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Workshops and resources for women over 50


Aripos  Argentinian restaurant in Oak Park has the most delicious Empanadas I’ve ever had. Great afternoon snack while shopping or on the way home from the train!

Han 202 in Bridgeview. Incredible food and value! $25 prix fixe for imaginative and wonderful full meal. Huge selection of entrees and Tomato-Mango Sorbet for dessert. Plus it’s BYOB, the service is delightful, decor is pretty – a real find. Just south of Chinatown, a bit north of White Sox Park. Even better for us value-seekers, go online for coupons.

Trenchermen, in Wicker Park where Spring used to be on North Ave., is tres cool! Yummy flavors and terrific wines “on tap”! Do NOT miss the Pickle Tots.

Kendall College student-run dining room is the farthest thing from a college cafeteria! Open for lunch and dinner, students shop the farmers’ markets for the freshest ingredients and bring inspired dishes to your table. Plus it’s fun to chat with the student/servers, many of them new to the restaurant scene. Look for their special themed dinners for a real treat and great value. On Halsted near Chicago Chicago.

Target’s refrigerated cookie dough Great varieties, like Snickerdoodles and Oatmeal/Cranberry/Walnut, that you just break apart and bake.  YUM!

Alsatian Chicken Salad at Winberie’s in Oak Park with poached apples, blue cheese and candied walnuts. Sit outdoors and watch Oak Park go by – trucks, buses and all.

Park Grill in Millennium Park, Chicago. Consistently good food with one of the most pleasant views in town! Love the mix of business people, lunching friends and tourists who come for a great burger, lovely fish or healthy salad.

Endamame Just saute frozen, shelled beans in a fry pan with a little olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and just a hint of cayenne until beans are warm. Then eat as a snack or on salads. These little “soybeans” are a great source of protein, not very fattening and yummy!

Bananas at Trader Joe’s What else can you buy for less than a quarter?

Grilled Calamari at Caffe deLuca in Forest Park, IL With arugula, a little olive oil and crispy flatbread. And a glass of wine. What a fine dinner!


Good People at Steppenwolf is terrific! Great acting, powerful story and the kind of performance that makes Steppenwolf so admired. Now thru Nov. 11.


Head to Toe


Clairol Root Touch-Up Kit I have been an apostle since these were first introduced! Easy and quick to use, this little color kit can keep you going for a month or two between expensive salon touch-ups. I figure Clairol’s saved me at least $2,000 in the last few years! (Though I DO get behind in my People magazines….)

Bangs Yes, they do make you look younger. Will I go crazy growing them out? TBD!


Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. Have you found that as you’ve gotten older, you rely more on foundation to even out your complexion? You don’t want a cake-y look or anything that “collects” in your fine wrinkles. So start with a Primer. Yes, I thought it was just another product to sell aging Boomer women, hungry for anything that helps. But this really works to smooth out the texture of your skin so your foundation goes on smoother. Plus it keeps your make-up looking fresh longer into the day. Try it at Sephora or other cosmetic counters before you buy.

Lauren Hutton Good Stuff A friend turned me on to this cosmetics line created specifically for “women with more of life’s experience” and it’s pretty cool. She’s packaged all you need in unique “face discs” so you can shlep all your cosmetics in one flat pack instead of a batch of bottles, etc. Her make-up is light, less color saturated and truly designed to flatter our faces. And it’s not at all expensive.


Flexees Maidenform’s version of Spanx offer camis and tanks that help restore your long-lost waist and flat tummy! Best part is they’re long enough (like to the bottom of your fanny) that they don’t creep up and suddenly add inches to your waist! Surprisingly cool for summer, I wear them under all my fitted t’s.

“Age Defying Lift” Yes! You’ll find it on many new bras including Vanity Fair and Soma (the intimates arm of Chico’s). Basically they’re padded cups. I certainly didn’t expect to see the day when I’d be shopping for padded cups, but they look great and bring the “girls” back up in the range where they’re supposed to be ( midway between your shoulders and your elbows).

Spanx Today’s girdle! But at least we don’t need to worry about garters holding up stockings any more. Whatever you want to hold in, push up or push in, Sara Blakely has a Spanx solution. And they’re so much more comfortable than the olden days!


Flex-Tastic Gel Toe Relaxers These are the goofy things you’ve seen in catalogs that you put between your toes to spread them out. Sort of like what they use for pedicures but much more drastic! And the darn things are pretty cool. They’re inspired by yoga and the benefits of stretching. They bring back flexibility and stability in your feet and help straighten out problem toes. I got mine at Target for about $7. Worth it!

Finn Comfort Expensive but truly the most comfortable shoes ever. And some of them aren’t too ugly.

Naturalizer I’m a long time fan, but was delighted when the Chicago Tribune rated their heels more comfortable than many others. Try them. We’re too young to give up the occasional stylish heel.

Merrell Great affordable outdoor and casual shoes that began in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Orthotics Go to a runners’ shoe store and get your feet measured. Or a shoe store that specializes in great fit. (In Chicago it’s Waxberg’s Walk Shoppe in Niles.)

Special Needs for Special Women – Wigs, post-surgery bras & prostheses

Second Act.  One of the toughest parts of aging is how cancer hurts our sisters and ourselves. Here is a very welcoming resource for help. Second Act is the only accredited post-cancer surgery boutique in downtown Chicago that provides bras, wigs and advice to women living with cancer. Talk to Pattie Sheehan at her shop in Flourish Studios or go online.

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Chicagoland “to know”


From Julie Judd:

Joe’s Tailor Shop (Yorktown Convenience Center)     630-495-4477

Perl Tailor Shop (OakBrook Professional Building)   630-573-8550


Zipcar is the easiest way to not have a car. They’re everywhere and easy to rent. Now, why didn’t we think of this???

Greenline Wheels lets you rent a bike in lovely Oak Park. And they’re at the Harlem Ave. end of the Green Line CTA if you’re coming from Chicago.

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Books & Media


Vibrant Nation, “What women 50+ know”, is a terrific community that discusses topics ranging from Home & Garden (“Are there personality traits associated with leftovers?”) to Going Green (“Green cleaning”) to Love & Sex (“Should my next step be”). Fresh attitude, good writing and honest advice. And good conversation, like a real community.

Fierce with Age, Carol Orsborn’s  blog about aging and spirituality that so easy to read – and read into.

Next Avenue, from PBS. “Where grown-ups keep growing”. Nice compendium of practical and inspirational content. From “How to Beat 6 Reasons You Dread Working Out” to “What I’ll Say About Myself When I Die”, articles are some of the most helpful I’ve seen.

Levine, S.B. (2005). Inventing the rest of our lives:Women in second adulthood. NY, NY: Viking/Penguin Press.
Both informational and inspiring, Levine debunks the myth that as we age we simply become more of what we always were. As a former editor for Ms. and contributing editor to More, she’s a great writer and interviewer and uses real women’s stories to drive home her points.
Fraunfelder, F.T., M.D. and Gilbaugh, J.H., M.D. (2009). Retire right:Eight scientifically proven traits you need for a happy, fulfilling retirement. NY, NY: Avery/Penguin Press.
Two doctors conducted a comprehensive survey of over 1,000 patients to identify what happy retirees share. Then they take the 8 key traits — none of which have much to do with finances — explore them and provide great questions for self-reflection and ways to build each trait. Good practical information and guide.

Blair, P.D., Ph.D. (2005). The next fifty years: A guide for women at midlife and beyond. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing.What are you thinking about today? Whatever the topic, Pamela Blair has an essay and thought-provoking questions to ask yourself. A wonderful blend of inspiration and insight, this may be the best gift to yourself or your friends to light the way to the future. Excellent! (And I wasn’t paid to say that!!!)

Bridges, W. (2001). The way of transition: Embracing life’s most difficult moments. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.Bridges discusses how some of life’s most challenging, painful moments are your turning points. Through his personal accounts and advice, Bridges offers support for enduring the transitions of life. Fine illustrations of his excellent transition model.

Friedan, B. (1993). The fountain of age. New York: Simon and Schuster.Just as Friedan sparked the women’s movement with The Feminine Mystique, she opened the door and challenged people’s perceptions of aging with The Fountain of Age. Friedan discusses a more able older generation and suggests that women and men in their 50s, 60s and 70s can discover new experiences and possibilities to bring to their lives. Incredibly well researched – and tough to get through all 600+ pages.

Hudson, F. M. (1999). The adult years: Mastering the art of self-renewal. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Hudson’s guide views adulthood and aging as “an opportunity for continual revitalization, reorientation, and positive change.” He discusses everything from dreaming and planning to different decades of life to the challenges of the 21st century. Good concepts for better understanding of aging.

Pipher, M. (1999). Another country: Navigating the emotional terrain of our elders. New York: Riverhead Books.In a youth-centered American culture, the baby-boomer generation is facing increasing struggles. Pipher observes these struggles and offers a guide for bridging the generation gap and supporting one another. Liz Monroe Cook suggested I read this when I was dealing with my elderly father. Very insightful, especially as we’re all moving toward this “other country”.

Pogrebin, L. C. (1996). Getting over getting older: An intimate journey. New York: Berkely Books.Pogrebin discusses aging with an honest, optimistic analysis. Delightful reading and pretty funny.

Sher, B. (1998). It’s only too late if you don’t start now: How to create your second life at any age. New York: Dell Publishing.Emphasizing that “now” is the perfect time to makeover your life, Sher discusses age, beauty, love, power and achieving your goals to make the most of your time. Her public TV workshops are inspiring!

Hopkins, C. (2008). Staging your comeback: A complete beauty revival for women over 45. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications.Oprah’s “Makeover Guy” believes women are more beautiful as they age, though they may feel less attractive. He offers hair, wardrobe, makeup and “spirit revival” ideas for women to look and feel their best at any age. Fun, great photos and good news to use.

James, K. (2003). The truth about beauty: Transform your looks and your life from the inside out. Hillsboro, OR: Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.A guide to natural body and beauty health, James’ book addresses specific issues that trouble countless women. It advises women on how to “shed the mindsets and the popular regimens that sabotage [their] body and looks.” She’s big into healthy, REALLY healthy eating. Good resource if that’s your thing.

Judd, N. (2007). Naomi’s guide to aging gratefully: Facts, myths, and good news for boomers. New York: Simon & Schuster.The country music superstar and mother of Ashley and Wynonna Judd offers information on how to recognize your true potential. She seeks solutions to body, mind and spirit concerns, proposing ways for readers to live their happiest life. Whoda’ thunk Naomi Judd would give advice? But her positive action-oriented writing style is refreshing and inspiring.

Kelly, C. & London, S. (2005). Dress your best: The complete guide to finding the style that’s right for your body. New York: Three Rivers Press.“What Not to Wear” stars, Clinton and Stacy, deliver great advice with humor – just like the show. Big plus – they include men!

Krupp, C. (2008). How not to look old: Fast and effortless ways to look 10 years younger, 10 pounds lighter, 10 times better. New York: Springboard Press.This bestseller offers suggestions to do just what the title claims: make you look younger and better. Krupp gives concrete examples of things you can do now to enhance your look and build confidence. Really good guide – sent it to my college roommate on her 60th and she greatly appreciated it.

Richardson, C. (2007). Dressing nifty after fifty: The definitive guide to a simple, stylish wardrobe. St. Louis: Willcott & Corn Books.Richardson’s guide discusses such wardrobe issues as how to enhance your body shape with clothes, what colors to wear, how to accessorize and how to make your dollar work for you. Would be A LOT better with some pictures. And she’s a little conservative for my taste.

Woodall, T. & Constantine, C. (2003). What not to wear. Riverhead Trade.Trinny and Susannah (now seen on TLC in Making over America) give advice on specific body issues while telling you how to accentuate the positive. Lots of photos.

Kantrowitz, B., & Wingert, P. (2006). Is it hot in here? Or is it me?: The complete guide to menopause. New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.This guide supplies answers to some of the most common and many obscure questions about menopause. Chapters in this book cover memory, moods, sleep and sex. Everything you need or want to know on all sorts of women’s health issues, presented in very readable text.

Sheehy, G. (1995). The silent passage: Menopause. New York: Pocket Books. (Original work published 1991).A reference for women enduring the challenges of menopause, Sheehy’s book offers knowledge, history and a hormone replacement regime. Chapters include The “What About Me?” Syndrome, Sex and the Change-of-Life Lover, and Has Anyone Seen My Memory? Important book for when you think you’re going crazy.

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