Monday, April 23, 2012

Health: Stories We Were Told

I have a deep resounding gratitude for the sisters and mothers and grandmothers who came before us, who told us we could have it all, who forged a truth that we could delay motherhood until we were bored with the corner office. They made me feel a little sorry for the girls I knew who got pregnant so early on, one kid after another, who kept putting their career dreams on hold.

At 22, I figured I'd delay getting pregnant for two more years. And then it was two more after that. And a career and trips around the world and inappropriate boyfriends and some miscarriages and living in the woods off the grid in a tiny cabin and more just messing around and whoa, suddenly I'm 40licious. And the baby part became complicated. And my girlfriends 35 and up are having a helluva time starting families. There are a couple successes, but those have been harrowing. One girlfriend suffering through infertility treatment laments, "but I did everything RIGHT!!!"

I am at peace with how I got here. I fully believe that every day, every second on this earth so far has led me to my sweet Grace Magnolia, my daughter whom we adopted when she was born nearly a year ago. I can't be mad at the Liberation sisters, either, because I do have it all now -- but just not in the way I thought I would. It's better. And I believe the Libbers truly, truly believed you could do everything. What our sisters didn't really count on was the science of the body.

My mother occasionally says something so wise I remember it forever. In this case, "whatever you want to be doing in 10 years, you have to start now."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Money: How to Score a Discount at the Spa

Today's post comes from discount diva Andrea Woroch, who gives us the lowdown on how to save at the spa.

1. Wellness Week
Today kicks off SpaFinder's Wellness Week. From now through Sunday you can indulge in your favorite treatment for just $50, or at savings up to 50-percent off, along with various free events. Find out which spas and salons are participating in your area by visiting

2. Off-peak Perks
Weekday mornings are slow for most spas and salons so you can generally find deals during the morning hours. Call ahead to find out what discounts are available and take advantage of these off-peak perks.

3. Search for Savings
Consumers cut back on luxury services during tough economic times, so spas look for ways to boost business by extending specials offers to attract old and new clients. To find these exclusive deals, sign up to receive e-newsletters from your favorite spa or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively, you can score up to 13 percent instantly by purchasing discount gift cards to SpaFinder from sites like

4. Cut the Extras
Basic services like a massage or facial can be affordable as long as you skip the extras. Spa service providers may try to bump up your bill with enticing add-ons like an extended body treatment (extra 30 minutes), or perhaps an invigorating body scrub. Though the cost of these treatments seem minimal, the fees quickly add up, especially after you factor in gratuity.

5. Get Group Discounts
Many facilities will extend discounted rates for groups of five or more on various services and treatments. Organize a Sunday spa day with your gal pals and work with a spa manager on group pricing and package deals.

6. Student Savings
You don't have to be enrolled in school to enjoy student savings. Many massage and spa schools offer great rates or sometimes even free services from their students who need to practice their skills. These are extremely affordable resources for great spa and beauty services.

7. At-home Spa
Though chemical peels are best left to the experts, there are plenty of basic services like facials, manicures and body scrubs that can be done at home. To get the full spa experience, set the mood with soothing music, scented candles and bubble bath.


Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Health: Why Our Eyes Change in Our 40s

My grandmother's original Bakelite frames. She had it going on! 
I distinctly remember the first time I could see clearly. I was 10, and I stepped outside the optometrist's office on Lexington Avenue and saw that buildings had edges. They no longer blurred into the sky like a smudged painting. The city looked like pictures in books, and on postcards! It was a kind of elation, akin to a first taste of flourless chocolate velvet cake, or a first orgasm, or a first roller-coaster ride.

Every single day of my life since then has been helped with glasses or contacts in order to see more than 4 feet from my face, but I'm incredibly nearsighted, and can read you everything on a penny 2 inches from my eyes. I took solace in this and considered it a kind of superpower.

However. A few months ago I realized that I have to hold menus further away in dim restaurants. I can't cuddle down with a book wearing my contacts. And I have to sit exactly so in order to see my computer screen. So I visited my incredibly earnest and wise eye man, Dr. Korth.

He rummaged through lens combinations and asked me to read excerpts of Benjamin Franklin's biography in small and large type. He painstakingly flipped lenses back and forth to see which worked best. And he finally announced that indeed, as with many of us in our mid-40s ("40licious," I corrected him) as my far-away vision is sharpening, it's sacrificing my close-up vision. "Perhaps this is a holdover from cave days ... if I can't run as fast, I'll need to see better?" I wondered.

He made a proclomation as he handed me a set of new lenses to test. "You might have to give up some of your overall long-vision power in order to see better close up."

Which makes perfect sense, in so many ways. Sometimes we need to let go of the very long-term focus so that we can really see what is right in front of us. Right now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Relationships: Keep Crazy in a Bottle

I was having a conversation today with a friend about jealousy, which brought me back to 1994, the last time I remember being insanely jealous in a relationship. I was dating a wild Irishman who was an outlandish but convincing liar. Like the time he told me he didn't come home because it was raining so hard and the windshield wipers didn't work in his van, so he had to pull to the side of the road and sleep there. All night. There was a Teutonic construction worker in the wings named Monica, and their hushed conversations at parties + his prolonged absences + his short temper with me + rumors about them being together + plus the FEELING that I had about them I knew equaled an affair.

But over and over again he swore that there was nothing going on. Eventually, I took my own lover as a way to soothe the wounds, but not before putting my fist through a window and screaming at him, naked and freezing after I'd gotten out of the shower. At a friend's house. That was low.

Mind you, I am a completely different person now. This was in the Dark Days of Drinking in a small Northwestern town.

After that, I vowed that I would never again allow myself to arrive at a position of jealousy. If I ever felt that again, justified or not, it was not the right relationship for me.

This doesn't mean I haven't felt jealous, or left out, or crazed from non-communication, or a number of other negative emotions since then. But I gained a valuable tool (vicariously from advice a friend's shrink gave her). "Keep crazy in a bottle," the therapist said, when my friend became unglued for whatever offense. You can ramble to your girlfriends or parents or therapist about it, but when confronting the boyfriend, keep it cool. You'll get further and you'll be more productive. You might be wrong. There might be missing information. Regardless, you're in the position of power when you are still.

I'd like to take that shrink's advice one step further. Put crazy in the bottle. And then when you are ready, throw the bottle in the ocean and sail on to calmer shores. You will never need it again.