Tag Archives: Middle Age

Hot In Cleveland, Hot Everywhere!

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At first I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to this one…from the previews and the hype, it looked just a little too canned and predictable, sort of like The Facts of Life was back in the 80’s. And really, with Betty White’s recent career comeback, we all knew Hollywood would have to find a place to plug that live wire back in! I’ll file this one in the annals of don’t judge a book by its cover, because Hot is way less Facts of Life, and far more Golden Girls, which I’m sure is no coincidence. Like Golden Girls, there are more than a few overly predictable gags, and spots where star of the show Valerie Bertinelli overplays the cute factor. But, there is a lot of really great television that shines though too. And Valerie, like co-star Betty White, really deserved a new venue after her own recent career resurgence, fueled by her astounding weight loss and resultant rockin’ bikini bod, and bestselling heartfelt memoirs detailing her life, her mistakes, and most importantly of all, how she found her way to reinvention and a happy life.

And this little gem of a sitcom is, at core, all about reinvention. The pilot episode begins with main character Melanie Moretti, played by Bertinelli, treating her two best girlfriends, eyebrow artist Joy Scroggs and soap actress Victoria Chase, played by Frasier’s Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick, to a girls’ vacation to Paris to celebrate the success of her new book, a self help advice volume for women. These three are jaded refugees from the land of L.A., where they live as best they can among the dismissive and vapid, and have become more or less invisible and irrelevant in their hometown, all because of what they’re not–18-25, and/or male. Fate does them a favor, when their plane from L.A. crash lands in Cleveland. The “girls” are not happy at first to be stuck in “Cleeee-veland” of all places. That is, until they visit a local bar for a bite, only to find that Cleveland does indeed rock after all. Why? Because in Cleveland, they’re hot! Men not only notice them, but find them beautiful and fascinating again. And, in the back of their minds, they realize that, being honest with themselves, their lives in L.A. are not so hot anymore, and they’ve been given a rare opportunity to start over. Melanie decides to stay, rents a house, which comes with Betty White, aka Elka, the wise cracking, feisty octogenarian who serves as a golden fourth for this trio of friends.

This show is truly delightful! Light entertainment at its best, especially when the world we live in becomes overly burdensome, depressing, and just, well…too much. We all need escape and entertainment, and I certainly did last night after the rough couple of days I’d been treated to courtesy of a fellow blogger, and my own big mouth and stubborn nature. And I love the idea of reinvention…actually I loved the word and the process way before Madonna tried her best to ruin it for everyone. True reinvention, not the phony attention seeking Madonna kind, involves taking chances and being open to change. And it’s about making our lives what we want them to be as well as what they were meant to be, not desperately trying to fit ourselves into a persona and/or a world where we really don’t belong. I think we’ve probably all been down that dead end, square peg/round hole road a time or two.

So, like the ladies of Hot In Cleveland, find the place where you’re hot and live there–literally or just figuratively as a state of mind. And laugh along the way and have some fun….Life really is way too short to live any other way!

Hot In Cleveland can be seen on TV Land…for a schedule and full episodes online, visit the show’s official site here: http://www.tvland.com/shows/hot-in-cleveland/

The full first season is also available on Netflix streaming video here: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Hot_in_Cleveland/70172451?trkid=2361637

While We’re Waiting for Romantic Dawn to Break in November…

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First Official Trailer For Breaking Dawn, Part 1

Honestly, I’d sort of forgotten all about Twilight lately…in the lag time before the Fall 2011 premiere of Breaking Dawn, Part 1, I’d moved on to other romantic obsessions, such as all the episodes of the 80’s campy drama, Beauty and the Beast, now available on streaming video at Netflix. And then, this morning, I saw it! The brand new, just released trailer for Breaking Dawn, Part 1…and it looks like it’s gonna be epic! If you’re an older than tween Twilight fan like me, you’ll probably agree that it just seems way too cruel to make us wait till Fall. So, I found a few Twilight related items on the web that can help us all get our Twi-Fix over the summer.

All of these are ubercool, and more or less age appropriate, Twilight related goodies. Click on any of the photos to view and purchase each item from a vendor’s website…

For the cerebral Twilight Fan, there’s this book, available from Amazon.com on the philosophy of Twilight…I can’t even imagine…But, it has a 4 out of 5 star rating, so it looks to be worth a read. Apparently this is part of a larger series on the philosophy of pop culture.

This silver toned Twilight Moms medallion from Infinite Jewelry Co. is cute…I’d wear it! Well, I’d wear it to the movie, then tucked under my shirt the rest of the year…lol

Summit Entertainment makes an entire line of Twilight inspired makeup, from lip glosses, to nail polishes, to these great little complete palettes. Each is named after a character in Twilight, and inspired by the character’s personal style….This one is the Team Jacob look, with rich, warm tones…

And for the Twi-Mom who likes to plan ahead, and lives within spitting distance of Utah, or comes equipped with the means to get there, here’s a fancy Breaking Dawn premiere event you can sign up for. It’s being held at the Hampton Inn in West Jordan, Utah, which is conveniently located behind the Cinemark Theater. This one even features a Renesme lookalike contest…that alone would be worth the price of admission, which is a bargain at only $35!

If you live in a chilly, Forks-like climate, and want to be stylin’ when you’re headed out to the November Breaking Dawn, Part 1 premiere, my pal Sharmon Cate Hardin, Now You’re Covered, makes a truly gorgeous replica of Bella’s La Push knit hat from the original Twilight movie! She can do them in any color too, not just Bella Gray…my favorite was a beautiful claret red. Not to worry, any color will match perfectly with the disguise you’ll be wearing as you walk up to the box office…dark glasses, fake nose, and mustache…:-)

Here is Sharmon’s Rockin’ Red Version

This is the True to Twilight Gray Movie Hat

And just so you don’t lose track of time and miss the premiere, here’s a great wall clock that is about as understated as Twilight wall clocks can get….

Happy shopping! There’s no better way to pass the Twilight time….

Our Moms Burned Their Bras, We Need to Burn Our Tape Measures

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I am not a person who is easily offended…truly. Nor do I take up causes without a lot of thought. But I think I’m about to now. Since I was a young girl, I have been bothered by the diet culture of females in this country. Women always worrying about their weight, always talking about their weight, and passing that on to their daughters, who seem to be worrying about it more and more these days, younger and younger. And now, it seems I cannot turn on my t.v. or go to a movie without seeing a female celebrity who is so underweight that I worry about their health. Frankly, this looks especially bad on those of us who are over 40, because it makes a person look older than they are. Yet, inevitably, everyone continually talks about how ahhhh-maaaaa-zing they look, and how “rockin” their “bod” is. Am I the only one who sees that these poor women look like they should be in the hospital, hooked up to an I.V., not on the Red Carpet?

Clearly from the looks of her collarbone area, this woman is meant to have probably another 20 pounds on her at least. Starvation is NOT sexy!

There are no words for how bad this is….

I love Teri to pieces, and I think she is probably the nicest, most genuine celebrity out there. But, she is way, way too thin. Think back to how she looked even in her Lois and Clark days…this is not even close.

Love Mary, LOVE her show “Weeds”, hate that she doesn’t feel as if she can put on about 30 pounds more and still be hot!

And she’s often the one with the microphone fawning all over the emaciated celebrities and telling them how ahhh-maaaa-zing they look. No wonder she feels as if she has to be just as thin, if not thinner than they are….

I was especially disheartened to see a report this week stating that magazine editors routinely cut size tags out of clothing for celebrities, so that they can stroke the celebs’ egos. Therefore, if a star is a size 10, but wants to be a 6, the editor will play along so as to not upset the cash cow, I guess. While I applaud More’s editor for being honest, I am extremely troubled by this practice, not for the individual star, but for the promotion of a culture where women and girls feel that they must be underweight to be beautiful, sexy, and minimally acceptable. We’ve gone too far, folks, and we need to put a stop to it.

Here’s the thing, I am a huge proponent of health and not being overweight. Everyone, male and female, should strive to stay within their healthy weight range. That’s according to this scale: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/  Note that there is a very wide range of healthy weights at every height, and there are NO women who will fall within the healthy range at 5 ft. 8 in. and a size 2—that just doesn’t add up. And, we should all consult our doctors at our yearly checkup to make sure that he/she thinks we are on track with not only weight, but all of the health indicators as well. We should all get some exercise every day—I prefer walking, myself.  If you’re spending hours a day exercising and it’s not because you’re training for Iron Man, then you’re doing too much. Period.

I went today to try on bathing suits and felt anxious the entire time. The fluorescent lights and three way mirror didn’t help, I’m sure….BUT, enough is enough. I’m not overweight, I do exercise, and I look pretty dang good for a 45 year old who has had three babies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way I look, and nothing wrong with the way I looked in that suit I bought either. I am bigger on bottom, always have been, and the only time I ever had legs that were even approaching the thinness I see on celebrities, I was underweight and in my 20’s.

Your body is your body, and the only way to make yourself thin all over probably is to starve yourself. Very few of us are born with perfect proportions. Maybe you have bigger legs like me…maybe you have a thicker waist….etc.. Everyone is different. I say we don’t tolerate this extremely thin celebrity culture anymore—tell the editors of your favorite magazines that you don’t want them to cut the tags out of celebrities’ clothing anymore for a photo shoot. Don’t envy that star on the Red Carpet anymore either, because God only knows what she had to do to herself to get that thin.

Be Healthy. Be Yourself. Be Happy. EAT! Let’s don’t pass this on to another generation….

Supermassive Sparkly Obsession

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About three things I am absolutely positive. First, I am 45 years old. Second, I probably should be embarrassed that I have seen all the Twilight movies, can’t wait for Breaking Dawn, Part 1 to be released next Fall, have all the Twilight Series books and have read them all cover to cover, and even have an Edward doll sitting on my book shelf next to them–complete with sparkly chest. And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Twilight.

As I sit here with my dog, having a rare girls night, polishing our toes….well, my toes anyway. I mean, have you ever tried to polish the toenails of a Chihuahua? Anyway, as we sit here together, I am elated to find Twlight (the first movie) on Showtime! Nevermind that I have it already on DVD, along with New Moon and Eclipse too. Yes, I am hooked, and I probably should be ashamed, but I’m not.


I’ve read most of the articles out there from the feminist perspective, usually promoted on Huffington Post or somewhere like that, that slam this phenomenon, and women like me, for being bad role models for young women. I get where they are coming from and no, I don’t think young girls should strive to be vapid and to give themselves over completely to some man, only to lose who they could become only if they had burned their bras and spent their days reading and quoting the works of Oscar Wilde. I get it, truly I do. I want girls and women to be empowered just as much as the hairy legged braless woman down the street–probably more. This goes way beyond loyalty to my gender…

I’ve thought a lot about why I love Twilight…and, frankly, I get a little nutty every time one of the movies premieres. I probably will again once the long awaited Breaking Dawn finally hits theaters. I’ve felt this way a few other times in my life…first with Gone With the Wind, which I still love, and Under the Tuscan Sun, which Diane Lane played brilliantly. I think I love these movies (and books) for one reason–the pieces of myself that they portray. Scarlett O’hara speaks to my tenacity and ability to “think about that tomorrow”, which has gotten me through more than one life crisis. Under the Tuscan Sun effectively dramatizes that part of me that can, and has, impulsively changed my life because I didn’t have anything to go back to. And Twilight…well, that one takes me back to when I was a lot like Bella–more than just the freakishly pale skin, chocolate brown eyes, and dark hair.


I, too, moved in with my Dad when I was about Bella’s age. I only wish it had gone so romantically…you know, minus the blood letting and terror. And I wish I’d had an Edward of my own to gaze upon in the meadow, not that I ever had a meadow. I guess in the end, I, and probably all the other middle aged women willing to admit that we love Twilight, sort of live out our fantasy teen selves through Bella. And in the movie versions, the perfectly cast Kristen Stewart becomes Bella. And I mean really…who wouldn’t want two totally hot guys fighting over them, one of whom writes classical piano tunes for you, a life of magical adventure, and at the end of the day a great Dad to come home to who supports you unconditionally?


Hmmm…who needs sparkles…wonder if Barbie makes a Chief Swan doll?

Big Blue Ring, Part Two

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With another big Royal Wedding looming on the horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about the first one we “Yanks” got up early to watch on television–Charles & Diana, of course! This fabulous blog I read this morning by my fellow blogger, “WithyWindle”,  really got me reminiscing. I’m not now, nor have I ever been much of an Anglophile by nature, but I was, at the time of the seemingly magical nuptials of “Lady Di”, a 16 year old girl.  So, I was a goner in the naïve romantic department…not to mention the fact that my great grandmother was staying with us for a couple of weeks at the time and she indeed was a pretty hardcore Anglophile. So much so that she, unlike lazy teen me, actually did get up in the wee hours to watch it all live from the get go. I arose at my usual 10:00 or so, and watched reruns of it—over and over and over, with my Great Grandma Rhodes who had a twinkle in her eye that day…ALL-DAY-LONG…no matter how many times she watched the whole thing with me…rerun after rerun.  

We were both enchanted, of course, and it was an intergenerational bonding experience for us. Now, I am somebody’s grandmother, albeit not quite old enough yet to be a great grandmother—yet. It’s coming soon enough…because the clock ticks for all of us, whether we are aware of it, or whether we choose to accept and embrace it or not. So, as the wedding of William and Kate approaches, I am also keenly aware of how I’ve changed, how much more I know (thank God), and also how jaded I may have allowed myself to become over the years. Knowing what I now know…about the realities of life, and marriage, and how sometimes things just don’t work out…I find myself considerably less starry eyed and romantic about this Royal Wedding. I blame Diana and Charles for this, of course, because their reality disappointed me so as it unfolded before my eyes during the 80’s and 90’s. And frankly, my own reality disappointed me as well…as I looked for love in all the wrong places, had my heart broken more times than I care to recall, and lived out a decidedly un-fairytale like existence…

Despite all the madness that ensued for Charles and Di after that dreamlike day…the bulimia, the affairs, the Squidgy-ness of it all…I allowed myself to become wistful once more, if only for a moment when I listened to a Diana biography on audiobook awhile back. The author described, in great heart wrenching emotional detail, a story of Charles frantically and obsessively searching for his former wife’s gold earring so that she could have it on when he had flown to France to escort her body back home to England after the car crash—he knew she’d want it that way, and he wanted to find it for her. Even though these two people had torn one another to pieces in life, were clearly not meant for one another, this man obviously cared for her, and cared enough to look after her in this very touching, special way. Maybe this is the real fairy tale behind the fairy tales that we are told growing up, and actually believe in until the world teaches us otherwise…that people aren’t perfect, even princes and princesses…and sometimes we never appreciate the people who pass through our lives until they’re really gone…

Well now, enough of that! I intend to keep a stiff upper lip, just like the Brits! I am determined to look forward to this upcoming joyous event, and maybe even become a little twinkly eyed and romantic again as my great grandmother was that day. Surely she had much more call to be far more jaded then than I do now. After all, the woman had lived through women’s suffrage, The Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 60’s—which had to be traumatic for anyone with Victorian sensibilities. I do wish these two lovebirds the best! I think they have a better shot at it than Charles and Diana. For one thing, “Wills” did not have to scour his countryside for the last remaining virgin in the United Kingdom as Charles did. Since that was obviously the criteria, that should have been our first clue that it wasn’t necessarily a real love match. Royal bridal searches have evolved since the late 70’s, early 80’s, thank goodness, and William and Kate were allowed to meet and fall in love over time, just like any other couple. So, they have just as much chance as any other married couple of being happy and having a lifetime together. And there, readers, I will bite my tongue. I am purposely choosing to suspend my disbelief now, rather than being my old 16 year old self who just didn’t know any better. I’ll watch this Royal Wedding this time around with a purposeful twinkle in my eye, just like my great grandmother had for Chuck and Di. Reruns of course, because I haven’t changed that much…

In the meantime, get your wistful on with me and let’s remember when…back before we knew how it all would end….


Back When The Fonz Jumped the Shark

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It was September of 1977, back when school always started the day after Labor Day the way God intended, not in the middle of August before our summer was even over. And, it was also when the new season of everybody’s favorite television shows premiered in September too, not October-January, or whenever the Hollywood folks felt like coming back to work for 6 weeks before they took their first of several “hiatus” for the year. I was 12, in my first year of junior high, and like kids and adults all across America, I anxiously plopped down in the family room on the red shag carpet, glued to the one television in the house that received only three channels—ABC, CBS, and NBC, to watch The Fonz jump the shark! He did, and we watched nervously as he barely cleared the enclosure of Jaws, The Ripoff, to live to be cool another day and to also spawn a new phrase, “Jump the Shark”, which is now used routinely to describe a television series whose best years are behind it and has resorted to outrageous, gimmicky stunts to retain viewers. AYYYY!

It’s truly hard for me to believe that was well over 30 years ago now. It’s also hard to believe that in anyone’s wildest imagination, the decadent, hedonistic 70’s could be considered a simpler, more innocent time–but they really were. At least if you were an average kid growing up in the suburbs, and not hanging out at Studio 54, that is. In 1977 we were much more insulated from everything that was going on in the world around us. Television was still monitored by censors back then, and there was no way my 12 year old eyes would have ever flipped the channel during prime time to accidently witness a graphic murder, and then the victim’s corpse splayed open on the medical examiner’s table. There was no 24/7 cable news to give us overly private details of the trainwrecked lives of celebrities, some of whom are not much older than I was when I sat on that shag carpet that night to watch the shark jumping. There was no sexting, no cyberbullying on Facebook, no Internet at all.

So, while the world was not really any more innocent than it is in 2011 (it’s naïve to think there is anything new under the sun), at least we had a somewhat gentler introduction to its harsh realities than kids do today. Kids who would probably howl with laughter at me and my generation breathlessly gathered around the t.v. to watch a hokey stunt involving a grown man in a leather jacket jumping over a shark on his water skis while Opie Taylor drove the boat.

Other Noteworthy Events of 1977:

  • President Jimmy Carter pardons almost all Vietnam War draft evaders
  • Alex Hayley’s “Roots” premieres on ABC
  • Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” released
  • Bank of America adopts the name VISA for their credit cards
  • Libyan Socialist Arabs People’s Republic forms
  • “I’m Your Boogie Man” by KC & Sunshine Band peaks at #1
  • Elvis Presley Dies in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Last broadcast of “Mary Tyler Moore Show” on NBC-TV
  • TV’s Rhoda gets divorced
  • President Carter raises minimum wages of $2.30 to $3.35 for Jan 1 1981
  • Miss World Contest – Miss UK wears $9,500 platinum bikini
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: 65 Cents

Those happy days were yours and mine…

The Art and Pathology of Pessimistic Optimism; Confessions of a Middle Aged Beauty Contestant

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If you’re ever asked to deliver my eulogy, you can tell your audience that I was pessimistically optimistic. Now, of course, they’ll all be too prostrate with grief to stop bawling long enough to stare at you like you’re crazy, but in case anybody asks, you can tell them that you say that about me because I never thought I was going to win anything, yet I kept acting as if I would. This is a major theme of my life, actually, definitely worth exploring on a good therapist’s couch someday, but if I spent as much time “exploring” in that way as I probably need to, I’d likely not get off the couch long enough to tend to my blog. This dichotomy of personality is what leads me to enter contests every now and then—contests that, truth be told, I probably don’t have a snowball’s chance of surviving a Florida summer of winning.


A few months ago, I entered the QVC/Bare Minerals “Women of B.E.” contest, in which the grand prize was a trip to the QVC studios, a Women of B.E. eyeshadow kit, and a chance to meet the company’s CEO of Swirl, Tap, and Buff, Ms. Leslie Blodgett. I really do love their makeup, and I like Leslie enough to follow her Tweets and her Facebook Fan Page. I’ve even interacted with her briefly on there, and it’s always fun when a well known person acknowledges your communication and talks back to you. But, as I knew I wouldn’t, but thought I might, I didn’t win that one—didn’t even make it to the top 10. Part of the problem is that in the case of most of these types of contests, the powers that be narrow down the competition to a manageable number by forcing participants to obtain a certain number of “Like” clicks on the internet before the actual judging begins. I don’t have as many close friends as a lot of women do, and am not willing to jeopardize the friendships I do have by nagging people nonstop to keep visiting my entry and clicking on it. I ask once, and that’s pretty much it. Nor am I willing to create 25 different Gmail accounts so that I can be my own best friend and click myself 25 extra times each day until the click voting ends. So, even though I know I’m never going to make it past the first cut, I am convinced that this time, I’m gonna go all the way, baby!

I’m at it again, this time with More Magazine’s annual “Beauty Search”. I resisted this one last year because, frankly, a middle aged beauty contest seemed just a shade past too silly, even for me. More is a great magazine for women who are no longer 25—sort of like Cosmo, Glamour, Vogue & Shape,  all rolled into one and directed at the over 40 female. But, as always with these things, that $10,000 grand prize and a chance to fly to New York and be photographed for the pages of More had my name on it! So, I wrote up my contest entry in about 5 minutes and pasted in that same picture from my blog that I took of myself into the little box, and impulsively became an aging beauty contestant. I might have increased my odds of winning if I’d put some more thought into what I wrote about “Why I Feel More Beautiful Than Ever”, or if I’d had some sort of professional photo taken of myself that didn’t involve saying cheese to the camera in my outstretched arm, but that’s just not how I roll. After all, I’m not going to win anyway, even though I will…


I did all of this in about an hour one morning, the picture’s not half bad, and I actually really meant all the things I said about beauty in my allotted 1500 characters or less. There is some stiff competition though…I never read the fine print in anything until after the fact, but in the last couple of days I was surprised to learn that the contest is open to women who will turn 35 by April, and up. So, there are some young hotties to contend with (I spotted more than one bikini clad rockin’ bod), as well as some ladies who are clearly professional models, or cancer survivors, or women who have triumphed over domestic violence, are running their own successful businesses, are doctors, lawyers, etc. Anyway, you get the picture. And then there’s me—this year’s winner. Be sure to look for me on the pages of More this summer, right after you read this Freshly Pressed blog on the WordPress Homepage…