50 Things Every Woman Should have Before the Age of 50

I saw this on another blog and thought I’d share here. Being a woman of a certain age (read close to being 50) I have to start working on some of these ….. pronto 🙂

images-1

1. An old boyfriend who makes you smile with melancholy when you remember him and an old boyfriend who makes you proud of how far you’ve come.

2. A piece of furniture that has never been previously owned by anyone in your family that you bought with your own money and makes you happy.

3. An outfit that makes you feel invincible if your future employer or man of your dreams calls to meet you in an hour.

4. A set of lingerie that you would not be ashamed to be seen wearing.

5. At least one scar on your heart where HE hurt you.

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.

8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you.

9. A dream so big it scares you.

10. At least One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a pair of totally unpractical shoes.

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

13. The belief that you are worthy of treating yourself with respect.

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, a push-up bra and a great pair of spankx

15. At least One recipe you cook well to impress the fussiest of guests

16. A place to go just to think… where you can be completely alone with your thoughts.

17. At least one child who looks to you for guidance and advice…even if he or she isn’t your own.

18. The knowledge on how to break-up with a man or confront a friend without losing your temper or your self respect.

19. At least one lover who knew exactly how to touch you to make your toes curl.

20. The memory of a kiss so powerful…just the thought of it could sustain you into old age.

21. The medical history that runs in your family so you can take care of YOU!

22. The ability to live on your own and not be dependent on anyone.

23. An outfit that feels like you are in a cocoon and safe from the world…its usually fleece or flannel

24. The ability to let go of the hurts from your childhood and embrace the fact that your parents did the best they could with the skills they had

25. One secret that makes you smile.

26. A memory that makes you cringe….because those memories were lessons that brought you to here

27. A journal full of your deepest thoughts

28. A person you can call at 4 in the morning because you’re in a bind

29. The knowledge of what you are willing to accept and what you are not in a relationship

30. Something you do that’s just for you and no one else.

31. A piece of jewelry that has sentimental meaning

32. An older woman in your life who embodies the traits you wanna develop in your old age.

33. A spirituality that feeds your spirit and nourishes your soul.

34. A soundtrack to your life that when you hear it on the radio you sing at the top of you lungs

35. Someone or something you LOVE with your whole heart

36. A to do list that never gets completely checked off

37. Enough money to run away in case you have to

38. A purpose to rise out of bed every morning

39. The ability to look in a mirror and love the ripples and bumps and wrinkles that stare back at you….because you earned them all over time.

40. The ability to say NO without having to add anything further.

41. A hobby that you can get lost in for hours.

42. A hole in your heart from losing someone you have loved deeply…

43. Done at least one thing kind for someone that has no way to ever repay your kindness…

44. A “Been there – Done that” T-shirt to starting over from scratch..whether it be from a divorce, a career change, a massive loss or surviving life’s curve ball.

45. A photo album full of memories..even if it’s on a flash drive or save d to the cloud.

46. A passport… Up to date and ready to be stamped for the next adventure.

47. At least one grey hair, wrinkle and saggy body part…. If you don’t.. Something’s wrong.

48. An accomplishment that’s all yours…outside of your children, not tied to your spouse…something you have done or created all on your own.

49. The knowledge of who you are as a woman. What makes you happy and what is no longer tolerated.

50. The understanding that 50 is not over the hill…its not even close to the hill…. There is no hill even on the horizon….cuz you still have shit to do….

Book Review – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

unknown

“Last night I dreamed I went to Menderley again.” The first sentence of the book, although very simple, it is as catchy as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I read a lot of reviews about Rebecca and Daphne Du Maurier.  Unlike many bibliophiles I am not opposed to reading reviews and maybe even some spoilers before I open a book.  Sometimes it’s almost a challenge to see if I agree with the reviewer or not.  Perhaps that’s what made me pick up Rebecca.

The story follows a young woman who is a companion for an older bored and snobbish older lady, and while on vacation in the South of France meets a wealthy gentleman 40 years her senior.  We are at that point introduced to the reason why Mr. De Winter, the older gentleman is in the South of France.  It appears that his wife, Rebecca, has suffered a tragic death.  After getting to know each other our protagonist and Mr. De Winter become romantically involved and he ultimately asks her to marry him.  The proposal leaves the reader wondering about the true feelings of Mr. De Winter, since it was a not a romantic proposal at all.

After a short honey moon the newly married couple goes to Mr. De Winter’s home, Manderley, where the story starts picking up speed.  We are at this point introduced to the house keeper, Mrs. Denvers, and a host of other characters, including Mr. De Wiinter’s sister and brother in law as well the grandmother.  Each character is developed well and, I as the reader, felt as if I could touch and feel them and have conversations with them.

Throughout the story Manderley comes alive.  What a beautiful house surrounded by woods and a garden on one side and the ocean on the other side.  We can feel the coldness of the stone and we can feel the warmth of the fires in each of the fire place.  The writing is impeccable and draws the reader in effortlessly.

I really enjoyed meeting each of the characters, even the ones I disliked the most.  Mrs. Danver’s, although mean and rude,  I could not help throughout the book to like her.  She was wearing her emotions on her sleeves and nothing less was expected.  Then there was Rebecca’s second cousin whom we meet halfway through the reading and I really did not like.  the writing of this character was so on point that I could even smell the alcohol and tobacco on his clothes when I was faced with him on a page.  Although, the reason for his behavior was as excusable as Mrs. Danver’s I could not bring myself to root for this character and wanted him to just go away.

Through out the narrative, although Rebecca was dead I learned to like her.  She was described as beautiful by everyone, she appeared to be extremely organized and neat and very much into making a house a home.  Towards the end we learn new things about Rebecca and still, did not make me hate her.  I’m not sure if that was the purpose.  The new Mrs. De Winter on the other hand…. made me crazy sometimes.  She was described as a shy and simple woman, which is fine.  However, at times I felt as if her shyness and simplicity was a bit over played.  I found myself almost yelling at her to “suck it up.”  It was apparent that Mrs. Danvers was not her fan, yet, and even though she was aware of that, she kept bowing down to Mrs. Danvers.  I wanted rip my hair out.  As the book progressed her demeanor became a bit more tolerable.  Especially after a certain even where it appears was the tipping point for her.

This was my first Du Maurier book and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  Although I hear that this was the best one.

I give this book 4.5 stars and not 5 only because of the main character’s faults.  As I said, the writing was amazing but I am not sure that Du Maurier accomplished what she set out to be with this character.  There were also other characters that were introduced and never fully developed  where perhaps they should have been either better developed or omitted all together.

I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and even romance although I don’t think I would classify the book as a romance at all.

Ana

Around the Net – Links of Interest

images-2

Did you ever wonder who are the instagramers who are posting such awesome pictures?  How do they manage? I found this article really interesting.

With so much on our plates it’s really no wonder that some of us are suffering from insomnia or not able to fall asleep as fast as we can.  Here’s an article that I found while trying to fall asleep recently — very appropriate.

Every Christmas you can find me searching for how much to tip all the people that help me make make my house a home and make it all look so effortless.

Are you in  the market for a new smart phone?  Here is an article from Business Insider which lists the top 20 Smart phones of the year.

I wanted  to show you how much can be accomplished with a little bit of heart and determination.  Reading is so important and I was so happy to see this 7th graders doing something to bring books to as many children as possible.

Wow, I can only say wow.  I found this blog as I lazily surfed the net on a very cold day (we’ve had a few here).  Take a look at The Dusty Victorian.

It was not a particularly good week for reading anything on the internet.  Most of the time I had for reading I was trying to finish the two books I have been trying to get through for quite a while.  Finished one and working on the other one…… great book but I’ve just not been the mood this month.

Have a great weekend everyone.  This post is going up late so apologies for that. I had a few events to attend this week and my posting has been a bit off.  I think I have scheduled all the posts I can for the next week.  Thank you for your patience.

XoXo

 

Book Review – Covering Kenji Yoshino

unknown-3

Publisher:  Random House
Year Published 2006

Although I enjoyed the book. I have a few problems with it.  The book is very well written, perhaps one of the better written books I have read this year.  However, I can’t help but view “covering” as something we all do because we all need to live in society.  Another form of “Survival of the fittest.”

I couldn’t help but feel as if we keep looking for more reasons to place labels on ourselves. Why is it necessary to have a label?  Just because I choose to try to get rid of my accent doesn’t mean I feel as if I’m being discriminated against.  It can be and most likely the reason is that I hate my accent….. period.  Why is that wrong?  And why should I be made feel as if I cannot do that without questioning it or being questioned.

I don’t mean to say that perhaps in the early days of our country, immigrants felt the need to mask their accents, their way of living and any other foreign aspects of their beings.  However, I can say with 100% certainty that the only time I ever felt discriminated against or made fun of was actually by kids from my own country when I first arrived in the United States.  Perhaps due to their own insecurities.

There is a saying “when in Rome do as the Romans do” and we should keep that in mind.  The fact that we behave like the majority of the people is not to hide who we truly are but because humans are social creatures and that’s what social creatures do….. they conform so they can live peacefully.

Although I do not live in the shoes of the author and I do not know what it is to be a gay man in his world, it cannot be any different than any other man who is gay and made it through life without winning about it.  I found myself angry with the author at times and my book wound up full of little notes and tabs ……. Very stressful reading for me.

I have to say that I heard the author speak about the book at had the same feeling during the speech. I wanted to get up and put a stop to the conversation but…. the rest of the room seemed interested so …… I behaved as the rest of the room and kept quiet because that was the polite thing to do….

The book is well written.  The author is very personable and those were reasons enough for me to give the book 3 stars.

Around the Net –

images

What exactly have I been doing this past week?  I can’t even remember.  These are the times when my days just seem to blur into each other and nothing is particularly memorable….. It just hit me that that is a sad way of existing but I can’t help it.  Between getting Christmas Cards out to family and friends, getting lists for Christmas Gifts, forcing my husband to finally sit down and decide what day we are going to see the Christmas Tree in New York as it has always been our tradition…. I am not kidding.

There were a few links of interest in this week but first I have to pay my respects to a great American…. whether you and I agree or disagree in our political views… Senator John Glenn was a great astronaut and deserves our respect.  John Glenn passed away on December 8, 2016, at the age of 96.

During this time of year I always want to find ways to give back.  Every year we put on a cocktail party with our friends where we choose a charity and ask our friends to bring donations instead of house gifts.  It’s always been a success, however, this year I will not be able to do that seeing as Christmas is approaching so fast and I have family staying with me all the way through the 25th of December.  No time to put on the party or organize the donations….. However, I want to find other ways to give back and in my searching I found this article in Ivankatrump.com.  Seriously, don’t think about how you feel about Ms. Trump and/or her family.  The article is about Bridge2Act, an organization formed to help you (or me) find the charity that fits my criteria the best.  Go, take a look at it and I hope you choose to give a little of yourself this year.

At time when we are all, most likely, thinking about New Year’s Resolutions or Goals, I thought this article very interesting.  Why do you think we, humans, don’t follow through on what we say we’re going to do?  Some of us are better than others on the follow through part, but it’s still difficult.  This article is very good at explaining the way the brain works around long term benefits v. short term gratification.

This hotel is fascinating….. Book Lover…… yes please.

And for food?????? Well, how about these slow cooker recipes???? nothing like having breakfast ready when you get up in the morning.

Book Review – Talking as Fast as I can by Lauren Graham

unknown-1

Publisher:  Balentine Books
Medium:  Audio (Audible)
Date Published: November 29, 2016
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Stars

For those of you who are nutty about the Gilmore Girls this is going to be such an awesome treat.  I put myself on the waiting list as soon as I heard it was being published.  I’m really glad I go the audio book instead of the print, because Lauren Graham is the narrator and the story takes a life of its own as she reads it in the way only she can …. that fast talking way that her and Rori are so famous for.  However, I am also going to get the book in print so I can re-read it and because I want to look at the pictures she mentioned throughout the book.

So, this book is a collection of essays by Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) spanning from dating, use of social media, being an actress, having a job and in general being a human being with all our dents and bruises as well as all the smooth parts :).

As you can imagine, this book is a fun read and intertwined there are small things you can take with you as learning experiences.  I particularly enjoyed hearing about how social media and our devices in general have taken over our lives and how in the grand scheme of things, why are we so afraid to miss out on something?  Also, as a New Yorker, I related to her lesson on take life slower, another did-bit of advice from Old Lady (I can’t remember her name whaaa!!).

There were times throughout the book where I laughed out loud (LOL) literally… I’m glad to be in New York… people laughing out loud to themselves is really normal around here.  There were also times when I felt as if I could cry along with Lauren (Lorelai).  Particularly during her discussion about Richard, Lorelai’s father, whom passed away last year.  I spoil this for you but there is one particular point when she’s writing about her Emily (Lorelai’s mom) and discussing Richard …. that was a tough moment.

I enjoyed every minute of this book and am glad I commuted to the office a few days so I was able to really relax on the train and listen to it.

I gave it 4.5 stars only because I think the book speaks mostly to fans and not to everyone.  I think if you’re a fan of the show you are going to love the book but if you aren’t or you haven’t followed the show, some of the references will mean nothing to you and the dynamics of the book will be lost on you.

Now, off to the bookstore to get the print copy 🙂

XoXo

Top 3 Christmas/Snowy Books

images

I don’t think any of us can talk about a list of top Christmas books or Winter books without mentioning the biggest classic of them all…. A Christmas Carol, both the book and the movie will always be at the top of my Winter Book lists.

The covers range from whimsical to scary

When in college I took a Children’s Literature class.  I mostly took that class so I could fulfill my English requirement and also because it was either that or Shakespear and as a senior the prospect of Shakespear was a little scary to me so ….. yeah.  I was trying to take the easy way out.

I could not have chose a better class for me.  I enjoyed every minute of the class but the one book I will NEVER forget is the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.  A very unassuming book but definitely one of my top 3 for a Wintery read.

I cannot remember any of the other books we read that semester but I will never forget this one.

Lastely, it’s a book I am currently reading.  If you follow me on Good Reads you will know that I have just recently discovered Daphne Du Maurier and am reading Rebecca for the first time….. Where have I been?

Looking at the first cover of this book I would say it looks more like an October read.  But, perhaps because I’m reading it now, I will forever think of this book as a Christmas/Winter read.

rebecca-book

the above is my copy.

So these are my top three books for the Winter season.  What do you read in the Winter.  What books bring up memories of relaxed evening on the most comfy chair and a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  Maybe in your PJs —– wait is that just me?

 

XoXo

Around the Net – Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week

images

This is so true.  I am still learning and I will be learning for a very, very long time……. at least I hope to be.

This week, there were a few things on the inter webs that are worth mentioning (as if I were the expert of all things worth mentioning ha!)

Surveillance laws passed in England and it appears that British citizens are not happy about the government snooping in their business.  Without getting too political (and only because I happen to think we have had enough) I am a bit torn about these laws.  I see their point but I see how they are intrusive as well.  Anywhoooooo!!! good article.

Staying in the same vein did you see this article about the burning of the flag and what President Elect Trump announced?  Again….. I’m torn (I’d make a horrible politician) I can see how it’s annoying and an insult to all those people who have fought so hard and lost so much for our country, but ….. the ability to freely express oneself is very dear to all of us and so much engrained in the fabric of our country.  I am not sure there’s anything we can do about it without embarking on a slippery slope.

Ok so another controversial article …. Buzzfeed had an article just recently about how men deal with powerful women.  Did you guys see the Netflix show “The Crown?” if you didn’t you must stop reading right now and go watch it…. promise you’ll come back for the rest of this post though.  Anyway, It was obvious that Prince Phillip had an issue with his wife, Queen Elizabeth, being the Queen and having more power than him.  In all the episodes you were a witness to how much that bothered him….. I even mentioned on my twitter account, or maybe I thought it out loud, that I didn’t even realize that’s how he felt because that’s not how it appears in public.  I wonder when it changed?  So, Buzzfeed apparently thinks that this jealousy that Prince Phillip felt is still prevalent in today’s society?  Do you agree?

From serious subjects to subjects that warm your heart... .Not only because Matthew McConaughey is OMG super handsome but also because his heart is in the right place.

In business related issues, I found this two great articles.  The first is a list of the five best business books.  Two of my favorite subjects, lists and books…… Ok, wait, let me absorb the awesomeness of those two words.  And the second, because it’s the end of the year and we are all scrambling to get a better promotion at work……. What do the best performers ask when taking on a new job?  

Lastly, how about cookies and booze?  Two other words that should always be used in the same sentence.  I am going to leave you with these recipes that are going to make your Holidays ohhhh so HoHoHo!!!!!!

Favorites and Not so Much!!! – November

fullsizeoutput_1ac8

Good-bye Fall

Books

Most of you know that my favorite book of the month was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  I cannot say enough good things about it.  In fact, I think you are all sick of hearing me gush about it.

As for which one was my least favorite……The Sellout.  I had really high hopes for this book but I did not enjoy it at all.  I read it, mostly out of respect for the author and for the people who judge the Man Booker Prize.  But….. Wow, I thought it was bad. See my review here.

Music

Favorite Music –  I discovered early in the month Half Moon Run.  Go listen……. You’re welcome 🙂

TV, Movies, Shows ….

I have, once again, fallen in love with Downton Abbey.  And can you blame me?  I have been watching it on DVD.  So happy that I was able to find it in my library and I can watch it as many times as I want.  Actually, I have added the seasons to my wish list for Christmas….. in case you’re wondering what to give me.

The day after Thanksgiving we were “blessed” with four episodes of Gilmore Girls.  Let’s be honest, not the best acting in the world and some of the things were very difficult swallow.  I tend to stop paying attention with I am unable to relate what is going on to what my view of reality is.  This is supposed to be a show about a mother and daughter and family relationships — yeah, it has some crazy things going on and in some ways those unbeliveable occurrences are what make the show so endearing…. There is a limit though…. don’t you think?  This time around, the unbelievable things were a little too much….. personal opinion.  However, having said all that, I cannot think of many things on television for which I would consider staying up past my bed time.  There is something about this show that brings back my own history and brings to the surface some of those things I could not imagine saying or perhaps even go as far as feeling.  The way the show ended???  I’m hoping it means we will be seeing a little more of Lorelai and Rory.  Here’s to dreaming high this Christmas.

Blog/Podcast

I am always looking for some career inspiration.  This month I found Career Girl Daily

Although I am always interested in politics this election year has made it even more interesting for me…… turns out, I think everyone felt the same way….. now I will admit I’m a bit sick of what is going on.  However, this is about a Podcast that I have found super interesting ….Pantsuit Politics.  The content is very timely but the fact that these two women from different sides of the isle are able to have these discussions is possibly the most important thing about this Podcast.  Yes…. They are both extremely intelligent and the Podcast is amazing (go subscribe, I’ll wait).    We can and should have opinions and disagree but we need to be respectful.  Ohhh Yeah, and they have a blog so go here if you want to read it

Instagram

I was introduced, early in the month to Fablekings go take a look.  I know you will love it as much as I have been.  Yes, it is about books but I can’t get enough of the artist way in which she sets up her photos.

Most of you know that I have entered into a love hate love relationship with bullet journaling.  For a while I was in the closet and didn’t want anyone to know.  Then there are times when I want the world to know about my obsession …. @bulleteverything has the best layouts, if you’re looking for some inspiration.

@Gianlucavacchi — Obsession……need I say more?

Quotes

Don’t judge my story by the chapter you walked in on – @Mandelash

Mid- month, while I was feeling sorry for myself and scrolling through Instagram I came across a quote that changed my life.  this quote now lives in my brain forever.

f30877ec03a187cfae17f7f15794a3f3

Quote by Cheryl Strayed

Scent

Autumn Wreath, is a Yankee Candle scent I discovered early in the month.  It smells of freshly made apple cider and spices.  It’s the perfect cozy Fall scent and I can’t get enough of it.  I love when the weather starts getting this cool and everything is one big canvas of earth tones.

Coffee Flavor

So if you follow me on Twitter you know that I tasted for the first time the Chestnut Praline Latte and I regret to say that I’m so over the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  This Fall it’s all about the Chestnuts for me.

Wow, there are a lot of favorites this month and I do hope that I can keep this up for next month.  I want to thank myself for having the frame of mind to keep track of all these throughout the month of November.  Seriously, the minute I learned of something new I would jot it down and then include in this scheduled blog as soon as I got home…. Basically this post has been in progress since the first of the month.  How is that for a show of love for you all 🙂

 

 

Good Book Bad Book

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett– a story of two families.

I have to admit that I am really sad about this book.  Perhaps I am not in the right frame of mind to read.  Sometimes you encounter books that are very well written and have a beautiful story to tell but happen to have falling into the hands of the wrong reader.
unknown A book can only have a voice through the eyes of the reader but if the reader is not prepared to hear the story the book has to tell, it doesn’t matter how well it is written and how beautiful the words on paper may be, the story will never be told properly.

This is how I’m feeling about Commonwealth.  This is my first novel by Ann Patchett and even though I am not enjoying this book I can see and feel that it is a very well written work.  Throughout the book (the very little I have read) I am able to live thought the drama that the families are going through and at no point do I feel that Ann Patchett is talking at me.  The author makes every effort to guide the reader through the intricacies of the story which takes place through 50 years of a family.  Throughout I can feel the confusion, the pain and the fullness of each of their lives.  As I said, the writing is beautiful.

for the reasons above, I feel that I owe the book and the author another opportunity.  I am not, at the moment, able to finish reading this book.  However, I am not going to DNF it nor am I going to do any sort of further commentary on it.  I am going to put it down and give myself a few months and then come back to it.  I am a firm believer that there are some books as some people, deserve a few chances.

Sometimes the reader is not ready for the story.

Onwards and forward with other stories…… There are so many to be told.

 

XoXo

Ana