Archive for July, 2010

THE NATURAL PROGRESSION OF GRAY — WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Monday, July 26th, 2010

I remember the first time I ever “colored” my hair.  It was 1969–a year filled with all kinds of rebellions–and I decided to spritz on a little Sun-In while tanning in the backyard.  In a matter of hours, my blonde hair turned a vibrant shade of orange, to match the Bain de Soleil Gelee’I was using (without SPF, of course!).  My mother helped to fix it with a little of her own “home coloring kit” from Clairol, and it gradually grew out. But (despite the failed first experiment) I was hooked.

Highlighting has been a part of my life since my twenties.  But now that the grays are sneaking in, I asked Frederic Fekkai–a key expert on hair in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 and one of the world’s leading authorities on hair–if I now need to do something else.

Frederic explained “the progression of gray”: There are degrees of gray.  We start out with a few gray hairs.  More come in and we get up to 20 percent, then 30 percent, and eventually our hair is over 50 percent gray.  That’s the natural progession of gray hair . . . women usually do one of the following:

  • color their roots to cover the gray, usually every 3 – 4 weeks (single process)
  • let their gray hair come in and apply highlights(and lowlights) through the hair to blend with the gray and natural hair color
  • go with the gray all the way, with no added color

If going gray all the way is not for you, the good news is gray hair mixes extremely well with highlights, and Frederic strongly recommends using both highlights and lowlights with your gray–regardless of the natural color of your hair–instead of single process.

Most women I know, especially those who have darker hair, tend to go the “single process” route, once the gray hair starts coming in.  But, think about trying this: instead of putting color on your roots every few weeks, get highlights and/or lowlights in your hair, creating beautiful contrast with your natural hair color and your gray. 

Single blocks of color can age you, draining your face, and it can look dated.  And, one of the best things about getting highlights (instead of single process) is you only have to get them “done” every 8 – 12 weeks, depending upon your hair and the look you’re trying to achieve.

Think about it. If you’ve already been doing single process, you may think it’s too late, or too hard, to switch over to highlights.  But it isn’t.  Put yourself in the hands of a good colorist, explain what you want to do, and together you’ll make it happen.

It’s modern, fresh, and it’s another way of embracing your age, instead of hiding it.

Or, you can truly embrace your gray . . . and go all the way!

Think about it . . .

Best of Everything,

Barbara

THE TRUTH ABOUT CROPPED PANTS

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Okay, here it is: the truth about cropped pants.

If they are a certain length, they look dreadful . . . they can make us look shorter and heavier.  Not good.

The good news, though (there’s always good news! YAY!!!), is that there IS a length you can buy that is flattering, stylish, modern and comfortable. 

Let’s take a quick look at both, so you know what I’m talking about.

The “don’t wear” length is slightly above the ankle, as in this photo (from Land’s End): Do you see what I mean?  This photo is taken from behind, and they make this model look wider than she probably is.  WHY DO WE WANT TO DO THAT?

Okay, now let’s take a look at another cropped pant option, also from Land’s End (which, by the way, is a terrific place for lots of things, including cropped pants, knee-length shorts, and bathing suits):

These pants are slightly below the knee, which is an infinitely more flattering length, on just about everyone.  And, they don’t flare out at the bottom, like the “don’t wear” ones do. 

What to do if you have cropped pants like the “don’t wear” ones above?  Bring them to your tailor and have them hemmedto the most flattering part of your leg . . . and that could even be right at your knee.  Or, donate them and start over.  Everything’s on sale now, so it might be a good idea to stock up on a few pairs for next year.

 Here is my favorite pair (from Theory), which I bought on-sale in both tan and white. I live in these during the summer.  Pair them with a white tee-shirt, a pair of flats or wedges, and some silver bangles . . . easy, cool, flattering, and . . . and the perfect hot weather outfit.

For more tips on what (and what not) to wear, check out the chapter on style in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50

Best of everything,

Barbara

THE POWER OF YAY!

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

There are words that need to be attached to other words to make sense and have any impact or meaning . . . and those are often the words that are used by people who go on and on.  Nothing wrong with that, of course, since words are a beautiful thing, and can be used for good.  But, as I get older, I want more of less.  “Get to the point!” I often think . . . or . . . “tell me what I need to know and tell me now!”  But, I usually don’t do that because it isn’t polite.

Then, there are words that are so simple and yet are filled with so much meaning and feeling and emotion that it’s just oozing out of them. 

YAY is one of them.

YAY is a word (usually accompanied by at least one exclamation point) that I find myself saying and writing . . . frequently.  On FaceBook, I am sometimes one of those people who goes on and on (or in this case, post and post),  but when I want to encourage, cheer on, applaud, acknowledge, or when I simply don’t know what to say in response to a FB friend’s post . . . I write YAY!.  It somehow just . . . works.

Turns out that saying YAY! to someone makes them feel good.  And, there’s more . . . saying YAY!  makes ME feel good. 

No doubt a study will come out one day showing the tremendous health benefits of saying this mighty little word . . .

And, it’s contagious.  Go ahead. Try it. Say YAY! when someone gives you some good news, even if it’s as simple as “it’s not supposed to rain tomorrow.”  The response?  It will be “YAY!” 

Yay!

Best of Everything,

Barbara

From: The National Association of Baby Boomer Women (NABBW)

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

> Baby Boomer Woman: Barbara Hannah Grufferman
by Anne Holme

OLIVE OIL — ELIXIR OF THE GODDESSES

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Funny thing about being over 50 . . . things change . . . surprisingly fast.

For example, everything’s just a tad bit . . . drier.  My hair, skin, eyes . . .

When researching the book, I had the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the best skin care experts in the country, including Dr. Patricia Wexler and Dr. Doris Day.  Both said — quite simply– that the keys to great skin are:  exfoliate, moisturize, and protect. 

There are gazillions of products on the market that could handle these tasks, in different price ranges.  Not one who likes to spend money unnecessarily . . . I managed to ply a few very inexpensive beauty secrets out of both of these brilliant doctors, many of which are mentioned in the chapter on skin care.  One of the best tips came from Carmindy, my makeup expert, who convinced me that the most effective way to exfoliate skin (face and body) is with  . . . white sugar.  Don’t put it IN your body, she said.  Put it ON your body!  And, guess what?  It works.  Just be extra gentle when using it on your face.

My favorite “beauty secret (which sure wasn’t a secret to the ancient Greeks, or my grandmother)  is . . . using olive oil on just about every part of your body.

Olive oil has been used for thousands of years for so many different things — health, beauty, cooking and more.  The ancient Greeks knew of it’s power to heal wounds . . . and eventually they started using it to light oil lamps, cooking . . . and for beauty.

These last two years, I did alot of experimenting with countless products, until I eventually had to narrow down my list of  “must haves/must use.”  Probably on the top is olive oil.  Here are a few things you can (and should) do with olive oil . . .

  • after exfoliating your body with white sugar on a wash cloth (in the shower) . . . take a little olive oil (infused with a few drops of lavender, if you wish) and gently massage it all over your body.  Result?  Skin like velvet.
  • when your hair is completely dry (without the use of a blow-dryer!!), add a few drops of olive oil in your hands, rub them together, flip your head over, bending down . . . and scrunch a little olive oil in your  hair.  Result?  Shiny (not greasy, unless you accidentally put too much on!!) and healthy looking hair.
  • rub a little extra olive oil on your elbows and heels (all over your feet actually) every night.  Result?  Softer, smoother elbows and feet.
  • if your facial skin is feeling especially dry, take one drop of olive oil in your hands, and very gently tap it all over your face, making sure it doesn’t look slick.  Take a tissue and blot your skin just a little.  Result? Skin that’s soft and moist, but not greasy.

Keep a little spray bottle in your bathroom, or one of those plastic sqeezy things that diner ketchup comes in.  You’ll be ready to use the “elixir of the goddesses whenever you feel the need . . . which, since I turned 50, seems to be just about every day.

Save some for your salads! : )

Best of everything,

Barbara

TOUCHING ON A TABOO TOPIC — MONEY

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Okay, I know that money is one of those topics we’re not supposed to discuss at cocktail parties (along with religion and politics) . . . but . . . we’re not at a cocktail party.

We’re in midlife. And we need money.

If you don’t have a plan . . . it’s time to think about creating one.  We don’t want to be in our 50s, 60s and beyond without enough money to live a good life

Where to start?

First, understand that even the most savvy, well-respected financial gurus don’t know what the future holds.  Will real estate values go back up to their prior levels?  Some think so, most think not . . . but, really we don’t know.  And the stock market?  It will continue to go up and down as it always has, according to Jason Zweig, one of the experts I consulted for THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50 and a Wall Street Journal columnist. Jason also strongly urged us to consider working with a professional — a financial planner.

Do you need a financial planner

Both Jason Zweig and Jane Bryant Quinn, best-selling author and one of this country’s most respected authorities on personal finance (and a key expert in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING AFTER 50), strongly urge us to find a trusted financial planner we can work with for the long term.  A financial planner can help us with our “life plan” and make sure we stick with it. 

Don’t have one, and not sure how to find one?  Jason and Jane suggest asking friends and family for suggestions.  If that doesn’t pan out, contact the Garrett Planning Network (a highly regarded network of fee-only financial advisers who offer their services on an hourly, as-needed basis, which will keep your costs way down.)   Another option is to contact Michael Axelrod, a key financial expert in my book, and a fee-only financial advisor associated with Northwestern Mutual. Michael can work with you on your plans or suggest someone who can.  (mike.axelrod@nmfn.com)

You can do your own planning, but I urge you to get a professional to help — at least in the beginning – especially if there have been recent changes in your financial status (job loss or change, illness, and so on). 

Whether you work with a planner or take the DYI route, having a plan will bring financial clarity to your life, and peace of mind. To help you get started, here are a few ”back to basic” tips that Jane Bryant Quinn strongly urges us to follow and which she follows herself. They are:

  • Tighten Your Belt — stop spending and don’t live above your means
  • Stash It Away — Put as much money as you can into your 401K and other retirement plans
  • Hands Off the House — Stop yourself from tapping into your home equity for cash
  • Cut the Cord — Stop helping your adult kids.  Put money into your retirement fund first, and then the college fund
  • Stay Healthy – This generation of “after 50s” will most likely have to work many more years than we had expected, so we want to get and stay healthy

We can’t see the future.  But we can plan for it.

Best of Everything,

Barbara