and have sex, never to meet again. The girls tell me they’re horny and need to get laid.  When I was in my twenties, I didn’t feel so horny that I’d have sex with anyone that came along. I had to have a connection and attraction. There had to be a relationship.

I love having sex with C more than I’ve ever enjoyed sex in my life.  I’m the one who wants it all the time. Just being near him gets me aroused. I’m on a bioidentical hormone pellet, which is implanted every four to six months. C calls the pellet a stick of dynamite!  I just turned 65. He’s 61. Men have physical sexual issues as much as women do. We have found ways, without drugs, to have great sex.  When there is no pressure to perform and an understanding of each other’s needs, beautiful lovemaking is the result. Frequently, I wonder where I would be if we hadn’t met.  I felt 100 percent sure I’d be stuck in my “mansion,” unhappy and waiting for the day I would be happy.

A Life-Changing Treatment For Scar Victims

Before & After Treatment with The Lumenis UltraPulse laser with SCAAR FX technology

Laser machines are all the rage today when it comes to tightening sagging skin, reducing lines and wrinkles, treating sun damage, and even removing hair on our legs, underarms and elsewhere. But they’re also working miracles on severe scars, from dramatically improving their appearance to restoring tissue, so patients can return to normal everyday activities that the rest of us take for granted. Scars caused by burns, injury or other trauma, such as surgery, often can prevent victims from doing something as simple as holding a fork.

I have the privilege of working with Lumenis, the company that in 2009 discovered and developed the premier laser for treating scars. The Lumenis UltraPulse laser with SCAAR FX technology, considered the most powerful CO2 laser in aesthetic medicine, greatly improves severe scars and is minimally invasive. Patients undergoing treatment are comfortable and heal more quickly. The laser works on smaller scars, too!  

Photo: Nick Ut / The Associated Press

The United States military has placed the Lumenis UltraPulse device in key military hospitals all over the world to help their wounded warriors, in veteran affairs hospitals, and in leading burn centers and private offices to help civilian burn survivors, including Kim Phuc, a survivor of the Vietnam War bombing, and “The Girl in the Picture”; survivors of domestic violence involving acid burns; survivors of injuries suffered from natural disasters like earthquakes, as well as survivors of other domestic fire accidents.

Prince Harry at the Scar Free Foundation unit. Image: Forces.net

Interestingly,  Prince Harry visited the Scar Free Foundation unit at the QEII Hospital in Birmingham, England today and spoke to a doctor about the important work he’s performing in the treatment of scars using the Lumenis UltraPulse. “The center is a ground-breaking national facility that aims to minimize the psychological and physical impact of scarring among armed forces personnel,” Kensington Palace said.

While many of us have tiny scars from minor accidents or bigger scars from operations, we don’t often think about the life-changing scars that affect millions of people all over the world. It’s exciting to learn how laser technology can give their lives more normalcy. If you’d like to learn more, please visit hopeforscars.com.

I Received a Pulitzer Prize

Growing up in a wealthy family in New Orleans with everything she ever wanted, 71-year-old Carol Pulitzer never worried about money until a decade ago, living alone in North Carolina with two marriages behind her, she realized her money was running out. “I was practically down to nothing and felt fear like I had never felt before. This was Carol’s “wake-up call,” she remembered.

Today, back home in New Orleans, Carol is “much happier” living without much money. “Money was just always a burden,” said the talented writer and artist, who recently self-published two illustrated books,  one fiction, the other nonfiction, all super- short stories, many based on her experiences.

And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, Carol’s had remarkable experiences, some of them downright devastating, including the accidental deaths of her daredevil brother when he was days away from his 21st birthday and her 26-year-old son, Nick, from drugs.

When my Nick set sail at 26 a giant hole took up residence in my heart. At the time of his passing I cursed God, then I begged God to let me off the wheel of life, and then finally Nick intervened and gave me the gift of knowing life rolls on after death, Carol writes in her story MY NICK SETS SAIL from her book MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: A COLLECTION OF VERY SHORT ILLUSTRATED NONFICTION WITH RECIPES  

Interviewing Carol was an experience in itself, because she’s witty, wise and, most of all, thought provoking. Meet Carol.  

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD

“I had a really sad family.  My sister is three years older and is mentally disabled. It’s so hard, so hard, to have a disabled member of your family. My older brother was the light of the family. He always went fast…motorcycles, planes, cars…and was just wild, but everyone adored him. Like a mad scientist, he refurbished a World War II plane that hadn’t been used in the war because of a design flaw, but he died flying that plane. So full of life that he burned out fast. My family was just blown to bits.  I was this young, vital girl and everyone in the house was crying. It was just terrible. I ran away from the situation as soon as I could, enrolling myself in boarding school in Memphis, TN.”

YOU CAME FROM A WEALTHY FAMILY.  WHAT WAS YOUR ATTITUDE ABOUT MONEY AS YOU GREW UP?

“Although both my parents were orphaned, by the time I was born, my father and his brother owned a hugely successful necktie business. Although being rich defined me, I never felt the money was mine and I did everything in my power to throw it away. I dated only men without money.  I paid for everything, so I’d blown all my money by the time I got older.

Carol’s gorgeous silver hair, post straightening iron

“I could have done great things with the money that was handed to me.  Renovated houses, created a business, helped others. I never really took charge of my life, it took charge of me. It just took me so much longer than normal people to wake up, grow up and develop coping skills because I didn’t have to. When you’re young, you look good, your body is in great physical shape, but mentally you don’t know what you’re doing. Then it all gets reversed. You look in the mirror and see the years, you buy pants with elastic waists, but you have so much more wisdom.”

WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER BOARDING SCHOOL?

I went to the University of Texas and then I came home and went to Tulane.  I liked the idea of school more than I liked school. It was the 1960s and I was partying and doing LSD. Not smart. When I look back at the access I had such incredible libraries and instructors at the University of Texas, but I wasn’t even thinking about that. I really think they should defer college for four years, have all kids work in some kind of service first”

DID YOU WORK AFTER COLLEGE?

The girls in our family weren’t allowed to work in the family business, and the boys weren’t allowed to do anything but work in the family business, a lose/lose situation. But I forced my way into the business after my dad died, but I wasn’t welcome and it was a bad situation. Then I got a design job at a boy’s knitwear company in New York and after that went to the NY Restaurant School since I’d always loved to cook and had restaurant fantasies. I’ve also done a million things to earn some money, including illustrations for magazines, product lines like decorative garden stakes, and a line of cocktail napkins, but I didn’t really make much. Although I’m grateful I didn’t have the constant stress of needing to earn money to live, I would do it all differently if I had a do over.”

TELL US ABOUT YOUR TWO HUSBANDS

“Jimmy, the man who would become my second husband, was my boyfriend when I was a junior at Tulane.  A real adventurer, he went around the world on a freighter after he graduated. The story 1972 is loosely based on him.

“While Jimmy was off traveling, I met a beautiful man at a summer party in New Orleans who was about to go off to Harvard grad school to study linguistics. I wound up driving to Cambridge, where we married and lived for four years.  It was a starter marriage. The story Bad Honeymoon is about the ‘honeymoon’ in Paris that I took with my ex-first husband after not seeing him for 40 years. Even though I love the city, the trip was not good.  

As it happens now and again, an ex-husband appeared in my inbox … this one after 40 years. So much had been forgotten, for instance that he could be both mean and weird. That didn’t stop me from accepting his invitation to meet in Paris at a 4-Star hotel so he could give me the honeymoon he hadn’t been able to afford as a graduate student.

“Jimmy and I eventually got back together and moved to California, where we married, had our son Nick, and lived for 20 years. He was a writer.  I’m not a fan of marriage. I like living alone.”

AND YOUR SON NICK?

“Nick was 14 when Jimmy and I broke up and he went back and forth between us, but spent more time with his father. Just like me when I was young, he never followed the rules. And, he couldn’t stand me telling him what to do. I was the bad cop with him, the one who said no. He adored me but resented me at the same time. He died almost four years ago.”

WHAT DID YOU DO WHEN YOUR MONEY STARTING RUNNING OUT?

At Mardi Gras with Chris Owens (right) and her husband. In her 80s, Chris has been stripping on Bourbon Street for over half a century, and she’s still going strong at her own club

“When I was down to practically nothing, I came back to New Orleans where you can live really cheaply back then, and I just started living in a new way. While I was catching up on the city, since I hadn’t been back for about 30 years, I came across a website called ViaNoLaVie and sent them one of my stories, which I had never shown to anyone. They accepted it, so I started writing for them about food, art, and interesting people who pass through the city. It was a great reentry into New Orleans for me. When my mother died a couple of years later, she left me with enough money to get me out of hot water for a few more years. I live modestly now and have no desire to buy things.”

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO WRITE YOUR TWO BOOKS AND WHAT DO THEY REPRESENT TO YOU?

“Books carry me away. I’m a fool for books. I wrote and illustrated my first story when I was 30 and living in New York.  I’ve written stories my entire adult life and never showed them to anyone. I just did them. At 71 you don’t have much more time to waste, so I said If I can do these books, I can die happy. Then self-publishing came along and made it possible to create my books exactly as I envisioned them, with lots of illustrations and irreverence. I never had a desire to be published by a traditional publisher, where you hand off your baby and lose all control. Writing LITTLE THEATRE and MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED is all I ever wanted to do so I feel like I scratched a 40-year itch.

“I’ve also compiled books since 1973 on cooking, art, and my son Nick, which has stories of him growing up with lots of pictures and funny things he said that I otherwise would have forgotten. I think of these projects as family heirlooms. I believe everyone wants to make a mark. All the chemicals in the universe came together to make you, so it would be a shame to disappear without a trace!”

WHICH DO YOU PREFER, ILLUSTRATING OR WRITING?

“I prefer pots of color, brushes and the big messes of making art, but I’m happier with the results of my writing even though the process isn’t as much fun. I love short-short stories because you find out what happened and how it turned out at the end so quickly.

WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE STORIES?

“I really like MY UFO which is about the insane thing that happened to me one night in New Mexico.

My eyes snapped open at 3 am exactly, I walked to the dresser, picked up my flashlight and left my room at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in my pj’s and indoors-only slippers down a path I didn’t know existed, out into the New Mexico desert, flat open shrubland hooded by Mt Taos.

I looked up into a sky that made no sense. There were no stars other than 6 dripping diamond-shaped clusters of fat lights very low in the sky. Like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, the rest of the sky was navy and black swirls all in motion!

BTW, LOVE YOUR HAIR

“Thank you. Hair is a big thing, isn’t it? I was white haired by the time I turned 40. I get compliments on it everyday. If you have to go gray, this is the gray you want to go.  I always wanted a straight bob with bangs like Buster Brown. I finally discovered the straightening iron.”

WORDS OF ADVICE ABOUT FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION

“Do it!  I’m running about 30 years late but I managed to do what I was sent here to do.”

 

The M Diaries

My long-time, 60-something, married friend (I’m calling her M, not her real name) met a new man about six years ago. Within two years, she left her emotionally abusive husband (she’d been married 37 years), found a full-time job (she hadn’t worked during most of her marriage, while she raised four children), and moved into a one-bedroom apartment (after living in a big, beautiful house for decades.)

M was happy in her new life.  She loved her boyfriend, her work and her new home.  But, unexpectedly, she lost her job about six weeks ago at the struggling company. Still unemployed, she feels like she’s losing the footing she’s worked hard to establish during the last few years.

M was inspired by a New York Times article she recently read about author Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity in 1992, which has sold over 4 million copies. One of the seminal “self-help” books, The Artist’s Way proposes that absolutely everyone is creative and gives us the tools to release our “inner artist” in 12 weeks. That’s how long “it takes for people to cook,”  Julia told The New York Times.

Julia Cameron / Photo: kripalu.org

An avid reader, M couldn’t wait to read the book and start following Julia’s central advice to write three pages, by hand, the first thing every morning about absolutely anything that pops into your mind. The exercise is called “Morning Pages,” and I asked M to share some of hers with me.  She generously agreed.

I admire M’s determination to put her intimate thoughts on paper, especially during this stressful period in her life. Too many of us are so busy running around we don’t take the time to think about what we’re really about.

Day One: M’s “Morning Papers”

“Week 5, still jobless!  What to write to fill up three pages?  Always had something to do. House, kids, friends, job.  Void now of anything. Wake up at 6 am everyday – the day is long, stretching out beyond.  I need a job! Resumes have been sent – no replies. Waiting for unemployment checks to start.  Signed on with Medicare and Social Security. I’d rather have my job. Or any job. Work is good.  Work is healthy. People to meet, energy used, brain power required. I want to write a book. I’ve always wanted to write a book.  But first I have to fill three pages every morning, which seems impossible. Is it?

“This is day one of the ‘Morning Pages.’  I’m trying my best to fill up page one – how will I get to page three?  If I had a job I wouldn’t be doing this. I’d be drinking my coffee, reading emails, checking Facebook, listening to the news in the background, looking at the time, planning on when to take a shower, wondering what to wear, what the weather forecast is, checking the weather on my phone.  

“Make my bed, procrastinate about getting into the shower, hair needs washing, but I’m lazy.  Will wash tomorrow. Text my daughter, ‘Good Morning Bella.’ She loves getting a morning greeting.  

“Why did I lose my job?  I loved my job. I loved going into NYC.  I loved the kids I worked with. I loved the people I met.  I have to fight the tears and depression. There’s so much to be depressed about.  I am not a depressive person. I’ve always woken up happy. The glass is always half full!  Waking up on the wrong side of the bed doesn’t mean a thing to me. There are so many things I can do.  Jack of all trades, master of none. The thing I love to do most is cook. Cooking is relaxing. It’s art.  It’s passion. It’s creative. Food is comforting. Enjoying a meal with the person you love is beautiful. Eating alone is lonely.  Living alone is lonely. Watching TV alone is lonely. Never lived alone until three years ago when I moved into this apartment. But having a full time job meant I was only alone at night and on weekends.  

“Now I am alone 24 hour a day – seven days a week.  The exception is a few hours on the weekend, when my boyfriend comes over or if I’m invited to my daughter’s or a friend’s on a Saturday night.  Single people are not invited to couples’ dinners. Friends. Now that’s a word that has really taken on new meaning for me. I had so many friends.  My phone was always ringing, my door always swinging with someone dropping in. I know friends come into your life at different times and leave. But, the friends I’ve lost gave no reason for the their exit from my life.  A life that is so far from the one I had.”

Combat Dry, Crepey Skin All Year

Crepe Erase® compensated FabOverFifty with an advertising sponsorship to write this post. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will help you. All insights and opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

When my skin began to resemble the aging leather on my favorite dining chairs, I knew I had to take action. Stretching, sagging and cracking aren’t great on a chair, but it’s certainly not the look I wanted on my body. Today my skin feels soft and supple for the first time in years, even throughout the relentless winter cold. My legs, my arms, my hands and my neck–all sensationally smooth. I’ll tell you about my remarkable discovery in a moment. Maybe I should use it on the chairs, too!

Dry skin is common in later life, when our glands naturally produce less oil.

And, the overheated air we use to keep our homes comfy during the winter makes the problem worse! Think about my chairs or a favorite pair of leather shoes that’s stretched out and cracked after years of wear.  Like leather, our skin has countless pores that absorb or release moisture. Overheated indoor air and low humidity can draw moisture from the top layers of our skin, causing it to dry up and possibly crack, especially on our elbows and feet. What’s more, our skin loses its wonderful foundation of collagen and elastin, making it loose and saggy.

I’ve slathered on dozens of lotions and body creams–drugstore to high end–over the years, but not a single one provided hydration or softness that lasted for more than a couple of hours. And, they never did a thing for the crepiness I sadly started to see.

As editor of a popular website, I’m often invited to try out beauty products for everything from my head to my toes.  One brand–Crepe Erase®—stood out because I’ve seen the actress, Jane Seymour, talk about it on TV. Almost 68,  Jane has been a Crepe Erase® fan for years, and looks amazing. That’s an excellent endorsement right there!

The formula features TruFirm Complex, an exclusive blend that includes three plant extracts, to help reinforce our skin’s netting, so the skin can appear tighter and firmer, and helps it look like it did when we were younger. Crepe Erase® also contains seven powerful hydrators, including coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, beeswax, cassava and Vitamin E, which absorb quickly and work to visibly soothe and renew the skin.

Crepe Erase® is the #1 Anti-Aging Body Treatment System for Dry, Crepey Skin*

(*Based on Crepe Erase® sales data & IRI & NPD sales data for 2017.)

The Essentials Kit includes only two simple steps:

First, I grab my bottle of Exfoliating Body Polish when I shower, to lift away dead, rough surface cells and make my skin feel smoother and look more radiant. (By the way, avoid taking long, hot showers because they’ll dry your skin even more!) After the shower, I massage the Intensive Body Repair Treatment, with the TruFirm Complex, into the crepey skin on my neck, chest, arms and legs. The Body Polish has a lovely, fresh scent, and the Repair Treatment absorbs quickly and isn’t even the tiniest bit greasy.

As I said earlier, the skin on my body hasn’t felt this smooth and hydrated in many years, even during last winter, when a long stretch of brutally cold temperatures froze the pipes in one of my bathrooms! I’ve learned that the more consistently you use skincare products, the better the results. I’ve been treating my skin to Crepe Erase® for almost two years, and it’s paid off when I need it most!

Crepe Erase® isn’t a glorified body lotion. Trust me, it feels like I’ve tried them ALL.  If my word isn’t enough, look at these superb results from a 4-week Crepe Erase® clinical study, not to mention the extraordinary before-and-after images they revealed on QVC.

98% EXPERIENCED IMPROVEMENT IN EVENNESS OF SKIN TONE ON THEIR DÉCOLLETÉ.

90% SHOWED IMPROVEMENT IN THE LOOK OF SKIN FIRMNESS ON THEIR ARMS.

88% OF WOMEN EXPERIENCED AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE LOOK OF SKIN ROUGHNESS ON THEIR LEGS AND KNEES.

{Based on average results of a 49 person evaluation by an expert clinical grader}

Results will vary

Crepe Erase® is so confident that you’ll love its products, it invites you to use them for 60 days, and, if you’re not satisfied, you can return the containers–EVEN EMPTY–for a full refund, less s&h! This offer assures me even more that these are quality beauty products. Plus, the line is incredibly reasonable in the first place!  

What’s more, we’ll send you our 4-in-1 Eye Renewal Capsules, a $38 value, as a free thank you gift.

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