Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Visit me Over at Ripe Peach

Dear Fabulous Friends,

As you know I aged up this year, and with a new decade comes a fresh start. I've been feeling the need to shed my skin and shake things up in many areas of my life, including this blog. It only makes sense; I've outgrown the title.

My forties were indeed fabulous, but at 50 I'm feeling more pumped up and turned on about life than ever. So, I'm pleased to introduce you to you my new blog called Ripe Peach. It's the perfect description for the way I feel about this fulfilling and juicy stage time.  I hope you'll find the content always fresh and fun, and sometimes decadently delish. I'm still the Sex & the Suburbs chick after all.

Please visit me from now on at ripepeachme.com and let's continue our pursuit of living to the fullest at midlife. Come on, gorgeous gals, let's get our peach on!



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sexy Classes, Trips, and Resources for Couples - Something for Everybody!

Esalen a retreat in Big Sur California offers couples
 many ways to connect. (image via makeitbetter.net)
Check out my latest Sex & the Suburbs column for Make it Better Magazine. It's packed full of resources for couples who want to inject some heat into their love lives. If you've been longing to improve your sex life but haven't known how, my column gives you a lot of options from books and flirty websites to far off retreats. Here's a couple fun things to try, but read my full story to get the whole lusty list!

Sexy Website: GetLusty.comFounded by Chicagoans Erica Grigg and her husbandTim WaltonGetLusty is a website for couples designed to put an end to boring sex. Couples can peruse articles focusing on 5 key areas of an amazing relationship: communication, technique, health, dates and adventure. Once you see an article that gets your pulse racing—for example, the pizza delivery role-play idea—you can note it on the site so your partner (privately) gets the message. GetLusty’s content is well-written, sex-positive and comprehensive. If you have a hankering to expand your knowledge or your repertoire, this is a fun place to start. Membership prices range from free to $19.99/month.  
Sexy Field Trip: Weird Chicago’s Red Light District Sex TourBilled as the only Sex Tour in America, Weird Chicago’s three-hour bus tour with colorful guide and sexpert Sunny Megatron has received rave reviews. The tour includes stops at a number of blush-worthy Chicago locations you never knew existed, such as secret sex clubs, historical red light districts, S&M dungeons and more. Explore the naughty side of the city, and perhaps each other. If you have a group of like-minded, curious friends, this entire bus can be booked as a charter. The cost for the tour is $40 per person.  
Full story at: http://www.makeitbetter.net/better-you/sex-and-the-suburbs/5314-sexy-resources-classes-and-retreats-for-couples 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Turn on Your Magic

I came across this quote this morning and had to share. It perfectly describes how I feel about this stage of life.
"Midlife is NOT the time to disenchant ourselves. It's a time to turn on all our magic in full force." 
- Marianne Williamson
Image from Amazon.com

I'm going to add this book to my Mid Life Crisis reading list! We are perfectly positioned to engage with life with our fully developed talents, experiences, and desires. We are ripe!

Now go forth and have a deliciously juicy Monday.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Meet my Mentors - Game of Thrones Chicks and Judy Blume

Judy Blume and Julia Keller
at Printers Row Lit Fest
What does HBO's violent fantasy series Game of Thrones have to do with Judy Blume, one of America's most beloved girl-coming-of age authors? Nothing, except I saw both of them yesterday and was most impressed. I saw Judy Blume speak at Chicago's Printers Row Lit Fest in the afternoon and she is delightful.

It's hard to believe the prolific author is 75 years old. She speaks and moves as lightly as one of the teenage girls she's been so apt at characterizing over the years in books such as "Are you There God? It's Me, Margaret." I loved hearing her discuss her creative process, which involves writing every morning and, gulp, five complete rewrites of every manuscript. Judy Blume and her son have made the first film based on one of her books, Tiger Eyes. I've made an appointment to watch it on demand with my daughter.

As much as I enjoyed seeing Judy Blume, yesterday's real drama was the Season 3 Finale of Game of Thrones. I don't know why exactly I'm so obsessed with this show. Some of it is so disgusting and  horrifying (like every scene with Theon Greyjoy) I have to scamper out of the room so I won't see. Plus, as soon as I get attached to a character, he or she gets something chopped off.

Catelyn's troubles are over
The show has been criticized for being misogynistic (there are a lot of rapes and boobies) but I find most of the women characters on Game of Thrones simply fascinating. The odds are definitely stacked against women in Westeros, but the skills they develop to cope with their brutal world are brilliant. It makes me wonder, which character am I most like?

I wish it was my namesake, the charmingly manipulative Margaery, or perhaps the dark magic wielding priestess, Milisandre. Talk about feminine powers! But according to the quiz I took online, I identify most with Catelyn, the noble, principled, long-suffering Starck matriarch. You know - the middle aged mom. Sheesh. I get it, but unfortunately Catelyn had a rather bloody demise last week, so I'm going to have to find someone else to relate to next season.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan, and if so, which character are you? Are you the valiant warrior Brienne? The scrappy, vengeful Arya? You can take the quiz for yourself right here.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

6 Ways to Communicate Better with Your Man

A couple months ago I gave a talk to a men's group on how to build intimacy in long-term relationships. The guys were attentive and sincerely interested in how to get closer to their wives/female partners. At the end of the session, I turned it around and asked  - What can women do to get closer to you men? Surprisingly, most of their issues weren't around sex, they were about communication. Apparently, the way we women carry on conversations can be confusing, frustrating, and even painful for men.

The discussion inspired my latest column for Make it Better. Ladies, if you want to communicate more effectively with your guy, try these techniques, below. 

How to Talk to Your Man
1. State your purpose. Do you just want to share a story or are you looking for his help? Men are solution-driven, so telling your guy what you want will help him actively listen.
2. Start at the beginning and proceed sequentially. Men are logical thinkers and get frustrated when women bounce between subjects or go off on tangents.
3. Touch him. Men are less verbal than women and value affectionate physical contact. Hold his hand or touch his shoulder, and he’ll pay closer attention to you.
4. Don’t expect him to guess how you feel. He really doesn’t know and would appreciate you telling him. 
5. Focus on him. You can chat with your girlfriend while folding laundry or balancing your checkbook, but men operate by giving their full attention to one thing at a time and find other activity distracting. 
6. Turn up the charm. According to “The Normal Bar,” a comprehensive relationship study of more than 70,000 people, criticism and bossiness undermine intimacy in a relationship.
Let me know if you have any success with these tips or would like to share your own! Read the full article at MakeitBetter.net, (including tips for how men should talk to us) by following this link:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Style Inspiration - My Daughter Emma

I'm crazy about my kids but I rarely blog about them because they're teenagers and I respect their privacy. But my 16 year-old daughter Emma looked so fresh and adorable in this outfit I had to snap this pic and - with her permission - post it. Plus, the girl kidnapped my treasured jean jacket, so she owes me.

This isn't a look I'd wear myself (that skirt is way too short) but I admire Emma's easy mix of hard and soft, so maybe I could find a way to integrate a little of that into my more mature wardrobe this summer. A long linen skirt with big brown leather belt maybe?

As a mom, what I really love about this pic is how happy and natural Emma looks. But for the record, here's what she's wearing:

  • Gap jean jacket - mine, bought at least ten years ago
  • Black t-shirt 
  • Aritzia cream high waisted lace skirt
  • Frye "Veronica" Short Boots - Don't scorn me, fellow teen moms. I know they're expensive. She bought them with her own babysitting money, okay?

Thanks for allowing me to let off a little proud "look at my baby" steam. Hope you and your family enjoy your weekend in grand style!

PS - I'm on the hunt for more real-life style inspiration, so don't be surprised if I ask to take your picture next.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reiki Rocks Part 2 - I'm Attuned to Energy

You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I'm a certified level 1 Reiki energy healer. Yep, after a two-day course with the luminescent Laurie Goldstein, who I first wrote about two years ago, I can direct the flow of  life force energy through my palms into my body, your body, my dog, even my food. Seriously!

And I'm not the only one. Reiki is spreading like wildfire on the North Shore. Due to Laurie and other teachers in the area, there are a growing number of energy healers in my 'hood. There were five of us in my class, including a doctor who took the course because over her long career as an internist she has realized that when it comes to healing, medicine alone can only go so far.

Look, I'm not religious or even particularly spiritual, but I'm at the point in my life when I find it more interesting to be openminded than closed. It only makes sense that human beings are made of energy and that an intelligent energy surrounds and supports us. To some it's God, to others it's nature, but for sure, life is energy. If this whole idea is too far out there for you, I totally get it. This is new to me too. But according to Laurie, it doesn't matter what you believe for Reiki to work. It just does.

In class we learned that Reiki energy is a force that promotes health and well being, but it's not a miracle cure or a medicine. It boosts the body's ability to heal itself by clearing negative energy in the body, mind, emotions and spirit - all of which can contribute to illness or pain. Reiki practitioners direct the flow of universal energy through their palms into the chakras (energy centers) of their clients, either by laying their hands on the body or just over the body. There's no rubbing or massage involved and everybody stays clothed.

It's only been a few weeks since my Reiki Level 1 certification course, and I still know very little about it. I've tried it on my husband and kids a few times to help with their sports injuries. They humor me as I position my hands over different points of their body. I'm not sure what effect it has had yet, but I think they like the attention. I've tried to infuse my dog with Reiki, but she's too restless to sit still for it. Or maybe I'm the restless one. Giving Reiki requires patience.

The biggest success I've had so far is giving myself Reiki, especially when I wake up in the middle of the night. Nothing is worse than waking up at 2 a.m. tossing and turning, worried that you'll never get  back to sleep. I don't have that problem any more. Now I just breathe deeply and place my Reiki attuned palms over my eyes, my head, my throat, my heart, my stomach  - and within minutes I'm blissfully asleep again. This alone makes the two-day class totally worth it.

Given my other area of interest I couldn't resist asking Laurie about integrating Reiki into lovemaking, but in her extensive study and coursework, that issue has never come up. Hmm, sounds like an opportunity to me.

If you'd like to know more, visit Laurie's Reiki Rising Facebook page, or check out Reiki.org. You can read my original post about my first Reiki experience right here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sizzling Couples Preview

Our next Sex & the Suburbs Live! - the show based on my column for Make it Better, will be at the Wilmette Theatre on Thursday, June 13th. This one is for both women and men who want to put some sizzle in their relationship. Here's a sneak preview with the help of my go-to guy for insightful relationship advice, David Klow. My other exciting guests include Tantranova founders Elsbeth Meuth and Freddy Zental Weaver as well as George and Andrea Gaines a couple that has completely transformed their relationship. Talk about hot! For tickets, visit the Wilmette Theatre's website.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Style Inspiration - Lovely Rita

I play tennis with Rita Lashmet almost every week, and yes, she's tall and blond and gorgeous, but I had no idea how glam the woman was until yesterday when she joined an informal tennis gathering looking like this!

I immediately demanded she tell me where she had been (obviously not the tennis court) and all the details about her chic outfit, which my iPhone camera does not fully capture.

Anyway, Rita good naturedly agreed to give me the scoop and so now I can share it with you. She's an interior designer and owner of RL Designs, so she  knows where to get the good stuff but not pay top dollar.

Where she'd been:
Board Meeting for the Lincoln Park Zoo Ball and
the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, on behalf of design clients.

What she's wearing:
  • Vintage camel coat from Winnetka consignment shop (think it's closed now)
  • Yigal Azrouel dress from Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th (their discount outlet)
  • Jimmy Choo nude pumps
Thanks Rita! It makes me happy to have friends that look this good.

I'm on the lookout for more real-life style inspiration, so watch out friends - I may be asking to photograph you next!

PS - A "seen on the street" fashion blog that makes me feel good about life is photographer Scott Schuman's website The Sartorialist. Fresh and beautiful images from around the globe.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Not all Underage Drinking is Illegal

Hey parents - especially those of you with college students home for the summer - here's a piece of information you should know. Depending on where you live, not all underage drinking is against the law.
  • In 29 states, including Illinois, the consumption of alcohol is allowed on private, non-alcohol selling premises with parental consent.
  • In eight other states, it's allowable on private, non-alcohol selling premises without parental consent.
  • Eleven states, such as Wisconsin and Ohio, allow underage consumption of alcohol on alcohol selling premises with parental approval. 
  • Other states allow alcohol consumption for religious, medical and work purposes.
  • Nine states make no exceptions. 
If you want to check out the laws in your state, visit this drinking age website.  In Illinois, the Liquor Control Act of 1934 contains the provision below, which clearly states that if an underage child is in a private home and under parental supervision, they can have a drink. In fact, you can even give your friend's underage child a drink if you have their permission to "stand in loco parentis" for you.
The possession and dispensing, or consumption by a person under 21 years of age of alcoholic liquor in the performance of a religious service or ceremony, or the consumption by a person under 21 years of age under the direct supervision and approval of the parents or parent or those persons standing in loco parentis of such person under 21 years of age in the privacy of a home, is not prohibited by this Act.
When I learned this exception to the 21 year-old drinking age I was surprised, because no one ever talks about this! But it makes sense that parents should be able to introduce their children to alcohol in moderation and under supervision, because where else will that happen? Not at the frat pledge formal, that's for sure.

Summer can be a stressful time for parents of returning college students. It isn't easy to enforce limits on young adults who are used to making their own decisions and have almost certainly been exposed to partying at college. It's nice to know that if you give your college sophomore a Bud Light on the patio or a glass of wine at dinner, neither one of you is committing a crime. 

But before you host a kegger for a pack of parent approved 20 year-olds or pour your 15 year-old a margarita, listen to this. The law doesn't specifically prohibit these things, but you can still get in trouble. My trusted lawyer pal and noted defense attorney Barry Spector shared some serious watch-outs with me.

If kids leave your house with alcohol in their system, they can still be charged.
Spector says, "The practical problem is what happens when the kid leaves the privacy of his house after they've had a drink inside with the parents approval and supervision. The kid could still get charged and the defense would have to be raised in court."

Young people should not drive after having even a tiny amount of alcohol - adults can legally drive with a blood alcohol percentage of .08 but there is a zero tolerance for drivers under age 21. And there is still a risk to you as well. "Remember," cautions Spector, " if something went wrong, civil liability could always be a huge problem."

For minors, DCFS (Department of Children & Family Services) could get involved. 
The law doesn't state a lower age limit, but in the case of minors, "parents could be opening themselves up to DCFS investigation if the police/prosecutor thought the parents were putting a kid at risk for allowing consumption," says Spector. "The DCFS "threat" is extreme, but if someone called it into the DCFS hotline, there would have to be an investigation. The older the kid and the smaller amount of alcohol, the less likely there would be an "indicated finding" (DCFS lingo). It may not go anywhere, but who'd want to deal with that?" 

Even if the law permits underage drinking, other organizations may not.
You or your child may have signed a school, club or athletic conduct code that prohibits any form of underage drinking. So, even if giving your kid a drink isn't illegal in your state, it may result in unwanted penalties and sanctions from those organizations.

The bottom line is this: understanding the law enables both parents and young people to make better decisions. For more information on this subject, check out these stories I wrote (with Barry Spector's help) for Make it Better. Here's to a happy, safe summer for all of us!