Earlier I vowed on this blog that I would lose 8 pounds in preparation for the family reunion I’m facing at the beach this weekend. I figured if the threat of bikini clad South American cousin in-laws weren’t enough to motivate me to get in shape, then making my goal public would.
No cigar thanks to an avalanche at work. I know exactly what to do to get in shape, but my old frenemies stress, cortisol and procrastination undermined my vanity and rendered my 5’2” 126 lb frame 2 lbs heavier.
Hey, I know this isn’t a big deal, but when you’re 44 and spending 72 hours half-naked with other human beings, you need gallons of mojo.
It wasn’t just about the weight though. I was mad because I let this get the better of me. I know how I am. I’ll hang back. I’ll second-guess my Spanish. I won’t dance, even after that third drink. I’ll stay in the kitchen slicing onions.
I’ll be the dumpy person I feel.
So like any rational woman, I went on a Cooler Cleanse 3 day juice fast. I don’t know if it was the light-headedness, constipation or listening to too much Gotye, but by Day 2 I felt a little…enlightened.
It occurred to me that I’m feeling insecure because for a large part of my life, I’ve thought of my looks as an asset. One I’ve probably leaned on more than I should, especially when I’m feeling vulnerable. Which means my looks aren’t merely an asset; they’re armor.
But being north of forty there are some privileges I’m not taking advantage of. Like, the fact that no one is expecting (or wanting) me to be the hot girl anymore. Sure, I’ll always want to look great, but I have an idea or two about life. And what’s more cringe worthy than an older woman clinging to her looks like they were her only Trump card in life (um, hey Janice Dickenson).
Which is why I love the badge of formerly because it acknowledges a history of hotness, but moves one forward with elegance instead of desperation.
I also have a weapon I didn’t have 15 years ago; charm-dom. This is a mash-up of charm and wisdom (it’s not in Merriam Webster, I made it up). This doesn’t mean you’re the one who dazzles with your blah blah. Nor does it mean you drop sprinkles of Yoda into every conversation. Rather, charm-dom is about how you make other people feel when they’re in your company. It’s about giving up your ego up a bit, making others feel big, special and facilitating the fun. Besides, our family is getting older and stuff happens. And no one will care or remember what I look like, only the fun they had (or didn’t).
Ok, mindset now well-adjusted; here’s how I power up on the outside for the beach.
1. A spray tan from Tamar @ Gotham Glow. I am so pale, it’s hard to tell where the beach ends and I begin, so this is a must. Beside, it does more for my cellulite than Soul Cycle.
2. A Brazilian. Below the belt, I’m usually pretty low maintenance, but there is something about getting this done that makes me like a stripper (in a good way).
3. A fabulous sunglasses wardrobe. Hides my insecurity in style.
4. Eric Javitz sun hat. With an SPF of 50, the requisite 6” brim and squish-ability, it’s worth every penny.
5. J. Crew Maillot. The secret here is ruching in the belly area and just enough of a plunging neckline to highlight my cleavage (At least I have that). And no, this doesn’t look like a Miracle Suit, it’s from J. Crew. (See above)
6. Gauzy cover up in bright color. I like ones that cover just enough of my upper thigh hippy area. Think of this like a camera filter for your body.
7. A chip-proof pedicure. I’ve become addicted to those CND UV gels pedicures for my feet. It’s a more expensive way to go, but its like toe Teflon that lasts forever. A necessity in open toe season and when you’re tootsies are getting assaulted by sand, surf, shells and life.
8. Luxe beach towel. Don’t underestimate the power of your surroundings; you’ll look better laying down then having your upper thighs spread out in a beach chair. I like these pastel broad striped ones by Sferra. Plush, huge and thirsty.
9. A melt-proof beach face. I skip moisturizer all together in favor of Skinceuticals Sheer Fusion Defense SPF 50. Then, it’s a touch of Fresh High Noon Bronzer, Bene-Tint on my cheeks and lips, Laura Mercier eye-shadow base, and finally Christian Dior Universal Eyebrow pencil. Mascara is a waste of time if you like the water, because no matter what, you’ll emerge looking more Goth than Bond Girl.
10. Camera. The beach has such wonderful light (use a flash for noon) that I can’t help myself. Plus I love seeing the reaction of people when they see a really great picture of themselves they didn’t expect.
Look out beach and thong loving South American cousin in-laws. Spanish will be butchered and someone else can chop the onions.
- Meet the Dictionary’s New Words: F-Bomb, Sexting, Bucket List (theatlanticwire.com)