Fashion, Menopause

Forget the Frump! Inspiration from the Fabulous Fashionistas

Here is quick clip about the British documentary, the Fabulous Fashionistas.

The fashionistas make me want to shop  until I drop.

Not drop from tiredness after a day of shopping.

The Big Drop, like drop off the earth (when my days are done). That’s what the fashionistas are planning to do. Shop until they drop.

What about you?

What’s your fashion plan for your golden years?


I must say, my own mom, who frequents Loehmann’s in Baltimore once a month or so, has set a fine example for me too!


Here’s an article about the film and here’s another one.

To fashion!  To life!

Giveaway Winner!  Congrats to Laura, who won the copy of Sarah Thebarge’s inspiring memoir, The Invisible Girls.

Children, Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Versus Gen Y


A guest post by my daughter Laura Allen:

“If you don’t find a job after a couple of months in Dallas, you could always get going on starting a family.”

These were my mom’s words right after I got married and settled into my new home in Texas.

A bit annoyed that she’d mentioned this yet again, I responded, “And where would I put a baby in my small apartment? In the kitchen? Babies need space and cost money!”

My mom was blessed with her first grandchild last year, and she is head-over-heels.  I can definitely see why, as my nephew only gets more adorable every week.

But, me?  I’m only 28! I’m a newlywed. I need to have a career, a savings plan, a house. I need to go back to Europe!!

What is it about my generation that makes us think there is a perfect time to start a family – that all these external conditions need to be met before having a baby?

In my mom’s day, it sounds like the only requirement before trying to start a family was a husband.  But my generation seems to think we need to have it all. We want more than the American dream. Some have even called generation Y entitled.

I like to think we are just fortunate enough to have options.  Sometimes, though, there are so many choices, that it’s impossible to make decisions.  I’m hoping that the decision to start a family will just happen one day. That I will have a birthday, eat cake, and think ‘This year, I’m ready for a baby!’

Who knows if I will ever truly feel ready or if I will even be able to produce offspring.

One thing’s for sure though. If Matt and I have a baby on the way, my mom will be one of  the first to know, but only if she stops bugging me now!

Laura Allen was recently married on Bald Head Island and lives with her husband in Dallas. She hopes to continue her career in education and enjoys exploring new restaurants, cooking, and blogging in her free time.

Laura and Me

Photo Top: Laura and nephew Maze during wedding week on Bald Head Island.

Photo Bottom: Laura and I before the wedding.  Photos courtesy Katherine Younger. 


Pedaling Through My Past


Pedaling Through My Past


One Stationary Bike + Google Maps = Incentive to Exercise

A post by Nancy Espersen:

January 1st rolled around this year with the same resolution: To ride the exercise bike every day.

But how to maintain the momentum?  Perhaps logging the number of miles each day with the goal of reaching a destination?

But where to?

How about my childhood home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  I Googled directions from Hillsborough to 3707 E 54th Street, set up an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the miles and started pedaling.

Almost 6 months and 1,181 miles later, I reached my destination:


Minneapolis Minnesota

This photo was taken in March 1951. For some reason my parents felt compelled to pose my brother and me in front of our house.  On the back of the photo my mother wrote “snow, snow, and more snow.”  As I look at this picture I remember praying for snow days when I was in school.  It took a major snowstorm to close the schools – I have the feeling this would have qualified.

After “arriving” at my first destination, I checked the spreadsheet and found I had only missed eight days of exercising.  There were definitely times I did NOT want to get on the bike but the thought of getting behind on the schedule got me moving.

Once on the bike sometimes I would barter with myself saying that if I went five miles that would be enough, only to find once I got to five I could then get to six and even seven (my goal for each day).

Buoyed by the success of the first six months, I selected another route.  This summer I biked from Hillsborough to New England “visiting” cities where my husband, Gordon, and I had lived.


Newport Rhode Island “fixer upper” (700 mile marker)

I kept telling Gordon that this could be a nice house and he would laugh.  In 1994 we took the plunge, bought the house and started renovating.  The location was perfect – in an historic neighborhood only a block and a half from Newport Harbor. The views of Rose Island, the Green Light and Newport Bridge were amazing. 


 Next up was Providence Rhode Island (735 mile marker).


We lived near Brown University and Benefit Street.  On our nightly walk Gordon would quiz me on the various architectural styles of the houses.

The final stop – Plymouth Massachusetts (791 miles)


Gordon’s new job at Ocean Spray brought us to 99 Court Street in 1988.  Whale watches, Thanksgiving at Plimouth Plantation and cranberries come to mind when I think about our time in Plymouth.

Even though I upped my goal to 8 miles per day, this round seemed to be easier.

Many times I would bike 9 or even 10 miles.  Perhaps this is because I was reading a book rather than watching television.  And I had more milestones on the spreadsheet. It helped to see that I had just crossed the border and was now in Virginia or that I had arrived in Washington D.C.

So where will I go this fall?

A tour of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan reminiscing about childhood vacations.

nancy and gordon

Nancy Espersen writes, “Gordon and I have called Hillsborough home for the past 13 years.  There is so much to offer in our little town (history, arts, special events) and we love being a part of it. “


Menopausal Chaos and a Psychic Giveaway!


I stood in front of this mirror in the ladies room of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

A crazy mirror, decorated with names. I was so impressed that I snapped a picture.

Menopause and its images and symbols are never far from my mind, thanks to Friend for the Ride.

I’m proclaiming this a Menopause Mirror.

We can only see in the glass dimly  (to quote St. Paul).

When you’re in the midst of the Great Pause, your body can feel wonky, weird, confused.

So can your mind.

You can’t see the end of the wild hormonal ride.

And that’s one of menopause’s main frustrations.

When a new symptom would appear, I’d ask myself, “Is this menopause?”

I’d consult my trusty resource,  34 Menopause Symptoms.

Even once the periods have stopped, for one, two, or more years, the hormones can keep on bopping around, causing chaos of one sort or another.

We should be able to see into the mirror of ourselves.

After all, it’s our body.

But it doesn’t work that way.

We’re not psychics!

Giveaway:  When Psychic Source offered Friend for the Ride a giveaway, I thought, Why not?  The winner will get a 30 minute psychic reading.  You can choose from a variety of readings ranging from Numerology, Tarot, Astrology, Love, and lots more. Read more about your options here.  For a chance to be the lucky winner, just enter a comment by December 5 saying you’d like to win. Come on ! I bet it’s in your cards…

Psychic Source


Quel Courage! Grace Jean and Les Sabines

Last  year, on our trip to Paris, my friend Judy arranged a private tour of the Louvre. Our guide Francois escorted us from room to room, pointing out  the highlights of that mighty museum.

” Voila Les Sabines,” said Francois. “Painted in 1799 by Jacques-Louis David.”

Look at that mother, arms stretched out, protecting her babes. Quel Courage! Never have I experienced such an intense, awestruck reaction to a work of art.

I bought the postcard in the Louvre gift shop. Stateside the next week, I uploaded the photo into WordPress. It’s been sitting there for a year, waiting for some magnificent words to match the painting’s magnificence.

My plan was to say something about courage. Something remarkable.

The remarkable isn’t coming to me, but it’s time to write about Les Sabines and that brave, bold mother.

Years ago, I suffered a second trimester miscarriage. I gave birth to a baby who wouldn’t  become my little girl.

We had moved to North Carolina that spring. Grace Jean, fifteen years my senior, attended our new church. The day I came home from the hospital, she called.

“You’re very brave,” she said.

I’ve never forgotten her words. I bring them back when I need courage.

And so what I have to say about courage isn’t groundbreaking advice; it’s not remarkable.

It’s just this:  When we need it, we have it.


Maybe that human quality is indeed remarkable.

Aging, among other life events, is calling me to be courageous.

I keep Grace Jean’s words and my Les Sabines postcard as courage tokens.

What about  you?

Any tokens of courage you call upon when armies invade?

The Truth about Les Sabines: Turns out I’ve got the story behind this painting wrong.  This is Romulus’s wife Hersilia trying to stop a battle between her husband and father by putting her babes between them. Yikes! Still brave, no doubt,  but I worry one of those babies might get trampled or kicked.  Spoiler Alert: The women succeed and peace prevails!


Egg Whites and More: Natural Skincare Tips To Prevent Signs of Aging


A post by health writer Tara Heath:

Aging is a natural part of life, but nobody wants to look older than they have to. That’s why the cosmetic surgery industry is booming and the companies making expensive skincare products are thriving.

However, you don’t have to go under the knife or pay an arm and a leg to keep your skin from showing all of the signs of aging. There are a variety of natural methods for keeping your skin looking young and healthy, and almost all can be done right in your own home. They may not all apply to you, but chances are a few will become part of your normal skincare routine if you give them a try.

Egg White Mask

Homemade face masks are nothing new, and egg whites have been a part of them for a long time. However, egg whites are so popular in homemade facial masks because they really do work to reduce bags under the eyes and to make the skin look firmer.

To make your own egg white mask, simply separate the yolk from the white. Stir the white and chill if desired before gently rubbing it on the face. Allow the mixture to stay on your skin for about 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

Almond Oil Moisturizer

Almond oil can be a little heavy for individuals with particularly oily skin, but if you have dry skin or normal skin, almond oil can be used topically to help get rid of crow’s feet and mask wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, and nose. Almond oil works because it is incredibly hydrating and nourishing, making your skin look fuller and healthier – at least for a short period of time.

To use almond oil topically, simply apply a small amount all over your face. Ideally, you’ll want to do this before bed so the oil has time to absorb into your skin, which does take some time.

Cover your pillow with a towel to keep the oil from staining.

Potato Slices


You know potatoes are good for eating, but if you’re like most people, you’ve never heard about using potatoes for their anti-aging benefits before. Surprisingly, potatoes are an ideal topical treatment for helping rid your face of blemishes and areas of discoloration. Potatoes also make crow’s feet and under eye wrinkles less apparent.

To use potatoes topically, wash and peel a large white potato and cut it into slices about 1/2-inch thick. Gently rub the cut potatoes over the blemishes or discolored area until the potato warms.

You can also use potato slices over the eyes to remove puffiness and dark circles like you would use cucumber slices.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables keeps you healthy and helps fight off illness, but it can also be used topically to boost collagen production and repair minor sun damage. Vitamin C also reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

To use vitamin C topically, the simplest method is to crush vitamin C tablets in a small bowl with about one tablespoon of purified water to make a thick paste. The paste should then be applied to the skin and left on for about 15 minutes before washing it off.

Aging might be natural, but wanting your skin to look as healthy as possible is natural, as well. While many store-bought products work well, they often have unnecessary and potentially harmful or irritating ingredients in them.

If you want to make your skin look young and healthy but want to keep it natural, try using these simple home remedies. They work surprisingly well.

Tara Heath is a freelance writer and health expert in Southern California. She spends time writing about natural ways to stay healthy, and enjoys using these methods for her own skin.



Ditch the Cucumber! (or Put it in Your Salad)


I love color!

At the meeting of the North American Menopause Society, my first thought when I saw the Soul Source dilators was: What gorgeous colors.

Then of course, I noticed the shape–after all, the conference focused on menopause and the problems it causes. Jane Silverstein of Soul Source and I talked about this innovative product, and she promised to write about it for Friend for the Ride. Take it away, Jane!

“My doctor suggested I insert a cucumber in my vagina!”

Yes, it’s true, I hear this quite often from menapausal women seeking advice for sexual pain.

Ladies, there are much better options. You may or may not have heard of vaginal dilators. We are Soul Source Therapeutic Devices and what we do is manufacture and sell vaginal dilators. (One of my kids thinks this raises my mom cool factor, the other wants to climb into a cave when I talk about my products.) You may be thinking “What is a vaginal dilator and why would a woman need one?”


Vaginal dilators are tapered, progressively sized devices used to slowly stretch the walls of the vagina so that sexual penetration is more comfortable. Soul Source dilators resemble body tissue; they retain body heat and are a much more comfortable alternative to a garden vegetable, or the cold hard glass or plastic dilators that some doctors recommend.

Many women experience sexual pain (clinically known as dyspareunia) due to the hormonal changes that follow menopause. With this drop in estrogen the tissues in the vagina and surrounding area become thinner and dryer.  This condition is also known as VVA, or vulvovaginal atrophy.

In addition to dryness many women can experience pain, tightness, or an uncomfortable burning sensation. VVA is the most common cause of painful sex in women over 50. Without treatment or frequent comfortable sexual activity, many women begin a cycle of pain and sexual avoidance. The regular use of vaginal dilators reduces the vaginal tightness and associated sexual pain.

Soul Source dilators come in eight sizes, the smallest dilator being about the size of a junior tampon. They are sold individually because each woman has her own “starting point”. Our dilators are made in the USA, with material made in the USA.

Ladies, you have alternatives. Cucumbers belong in a salad, not in your vagina. Please visit our website at for more information and on line ordering.

Your friend in menopause, Jane Silverstein

Soul Source Silicone Dilators 1-8

Thanks to Jane for writing about those colorful dilators and thanks to Cliff for taking the cucumber photo for me on a grocery trip. Being married to a menopause blogger can make for an interesting bedfellow (pun somewhat intended).