Monday, March 31, 2008

How to Keep Your Self-Esteem as the Years are Marching All Over Your Face.

So you turned 40.

And before you knew it, another year flew by and you’re approaching your next birthday.

As you look in the mirror, you notice that the years are making their statement, loud and clear. The skin no longer appears like you just turned 25, and the pounds are creeping in faster then you can chew. Having this daily enlightenment in front of the mirror can trigger a big depression. However, if you look from the other perspective you can (and should) take a totally different approach.

Yes, as my friend has bluntly pointed out, the years are marching all over my face, and probably yours. My reply to that is, so what?! Haven’t we earned every wrinkle?

Every muscle that is a bit loose still holds our facial expressions extremely well. So if the skin sags a little, it’s no big deal. When we were younger, it was a painful experience removing zits and getting lectured on the evils of sugar. Now we get to enjoy relaxing facial massages and soothing cleansing masks.

Of course, sugar is still our enemy, and is now accompanied by a host of starches that don’t belong in our diets. And alcohol seems to have more of a negative impact on our brains and bodies than it used to, so we should probably leave that behind as well.

On the other hand, an army of plastic sergeants eagerly awaits the opportunity cut into our skin, inject us with rat poison, and lipo fat from places we didn’t even know existed. And for the privilege of looking a few years younger, we get to pay for their services like a mortgage amortized over 30 years. Is that a deal or what!

For the disciplined, there are health clubs within walking distance of each other, preaching nutrition, exercise, aerobics and weight lifting. There are hordes of personal trainers standing by, who are more than willing (for a fee) to listen to us bitch and moan the whole hour on the exercise bike or treadmill.

And there are creams, made with exotic ingredients, for every possible situation. There are special inventions to lift your eyes, neck, breast and anything else you might think of. There are even bathing suits guaranteed to make you look 10 pounds lighter.

Today’s fashions allow us to wear just about anything, but let’s not get carried away and make fools of ourselves. It is not okay for a 40+ woman to wear a short miniskirt and think she looks “hot.” Remember—everything in moderation (and I don’t care how good your legs look!).

Fabulously40 women today are at their best. Many of us tackle new careers, run marathons and date men 15 years younger. Heck, some of us are even having kids for the first time. Regardless of the circumstances, this is our time to realize that lines on our face do not make us older, they make us stronger!

No longer do we have to buy into preconceived notions about getting older. We can be verbal about our true feelings, we can conquer any challenge, and we know that if we lasted this long, we can do just about anything. We don’t have to work harder, just smarter.

We do, however, need to remind ourselves that after 40 it’s all about us. This is our time to be “high maintenance.” As long as we allow ourselves to be just a bit more self-centered, as long as we stay focused on being positive, and as long as we try to love ourselves more than anyone else does, self-esteem will not be an issue, no matter how many wrinkles keep showing up in the mirror.

Cheers, Yana

Gravity can take it’s toll as long as we have ways to lift us up will be okay

The Dating Game

Dating is never easy.

Whether you’re 15, 20, 30 or Fabulously40 plus, dating always seems like a task better left to someone else. And the older you get the harder it gets. After all, at 15 we are na├»ve, at 20 we are gullible, at 30 we are determined to find “Mr. Right,” and by 40 we become the biggest skeptics.

On the other hand, how are we supposed to find Mr. Right if we don’t submit ourselves to the dating pool?


Trying to find that one special man through friends and family almost never works, and blind dates get old and annoying very quickly. You know what I’m talking about. Your well-intentioned friends set you up with that “nice guy” that they swear will fill your life with love and abundance. Then you find yourself sitting across the dinner table from some insufferably self-centered slob, frantically searching your mind for a plausible excuse you can utter so he will shut up and take you home.

The only thing worse is having your mother (because she hears your biological clock ticking) arrange for you to meet a friend’s son. The description starts out, “He is a very nice guy and he is tall…” and goes downhill from there. As the warning bells go off inside your head and the color drains from you face, you realize the time has come to take destiny into your own hands.

So you take a deep breath, sit down at the keyboard, and type a URL that resembles something like www.findingmrrighttonight… You think of a user name and password, open your online dating account, and the adventure begins.

On A Mission

To your surprise and amazement, you awake next morning to find your email inbox overflowing with responses.

Your heart sinks as you open the first email and look at the picture of a bold, very unattractive guy who is “intrigued with your profile and wants to get to know you.” Nevertheless, you note that you have at least 30 more emails to read and plunge ahead, certain that there must be at least one prince among all the frogs.

As you open one email after another, you sift through attractive, successful, ugly, funny, boring males who have exposed themselves for your review. You feel somewhat empowered and confident that “things are looking up.” As you get to the last email, you realize there are several options you can consider replying to, and maybe one or two that actually look interesting.

All of a sudden you find your whole life revolving around this exciting new game of online dating. The next thing you know, you’re browsing your “matches” morning, noon and night, and are even skipping lunch to catch up on your latest online hopefuls. Your boss mentions several times that your work has slowed down. Your mother complains that you never call her. You ditch your friends for drinks during Happy hour day after day.

You now have a mission, and no one will stop you!

Mission Accomplished

So, does online dating actually work? A Fabulously40 sister recently shared with me the following story:

This sister hated the idea of dating online. But, when years passed and she didn’t meet anyone through family and friends, she eventually succumbed. After dating online for several months with mixed results (hopeful one day, disappointed the next), she received an email that said, “I found your profile to be special and unique. I’m recently widowed and fairly new to the dating game. I don’t feel comfortable posting my picture but would very much like to meet.”

She didn’t agree to meet right away, partly out of caution and partly because he lived back east. Instead, she suggested they get to know each other through emails and see where their cyber relationship led. After a while, she began to feel that he was sincere and suggested they meet face-to-face. Delighted, he offered to fly to California to meet her.

Three months to the date of his first email, our sister arrived at the restaurant for the appointed rendezvous. Wearing a red dress and red lipstick, she nervously followed the hostess to the table, where a man was already seated. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.

As the hostess stepped aside, our sister found herself looking into the familiar eyes of a man she once knew. His face was older and more lined, and he seemed a bit shorter and huskier, but the eyes remained the same. Incredibly, here in front of her, with a huge smile on his face, sat the first boy she ever held hands with, the first boy she had ever kissed.

They sat for 10 minutes without saying a word. He then reached into his pocket, pulled out a ring, got down on one knee, and proposed to her on the spot. They have been inseparable ever since.

Obviously, most online dating ventures don’t produce such fairytale endings. But you never know what can happen until you give it a try. So, if you’re facing another weekend alone, get off that couch, go turn on your computer and give it a shot. Who knows who could be waiting for you behind that computer screen?

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How To Respond to Those Never-Ending Invitations

As we get older and wiser, our mailboxes fill with continued invitations to parties, gatherings, premiers, fundraisers and other events we feel obligated to attend. Some of us are willing and able to attend every event and enjoy everyone’s company, while others tend to be more reserved and selective.


If you’re a partygoer with a gregarious personality and full closet of evening outfits, each invitation represents a new opportunity for fun and excitement. However, those less receptive to constant mingling may consider an ongoing stream of invitations as an unwelcome demand on their time.

If you choose not to attend a particular event, keep in mind that you should always observe proper etiquette when declining an invitation. This will not only spare feelings, but will also make the task of planning for the occasion a lot easier on the hostess.

The only question is, how do you properly decline? Here’s where a little tact and thoughtfulness can go a long way.

If you get invited to an event and have a previous engagement, honesty is the best policy. An immediate response that you already have another engagement might disappoint the hostess. However, it will allow her to obtain an accurate head count and properly prepare for the party.


Suppose you have no idea why you were invited to an event or you dislike the hostess, but you have no other plans. In this situation, the best reply would be something like, “We’re very sorry. Unfortunately we’re busy that evening”. This excuse gives you a choice to accept another invitation that might be forthcoming from another source, and will have the hostess wondering whether or not to invite you again for the next event

If it’s a personal matter, such as not being able to attend due to financial reasons, simply state, "Regrets due to personal commitments". If the invitation was extended by a close friend, they will more than likely get the hint. If they are well mannered, they will not ask additional questions.

For special occasions that usually entail a gift (such as a wedding), you may want to consider including a small present or card when sending your regrets. This shows that you truly are sorry you can’t attend. However, if you have no idea why you were invited, a short, polite decline without a gift will be sufficient, and might not get you invited next time.

Keep in mind, that it is never too late to respond to an invitation, especially if you are declining. It is better to call the hostess and explain the reason behind your lack of promptness than not to call at all or send a response.

Mail does get lost and life does get in the way, but people generally understand those things. Not replying at all shows a lack of consideration and manners on your part, and is usually seen as a snub of the worst kind.

So don’t let an avalanche of invitations cause you unwanted stress. Reply promptly, use a little tact, and you can decline an invitation with courtesy and the right amount of social grace.

All the best,


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Health Kick

A healthy lifestyle is essential once we reach Fabulously40, a lesson that many of us seem to be slow in learning.

In our 20’s and 30’s, we could get away with bad food and lifestyle choices. If we didn’t get eight hours of sleep at night, it wasn’t evident (at least not right away). If we ate or drank too much for a whole week, perhaps we added a pound or two, but not much more. And when decided to go on a diet, the pounds seemed to melt away.

So I ask you, what the heck happened?

At 40+, it seems that anything we do that is not appropriate to our age category takes an immediate toll. I’ve always had a weight issue - I would eat, gain weight, diet, lose weight, and then repeat the cycle - only now it seems worse than ever. I don’t think there’s a diet I haven’t heard of, tried or attempted.


Ironically, I’ve found that they all work as long as you count your calories. Take in fewer calories than you burn each day and you will loose weight. The challenge, of course, is keeping the weight off. Had I found the answer to that age-old problem I would have been the most celebrated woman on the planet.

Let’s face it ladies, we live in a society that preaches that size 0 models are the most beautiful creatures on earth. We hear it, we live it, and worst of all, we teach it to our children. I remember preaching to my daughters to stop eating too much so they will not have my thighs, arms, or derriere.

Find What Works for You

I have finally accepted the fact that as we age, we need to take care of our bodies in a more attentive way. Like it or not, every extra piece of bread we put in our mouths will end on our thighs, arms or somewhere in between. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to say no to that freshly buttered croissant and dive into a plate of raw carrots and broccoli instead.

Recently, I came to the conclusion that although there are many ways to eat healthier and take better care of ourselves, the secret is finding out what works best for each individual. After trying countless diets and eating plans, I have discovered that Weight Watchers works best for me. All I need to do is to make it a daily routine. For me, that means going to their meetings, having a workout buddy, and being held accountable for everything that goes into my mouth.

What prompted this sudden revelation?

Every year I gain 10 pounds during the holiday season, and every year I have to deal with the extra weight after the holidays. This year, however, I managed to gain 10 pounds before the holidays even began, and it was downhill from there. Given that the pounds no longer come off as easily as they used to, the time had come to figure out what I need to do in order to stay healthy and vibrant for myself and my loved ones.

Not long ago I scolded my dad to stop smoking and start taking care of himself. When he didn’t immediately oblige, I called him selfish. I laid on the “Jewish guilt” hard and thick because, after all, if he gets sick we children have to take care of him. If he chooses to get sick by being careless, that’s selfish and unfair.

So -- I am publicly announcing that from today forward I will be very conscious of what I eat and how much I exercise. If I don’t take care of myself now, my kids will have to take care of me, which I do not find appealing. I want to be a “cool” grandma, not an old and sick one. For this to happen, I need to have a plan and stick to it.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’re probably cringing just about now. Another plan??? Just how many plans, programs and guidelines do we need to adhere to? I say as many as possible, as long as the outcome is a positive one.

I call all of you to join me as I embark on the “health kick” at this special stage in my life. I will definitely need your support getting there.

Yours in good health,


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Letter To Santa

On a day that was supposed to be relaxing and mellow, my husband announced that the time had come for us to clean out the garage. Seeing the look of horror on my face, he quickly rephrased his statement. Acknowledging how much I do during the week, he suggested that I sit and do nothing while he attended to the chore.

Doing nothing is not something I know how to do, nevertheless it sounded much more appealing than cleaning the garage. To avoid feeling guilty, I went upstairs and attempted to do nothing

A few hours later, my husband came in to our bedroom with a smile on his face and a stack of papers in his hand. “Letters to Santa,” he announced. He dropped them on the bed and headed back to the garage.

Letter to Santa

As I began reading the letter our kids wrote many years ago, I couldn’t help but smile at how silly and gullible they were then and how grown up and mature they have become. Then I had an idea -- why not get everyone to write a letter to Santa this year? It would be fun and interesting to see how their wish lists changed as they have grown up.

At dinner, I announced my idea and was pleasantly surprised when my “gang” didn’t think that I had lost a marble or two. Afterwards, everyone disappeared into their rooms to compose their letters. Surprisingly, it took them much longer this time around.

As I read their “grown up” letters, it quickly became evident that their priorities have changed but their values haven’t. I found that toys were replaced with “boys” or “girls.” Getting good grades was replaced with getting a good solid degree. Health and happiness was a priority for all, and peace on earth was an important concern. It warmed my heart to see that my husband and I did something right, that we raised kids with good values and gold hearts.

My husband and I had similar requests of Santa. But I, of course, had many more. First on my list was immunity from acquiring any more pounds as I get older (enough is enough!). I want that awesome body I never had, the legs that turn heads, and the flawless skin without wrinkles. I want my 20/20 vision to stick around just a bit longer and menopause to pass me by unnoticed. I want to be constantly, obliviously happy. And did I mention I want to be skinny?

These were fun things to ask for, but if you were to read my entire list you would see that the truly important items came towards the end. I want our world to be at peace. I asked for my family to be happy and healthy. I asked for our parents and grandparents to be around us for many years to come. I asked to be able to enjoy my children and their children, and I wanted to continue to be in love with my husband as much as the day I married him.

After this fun exercise, we all sat down to talk about what we wanted and how we are going to get it. Regardless of what we asked for, we all agreed on one thing -- whether you believe in Santa or not is irrelevant. The key is to believe in yourself, then write down your list and go after it. When you believe in yourself, the sky is the limit!

Happy Holidays to you and yours,


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Staying focused on What’s Really Important

At one time or another, we all have doubts, questions and concerns about our personal productivity. Most of us are overwhelmed by the responsibilities that we face daily. There are always errands to run, bills to pay, dinners to cook, lunches to make, children to worry about, and husbands or partners to attend to.

Ever since that milestone 40th birthday, it seems that time has been moving faster and faster. In order to slow down time, or at least increase my productivity, I decided to sit down and outline what is really important to me at the moment and what I should focus on.

By now, most of us know what we really want out of life. Yet, for some reason most of us don’t do much about it. As we get older, our priorities change, and I have found that taking the time to write down what’s most important can help to see the bigger picture -- and usually a clearer one, too.

A few months ago, I watched a very powerful movie called “The Secret.” What is this secret and why didn’t I hear about it 20 years ago? It has to do with the “Law Of Attraction,” meaning that we attract what we think about. Thoughts become things, and every thought has a frequency. As a result, we consciously or unconsciously attract the energy around us.

Remember the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for?” Until I watched this wonderful movie, I couldn’t comprehend its true meaning. Now I completely understand that what we want and what we believe in is what we will become.

To begin our journey to live the life we want, we need to alter a few things in our daily behavior:

First and foremost, we need to write down our goals. Goals should be divided in two columns -- immediate and future. Everyone should have goals in both categories.

Second, we need to prioritize. Prioritizing allows us to move forward and achieve success.

It’s all in the attitude. I barely stand 5’4”, and that’s on a good day. Yet, most people will tell you that I’m 5’6” or taller. Why? Because I come with the right attitude. If you’re positive, upbeat and happy, people will cling to you like bees on honey. Conversely, if you’re constantly down and miserable, no one will join your party.

Stay focused and track your progress. Set out your plan and follow it, but be realistic. If something doesn’t work, alter your plan and work through it.

Eliminate “failure” from your vocabulary. If something doesn’t work right away, view it as a stepping-stone to success rather than a permanent setback. Life has many lessons for us, and only when all of them are learned do we achieve what we set out to do. If it was easy, we wouldn’t appreciate our success.

Remove everything that interferes with your success. In other words, don’t give in to temptation or allow yourself to be distracted. If you can see it and feel it, you will own it.

Use the power of positive reinforcement. Five years ago, I would have laughed at this statement. Today I consider ongoing positive reinforcement (through self-help books, CD’s, DVD’s, tapes and positive surroundings) as the ticket to life-changing experiences.

Before going to sleep every night, think of all the wonderful things that happened to you during the day. Tell yourself that tomorrow will be a very good day.

Before getting out of bed in the morning, think of all the good things that will happen to you today.

Finally, remember that the first 30 minutes after waking should be very positive because they set the tone for the whole day. Think of how good your day will be if you sit down and write a few things that you would like to accomplish on that day. I usually write seven things that I want to achieve during the day, and when I lay down to sleep I usually smile to myself knowing that everything on that morning’s list got done. My day was a complete success -- and tomorrow looks even better!


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Gift Giving Guide

Wouldn’t it be great to have all your holiday shopping completed by the end of Thanksgiving?

Obviously it’s too late for that deadline. But if you start today, you can still get done in plenty of time and be on your way to enjoying a stress-free holiday season.

I love giving presents. In fact, I enjoy the whole process from picking a present to packaging and the actual delivery. But not everyone feels the same way. Over the years I have observed different patterns of behaviors among friends and family when it comes to gift giving for the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries.

gift giving

Here are four categories of gift-givers I have noticed:

1. Settlers.

This group struggles with the idea of what to get, and usually settles for the first thing they see. Their primary focus is to just to get the “chore” of gift giving out of the way.

2. Exchangers.

These people typically spend money on useless things, with the idea that if the receiver does not like the present, he or she will exchange it for something else. Exchangers usually buy their gifts in department stores and include a gift receipt to make it easy to return the item.

3.Don’t ask, don’t tellers.

These people buy presents that are not returnable. Then they package the present so that you would never know where it was purchased and would be too embarrassed to ask. Often, the present either goes to someone else you don’t really care about or ends up in your storage (a definite no-no!).


Some people get so fed up with the process that they say, “To hell with it!” and stop giving gifts all together.

What do all four groups have in common? They all view gift giving as an unpleasant and distasteful task. However, if you fall into one on these categories, let me assure you that gift giving need not be a difficult process if it’s thought out and planned ahead.

Get Organized!

The biggest problem for most gift givers is the dilemma of the unknown -- we don’t know what to get for our loved ones. The following tips can help you choose the right gift each and every time:

•Pay attention to the details. If you’re out shopping with a friend, notice the kinds of things she picks out for herself. This will give you some good ideas on what to get for the next present.

•Make it personal. Most of us are busy and stressed out from our daily activities. A gift certificate to the spa for a massage, pedicure or manicure is an easy and welcome gift.

•Be in tune with what’s happening to the people around you. If a friend is going through some hardships and needs a “pick me up,” an inspirational CD, DVD or book makes an excellent gift. Or, if someone has an interest in a hobby, craft or artistic endeavor but can’t seem to get started, the gift of a private lesson may be just what they need to kick their creativity into gear.

My favorite gift is a gift basket, and I don’t mean the kind with lumpy cheese and stale crackers. It’s easy to put together a custom-made basket of goodies for your loved ones. All you have to do is buy the items and take them to a specialty store, where they will assemble the basket for you. If you don’t have time to shop, you can order a basket by picking and choosing the items you like.

My favorite store is Adels II, in Encino California, where everything in the store is personalized. They have items for every age, price and category, so you can’t go wrong. Most of us feel very special when we open a box to find our name or initials engraved on the present.

Another hit item is family photos that are framed or in the form of a calendar. These inexpensive gifts can be done at Kinkos or any other print shop. You can also do them online. To make the gift really memorable, arrange a private sitting with a photographer and have your photograph printed on canvas. It will look like a painted masterpiece and will be cherished for years to come.

To get organized and remain focused:

a) Make a list of everyone that you would like to give a gift to.

b) Set a budget. Whether it costs $5 or $500, each gift has to be just as special (believe me, it can be).

c) Set a date by when this gift has to be purchased.

d) Visualize how it will be packaged and sent or delivered.

e) Place a checkmark by each person’s name when their gift has been purchased. Place a second checkmark when the gift has been wrapped.

f) Review your list to see whether you have to deliver or send each gift. Not until the gift is sent or delivered can you cross the name off the list.

Finally, think how you would feel about receiving the gift. A beautifully packaged $5 Starbucks gift card with a warm greeting card will be more appreciated than a useless gift that never gets used.

When you put thought, time and love into your gift giving process, the person receiving the gift feels special and appreciated. After all, isn’t that why we give gifts in the first place?


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