Archive | August 2014

Une Femme d’un Certain Age

Sarah

If you were asked what the French are known for, you would probably respond, “fashion and food”.  Maybe I should say “couture and cuisine”.  Recently I read French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano.  At the end of the book the author contrasts the eating habits of French and American women.  Here’s a portion of her bullet list:

  • French women eat more vegetables and a lot more fruit.
  • French women eat three meals a day.
  • French women never let themselves be hungry.
  • French women never let themselves feel stuffed.
  • French women honor mealtime rituals and never eat standing up or on the run.  Or in front of the TV.
  • French women think dining in is as sexy as dining out.
  • French women love to entertain at home.
  • French women care enormously about the presentation of food.  It matters to them how you look at it.

On the subject of fashion she writes:

  • French women adore fashion.
  • French women will dress to take out the garbage.  (You never know).
  • French women know one can go far with a great haircut, a bottle of Champagne and a divine perfume.

I’ve heard that French men find older women attractive and desirable, ascribing to them  an aura of worldliness and seductiveness.  According to Mireille, a French women is bien dans sa peau.  She is comfortable in her skin–a quality to be admired and emulated and one that other’s find appealing.  Hmmmm, I haven’t thought much about perfume lately.  I think the French are on to something.

Good Posture

One of the rules which we listed in the very first post was the importance of good posture. For some reason, that is not easy for me, and if you look around at John Q. Public, it is very quickly apparent that poor posture makes for a generally poor presentation. I have been doing a little research about how to develop and maintain good posture. First of all, what is it? The consensus seems to be a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out and stomach in. From the side, the ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle should align.  Oh my gosh!!  I just looked at my posture from the side:  my head thrusts forward like a turtle.  I even sorta have that turtle neck.  OK, what can be done?   I found several websites which had some very good excercises and suggestions for sitting or standing straight and tall.  The best one seemed to be www.wikihow.com/Improve-your-posture. There are also several braces which can be worn, the goal of which is to train your body to maintain correct posture. They are not meant to be worn all the time. Actually, the author of the wikihow article suggests using tape on your back for a few weeks so that you would feel yourself slumping over. Both of my sisters have good posture as did our mother. I don’t know how I slipped up. Certainly our mother often chided us to sit or stand up straight. Remember that? I shall try the excercises and suggestions first before purchasing the brace and will report back on the results. The June, 2014, issue of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine “O” featured 9 women, ages 16 to 100. They all look great and have very good posture.

Smart Phones

Susan

Do you know anyone these days that does not own a cell phone?  It is actually hard to imagine how we got along without them for so long. How many of us have cell phones which are “smart phones?”  That means your phone works as a computer enabling the user to do web browsing and run software applications, called “apps.” The 3 sisters all have I-phones, which are smart phones. They come with a lot of apps and you can certainly add more, free or otherwise. You can check the weather, the stock market; there is a calendar, place to keep notes, your contact list which can contain phone, email, street address, etc. And of course the camera is very good and you can quickly and easily send pictures via text or email. If you are one of the readers of this blog that is approaching 70, from before or behind, communication has changed so dramatically. When I was in college we went to the computer lab and had to use punch cards to communicate with the computer. Boy, does that date me!! I do think that it is important to try to stay somewhat current with all the changes that are taking place in the world. I recently had lunch with one of my sons, age 34. He had attended a conference at the University of Texas which was presented by a professor of robotics. He told the audience that a lot of things would be run by robots in the not too distant future and that driverless cars are only 15-20 years away!! I find that a smartphone is a pretty easy way to use current technology without having to take a class. My sisters and I really appreciate the ease of communicating via text messages, and with my two sons, sometimes that is the only way that they will communicate. So we go, onward through the fog!!

G-BOMBS

Sarah

The O food--love the colors!

The O food–love the colors!

Most of us have heard of (or heard) f-bombs, but I hadn’t heard of G-BOMBS.  I happened to catch Dr. Joel Furhman on PBS this afternoon and heard him touting this way of eating and urging the adoption of his new food pyramid.  He has appeared on the Dr. Oz show so you may have seen him.  I tuned in when he was talking about the value of onions (the O in G-BOMBS).  Onions were so valued during the Middle Ages that they were presented as gifts.  Dr. Furhman believes that if Americans (or anyone else) based their diets on G-BOMBS, we would drastically reduce the incidence of cancer, obesity and related diseases.

G-BOMBS, what are they?  Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds.  I’m aware of the positive effects of consuming greens, beans, berries and seeds, but I have used onions and mushrooms only as sources of flavor and/or texture.  I like both.  I just didn’t realize they deserved much focus.  Dr. Furhman has created what he terms the nutritarian pyramid which places vegetables at the base (30-60% of daily calories) and beef, sweets and processed foods at the top which should be eaten rarely.  That sounds doable to me.  I plan to try this salad.  It seems to meet the G-BOMB recommendation and undoubtedly has a more positive effect than hearing or using f-bombs.

Sauteed Mushroom Salad from Eating Well

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 pound white or cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 cups bitter salad greens, such as frisee, arugula or dandelion greens
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 

Heat one tablespoon oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices, 10-12 minutes.

Add garlic and thyme and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sherry and cook until mostly evaporated.  Stir in remaining 1 T. oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Pour over greens in a large bowl and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Serves 6.

Appearing in the Second Act

Sarah

Helena Rubinstein said, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.”  I don’t think I’m lazy, but maintaining my appearance as I age, is work.  It takes commitment and discipline, and it’s endless!

I’ve just read a book by Christopher Hopkins, the makeover guy.  You may have seen him on Oprah.  I bought his book, Staging Your Comeback, several years ago.  The three of us had fun figuring out our body types and the body types of others (X, A, Y or O).  After that afternoon, I shelved the book; however, he has much to say about clothes, hair and make-up.  Here are a few of his tips:

  • Dark recedes and light expands.
  • Texture adds mass.
  • Round adds pounds.
  • Shine expands wherever it’s placed.

When trying to select flattering clothing, he suggests aiming to create the illusion that your figure is proportionately balanced by camouflaging the prominent features that you don’t like  and drawing attention to your good features.  He has techniques for dealing with a short neck, narrow shoulders or very broad shoulders, minimizing or maximizing the bustline and minimizing the midsection and derriere.  He’s a big fan of pantyhose and a well-fitting bra.

On the subject of gray hair Christopher writes, “. . .allowing your gray hair to shine through is best held off until it is more than 25 percent white.    Once it’s up to 50 percent white, it’s going to have more punch.”  He also states, “that gray hair is only best when it is ideal for your skin tone.  If you look better in warm tones, gray might not be the best.”  On the subject of hair length, I agree with Christopher’s statement that long hair is only for a select few in the second act.

His section on make-up recommends putting emphasis on the eyes by curling your eyelashes, using mascara and eye shadow (only neutrals, no frosted blues or greens), and he makes a huge deal out of eyebrows!  Having your brows tweezed where you need less and penciled or powered where you need more will make a dramatic difference.  “Next to a good bra, it’s the best thing you can do for a lift.”

I guess my assignment for tonight is to go through my underwear drawer and toss those old bras.  Why am I keeping them?  Then on to the make-up drawer.  I must confess I think I have some blue and green eye shadow.  Surely it’s not frosted!  And I’m feeling very insecure about my eyebrows.