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Apr
28
Barbara Younger
Hormones and Superheros: A Menopause Novel
Other Topics
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Going Through the Change

(Cover art by Polina Sapershteyn)

Here’s a post by a writer friend of mine, Samantha Bryant. She’s written a novel about menopause and superheros!

Menopause can be a pretty scary word. In a world that values youth and physical perfection above experience and knowledge, especially for women, getting older is fraught with psychic landmines. The process can make you doubt your own self worth.

Besides what the world thinks, there’s that feeling that your body is betraying you, changing physical shape around you and surprising you with new changes in function. You can start to feel like you can’t trust your own senses. Is it hot in here? No? Guess it’s just me, then.

As a writer, when something scares me, it comes out on the page. In the stories and characters I create, I can deal with the things that worry or upset me. I always tell my husband that it’s cheaper than therapy.  That’s exactly what happened with Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel. The novel follows five women as their journey through the change of life takes some unexpected turns: superheroic turns.

While the subject matter is definitely the stuff of comic books–human flight, wielding fire, and transformations are unlikely to be a problem for any of us here in the real world–the book also explores the heart’s truths of this time of life. One of my characters, Helen Braeburn, is taking it especially hard.

“Sometimes, Helen felt like she had spent her whole life waiting to be ‘old enough’ and then had crossed over into ‘too old’ without finding out what it was she had been waiting for.”

And

“It was a truth of life that as a woman aged, Helen thought, people tended to treat her more and more like a child. Salesclerks called older women honey, just like they might a child. Senior food and movie tickets were sold at a reduced price, just like a child’s. Discounts and nicknames weren’t so bad in the scheme of things, but the assumption of incompetence was hard to take.”

Even in her lighter moments, Helen still struggles with aging.

“Getting old sucked. Of course, so did being beaten up by a giant lizard with red hair, and strangled by a cheerleader.”

Writing this book definitely has helped me deal with all my anxieties about aging and menopause. I hope my readers will find connections with the experiences of these characters, too.

Here’s the Amazon link to the book.

Introducing the stars of the show, the menopausal superheroes! These wonderful drawings were done by artist Charles C. Dowd.

Helen, who brings new meaning to “one hot mama.”

Helen

Jessica, who finally lightens up, literally.

Jessica

Linda, whose inner strength becomes her outer strength, and it comes with a surprise!Linda

Dr. Liu, who doesn’t see a problem with the means she uses to get to her ends.

CindyLiu

Patricia, who always had a thick skin, but now is bulletproof!

patricia

Samantha Bryant is a writer, mother, and middle school Spanish teacher, so she knows a thing or two about being a superhero. Her secret superpower is finding lost things. She lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with her family and dog.

Check out Samantha’s Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/samanthadunawaybryant
Here she is on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mirymom1
And Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SamanthaDunawayBryant/posts
To read her blog, click here: http://samanthabryant.com

full-swing-computer-shoes2

 

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Nov
13
Marguerite Orane
DONE is better than perfect
Technology
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I have procrastinated about doing video blogs (vlogs) for a long, long time. Here’s my first one. Lessons learned?

  1. It takes a lot more time to put something off than to do it.
  2. It’s easier to do something than we think it will be.
  3. Perfection adds nothing if it’s not done

What are you procrastinating about today? Just do it, imperfections and all.

Done is better than perfect vlog

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Nov
10
Lois Joy Johnson
Best hairstyles for fine hair or thin hair: Stay ahead of hair loss with strategic cuts, styling tricks and color
Fashion & Beauty
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Before we get specific about the best cuts and color solutions for fine, thinning hair, you need to know that hair loss doctors do not expect you to stop coloring your hair (if you do) or resist using heat to style it. What they do suggest is being strategic about chemical processing and styling:


  • You might consider downsizing your color routine from double process with highlights to just highlights or going closer to your natural color.
  • You may want to give up a few inches (do you really need stringy hair hanging down your back?) to get extra fullness and volume.
  • But ditch the tight ponytails and cornrows — that kind of traction is non-negotiable.
  • Hair loss specialist Dr. Catherine A. Orentreich of the Orentreich Medical Group in New York City adds, “If you get a salon straightening treatment, opt for the Brazilian keratin one, not the Japanese method, which is more destructive to the hair shaft.”

Hair basics
Let’s get a few basics straight about hair. Hair is dead — the part that is alive is under your scalp in the follicle. The hair that we style and color — the hair shaft — is made up of a protein called keratin. The outer layer of the hair shaft is called the cuticle and when that is smooth, resilient and strong, your hair looks healthy. The cuticle covers the inner cortex and medulla of the hair and is composed of layers that overlap like a tiered skirt.

When you blow-dry your hair in a certain way and add a styling product, the layers of the cuticle get fluffed up instead of being smooth — and your hair appears fuller. There’s one pro I’ve worked with for years who knows this topic cold: celebrity hair (and makeup) artist Jim Crawford, who specializes in women over 50. His clients include Helen Mirren, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Isabella Rossellini, Valerie Bertinelli, Shirley MacLaine and Christine Baranski – all known for their trademark hair. Jim insists that most celebs do not have great hair. “You always see them after pros have worked to transform their thin, fragile, chemically fried hair.


Most bring hairpieces matched to their hair to the set or ask me to bring them along. Thinning hair, bald spots and receding hairlines can be camouflaged – trust me, I do it all the time.” Crawford relies on one of these four basic cuts to create the illusion of more hair and hide sparse areas. At least one will work for you.

The four best cuts to flatter thin hair

  • A short, classic bob
    This blunt, chic, chin-length cut is a foolproof disguise for hair that has all-over thinning and/or skimpy areas at the crown or back or the head. You can add full side-swept bangs to camouflage a skimpy hairline. It’s low-maintenance and can get blown up easily for a fuller look with a blow-out and styling lotion. It’s versatile and can be worn on or off the face. Inspirations: Jackie O, Cybill Shepherd, Kim Cattrall, Christine Baranski, Anna Wintour, Ellen Barkin.
  • A short, choppy bob
    Add irregular length layers and pieces for a fuller look. The tousled, shaggy look can give the effect of more hair and texture. It’s especially valuable for women wanting to camouflage thinning at the crown or back of the head. Inspirations: Meg Ryan, Diane Sawyer, Glenn Close, Helen Mirren.
  • A mid-length, shoulder-grazing cut angled in long layers around the face
    This length is as long as a woman with thin hair should go, but it has the feel of longer hair. Have your hairdresser remove all weight from the ends so the hair moves. Inspirations: Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Iman, Jaclyn Smith, Suzanne Somers.
  • A short, layered crop with bangs
    This look is gamine in spirit but sophisticated and still sexy. If you have a great neck, fairly crisp jaw-line and your thinning is most obvious along the front hairline this cut can be an ally. Inspirations: Annette Bening, Judy Dench, Shirley MacLaine.


Once you have the right cut for you, there are two more secrets to building in fullness:

  • Using the right blow-dry technique
  • Choosing the right texture styling product.

Professional styling secrets for thin hair
Here are Jim Crawford’s behind-the scenes styling tricks:

  • Quickly rough dry your hair with your blow-dryer on a high heat setting using your hands and fingers to lift and move the hair. You want to be fast as possible and not use any brushes.
  • Your goal is to eliminate 80 % of the water in your hair before applying styling product. The reason? If you leave water in your hair when you apply volumizers, the result is diluted.
  • Don’t worry at this point about frizz or perfection, just get it nearly dry.
  • Then spray on a styling lotion or a mousse to build in body. These formulas are light, non-greasy and provide just enough lift and texture. You must avoid all waxes, gels, pastes, polishers, styling creams, shine boosting mists and silicone serums. They will weigh your hair down, make it oily and revealing sparse areas. Even if the label on one of these seven products says volumizing or for fine thin hair or body-boosting, ignore them — they are not for you.
  • Finish the look by continuing to rough dry once the styling spray or mousse is in you hair. Then just polish the ends with a round or flat brush as a final step in your blow-out.
  • An alternative finish is to continue to blow dry using your hands to direct the hair in the direction you want it to go. When your hair is totally dry, very lightly and quickly run a flat iron or a barrel iron from mid-hair shaft to ends only. Don’t run the iron over and over through the hair or linger over a spot.

Hair color tricks for thin hair
“Women feel more comfortable now discussing thinning hair issues with their colorist and hair stylist,” says New York City color guru Beth Minardi of Minardi Salon. “You need to take charge of the problem from a medical and cosmetic standpoint to really get an effective result. Think of each strand of hair as a fiber. At twenty it was like a stand of yarn, by 50 it’s more like thread.”


  • Use permanent color to thicken hair.
    Thinning hair can be improved by using a permanent hair color which penetrates the outer cuticle of the hair and swells the hair shaft. Minardi urges women to “Take advantage of the thickening benefits of permanent color. It fattens each individual hair so cumulatively your hair feels thicker.”
  • Variations in tone create depth.
    Some women experiencing thinning hair decide this is the moment to go blonde or if they are already blonde to go lighter. A big mistake, according to Minardi: “If you go too blonde when your hair is thinning, your hair will look transparent and sparseness at the scalp actually will become more visible. Instead, go for variations in blonde tones with a dark blonde or even light brown base and lighter brighter shades on top to create depth and the illusion of more hair. Brunettes should do their variation aiming for a tone on tone multi-color effect too, keeping the darkest color at the scalp as your base. A solid allover color will reveal any thinning or sparse areas while a multi-color look adds camouflage and creates the illusion of thicker hair.”
  • Color-camouflage a thin hairline.
    How about the sparse or thinning hairline area where color seems to grab more quickly? As Minardi explains, ” Brunettes with thin hairlines usually notice their color going darker-nearly black in that area and here’s why: color grabs more easily where your hair is thinnest. Highlighting around the hairline in brown on brown shades to vary the color helps in this instance. If you’re a brunette who colors her hair at home, go a shade lighter than you think.”
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Jul
14
amethyst
Now this is a strong woman!
Family & Relationships
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I so admire the writer of this piece:

Your body is too wrinkly,” he said without a pause. “I have spoiled myself over the years with young women. I just can’t get excited with you. I love your energy and your laughter. I like your head and your heart. But, I just can’t deal with your body.”

I was stunned… We talked for some time more, my head reeling at the content of the conversation. He spoke of special stockings and clothing that would “hide” my years. He blithely told me he loved “little black dresses” and strappy shoes. He said my hair was not long and flowing as he preferred, but that was okay because it was “cool looking.” I felt like a Barbie Doll on acid as I listened to this man. He was totally oblivious to the viciousness of his words. He had turned me into an object to be dressed and positioned to provide satisfaction for his ideas of what female sexual perfection should be.

He explained that now that I knew what was required, we could have a great time in the bedroom. I told him no. I would not hide from my own body. I would not wear outfits to make my body more “tolerable.” I would not undress in the dark or shower with the bathroom door closed. I would not diminish myself for him — or for anyone. My body is beautiful and it goes along with my mind and my heart.

Read the full piece here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-korth/sex-over-50_b_5563576.html?utm_hp_ref=fifty&ir=Fifty

21+
Jul
14
Ellen Dolgen
Menopause Mondays: National Nude Day: Bare it All and Love It
Health & Fitness
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http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgTake a deep breath and relax! Nudity is more at this stage of life than just taking your clothes off…thankfully! Here are some suggestions for turning National Nude Day into something that will help you become more mindful, shed negative feelings about your body and enjoy the fact that now that you’re in the empty nester category, it’s time to leave the bedroom door open for when you really want to go au naturel!

Nudity and Menopause

Menopause usually translates into covering up rather than taking it off, but if you’re good with an itsy bitsy teeny-weeny bikini, then that’s good, too! Many women breathe a deep sigh of relief at this stage of the game and learn to ignore that airbrushed perfection on magazine covers touting the most perfect person in the world. We’ve got bigger and better things to think about!

So, next time you’re standing in line at the store gazing at those perfect 10’s on the cover, think about what a trusted friend your body has been to carry you this far. Appreciate it! Live in the present and get ready to spend your time…exactly as you please! Feel better, already?!

Let it RAIN!

Rather than focusing on what’s not perfect in your life, while missing the things that are worth a second look, why not try mindfulness, which is just paying attention to what’s going on right in front of you. Simply put, live in the moment and enjoy your life as it unfolds, rather than continually ticking off your ‘to do’ list in your head!

Studies show that this one psychological shift impacts almost every part of the body, affecting your hormones, immune system and even the psychological behaviors behind over-eating and substance abuse! What’s not to like? Mindfulness is also associated with stress reduction or MBSR, which stands for mindfulness based stress reduction.

Even long-time depression manifesting in anxiety and mood disorder moved in a positive direction through mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is so powerful that it impacts your DNA and can change the gray matter in your brain, say researchers. Long story short: mindfulness even affects your DNA and the aging process.

Here are some ways to become mindful:

  • Practice meditation (mind-body)
  • Take up yoga (physical component)
  • RAIN: Recognize strong emotions, Acknowledge it, Investigate it, Non-identify with what is there

The New Transparency

As we all move into the ‘empty nester’ category, discover the new transparency it offers by celebrating a renewed relationship with your significant other through open communication. Scientists suggest this time of life is ideal to become a couple again after years of identifying as just a parent. Men can suffer from empty nest syndrome, too, so it’s a good time to partner up for grownup things—with the door open!

Privacy rocks! Plop down on the sofa, nude if you like, and learn how to have a conversation with your husband again about something other than, ‘the kids.’

Love Your Body

Finally, menopause is a time to relax your self-imposed rules about having to look perfect all the time, especially in the nude. Consider your body a trusted friend who served you well through the years and treat it accordingly. Pert, taut and flat might not be the first words that come to mind, but there’s nothing wrong with curviness, soft skin and ‘my husband/boyfriend likes what he’s looking at,’ to replace them?

Loving yourself is the first step to accepting others. Acceptance is the first step to awareness and guess what with awareness, we’re right back to mindfulness. So, give your DNA a rest from constant stress and anxiety, which leads to early aging. It’s time to enjoy this new chapter of your life and release those self-doubts about…well everything! Live free and love it.

Suffering in Silence is Out! Reaching Out is In!

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