Monday, December 13, 2010

What women really want from their true loves for Christmas

Inspired by "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I've teamed up with fellow blogger Meredith Sinclair (hoo-dee-hoo.com) and some festive friends to express what we chicks would truly adore from our guys this year.

Whether you've been naughty or nice (or a bit of both,) here's wishing you a holiday season filled to the brim with love, laughter, and of course - great gifts!



If you're thirsting for a "Well-shaken pink Pomtini" click here for the Martha Stewart recipe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 Ways to Feel Fine on a Fat Day

Do I regret overindulging?
Not so much.
I got on the scale this morning and ouch, it's gonna be a big fat day. Though I've vowed not to let the scale dictate my mood, every once in a while the number displayed there is undeniably bad news. And when that day comes two days before Thanksgiving, the situation isn't likely to improve anytime soon.

I've had fun packing on the pounds - the biggest contributing factor was a trip to Napa filled with lazy hours lolling under olive trees, spreading goat cheese on thin slices of baguette, and sipping glasses of chardonnay. I don't regret my excesses, but the extra fat rolls around my middle combined with an overall bloated feeling are not exactly making me excited to go out and greet the world.

Perhaps you might find yourself in the same position over the holidays. I've been here before (admittedly, not so early in the season) and I've got some tricks to boost my mood and distract myself from the unwanted flubber. Here are five tips to feeling fine on a fat day.

1. Pay attention to grooming. Fat days are perfect for taking care of oft neglected body parts like skin and teeth and nails. Feeling good is about more than weight, honey. Moisturize, slather on the self-tanner, try out a daring shade of nail polish. I just gave my teeth a good flossing and I feel lighter all ready.

Distracting myself from
weightier issues.
2. Don't torture yourself with tight clothes. Today is not the day for skinny jeans and a tucked-in shirt; they'll just make you crabby. Accommodate your extra curves with loose or stretchy clothing. A day spent in Lucy stretch yoga pants is a happy day. If you can't go sporty, try a billowy skirt over leggings or a forgiving long cardigan.

3. Adorn your head. The idea here is to keep everyone's eyes riveted above the neck. Change up your hairstyle, put on some eyeliner, wear dangly earrings, don a  funky chapeau. And most importantly, smile! People will be so entranced by your lovely countenance they'll never notice the newfound voluptuousness below.

4. Hydrate. I probably haven't gained an ounce, I'm just suffering from severe water retention. My plan is to chug water throughout the day. That way, every time I pee I'll feel like I'm losing weight!

5. It's not that big a deal. A couple pounds one way or another don't change your life that much, so skip the guilt and self-recrimination and go for a walk around the block. The fresh air will do you good.

Finally, when all else fails, consider Marjie's Incontrovertible Squirrel Theory. It's brilliant scientific logic will leave you feeling adorable all winter long.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is this fair? Ads for female equivalent of Viagra can't run on TV

This weekend when my husband and I were in Napa, I came across an article in the San Francisco Chronicle describing a sexual double standard that made me mad.

According to the Chronicle, two women have developed a botanical topical oil called Zestra, designed to help women "heighten their sexual intimacy." Semprae Labs co-founders Rachel Braun Scherl, 45, and  Mary Jaensch, 58 - both married mothers - developed the product in response to research that tens of millions of American women have sexual difficulty and no way to treat it.

Zestra is an all natural product targeted to women who just aren't feeling it like they used to. One Zestra ad (see below) says the oil will "help you feel the way you used to when sexual arousal just happened naturally - without doing anything, without thinking about it, without trying not to think about anything else."

Um, I'm not admitting to anything here, but does that include not thinking about picking up the dry cleaning or worrying that my kid needs a ride home from the mall? Tell me more.

Unfortunately, most women have never heard of Zestra's benefits, because many network and cable TV stations won't run the ads.

We're no stranger to products to help men's problems in the bedroom. Ads for Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra are everywhere. The ads clearly communicate that men deserve lifelong sexual gratification and the complications that come with age require medical treatment. The commercials, with images of couples dancing romantically or sharing hilltop baths, also imply that a man's ability to sustain erection will not only bring great satisfaction to him, but to his appreciative partner as well.

But when it comes to promoting a product designed to help a woman achieve more pleasure, the TV stations refused. From the Chronicle article:
Laura Grindstaff, an associate professor of sociology at UC Davis, said many cultures are uncomfortable with the idea of female sexuality outside reproduction and motherhood.
"When you see naked women bounding around in any music video or open a magazine and see ads for cars or cosmetics, half-naked women are everywhere," Grindstaff said. "That is not women's sexuality. What you see is completely bound up and constructed by male ideas of what women's sexuality ought to be. An ad like Zestra's, with no men in it, about women's pleasure for the sake of pleasure, is threatening."
Maybe that's what the stupid TV execs think, but when I researched my article "What Men Really Want," I learned that most men would love for their women partners to feel sexier and more aroused. So maybe banning Zestra ads from television is unfair to both men and women.

If you're interested in what the flap is all about, check out this Zestra commercial.


Intriguing, no? The product is available online at zestra.com or at places like Wal-Mart and K-Mart. I haven't tried it (yet), so I'm not endorsing it. I just think women and men should have equal opportunity when it comes to good sex.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Online Dating - it's Like a Catalogue of Available Guys

Is online dating for you?
Let me state for the record - I am not dating. I've been married to the Irish Hunk o' Love for 19 years and  intend to stay that way. But if I were looking for romance at this point in my life, I would definitely try online dating. I interviewed a number of single women over 40, and according to them, dating websites are the way to go. They've connected with wonderful men who they feel they never would have met otherwise.

In the name of research (and out of rabid curiosity), I signed onto Match.com to see what the site is all about. Without giving a single piece of information about myself, I was able to search for non-smoking men, aged 45-50, who live within 10 miles of me and work out 3-4 times a week. You know what? There are 230 of them!

Some of them are very cute too. Hello, there "AlmostDflawless" in Highland Park. Although your name indicates a certain lack of humility. Maybe "hungryandthirst" from Chicago or "lovemykids1012" from Glenview is more my style. And he's online right now, maybe...

Okay, I've snapped out of it. But you see how addictive it can be. It's a virtual catalogue of potential dates.

If you are single and sick of the bar scene or awkward fix-ups, why not give dating websites a try? If you'd like to read about some success stories and ways to get the most out of your online experience, check out these two articles I wrote for MakeitBetter.net:

Is Online Dating the Fast track to True Love
Tips to Successful Online Dating

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sex & the Suburbs on the Radio

I had the chance to appear on Wayne Messmer's Homelife Radio show on AM560 WIND this morning. We talked about what men really want, how to spice up your marriage and the pros and cons of online dating - all topics I've covered in my "Sex & the Suburbs" column for Make it Better Magazine.

 To listen to the fun 10-minute discussion, press the play arrow, below.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Marlo Thomas - That Girl is All That & More

Last week I had the opportunity to interview the legendary Marlo Thomas when she visited Chicago to promote her new book - Growing Up Laughing, My Story and the Story of Funny. For the full interview, read my story at Make it Better by clicking here.

I've interviewed lots of cool people, but Marlo Thomas was my first big deal celebrity and I was a little unsure how to proceed. I knew I was to meet her at the Four Seasons but didn't know how to actually connect. Did she use a code name? Would I go up to her room? And could I call her by her first name? I hoped I wouldn't be impossibly awkward.

I needn't have worried. Because thanks to Marlo (yep, it was okay to call her that) the whole experience was completely relaxed. Her assistant phoned me to tell me that we'd meet in the lobby restaurant, and sure enough, Marlo simply walked in, alone, at the appointed time. 

She'd already had a jammed morning with TV show appearances and a live video chat on her new website, marlothomas.com, and she was hungry. She ordered a diet coke and a chinese chicken salad. I stuck to the diet coke because I needed to take notes. After swapping iphone apps (Marlo introduced me Dragon Dictation - check it out!) we began talking in a down to earth way about her very extraordinary childhood and groundbreaking career.

Many of us know of Marlo Thomas as the charming and perky Ann Marie in the 1960s sitcom, That Girl.  But when preparing for our meeting, I was reminded that she has also been a leading feminist for her entire life.

That Girl was the first show on television centered around a single woman, living on her own and pursuing a  career. In the early 70s Marlo challenged traditional gender stereotypes by creating Free to Be... You and Me, a children's album, book and TV special featuring songs and stories from many of her famous friends. With her friend Gloria Steinem, she founded the Ms. Foundation for Women. 

Over the years she has performed in films, on Broadway, and on some of the hippest shows on television (Friends, Ugly Betty). She's a devoted spokesperson for St. Jude Children's Research hospital, founded by her father, comedian Danny Thomas. Now, with her new book and website, she continues to show a remarkable staying power and relevance that few celebrities can claim.

But most of all, she's a genuinely nice person who wants to connect. As she told me,

"My dream for my website is that I will begin conversations that engage a large group of women and they will talk to each other, not just to me. And that's what's happening and that's what I find exciting. As I look back on all my projects I'm constantly trying to get people engaged. I want to build communities, I just find it so much fun."

You can order Marlo's book by clicking on the cover, below. And definitely check out her new website: marlothomas.com. It's Forty Fabulous!









Monday, November 1, 2010

Fashion Basics - Take clothes you already own and turn them into 3 great looks!

Think you've got nothing to wear? Well think again, because in this quick video, Midge Wegener (a stylist from one of Michelle Obama's favorite retailers) shows us how to take basic items we already own and mix them with a few pieces to create a variety of fashionable looks.  If you want to  take your wardrobe and jazz it up, dress it up, or bling it out - for Fall or the holidays - click here for inspiration.

Monday, October 18, 2010

From You're So Vain to The Way I Am

Like many things I've blogged about, (tennis, kayaking with Orca, pole dancing) singing in a band is something I tried for the first time after turning 40. I can't tell you how exciting and frightening some of my first performances with Mid Life Crisis were. I  had no idea what I was doing, but  being part of a classic rock band was such a huge thrill, I had to give it a try.  


There's a video of me from those early days, passionately belting out "You're so Vain", completely off-key.  As my friend Cheryl can attest, it was so brutally bad, watching it made me curl into the fetal position and moan. But despite the humiliation of that awful performance, I didn't quit. I took voice lessons, I practiced scales, I learned how to negotiate a mic and a monitor. Thankfully, the Mid Life Crisis guys didn't kick me out. 


 I'm doing a lot more writing than singing these days, but Friday night I had the chance to perform a couple songs with Wendy Morgan's fabulous band at the Music Institute's Nichols Hall in Evanston. I watched some video of me singing, and you know what? I'm okay with it! 


In honor of how far I've come, here are a couple clips of me singing The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson and I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King. And I hope to God that older vid never shows up on the internet!




Thanks to these amazing  musicians, who would make even Rosanne Barr sound good: Dean Rolando (piano), Jim Cox (bass), and Bob Rummage (drums). Special guest Eric Schneider on sax.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Really listen to this

My friend, singer-songwriter Stephanie Rogers, performing her song "Daisy Petal in the Dirt." The lyrics are killer.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Forty Fabulous Field Trip: Museum of Sex

Museum of Sex, NYC
I'd  never heard of the Museum of Sex in New York City until I discovered it on my iphone map this weekend, a mere block from our lunch destination - the famous Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.

As a dark-tressed, breaking-bad, forty-fabulous sex columnist, I consider it my professional duty to investigate all museum quality aspects of sex. If it's on exhibit in a museum, it's gotta be worth knowing, right?

So, as my patient husband waited in line for 45 minutes to order our Shackburgers, I walked up 5th Avenue, entered through the museum's chic gift store, bought a $16.75 ticket, and stepped into the dimly lit gallery.

Sorta kinky.
The stated mission of the Museum of Sex is "to preserve and present the history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality."

I expected to see exhibits about stuff like the erotic secrets of the ancient Greeks, the origin of the Kamasutra, and maybe some kinky, rubberized S&M contraptions. I expected the museum to be hot.

Alas, it was not.

The first floor exhibit was all video, showing how sex has been depicted in film over the last century. Most of it was ho-hum - rapturously emoting silent film stars, bloodthirsty vampires,  etc,  - although there were a few snippets of graphic porn and disturbing Japanese anime thrown in.

It's not all about size,  Mr. Roboto
"Respect the privacy of your fellow museum patrons." advised a discreet sign. No problem. I wasn't looking to make friends.

The second floor had some interesting pieces, such as life-size male and female sex dolls, sculptures crafted from colorful dildos, and a series entitled "Sex Lives of Robots"(see left.) Phallic symbols abounded.

The rest of the second floor was devoted to the history of the condom and the fight against sexually transmitted diseases. While educational, this exhibit didn't do much to promote sex in my book. The pictures of lesion-covered syphilis sufferers made an excellent case for abstinence.

I found some comic relief on the 3rd floor, which displayed the wide, wide world of sex in the animal kingdom. Guess what? Animals have homosexual, group and oral sex too. They even masturbate. But after watching a video of a poor little turtle trying to pleasure himself against a rock, I'd had enough.

Homosexual and group sex is common in
 the animal kingdom. Honestly, who cares?
The gift shop was fun, but overall, my visit to the Museum of Sex was rather anti-climactic.

Lunch at the Shake Shack, however, was delicious!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Crossing over to the Dark Side

I did something impulsive this morning. I dyed my hair back to its natural color. Well, I think it's my natural color. I've been highlighting my hair for most of my adult life, so I can't really be sure.

The problem with highlights, aside from the expense and time at the salon, is that they bleach out in the sun. Over the summer, some of my professionally applied streaks had actually turned white.  It looked weird and unnatural. Yesterday, I looked in the mirror and wondered how I'd turned into an over-processed blonde chick, when I identify so strongly as a brunette.

Before: Me on Saturday
So, today, I picked up a box of L'Oreal Excellence to Go at Walgreens and, voila! Ten minutes and ten bucks later, this is the new me.

Hmmm. 

After: This morning after my $10 in home treatment
I'm not sure if it's an improvement or not, but sometimes, change - any change - is a good thing. I'm going to use my new, natural-ish hair color to embrace my dark side. I'm not just perky and polite, you know. I'm deep. I'm tortured. I can be a bad, bad girl.

Yes, I have to fold the laundry, water the plants and write three thank you notes. But after that, man, I am going to go fucking crazy.

Now, all I need is a Thelma to ride shotgun.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Francesca's photos - 'Oh my god, that's me?'

This is the second part of a series about Francesca's boudoir photography experience. To read Part 1, click here or scroll down.

When Francesca, 44, went to view her photos from her Enamour shoot, she felt like a movie star at a screening.

"I was giggling and nervous about what I was going to see," she said, "but there were so many great shots to choose from. Some of them put a huge smile on my face. I had never, ever felt that way about myself. I was mesmerized, thinking -oh my god, that's me?"


The shoot itself had been a treat, mostly because co-owners Gina and Sylvi made her so feel so comfortable.

"It was a blast! I was the center of attention and Gina and Sylvi put me totally at ease. We laughed a lot." Francesca continued, "I'm not a model, but they selected poses that were very natural and easy for me to do. I felt like I was this magnificent beauty."



Now that Francesca has seen the pictures (some of her favorites are shown here ) she can't wait to hang them on her wall at home.

"The photos captured a part of me that I don't see in myself - confident and beautiful. Now, when I look at them they'll be a reminder."

She's also excited for her husband to see the pics. "He always tells me that I'm beautiful, but when I feel that way.... I can't wait!"

Maybe there's a side of you that's itching to be explored. Enamour packages start at $450. For more information- or just for fun - visit their website at www.enamourphotography.com.
Enamour's Gina Sanders & Sylvi Davidson

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Picture this: the hot model in the glossy photo is YOU

Look through your photo albums or files. Do you like the way you look? How many of your pictures portray you at your best - as radiant, confident, sexy and gorgeous?

Not many I bet. In fact, I bet you're hardly in many of them, because we women are often the ones taking the pictures of everybody else.

Yeah, the kids look cute and the scenery is beautiful. But don't we deserve to have some pictures of ourselves where we aren't squinting into the wind, serving up birthday cake, or wearing a clown costume?
 Francesca relaxes as Sylvi applies her make up.

We're surrounded with images of beautiful, sultry women like Jenifer Aniston, Christina Hendricks, and Halle Berry. But even for those lovely actresses, flattering photographs take effort. They've been professionally made up, lit, posed, and retouched.

Here on the North Shore, you can get some of that star treatment for yourself.  Sylvi Davidson and Gina Sanders of Enamour Photography in Highland Park are devoted to bringing out the inner and outer beauty of regular chicks like us and capturing it on film. Women of all ages, sizes and stages come to them for an intimate photo session designed to showcase and celebrate their unique beauty.

I had the opportunity to join them as they prepped Francesca, a 44 year-old wife and mom, for her Enamour experience.

Francesca was hesitant about doing what's known as a "boudoir photography" session at first, but she's had a tough year. Work, parenting and helping a family member through an illness had left her exhausted and stressed out.

"I'd like to do something special and intimate for myself," she said, "To remind me of who I am."

Francesca was a bit nervous about posing provocatively. "I'm worried that I might look or feel silly," she said. "But I know Gina and Sylvi will make me feel comfortable."

Gina tests the lighting for the shoot.
That's for sure.  Gina, Enamour's photographer, and creative director/make-up artist Sylvi are incredibly nurturing, positive and passionate about their work. Their goal for a shoot is to create a safe haven where their client can relax and celebrate herself.

"We make our client the center of attention - and she loves it," said Sylvi.

"We help her see all the little parts of herself that are beautiful," added Gina. "Women on the North Shore are very critical of their appearance. Here, they are lifted up, not put down."

The experience can be powerful and transforming. Many women, when they first see their portfolio and how sensuous and plain hot they look, burst into tears.

 "They've never seen themselves this way before," said Sylvi. "This is girl therapy."

Francesca was hopeful she'd feel the same way. "I feel like I look good," she said, "but I'm not that confident. I'd like to push the boundaries today. I  hope to discover something deeper about my inner self. And, I'd like to have fun!"

I didn't stay for the shoot itself, but the lead-up was nothing but fun. Sylvi applied gorgeous, dramatic make-up to Francesca, and she and Gina helped Francesca select a variety of sexy (but tasteful) outfits to pose in. While some Enamour clients do choose to pose in the nude, that wasn't Francesca's plan. Her shoot was going to be in the style of old Hollywood glamour.

"I hope I look fabulous," she said, beginning to get excited. "I'd like to have a couple nice pieces to share with my daughter one day, to show her you can be beautiful inside and out at any age."

Of course, Francesca's husband is looking forward to seeing the photographs too. Check back in a few days to see the results of Francesca's shoot as we share some of her favorite shots here.

For more information about Enamour, visit their website at www.enamourphotography.com.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Late Life Lesbians. Let's Discuss.

It has been a hot topic all over the airwaves lately - on Oprah, the Today Show, and The View. Women who had traditional marriages and families are leaving their husbands for other women.  
Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni

Okay, I admit it, this is a trend I'm curious about. I'm married, I'm a mom, I've always been attracted to men and I'm hot for my husband. Is there something about middle age that's going to make me start playing for the other team?


Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon spent 15 years with the father of her two children before falling in love with education activist Christine Marinoni in her late thirties. Had Nixon always been a lesbian? She says no.
"It wasn't something in me that was waiting to come out. It was like, this person is undeniable. How can I let this person walk by?"
Meredith Baxter, who played the liberal mom from the hit 80's TV show "Family Ties," was married three times and had five children. It wasn't until she was in her mid-fifties that she realized that she preferred being with women. She spoke with Matt Lauer about the experience on the Today Show.
"I am a lesbian, and it was a later-in-life recognition," Baxter said. I got involved with someone I never expected to get involved with, and it was that kind of awakening.  I never fought it because it was like, oh, I understand why I had the issues I had early in life. I had a great deal of difficulty connecting with men in relationships.”
While Elisabeth Hasselbeck of The View thinks women turn to other women in middle age because "all the older men are going for younger women, leaving the older women with no one" (click here to see her make her case to astonished co-host Joy Behar) I highly doubt desperation for companionship is the motive.

According to Shayna Goldstein, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who specializes in LGBT issues at the Family Institute of Northwestern University,  women who leave their marriages for other women tend to follow two paths. The first group of women, like Cynthia Nixon, feel they happened to fall in love with a person who happens to be female. Their romantic feelings are specific to an individual and they don't necessarily identify themselves as lesbian.

The second group of women have known they were attracted to other women for a long time, but never gave themselves permission to act on those feelings. It isn't until later in life - when they'd developed more self-awareness and confidence - that they were able to admit and act upon their true desires.

When writing about this topic for an upcoming issue of Make it Better Magazine, I interviewed Maureen Watson, a dynamic gallery owner and former business executive who lives with her female partner of eight years in Florida. Maureen, 62, has been married twice - spending a total of 25 years with her two husbands. When she was younger, she liked men and had satisfying physical relationships with them, but in between marriages, she also had "flings" with women.

"When I wasn't with a man, I was with a woman," she told me.

But Maureen was brought up in a strict Catholic household and in her community it was inconceivable that a woman be with another woman. So, despite having had female encounters, it wasn't until she was 48 and divorced for the second time that Maureen allowed herself to fall in love and have a real, committed relationship with a woman. She she decided to tell the people close to her about her relationship.

"I realized, I'm older now, so who the hell cares what people say? And society had become more accepting," she said. Her conservative parents certainly had.

"My mother simply said, 'that's nice dear, you always did think differently, now what should we have for lunch?'"

Since then, Maureen has only been with women and has no intention of dating men - "Relationships with women are just much more interesting!" - but coming out as a lesbian has been a gradual process that even talking to me for this interview is a part of.

"It's an evolution of finding out who you are," she said. She thinks sexuality falls along a bell curve. "Some of us are probably born gay and some of us are born hetero, but the rest of us fall someplace in between. It's hard to label yourself."

Labels about women's sexual orientation may becoming a thing of the past anyway. There's a new concept emerging called "sexual fluidity." In her book, Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire, psychologist Lisa Diamond presents a study of women who have had relationships with both men and women over time, but don't fit into any fixed definition of gay, straight, or bi-sexual.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one, girls!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Inspired Author Encourages Soulful Parenting


In many ways, Wilmette educator and author Annie Burnside, M.Ed, is a typical, down-to-earth mom. She drives a minivan, reads to her kids, blasts music while cooking dinner, and isn’t above grabbing a drink with her girlfriends.

What’s different about Annie is that she infuses even the most mundane tasks with spirituality and joy and guides her three children to do the same.  Annie calls her van the “Spirit Mobile”, chooses the music she rocks out to for its uplifting themes, and sees a simple trip to the grocery store as an opportunity for enlightenment.

Annie is on a mission to raise spiritually conscious children, and in her new book, Soul to Soul Parenting, she encourages the rest of us to do the same.  Judging from her radiant appearance and infectious laugh, the chick is on to something big.  Annie exudes good vibes.

A former elementary teacher and longtime student of metaphysical and spiritual principles such as those espoused by Eckhart Tolle, Annie experienced such joy and fulfillment from her own spiritual awakening that she had to share the process with her husband and young children.  Based on her experience, Soul to Soul Parenting provides a practical, non-denominational framework for families to integrate spirituality into everyday life.

Sigh, I can hear some of you thinking, it’s hard enough to get my kids to do their homework and pick up their clothes!
Relax. Soul to Soul Parenting is not some rigid system. Annie invites readers to choose from the themes and methods she presents to find what works for them. And anyway, most of her recommendations are fun!

From holding family meetings and creating rituals to appreciating nature, art and movies, Annie’s goal is that families to “crank up the joy” and tap into a higher level of consciousness. She also presents universal themes to explore - such as compassion, empathy, self-love, gratitude and forgiveness.

“My goal is not to overwhelm you with your already full parenting plates,” she says, “but to empower you to broaden and enhance your family’s spiritual life and lead the way for your children to become conscious of a larger life perspective than the physical senses allow.”

For more information on Annie Burnside, her book and her work as a soul nurturer, visit her website:  www.annieburnside.com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's fun, it's healthy, and you're never too old for it...

...it's sex of course! Check out my recent article from Makeitbetter.net.

Sexy at Every Age

In the 2003 movie “Something’s Gotta Give,” audiences were surprised and delighted to see Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson get steamy between the sheets.
Last year, audiences were titillated by Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin’s lusty bedroom antics in “It’s Complicated.”
The popularity of these movies underscores two things: 1) mature adults (especially women) are all too rarely depicted as passionate or sensual in the media, and 2) people with their AARP cards are still very interested in getting it on.
Sex for the health of itWell, why not? Healthy adults can have pleasurable sex lives at any age, and they should. According to Wilmette internist Dr. Todd Newberger, sex is always good for you.
“Physical intimacy is an enormous part of healthy adult relationships,” he says. “It helps people maintain closeness and feel young and vibrant.” And there are real health benefits as well. “If the equipment is being used, it is likely to keep performing well.”
Sex is particularly beneficial to men – it keeps their prostate healthy. Newberger will jokingly write prescriptions for men over 65 saying “more orgasms” to take home to their wives.
Older couples have advantages when it comes to maintaining an active sex life. With their kids grown, they have more privacy and time to focus on their relationship.
Mamie, 66, from Deerfield, says of her marriage to Ted, 62, “An important part of our identity as a couple is that we are lovers.” Yet, she admits that when she and Ted visit kids and grandchildren, it’s harder to wrap her mind around sex. “Ted will say, `I can see you’ve switched into mother mode now.’”
However, the physical changes that come with age mean that mature adults have to change their attitudes about what comprises a satisfying sexual encounter. Certain positions or activities may become less comfortable or even impossible. And while Viagra has helped men maintain their vigor, women don’t always appreciate its one-sided benefits.
Dr. Newberger encourages his male patients to include their wives in the Viagra decision and reminds them, “There isn’t just one way to satisfy your wife.”
Mamie and Ted enjoy being creative. They’ve both had hip replacements, so they can’t swing from chandeliers, but they aren’t shy about integrating videos or battery-operated devices to perk things up. Mamie bought some special lingerie to surprise Ted on their anniversary. “It’s important to keep things fresh,” she says.
Men and women who become single after many years of marriage can find the current sexual landscape both confusing and exciting. The rules of courtship from their youth no longer apply.
While the abundance of partners and relaxed sexual mores might be fun to experience for the first time, sex at any age comes with risks. According to Newberger, the incidence of sexually transmitted disease (STDs) in retirement communities is the same as on college campuses. In other words, sexually active older adults no longer have to worry about pregnancy, but they still have to act responsibly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

VOTE for ME to become the Next Oprah

I've been visualizing this since November. Now Oprah is running a contest to discover the next big talk show talent. Please take a look at my audition video (similar to the one I made pitching myself back in the fall.) Then VOTE FOR ME by following this link to Oprah's OWN website.

I promise you front row tickets to my show!



I sure hope this comes off as funny.

Monday, June 14, 2010

3 Things I Learned at a Pole Dancing Class

Saturday night, seven of my girlfriends (who prefer to remain anonymous) and I headed to the S-Factor in Chicago to try a new type of workout, pole dancing. None of us had ever danced with a pole before (well, I once wound streamers around a May pole in 2nd grade, but that doesn't count) and we were a bit nervous.

The common view of pole dancing is that it's slutty and sleazy and only performed for the pleasure of lecherous, drooling, dollar bill wielding men. We were a group of middle-aged, married moms with jobs and responsibilities; not exactly the exotic dancer type.

But still, we were curious. It sounded kind of naughty. And fun.

My 16 year-old son, Nick, learned about my plan and was appalled. He texted his buddy.

"Do you know our moms are going pole dancing?"

His friend texted back immediately.

"That makes me very uncomfortable."


We moms were uncomfortable too, especially at the idea of trying to look sultry and sensual in front of one another. Our husbands, however, were surprisingly accommodating. They happily volunteered to run carpools, make dinner, take the cat to the vet. "I got it covered, hon, you go on and have fun at that dance class."

I'm writing about the experience for Make it Better Magazine, so I'll have to wait to give you the full scoop until after the article is published. But as a preview, here are three things I learned  from my first pole dancing class.

1. It's not about how you look, it's how you feel
The studio was dimly lit, and get this, had NO mirrors. Imagine our relief! Julie, our instructor, told us that we shouldn't be concerned with how we looked or doing any movement "correctly." We should consider the room a safe place to just let go and have fun and feel good about ourselves.

2. Curves are captivating
In other fitness classes I've taken, I felt that fleshiness was shameful - a problem that needed fixing. But at S-Factor, the goal is for women to appreciate and enjoy their bodies as they are, not change them. Julie was gorgeous and sexy, but not skinny. She had boobs and a butt and man, could she flaunt 'em. When demonstrating the "cat pounce" she  arched her back while pointing her tush at the ceiling. As I tried to follow along, for the first time in my life, I wished for a bigger ass.

3. Get in touch with yourself
Throughout the class Julie urged us to "put your hands on your curves." Apparently, for a woman to be truly sexy she must know and own her body; to do that, she needs to be in contact with it. Touching ourselves - whether running a hand through our hair or massaging a knee - became part of the movements.

I felt awkward at first; it was certainly different than the pumping or punching arm moves that we're asked to do in aerobic or weight lifting classes. But as you can see from the pic above, I was feeling pretty comfortable in my own skin by the time class was over.

I'll write more about this later this summer. But if you don't feel like waiting, try a pole dancing class for yourself. It'll make you think about yourself in a whole new way.

And just for laughs, watch actress Sheila Kelley, the founder of the S-Factor, teach Conan O'Brien some seductive moves by clicking here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The M Word

Over the winter I had dinner with an old college friend, Nancy. I hadn't seen her in years and we couldn't talk fast enough, trying to catch up.  Amid all the news of kids, jobs, and husbands, Nancy matter-of-factly dropped this bomb.

"Oh, and I'm completely post-menopausal," she said. "I haven't had a period in two years."

Really? I was shocked. Nancy is 47, my age. Isn't all the menopause stuff supposed to happen when we're much older, like in our 50s?

Apparently  not. Because for the last month I've been having hot flashes. Constantly. When I'm driving the car, playing tennis, typing at my computer, making dinner, talking on the phone, walking my dog. All the freaking time.

It's the strangest sensation. Without warning, a wave of heat will well up and build in intensity before it bursts out of me, leaving me flushed and damp with perspiration. It's unsettling, especially at night, when it morphs into the "night sweats" and wakes me up. I lie there, anxious and clammy, enviously listening to my husband's deep breathing.

After a couple weeks of this, I made an appointment to see my gynecologist.

"Do you think I have a thyroid problem?" I asked her, hopefully, after describing my symptoms.

"It's possible but .... female, late 40s, irregular periods," she shrugged. "Most times, when you hear hoofbeats, you have to assume it's a horse."

I tried not to whine.

"I'm not ready for this. I can't sleep, I'm cranky, and I have this deep feeling of unease."


My doctor nodded sympathetically. "Yep, that's it, all right. It's awful, but you'll get through it."

This was not what I expected. I was hoping she'd reveal to me the secret power of menopause - how it leads to enlightenment, freedom, and the development of my true womanly-ness. Sitting on that examination table, huddled in my paper gown, I did not feel one bit forty fabulous. Shit.

My doctor said my symptoms could go away or continue for several years. The average age of menopause, officially defined when a woman hasn't had her period for a year, is 51. She discussed how taking hormones or even anti-depressants could cure me of hot flashes, but I'm not ready to go there.

Instead, I've put myself on a course of herbal remedies and positive visualization. Here are a couple thoughts that are helping me cope.

I'm a hot flash hottie!
Menopause means the end of reproductivity, not sexuality. Many women find greater satisfaction and closeness with their partner after all that child-bearing stuff is out of the way. I'm looking at each hot flash as a reminder that I am one smoking hot babe. Wait, here comes one now. Excuse me while I wipe the drops of sweat off my keyboard.

Let the creative juices flow!
There's a lot of ancient lore and modern day evidence that going through the "change of life" really amps up a woman's creativity. According to the experts at gynob.com,
Many women feel more creative as they enter menopause. They report having flashes of deep creativity and insight. They begin to look at the world in a different way and to see their relationship to it differently. They also feel more independent and more grounded in the present. 
When I turned 40 I felt like I was entering the the most creative, confident, exciting time of my life and I  feel the same way today. Women over 40 may be grown-ups, but that doesn't mean we've stop growing - and if that means suffering a few hot flashes along the way, bring it on!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What your man really wants for Father's Day


I originally wrote this article for the June issue of MakeItBetter.net.  Check in with your guy to see if he agrees..




Want to know what your guy craves for Father’s Day?
Hint: it’s not a wireless grill thermometer. I’ve asked men all over the North Shore what they want and their answers might surprise you.
Oh, I got my share of flip responses. “Cubs tickets,” jokes David of Wilmette.
“Not to get bitched at,” moans his buddy Paul.
Guys don’t feel comfortable voicing what they’re missing because neediness is seen as weak and unmanly. David Klow, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Northwestern’s Family Institute, sees this in his men’s groups.
“Men are rarely asked what they want and have a hard time expressing it,” he says. “They’re taught to subvert their needs.”
Yet, I’ve managed to pry some tidbits of truth from these closed-mouthed clams. Here are three gifts that are sure to make your man happy at any time of year.
Appreciation
Men want to be acknowledged for what they contribute, including what they do at work. The office isn’t a place for self-actualization for many men; it’s a means to support their family. And given that life on the North Shore is expensive and the economy is tough, “The professional pressure is unfathomable,” says Ted from Lake Forest.
Klow often sees men with high-powered careers command respect and admiration at the office but come home to feel marginalized and even ridiculed. He calls it “King of the Boardroom, Jester of the Bedroom” syndrome.
Men long for recognition from their spouses. So take a look at all the things your man does, whether it’s making toaster pastries for the kids or hopping an early flight to Omaha—and tell him how much you value him.
Let Him Be the Man
Look, he’s a dude. He may not be as sensitive as your best friend or as nurturing as your mother, but he digs the macho part of himself and—admit it—you do, too. Living with someone just like you would be boring. And certainly not hot.
Klow likens a strong relationship to a car’s battery; you need a balance between positive and negative poles to maintain an electric charge. So when your man starts exerting his caveman side, don’t be too quick to quash it. It’s the differences between you that keep things interesting.
More Sex, Different Sex, Sex Initiated by YOU
You knew this one was coming, right? Yep, men hanker after more sex—the consensus is they’d like to have it every other day. But what they really desire is for you to want more sex.
Your man thinks you’re delectable. He doesn’t care about your jiggly thighs or crow’s feet; what turns him on most is your attitude.
Jeff, a pilot, says, “We want a hot lover—someone who enjoys receiving as much as giving pleasure. Being attractive is nice, but being fun and confident is much more exciting!”
Your husband would be thrilled if you’d take the initiative sexually or introduce something new. A little creativity could be something you’d both enjoy. After all, as Klow says, “familiarity can be the enemy of eroticism.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tips from the Style Pros

While shooting my Spring fashion video last week (see below), I gleaned some great tidbits of fashion advice from my go-to stylist expert, Kate Shifrin, and Jamie and Renata who work at Frances Heffernan (the awesome boutique that provided all the clothes.) I couldn't fit all the info into the video, so here's some bonus insider tips for you to consider here.

1. Pose like Beyonce
Ever see a picture of yourself and think "Ewww, I look so heavy"? Well, no more. Kate Shifrin showed me how to pose like a pro on the red carpet and in this quick video, I'll show you. The trick to looking thin? It's all in the angles.



2. Bling it On
Jamie and Renata want to encourage women to put a little glitz into their everyday outfits. Sequins, rhinestones, and metallics are not just for evening anymore. Whether it's embellished shoes or a big sparkly ring, don't be afraid to dazzle during the day.

3. One is Never Enough
Think multiples this Spring. Layered necklaces are all the rage, but that's not all. Jamie and Renata say that wearing light-weight tees and tanks in all sorts of combinations is really "in" this season.

3. Hello Heels
Jamie, Renata, and Kate all agree that women look best in high heels and wish we'd wear them more often. Heels elongate the leg, tighten the calf, improve posture and make us look thinner. Nude or natural colored heels are especially flattering. I know, high heels aren't always practical, and many of us have sore or injured tootsies. But Jamie says, "wear 'em when you can!" To illustrate the difference they make on a petite (okay, short) woman like me, check out this video.






Sunday, May 9, 2010

What to Wear (and NOT wear) this Spring

Wondering how to make the key trends of Spring - florals, short hemlines, ruffles and denim - work for you? In this short video, stylist Kate Shifrin tells us how real women can wear this season's freshest looks, and what to watch out for if you're not built like a runway model (I'm certainly not!) 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Distract the Kids to Get More Couple Time

I wrote this article for the May issue of Make it Better Magazine (right.) Check out their fabulous website at www.makeitbetter.net.


Remember how spontaneous sex used to be before you had children?

You didn’t have to work around bedtimes, worry about being interrupted, or schedule an appointment with your mate to connect. Most blissful of all, an intimate interlude didn’t come at the expense of a full night’s sleep.

Well, those carefree days are gone. For parents, orchestrating time alone takes ingenuity and planning. Here are some creative ideas to divert the kids and carve out a few precious minutes of couple time.

Daylight Savings Plan
Little kids need constant supervision; the only way to get more time alone is to put them to bed earlier. A resourceful friend of mine used this trick for years—she’d set all the clocks in her house ahead by an hour to get a jump on bedtime.

“Look Jimbo, the little hand is on the eight! Time to get those PJs on, buddy.”

To tire your tots out, have your husband run them around the park a few times after dinner while you shave your legs and spritz on perfume. Trust me, he’ll be happy to do it.

Reverse Psychology
Older kids are too savvy to be fooled by the clock trick. To get them to leave you alone, they need to think it’s their idea.

The “dirty job” technique is effective. Tell your kids you’re going off to do an unpleasant, lengthy chore. “Hey Libby, Dad and I are going to clean out the garage, wanna help?”

Of course she doesn’t. The mere idea of physical labor will act like a force field around the garage, giving you and your hubby some guaranteed privacy in a location that’s ripe for innovation. Tool belt anyone?

Or, try the “I’ll be Back” approach. Say your kids are playing video games in the basement. Stand at the top of the stairs and bellow “I’m coming down there in 10 minutes and then you are turning that thing off and doing your homework!”

They won’t come looking for you or your husband for hours.

A few stolen moments
Just a few minutes of couple time can inject a little spice and excitement into your relationship. Sneak into the pantry and make out, play gin rummy for a massage, or cue up a song from your past and dance around the laundry room like fools.

It doesn’t have to lead to anything. It just has to be fun, romantic, and all about the two of you.

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Why Anthony Bourdain (and other opinionated men over 50) are yummy

    This is an excerpt from my True/Slant piece about the appeal of successful, seasoned, sexy men over 50 - especially Anthony Bourdain.

    For the complete article, click here.

    Anthony Bourdain, noted foodie and host of the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations,” is performing at the Chicago Theater tonight. Performing isn’t quite the right word; he doesn’t really have an act. As Bourdain said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he’ll “just talk for an hour about what’s exciting (or irritating) at the moment.” Then he’ll take questions.

    How I wish I could go hear him speak! I love men with opinions and the experience to back them up. At 53, Bourdain is certainly a guy who has experienced life. A noted chef, author and gourmand, he has not only been around the culinary block a few times; he’s been around the world a few times.

    While filming the 100+ episodes of his TV show, Bourdain has traveled to some of the most remote (and dangerous) corners of the world. InEcuador he sampled the local delicacy, roasted guinea pig, which he described as “crackly, sweet, fatty, delish.” In 2006, he and his crew were trapped in Beirut when the Israel-Lebanon conflict broke out.

    Bourdain chain-smokes, he drinks, he swears, he climbs mountains, he stares danger in the face, he’ll eat anything. The guy is dashing, sophisticated ,and rough around the edges all at the same time. And his height (6′4″ ) and full head of hair make him one good looking guy.

    But the most attractive thing about Bourdain is that he isn’t afraid to tell it like it is – even if his opinions are controversial, which they often are. For example, here in Chicago, Bourdain calls our beloved deep-dish pizza “awful, ugly stuff” that doesn’t even qualify as pizza.

    Also, he came right out and said he didn’t enjoy his meal at Grant Achatz’shighly touted Chicago restaurant, Alinea, saying, ”Alinea didn’t thrill me. I was annoyed by the presentation of the food. I found it intrusive.”

    Ah, contention! How refreshing.

    Monday, April 19, 2010

    The irresistible lure of traffic and hits

    Dear Reader,

    I'm still writing like crazy, but just not here at Forty Fabulous as much. I've been seduced by the bigger platform and higher readership that my other site over at True/Slant delivers. Please follow me there at www.trueslant.com/marjiekilleen to read my latest on:

    1. The dangerous practice of kids "huffing" inhalants to get high, and
    2. Why I admire Covergirl's unlikely spokesmodel, Ellen DeGeneres

    True/Slant has over 200 amazing contributors and great discussions. Here are a couple of my favorite chick writers for you to sample:

    Lisa Cullen, Wasabi Mama
    Molly Knefel, Blogging Molly
    Hilary Shenfeld, Suburbanista

    I'll continue posting here as well - please feel free to join the conversation on either site!

    Marjie



    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Weighing in on the Scale of Success

    Do you weigh yourself every day? I do. Each morning, before I've had so much as a sip of coffee, I strip down to my underwear and - gripping the bathroom counter - gingerly lower myself onto my digital scale. Then I hold my breath and wait for the number to flash.

    In that split second, my whole day hangs in the balance. Am I good, am I acceptable? Can I go forth and face the world with confidence? Or am I a big bad fatty?

    Yesterday, I read one of my old journals and realized I've been using the scale to measure my worthiness for my entire adult life.

    Here's what I wrote 16 years ago:

    Fat = Failure

    Back then I'd just turned 31, had a baby, and was overwhelmed trying to balance the demands of my job, my marriage and motherhood.

    I hadn't had a full night's sleep in months, I felt weepy and insecure. I felt like I was struggling on all fronts - I was the first person to leave the office at the end of the day, yet the last mom to pick up her kid from day care.

    And the sure sign that I was a loser was the number on the scale, eight pounds over my "ideal" weight. Eight pounds may not sound like much, but to me they represented all my flaws - my laziness, my lack of discipline, and my general unworthiness.

    But here's the thing that got me: my weight back then was exactly what I weigh today.

    Is it possible that I've spent the last 16 years beating myself up over the same eight pounds? What a freaking waste of time. You'd think by now I would have either A) lost the stupid weight or B) stopped worrying about it.

    The obsession over weight is narcissistic self-sabotage. What if, instead of looking to the scale to validate myself, I looked in the mirror every morning and said "hey gorgeous"? What if I opened the window and took a deep breath of fresh air and said "Zippity doo da, it feels great to be alive!" Why choose to start the day with a harsh self-judgment that more often than not makes me feel lousy?

    Well, I'm not doing it anymore. I'm not going to let the scale tell me how I can feel about myself. My weight is just a tiny facet of who I am, and by focusing on it I dishonor all the other qualities that make me me.

    So screw you scale! You may measure pounds, but you're no measure of success.

    I'm off to have a Zippity doo da day.