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Liz Kitchens
The Paradox of Parenthood
Family & Relationships
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I spent seven February days in Chicago caring for my newly born granddaughter.  Did I mention the February in Chicago part? winter cold The -14 degrees part?  It was a fabulous week filled with so much love and delight.  Such a point of connection for my son and me.

My daughter flew in as well.  Scrambling eggs one morning, accompanied by David’s music playlist, I beheld my daughter cooing with baby Maya as her brother and sister-in-law perused family baby photos of yesteryear.  This is why we have kids– for these moments of utter contentment and completeness.  children and grandchildren

Now, did you hear the “moments” part of the above sentence?  Let’s be honest, to achieve those moments requires hours of energy expenditure, a/k/a work.  Now, much of that work is joyful work.  Feeling useful is so satisfying and contributes to one’s sense of well-being and happiness.  Ok, all the benefits of hard work and self sacrifice aside, the work part is exhausting.  I was assigned the early morning baby caring shift.  That meant arising at 5:30 and trudging two blocks in the snow and -14 degree weather to fulfill my motherly/grandmotherly duties.  Once in the warmth of the apartment, heaven awaited in the form of my baby girl.  That intoxicating baby fragrence; the feel of her head tucked beneath my chin; to know I’ve not lost the ability to soothe a baby back to sleep.  Priceless moments.

But there was also

  • taking the dog out for exercise and elimination;
  • climbing basement stairs on wounded knee with mounds of laundry;
  • grocery shopping (organic only);
  • car pooling;
  • Starbuck’s drive-throughs;
  • even hosting an Oscar night party.

Did I mention I’m 61?

I had coffee recently with a Lady Boomer friend.  Her 92 year old father had recently passed away.  While his passing was not a surprise given his age, the significance of the loss was profound.  But she has not really been afforded the opportunity to sit with her grief.  She is being pulled by so many sources and obligations.  Her adult children and even her husband are making a lot of demands on her time and emotional resources.  All these demands leave little space and stamina for one’s own needs and wants.

Even, or especially, being in our 60s, we still have dreams we want to pursue.  I know when I returned from Chicago, I had little to no physical and psychic energy left for my own creative aspirations.  I gave my friend a prescription, one I so hope I follow.  Carve out 2-4 hours in the coming week for yourself.  Seems simple, right?  Not so much.  You have to commit to the promise and build in accountability.  Use the time to…

(1) meditate, (2) write in a journal, (3) take a walk or a bike ride, (4) wander through a museum or gallery, whatever you do, do it alone.  You need to carve out time to hear your own thoughts and needs.  Who knows, by creating this space, you might actually implement some of the things you hear from yourself.


VN members
Women 50+ Know: How to shed clutter and simplify their lives
Home & Garden
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1. Minimize the mementos from your children’s early years.
From Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs in How to shed the stuff you don’t need (and your kids won’t want)
Mother’s Day gifts made in preschool, unidentifiable art-class and wood shop projects and every scrap of sentimentality have their place, but it’s a very limited place. Save only those that really tug at the heart strings, not every crayon-scribbled, glitter-pocked piece of paper.

2. Speaking of paper, get rid of (most of) it.
From Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs in How to shed the stuff you don’t need (and your kids won’t want)
There’s no need to save every single greeting card, every single receipt, every single recipe that one may have intended to try but never did. A paper shredder — of which we found an unused one in Granny’s possession — comes in handy for such things.

3. Go on a clothes diet
From Sarah G. Carter in Could you go on a clothes diet?
We all have too many clothes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a really limited wardrobe? Life would be simple. Just wear the same things. No fuss, no bother. No decisions.

4.Recognize the surprising forms that clutter sometimes takes.
From Julie Morgenstern in 10 ways to shed the clutter in your life
Clutter is not necessarily disorganization. Clutter is about what’s stagnant and stuck. Some people can find (and eliminate) clutter in their lives that they never expected.

5. Go through your house and find 5 very stagnant areas.
From Julie Morgenstern in 10 ways to shed the clutter in your life

With each one, ask yourself, “If all this were gone what would I miss?” Instantly you will recognize the treasures. Heave everything that’s not on the list. The answers are in your stuff. One client had a utility closet outside her kitchen. In that closet she found all kinds of things, but 80% of it was not used.  I asked what would she miss. A sewing machine that her grandmother had given her. Why? First, it came from her grandmother – but it was much more than that, it was the symbol of the creativity that she used to thrive on – the happiness she found in making clothes and creating things. That emerged. Everywhere we went, the treasures were the things that represented her creativity and her joy. She was able to reactivate. She’s lost 50 pounds, has started her own business. We didn’t know what she was going to do with that information. But she cleared out the clutter and it allowed her to pursue that creativity.

6. Let go – with love.
From mebutter in Clearing the clutter
I feel happy to have my memories and happier still to be ready to embark on a new life. It took me six years to reach this point where I could relinquish the last bits of my ex-husband’s belongings. I did it without anger, without regret. I did it with love. I packaged his china securely. I collected all his coins. I selected some photos of our daughter and his family for him to have. After this week, I will be lighter and freerer.

VN Featured Comment
How to recreate brows from scratch with makeup
Fashion & Beauty
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Today’s Featured Comment

From Lois Joy Johnson

Former beauty and fashion director of More magazine Lois Joy Johnson shares the following tips in her Vibrant Nation Beauty Guide, Great Hair After 50:

  1. In general, a medium, full brow with a gentle arch and extended elongated shape is youthful and attractive on most women.
  2. When you create a new brow with makeup, allow time for your eye to adjust to seeing your face with more brow definition.
  3. Don’t aim for symmetry since one brow is always higher or fuller or arched differently.
  4. Brow powders make filling in bald areas and creating a natural-looking shape where hairs are missing easier. You can use a brush-on brow powder applied to a waxy balm base (they often come in kits together), using a firm, flat-tip, angled brow brush to feather in hairs.
  5. You can also try a powder pencil for a similar and faster effect.
  6. Brush any brow makeup pencils or powders through with a spiral brush to soften and blend the makeup for a more natural look.
  7. I recommend Lancôme Le Crayon Poudre Powder Pencil for Brows ($24 click here to buy), Dior Powder Brow Pencil ($28 click here to buy), and Clarins Pro Palette Eyebrow Kit ($35 click here to buy), which has powder filler, wax, and brushes in one mirrored compact.

[This advice was orginally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]

Guess Who Made the List?
Health & Fitness, Work & Money
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Yoga Anita is honored and excited to be part of this list!

Popexpert is excited to recognize the Top 20 Mindful Life Coaches to Watch for 2015, chosen for their meaningful contributions to the mindful living movement and dedication to creating online learning opportunities for people around the world. These coaches are on a mission to help the world live, work and be more mindful in all aspects of life.

The list is comprised of distinguished popexpert experts, authors, business owners, contributors, and speakers across diverse categories of life. From nutrition to fitness, meditation, relationships, parenting, yoga, happiness, and more, all of these coaches have in common a dedication to teaching their clients a more mindful approach to living.

These coaches are all known for:

  • Contributing significant thought leadership to the mindful living community
  • Creating and facilitating incredible education opportunities through speaking engagements, blogging, and teaching
  • Bringing awareness of the conversation around mindful living styles to the forefront of the health & wellness industry

As we rapidly enter a new era of mindful living, we’ve seen a large trend toward people, businesses, and governments around the world acknowledging the importance of living a well-balanced, meaningful life. The landscape continues to evolve at an increasingly fast pace with the proliferation of online education opportunities. Through their involvement in the professional community, whether speaking, blogging, or teaching, these leaders are empowering people to learn and grow.

In conjunction with this announcement, we asked these top emerging mindfulness leaders to share the single most important focus area that will help anyone at any level live more mindfully in 2015. We’ll be releasing their insights in a series of upcoming blog posts over the next few weeks.

See story here.


VN Editors
Why You Need a Blow Dryer to Create Hairstyles for Thin Hair
Fashion & Beauty
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If your hair looks flat and lifeless and dull and thin, it’s probably because you aren’t using a blow dryer to give yourself fuller, prettier hairstyles for thin hair. If you’ve got thinning hair, it’s time to meet your new favorite hair tool.

Thinning Hair, Women?

If you’ve noticed more hairs falling out of your head as more candles grace your birthday cake, you’re a very normal vibrant woman. Lots of women notice changes in their hair as they go through “the change” of life, meaning menopause. It’s common for hair follicles themselves to shrink, resulting in finer shafts of hair. You may also notice more hair shedding, a process the leaves you with thinning hair all over.

There are tons and tons of products out there designed to treat thinning hair. Women can use volumizing sprays and special shampoos. They can get extensions and wear wigs. But the most important tool in your hair arsenal is the blow dryer. When it comes to creating hairstyles for fine hair and looks for thinning hair, women can’t find a better piece of equipment.

Why You Need a Good Blow Dryer

When it comes to getting a blow dryer for your hair, don’t be too frugal. Get a durable but lightweight design that’s easy to hold, and get yourself a round styling brush. A good blow dryer is a versatile tool that helps you create lots of great hairstyles for thin hair. What can a blow dryer do for your hair?

  • Dries product: When you have thinning hair issues, you’re going to be using various products on your hair. Moisturizing oils, thermal protecting sprays, styling mousse and volumizing gels dry evenly and beautifully when you use a hair dryer. If you put product on your hair and let it air dry, your hair is going to look heavy and coated.
  • Dries your roots: If you’re using your blow dryer the right way, your roots will dry so that they’re up and off your scalp. This makes your hair look full.
  • Volume: The main reason you want to use a blow dryer is for the volume. If you know how to wield this tool, your hair will look thicker, fuller and livelier.

To use your hair dryer, treat your hair with any product first. Now part and comb your hair. Take your blow dryer in one hand and your round brush in the other. Beginning with the top layers, lift three-inch sections of your hair with the round brush from the underside. Hold the dryer to the underside of hair, and move it and the brush slowly down the length of the entire section. Repeat one or twice more, until the section is dry. Work around the head this way, drying hair in layers. Don’t get in a hurry and grab big sections. Work slowly and always from the roots down, moving from the underside of hair down the length. Your style will be softer, fuller and look healthier.