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Magnolia Miller
Why I Will Never Date Again
Love & Sex
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How’s that for a catchy title? And it’s true.  So true.  I will never, ever, EVER date again.  Oh, I can just hear all of you motivational speaker types getting ready to tell me to “never say never” and all of that other kind of platitude-y, cliche-ish kind of stuff that I hate worse than the thought of dating again.

But here’s the deal:  I’m going to be 58 years old next month.  I’ve been divorced 3 times.  The last one is still rocking and rolling inside my emotional and spiritual psyche. Even if I wanted to date again (which I don’t), I am not in a healthy place.  Talk about a disaster waiting to happen.

I also won’t dismiss the fact that I’m wrestling in the worst way with bitterness toward anything with an XY chromosome – except my wonderful son – and so, it’s safe to say that if a guy attempted to ask me out on a date, I would probably haul off and let him have a swift right hook.  Not exactly a great way to begin a relationship.  No?

But here’s the real reason I will never date again:  I was never very good at it in the first place.  Even when I was young and “date-able”  I hated the process. It’s awkward.  It’s uncomfortable. You can’t just be yourself because everybody is in “putting your best foot forward” kind of mode, and so, there’s always a lot of judging going on. And frankly, I just can’t take it.

The mere thought of dating is utterly exhausting to me.

I also don’t see the point in dating anymore.  For what? I’m not ever getting married again.  Ever.  NOT EVER!!!  There will be no “4th time’s a charm” for this girl. No thanks, girlfriends.  You can keep all of those Prince Charmings all to yourself.  I’ve kissed enough frogs.

That is not to say that I wouldn’t mind someone to have coffee with.  Or someone to watch a movie with.  Or even someone to grab a bite of food with.  But, unless I meet that person going about my normal, everyday activities, that won’t happen either.  Because I refuse to exert any additional effort to “meet someone.”

In the meantime, my focus has become my own well-being.  I spend a lot of time doing things that I love.  Reading, writing, watching movies, working in my garden, doing the work of graduate school, and spending time with my children.  My spiritual life has become a priority too.  My relationship with God and His love for me is becoming my all in all.  I say “becoming” because it’s definitely a process, learning to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength; learning to lean on Him for everything.

For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. Isaiah 54:5

I’m no longer afraid to be alone either.  And the thought of dying alone no longer scares me like it used to.  Perhaps the change of menopause has profoundly changed the things which motivate me in the last part of my life.  I just no longer feel compelled to “couple up” like I did in my 20s, 30s, and even in my early 40s.  Except maybe with my Jack Russell or my favorite cat.

I’m finally okay with being exactly who I am, exactly where I am in life, with no prospects for it to change.  Besides, there are plenty of opportunities to love and receive love in this life.  We don’t need a spouse or significant other to do it either.  We just live it and give it.

VN Editors
Use vaginal dilators to treat dyspareunia (painful sex) after menopause
Love & Sex
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Dyspareunia—the recurrent or persistent genital pain before, during, or after sexual intercourse—has a variety of causes and treatments.  Vaginismus (vaginal tightness that makes sexual intercourse painful or even impossible) is a type of dyspareunia.

Both dyspareunia and vaginismus can be caused by the hormonal changes of aging and menopause.  In addition to aging, one major cause of painful sex is not having enough sex.

Unfortunately, women over 50 more frequently go through stages where (because they are single, widowed, divorced, or even unhappily married) they simply aren’t having sex.

When sex after menopause is difficult because it seems painful or almost impossible for a man to insert his penis in your vagina, doctors most frequently recommend vaginal dilation with dilator sets.  Dilator sets help you strengthen and train your pelvic floor to relax.

What is a vaginal dilator?

Vaginal dilators are tampon-shaped devices that women can insert into their vaginas for several minutes to stretch the tissues and keep them pliable. Dilators often come in sets that range in size from small (about ¾ inch in diameter) to about the size of a fully-erect penis.  You start with the smallest, and gradually work your way up to the larger sizes.

Where do you buy vaginal dilators?

Because this problem is more common than most women over 50 realize, they are also surprised at how easy it is to acquire a vaginal dilator. They’re even available from You can try your local sex specialty shop or, if you’d rather shop more privately, try a woman-friendly online retailer.

How do you use a vaginal dilator?

You may need the help of a doctor or trained physical therapist to explain the proper technique, but a woman can do the treatment in the privacy of her home and at her own pace.

One member describes the process this way, “Get some lubricant and swab in around your genital area and tuck a little into the vagina. Put more lubricant on the dildo.  Insert the tip of the dildo into the opening.  If it hurts, just roll/rotate the tip around the outside next to the entrance.  A little at a time over a period of weeks, maybe even months, gradually insert the tip more and more.

“For me, even that hurt a lot at first.  Once you can get it inside of that tight little sucker, slowly thrust it in and out, as if you are really having sex.  If you stimulate your clitoris at the same time, that will help.  And yes, get yourself off.  But don’t be impatient with yourself if it doesn’t happen for a while.”

Does this treatment work?

One member who describes herself as a “successful self-devirginalizer,” wrote about her success using vaginal dilators. She said: “Ultimately my husband could actually fit again.  At first it hurt and just inserting his penis was enough.  Then when we began having sex, we changed positions.  He was on his side and I was on my back, our legs intertwined.  That position hurt a lot less than others and then after a month or so of actual sex, it didn’t hurt at all.

“And you know what?  The sex is now better than it ever was prior to menopause.  This position leaves the clitoris out and available for manual stimulation at the same time. Sex is now the best it’s ever been.”

Sex after 50 can be one of life’s great pleasures.  If you want to experience sexual intercourse but it seems too painful to enjoy (or even attempt), follow the lead of other women over 50 and either ask your doctor about vaginal dilators, or try them on your own.

8 anti-aging lipstick tricks (and the one lipstick color sure to flatter)
Fashion & Beauty
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Charla Krupp’s book How Not to Look Old, is an excellent guide to quick and easy steps to take years off our lives without the help of major surgery. One tip that everyone can embrace is to “put on pink lipstick.”

The best lipstick color for us

Why pink? The right shade can compensate for dull complexions. Dark lips emphasize dark circles under the eyes, and the darker the color, the thinner your lips will look. It’s just like wearing dark clothing—dark slims, lighter emphasizes. (You know, black makes your rear look smaller, and white makes it look plumper) So follow the same principle when selecting your lipstick, and your lips will look fuller and sexier.

Victoria’s Secret makeup artist Nick Barose has this to say about your lip shades.

  • Mauve makes you look older and sad
  • Nudes can make you look washed out
  • Orange veers into the clownish
  • Purples make you look like you’re suffering from hypothermia.

Ouch! But the more I think about it, the more I agree with him. Time to clean out my makeup bag and buy a few select shades of pink. But how to select the right shade of pink for me?

How to choose the right pink for you

1. Not too dark, not too light – just right. If the pink is too dark, it will blend into your lip color and you won’t look like you even have any on. If it is too light, you will look too pale. “Choosing a color one or two shades lighter than your natural lip color shines just the right spotlight.”

2. Get professional advice. If you don’t want to ask for professional help at the department store, consider visiting Ulta or Sephora. There are literally hundreds of lipsticks to try out before you buy, and there are private stations with tissues and applicators for your play-time. If you prefer the grocery or drug stores, keep your receipt, as most will allow a return if the shade is not just right.

3. Keep in mind that the creamy lipsticks work much better and look more “dewy.” Long-wear lipsticks are great for those of us who don’t want to reapply frequently, but most of them can be very drying, making your lip lines look even worse. Lip stains gather in the creases and won’t smooth over your lips. And don’t go with a matte lipstick — it will not reflect light so your lips will look dull and dry. Do select a lipstick that is velvety with a hint of sheen. Nick says,” Opaque lipstick is about as youthful as opaque nude pantyhose!”

Anti-aging tips for applying lipstick

Here are four steps for that perfect pouty mouth:

4. Prep. Exfoliate and moisturize, just like you do the rest of your face. Lipstick will stick better to a smooth surface, and the extra moisture will help plump them up. Use a lip balm before applying your lipstick and you will have a nice youthful look.

5. Conceal. Use a concealer along the edge of your upper lip to fill in lines and prevent your lipstick from “feathering.”

6. Shape it up. The older you get, the more you need lip lines. I know I do! My lips seem to be disappearing before my very eyes. Your lip liner should be either the exact color as your lips, or a couple of shades lighter. And here’s a great tip: after you’ve shaped your lips, fill them in with the lip liner. This will help your lipstick adhere better and last longer.

7. Add color. Select that perfect pink, and finish it off with a dot of gloss in the center of your bottom lip to give the illusion of fullness.

Finally, a word about lip plumpers:

8. Don’t waste your money on lip plumpers. Even the best over-the-counter serums give only temporary results. And just think of Goldie Hawn in The First Wives Club when you consider getting collagen injections — you don’t want to have “trout pout” forever.

VN Featured Comment
How to dress our age, not like an old lady
Fashion & Beauty
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Today’s Featured Comment

From Faith Baker

Just a few ideas I would like to add if you wear all black all of the time (like me).  An article in the January  2012 edition Real Simple magazine gave me some good ideas on how to dress your age and not like an old lady. I have given a few of them a try.

Here goes:

1.) Stop wearing “matchy-matchy” jewelry. This proved relevant for me as I tend to buy the whole set (though not wearing all of the items at once).  Instead, go for similar textures, colors, etc. I realized that I always reach for the same pieces to wear together when I decide on what to wear. Do any of you feel like you do that too? Try a bold statement piece,  and then pair with contrasting yet complementary items. I feel like I have twice the jewelry now that I’m mixing it up more.

large black purse2.) Stop with the enormous black purse that you could literally fit your kitchen sink into. Same with the shoes. Never having a lot of money, I always stuck with black shoes and handbags since they go with everything. Now I have a much smaller steel-blue purse with both a removable shoulder and regular strap. I usually don’t even bother with the shoulder strap because it falls down constantly anyhow. I also kept a similar purse by the same manufacturer and it is in a velvety, “not-quite-fur” material in gold to wear with my gold ”foil” gladiator shoes. I also have several different shades of brown shoes and NEVER had gold ”foil” shoes before! I know that I will never be a red-shoe kind of gal, but these small changes have really made difference in how I think and feel about the way I dress now.

3.) Stop wearing “boxy” clothing. With an apple-shaped figure, this is a tough one to apply to myself. But I stopped buying cute cardigans, and bought a jeans vest, and a darling blue jeans shrug. Its just another way for me to hide my belly and here in Florida, layering needs to be lightweight. I have to “alter” most of my clothing now at my age, but sometimes, just an inch or two taken in can make the all the difference in the world. Remember, not too loose, and not too tight-slinky, slightly form-fitting is the best fit. Properly fitting clothing is the best thing in the world and if you are fortunate enough to have had a mother who taught me you how to sew like me, its going to be a lot cheaper. But you can learn to do simple alterations with iron-on hemming tape (melts into the fabric to hold a seam), sewing on buttons, etc., you can do a bit yourself. Otherwise, you must decide if you can either afford a tailor or pay a friend to help out. (It would be much cheaper).

Well, these are the ones that I have applied. Some of the others were quite obvious (at least to me ) but here goes:

  • STOP wearing “work-out’ clothes; except to well, work-out. Those matching pantsuit-type sweat-”outfits” that all of the “Housewives of Everywhere” wear. And don’t wear flip-flops except at the beach, pool, or your own backyard. Believe me, this is a biggie in Orlando. Even the locals wear “wife-beater” tanks, too-short shorts and flip-flops-disgusting!
  • no head to toe pastels,
  • no matching sets of any kind,
  • no orthopedic-looking shoes, and lastly,
  • no wide-cut capri pants.  If you must wear capris  (and yes, I have had to give in with the heat here), then make sure they are slim cut.

Hope this helps others out there who may be stuck in a mold when it comes to the way they dress too. And hey, I haven’t once missed my black purse!

[These recommendations were originally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]

Lois Joy Johnson
Unwanted facial hair? 7 ways to get rid of a mustache, chin hair, and more
Fashion & Beauty
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As estrogen declines before and during menopause, some vibrant women experience an increase in male hormones, causing thinning hair on the head and more noticeable hair on the face.


7 ways to get rid of unwanted facial hair

  1. Sometimes the problem is complicated by a blend of genetic, metabolic, and endocrine issues. A medical workup should be the first step if your unwanted facial hair has progressed to a serious stage. See your internist, dermatologist, and endocrinologist to determine the cause and strategize about a plan of action.
  2. If you have noticed several dark hairs above your upper lip and/or a few hairs sprouting in the chin area, you may choose a nonmedical option. Many women just tweeze a few errant hairs.
  3. Some women like the ease of waxing (and the ultra-smooth results) done in a salon setting and schedule it with their hair color touchup. The downside is waxing stings and should be avoided by those with sensitive skin or women who use Retin-A or Renova in that area for smoker’s lines.
  4. At-home depilatories are fast, but regrowth is fast too, and they can also be very irritating.
  5. Electrolysis by a trained, experienced technician may offer a permanent solution but requires several treatments over a substantial period of time. Be certain of the “work” by asking for referrals in advance.
  6. Ask your dermatologist if you are a good candidate for laser hair removal or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) facial hair removal, which offers a permanent, if pricey, solution in a clinical setting. These are true cosmetic dermatological procedures, and cost is determined by the size of the area being done, your choice of doctor, and the number of visits required. Multiple treatments and a few subsequent touchups are typical with each treatment, costing $350 to $500. Laser uses beams of concentrated light to penetrate the hair follicle and destroy it and works better when there is contrast between facial hair and skin tone. Women with dark facial hair and lighter complexions benefit more from this procedure than those with darker skin tones and dark facial hair or light skin tones with fair peach fuzz.
  7. Another option is the topical prescription cream Vaniqua, which is applied twice a day to slow the growth of facial hair. It works for some women as a companion to their hair-removal procedures since it cannot destroy the hair follicle just inhibit growth.


VN Editors
Buying Vibrators for Women? Get a Groupon First
Love & Sex
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Like bargain shopping? Need to get some new vibrators for women? Turn to Groupon to find great deals, and discover vibrator models you never knew existed.

A Penny Saved

Groupon is a website that specializes in coupons, discounts and various money-saving deals. The site rose to fame by offering discounts and deals on activities, but now you can find coupons for any number of retail items as well – including lots of different vibrators for women.

Before you go shopping for your next new vibrator, browse Groupon to see how much you can save. There are several types of vibrators you can expect to find on the site:

  • Rabbits: Several different brands of rabbit vibrators offer coupons on Groupon. The rabbit vibrator is one of the world’s most famous designs. It stimulates you in multiple ways, and has a classic vibrator look.
  • Bullets: Small, handheld bullet vibrators are very popular on Groupon and in general. Little bullets are made to be discreet. They’re used to deliver targeted pleasure.
  • Pocket rockets: Small but powerful, pocket rockets are available in a wide array of colors.
  • Voice activated: If hands-free control is what you like, use Groupon to find voice-activated vibrators for women. These devices allow you to enjoy pleasure without even pushing buttons.
  • G-spot vibrators: Find affordable g-spot vibrators at Groupon, too. These vibrators target the elusive g-spot, an erotic area that’s so mysterious some scientists aren’t even sure it exists.
  • Finger vibrators: You don’t have to let the device do all the work. Groupon is a good place to find finger vibrators for women, too. These little devices are slipped on over your fingers to turn your own digits into vibrators.

Finding Vibrators for Women

Don’t know exactly what you want to buy? Groupon is a good place to find vibrators for women and see what different types of models are available. Browsing through the site may introduce you to new types of vibrators. If you’re going to experiment and shop around, it only makes sense to do it when you’ve got a good discount. Groupon coupons can help you feel a little less guilty about spending money on vibrators.

Groupon is a good place to start, but it’s not the only website that offers discounts on vibrators for women. When you buy vibrators online, you have several different money-saving options. Sites like RetailMeNot offer coupon codes for online shoppers. If you’re shopping anyway, why not save money, too?

Lisa Copeland, The Dating Coach Who Makes Finding Love After 50 Fun and Easy!
Beware of Too Much Chemistry
Love & Sex
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As a twice-divorced woman in my mid 50’s, I found myself back in the dating world yet again after my second divorce. Hubby #1 and I met in college but hubby #2 and I met at an online dating site. Online Dating does work and I chose a very nice man to marry. We just married for all the wrong reasons.

You see, when hubby #2 and I first met, there was this instant chemistry between us. Sparks flew everywhere. Its intensity was so strong that within six weeks of meeting each other, we were already planning a wedding. Saying good-bye was so difficult and left me in tears every time we parted ways. I couldn’t stand being without him at my side and I couldn’t wait until the day we would live together as husband and wife.

The love we shared continuously tugged at my heart. I’d never felt this way before. Although I could see his shortcomings, the “chemistry” between us was so intense that I totally overlooked any negative issues, excusing them as behaviors that would somehow change as the result of our love over time.

If you read enough online profiles, you will see that most men are looking for “CHEMISTRY” as the barometer for success on a first date. Everyone wants to fall in love the minute they set eyes on each other and that is exactly what we had happen to us! Our first coffee date turned from a half hour meet and greet into an 8-hour marathon. The energetic vibes between us were magnified. Have you ever felt like you knew someone the second you met them? Within minutes, I felt like I’d known him my entire life.

Some chemistry is a good thing. You absolutely do need to click on certain levels. You need to have enough in common to keep things moving forward. But first dates are so awkward that it’s hard to click really well when you first meet. It takes time to develop a true relationship. And it takes conversation, lots of it and it takes playing together as a couple with activities, friends and families to see if anything is really there.

Instant, intense, chemistry like I had with hubby #2, keeps the natural progression of the “getting to know each other” process from happening. The chemistry gives you a false sense of being in love when it turns out what you are really in is lust. We found ourselves feeling what we thought was love for each other so by date #3, it wasn’t surprising when the “L” word appeared.

After knowing each other for only a year, we were married. The intense chemistry between us was still going strong and we were still having a lot of great sex but we were always angry at each other. Neither of our needs were being met due to his inability to communicate well. Yes, that was the red flag I overlooked and thought would correct itself over time.

As 2 years wore on, the chemistry never wore off. But, our arguments got more intense and began wearing on each of us. Without, a friendship, there was nothing to keep the marriage solid. When we separated, I could still feel a strong tug at my heart and it took a while to stop wanting his physical presence in my life.

Although this was such a painful period in my life, I did learn a lot. I realized that a relationship truly needs to develop at a slower pace and that its most important quality is the friendship that develops with time between two people. As we age, sex can wane. It is the friendship, the similar values and the fun you share with another person that holds a relationship together.

If you find yourself in a situation where blinding chemistry shows up between you and a potential partner, take a deep breath and as hard as it will be, slow it down and give yourself a chance to see if the two of you can work beyond the intense attraction. Learn from my mistakes. Divorce is hard on everyone and messy whether you’ve been married 24 years or 2.

If you have a first date with a man and you feel like there is no chemistry, try going out again and see if it develops over time. Often it will and it’s this slow building type of chemistry that will create a lasting and enduring relationship between you and a “Quality Man”. And that is what we all really want don’t you think?

Have you ever found yourself in a relationship that began with intense chemistry? Did it last? I hope you will share your stories by posting them below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Learning more about men is helpful and my upcoming teleseminar will help you understand more about them.

Until next time-


Barbara Younger
A TMI Post! Leg Hair–score one for menopause
Healthy Living
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When the weather turns cold, I wear more pants than skirts.  But about a month ago,  I selected a dress from my closet. Gee, I thought, if I’m wearing a dress, I should shave my legs.

I HATE shaving my legs.

I probably thought it was fun in seventh grade, when my mother said, “Okay.”

But for the last forty plus years, it hasn’t been high on my list of thrilling activities.

Not to mention the danger!  Razor too fast over shin or ankle. Yikes!  Bleeding for an eternity.

Anyway, before I put on the dress, I trudged into the bathroom and picked up the razor.

No hair.

Yes, for real.

Well a hair here and there, but not many.

Then I remembered reading that in menopause, the hair on your legs can stop growing.


A perk!

Web searches didn’t reveal much info, but women on some of the forums reported the same happy situation.

After a few weeks, some hair appeared worth shaving off, but all in all, the need to shave legs seems to be slowing down.


Anybody else have a similar story to tell?

Photo: If this is a TMI post, this sculpture is a major TMI piece of art. It’s the work of George Segal, done in 1963, and appropriately titled Woman Shaving Her Leg.

I found the photo here. Read about artist about the artist here. You can read specifics on Woman Shaving Her Leg here.

VN Editors
sex after menopause: using a vibrator can increase your pleasure
Love & Sex
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Talking about self stimulation and vibrators is not something many women are comfortable doing. There is an entire generation of women who were taught that talking about masturbation, let alone using something like a vibrator, was something proper women just shouldn’t do. This is unfortunate since using a vibrator and self stimulation are easy ways to ease the uncomfortable sex after menopause caused by female dryness.

Even a few women who are comfortable talking about having sex after menopause still have reservations about using a vibrator for self stimulation. Some women are afraid to use a vibrator for stimulation because they’ve heard that it will decrease their sensitivity over time and affect their ability to orgasm more naturally.

This is untrue – a vibrator will never take away the intimacy you can achieve with a live partner.  According to Dr. Pepper Schwarz, “Sometimes we need stronger stimulation than a hand can give without it becoming irritating. And sometimes we just need a different kind of stimulation for the sheer eroticism of it.”

The fact is that vibrators can help many women over come vaginal dryness and enjoy sex after menopause. Using a vibrator helps a woman achieve increased natural lubrication and reach orgasms faster. While you won’t find many women so open about sex that they are willing to display their vibrator collection on an open shelf in the living room, it’s true that most women need to be more comfortable with expressing their sexual needs.

Women who are shy about introducing a device into their relationships can save the vibrator for private use. Many women are also shy about shopping for vibrators or other sex toys. Be not afraid – thanks to the Internet there are many women friendly online retailers like Good Vibrations and A Woman’s Touch.

If you’re unsure where to start, try a couple of vibrators favored by women over 50:

  • The Eroscillator (recommended by Dr. Ruth)
  • The Hitachi Magic Wand; or
  • Any of the various “Rabbit” devices.

Don’t give up if the first one (or two) you try don’t work for you; every woman’s dimensions and senses are different.

VN members
Women 50+ Know: How to deal with divorce after a longtime marriage
Family & Relationships, Love & Sex
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1. Reconnect with your soul.
From Jackie Haughn in 3 rewards of divorce
“During this time of transition, expect some additional downtime, which is a great opportunity to reflect. You are not alone. Your higher self is always eager to listen and provide answers to questions that you’ve been yearning to know.”

2. Know that it’s better to be alone than with the wrong person.
From Myrna in how to survive a divorce after 27 years of marriage
“I have been divorced for nearly 26 years, and wouldn’t go back for a million dollars. Enjoy being able to make your own decisions and controlling your own life. I’ve discovered over the years that it is sometimes better to be alone than with the wrong person… Do I get lonely, sure sometimes; but its usually just for companionship which you can find in friends.”

3. Do something symbolic.
From Judy Steinberg in Surviving divorce after 50: 4 steps back to the real you
“Here’s what I did: I took an armload of my husband’s 8×10 glossy publicity photos to the parking lot of our favorite restaurant and I burned them. Seeing his lying cheating face go up in smoke did wonders for my morale and allowed me to feel completely disconnected from him and the life we shared. My friend tossed her wedding ring into the river to accomplish the same feeling and then, in a more aggressive act of symbolism, my mother cut the crotch out of all her husband’s pants. What a woman! Create your own private revenge and move on!”

4. Be not afraid to take the leap.
From Dr. Coach Love in Later-in-life divorce
“Twenty-five of the thirty years of my first marriage were satisfying and the tale of the last five years is sadly long—including ‘his’ 7 bypasses,loss of employment, depression, and his total inactivity in taking care of himself while I looked on in frustration and helplessness, unable to be of any influence on him. The short story is that my new husband of six years and I have a great life– very different than I would have had. I still feel a loss in some ways, but I could not let myself sink with him. There is definitely life after 30 & 50. If you need to do so, do not be afraid to go out and find yours!”

5. Take time to grieve.
From MajorInsight in how to survive a divorce after 27 years of marriage
“You have some grieving and letting go work ahead of you. If there are children involved, they need as much attention and stability as you can afford to give them. Surround yourself with family and friends who can listen and let you grieve.”

6. Deal with depression in a healthy way.
From MajorInsight in how to survive a divorce after 27 years of marriage
“Don’t start dating until you are emotionally in a healthier place. Get involved in a faith community, seek counseling, choose to live in a environment that is healing for you. Don’t drink or drug to numb the pain. See your doctor and a therapist if you find yourself getting clinically depressed. You will need to learn to be happy and single again, it takes time, but you will make it.”

7. Know that new love may be right around the corner.
From roadtripdreamer in Later-in-life divorce
“After being single for 4 years, I met a man right under my nose – worked out at the same club, but neither of us realized the other was single. Now 16 years of marriage later, we are still having the time of our lives and have never looked back.”

8. Make this your time.
From fatnsassy in how to survive a divorce after 27 years of marriage
“Do all the things you always wanted to do but could not because of him, his plans his needs his wants, his needs. Read that book. Write your own. Go places you always wanted to go to. Be the person you are and always wanted to be.”

9. Embrace your fear to move past it.
From markiesparkle in Divorce after 25+ years married and starting over
“Fear. I didn’t know how much I’d depended on my husband for emotional support and reinforcement. I also had no clue how afraid I was, of how many things! It’s been almost 8years now, and I’m finally getting back to being the (relatively) self-confident person I’d thought I was.”

10. When you date again, don’t settle for less than the best.
From silentnomore08 in how to survive a divorce after 27 years of marriage
“My advice is to be strong, be true to yourself, and believe that you are worthy of the best there is in a man, so don’t settle for less than the best.

I have recently begun dating again and I am very clear up-front that I am not looking for a physically intimate encounter, but for a deeper soul relationship. It “clears out the weeds,” as my grandmother used to say.”

11. Find a support group.
From Karma in How do I start liking myself after ending a 24 year marriage?
“If you are able, get involved with a support group. Either online or in person. Do things to take care of yourself, especially things that are free or low-cost to build up your self-esteem. Get physical exercise. Engage in spiritual reading and ritual. Keep in touch with people who care about you. Your low mood will not last forever.”

The Makeover Guy
8 lessons from 8 makeovers of women over 50
Fashion & Beauty
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As women age, the more beautiful they become–but often, the less attractive they feel. Who they are isn’t coming across in how they look. And so, they feel invisible.

I wrote a makeover book for women over 45 because I like them. We “get” each other. Younger women tend to gravitate towards the trendy and trivial whereas women who’ve sort of “been there, done that,” like I have, are impatient with hype. My clients are smart and they’re ready to hear it. I wrote my book, Staging Your Comeback: A Complete Beauty Revival for Women Over 45, as a labor of love–focusing on techniques I’ve used for over 20 years in my professional career, and addressing the specific challenges women face as they grow older and as their bodies change.

Here are some of the lessons women 50+ can learn from makeovers in my book:

1. Growing old is optional

Rici is the perfect illustration of what happens when you do next to nothing because “it’s just too much work.” Looking natural does not mean doing nothing, especially after 60! It takes makeup to look naturally attractive.

Rici’s “before” look evoked granny in the rocking chair with the knitting–but that image simply didn’t match the Rici I met. With a great hairstyle and highlights, shaped brows, and yes, makeup–we see the true Rici, a woman who wants more from life, who wants to live.

2. Your hair speaks volumes

Nancy has a great personality that her “before” look didn’t come close to capturing. Technically, there was nothing wrong with Nancy’s look–but, as I suggested, she might want to save it till she’s 70.

Much of Nancy’s transformation had to do with simply getting rid of her grey and going for a cut that truly suits her. Short, blond, and bangs all promote a youthful look. The spirit of who Nancy really is radiates in her “after” photo, and that’s what any makeover is all about.

3. Classic doesn’t have to mean boring

Linda’s “before” look was classic to the point of failure. Her hair and clothes were shapeless, her makeup colorless, her workbag completely lacking style. Did someone say “schoolmarm”?

Her “after” look is still classic, but it lets Linda’s vibrant personality shine through. To me there is nothing sexier than a woman in a straight black skirt, a beautiful silk blouse opened one extra button with a killer pair of heels. Plus, the matching hem, hose, and heel work together to elongate her legs. Bam!

4. Give yourself a liftBy age 40, about 40% of women have experienced some hair loss, and the hair loss accelerates during menopause. The right haircut and styling can make a big difference.

For example, Carol thought she needed shorter layers on top for height. In truth, she needed color for texture and more length on top for support. Take control: Give yourself some lift and keep it there by back-combing and using a fine mist hairspray, preferably aerosol.

5. Dress the woman you are today

As you try to find the balance between growing older and looking modern, don’t fall into the trap of becoming “mutton dressed as lamb.” You won’t look younger, you’ll simply look vulnerable and insecure.

Cheryl’s transformation shows the importance of dressing age-appropriately. Rather than tell a story about our past, our image must declare the person we’ve become. In her “after” photo, Cheryl shows just a hint of cleavage (all that’s needed!) and her skirt length, just below the knee, is flattering as well as sexy.

6. Build a foundation

Maybe in the 1960’s and ’70s you burned your bra and let it all hang out, but as time passes, the spirit may still be willing, but the flesh does become weak. It’s time to recognize that the single, most important garment you can wear under slim-fitting clothing is the appropriate foundation.

Lynette’s makeover shows how the right shapewear smooths, slims, and firms. Also, choosing an outfit that creates a monochromatic line slenderizes and balances.

7. Minimize

Lynda told me she hadn’t really “gone out” since the 1980’s because she’d been self-conscious about her weight. But after weight-loss surgery, she lost 155 pounds. And although I thought Lynda was beautiful, she couldn’t seem to see it.

In Lynda’s makeover, warm colors brighten her face while monochromatic color blocking is slenderizing. The lapels draw the eye up and out, away from her midsection. The V-neck elongates, and the necklace draws the eye to Lynda’s face. Finally, fuller leg pants help balance a bigger top.

8. Keep it current

Gail started out with home hair color from hell and a dated hairstyle, plus dark makeup that was aging–and a little scary. Part of the problem was that Gail had spent her life spending money on her children’s clothing, makeup, and haircuts–but had trouble feeling that she deserved those things for herself.

Gail’s makeover stayed true to her beauty buzzwords–simple, clean, and natural–but the softer hair and makeup are much more feminine and the trapeze silhouette works well for her A-shape body.

VN Editors
Best makeup over 50: Lipsticks we love
Fashion & Beauty
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When you’ve reached the expiration date on your lipstick, or you’re just looking for a new brand to try, your choices are almost overwhelming. Lucky for you, Vibrant Nation members are ready with lots of recommendations for the best lipstick shades and brands available, especially for mature women with lips that may need a little extra definition or plumping.

Since dark lip liner and oozy liquid lipsticks and dark gloppy glosses are on our list of 10 taboo beauty items, you’ll want to find a paler shade that gives you a youthful look while keep your lips moist and healthy. Consider these recommendations for the best lipsticks for women over 50 from the members of VN:

VN member Paula Ellen

I like using Blistex Silk & Shine under any lipstick I use. It makes your lips very moist and pretty, and I think it makes the lipstick look better, and last longer since you use less. Plus, the Blistex smells and tastes GREAT!

That said, I use Wet ‘n’ Wild #911B in summer and #912B in winter. It looks ridiculously pink, and I have to admit it was a leap of faith for me. I am not a fan of pink but for some reason it looks good on me. Go figure. The universe loves to play these sorts of jokes on me. Wearing anything darker just makes me look like a clown, so I have stayed with this shade.

Marla Heller
I love Elizabeth Arden 8 hr tinted lip balm. It is absolutely the best. And you can get it untinted for bedtime use. Every other lipstick makes my lips peel.

I use Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. Love it!

Found a great color lipstick today by Elizabeth Arden called Breathless…it is more a neutral color of rose, love it! Has no shimmer, more a creamy matte, but beautiful on!

Chanel Hydrabase which I have loved for over 25 years… I like Hydrabase because it’s so creamy and feels good on my lips for hours.  It’s almost like a balm.  I even wear it around the house rather than a balm.

I cannot afford to have botox every 3-6 months so I tried several lip plumping products.  I started out with the more expensive department store options.  Slowly I tried less expensive products.  Now I use, are you ready for this?, Sally Hanson Lip Inflation.  I absolutely LOVE it. It comes in colors and in clear.  I love the glossy look it adds and I find it plumps ever bit as much as those expensive brands.  Who would have guessed?  I usually buy it at Walgreen’s.  It sells for about $6.

Kelly ann Cavender
I use Sally Hanson too. Try their invisible lip liner, it keeps your lipstick where it is supposed to be… on your lips! I love many of Sally’s nail polish, and grooming tools.

Shelby Jean Etheredge
I use Sunright lip balm SPF 15 from Nuskin.  They also have lipstick.

Sharon Lee 123
I have switched to pencils entirely. They don’t bleed and there are many colors. They seem to last a long time on the lips. I find them easy to apply too! … My favorite [lip pencil] is by Almay because its glides on easily and seems to last a long time (but not through a meal). However, I’ve tried all the brands from expensive to cheap and they are work best for me. And so many colors! The ones in pencil-like tubes are softer and easier to apply. Sometimes I put a dab of lotion on my lips and let it dry thoroughly and that seems to help it “set.”

From Sarah Swenson (Seawriter)
My favorite lipstick right now is Dior Addict. (doesn’t that sound HORRIBLE?)

I use color #583 which is a beautiful shimmery pink that blends perfectly with my coloring. (I have very fair skin, green eyes and blond hair).

I like it because the color lasts, it stays smooth and not bumpy or chunky, and the color is so pretty.

I used to swear only by Chanel lipsticks, which I still like, but this Dior Addict has trumped Chanel, at least for the time being.

Jane Edenfield
So far I am impressed with Mary Kay and M.A.C.

I line my lips and wear mostly colored gloss. I am now using the Sally Hansen plump gloss. Suggested by someone here.

Jackie Brown
My new favorite lip color/gloss is a by brand called “Ruby Kisses” which I discovered at the beauty supply store. I wouldn’t say I can’t live without it, but the colors are lovely and the gloss long-lasting and moisturizing. Best of all, it’s only $2.99 for a palette of three coordinated shades and a clear gloss.

I’m not sure..i haven’t had much luck with drugstore brands OR department store brands.  I just ordered a Paul and Joe lipstick that i saw in a magazine and loved the color… Loved it!!  Stays put, color is great!!  Paul and Joe Limited Edition RPM (beige-pink)  Costs a lot but it’s worth it to find a good one!

Another great lipstick – Laura Geller.  Feels great, lasts a long time, great colors, but cost a lot.  I buy it off her website or $15.50/tube.

I have been using Cover Girl Outlast Lipstick since 2000. It is wonderful. I put it on in the morning, eat, drink, sleep, get up the next morning, take it off with my moisturizer and put on fresh for the next day. I have been asked many times, “How do you wake up in the morning and still have on lipstick?” I can kiss my grandkids and they know it won’t be on them. Never leave marks on your coffee cup, your hubby. It is great!!! It comes in a box, has the lipstick in a long slender tube, then a moisturizer you HAVE to put on after a minute. That is what makes it stay on.

Carol Orsborn
Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain and Balm by Revlon. (My shade: “Forbidden.”)

bubbyof5 provided a few tips to “keep lip color on for hours longer than usual.” She recommends:

1. Exfoliate your lips weekly.

2. Use lip liner pencil all over the lips.

3. Apply lipstick with a brush, especially first time in the day.

4. Powder lips (even blush will work).

5. Blot with tissue between lips.

6. Reapply lipstick or gloss.


Are dry lips your problem? Check out these best lip balms to protect and hydrate your lips recommended by members of VN.

Did your favorite lipstick make the list? Recommend it below!

Does our skin get darker as we age?
Fashion & Beauty
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I recently read an article in a professional beauty magazine on what makes us look older.

The article stated that our lips lose color so some lip color is good to splash on when headed out the door for what ever reason, I agree.  Our eyebrows get thinner and lighter so we lose the contrast to frame our eyes, I also agree and use a bit of brow color. Lashes thin and get short, I use Latiesse 2 times a week and can wear just mascara and no liner, very cost effective actually.

But then it stated that our skin color gets darker as we age and that is why we start to look all the same color.  Now that I will not agree with and if there had been a reply button would have stated that.

As we loose melanin in our skin we lose lip, brow and hair color. But so does our skin color.  If you find your skin is looking muddy it is becasue we don’t turn over our skin cells like we did when yournger.  We need to use exfoliators, masks, have facials, even peels and laser if there is a lot of sun damage to get that healthy glow we had when we were younger. We need to force our skin cells to turn over faster and it can be done. Yes it is more work and might cost a bit of money, but then, how much did we invest in oursselves when younger, probably very little.

It is all about maintaining what we have now to either repair the damage done over the years to our skin or at least take care of what we have so we are comfortable with ourselves.

I’m not one to jump on the newest and greatest.  I like the tried and true for my money.  If the new and great stands the test of time then I may give it a try, but, I am a bit frugal and always do my research first, then find the best bargain for my money.

My sister that recently turned 50 asked what I was using as my skin is looking better than hers and I am 13 years older.  I told her and suggested we go together to my skin care center and get a consult if she would like.  We did and she started someting similar to me but as her skin is oily it was modified for her.  Within a month you could see a wonderful change.  She no longer looked, muddy, she had a brightness to her face again.  She glowed.  So it can be done and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune, but it is an investment.  An investment in you.

Have you ever gone to a class reunion.  Did you remember what they wore, or how old they looked, haha.  You have the anwer.  No hair style or clothing can dress up or change the glow that we all deserve to have.

Take care of yourself, you are worth it.  Get a free consult, find out the real cost.  Do what you can with what you can afford.

We are Vibrant Women, let yourself be one, you are worth it.

Erectile dysfunction: What women need to understand
Love & Sex
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I interviewed Michael Castleman, a sex educator, counselor and journalist specializing in men’s sexuality to answer some questions for men about erectile dysfunction. In this part of the interview, Castleman talks directly to women:

Q: What don’t women understand about erectile dysfunction (ED)?

MC: Like men, few women understand the difference between true ED and erection dissatisfaction (EDis). Women also don’t really appreciate how men FEEL when EDis or ED develop. It’s sort of like how women feel when they lose a breast to cancer. You’re still alive, but you feel diminished. A part of your body you took for granted isn’t there anymore, or in the case of men, doesn’t work like it used to. And this isn’t just any part of the body. It’s a body part that in a profound way DEFINES you as a man or woman. For women, loss of a breast raises issues like: Am I still attractive? Am I still sexual? Can I still please a man sexually? Men with ED and EDis wrestle with similar issues.

Beyond this, men have lived their whole lives pretty much taking their penises for granted: See a sexy woman, get hard. See porn, get hard. Think a sexual thought, get hard. Then all of a sudden–and in many men this happens pretty suddenly–they’re in a situation where they expect to have to rearrange their underwear to accommodate some swelling down there, and then….nothing. Nothing happens.

Many don’t understand what’s happening to them or why. But even those who do, me for example, feel surprised, upset, disappointed, depressed. Change is stressful. But when the changes concern the penis, well, men get seriously freaked out.

Now women often (and rightly) believe that men are too focused on the penis. That’s often true. It takes most young men years (sometimes decades) to leave penis-centric sex behind and understand the erotic value and pleasure of whole-body sensuality, a lovestyle more based on whole-body massage than on just sticking it in somewhere. Men who never get there, men who continue to view sex as penis-centered, when their penis stops behaving as they expect, they often think it’s the end of sex, that they’re over the sexual hill, that it’s all over. In my experience as a sex counselor and writer, few women appreciate how diminished men feel as they get used to EDis… if they ever adjust.

Q: Why can’t men express these concerns?

MC: Many reasons. In general, men tend to be less emotionally articulate than women. Men are socialized to be the “strong silent type,” to keep a “stiff upper lip,” to “grin and bear it.” In other words, to deny what they’re feeling and just go on. As a result, men get less practice than women discussing their emotions, and when they do, they’re less skilled than women. Now some women believe that men don’t HAVE emotions because they don’t discuss them. Wrong. Men feel things just as deeply as women. They just are less likely to discuss them, and if they do, they’re less likely to be able to really articulate how they feel.

The two genders have different natural histories of sex problems. With the exception of vaginal dryness, which is easily mitigated with lubricants, most women have most of their sex problems/issues when they’re young. Young women wrestle with the mixed messages that they should be sexy but not trampy, that they should want love/sex, but not want sex “too” much, not be “too” easy. But how easy is too easy? Young women also have issues with orgasm. Many don’t have them and have to learn how to release orgasms.

Meanwhile, few young men have sex problems–other than coaxing women in to bed. The young penis works just fine, thank you very much. Maybe the guy comes too soon (this is the #1 sex problem of young men), but only rarely do young men have problems with erection. Then they hit 45 or 50 and suddenly, the erections they took for granted their entire lives start to fail them. They freak. It’s almost unthinkable. Many Americans found themselves speechless after Sept. 11. It was so horrible, unimaginable. Men don’t discuss their ED or EDis in part because it’s unimaginable–then it happens and they’re speechless.

To many men, having reliable erections is a significant part of what defines them as men. If they have problems in the erection department, some fear that the women in their lives will view them as less than real men. So why talk about it? Why invite her to rub his nose in the fact that he’s less of a man?

Q: When should a couple seek counseling?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule on this. But when a problem festers, when you find yourselves having the same conflict over and over again, when there seems to be no way out, no resolution, basically, when you feel stuck, that’s when to consider counseling.

Now every sex problem is also a relationship problem and visa versa. If the main issue is power/control/decision making or conflict resolution, then a couples counselor is probably the place to start. But if they main problem is sexual–a desire difference, orgasm issues for the woman, erection issues for the man–then I’d start with a sex therapist.

Personally, I’m a fan of sex therapy. This is not self-serving because I am not a sex therapist. But studies show that two-thirds of couples who consult sex therapists report significant benefit within 6 months. That’s pretty good. Men with ED or EDis need to reframe their thinking about sex. They need to get away from porn-inspired sex and explore whole-body sensuality. This is often unfamiliar to men. They often fight it. So going back to a therapist week after week can help keep them on the path to self-discovery.

To find a sex therapist, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Click the map of the U.S. and Canada, and get a list of all the AASECT-certified sex therapists in your state or province.

Q: What if the man won’t go?

The woman should go by herself. This is not as good as the couple going. But going solo gives the woman a place to vent. It may equip her with new coping skills that can help deal with the couple’s issues. And she may be referred to some written material, e.g. my book and others like it, that she can litter around the house and hope he picks up and checks out.

Michael Castleman, M.A., is the author of twelve books, including Great Sex: The Man’s Guide to the Secrets of Whole-Body Sensuality and Sexual solutions: For men and the women who love them. From 1991-95, he answered the sex questions submitted to the Playboy Advisor. Visit his website about sex after midlife.