Welcome! I'm a 48 (and 1/2) year old, wife, mother (8 1/2 year old son), daughter, sister, friend and volunteer. So, 48.5 really means I'm into my 49th year on this amazing planet, and on July 19, 2010, I'll be in my 50th year. The mid-century mark. L. The big 5-0. However you want to say it, to most of the English speaking world, it means "old". I want to get there with grace, passion, beauty, love and laughter. I want to get there the old-fashioned way: by taking care of myself, eating right, creating a balanced life, laughing and living life to it's fullest. I'll be documenting my journey and hope you will watch and learn along the way. I'll also provide some of my tips for looking young and feeling your best as we head to and beyond our mid-century mark. Here's to being "Beautifully 50".

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Blogcation

(Photo credit: addictedtowow.blogspot.com)
Welcome back! I've been on a week long (seems like forever) "blogcation" (I'm sure I haven't coined the term), but hope to be back in full-on blog mode soon. If any of you read my post "Dancing with the Stars - Part 1", you'll know that my "debut" was this past Saturday evening...yes, I danced with a professional dancer in front of a 500 plus standing room only crowd. Ok,  I was on stage for a total of 4 minutes, but that 4 minutes consumed days of my life. 

I'm off to a fun girls' weekend in my favorite city, New York,  with two BFF's.  I'll be checking out the latest Spring fashion, some fabulous NY restaurants, and...drumroll...a hot, trendy nightclub...or two.  Nightclubs? It's been a long, long time. I'll be back with a full report on how I handled the night club scene (cougar? no way.), and "Dancing with the Stars - Part 2".

Hope everyone is having an outstanding week!  Please stop by next week!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"How old are you?"

I never thought I would ever grow to hate a simple question, but I do. It's not that I'm not proud of how I look, how I feel, or what I've accomplished, it's just that I'd rather keep people guessing. Some people, of course, are very respectful and would never ask a lady this question - kudos to you! On the other hand, there are others that somehow think it's their right to know..even if they've just met you. Am I making too much of this? Probably.

There's one time when I like this question. When a stranger or acquaintance says, "So, how old are you, 40?"  I proudly boast my age. This, however, is happening on fewer and fewer occasions. So, what's a girl (oh, that's right, middle ager) to do when this inquiry is made?

Here are a few of my responses:

1) 38 (we all want to be 10 years younger, no?)
2) Old enough.
3) Why?
4) I don't want to talk about it..
5) "cringe"...48.
6) How old are you?
7) Mid-life crisis age.
8) One hundred and twenty.
9) Older than you think (hopefully)
10) I'm old.

I love Erma Bombeck's quote:

As a graduate of the Zsa Zsa Gabor
 School of Creative Mathematics, 
I honestly do not know how old I am. 

Didn't this work for Zsa Zsa? I don't think anyone knows her real age.  My goal in 2010, as I'm trying to embrace the coming of the big 5-0, is to say "48" (yes, my real age) with confidence.  What's your answer to this "age-old" question?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

iHad to Share

I just had to share this new iPhone case maker with you! I happened to notice a friend's case the other day, and it was unlike any I had ever seen. We've all seen the rubber peace signs, Paul Franks', colored plastic, even shiny gold iPhone cases...all very cool as well, but this one we create ourselves. Yes, a one-of-a-kind iPhone case. The process is fun, inexpensive and gets your creative juices flowing. (Am I the last to know about this?)

The site is called imakemycase.case-mate and in addition to the DIY cases, it has a wide selection of other cool ready-made phone cases as well. 

As I said, the process is simple. The site has 10 different world-class artists (with samples of their work) for you to choose from, and each artist has several different backgrounds (from your basic white to psychedelic prints), dozens of different graphics (flowers, diamonds and serpents to name a few) and a few tools (want a kaleidoscope of your art? no problem). Then it's all "drag and drop".  The art is applied with a special process that embeds the ink directly into the case, ensuring it won't scratch or abrade with our daily addictive use. Cases are made with Lexon, an extremely strong plastic that is more durable and lighter than the other plastic cases on the market. Since 'imakemycase' is one-of-a-kind, they strived to use the best quality products in their design.

So what's this got to do with becoming "Beautifully50?"  Don't we all want to celebrate our individuality?  We are past the "take what they give you" stage of our lives, right? And, this is a great way to show our creativity and passion for art.  All of this for a mere $39.99. Oh, yes, at our age, we love a good bargain too.

My friends will tell you that I love art, but I'm certainly no artist. Here are some designs I made in 10 minutes or less (all of them, not just one of them!):

Loads of Diamonds

Spring has Sprung

Grayphic Circles

My Valentine's Mess

Scroll it!

Pyschedelic 60's

The ten minutes I spent creating these was lots of fun. I cant' wait to go back on and create another. Although, I'm kind of liking "My Valentine's Mess". What do you think? 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Good Day Sunshine

Remember how happy this Beatles song made us feel? Well, that's how I'm feeling right now as I've been given "The Sunshine" award by one of my favorite blog sites, La Dolfina. If you appreciate the beauty in every day life, aspire to have beautiful surroundings in your home and beyond, this is a site you definitely want to follow! Terri has impeccable taste and an eye for the exquisite, you won't be disappointed. 

It's an honor to be listed in the same breathe as the twelve other blogs Terri has bestowed her Sunshine award upon. So now it's my turn to share the twelve blogs that provide my daily dose of sunshine!  Here's to the following wonderful reads...follow them for your recommended daily dose!

The Sunshine Award
click here

My Favorite Things

And, of course, I need to include my own Super Sunshine award to Terri at La Dolfina, and to my one of my very best friends, Kellie at CashonandCompany! Thanks Kell, for pushing me to start a blog!♥ 

Dancing with the Stars, Part 1

What I'm about to write about is still somewhat surreal to me, however, it's about to get real, and in only 6 days! Last fall I was asked by the chairperson of my son's school auction to consider being one of the "stars" in our "Dancing with the Stars" themed evening. My son attends an all-boys school and the "auction" is our major fundraiser of the year, sometimes bringing in upwards of $500,000! Each year the chairperson determines the theme and attempts to increase funds raised over previous years' events. You get the drift....

So, when asked, I actually jumped at the opportunity. Always a "Dancing with the Stars" fan, the thought of getting professional lessons (they comped eight 45-minute lessons), dancing with a pro, wearing a cute outfit and helping to raise money for my son's school was so appealing.  I have zero dance background, other than shaking it with the girls on a girls' night out. Oh, that's right, I took ballet when I was three, and during my recital, dressed as a lion, I urinated all over myself and the stage...(let's pray that doesn't happen this time!).

I've always thought that stepping out of your comfort zone was important in life.  I love trying new hobbies, some I stick with (yoga), and some I'm glad I did, but will never do again (half-marathon), and some are on the back-burner for now (needlepointing). Dancing was something I always thought I could learn fairly easily, but boy I was wrong. Eight 45-minute lessons equates to eight runs down a ski-slope and then performing in the Olympics. Seriously! So, I've handed lots of cash over to the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in hopes of honing my cha-cha skills. In six days, the 500 person, standing room only crowd will see the results of my efforts.

The "show" segment of the evening will run just as a "Dancing with the Stars" competition. There are eight "school" dancers (faculty, staff, 2 parents) and eight "pros". Each amateur will take the stage with their pro for a long one and a half minute routine and then the voting begins. We have three judges that will comment on our performances, and the entire audience votes with some type of electronic gadget. A big, mirrored disco ball trophy goes to the winner, but believe me, that's not my focus. Cha-cha'ing for 90 seconds without falling is my goal.

School Auction Logo
provided by "A Different Perspective" graphic design

Throughout this journey, I've realized that I'm much too hard on myself, I'm too serious, and I need to focus on the real fun dancing has brought to my life. My hopes are that I can carry these feelings over into other aspects of my being...it will be difficult, but I know I just need to lighten up!  Look for "Dancing with the Stars, Part 2" sometime next week...and I'll let you know if I got my cha-cha on or not.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Power of the Sweet Potato (or 'The Supreme Yam')

Sweet potatoes...not just for the holidays anymore. Seriously, we all need a reminder on the power of this colorful potato! One of Dr. Mao's must-eat foods, the sweet potato, and cousin yam, both provide more beta-carotene and vitamin C than carrots, more protein than wheat and rice, and more fiber than oat bran and as much potassium as a banana! A single skin-on sweet potato only contains 120 calories, and has over 1000 mcg of vitamin A (more than our daily requirement), plus good amounts of B6 and folate. Most importantly, both are a rich source of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), the mother lode of all hormones.

DHEA is what we call a "precursor hormone", one that remains latent in the body until it converts to a hormone that our body needs. It can become estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, all so essential for our body's anti-aging defenses to work. DHEA doesn't stop there, it is a potent immunity booster, helps to control auto-immune disorders, and has been shown to possess significant anticancer properties. As the most abundant steroid in our body, DHEA also helps ward off arteriosclerosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation to the brain, prevents fat accumulation, and improves heart function. Need I say more??

My favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is simple...puncture a few times with a fork, bake in a hot (400˚ oven) until you see caramelized potato seeping out of your fork holes, slice open, add a little butter and S&P to taste. Depending on my mood, I might add cinnamon and brown sugar (sweet mood) or chili powder (hot mood). Both are delicious! Sweet potato fries are another quick favorite - I simply slice into strips, add a little olive oil and salt, and bake until done. Of course, make sure to keep the yummy skin on, lots of potent vitamins are in the skin!

When buying sweet potatoes (actually slightly healthier and definitely tastier than cousin yam), avoid ones with blemishes, cracks, soft spots and cuts. Store, uncovered, in a cool, dark spot (always hard for me to find!).

Sweet Potato Fries with rosemary
Add chili powder, paprika, thyme or cinnamon!

So, I'm thinking one a day will keep aging away!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Swim Spanx, Really?

Wow. We all remember the "Miracle Suit"...needless to say, I've never tried one on (they always seemed very outdated in their styling, although I loved the concept of a swimsuit taking off the terrible 10), but I may actually take a dive into these new suits from Spanx.  Yes, Spanx! The company we all wish was created decades ago, but fortunately we all know and love now for their slimming shapers and body wear. And, if you've never purchased a Spanx product, either count your blessings for your perfect body, or head to the nearest big box retailer and load up!

Currently I'm at that stage in my life when I'm mourning the loss of ever hoping to wear a bikini again...even in my own backyard. And really, my body is not that bad...some cellulite here and there, a little back fat and a less than perky derriere. My tummy is actually flat, but it's covered with lines (are these stomach wrinkles?), and I have a decent bust area.  I just feel over-exposed in a two-piece since my almost 49-year-old skin is just not as pretty anymore. Worrying about excess skin (ok, fat), is something I just don't care to do anymore....so one-piece, you are my new bff.

So, when I ran across the Spanx suits on Neiman's website, I was immediately intrigued. New this year,  they are meant to provide the same slimming effects as the Spanx bodywear, by including a lightweight inner body shaper that will flatten tummies, smooth backs and slim love handles, all designed with beautiful Italian jersey (my mantra...everything Italian is good).  Gotta love that! Here's a sampling of the new line, with fun, sexy, flirty styles! And, I'm headed to Neiman Marcus this afternoon (time to pay that bill..I think I'll die with a NM balance), so I'll try a Spanx suit and report back.

All items available at Spanx.com or NeimanMarcus.com. 

Spanx Deep-V
Other colors available

Spanx Flamingo 
My favorite, love the color and ruching

Spanx Color Block
Must see the zoom on fabric at spanx.com, very pretty!

Spanx Triangle Top
Other colors available

Spanx Ruffle top
Other colors available

Spanx Swim Dress
Cuter on than you think!

Spanx Tankini
Several tankini styles available

Spanx Bikini
Cute, for someone!
Not sure where or how the body shaping plays a part!

Spanx Bubble Skirt Cover-up
I like this in black...need to see it on.

So, are these cute? Or wishful thinking on my part? I'm definitely going to try on...I think they are perfect for trips to a lake, water park or vacationing with other families (isn't that the worst..your friend's husband checking you out in a bathing suit?!).
Comments, please!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Modern Times

The Paradox of Our Age

by The Dalai Lama

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
More conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
More knowledge, but less judgment;
More experts, but more problems;
More medicines, but less healthiness;
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We build more computers to hold more information to
produce more copies than ever but have less communication.
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It's a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.