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Hi! I’m Melissa

When I was young I had wings, but they were taken from me. When I turned 50, I took them back. I’m now a Chef, Photographer, Fitness Nerd, and an Artist. This is my diary about food, fitness and adventure along with tips to master midlife & live a more fulfilling life at any age. Click here for my About Page.

Tips for Mastering Life After 50

Tips for Mastering Life After 50

Forget aging gracefully, especially if that means “acting your age”. Entering midlife requires a new mindset, a different way of thinking about yourself, the world and how the world sees you. In my particular case, aging requires a very healthy dose of humor and sarcasm, but underlying both is the same desire as any other woman in midlife (and beyond)- to be seen and heard. I often feel like turning 50 yanked away my self-esteem and also forced me to wear an invisibility cloak because suddenly, I felt like no one noticed I was in the room. Or in the world, for that matter.

motivational quote, positive quote "go forth and be fierce" from the lifestyle blog, soufflesandsawdust.com

1 REINVENT YOURSELF. DON’T LET OTHERS DEFINE YOU.

Entering midlife is about new possibilities, not the beginning of the downward spiral to the big “The End”. You’re never too old to do anything you want to do. Midlife is a time to re-invent yourself. It’s the perfect time for a do-over and a makeover *Gasp!* who doesn’t love a makeover!? There are so many ways to reinvent yourself it makes my head spin: learn a language (tell your hubby to change the toilet paper roll in Italian), hike a mountain, learn to cook, learn photography, take up yoga or Tai-Chi, travel (learn photography first!), take dance lessons (you don’t need a partner!), become a personal trainer (I am!), volunteer to help animals, children, elderly, the homeless, teach English to immigrants. The possibilities are only limited by your own imagination.

ghandi quote learn as if you were going to live forever from the lifestyle blog, soufflesandsawdust.com

2 PRACTICE SELF CARE

Leave the dishes in the sink, the laundry on the floor (or is that just my house?) and do something kind for yourself on the daily. I’m guessing your aren’t used to taking time out for yourself so when you begin, it will feel selfish. IT’S NOT. If you can’t afford to get your nails or your hair did, you can still pamper yourself with affordable, or homemade, bath and body products. While you are sugar-scrubbing and soaking in the tub, watch videos by Brene Brown (and try not to cry when you realize she is speaking to YOU), relax to sounds of tranquil music, listen to an audio book or catch up on new reads. Pour a glass of wine and read a book in bed wearing your new, sexy nighty (yes, even if you live alone, it’s liberating and it will help you to get your sexy back). Clean-out your closet which can be very therapeutic once you remove all the clothing that makes you feel bad about yourself. There are any number of ways to practice self-care, so make a list and start paying attention to yourself for once.

practice self care image from the lifestyle blog, shufflesandsawdust.com

3 STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK

You’ve reached a time in your life when you should no longer give a rat’s hiney what anyone thinks of you. Want proof? Iris Apfel. I’m going to make a bracelet for myself, WWIAD (what would iris apfel do). Whenever I think I look or feel like less than myself, I’ll think of her and remind myself, “I am effing fabulous” and then I’ll throw on 60 more bracelets and statement earrings before I head out the door. Your are wiser, stronger and more confident than you’ve ever been and midlife is the time for you to get your glow on.

quote for women, inspirational quote, in order for you to insult me I would first have to value your opinion from the lifestyle blog, soufflesandsawdust.com

4 LOOK CHIC ON A BUDGET

Yes you can! If you’ve been surfing instagram and have run across all of the midlife, over-50 “influencers” who feel compelled to model everything in their closet for you, you know that barely a day goes by without one of them telling you to “SHOP THE NORDSTROM (insert time of year) SALE!!”. Honey, you do not have to spend a ton of cash to look fabulous. Why? Because, second-hand clothes. What?! Yes, thrifting is a HUGE thing now, especially with all the talk about global warming. I have tons of designer clothes in my closet and I paid less that $25 for every item of clothing I own. How? There are only 2 places I shop, one probably shocking, the other probably new to you; Goodwill and Thred-UP. I happen to live near an amazing Goodwill in a weekend resort town and I can score crazy items like Prada boots and Prabal Gurung skirts for about 12 bucks. Thred-Up is an on-line thrift store with amazing deals and several ways to purchase (pay now, goody box, bid on clothing). If you use my link you’ll get $10 off your first purchase. If you are seriously into luxury designer products, you can find amazing new and vintage clothes, shoes, bags, etc., at TheRealReal and get $25 of when you subscribe.

5 PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Practicing gratitude is good for your mind and your soul, plus it makes you a nicer person to be around. When you are grateful, you are in the present. When you are thankful for what you have, you will attract more of what you want. Gratitude blocks toxic emotions such as envy, resentment and regret which can destroy our happiness. Seek out like-minded women and surround yourself with friends who celebrate the good and support you through the not-so-good. Having an open heart and sharing it with others helps all of us be our best selves.

Here is a very simple way to start practicing gratitude:

how to practice gratitude daily from the lifestyle blog soufflesandsawdust.com

6 EXERCISE

Every day, even if it’s a short walk. Building muscles increases metabolism, burns fat and strengthens bones. Yoga and pilates promote flexibility. Exercising helps me to relieve stress and the bonus is, you’ll be too exhausted to want to kill anybody during a hot flash. If you don’t want to join a gym, there are other ways to get fit without weights and in the comfort of your own home. These are my favorites:

Daily Burn - Amazing exercise videos for any fitness level and a new workout is published every day. Yoga, Barre, Pilates, Kick-Boxing, you name it. Try it free for 30 days.

Get Healthy U - sign-up for her newsletter and receive free exercise videos in your inbox and try several of her free challenges (I did the 28-Day Push-Up Challenge). Upgrade to a subscription when you’re ready.

7 EAT WELL BECAUSE YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Eat real foods 24/7 which means don’t eat food that is packaged or is handed to you through a window - real food doesn’t have lablels! Processed food does terrible things to your body and to your health especially if you are in the throws of The Big M when nutrition should be a major focus for regulating your nearly non-existent metabolism and your, ahem, body functions . Drink at least 2 quarts of water daily (8 cups) and stick with meat, fish, veggies and fruit. You can get food inspiration from my my blog where you’ll find healthy recipes from simple weeknights to weekend cook-ups and an occasional splurge in between. Hate to cook? Refer back to #1 and learn to cook! If you don’t mind cooking but hate grocery shopping, try one of the dozens of meal delivery services. I recommend Hello Fresh because they are the most affordable and they have an extensive menu to select from.

salmon from the lifestyle blog, soufflesandsawdust.com

8 MOISTURIZE. EVERYTHING. EVERYDAY.

The older we get, the more our skin loses elasticity (collagen) and moisture. The trick here is to use only natural ingredients. Why? Because, new friend, everything you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream. Think about it! When you slather on under eye wrinkle cream, where does it go? The wrinkles are still there, that’s for sure! Most of the skin care products that claim to help you look 10 years younger contain so many chemicals it won’t matter what you look like if you’re dead. My skincare rule is: if it’s not something I can put into my body (eat), it’s not something I want on my body. Below is a list of products I use on my face and body every day (affiliate links):

  1. Organic Aloe Vera Gel: I apply it every morning after I wash my face. Read the label and description for the benefits of aloe vera gel - it’s not just for sunburns

  2. Sweet almond oil: body oil and hair oil in the Summer

  3. Jojoba oil: face, body and hair oil in the Summer

  4. Castor oil: Not just for cleaning out your colon! It’s fantastic on aging skin AND it helps regrow hair. I can attest to this because I put it on my thinning eyebrows and the ends are growing back! I use it on my face in the Winter or anytime I’m feeling particularly dry and it absorbs nicely so I’m able to apply makeup over it (when I wear makeup). Pat it on your face and you might find you have a nice dewy look and won’t want to apply foundation! I don’t recommend it for body use because it is very thick and hard to spread without pulling on your skin. Naturally fragrance free.

  5. African Ivory Shea Butter: I use it exclusively in the Winter and it’s the end-all-be-all for turning dry, scratchy, crackling skin (feet and elbows, particularly) smooth and soft. Also great for conditioning hair. Not recommended for facial use, it’s too oily and thick. Naturally fragrance free.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you have anything to add, please let me know your thoughts in the comments sections below.

Tah, Beauties!

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