Wednesday, March 26, 2008

You Can Find Clothes That Suit You--Honestly!

Hey, ladies. Fabulous After 40 gives some of the most valuable fashion and beauty advice I've found on the web. The Glam Gals, Deborah Boland and JoJami Tyler, who co-author the site are well-regarded professional image and style experts. They've appeared frequently on television and radio programs and have also contributed to various publications regarding style tips and advice.

Here are two sites they recommend:

1. MyShape

Former Fashion Director of Saks Fifth Avenue Patty Fox now divides her time as fashion coordinator for the Academy Awards, a consultant on Oprah, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and other popular shows, and the Chief Creative Officer for MyShape.

Launched in September, 2006, MyShape helps you create your own personal profile based on your measurements, your body shape (one of 7 shapes), and your favorite designers.

Then ShapeMatch not only recommends clothes for you but it also guides you to your correct size (manufacturers sizes can vary greatly).

Finally, should you have any problem, simply chat with a professional on Live Chat.

Read the testimonials. Some women were skeptical at first. Some claimed they were hard to fit. All congratulated MyShape on its service and its advice.

Standard shipping is free for orders and for returns. New members get $25. off their first order if it exceeds $50.

SavvyCircle goes one step further. This site records the fashion and other products you like from a generous range of stores. When the product goes on sale, you receive an email with the sale price.

To me, ladies, you have much to gain and little to lose by utilizing these sites. Have fun!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Aging, It's Better Than the Alternative

"Hey, Haley. Do you like birthdays?"

"Yeah, Grandma. Let's pretend I'm having a birthday."

"Ok, Haley, how old are you going to be?"

"4 1/2"

Hmmm, I think to myself. How did she pass the 4th year unnoticed?

Knowing that her best friend, Rachael, just had her 4th birthday party, I asked, "How old is Rachee?"


"Isn't she older than you?"


Okay, so my grandkid isn't the best with numbers. Neither am I (as can be emphatically vouched by my accountant). But we do differ about the concept of aging. She thinks of aging and its obvious relationship to princess birthday parties. I think of aging more short-term, like when my bananas will ripen.

Everyone these days wants to get on the "Aging" bandwagon. And even though I've never professed to being normal, I, too, have taken note of a few prime websites.

Now it's your turn. Does anyone out there know of a good math tutor for my granddaughter?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Filling Your Tank Is No Picnic

I don't know about you but my hometown is losing gas stations left and right. One became a produce stand. Another is filled with useless merchandise for sale, and the latest will soon become condos. Finding a gas station is unpleasant enough. Then add to this the drama of finding an open pump and paying artificially-elevated prices. Not fun.

As I turn into the driveway of a gas station, I weigh my options. My heartbeat accelerates and I figuratively don my boxing gloves. With the gas tank on the passenger side, I know I can fight for a number of positions.

The motor home is in position one. I couldn't judge how long RV man has been there or how large his gas tank was.

Position two is occupied by a businessman using his downtime trying to catch up on client phone calls.

Little miss coed enters the station from another entrance, speedily backs her convertible into position three moments ahead of me and gives me a condescending sneer.

All gas pumps are in use and I now have to decide which vehicle to follow.

Pressure builds. I use all of what little assessment skills I can muster and pull behind nasty college girl figuring she has to get to class and doesn't have much time to spare.

She fills her tank (which must have been bone dry). She adjusts her convertible top. She cleans her windows. She applies makeup. She rifles through some papers. She goes inside the convenience store and comes out with a Snickers and Diet Coke. And all this time, I figured, I could have taken a quick nap, watched a commercial-free American Idol rerun, or written another blog. Oh well.

Here's what you can do to reduce your number of visits (and high blood pressure) to the gas station:

Or, if you're married like I am to a great guy, prepare his favorite dinner (a steak, salad, and potato usually does the trick) and ask sweetly, "Honey, would you mind putting gas in my car?"

Whoever said that the way to sabotage a man's logic was through his stomach was wise, indeed!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Children are made readers on the laps of their (grand)parents (Emily Buchwald)

After monitoring 15 four-year olds artistically gluing green heart-shaped doilies in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I sat on the floor surrounded by eight of them eager to hear the story I planned to read to them.

I briefly flashbacked to Ben Ari, a drama coach who taught me to read with emotion beginning with the Bible and moving on to the Gettysburg Address as well as astounding legal arguments given by Clarence Darrow.  I lovingly credit Ben Ari with my ability to captivate the attention of thousands of pint-sized listeners and their older counterparts.

Luckily, I have always been particularly fond of illustrated children's books.  I marvel at how authors and illustrators use few or no words accompanied by clever illustrations to convey a whole story.

Zoom by Istvan Banyai is one of my favorites.  What makes this volume extraordinary is that it relates to all ages.  Many life situations appear somber close up.  But when you move back, the issue takes on a whole new perspective.

Judith Viorst's books can provide the basis for meaty discussions.  Patricia Polacco delves into much of her rich family backgound to spin delightful tales, one about her ol' man and another about herself struggling in school.  

The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell gives a new twist to a familiar story.  Jan Brett's illustrated books have been called "visual feasts."

If you know any budding gymnasts, they might delight in Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully.  Mischief makes might learn a thing or two from the spitball story in Fables by Arnold Lobel.  Young believers in the unexplained would appreciate Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig.  I love Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson.  

And finally, a friend of mine, Michelle Shapiro, illustrated a very sweet, sure-to-delight rainbow book by Jennifer Ericsson entitled A Piece of Chalk.

Check out an armful of books and be prepared to spend precious time with your grandchildren. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When You Need a Lawyer

Erin reached for the bitterly-contested subject of the custody battle and put her into the car.

She cautiously eyed the aloof occupant as she drove the freeway. In turn, Ashley leered at Erin. No words were exchanged. Erin was convinced that Ashley needed some serious attitude adjustment.

They drove in silence. The ten miles seemed endless. When Erin shifted her car into park, Ashley's reserve did a 180 when she recognized her daddy and settled into his outstretched arms.

The Erin returned to her law office.

Boomers and Seniors beware: You never know when you'll need an attorney. But if you do, here are some pointers to finding the right one for you:

1. How to find and hire the right attorney

2. AARP's suggestions for reasonable fees for services

3. Finding a local lawyer

4. The difference between arbitration, mediation, and litigation

5. Help for low and moderate income people to find free legal aid programs in their state

Last week Erin passed a local park. She saw Ashley and her client dutifully following the instructions of their obedience class teacher.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Don't Press Your Luck: Cancer Prevention

Always a political activist, cousin Eve finally got her dream of going to the Iowa caucuses. Leaving the supervision of her active 4 year-old twins to the care of her sweetheart of a husband, she ventured to Des Moines only to spend her free time in the local hospital where she battled extreme pain.

“Another crazy Californian,” the staff must have thought as they released her a couple of times before running some serious tests.

Admittedly, Eve can be a little “over the top” (quiet she isn’t) but the pain was real and it took a special doctor to recognize that there was, indeed, a problem…a serious problem.

The 39 year-old was rushed to surgery. Part of her colon and some diseased lymph nodes were removed. Now she is fighting with every ounce of determination to be a cancer survivor.

As I prepare to head north to oversee the princess and the ballerina while mom gets and recovers from her chemo, I am raging inside at the idiocy of our medical insurers which don’t provide funds for colonoscopies at an age younger than 50.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. If found early enough, this killer can usually be arrested by surgery.

Check out these websites to protect yourself and others:

1. Preparing for and having a colonoscopy

2. Causes, risks, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for colon cancer

3. Volunteer to gather signatures to lower the screening age for colonoscopies