Mistakes Middle-Aged Women Make–Part 5

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Image of women in heavy make-up

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mistake 9: Using the wrong makeup. “The makeup colors and brands you’ve been wearing for years probably don’t reflect what’s best for your skin anymore.” Unfortunately, the article doesn’t cover how to determine what colors and brands to use. But it does recommend using a magnifying mirror to avoid heavy application of foundations, concealers, and powders, and to replace these products every six to twelve months.

I don’t use these products yet. I’m content with my tinted moisturizer. Between you and me, should I should take a closer look in the mirror? 🙂

Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist for Physician’s Formula, says “I’ve stopped using foundation every day, because it settles into wrinkles and makes them more noticeable. I start with a concealer just where I need it (under-eye area, blemishes, etc.) and follow it with an allover application of tinted moisturizer.”

Oddly, the older I get, the more places I go without makeup. I’ve adopted a who cares attitude about running into people at the grocery store or picking up a child from a friend’s. As long as they see me at my best when I’m someplace I believe I should look my best, I’m okay. Should I be ashamed to admit that?

Mistake 10: Wearing the wrong bra. I’m not surprised by this one. I heard it when I was a teen. And every decade since. I had myself fitted properly a few years ago, but with my dang weight fluctuation, it’s hard to keep up with what size I should be wearing. Or should I say it’s hard to keep them up without regularly re-evaluating the size I should be wearing?

Image of lingerie

Image courtesy of aschaeffer, stock.xchng

Speaking of bras, did you know the average bra size has gone from a 34B to a 34DD in the past twenty years? According to lingerie retailer Intimacy, breast implants and weight gain attribute to some of the increase, but the largest factor has been women learning their correct bra size! (Some lingerie experts, however, don’t believe there is an average bra size because bras vary so much from one model to the next.)

So how do you know if you are wearing the right bra size? You can get measured at a lingerie shop or the lingerie department at a large department store, or you can measure yourself. For a here’s how, check out Real Simple.

Mistake 11: Settling for a boring sex life. “You should have the confidence and freedom to dress and feel as sexy as you want to, and explore your sexual needs as well.” Grufferman thinks that middle-aged women can get more enjoyment from sex because it’s the first time in their lives that they are not doing it for a purpose (to have children).

Hmmm…

I can’t help question Grufferman’s statement because I know too many post-menopausal women who have pain or discomfort during sex.

But should a woman really dress as sexily as she wants? What if she doesn’t know the difference between sexy and slutty?

Image of middle-aged women dressed inappropriately

Image courtesy of adamr, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mistakes Middle-Aged Women Make–Part 4

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Mistake 7: Ignoring your teeth.  Teeth appear yellower as we age? I’m doomed. Maybe I better keep an eye out for a coupon for professional teeth whitening. Having been part of the “Yeah, Mom I Brushed My Teeth When I Really Didn’t Club” as a child (hell, I served as their president for a couple of years), I’ve always had yellow teeth. I wish I could grit my middle-age teeth at my lying child self and tell her this is what her teeth would like if she didn’t brush them. Worked for my kids.

It’s possible that your teeth will become more sensitive as you get older. If this occurs, trade in your toothpaste for one that claims to decrease sensitivity. And if you have big silver fillings in your teeth, they expand over time and there is a chance they will crack your tooth. Check with your dentist about whether it is advisable to replace the silver fillings with other options.

Image of middle-aged woman with long hair

Image courtesy of Alex Dimchev, stock.xchng

Mistake 8: Thinking there are hair rules. I was just having this conversation with coworkers. Many middle-agers were taught that women of a certain age should not wear their hair below their shoulders. Barbara Grufferman, author of The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money, and More, says, “It [hair length] depends on a woman’s height, shape, lifestyle, and the condition of her hair.” They go on to tell the reader that her hair will probably get more gray. It’s probably a little late to break that news.

And your hair thins. I figured that out too. The thinning worries me. I know a few women whose hair is so thin you can see their scalps. Is that why our moms wore those bouffant hairstyles? I know the style made my Mom’s hair look fuller; my sisters and I had to help Mom cover the “bald” spot in back.

(More on thinning hair in a future blog post.)

What do you think about long hair on older women?

Is there anything you health or beauty related habit you had as a child that you are paying the price for now?

Mistakes Middle-Aged Women Make–Part 3

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Image of middle-aged woman yawning

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominic, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mistake 6: Not getting enough sleep. Not only are fewer hours of sleep likely to show up on your face, but they can increase your risk of other health problems like diabetes, cancer and premature death.

I’ve always needed a lot of sleep. Many years ago I read that if you let your body sleep as long as it wants for several days and made note of how long you slept each night, that would indicate how many hours of sleep your body needed on average. Mine was nine. Still is. And lucky for me, I can get nine hours of sleep on some weekends. What a luxury. It’s what keeps me getting out of bed at 5:15 on weekdays.

While I’m on the subject of sleep, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Source: Why Is It So Hard for Women to Get Some Sleep?) found that middle-aged women are the most likely to take sleeping pills. Use of sleeping pills began increasing when women hit their 40s and 50s, and more educated women were more likely to take the pills. Six percent of those 50-59 years of age had consumed a sleep aid in the past 30 days.

Of those studied, 25% had reported sleep problems—either difficulty falling asleep or waking up during the night and not being able to resume sleep—to their doctors.

A study performed at the Scripps Clinic (Source: Sleeping pills linked to early death, cancer) found that regular sleeping pill users were nearly four times more likely to die prematurely.

The primary cause of sleep difficulties in middle-aged women is considered to be a mixture of hormonal changes and stress. Women in midlife are particularly vulnerable to stress because they might still have children to care for, as well as elderly parents who need attention. Add to that a full-time job and stress levels go up even more.

The FDA recommended in January that the makers of sleeping pills cut the dose recommended for women in half because the medication remains in the bloodstream longer in women, and they often have morning grogginess after taking the pills.

A friend told me long ago that wiping your mind clean of all thoughts helps you fall asleep. I think it’s impossible to do this, but what help me is this: With your eyes closed, visualize something really tiny. I picture a black background with a tiny white dot–smaller that a straight pin head–in the middle. Stay focused on it; if you catch your mind wander, bring it back to the tiny object again. Keep doing this until…well, until you don’t have to anymore.

How early do you have to get up in the morning?

What do you do to help yourself fall asleep?

Mistakes Middle-Aged Women Make–Part 2

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Mistake 3: Comparing yourself to you in your twenties.

The Health magazine article says that “few people look as attractive in middle age as they did in their younger years.” True but depressing. When I think back on how uncomfortable I was with my body I want to tell my twenty-something self that I look great! What was I thinking? So I had a little pooch in front. How easy was that to hide?

I long for the days when that little pooch was all I didn’t want showing. Now there are sagging breasts, spider veins, double chin—you get the picture.

Yoo hoo! Ms. Twenty-something. You are going to see much worse later in life so chill for now, will you?

Hope she’s listening.

Image of middle-aged woman with wallet

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mistake 4: Not spending enough on clothes. This one I can identify with. I was in the habit of buying cheap clothes so I could have more variety. But I learned that cheap didn’t wear too well. It wasn’t long before hems of cotton tees stretched out and seams began unraveling. Now I watch for coupons and sales so I can get better quality without breaking the bank.

According to the article, clothes off the rack don’t fit our bodies as well as they used to. Buying clothes designed to cover our flaws will require spending more money. We need to invest in more “constructed” clothing—clothing that contains Lycra panels, butt-boosting jeans, and Spanx.

There is not enough Lycra in the world to boost my tush into any jeans. I’ll take the Lycra in front please. And not as a booster but a flattener.

Image of middle-aged woman running

Image courtesy of Ariel da Silva Parreira, stock.xchng

Mistake 5: Skipping exercise. Never mind how bad you feel when you exercise, you need to do it because it can help stave off health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. I do exercise, but I know I’m not doing as much as I should.

Today, one of my young Facebook friends (early thirties) posted a video of an exercise class that she claimed had a guy that was hysterical. Ready for a good laugh, I started the video. The guy I was instructed to watch was borderline obese, wearing a Speedo. While the instructor and the other students within camera range were doing their moves, Speedo guy was over-performing—really getting into it, you might say. Did I laugh? Hell, no! I silently cheered him on. I know exactly what it’s like to hear a song that makes me feel like dancing and letting loose in my home. Now I wouldn’t do it with a camera running, but that’s me. I will bet this guy was expending at least as much energy as the others, including the instructor. Yeah, his big belly jiggled and his occasional “wahoo” made onlookers giggle, but so what? He probably knocked off the calories in that donut he ate for breakfast.

What motivates you to exercise?

What do you wish you could tell your younger self? Anything–it doesn’t have to be related to looks.

Mistakes Middle-Aged Women Make–Part 1

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Who can resist the heading “11 Mistakes Women Make in Middle Age?” Certainly not me. I had to read the article. And I thought they were good enough to share with you, two or three at a time, in no particular order, accompanied by a little commentary, of course. (For the complete explanation of each item, see the post on Health Magazine’s website here.)

Mistake 1: Not realizing you need to change.

Image of middle-aged woman with old-fashion hairdo

Iolaire McKinnon, Glasgow, Scotland, Wikimedia Commons

“The biggest mistake women make is not doing anything at all.”

This one is pretty all-encompassing. As we age, we need to reconsider many of our practices: the clothes we wear, how we style our hair, what make up we use. What we wore and how we styled our hair when we were twenty-three, is likely not to be flattering in our forties and fifties. Not only do styles change with the times, but our bodies changes, too, and with these changes comes the need to revamp our routines.

One of my go-to places for fashion advice is the website Fabulous After 40. Deborah Boland does a terrific job of showing what works and what doesn’t in fashion for the over-40 woman. Some of the topics she has covered are slimming dresses for curvy figures, what to wear to a summer wedding, and how to dress if you have narrow shoulders or a big stomach.

My only complaint about the site is the pictures are of either skinny women or plus size women. I don’t fault Boland, though. She’s restricted to the photos available, and when she sees a woman on the street who doesn’t fall into either the skinny or the plus category rocking her clothes, Boland asks for permission to snap their photo and include it on her site.

Do you have any trend or practice you followed in your twenties, either good or bad, that you still follow today?

Image of woman holding needle

Image courtesy of marin, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mistake 2: Overdoing anti-aging efforts. “The right skin products (such as those containing retinol) can help diminish fine lines and wrinkles…but don’t aim to look like a teen again.” They warn that “botox face” and “scary lip plumping” don’t look any better than crow’s-feet and laugh lines.

I, for one, hate seeing pictures of celebrities who have obviously had a few injections because their trademark thin lips look like they’ve been stung by a bee. I won’t provide names. They know who they are.

If I had to change one thing on my face–let’s say it was performed by magic so I didn’t actually have to go through surgery, healing, or any other trauma–it would be a hard decision. I’m waffling between a nose job, an eyelid lift, or removal of the double chin! As a teen it was a no-brainer. The nose would go.

Which one thing on your face would YOU change?

The great cover reveal: TA DA!

Image of Where There Is Will by Monica EpsteinI love it!

It says contemporary.

It says it takes place in a location that has a long history.

It says hopeful.

It says . . . my name on the cover.

Yee ha! *happy dance* 😀 😀 😀

Okay. I’m calm again. 😎

What do you think?

Introducing…

I am so excited to introduce my new website banner and Facebook fan page cover! (You can view the cover here) I’ve been working with a great graphic artist, Talya, and she’s done a great job of capturing what I was looking for. Check out Talya’s website here.

To celebrate the new design, I’m rolling out a new blog too. I’ll be covering topics I hope to be of interest to middle-aged women– from health to fashion, beauty to finance–whatever appeals to me at the time I write. If there are any topics you’d like me to cover, use the “Contact Me” page to let me know.

I hope to make at least one post a week, but as we all know too well, sometimes other things take precedence (like family, health, work, and a great chapter I just can’t stop writing 😉 ). I’d love for you to follow me, and if you like what I have to say, please share my posts with your friends.

I’m kicking off my blog with a series about mistakes middle-aged women make when it comes to fashion and beauty. I hope you enjoy it.