Monday, October 31, 2011

A Joyeux Anniversaire

How do I love you? I cannot begin to count the ways. As of today-ish A Femme d'Un Certain Age has existed for three years.

It wouldn't have existed three months if you hadn't found me. Well actually, I'm exaggerating. At three months, on a good day, I had about 25 hits and, to be perfectly honest, 10 of them were probably me checking to see if anyone had visited, five were Andrea and the rest friends and family being kind.

I gave myself a year. You've given me a future. And how could I have ever imagined the friendships? There is a lot more to this story and a handful of you know how important this blog has been for me. It is never my intention to try to create mystery around myself or to be oblique in any way, but if you knew every detail of my life, you would not only be bored, but also I would be infringing on the precious privacy of those I love.

Tomorrow, when I explore "hopes and dreams" in our monthly topic with the "By Invitation Only" group you'll see I've been more than lucky in that realm. I consider this blog, you, part of the hopes and dreams I didn't even know were possible.

As a little cadeau: I would like to introduce you to a blog a friend told me about recently. Its mission is to teach us the correct pronunciation of perfume names.  So much fun. I spent 20 minutes saying the names aloud and then clicking on the perfect pronunciation of Bela, the blog's creator.  If you're looking for a good time, click here .

These two are fun to pronounce, including their "houses" -- Fragonard and Roger Gallet.

All of this is to say, thank you from the deepest part of my heart. You mean the world to me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Next Week Or La Semaine Prochaine

Ever since I was a little girl growing up outside Niagara Falls, NY, I've always loved snow. All of my friends and I would meet on the golf course with our dogs and our sleds and we thus knew the definition of happiness for the rest of our lives.

 I hope you're warm and coping and maybe even enjoying your Sunday in the snow. (From what the French news reports, I'm sure many of you are not enjoying your weekend in the slightest.)

 We're still in the golden glory of autumn. Our time changed today so for a few days, fewer hours separate us.

A rather busy week coming up, and, can you believe we'll be in November on Tuesday (!)?

On the agenda:

1.) Something Special. . .

2.) The latest installment of our "By Invitation Only" group. This time we examine hopes and dreams. . .

3.) More Faces Through the Ages

4.) Final, final virtual shopping.

5.) Faces Through the Ages.

6.) Surprises.

7.) Next week's line-up.

How about the VOUTCH I planned to show you yesterday, but didn't because of unexpected intervening circumstances?

The details are staggering, don't you agree?
"Not bad, not bad, but fundamentally, all that, for me, is merely two-dimensional."

A demain mes trés, trés, trés, chers amis.

Friday, October 28, 2011

YOUR Faces Through The Ages

Debora Rorvig
Things That Are Lovely 

You know that saying about life and hope?

Not to be trite, but. . . isn't that what it's all about? Plans and hope for the future?

I think if someone were to ask me what, as I read your candid, charming, intelligent e-mails, I take away from my encounters with you, I would have to say, it's your hope. You are lovely on the outside, but even more so beneath the surface. I have a friend who accuses me -- Americans in fact -- of gushing, implying perhaps that we would rather use a superlative when a perfectly good, simple, solid adjective would be more appropriate.

The 50s. . .
Connie Ailey
Cindy Swanson

Becky Nystrom

I promise you, I am not gushing. But I am filled with such respect that, as I said yesterday, words fail.

Once again, you've expanded the definition of what's possible, what women of a certain age can do if they put their minds and passions to the task. You tell me you teach, you paint, you teach painting, you play the fiddle (!) -- isn't that fantastic (?) -- you love your animals, you're working on finding out what went wrong so you you can fix it and move on. Yes, the wild, exciting, yet to be explored new worlds of evolution and reinvention. . . you are the pioneers.

Here is what one of you told me about her journey:

And how about mentioning women in midlife who have found their way into therapy and are re-shaping their own image of themselves, working hard to understand and shed the hold of a difficult past and to move into a space where they are living from their soul?  I've been on that kind of a journey for 6 years now (started on my 49th birthday quite by "accident" but of course it wasn't an accident at all), and I'm not done yet.  I'm determined to understand, to sort out the influences and patterns that have not served me well, to be comfortable in my own skin and to fall in love with myself.  Life is too precious not to. 

I'll leave you with her words, and as you can see some surprises.

50 & 50 Doubled. . .
Judy Antonio
Judy's Auntie Grace on her 100th birthday. She is now 101.(How about those genes?)
Please continue to send your pictures and your stories ( If I haven't included your picture to date, just you wait.  Remember, we all want to hear from those of you who are in your 30s to forever.

 A demain, mes trés, trés, trés chers amis.

Ooooops, almost forgot, please go here , what the world needs now is more funny, articulate curmudgeons. Please support the curmudgeon movement. Merci.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

YOUR Faces Through The Ages

Patricia Allen
The beautiful Dr. Allen is Co-founder and Publisher of Women's Voices for Change , a site we should all be visiting regularly.

Each day, before launching into the continuing series on Your Faces Through the Ages, I try to sort through the adjectives stored in my brain. I've also leafed through my superb Roget's International Thesaurus ( I highly recommend it btw), to find more appropriate words to describe you and your accomplishments, your verve, your discipline, your optimism. And, I'm faltering.

You are an extraordinary assembly of fascinating, accomplished, funny, serious, adventurous women. We often hear the media talk about "second acts" and "reinvention" -- you are the very definition of these new worlds.

The 60s. . .
Diane Wayne

Jan Fawke

The other day in a conversation with a good friend who is highly accomplished in the following areas: sewing, gardening, child raising, horseback riding, writing (she's a superb writer), and if that weren't enough she has a little antique business on the side. She has a finely honed taste that allows her to edit her finds so precisely that no sooner does she buy something, than it's sold. Ah yes, as I was saying, I remarked to her that I only know how to do one thing and that I would like a smidge of reinvention in my life. She then indignantly pointed out that I had reinvented my life. "You created a blog," she countered.

"Well yes, but it's an extension of the only thing I know how to do," I reposted.

"Maybe," she said, "but it's different."

She also offered to teach me how to make the beautiful little lavender sachets she gave me as a gift recently. I'm beyond excited. For those of you who are clever in the knitting, sewing, quilting, jewelry-making realms (etc.) my new venture may not seem like a major accomplishment to you, but I see it as a baby step to who knows what (!?).

The 50s. . .
Lorrie Orr with her shiny, new graduate degree in hand.
Fabric, Paper, Thread 
Jane Brideson
Tamara Beardsley
Regina Clark
Please keep sending your pictures, remember 30s to forever ( Every one will appear here. And, my daughter who is often a tweaker of my conscience, pointed out, "If all these incredible women trust you enough to share their pictures, the least you can do is show yours." (She can be bossy.) She's right of course -- she usually is, it's maddening. I promise I will.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sometimes. . .

Sometimes, if you work really, really, really hard; you plan, you hope, you work really, really hard -- sometimes dreams come true. They do.

Don't be discouraged about those days when you don't want to get out of bed, the moments when everyone tells you you don't know what you're doing or worse, no one cares. Don't believe it. Take a day off, re-charge and then recharge.

It's a long, long story which I will share with you when the time is right. Until then, I'm off to Paris. And, guess what? It's another one of those perfect sunny, crisp October days. I know, I know. . .

Tomorrow I promise more about you. Please keep your photos coming, this is so much fun. Do you realize we're re-educating our eyes to the true definition of beauty? We could be on to something.

A demain mes trés, trés, trés chers amis.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

YOUR Faces Through The Ages

My great 40-something friend, Trisha Malcolm
Editor-in-Chief, Vogue Knitting

Entre nous, I'm hooked, addicted, enchanted, impressed, amazed and humbled by you. Your triumphs, courageous decisions, whimsical flights of fancy, your downright girlishness by moments, your strength, your convictions -- all I can say is, if you don't realize how extraordinary you are, take a deep breath and think about what you've accomplished so far.

The 50s. . .

Maureen Sanborn
My pal, Pseu
Une Femme d'Un Certain Age 

Lori Handelman in Vietnam.
Time Thrums 
You sew, you knit, you sing,  you write, you compose blogs, craft, create and most of all you give your time, love and energy with profound generosity. Do any of you dance? Probably.

The 60s. . .

Mary Lou Floyd and Carrie Tuhy
Second Lives Club 
Suzi Kennard
The divine Sam Hoffer
My Carolina Kitchen 
One of you told me as long as we're "happy in our skin, who cares if that skin is sagging a bit?" Another, one of my favorite people in the blogging world, said simply: "I wake-up happy every morning. It's a choice."

The 70s Have Never Looked So Good. . .

Martha White
Lynne Brady

Please, be brave and send me your pictures -- from your 30s to no limit. (

Thank you so very, very, very much.

Monday, October 24, 2011

News & Views, This & That

How gorgeous. A barrette to hold a chignon from Yves Saint Laurent. 

We really have fallen behind in the news update department lately and I feel remiss. I see my job as keeping you one step ahead of au courant. When conversation flags at a cocktail party, for example, you could throw out one of these tidbits. I'm assuming your friends care about the new and the next -- I've noticed, to my great surprise, some people actually don't. Well, I guess it takes all kinds n'est-ce pas?

For those of you who do care, this is what's happening:

Hot Off the Presses

élcectique (subtitle, Des styles de femmes, des styles de vie) recently made its appearance on the cluttered magazine scene in France. The lovely woman who fulfills my magazine fix, informed me that there are some 5,900 magazines published in this country, of which she carries slightly under 2000. (She also stocks whatever American imprints I request.)

I would like to go on record: I deeply admire anyone, anywhere who decides to introduce a new magazine. In fact, it warms my heart. The title of the latest entry is translated on the opening editorial page thusly: éclectique [adj] Que n'a pas de goût exclusif, ne se limite pas à une categorie d'objets. "L'esprit le plus ouvert à toutes les notions et a toutes les impressions. . ." Baudelaire**

And, therein lies the problem. The magazine, lovely as it is, is so éclectique that we don't know what it's all about. Unfortunately, the concept has not resulted in the invention of a new, can't live without title. I'm hoping it will find its way. From my experience with start-ups it takes time and some experimentation. I think I'll subscribe in solidarity for the publishing industry.

I'm éclectique that way.

Restaurant Glou (noun, pronounced "Glue")

My darling friend, her husband (I met him for the first time this weekend) and I had a grand time Saturday evening at Glou in the Marais. I haven't seen her for three years and before that more like 20. The conversation was non-stop and all over the place. That's what's so much fun about catching up.

We agreed our meal was delicious, the ambiance bustling trés, trés lively/trendy, the precise image of what one expects in the Marais. The decoration rough, bistro very Par-ee and fun.

Here's where the fun stopped: No sooner had we placed our bottoms upon the chairs -- Lesley and I hadn't yet placed our sacs on a chair when the pretty waitress gave us our menus. Less than 30 seconds later she asked us if we had made our choices. We had barely said, "Hello, how are you?"

And it continued like that throughout the meal. We had the impression we were being hustled from the table. Very, very annoying.

The address: 101 Rue Vieille du Temple 75003. It is fun, ignore the pressure.

What-ev-er. . .

Rarely have I been inspired by the designs of Castelbajac, and his latest accessory confirms my prejudice.

It's, in my opinion, just plain annoying. A watch -- OK, a bracelet if you want to quibble -- without a face. If you're a fan of Proust it can be rationalized, we're told, à la recherche du temps perdu. All I can say is, the "watch" itself is a waste of time, I mean makes us lose (perdu) time.

Guess What I Thought This Is?

Immediately thereafter, I thought not only is it rather risque, but also it's probably icy-cold going on and no doubt stays that way, particularly in the winter.

However, it's not what I thought it is. It is one of three other things:

1.) A headband (I know! Who would?)

2.) A necklace.

3.) A bow-tie.

From Cerises de Mars, 95 Euros.

A demain for more about you.

**"L'esprit le plus ouvert à toutes les notions et a toutes les impressions. . ." Baudelaire

An esprit open to all notions and all impressions.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Next Week Or La Semaine Prochaine

Lovely evening in Paris last night. Will tell you all about it next week -- including one exceedingly annoying detail -- in a News & Views post. We really need to spend one day catching up on the latest and the greatest. My file is overflowing and the longer I save it the older the news, as in no longer new.

The week ahead:

Mostly, all about you. More pictures, more stories, more remarkable women. Thank you, thank you. And, remember -- please keep sending your pictures. The Faces Through the Ages series will continue as long as you wish.

One more collection of evening gowns, probably.

And that, mes trés, trés, trés, chers amis will be our week together.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Weekend with VOUTCH

First of all, type in "Serengeti" then enter, "see satellite," then enter, "localize," then you click on "gnu" and after that, in the menu, you select "recent death."

What better way to celebrate the weekend -- the very definition of a perfect autumn day here -- than with the brilliant and hilarious VOUTCH?

The minute I pull together my black ensemble for this evening. . . I'm off to Paris to have dinner with an old friend. She and her husband have rented an apartment in the Marais and we're dining in a bistro recommended by my pal Jean Rafferty. It's supposed to possess three qualities: "reasonably priced for the neighborhood," branché (trendy) and delicious. It's called Glou (like "glue"). I'll report back.

A demain for the weekly line-up. Please continue sending your pictures,

Merci mes amis.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Re-thinking Accessories

Not only do I own a collection of Chanel camellias, I also have ribbon. I'm set for the season.

Off, unexpectedly, to Paris, but didn't want to leave you without entertainment.

I have several Chanel camellias from back-in-the-day, but honestly this idea never occurred to me. I consider myself rather clever in the accessorizing department so you can imagine how excited I was to see a new option for my silk flowers.

Without being too, too graphic -- which I try to avoid in this space -- I'm pleased I possess more than two camellias. (Think about it. . .)

I'm off. Another ab--so-lute-ly gorgeous day. Crisp and sunny.

A demain mes trées, trés, trés chers amis. And, please, keep sending your pictures --


Thursday, October 20, 2011

YOUR Faces Through The Ages

It's interesting. This series started with my rant about the publisher who told my friend that looking good was not a feminist issue and that therefore her book "didn't work" for their imprint. Her book btw, also talked about health as well as beauty and taking care of oneself in order to be more productive, interesting, kind and generous. But I guess the "hook" wasn't sufficiently wild-eyed strident. (OK, I'm ready. You can come back at me.)

I've never understood why feminism, for some women, cannot be gentle. As I've said, I define my version of feminism as having choices and, of course, I believe in a cause that supports that possibility for all women. Call me naive if you will, but I don't see how lip gloss and mascara complicate or negate one's principles.
Art by Karena 
Carol Ruggeri
Hostess of the Humble Bungalow 
Nancy Armock, right, with her friend Naomi. "This picture," Nancy says, "captures my mood these days." Lovely, n'est-ce pas?

Back to the subject at hand: You. You are a marvelous, marvelous group of stunning, accomplished women. One of you told me you are the mother of five boys, and that you're a scientist. I can't help thinking, "Oh, the lucky partners for those boys." I'll bet all five of them are "feminists." Oh yes, their mother is beautiful.
Another of you, a beauty again, told me she "earned every one of my gray hairs." You are funny, optimistic, open, courageous, intelligent -- I could go on and on, and I will. Just keep sending in your pictures. I already have a nice backlog, but honestly I'm having so much fun with you I don't want to stop.

Today, you're all in your 50s.

Patricia O'Hara and her sister, Carolyn, "taking a mid-way water break in a 5K run. Their picture was taken by their "little brother" (48), Patricia said. "He always makes me smile."
And, please, the young women in their 30s who visit this space, please participate. We want to know what you think, where you're going and where you are in your lives right-this-minute.

Donna Liberman
Wendy Hird
Susan Tiner
(No name, by request.)
Catherine Gilmore
Inside Out 
A tiny aside: Andrea, since you read your mother's blog every day, will you please tell your girlfriends -- who do the same -- to send their pictures to your mother. Merci par avance, you know the address: (Love you.)

Please, those of you who may have hesitated, maybe you could rethink and send your photo. Every one I receive will be included. Age has no importance. Just keep repeating, like a mantra.

A demain, mes chers amis.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jane Fonda Meets Marcel Proust

Jane Fonda

Every week someone answers the famous Proust Questionnaire in Figaro Madame magazine. You are no doubt familiar with it. The idea is that the questions reveal inner secrets of our personalities. When responding one is supposed to reply quickly. I think, once again, Jane Fonda slips nicely into our Faces Through the Ages series as she answers the questions below.

This is what Jane Fonda had to say:

What is your main character trait?

"Courageous. [Also], I'm always in conflict with myself between moments of solitude and sociability. I like to be alone, but when I'm alone I what to be with others."

What is one of your character weaknesses?

"I'm always in a hurry."

What is the first thing you do every morning?

"I have an enormous breakfast with porridge or an omelette when I'm in France."

What would you change about yourself if you could?

"[I would like] to be capable of slowing down."

What's your favorite song?

"Those my companion, Richard Perry, has produced."

What type of grandmother are you?

"I'm a very good grandmother. My grandchildren adore me; we play together. And, I love to spoil them which annoys my daughter [Vanessa Vadim]."

What do you do to combat stress?

"Nine hours of sleep per night."

What do you consider your greatest success?

"To have survived all these years."

What is the cause closest to your heart?

"The combat against violence toward women."

What is your fondest professional memory?

"All the films I did with Robert Redford. He's extremely droll and we get along 'divinely' well."

What is most 'American' about you?

"I'm extremely friendly, even with people I don't know which is not typically French."

Who are your heroines?

Gloria Steinem and Eve Ensler.

What do you do to be seductive?

"To be kind and droll."

What are your wardrobe basics?

"Jeans, in all colors -- white, lilac, yellow -- that I always buy in Saint-Tropez.

What would be the perfect guest list for a dinner party?

"My son, Troy, my close friends, plus Annette Bening, Warren Beatty and Dolly Parton. (Even though I adore Robert Redford I never invite him because he hates parties.)"

What is the gift you give most often?


What object means the most to you?

"Possessions mean nothing to me."

What's your favorite drink?


What is a talent you would like to possess?

"I would like to be able to sing and dance on a music hall stage, style Broadway."

What lieu most resembles your personality?

"My ranch in New Mexico."

What makes you uncomfortable?


Marcel Proust

What is your 'madeleine de Proust'?"

"Nat King Cole's music."

What is your péché mignon (little, innocent 'sin' or excess)?

"Dark chocolate."

What would you like that people say about you?

"That I'm interesting."

A demain for more about you. I'm off to Paris in the cold and the rain to have lunch with Duchesse of the intelligently stylish, beautifully written blog, Passage des Perles .

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Your Faces Through the Ages

60-something twins (!) Hinda and Ruth.

You are indeed a fascinating group of women. When I read the abbreviated bios you send with your lovely pictures I'm proud and pleased to realize you take the time to stop by and visit this space. 

As many of you have so accurately noted, "It seems the uniting characteristic among all the women is a joie de vivre." Good times, bad times, struggles, illness, triumphs you keep on fighting, keep on striving, keep on smiling. It's truly amazing what you have accomplished through the decades -- and no matter what your age, you have plans and projects. A couple of you have been widowed after long, happy marriages and years later found a new love, which you never expected. Others have been mothers for the first time in your 40s and loving every second of the combination of a well-established careers and the joy of motherhood.

Some of you are happily single, basking in the warmth of your extended families and your animals (I sooo understand) and hoping, perhaps, one day to meet a soul mate.

A few of you plan to retire from your long-time careers. As you prepare to leave your past, you've already started to think about your future. As one of you said, "I plan to do something new and fulfilling and fun, but I'm not quite sure what just yet." You'll figure it out.

Today, I thought it would be fun to have a melange of ages -- just like in real life. Here you are then, from your 40s to your 70s.

Faces of the 40s:
Caroline Silk

Faces of the 50s:
Pamela Terry with just the top of Edward's head.
From the House of Edward 
Teri McClure Elliott
Faces of the 60s:

Sanda Martel
Pauline Frost
Faces of the 70s:

Sharon Nanez on her birthday, "playing dress-up in the hat department of Le Bon Marche in Paris."
Linda Jean Longenecker
This story will definitely continue. I have more photos, more inspirational messages from you and please remember, keep sending your pictures to me at, we can continue as long as you're happy.

Oh yes, I've heard from a handful of you who are in your 30s. We would love to see your pictures. We were there and you'll be here, n'est-ce pas?

A demain mes tres, tres, tres chers amis.
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