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5 New Instagram Purchases for Women of a Certain Age

Note: This is the second in a post series about online shopping for women of a certain age. If you haven’t already, read the first post, you can do so here.

I recently made 5 new Instagram purchases and I am a woman of a certain age who finds using Instagram a key resource. My goals differ drastically from the Gen X Influencers who are posting all day long. I am not trying to impress anyone, build an audience or monetize it. I just love finding alternative resources and lifestyle information that is otherwise unavailable to me. You could say it’s my own version of QVC.

So if you are always looking for fresh new style, health and wellness information or home services resources take a look at these 5 and I am sure you will find at least one you will want to get yourself.

Recent Purchases

Style

For instance, I love following Kate Middleton (@kate.middleton.official) and Meghan Markle (@sussexroyal_hm) on Instagram to get style inspiration. All the articles about them detail their apparel and accessories in the fine print. Beyond the crown jewels and fascinators, they sport some affordable earrings, footwear, pants, and sneakers.

I noticed more than once they wore accessories from a British store called Mark & Graham @markandgraham OR ww.markandgraham.com — a store that sells everything from home furnishings and accessories to jewelry, gifts, and my favorite…handbags

After scouring many sites for a new tote for the fall season, made of quality leather, with the right type of handle, and reasonably priced, I discovered the Elisabetta Slouch bag on Marck and Graham for $398, plus $12.50 for monogramming. It comes in many colors, but I love how a brown bag weathers over time. You can shop for it here.

I was also motivated to purchase a new wallet to go with my new bag – I mean what’s the use of pulling out an old, beat-up wallet from a gorgeous new bag? So, also from Mark and Graham, I purchased their Leather Zipper wallet in the large size for $34.99. You can shop for it here.

Next on my list for my fall transition was changing up my accessories. Earrings are probably one of the easiest, most convenient, and cost-effective ways to update my style (besides a new lip color). Add a pair of super big hoops and believe me your overall look will be years younger.

Pearls are all the rage right now from Baroque to Cultured. Don’t picture Barbara Bush in her 3 strand choker. Instead, now it is all about mixing and maxing with gold and gem stones big and small. To capitalize on this trend I made 2 purchases from Instagram vendors that I am really happy with.

Nura Small Pearl Pendant Charm from Monica Vinader@monicavinander #monicavinander http://www.monicavinander.com. Price $95.

Crystal Ball Drop Earrings at Hot Tomato in Aqua Marine (but come in a bunch of colors). @hugetomato #hugeomato http://www.hugetomato.com. On sale now for $46.00

Me in my new jewels. I feel like I don’t look trendy, just updated and fresh.

HOME FURNISHINGS

I am a complete devotee of all things Serena & Lilly – especially when it comes to my bedroom. Up until pretty recently, they were an online / catalog-only brand resource. Now they have a few stores.

They design and manufacture fabrics that cannot be matched by typical store brands. Warning: Their prices are high, but they run good sales. I tend to re-do my bedding style seasonally. In the winter I use the Alpine Flannel Bedding – which is on sale for 20% off here. You can follow them @serenandlilly #serenaandlilly.

As shown in the catalog

In my bedroom

Lola finds the fabric very cuddly

HOME SERVICES

Do you have bags and bags of old family videos piled in plastic bags? I have dragged them every time I move, not knowing what s to become of them. With fthe VCR becoming obsolete and the ehorbitant prices for digitizing them, I was ready to throw them out.

Surprisingly, I found an IG account for something called #IMemoriesofficial where, for an extremely affordable price, they can digitize your videos so you can play them on your laptop, TV, phone etc.

To get started, fill out the form on their site at htttps://www.imemories.com. They send you a box with packaging to send in your tapes, they digitize them and send back the originals. The videos are stored online so you can download them to your device to play over and over. We have been laughing a lot around here watching them.

Then

Now

Health & Wellness

If you like natural healing methods for treating chronic health issues like bloating, stomach aches, headaches, and more – I recommend following Anthony William – known as the Medical Medium or@medicalmedium on Instagram. He is not a physician, dietician, or formally educated health professional. Instead, he was ” born with the unique ability to converse with the Spirit of Compassion, who provides him with extraordinarily accurate health information that’s far ahead of its time. ”

Some mediums converse with the deceased – he gets inspiration to heal people. Doctors consult with him, patients swear by him and he has several best-selling books. Personally, I gave his celery juice protocol a try because I had seen celebrities talk about it and was having some acid indigestion. The protocol is simple – drink 16 oz per day on an empty stomach without any other additives (like lime, other vegetables etc). In order for its healing properties to be effective, they can not be mixed with anything else.

I have been drinking it about 3 times per week for several weeks and notice an improvement in my gut issues. He is a big believer in cleansing our bodies with natural foods and juices and breaks down their properties and how they fight disease. You can follow him @medicalmedium, #medicalmedium or on his website at https://www.medicalmedium.com/

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Sex and Marriage Over the Long Haul

What’s one of the most highly charged personal issues we are facing in our lives that we’re uncomfortable discussing? Sex and marriage over the long haul. We are all curious to know how it compares with other couples’ sex lives but it just doesn’t make great cocktail party talk.

Being married for 36 years myself, I have my own experience to draw from but have also spoken to other couples and done my own research as well. So let’s dig in.

One thing we all agree on is that the initial infatuation and discovery phase at the beginning of a relationship naturally wains over time. Instead of feeling like a failure trying to regain it, it is better to understand the next phase, how it affects our bodies, and offer remedies. so you can continue to enjoy satisfying sex. You may find the next phase provides greater pleasure and more satisfying intimacies t. To understand these let’s first look at the biology of sex.

The Facts About Your Brain on Sex

Biologically, humans want and need to have sex. It’s not in your head – the brain is very involved in the various stages of it. Here are the three main stages your brain goes through.

Having Maintenance Sex is Healthy

After years of having sex with the same partner (i.e. the long haul), sometimes you have sex just to please them. We’ve all been there and it is officially called Maintenance Sex. According to Dr. Brian Jory – a relationship psychologist, maintenance sex essentially is being “not really in the mood but let’s do it anyway,” sex. All good relationships require compromise and usually, this one ends up satisfying both people. He says it’s a good thing because maintenance sex is essential to the success of a long-term relationship for three reasons;

  • The biggest problem for most couples is getting in the mood to have sex. However, couples say that although they were reluctant at first, once they made the plunge to have sex it was a positive experience. No one regrets having done it and likely enjoy the outcome.
  • Most couples are not synced in their sex drive. So long as both parties are wholly on board, indulging one partner in a romp when one isn’t initially in the mood can be beneficial.
  • Better communication about sex to ensure each partner is aware of how the other feels, their preferences and dislikes improves satisfaction. In other words, tell your partner what feels good.

Biological Changes Affect Sex As You Age

So now we know sex and marriage over the long haul changes. The initial volume of sex decreases, it’s not in your head and you need to be open to having it even when you’re not in the mood.

Another challenge to spontaneous and passionate sex comes with life stage changes such as having kids, increased job stress and physical changes in the body. For women, the onset of Menopause is a tough curveball that comes with all sorts of side effects.

Because women’s estrogen levels drop at this stage it causes vaginal dryness and can make penetration quite painful. There are various methods to get around this condition including natural supplements, hormone replacement therapy, lubricants, and the insertable”Estring.” Read about the benefits of Estring here. Figuring out which one is best for you and your partner takes some time and experimentation.

Simultaneously, men’s testosterone levels decrease with age and their sex drive as a result. The penis doesn’t get hard as often and men have a harder time maintaining an erection. Viagra has helped this problem immeasurably. But again, men need to take it at least a half-hour before having sex – also killing spontaneity.

Sex and Marriage Over the Long Haul Can Be Extremely Satisfying

A sexless marriage is defined as having sex less than once per month. It’s an easy pattern to fall into because of the above-described biological challenges.

Getting a bit creative with the type of sex one has, helps to overcome these challenges. Sex doesn’t only include intercourse.

As a couple, open communication to redefine what your sex life looks like will help you overcome the above-described challenges. For example, oral sex and mutual masturbation can be extremely sexy and satisfying. Using objects like vibrators and butt plugs can be quite stimulating as well. Hi-tech vibrators for men and women use heat and motion to increase blood flow to the sexual organs heightening stimulation and orgasm. There is a wide variety of them and you can see some featured here.

It can’t be emphasized enough that couples (though somewhat embarrassing) need to openly discuss their options, fantasies, likes, and dislikes in order to keep sex apriority in a marriage over the long haul.

Most relationship experts agree and my own experience is that if you are in a loving (marriage/partnership) for many years, while the volume of sex decreases over time, love, trust, intimacy, and companionship increase. These bonds are profoundly satisfying to the human psyche, reduce stress, and improve health. And, with a little creativity and effort, you can also enjoy a healthy, extremely satisfying sex life that you may experience as equally arousing as when you first met.

Featured

My Top 5 Online Shopping Resources for Women of A Certain Age

Listen Up Ladies of a Certain Age – online shopping is not just for Millenials. I have spent lots of time researching and testing various sites, and honed down those that have great products, free shipping (when possible) and good return policies. So now I buy everything I need online. From books, household products, apparel, cosmetics and jewelry to furniture and accessories.

Why the change from in-store to online? It saves me time, is cost effective and opens up new resources and brands that don’t necessarily have retail outlets. The change was inspired by my change in preferred social media platforms.

I was a devout Facebook user until I got tired of my feed updating me about people’s personal lives who I was barely acquainted with. I was simultaneously playing around with Instagram and made the switch when I saw how much more relevant I could make the content.

While I still see status updates from real friends, I follow topics of interest like style, design, jewelry, news outlets and very targeted celebrities. The result is a daily feed that is inspiring incorporating loads of ideas and brands I wasn’t aware of. I like to support those products and services that have good corporate principles including paying a fair wage to their workers, prioritize sustainability, are owned by women and philanthropic. These benchmarks really drive my purchases. As a woman of a certain age, I like to spend my hard earned money where I believe it’s making a difference and on companies with policies aligned with my own values.

If you find online shopping overwhelming you are in for a real treat as I showcase some of the e-tailers I order from over and over (I am not receiving any compensation, discounts or gifts from any brands listed). This is just me sharing my list of my top 5 favorites – but if you follow me on Instagram @amysandelmanharris you can discover more as I reveal my latest purchases. Keep in mind I have very specific tastes in fashion and interior design that can be best described as “classics with a modern edge.”

My Top 5 Online Shopping Resources

  • Thrive Causemetics – not only are their products vegan and cruelty free, but every time a product is purchased the company makes a donation to an organization that helps women thrive. They have raised a lot of money and support over 200 organizations. Most importantly their products are great and not available in-store. I love their Eye Brighteners (I have them in 4 colors), their Buildable CC Cream with SPF 35, and eye shadows. #thrivecausemetics, @thrivecausmetics

Website https://thrivecausemetics.com/ Instagram – @thrivecausemetics Hashtag – #thrivecausemetics

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My Collection of Thrive Cosmetics

Top 3 Apparel Sites for Quality Basics

  • Everlane – offers great quality and extremely well-priced apparel and accessories. They now have a few stores, but are mostly an online e-tailer. They have limited products that sell out quickly and run great sales. I just bought the shorts below in 2 colors. They have an elastic waist, a flat front with pockets and long enough to cover the high thigh area (if you know what I mean).

Website https://www.everlane.com Instagram – @everlane Hashtag – #everlane

I Bought Them in Two Colors

  • AYR – stands for All Year Round. It is a favorite pick by Oprah and is more expensive than Everlane, but offers higher quality fabrics. I bought the two long sleeve T shirts pictured below and unlike most, they are long enough to tuck in or wear over pants or shorts. Also, finishing details are excellent like the neckline which is perfect.

Websiteayr.com Instagram – @ayr Hashtag – #ayr

Modeling My Two New Shirts from AYR

  • Levis – yes they make styles to suit our age group. Like most of us, I grew up wearing Levis and still do since they offer so many variations of styles, fabrics and colors. The best part is they have customizable options for length, waist and leg opening (straight, skinny, wide) so you are sure to find the perfect fit. Also – its the best value around. Prices vary between $59 – $100 – less than half the price of designer jeans.

Website – levis.com Instagram – @levis Hashtag – #levis

My Collection of Levis

  • Furniture – Interior Define – they also have some stores but are mostly an online e-tailer. I bought a couch during the pandemic when no stores were open. I was able to customize the width, length, configuration (chaise on the left versus on the right), legs (shape and material) and fabric. Because each piece is custom made to fit customer’s individual needs it takes 10 -12 weeks for the order to arrive – but well worth it.

Websiteinteriordefine.com Instagram – @interiordefine Hashtag – #interiordefine

My Interior Define Sectional

I hope you find these resources as valuable as I do. If you have questions or need help let me know. Stay tuned for new additions to my list of E-Tail Besties for Women of a Certain Age.

Recent Blog Posts

Getting Bullied by a One-Percenter is Terrifying…especially when it’s your own brother.

People would tell you I am a strong, confident woman who doesn’t scare easily. I have been financially independent since the age of sixteen, paid my way through college, navigated an illustrious career in magazine publishing, have a 401K, a sizeable pension, have been happily married to the same man for 35 years, and have two capable adult children. In short, I’m smart, responsible and no wilting flower.

I have a slightly older brother (one of two) who has always treated me disrespectfully. I barely ever see or communicate with him except for family gatherings. However, our mother died almost a year ago and we need to settle her small estate. In essence, we have been forced into an on-going relationship until the matter is settled. And it has been terrifying to deal with him.

His dominating personality can be quite overwhelming and he has always tried to control me with his quick anger since we were young.

Our worlds couldn’t be further apart, nor the values we hold dear. He is the ultimate Wall Street one percenter and his lifestyle is a true cliche. In his late fifties he left his first wife and two teenage children (who he neither sees or talks to) for a much younger woman and proceeded to have two more children. He is one of those guys you see at the playground and wonder, “is he the father or the grandfather?”

He lives in Manhattan on Park Avenue in a huge apartment, summers at his house in East Hampton and in Capri, Italy, has a condo in Aspen, and spends New Years in St. Barths. It’s the playbook a lot of one percenters ascribe to.

I call him a millionaire, but he could very well be a billionaire. Either way, all of his financial success makes him an impossible human being to talk to. He is self-righteous, brags about his gobs of money, and constantly says it’s too bad that my husband and I didn’t make it according to his standards.

It’s such a funny dynamic to me because I have more than I ever dreamed of. I view my success based on being in a happy marriage and having a tight nuclear family. Financially, we are secure and still have more than most; just not compared to a one percenter.

I give credit where it’s due because he is a completely self made man. Not a very good student, he was able to hit his stride on Wall Street because he always had an innate knack for making a buck.

However, none of these accomplishments entitle him to treat people so poorly. We have been trying to settle the estate for almost 12 months and he consistently lies, misleads, and subverts the process. And when I catch him and repeat the last conversation we had, he goes into a rage and says outrageous and antagonistic things I can’t repeat here.

Jonathan Sandelman CEO of Ayr Wellness

For someone supposedly “successful” why is he filled with so much anger? I don’t think he is used to having his word challenged — especially not by a woman. He calls me “hysterical” each time I catch him in another lie. Hysteria has historically been a word used by misogynists to keep women down. Like most power-hungry Wall Streeters, there’s no doubt he is a sexist.

Instead of giving in and giving up, I hired an attorney and will continue to fight for what is rightfully mine. I don’t even care about the money -it’s not going to change my lifestyle, but I just can’t let his bullying tactics succeed.

He is now the President and CEO of a publicly-traded company (Ayr Wellness, Inc.). As a public figure beholden to his stockholders, you would think he could keep his behavior in check. But it just goes to show how out of control he really is and maybe, just maybe, his millions aren’t buying him the happiness he had hoped.

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I Had to Pinch Myself More Than Once

In the mid-1980s I was a senior at New York University, burning with ambition and happily anticipating the launch of my career. Wall Street was bullish setting new S&P records and I wanted my piece of the pie — or, so I thought.

I took full advantage of the university’s on-campus recruiting program. I must have interviewed at 15 different investment firms hoping to secure a spot in one of their rigorous training programs and learn the secret sauce to accumulating real wealth.

Without a legacy, an Ivy League education or wealthy family and friends, I found it challenging to get an offer and finally accepted one in the Surety Bond training program at Chubb Insurance Company. Clearly, not my first choice.

After suffering through two and a half years of performing financial analysis on construction companies, I was done. I realized that making gobs of money wasn’t inspiring me. But, what would I do instead?

As I was feeling overwhelmed and confused about my next career move, I bumped into my best friend’s sister near my apartment at the Hoboken train station. I told her about my situation and she suggested grabbing a cup of coffee nearby.

After listening to my tale of woe, her eyes widened and a smile dipped across her face, “I have the perfect solution.” And then she said two words I never heard put together before. Advertising Sales. In my mind, you either pursued a career in Advertising or one in Sales. I didn’t know about Ad Sales from any of my fellow students, mentors, professors and I had done a ton of research.

She explained that Ad Sales is a career in which you sell advertising inventory such as pages in a magazine to companies who want to reach their particular audience with their products.

She gave me an example; “lets say you work at Vogue magazine and Chanel was one of your accounts. Your goal was to get them to take an ad. But, Chanel was considering going into In Style instead. My job would be to create and deliver a presentation to the advertiser underscoring how Vogue made more sense for reaching Chanel’s potential customers than In Style. I would compare and contrast each magazine’s editorial product and levy a promotional campaign on top.”

After she finished her explanation, she asked, how does that sound? I thought, “let’s see a well-paying career that drew on my interests in sales, advertising, publishing, beauty and fashion?” I said I was sold and wanted to get started at once finding a job. So, I disposed of my Brooks Brothers suits and floppy bow ties, bought chic clothes and accessories and off I went.

I soon learned that Ad Sales is a competitive career choice and without prior ad sales experience, the publishing companies weren’t interested in interviewing me. I was totally frustrated, but I love a good challenge and formed a plan of attack. I sent out resumes with creative cover letters personalized to each magazine and literally knocked on doors. The door-knocking got me my first job at a small magazine titled TWA Ambassador (the free magazine placed in seat pockets on airlines).

After working hard for two years developing relationships with media buyers at ad agencies, I was now known in the industry and had the necessary experience the big companies required. I got a call for an interview with Conde Nast – the esteemed publisher of such prestigious titles as Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Glamour and Mademoiselle. It took 6 rounds of interviews including delivering a presentation to win them over. And this is where my story of pinching myself for the first time begins.

I got a position with Mademoiselle — a fashion magazine targeted to young women age 18-34. Being a 26 year old at the time, it meant I was in their demographic and could easily relate to the editorial product, making it an easy sell.

Working in a glossy office tower, with smart and gorgeous men and women, my work life was “Sex in the City” meets “The Devil Wears Prada.” Soon I was having lunch at the Four Seasons in the Grill Room with my publisher and presidents of global cosmetic companies. Pinch me again.

We had no limits on our expense accounts and could do whatever it took to get the business. We wined and dined our clients, took them for spa dates, created promotional programs and, attended black-tie industry galas. Once a year we went on extravagant sales meetings in luxurious destinations. We skied the Alps in Austria and sunbathed in the Bahamas and on Turks and Caicos. Pinch me a third time.

I excelled at sales and soared through the ranks of the magazine. I loved everything about my job so much it didn’t feel like work. My mentor was a charming power broker that could sell ice to Eskimos. He was such a big personality he became the inspiration for the character Mr. Big in the series “Sex and the City.”

I spent eight years at Conde Nast between Madmoiselle and Conde Nast Traveler and loved every minute of it. I was offered more money and eventually left and worked for a competing mega-media company – but they didn’t compare. So I returned to Conde Nast for another ten years.

Toward the end of the 1990s, the web was ramping up and by the mid-2000s magazines were closing left and right, budgets were cut, staffs reduced and the glamorous lifestyle of an ad sales exec was replaced with tons of pressure and tension.

We never imagined it would end with such a crash. When my colleagues and I get together now we laugh at the way we were doing business back then. It sounds irresponsible, but we were making money hand over fist. It was part of an era in a certain industry, at a particular time when magazine publishing was the “It” business. I imagine it’s what it’s like in Silicon Valley now.

About 4 career changes later I am so happy to have experienced those years. Nothing I have done since even slightly compares. My memories of those high times make me laugh and yes pinch myself that it actually happened

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How Do You Mourn a Mean Mom?

There’s a Lot of Conflict When You Mourn a Mean Mom

My mother was so mean, she actually died on Mother’s Day. Now, instead of celebrating this annual fun day with my kids, it will be always be a sad day of remembrance. It was just like her to stick it to me; even in death.

I wish, I didn’t feel this way – but the truth is some moms – well they just weren’t meant to be moms. And my mom was a mean mom to three kids. She should have stopped after one, but like all her life decisions she was a victim of circumstance. Somehow, she mysteriously gave birth to 3 kids in four years without planning one pregnancy.

To hear her tell it, she had an incredible childhood steeped in wealth, family and friends. While most families were suffering after the Depression, my mother’s family was flourishing with 2 homes and even a Cadillac. But upon college graduation she met and married my physically abusive father – a mistake she would live to regret the rest of her life and never recover from.

She suffered from bouts of clinical depression, but never would admit it and therefore never sought effective treatment. When she was depressed she was even meaner. She pushed people away and took to her bed saying she was sick with one thing or another. If I spoke with her by phone during these episodes, she would start fights with me, tell me I am making her sick and hang up the phone on me.

She was extremely insecure and pit me and my siblings against each other. If she was mad at one of us for any reason we were shut out at the family dinner table. No one could could look you in the eye or speak to you. It was humiliating. This could go on night after night until you eventually apologized to her – even though you had done nothing particularly egregious. Since we never knew who might be next we maintained distant relationships with each other and today we are three middle aged adults that have no relationship with each other at all. I’m talking about the “not speaking for years” kind of relationship.

When she wasn’t depressed she could be lots of fun to be with, but I never could be myself since she never said she was sorry or took any responsibility for her abusive tendencies when she was depressed. It’s like she expected everyone to just forget and move on. You just never knew what personality you were getting when you saw or spoke with her.

After 10 years of psychotherapy and spending close to $100,000, I was able to create a completely different family dynamic with my husband and two kids. My brothers teased and made fun of me for seeking treatment, and to no surprise they reproduced the drama they grew up with. Each have been divorced and re-married and have kids they don’t speak with.

Because I am an honest, hard working, happily married woman it made my relationship with her even more problematic. Because she was such a narcissist my happy marriage, in her mind, meant I was less attentive to her. Along with her depression came feelings of self pity and hypochondria. She wanted everyone to feel sorry for her and it was alienating.

Through it all I included her in all of our family holidays and celebrations for more than 20 years and made sure she felt welcomed. My brothers didn’t include her in anything. I felt bad for her and it gave her pleasure to spend time with 2 of her 6 grandchildren. Then, towards the end of her life she reconciled with my middle brother who lived only a few blocks away from her and hadn’t communicated with her in over 10 years (he blamed the ex-wife). His children really never knew her.

In my heart I knew that their reconciliation meant bad things for she and I. She only had room to love us one at a time and he was financially supporting her. Suddenly, he was all she spoke about and our conversations and interactions got far more contentious. In the last two years of her life she was so abusive to me, I only saw and spoke to her several times.

So, how do I mourn the person who gave me life but made it miserable at the same time? No one talks about how to feel when someone you feel so conflicted about dies. I haven’t shed a tear and I am a pretty emotional person. When my dog Romeo died unexpectedly four years ago, I was a wreck.

I guess, there’s no simple answer, but just try and remember some good times and try to forgive her irrational and hurtful behavior. It’s only been only 6 months since she passed, so we’ll see how time heals.

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Amy Sandelman Harris

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