Age Mentors

Margaret Howell

How do we age well? The answer is the same whether we are venturing in a new business, or if we need help in becoming our better selves:  We find mentors, experts in our endeavors, friends who share knowledge, give direction, and most of all, inspire.  They can be writers such as Penelope Lively, Sybil Bedford, Janet Flanners, or Mavis Gallant or designer Margaret Howell who give us glimpses into the lives of women who do.

Sybil Bedford
Age Mentors: 
A 90 year old woman whose simple elegance, curiosity, and engagement inspires me. Among other activities she  raises money for scholarships for the local high school students that changes the course of their lives.

I have a friend who collects great art and has infallable taste in books, one who is an intrepid traveler and inspired me to walk the Camino in Spain. I have a friend, a writer, who is witty and insightful, a woman that for years I suspected was the real Miss Manners, the voices so similar. Another  friend  is an athlete and encouraged me to push myself to do my first Century (100 miles) bike ride. Another friend is funny and creative, a woman that lights up a room with her joy of life and generosity to others.

Huffington Post
These women  create community gardens, save old buildings, organize free children's libraries, attend community meetings, and sit on boards. They write, learn to play instruments, speak foreign languages, take classes, try sailing, change their communities with love and fight, give the best and most interesting dinner parties, and have opinions about everything. They are worldly and adventurous, smart and fun, sexy and game.

In other words, they are  damned interesting.     

These women teach one lesson:  Don't wait. Don't wait to travel, start an enterprise, create something, do something risky, show love, uncork the champagne! 

Be intrepid. 

And the way they look? They feel beautiful and confident in their own bodies, while living fully in the world: This is the definitive mark of a women of style.

Find these women. Make them your friends. Learn from them.

Now go and be inspired!


Dark Spring

Much of my reading this Spring is about fairy retales. The best are about dark tales of  transformation. We are perhaps the last generation priviledged to read the original Grimm's or Hans Christian Andersen tales without the sticky sweet varnish.  They are fairy tales laced with terror and sorrow and meaning. If we are what we read,  we will feel mysterious and knowing like Pesephone emerging from the Underworld after the winter's cold.

We'd do well to remember that Mother Nature isn't always sweet flowers and light!

The Death of Bees a first novel by Irish writer Lisa O'Donnell is a contemporary inverted fairy tale, a dark Hansel and Gretel. 

Flesh to Bone a novel by Austin writer Ire'ne Lara Silva is a reweaving of the sorrow and pain and joy and love of the world like the best of Mesoamerican mythology.    

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow is written in crisp and readable verse about an ancient race of human/dogs that is interesting, poignant, dark, and funny. It is very engaging and may make you look at fido innocently asleep at your feet in a wholly different way. 

We the Animals by Justin Torres is a wild rumpus, a darker and dangerous Where the Wild Things Are. Real life is the wild rumpus and a fantasy that never happens is the warm, comforting bedroom with dinner on a tray brought by a loving mother.

 On a table ready to read is Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi, a contemporary retelling of Snow White

 Dress Muse suggests ways to wear black in Spring. 

  • Little black dress with colorful trench or raincoat.
  • Dressy black patent slingbacks

  •  Black and white color blocked shifts. I spotted a woman wearing a dress similar to this one at a reception recently. She had a sheer pashima thrown across her shoulders, a pretty white clutch, and turquoise earrings. 

Agnes B
Dresses for a Sunday afternoon play and dinner or an elegant change from the usual pastels and creams the holidays seem to engender.