Belonging means feeling wanted.

I’m a grown up who started life as an only child.

I’ve never been a person who just shows up anywhere unexpectedly. I wait for an invite before I join. I’m not afraid of someone rejecting my invite, but I do fear others asking why I had the nerve to think that I should be included. That fear runs deep.

I went to B’s company holiday party – it was a last minute invite to a small gathering at a piano bar. He called to tell me that his work party was running late and our dinner plans had to be cancelled.

We’d only been dating two months and I didn’t know anyone at his work. My instincts were to call it a night and head to the Market by myself for a sandwich. I told him that I would be happy to take a raincheck.

B didn’t want to stand me up and convinced me to come, “Please be my date. We have plenty of bar food.”

I wanted to see him so I agreed and then ordered a Lyft.

Unfortunately, I arrived too late for bar food and everyone had already separated into their own conversation circles. I noticed that there were only a few other plus ones.

But then I saw B. He smiled and hugged me, pulling me to his side. He introduced me to the three men he was talking to. They were deep in a business conversation that was hilarious to them as they shared inside jokes. I held B’s hand and tried to follow along. After twenty minutes of standing silently by his side, my stomach grumbled. I didn’t want to ruin his fun so I wiggled my fingers free and I went off in search of food.

After foraging unsuccessfully, I noticed a group of women from his company standing on the corner. They looked friendly, so I approached their circle. I introduced myself and tried to be included in their conversation. They looked at me as if I was selling salvation instead of making small talk. I excused myself and tried to flag down a waiter.

That’s when things went from uncomfortable to worse. I must have looked vulnerable, because a random man (not from the holiday party) grabbed me and tried to physically drag me to the dance floor. I refused, but he wouldn’t let me go. I dug in my heels and wrenched my arm out of his grip. I scurried back to an oblivious B and asked him to please take me home. He was having the time of his life and seemed confused by the situation. I whispered in his ear that a man had grabbed me. He seemed unbothered and said that the same man had grabbed his bosses girlfriend, too.

I didn’t like that answer, so I left.

B followed me out the door, he was still tense, but he apologized for not watching out for me. I accepted his apology and thought that was the end of it.

The next day he expressed grave concerns with our relationship. He explained I embarrased him by leaving the party. Then he shared that the women in his office – who I had tried to talk to – told him that I was weird.

I cried. Even at age 50, I just wanted to be accepted and to belong.

But I rallied.

I asked him if he would be in a relationship with someone who didn’t have his back.

He looked confused.

I said that I wouldn’t let one of my co-workers call him names.

He agreed. He apologized.

The next day, he called to let me know that he’d told the women in his office that he shouldn’t have let them say unkind things about me. He then told them that they’d missed a big opportunity to meet me.

Apparently his words struck home and they apologized to him.

Go B!! I didn’t ask him to fix the problem, just to understand my point of view. He surprised me.

Beauty after 50: Botox

I tried Botox for the first time when I was 42. It was outside my budget and everything in the news warned that a mistake could leave you looking like a “plate face.” But my dermatologist promised that it could make me look younger and fresher in just 7 days. He was right and I became a believer.

But should I be ashamed of getting a little professional help?


“Are you working out tomorrow morning?” B asked.

“Nope, I have a 6:30 am appointment with my Rn. I can’t workout for 24 hours after,” I answered.

B squeezed my hand. “Is everything ok?”

I said, “Oh B, thank you for worrying but you don’t have to. I noticed that I looked tired, so I am heading in for a little Botox fix.”

B gave me a grave and sincere expression. He said, “You are such a natural beauty. I would love you with wrinkles. Please don’t do anything that changes your appearance.”

I reassured him that he wouldn’t even notice. Even the tiny bruises are hard to see if you aren’t looking for them.

Aside: The “natural” me relies on a self-care regimen that includes a healthy diet, orange theory, pure barre and core power yoga. Then body maintenance that includes hair dye, eyelashes, mani/ pedi’s every three weeks, and Botox/Juvederm every 3-6 months to keep the deep wrinkles away. He wouldn’t recognize the “natural” me.

The next morning at the spa, while Debbie was drawing little white dots on my face, I asked her if other men worried about their wives/girlfriends getting Botox.

Debbie answered, “Almost everyone.” She laughed and said, “I never tell my husband when I get Botox or filler.” She explained, “One day, we were in Orange County and a group of girls with ‘duck lips’ were in line in front of us. He said, ‘they don’t look natural, please don’t do that.’ He just didn’t want me to look plastic. ”

Debbie owns the spa and gets Botox and Juvederm all the time. Her husband has “never” noticed.

B never notices either.

It’s hard being a mature woman. If we don’t take care of ourselves we hear, “Wow, she really let herself go.” If we hold it together with injections we hear, “She’s so vane. She would look so much better if she just aged naturally.”

I guess we just need to do what makes us feel our best.

Fairytales after 50: Cinderella

My friend is the CEO at an IT consulting company. One day she told me, “I’m not letting my daughter watch Cinderella, because I don’t want her to think she needs a man to save her.”

Cinderella is one of my favorite stories and I shared why.

Cinderella is a story about a young girl who somehow found herself in a bad situation. She dreams of personal freedom.

Another woman (the fairy godmother) mentors her through a transformation. She gives her the tools that she needs to stop dreaming and start living.

With newfound confidence, a new dress and amazing shoes, Cinderella crashes a party and meets the man of her dreams. The Prince didn’t save her, he just found her shoe and returned it. The fairy godmother helped her save herself.

The fairy godmother guided Cinderella just like Yoda mentored Luke Skywalker. We need more stories about women helping women.

BEAUTY after 50: How you look at me

Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think our time is best spent finding someone that you think is beautiful, who thinks you are special too. Someone who will fill your heart, your soulmate. Then tell them.

I am so grateful for you in my life.

All the big and small things you do.

Most important: how you love me, how you hold me, how you kiss me, how you look at me.

Popular taste in beauty changes over time. I stood in the antique store staring at this post card, captivated by 1907’s definition of beauty and how much that definition had changed in just over 100 years.

Margueritte B. Frey was chosen in a National Contest by the Chicago Tribune where they spent $100,000 to find her. Margueritte was 29 years old and earning $104 a year working in a bank. She was described as blonde with a pink and white complexion. She was 5’9″ and 10 stone (140 lbs). And she was intelligent, having graduated from Denver East High School. I couldn’t find anything on the prize she collected or what happened to her after 1907, but I hope it was wonderful.

PS – I bought the post card.

Change after 50: Transformation from Night Owl to Morning Person

Woohoo! I just finished my 5:15am workout at Orange Theory. For me, this workout is better than coffee to make my little old lady self feel like a badass. But this post isn’t about working out, it’s about change and motivation.

I am not a natural morning person. I tried so many strategies to wake up and work out before 5am and failed. I would hit the snooze button 6 times, and say, “Just kidding,” to the alarm clock each time it buzzed.

Then I found Mel Robbins’ The Five Elements of the 5 second rule. I read it and thought that it sounded way too simple.

When the alarm starts buzzing, say:

Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Launch

Then roll to sitting, swing your legs to the floor and slide out of bed. Then keep moving.

Her method sounded way too good to be true, but I tried it, it worked and I’ve used it every day since. After 6 months, I began waking up on my own at 4:30 am. Now I am kind of a morning person and my workouts are done by 6:15 am.

To me, a sunrise signals an opportunity for new beginnings. A morning person is lucky enough to see unlimited possibilities every day. The picture is on a morning back country ski outing a few days ago, not outside of Orange Theory. The winter sunrise is so beautiful in the mountains that I had to share.

I am grateful for Mel Robbins. She took the time to share her simple method to change and it worked for me.

Bucket List: Cabo in January

I just spent 2 nights at Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with B (the man I love).

Before I start, I am so grateful to the universe for the hotel upgrade.  We stayed in a 1600 sq ft suite with an infinity-edge hot tub.  Hint – positive affirmations work!

B and I only had two nights in Cabo, so as soon as we finished our welcome margaritas, we wandered down to the beach where we ordered tacos and more drinks in a complimentary cabana.

As we let paradise soothe our stressed-out souls, we saw a big splash in the ocean about 200 yards out. As we ooh’d and awe’d, our waiter explained that whales migrate to Cabo from December 15th to March 15th.

We watched the water until the sun set while we ate scallops and jicama tacos at Cocina Del Mar.

The next day, we paused for a moment to visit the koi pond before B did cardio and I did yoga. Opening my heart chakra in paradise was absolute heaven.

Next, we changed into our bathing suits and swam up to the bar. We drank margaritas until our shoulders were pink, our drinks were empty and our fingers were prune-y.

After a quick shower, we caught a cab to El Farallon, where we sampled freshly caught sea bass, red snapper, amberjack and tuna. We were so close to the ocean that we could feel the spray from the crashing waves. Our waiter lit a space heater and handed us blankets to keep warm while we finished our coffee and watched fireworks. B teased me saying that he ordered them special for my birthday.

Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, B took me dancing at Cabo Wabo where Toby Keith surprised the patrons by joining the Cabo Wabo band on stage. The crowd was pounding chicken fingers and blue frozen drinks while we shook our booties to “Sweet Home Alabama.”

We ended the evening with a soak in the hot tub and logged it as “the perfect romantic weekend” and a great addition to our bucket lists.

Love and a coffee shop

She’s a former homecoming queen with long natural blond hair, a contagious laugh, and startlingly beautiful royal blue eyes. She has an MBA, makes friends easily and just retired from a successful career culminating as Chief Financial Officer. Other people dream of having her life, but she feels alone.

Why? She doesn’t believe that she is pretty enough to attract her dream man. She says, “This isn’t my body. When I am thinner, I will go on a dating site and find my dream man. ” I tell her that any man would be fortunate to have her, but she won’t budge.

She’s just 20 lbs away from ultimate happiness and she knows that losing 20 lbs is very achievable. How comforting for her to know that the perfect life is in reach … just a few more pounds to go.

A little history: She escaped from a bad marriage that caused her trauma. I think the fear of repeating that trauma has manifested in her “if only” statement. Sometimes when we use “if only” it’s our way of explaining to ourselves why we are avoiding taking action to achieve our hearts desire. If we take actions, we might fail. The potential real life rejection is so unpalatable that we choose the fantasy of future happiness over true joy.

She retired last year and opened a coffee shop in a small town across the country. When I visited her, she described her “Hallmark moment” featuring her dream man. “He’ll walk into [my shop]. The moment I pour his coffee we’ll know that we’ve found each other.” Sigh.

I believe her. Without knowing it, she is asking the universe directly for what she wants and taking action.

Please cross your fingers for her, too. Call me a romantic, but I believe that soulmates are like magnates to each other. I am hopeful that her soulmate loves coffee. He will definitely love her just the way she is!

FITNESS at 50: we come in all shapes and sizes

I was speaking with one of my mentors. She is a retired politician and one of the most beautiful women I know. She is in her late 70’s, has the body of a ballerina, kind brown eyes, a quick friendly smile and beautiful glowing skin. She also wears clothing in a way that looks effortlessly glamorous.

We had an opportunity to discuss her success and I asked her if she thought her style had an impact?

She squeezed my hand and said, “Yes of course. But I am no more attractive than anyone else. People come in all shapes and sizes and everyone is beautiful.”

Those weren’t just words. Her timeless beauty stems from a fundamental belief that everyone is beautiful, no matter their size, shape, clothing or features. Because she only sees beauty, she is beautiful.

Anyone can be beautiful like my mentor, right now. It doesn’t take a diet, a blowout or a shopping spree. Just begin to see and reflect the beauty in others and your beauty will shine through.

Fitness at 50 – healthy vs “heroin chic”

My relationship with food was fundamentally flawed. With naturally chubby cheeks and a body type that was described as “healthy” by my best friend’s mother (it wasn’t a compliment) I was a far cry from the desired “heroin chic” style that my generation coveted. I vividly remember using pliers to zip up my Levi hand-me-down jeans vowing not to eat another bite until I lost 10 lbs.

I begged my mom to take me to a weight loss clinic. I don’t know where my mom found the money, but there we were, in the back room of a weight loss franchise. The sales woman asked me to stand in front of a full length mirror. She cupped my shoulders and said, we can lose 2 inches, look how narrow you will look. My mom scrunched up her face and asked, “Aren’t those her bones? How would you make her bones smaller?”

When the sales woman looked confused, my mom dragged me out of the “clinic.” Later, my dad laughed at the story and said that there was only one trick to being thin. He said, “If you aren’t hungry, you are gaining weight.”

I believed him and lived on a low calorie diet for the next 27 years. I dieted my way up to 160 lbs. I didn’t know what to do. I was eating so little and gaining a muffin top that grew bigger every year. Shopping for clothing became a mission to find any clothing that hid my flaws under the spanx.

Then, I read Lyn-Genet’s The Plan. The short version is that certain foods cause inflammation. Lyn-Genet explained that when a body is inflamed, it holds onto weight. But here’s the kicker. Everyone is different so only you can find out what foods cause inflammation in your body. Her book describes how to test foods to build your custom plan.

It made so much sense. If all I ate in a day was a slice of pizza and a salad with no dressing, the scale would go up. (That’s only 1000 calories and I would burn 500 at the gym). It was frustrating and until I found Lynn-Genet, it was inexplicable.

Lyn-Genet is a nutritionist who noticed that her clients reacted very differently to her meal plans. Rather than assume that they were cheating, she realized that what’s healthy for one person, might make another gain weight.

I did the plan 4 years ago and lost 20 lbs. My devil foods are corn, salt, cumin and any artificial ingredient. I lose & gain five pounds on a regular basis, but as long as I pay attention to my body’s reaction to food and avoid those things that trigger weight gain, I can eat as much as I want. I still look healthy, but the same size jeans that made me look big in high school, make me look good at 50.

Dating at 50 – writing a profile

Reflecting …

I hadn’t dated in 23 years and had no idea what to expect. My girlfriends convinced me that online dating was the best option. During my 6 month pause I read, “121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!)” by Wendy Newman. Her stories gave me the courage to give online dating a try and not take each date too seriously.

Still, the thought of making my profile available to the public was terrifying. I pictured all of my co-workers gathered around a phone laughing at me. Worse, I worried how uncomfortable I would be if I received unwelcome advances from a co-worker, friend or neighbor. I was scared that I would meet a serial killer. I was worried that no one would want me. Being vulnerable and rejected online was nerve wracking.

I paid Bumble for a premium feature that gave me visibility to the men who had already swiped right on my profile. I decided only to look at men who liked me first to save some of the stress of being rejected.

Writing my profile was harder than I thought. I tried to write something clever but they all made me sound like I was trying too hard. Instead, I described what I was looking for and shared basic facts about myself. I held my breath and began my online dating experience.

Seeking a LTR (friends first) with a kind, generous man who can make me laugh. Bonus points if you like the arts and can do more push-ups than me.

Me: 5’5″, 135 lbs, 2 grown children who live in LA.

Please no drugs or smoking. I only date in Colorado.