Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I'm a "10" for sure!

Yayyyyyy I am a 10!  I reached the milestone of 55 on April 18th and in looking at the cup half full, I recognized that I'm finally a 10.  In 1979, the movie "10" starring Bo Derek and Dudley Moore and hit the big screen, and forever after gals wanted to be scored a ten in looks.  

I may be taking liberties with my own definition of being a ten (55 years old:: 5+5=10) but there is so much to be thankful for, I reckoned why not.  My personal benchmark may be different than others, yet they are mine alone:

  1. I'm happily married to a wonderful man who to this day makes me appreciate him and the life we have formed together.
  2. Through blending our family, we have four awesome kids aged 21, 23, 25 and 27 where the eldest, Kyle, has been working at the same corporation for 8 years, Des is solid in her career and engaged to be married this year, Chantal is finishing up her 2nd year of university and Kelsey is off to make her fortune in Vancouver with a great job in a law firm and with the man of her dreams.
  3. Ones own happiness is often defined through motherhood and my kids are happy, healthy and really great people.
  4. I am working for an excellent Canadian corporation that sets the bar in many ways.
  5. I have discovered my love of writing and blog as often as I can.
  6. I have found balance with work, life and love.
  7. I am a fashion forward fashionista where even the young gals where I work often comment on my ensembles.
  8. I have my mom who is 81 years old and still there for me with love, support and an example of how healthy living can carry you to a longer life still able to travel, dance and be true to herself.
  9. I have a beautiful home which I am continually redecorating and improving.
  10. I have an adorable pet dog named Buddy who makes my day every day.

I guess those are pretty basic to most.  Yet, we should stop every once and a while and just appreciate what we have to be thankful for and give gratitude to those who make our lives meaningful.  I am lucky to have a few great friends whom I've known for years and years.  

Aging is all about continual improvement, seeking more knowledge, being satisfied with what we have while still stretching ourselves towards new goals.  

Material things and money are easy targets for setting goals, however, the simpler things are sometimes harder to appreciate.  Certainly, when I was in my 20s, my list was fairly long.  I've experienced great success, great disappointments, periods of sadness or melancholy, and times of money.  

At the end of the day, what makes me the most content are:
  •  spending time with my kids, family dinners and playing games like "Heads Up" or having a backyard fire pit just hanging out and talking.
  • sharing time with my best friend and her husband whom Rob and I really enjoy hanging out with.
  • talking on the phone with my mom or sister, to discover the quick hello evolved into an hour.
  • my youngest daughter calls me almost every day from Vancouver, although I miss her tremendously, I love talking with her on her updates, news, happiness.
  • my stepdaughter, her fiance and my son drop in often just for a visit and sometimes a sleep over.
  • My older brother Greg and I get to go have dinner when he is in Calgary on visit.
  • My sister and I have been on vacations together to Mexico three times and there are wonderful memories that I would like to add to by going again.
  • My husband and I have been able to travel on tropical vacations, we like just going for drives in the beautiful country surrounding us, meandering through garage sales, or me just sitting on the driveway soaking up the sun while he putters around on our "Getaway Car".
  • While so many are unemployed, I have a job with a great company and have learned that my job title no longer defines me.
  • I have Buddy to take me on walks with, snuggle up with and who protects me faithfully.
  • We have a beautiful home that can accommodate our kids and their friends, hosting get togethers and celebrations.
  • I love working on my garden and transforming it year after year into a haven of beauty to be enjoyed not only by us but those who walk back the green belt pathway that goes along our back yard.

Sure, I wouldn't be me without some things we call bucket list as we grow older, transformed from goals:
  • a dream job doing marketing or maybe even dabbling in sales again
  • my writing starts to generate an income, for the extras in life we want:: travel first and foremost
  • I'd love it if my writing were to evolve more into reviewing items geared towards the female 50s crowd, with samples arriving from Brands who value my opinion and a following that trusts it.
  • My mom and sister are always telling me to write a book.  Humbly, I think everyone wants to write a book or thinks they can.  To be any better would be egotistical.  I recognize one just has to "do it".
  • I'd love a chance to go with Rob to Seattle to watch a Seattle Sea Hawks football game.  So strange for a Canadian hockey fan to put an NFL game on her list ... eh?
  • It would be fun to be invited to help decorate a show home or a room to stretch the imagination and challenge myself.
  • See if my painting hobby of re-purposed objects could actually be sold as art :: more designed for the garden.
  • Maybe get a second dog, smaller, for a companion for Buddy, like our teacup poodle Coco was before she passed on at 13 years old and who will trot after me as I putter in the garden (Buddy is too busy running around and playing bodyguard to follow me).

It is safe to say I am able to stop and be grateful for what I have and yet energetic enough to want to stretch farther and reach higher.  I am content for the most part yet still have a restlessness to want to do more.  The next decade is going to be interesting to see what unfolds.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Deal makers or deal breakers

I'm a mom with three beautiful daughters and I share the advice that I constantly reinforce:  understand the deal makers and deal breakers in any relationships.

It applies to woman of various ages.   Take all the complaints of a feminine kind, on the men that become part of their lives.

It is time to stop complaining and whining.  You are your destiny.  It is within your own determination and boundaries that set the limits to the man or men you allow to be in your sphere of consideration as to whom you willingly embrace a relationship with.

I am talking about whether you go online and go on to a dating site, or whether you are a millennium woman or a mother of one.  What you both have in common, with the exception of the older lady who is impracing life on a new path solo with the men options before you, or a young 20-30 year-old-something that has moved beyond the dating scene and beyond tangling your heart with a prospect boyfriend.

Do you really know what you want?  Pleasssseee don't be cutting yourself short for a man who is breathing and who says he's looking, waiting, or willing to embrace a real love relationship.

Its time to take stock, regardless of age.  Reality has to be completely and comprehensively taking stock.  Throw off the candy coated eyeglasses before you set your sights so high.  Seeking a romantic relationship is not all about listing a tall list of must haves which I call deal makers, and listing the deal breakers.

I'm divorced, happily married to my second marriage with whom is what I consider and nickname him as a hunkster hubster.  What makes him so?  Well, I evolved over some times, that encompassed my prior ex-husband, there were qualities that allowed him to qualify to be the man that I would hand over my confidence, believe, dreams for  the forever-after.

The first go around, it wasn't like it was the wrong route.  He met many of the checkpoints that my sub-conscious told me that he was the right one to cast all of my preconceptions and dreams behind.  As a 20 year old he met the criteria that was important for  me at the time:

  • he was responsible and was reliable and provided security that is far more important in my 20s
  • I'd envisioned him as someone who was solid, steady, and someone whom could be relied upon.
  • He was the ying to my yang - he was the opposite of me and created a balance that I craved.
  • He was handsome, had some awesome qualities, was an ex-pro-hockey to my serious competitive figure skating athletic balance was a given
  • He was committed to his career and showed signs that he was ambitious.
  • He was accountable and responsible.
  • He had his guy/guy activities, but he was relaxed about me doing my gal/gal stuff
  • There was a balance :: we were happy to hang out at home, yet there was a balance to socializing independent and as a couple

And so on.  It various.  What is your deal makes (solidifies the commitment to the relationship) and the deal breakers ( the red flags, identified as intoler-able behaviors that you cannot see yourself associate with over the long haul.  Things that you know right off as habits or weakness that your honest self says this is just not going to be something I can overcome and give acceptance to.

With this evaluation process, you can easily fall into a comfort zones of what are the deal breakers and deal makers.  What is important in those two identifiers, allows you to develop a backbone and admit to yourself that there are things that are red flags and by frank reflection, you determine that are just too large to overcome.

The easy deal breakers are dishonesty, drug usage, drinking to excess.  

You need to take notes.  What are the items that are the deal breakers or you:  those habits, poor judgement, personal habits (i.e. aggressive behavior, rudeness, disrespectful impression, poor first impressions) that sends someone to the "off" pile right away.

Evaluate the deal makers:  polite, embraces the other parties' family relationships (especially if it is communicated to be important), being true to your word, honest, not telling us what they think we want to hear.

I think it is critical, regardless of age :: someone re-entering the dating and relationship hunt scene or else those that are younger and entering the dating scene.

Regardless of which side you fall on to, there are complicating factors like recovering from a breakup or optimistically putting yourself out there.

You have no business entering the fold unless you have come up with a semi-list, I discourage an ever-ending list.  

Examine yourself :: if you are light sleeper, you may not able to be able to stand a snorer.  Then again, if there is respect, quality of interests, and agreement on not being into substance assistance (i.e. drugs or alcohol) .. be realistic that you can deal with snoring if there is no drugs, a lot of respect, gets along with friends and families, understand that snoring is just one weakness that is easier to accept than so many of the other destructful habits ones would have to deal with :: investigation into sleep apnea, or any other solutions available.

Having said all that, there are clear deal breakers:
  • drug dependancy
  • anger control
  • habitual dishonest (telling right from wrong)
  • exhibits of disrespect to what matters to you:  family, career desire, or any other matters of importance like the environment
  • you are expected to carry the weight of the relationship :: carry the values that have been identified as important

"What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me."                                          ~ Helen Keller

Be honest in yourself with what you are hoping for
  • Look for good qualities in a person:
  • honesty
  • where the word is a quality that they prioritize
  • has interests, involvement with long-term friends that they wouldn't give up even for you
  • politeness, manners, reliability
  • support:  altho they may not agree with your stance, they are going to back you
  • your greatest cheerleader:  someone who has taken the time to understand you, understands your weaknesses but wants to champion your strength

We rely on each other, vulnerabilities uncovered nor weaknesses disguised.  You should be looking for your champion.  The last thing you need is anyone who is not fairly trying to massage your weaknesses and champion your strength.

These are a few ideas on the dating scene.  The world is conditioned for a team.  You have the choice to decide what makes someone an advocate, cheering in your corner.  You don't need someone who is trying to belittle you or misrepresent who you are all about.

Do your homework.  Decide what are the deal makers and breakers, based on your unique DNA, to create your own unique formula on who should be there for you.  Accept that there are some that meet a majority of your criteria, while understanding what you can live with.

It would be nice to be swept off our feet with a magical partner.  However, once the first giggly dates are behind you, don't be snowed.  Understand that the perfection can wear off.  

Just decide what you can live with and live without.  If you are truly committed to meet someone meaningful, be honest on what would drive you crazy.  Open yourself up to the fact that some deal breakers will not always eliminate a potential date or mate .. because you've identified some qualities you understand bring more value and can cancel out the deal breakers.  

Write down, be honest, on what you know are a write off (can't hold down a job, can't manage finances, lousy job, won't do their share) or whatever else you come up with, then cross-reference the deal makers (punctual, respectful, likes having an extended family, doesn't clip the nail during a movie).  

At some point, you have to realize that some of the deal breakers are very small when offset by some great other qualities.

Have a notebook, write down the opposing forces:  in the long run, you will be thankful and discover that there are people or dates or relationships or possible spouses that can still make the grade.  

You just might find that some of your strongest qualities minimize the other's weaknesses and there is potential laying there, just waiting for you to take the leap of faith.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spring 2016 makeup for a 50s fashionista

Spring is my favorite time of year!  It is all about new beginnings, flowers peaking out of the soil to reach the warm beams of the sun, and, of course, it is my birthday (I turn 55 on April 18th).  Granted,  I am  a bit biased.

One of the things I like to write about on Meanderings are interests based on being a 50s fashionista (or wannabe) grappling with the challenge that we shouldn't try to dress like our 20-something daughters, nor should we age before our time with our mother's elderly good looks.

Then we have to toss in our body types, and any of the challenges we may have to adapt to changes happening.

"Aging gracefully is one thing, but trying to slow it down is another." 
                             ~Courteney Cox

Nothing says that we can't embrace bright colors, florals, patterns or hip looks, we just have to make sure it suits us.  We should be able to understand what makes us feel good :: and that usually goes hand in hand with makeup and beauty.

One thing I'm proud of is I come from great stock :: both my parents always look/ed years younger.  So I really appreciate it when the youngsters tell me I look like I'm in my late 30s or early 40s :: I think it all comes down to what I said :: finding your zone in beauty and fashion, and being able to pull it off.

At 4 ft 11, or rounded up to 5 ft, you're right to think that I would have fashion challenges of my own.  I've always liked the "chic" look and try to stay true to that.  So, to help others, I will share what I have adopted as my own Spring 2016 look.

It all starts with the eyes.  Studies say that people usually are drawn to the eyes first.  I was blessed with green ones and tend to focus on that wonderful feature.  I don't go for the dramatic eyeliner and you've already read about my lash extensions drama. I just happen to have taken a photo of my eyes just for this emphasis.

Go ahead and laugh at my creative license :: fooling around in Microsoft Paint is fun!  I use a moisturizer to start always after cleansing.  Having sensitive skin, I have learned that I have to stick with something that works because when I try something new, too rich in oils or perfumes, I break out.  (There goes the myth that you don't break out in zits once you pass menopause).  I rely on my fail-safe Oil of Olay for sensitive skin:

To define my basic look, I do sponge off of magazines and beauty counters for inspiration.  It isn't that difficult to find nude colors this spring :: it is everywhere.  I'm chomping at the bit to try Urban Decay after watching an INC. video interview of Sandy Lerner, founder of Oracle.  (I want to do a blog about redoing her look with a few modifications so that she gives up that 70s look that she seems to be holding on to).

I have already gravitated to nude as my eye base color for the simple reason that it brings out the green color of my eyes.  I would think it would suit any gal in her 50s.  (HINT :: just because you've survived menopause doesn't mean you should boycott makeup!)

I always use the lightest of light tones for my eyebrow bone (far left) and then a soft, lighter color for the lid (right in the middle).  I have the heaviest hand on the lid because I don't want it to fade as the day progresses.  I find that eye makeup with a bit of frost to it tends to adhere to the skin more successfully.  I define the upper lid with a muted softer yet darker tone for definition (7 from left).  Then it is mascara, mascara and more mascara.  
We can still learn from the young.  My stepdaughter always has thick lashes that seems to coat the mascara on.  My lashes are longer and finer, so I can avoid that thick, clumped on look.  I still swear by my recent discovery ::  L'Oreal's two step mascara :: a white base, then a black mascara :: when that dries, I then apply my Clinique mascara, followed by the butterfly effect mascara by Maybelline.  This has been from trial and error repeatedly to find something that works.  My makeup regime takes 5-10 minutes at most.

However, let me not forget the crowning glory of eyebrow brushing to finish for a polished look.  Given I have lighter eyebrows, it is a must for me.  I do battle with the temptation of fake lines and heavy handedness.  Instead, I use a complimenting eyebrow liner to give distinction, it closely matches the color of the eyebrow mascara :: MAC is the best I'm convinced.   Au natural is my focus.

When too much is just too much.

Yes, some ladies think this doll looks good??

Safe to say :: I am not battling my age :: I am glorifying my God given gifts and attempting to show that you can be both subtle and classy.  I'm not a fan of heavily caked on makeup that screams defying age tactics.  If it works for other gals, it is fine for me.

I almost forgot ::  the lipstick!!  It is the final touch to your canvass.  I absolutely adore my latest find :: Colorblur by Maybelline's "lipstudio" ::

Two colors I have already :: one for evening and one for Spring days.
A liner, lipstick and sealer all in one in an array of spring colors.

This discovery is fantastic.  You put it on and it lasts for hours, even while drinking coffee!

 If you have to insist on the old fashioned way, I did find among Google's treasure trove, instructions on how to properly do your lipstick.  (Seems like a lot of work to me now that I've found utopia with Colorblur) ::

Here is an ode to mature beauties who are hitting their stride while maintaining status as beauty icons, embracing their 50s in 2016::

Robin Wright celebrated her 50th birthday April 8th

Janet Jackson turns 50 on May 16th
Halle Berry turns 50 on August 16th

Salma Hayek turns 50 on September 2
There you have it :: style mavericks who are still dancing to their own drum.  What do they all have in common?  To me, they're not disguising their age nor are they caking on the makeup or trying tricks or the latest tactics :: they seem to know what works for them and stick to with it.  They appear graceful and poised :: ready to take on the next decade.

"Stop whining about getting old.  It's a privilege."                               
                                                                     ~Amy Poehler