Thursday, February 28, 2013

Playing Stylist for Anne Hathaway at Oscars

I love what Anne Hathaway wore to this year's Academy Awards, but wouldn't the Best Actress winner have looked yummy in my outfit? Plus, I think the girl deserves a snack. Thanks to my friends over at for inviting me to participate in their annual Oscar style-off! See our recommendations for the rest of the nominees here.

Anne Hathaway Oscars '13

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Esther Perel speaks eloquently on the conflict between security and desire

I read Esther Perel's book, Mating in Captivity, but how brilliantly she sums up her main points in this Ted Talk. It's such an interesting discussion of how difficult it is to keep eroticism alive in an intimate relationship.Why? Because security and closeness and dependability and care taking - some of the key perqs of a relationship - aren't hot. Being married to your best friend is safe and comforting and easy, but doesn't make you want to rip your clothes off.

Eroticism requires the elements of wanting and selfishness and separation. On the flip side, neediness and responsibility are big libido busters. How can married people experience both intimacy and eroticism? It's not just about sex toys or new positions. Give each other some space to be apart, mentally and physically, so you can discover one another again. And forget about spontaneity. Good sex is premeditated. Watch!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Jade Egg - Tones you up from the inside out

The jade egg practice originated
 in ancient China.
When I interviewed Dr. Elsbeth Meuth and Freddy Zental Weaver of Chicago's Tantranova Institute about the benefits of kegel exercises for my April "Sex & the Suburbs" column, I had no idea they would be so generous. Not only did the striking pair provide inspiring advice about why and how women should tone and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, they gave me a beautiful little jade egg to help me tone mine.

You guys, I write about sex a lot, but I'm no expert. I'm learning about the subjects I cover along with all of you. I had never used an egg before (not even for darning a sock) and I was a bit trepidatious about getting intimately involved with this one. But since I was covering the subject, it didn't seem right not take to advantage of Elsbeth and Freddy's gift.

Elsbeth does a little demo of how to use what she calls the "yoni egg" in the video below, as well as discusses the benefits, which include maintaining healthy reproductive organs, preventing incontinence,  feeling more connected to your sexuality, and yep, better orgasms. Who doesn't want all of that? Take a look at this short video, then read on for my own experience if you're interested.

Elsbeth says the the egg is easy to remove - you just push it out. And, she told me, the vagina is like a cul de sac capped by the cervix, so the egg can't get lost. Even so, I was relieved that my egg came with hole drilled through the small end, so I could loop a length of dental floss through it so it could be tugged out like a tampon.

The first time I wore my egg, I did as Elsbeth instructed and spread a small drop of lube on the tip before inserting. Apparently you don't want to overdo it, because if the egg is too slippery it might fall right out! It wasn't hard to pop in the egg, but I have to say it felt weird. The stone was cold at first and it was heavy. The unaccustomed pressure wasn't painful, but I felt what I can only describe as full and a little tender. I was definitely aware of my yoni.

The egg provides resistance when you squeeze during kegel exercises, but it also tones and stimulates the pelvic floor muscles just by being inside you, so you can wear it around for as long as you feel comfortable. Elsbeth wears hers pretty much all day, every day. I tested mine out for an hour or so the first time and was keenly conscious of it being there. By the third time I totally forgot about it.

It's too soon to tell if the egg is going to make me have the most earth shattering sex of my life (fingers crossed!) but I do feel that wearing it is a grounding, centering experience that makes me feel more womanly and, as promised, more in touch with my sensuality. And it's a damn easy workout. Thank you Elsbeth and Freddy! Want an egg of your own? Visit Tantranova's site.

By the way, Elsbeth and Freddy are going to be guests at my June 13th Sex & the Suburbs - Live show featuring Sizzling Couples. If you're in the Chicago area, come on out. Tickets are available at

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What I Wore this Week and Why - Part 2

The exercise of documenting my outfits continues, and I have actually learned a few things in the process. But first, here are the last three days. If you missed part 1, click here to see Wednesday - Saturday.

Sunday: Errands and Astrology Craft Class
Another wet, sloppy, wintry day, so practical footwear continues to be a requirement. This Sunday I did a lot of lazing around, then fired up to clean the house and hit the grocery store in time to be at She Beads, a local boutique that sells gorgeous and spiritual handmade jewelry. I had signed up to participate in a New Moon class led by astrologist and She Beads owner Sandy Rueve. With Sandy's help, our group consulted our astrological charts, discussed the significance that the new Aquarian moon had for us, did a guided meditation, then created a talisman out of the beautiful materials in the shop that was infused with our personal intention and  new moon energy. It was creative, girly and fun! Anyway, I digress, Here's what I wore:

  • Design History Wool Sweater
  • Fresh Produce long-sleeve T-shirt
  • Cabi leggings
  • Motorcycle boots (brand unknown)
  • Lagos pendant

Monday: Writing, Carpooling, Errands
Basically, after an early morning tennis game, I barely left the house. I did get a lot of work done, though. Jeans/boots/sweater are my basic uniform.

  • Banana Republic Purple V-neck sweater
  • Cabi multi color tank
  • Citizens of Humanity jeans
  • Sam Edelman suede booties

Tuesday: Workout, Writing, and Running Around
It's not even noon yet and I've been through quite a few outfits.
First I hit the basement for my own personally designed workout which involves a lot of exuberant dancing around mixed with light weights and a few sit-ups and some stretching. Then I decided I was sick of the drab weather and dull clothes I'd been wearing, so I pulled out these summery turquoise capris. Unfortunately, no matter how I accessorized, the blue capris turned out to be a big "don't."  Note to self: super bright, super tight capris are not flattering on a curvy short chick at any time of year. These are going in the donatation basket, pronto.

Nike top/Lucy pants
Definitely not
Um, no

Eventually I ended up with the outfit below. It's still colorful, but the pants are more flattering and the length is better. And hey, I'm not wearing boots for the first time all week!

  • Gap striped tank
  • Limited black stretch blouse
  • Cole Hahn leather belt
  • Cabi red pants 
  • Via Spiga patent leather oxfords

Here are a few observations I have after a week of documenting my outfits.

1. Taking a picture of yourself is a good way to assess your outfit - it's much better than looking in a mirror. If you're not sure if what you're wearing is flattering, just take a picture and check yourself out. If the pic doesn't look good, neither do you. (This works great when trying on clothes in a dressing room too - and you can text the photo to a friend for advice.)

2. Certain pieces of clothing are worth investing in - especially those that stand the test of time. For me, classic basics like the riding boots, pencil skirt, cashmere cardigan, and tailored gray slacks were worth spending more money on. I hope the Equipment leopard blouse holds up, because it was expensive.

3. It's okay to buy cheap! I love a deal, and one of my favorite places to buy fun tees and sweaters is Gap, which I think for the money is the best value around. And I love my skinny boyfriend jeans so much.

4. Wow, I wear a lot of black. Admittedly, I spent a lot of time at somber events this week, but also, these clothes are not one bit sexy. I look repressed! That's kind of disappointing for a sex columnist. I can do better.

5. Finally, I need to get out more. Winter makes me a little crazy; I really don't like the cold weather and   I have a tendency to hibernate. Once my daughter graduates from high school, I've vowed to never spend another dreary February in Chicago. But until then, I need to make an effort to actually leave the house! Hopefully for something other than funerals.

On that note, I'm outta here. But before I go, I'd love to hear how you view getting dressed and what your clothes say about you.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What I Wore this Week and Why - Part 1

I'm no fashionista, but I think clothes matter. They can influence the way you feel and the way you're perceived. Clothes communicate who you are, what you have going on in your day, and what you intend to accomplish. Clothes can bring you comfort, give you confidence, show respect to others, and even charm and seduce. They can also can make you feel uncomfortable, out of place, or artificial. Unlike your face or your body, you can dress yourself differently every day or even several times a day, depending on how you feel and what your goals are.

Inspired by several fashion blogs, I'm keeping a record of everything I wear this week. I'm not intending to promote any sort of style  or offer fashion advice. It's really an exercise to analyze what  clothes say about a person and her life. All it takes is a camera phone and a full length mirror, so maybe you'd like to do it along with me. I love to know the details of what people are wearing.

Wednesday: Friend's Mother's Funeral
This was a very sad and touching event. I chose this outfit because it was mainly black, which is appropriate for a funeral, but I wanted to add some color to represent life and hope.

  • Bloomingdale's cashmere cardigan (very old)
  • Equipment Leopard Print Blouse (new last year, Nieman Marcus)
  • Karen Kane black skirt (also very old)
  • Cole Haan Riding Boots 

Thursday: Carpool, Vet, and Writing at Home
The weather is really sloppy today and I've got a lot of errands to run and a column to write. I'm dressing for comfort and practicality here, in my favorite jeans. 

  • Gap Skinny Boyfriend Jeans
  • Design History Gray Ruffled Top
  • Gentle Souls Suede Booties

Thursday Evening: Winter storm
Big messy snowfall Thursday, so I bundled up to do some shoveling. I absolutely hate this puffy brown coat but it's perfect for jobs like this. My dog, Kelly, got anxious a couple weeks ago and attacked the shearling liner of my left boot.  I'm wearing it anyway.

  • Ugg Hat and Boots 
  • Detested old brown coat. 

Friday Morning: Writing at Home
When I'm writing, I'll often stay in my pjs and glasses until lunchtime - one of the best benefits of working from home!

  • Gap pajama pants (or maybe DKNY, the tag is gone)
  • "Steve" shelf tank
  • Kate Spade glasses (from about 12 years ago)

Friday afternoon, Tennis Match 
Wearing something fun puts me in a better frame of mind to compete, but in this case, my candy striper tennis skirt was not enough to help my partner and I prevail. We did take one set though - close match.

  • Lulu Lemon jacket
  • Nike tennis skirt
  • Lucy workout pants
  • Prince tennis shoes

Friday Evening: Visitation for Friend's Father
Sadly, two of my dearest friends lost one of their parents this week. I've had this gray ensemble for at least five years and it seems to be appropriate for many occasions. My stylist friend and collaborator Kate Shifrin helped me pick it out. The pants are perfectly tailored  - at Kate's suggestion the front pockets were removed and sewn shut to eliminate gaping and bulging.

  • DKNY gray wool cardigan
  • Classiques Entier plum top
  • Alice + Olivia gray wool trousers
  • Scarf (I've had it forever, no tag)
  • Gentle Souls booties 

Saturday Morning : Funeral for Friend's Father
My second funeral mass of the week, and you guys, this is getting hard. However, there's a great deal of beauty in  the way a family is united in the loss of a loved one. Everyone is so tender, everything seems more precious. At the packed church, people were carefully, conservatively dressed, which emphasized to me that clothes really matter. They set a tone, show you care, and unite you with the people around you.

Another stylist friend, Midge Wegener, inspired me to buy this outfit when we made a fashion video together a few years ago. You can't go wrong with pencil skirt and cardigan.

  • J. Crew Rust Cardigan
  • J. Crew black & white cotton blouse
  • J. Crew black pencil skirt
  • Cole Haan riding boots

That's it for now, I'm not sure if this is exercise meaningful or just silly, but I'm going to finish what I've started. I'll post the second half of the week on Wednesday.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm an Expert and You are too

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a fantastic writing seminar called the OpEd Project. The goal of the seminar is to encourage women to share their opinions in order to be a bigger part of the conversations that influence our society. Do you know that across the board - considering government, media, corporate boards, entertainment - women only have a 15% share of voice?

There's no doubt that women feel passionately about many subjects and are devoted to causes that are close to our hearts and critical to our community. So why aren't we putting our ideas out there in a public way? I think one of the reasons is that we don't place enough value on our own opinions. We don't think we are experienced enough or have the right education. Also, we don't want to offend anyone, for god's sake. If we share our opinions, people might disagree.

Nothing proved that to me more than the opening exercise at yesterday's seminar. Our dynamic instructors, noted journalists  Katherine Lanpher and Michele Weldon, asked us to introduce ourselves in this format:

Hello, I'm (name) and I'm an expert at (area) because (experience/credentials). 

Our intros had to be very brief and in terms anyone could understand.

There were 20 intelligent, professional, accomplished women in the room, and you can't imagine how hard to was for us to do this! We were very intimidated by the prospect of calling ourselves experts. We demurred, we deflected, we hemmed and hawed. We played down our talents, we left out our most dazzling accomplishments, we didn't want to brag. And, according to our leaders, this was completely typical in their classes.

Can you picture a group of men doing this? It would be hilarious.

Every woman, by the time she has reached the age of forty, is certainly an expert in many things. We've lived full lives, we have experience and perspective and knowledge that the world needs us to share. Can you imagine what our country would be like if we claimed our rightful 50% of the opinions presented? It's mind-blowing. I say, let's start changing the world by changing the way we see ourselves. We're experts, damn it, and in subjects that matter.

So, here's my intro, which I eventually came around to, in the OpEd Project Format:
Hello, I'm Marjie Killeen and I'm an expert in writing about women's sexuality at midlife. My award winning column for Make it Better Magazine, Sex & the Suburbs, reaches 60,000 households each month and has expanded into a popular series of live panel discussions. I also have a longstanding blog, Fortyfabulous.
And this is just one of my areas of expertise. I'm also an expert at editing, storytelling, and teaching adult amateur performers silly dance moves. But it's a start.

So think about it. What's your expertise? And how can you share your unique and important talents with the rest of us?