Thursday, September 29, 2011

Becoming Beauty-full

Warm water ran slowly
over my hands as I washed
dishes and dreamily 
took in the view outside.
Blustery winds rattled
the windows, leaves
hurtling down against
a crazy-quilt backdrop
of yellows, reds, oranges
and greens.

The flowers in my planter
boxes, bent by the winds,
bobbed and swayed as if to say,

Hey, what happened
to summer? and 
Heck, I wasn't expecting this!

Sort of like growing older.

When you are over 40,
you are technically moving
into the autumn years of your 
life, if you think about it.
{Heck, what happened
to summer?}

{Heck, I wasn't expecting
this...or this....or this!}

And while we consider
leaves to be beautiful when
they are changing colors,
drying up and blowing away,

in human beings


Which is why the beauty 
marketplace is flooded with
every anti-aging product
imaginable.  We want to
continue seeing our outside
beauty in a half-full, rather
than a half-empty sort of way.

I ordered the latest catalog recently
  from the British company Toast.
It came last week and while waiting 
in the car line at school, I flipped 
through it, savoring all the yummy 
fall wools and tweeds.

I turned page 51 and stopped
in my tracks.  A model stared
back who was entirely different
than any woman I had seen in
catalogs here in the USA.  I
found myself grinning from ear
to ear.....

For the first time I could picture my
 older self in the future, daring
to love every wrinkle, every gray or
 white hair and staying in step with
fashion; not fading away like last
season's autumn leaves if I pass 
on Botox, plastic surgery, etc.

I got varied reactions from others
when I shared this picture.  Sadly,
like me, most had to do a double-take;
 that's how rarely we see a model of
this age.  One didn't like her long hair
and others weren't comfortable with 
the natural photography or her
thoroughly modern look.

Me?  I want to hug her.  I want to
hug Toast, too, for having the vision 
to see her as beauty-full and not

One of my favorite models in the U.S.
started modeling when she was discovered
at age 49.  She is now 60 and makes
up to $25,000 per day for her work.  
Her name is Cindy Joseph and you may
recognize her from numerous
print and television advertisements.

This former make-up artist has her
own line of cosmetics which she created
with the less is more philosophy, believing
that a lighter touch is more enhancing 
 as women get older.

She also has a blog, which I found to

be inspiring, comforting and upbeat.

Aging is really just another word for
living.  Life continues to be a magical
and fascinating adventure.  My passion,
my feelings, and all that I am are intact
and functioning.  The concept that aging
is becoming less in some way is really the
antithesis of what happens.  One becomes
 more and more as life continues.

~ Cindy Joseph

So, as autumn blows both literally and
figuratively into my life, I am making a
conscious decision to celebrate the 
physical loveliness of my generation 
and those who started the journey 
before me, affirming and living
Cindy's positive manifesto.

Will you join me,


Linking to


Jill said...

How inspiring! I LOVE that model's look, she is rocking her modern wardrobe. I love the long grey hair! And I completely share your vision for growing into the autumn of our lives!

Sylvia said...

Oh , I am smiling because it seems that you and I were on the same wavelength with the autumn posts ... I love every single word written here ...and these beautiful women . I am with you , Beauty - Full !

Valerie@DesignCaller said...

Bravo, bravo, bravo, bravo AND BRAVO! I am just (I will try not to gush like a middle-schooler here)so thrilled with this post! I had a traumatic cell phone experience today: I looked down at my phone, which was in my lap...the camera was on, showing a TERRIBLY good, detailed view of my NECK. Augh! So your post, which I just happened upon tonight, is EXACTLY what I needed. Awesome. Thank you.

Felicity said...

I sure will and I'm heading over to knock on Cindy's door now.

Jenny Schouten Short said...

You're on the right track. Less is more as you get older. Zest/full living and a spirit that is in tune with life count for a lot= countenance. Great post thinks this 67 year old...xo Jenny

Susan T said...

Oh indeed I will. I often ponder about how much I thought I knew in my 20's and how much I think I know now, the gap widens as each year passes. I think both of the models in your photo's are stunning. One day we will realise that the wisdom of old age is often hard won and very precious.The cult of youth needs to shift a gear. The beauty of youth is transitory. Real joy lies in enjoying the journey, not just one of the pitstops.

Marie said...

Beauty is only skin deep my mother always said. What's on the inside is so much more important than anything we see on the outside. Pretty is often a harsh deception hiding something that is empty and meaningless. I am growing old gracefully. I refuse to dye my hair. I think I am now moving from the autumn and getting ready for winter . . . each day is a precious gift. xxoo

Deborah said...

Im with you all the way Suzanne!!
How beautiful this post it!

Deborah xoxoox

Cindy said...

lucky for us that we live a much younger life than our grandparents had. at least i do....i don't think i look (or act) like a typical grandma....

i love cindy's quote too!!

xo, cindy

traci said...

i still feel like it's summer though.

i love that model. she is so, so pretty. i will have to check out her blog.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Lovely, and perfect to share as I embark on a girl's weekend with two of my best friends from high school to celebrate all of us turning 40 this year.
Good heavens, it's harder to accept those wrinkles settling in to stay than I thought it would be, but on the other hand, I love myself more today than ever, and I live more abundantly now than I ever have before.

That model Cindy Joseph radiates such a beauty!
I wonder if she is a Garnet Hill model? I always appreciate the mix of ages of their models.

Have a wonderful weekend Suzanne! Hope you are celebrating your silver anniversary with something special! xoxoL.

Mona said...

this is a great post. I too have chosen to let my hair be 'natural' and to accept the grace of aging..embracing every age is a wise thing to do..thank you for featuring these women of my generation..gray hair should be treasured not covered up...

Stuff and Nonsense said...

i adore this post
because in now have
a lovely new catalog coming to me
in the mail

and you also mentioned the gorgeous
cindy joseph who
i discovered a couple of years ago
when i decided to stop coloring my hair

going grey
has changed my perspective on beauty
in myself
and in other women

which is a good thing
since i am marking a major milestone birthday
in a couple of months



paige said...

will do!
she is stunning. can't wait to visit her blog.

i must tell you, i usually sit in my big white chair with my laptop on the ottoman in front of me & i lean over. great for my back right?
anyway, the service is better that way.
when i read your posts, i sit back & plop the laptop in my lap for those few moments.
your visits are always delightful & relaxing :)

Just a little something from Judy said...

This is an excellent post! I think Cindy is so beautiful and I also think that anyone with your personal take on aging, is beautiful! Some of the loveliest women I know are the older ones among us. Thank you for sharing Cindy's blog.

From an autumn friend:)

Anonymous said...

I have a close British friend who told me that actresses in Britain are much more real than here in the U.S. as far as their physicality goes. That is why it was interesting to hear U.S. news anchors perplexed when Britain would not allow Julia Roberts' airbrushed Lancombe add in the country. The Americans did not understand that its lack of authenticity is not respected, nor admired. Banana Republic has had older, beautiful models, as well. Super duper. ~ Alexandra

Farmgirl Paints said...

good morning girlie. i couldn't agree more. isn't it refreshing to see an older face in a magazine. the last anthro i got had a family from who knows where, but they were older and it was beautiful. love! now i'm off to check out that gorgeous woman's blog. happy weekend to ya.

Grammy said...

It took me a few more years to finally accept the inevitable. I fought a good fight, but could see it was futile. I get a kick out of the Lifestyle Lift commercial when one gal says, "I'm 70 years old, can you believe it?". She may look younger, but plastic surgery doesn't make you younger. Nice if it did. So I gave up the dye bottle and haven't looked back. Your Brother was a little upset with me for that, but I think it gave him view to his own mortality, and he didn't like it. I don't always like what I see in a passing store window or mirror (is that me?), but now I can accept that youth is in your head as well as on your face. One fades, and hopefully the other can step up and take it's place. Sounds like that's where you are. Wish I had decided to be more accepting sooner. Your beautiful smile is an outward expression of your inner beauty and always will be. I love you.

Hi, I'm Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

YES! More please!

Tricia @ A Rosy Note said...

I love their looks and their hair. I don't know if I'd be confident enough to let my grays show through though...not yet anyway. Maybe in the winter of my life ;)

Katie said...

I love this post. I turned 40 this week and so I think i was MEANT to stumble across your beautiful blog today and be encouraged and inspired by this great post. I want to hug her too. This aging gracefully thing...this live my life authentically thing...this being okay in my own not perfect, no-longer 20 yr old skin? Yes. GAME ON. blessings to you, (stopping by from teh post of the month club) katie

Joanna said...

Brilliant post, again! I have seen the British model before and loved her intelligent, sassy and strong look. As you say, well done to Toast for seeing beauty which others only see in the flush of youth.

Generally we're living longer, it really is time to embrace our longevity and accept that we want to look great too! I feel very fortunate to be living in an age just waking up to beautiful older women.


Whosyergurl said...

Suzanne, Lovely post. I just love Cindy Joseph. I first started to admire her in JJill catalog and then started seeing her in magazine ads. A wonderful magazine for women in the autumn of their life is MORE. I love it. I am 52 and am strong and vital and plan to stay that way! (oops...almost 53 come October 20th!) Know what I did to celebrate my 50th? I did the Grand Canyon! Yup! Hiked down the day before. On the morning of, in the dining room, Doug had them dim the lights and he put a candle in my pancake and told the whole dining room that we would be hiking out of the canyon that day to celebrate my 50th and then everyone sang to me! Isn't that grand? I work full time, and part time and keep up with our little farm and fly from IN to MD every chance I get to be with my first grand baby...oh, life is fun! xo, Cheryl

pretty pink tulips said...

I guess I'm technically in the autumn of my life. Gosh, that's hard to believe. But, I'm all about savoring each day and seeing someone as beautiful as Cindy (in her 60s) is so comforting and heart warming. I do wish we embraced the aging and didn't want to make everyone feel badly if they aren't getting botox. I saw Cheryl Ladd doing an interview the other day and what struck me was how beautiful she looked (she's either 50s or 60s) and she also was dressed so appropriately. Elegant, not stodgy but so perfectly. I thought...that's how I want to be. Happy with who I am and where I am.

Here's to aging gracefully!!!
xoxo Elizabeth

Olive Cooper said...

Funny enough Suzanne that I just started reading Dr. Weil's book on aging this afternoon. I need to re-do my profile pic as I have let my natural grey hair be just that-grey and I love it and am embracing who I am at age 49. ♥O

michele said...

i think these models are lovely, and i love the IDEA of aging gracefully. i don't feel less than. i just feel less than excited about looking tired and like i smoked too much (never smoked!). i resent my husband for not being a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist. howz that for evolved?



Tiffini said...

I love LOVE love this post! Yes I am screaming! I too, love her! I love all about her. Bravo to Toast and she is 60? crazy beautiful. I want to grow old like that too Suzanne...I love the way put put it..and I've warned my kids. I will be the old mom with long hair still. I cut it off once and I will not do it again...I am going to go check out her blog. Oh how we need more of this! much more! You've started it now girlie;)
I wish there were another word for thank you and grateful...but your email the other day was priceless to my aching heart.
xo happy weekend friend

Beach House Living said...

Bravo to Toast!
If only US Fashion Designers and catalogs like J.Crew would get on board with the idea over 40 doesn't mean you don't like style.

June said...

Oh I could just hug you for this post Suzanne! HUG!!!! I love Toast's choice for models and I hope other company's do the same. I love seeing a beautiful women you can tell hasn't had 'work' done. I wish I could say that I'm at the stage in my life where I can embrace my wrinkles and sagging arms, but I'm not. I find that so weird, because when I see other older women I never see those things, I only see the beauty. I can only hope for the same.
hugs from here...

Lili said...

Bravo to Toast! I bet other catalogs will follow suit too when this gets out there, what a fresh breath of autumn air! Love it. xo ~Lili

Beatnheart said...

i love your attitude and the message that it yourself...getting old is cool. my dear mom just passed away at 91 and me at 59 is behaving like a child...crying for my mommy. life goes on.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh, I totally believe in staying fabulous at any age. Dearest, you should have seen the woman I saw in Paris one day. She had to be about 80. She was walking with a cane, in HIGH HEELS, a black suit, pearls, her hair up, diamond studs..honey, she was fabulous. Let us NOT forget to put on the bling for fun, the sassy, crisp white shirt, and most of all, the smile of confidence. HECK, I am 53 and I am loving being wiser while still sporting my heels well!


Jeanie said...

I loved that photo and I love it exactly the way it was. You think you're going into autumn in your 40s, wait till you're in your 60s and you can't find a model that resembles you to save your soul! She's amazing and I will need to visit her blog to check out much more! Thank you!

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Fabulous post, Suzanne! And Bravo to Toast! There is so much to be said about everything we learn in life and all the wisdom we gain. But somehow our society in this country has decided to dismiss it. Other countries honor age and wisdom. We should honor the women who came before us because they opened doors for us that were otherwise closed. We seem to have forgotten that.
You always inspire with all your posts and it is always such a treat to read what you have to say.
I absolutely adore this post and to see these beautiful women modeling and showing the gorgeous spirit of life is intoxicating. It is our souls and spirits that choose to stay young and vibrant no matter what age we are.
Wonderful post!
Thank you, Suzanne.

Tracy said...

At 43, I've been embracing my gray for quite some time now. Women like this model inspire me, just like you Suzanne with your poetic words.

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

I let my hair go white for a while but I was worried that someone would think I'm my husbands mother. His hair is still a very natural light brown and he only has grey in his beard (which he only had briefly when he was unemployed for a while).I had gone back to a natural blonde color and he had grown a beard. I have to admit I was very uncomfortable when he had that beard. The models in your post are classic beauties. Turning 60 this year I am comfortable in my skin, but I think I'll hang onto the blonde hair for quite some time. You have once again given us food for thought. I love this post!

Anonymous said...

Another right on post and such timing! At the ripe Ol age of 56 and in a matter of months, just becoming a first time grandma (cough!) I said it. Your writings have once again been wonderful to read. I do color my hair still and only wish I could sport gray hair so beautifully as Cindy does. She is gorgeous. Kudos to Toast. How many manufacturers embrace aging and using an elderly model in a society that is all about skinny, botox and facelift as a new way of aging. Thanks once again for sharing. Loved Toast. Now off to read Cindy's blog.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

That Cindy just radiates, doesn't she? And how much to you love the name 'Toast' - just stirs up cozy feelings :) I do hope I can embrace the autumn years gracefully - they seem like a mystery to me. Wonderful Suzannish post, as always. You have such a gift! XOL

quintessence said...

I know exactly how you feel - I just can't believe it's October!! And there seem to be so many in the blogosphere celebrating the charms and style of older woman - and for good reason - we aren't getting older, we're getting better!!

koralee said...

Such an inspiring post...I have been getting Toast catalogues for a while now...LOVE them! Thank you for sharing Cindy with to take a peek at her blog...hugs for a great new week. xoxoxo

hometown girl said...

i love that they used older women. i guess you CAN have long hair over 40 something. i know i think about this all the time being 43 i want to age gracefully but the world makes it hard sometimes. i hope you are well! xo susan


My daughters introduced me to Toast (and their other favorite British catalgues.) I loved this one, too, because of the darling older model. I purposely left it at the hipster Chicago place I get my hair cut. :-). Thought is would inspire and surprise them.


Beth said...

Your posts are like poems Suzanne, I always have to re-read as I enjoy them so much.
I have seen the model with the really long hair before and thought how amazing she is.

Low Tide High Style said...

Suzanne, you are magical my friend, thank you for this amazing post, and for the great song which accompanies it!

Kat :)

Kat said...

fantastic! such a refreshing change to appreciate and accept age. there is something to be said for aging beautifully. thank goodness there are women out there who seem to have a handle on it and still look radiant without the aid of surgery or botox.

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I LOVE the look of the model. Just because we get older, doesn't mean we don't care about fashion anymore, does it? My biggest problem as I age is not so much the wrinkles (I earned every one and they're a sign of a life well lived), but it's my changing body shape. It's just not as easy to take off a couple of pounds when I feel the need as it used to be, and I still love to eat too! I've been wondering if a personal trainer would help...Many stylish, in-fashion clothes are not cut for the aging figure. But, at any rate, it's wonderful to see a stylish, with-it, classy woman "of a certain age."

Stitchfork said...

Aging is another word for living - oh so true. And I think the aging model is absolutely stunning! And my hair is not gray -- it has 'natural' highlights!
xo Cathy

Rene said...

I once told my mother that I would like to have a tummy tuck after the boys were born. She then asked, "Why would you ever want to erase signs of having those beautiful children?" Mom has no interest in cosmetic surgery and loves the character in an aging face. The lines tell a story she says. She is the most beautiful woman I know.

Elizabeth said...

Oh I love this post! I absolutely agree with you on th Autumn of your life! I am going to be 45 in a few months, and while I appreciate all of the beautiful clothing in magazines I wonder what is the demographics of these pieces? Oddly it is not for the people that have the money to spend. I love Toast and love the fact that they feature a real person in the bloom of her life! And guess what, she looks fashionable and is wearing age appropriate clothing. I would love to see a magazine for women that embrace their age and is filled with articles about real women, advertizing real clothing that real people purchase and wear.

That aside, your post is beauritul, insightful and thought provoking.

Lulu and Co. said...

I completely agree with you and want to hugToast as well!! I think she is stunning and rocks her age perfectly...there are no rules with fashion as you you age I think its you should wear what fits your spirit and by the look of her outfit she has a fantastic self confidence that comes with age!!!!!!!! Great post and love just turning 42!

Linda said...

This is such a great post, Suzanne...such strong, lovely women! For me it's more about good health- on the far side of fifty, I've come to terms with growing older and want to be healthy!

pollydove said...

I love this post! And I have always loved Cindy too! She is stunning ... can't wait to check out her blog.

Biz said...

I know I am a little way from my 40s but I too want to be like these models.
Unafraid of my age.
Comfortable in my own skin.
Embracing the life I have lived.
Age is a number, it's how you feel that is most important.
So I salute these beautiful women!
Thank you so much for sharing.