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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Big 4-0!

Okay, first off, I must apologize for almost 2 months since my last post.  It was summer.  There were vacations and children involved.  Enough said.

Now on to the present-I am turning 40 this Thursday! Yep, the big 4-0.  I have a week of family and friend celebrations ahead, and I plan on enjoying each and every one! I know a lot of people-men and women-really freak out about this milestone.  I gotta say, I'm pretty stoked! Maybe it's because I am a naturally optimistic person, or maybe I'm in denial, or who knows, but I am genuinely looking forward to a new decade in my life.  I mean the alternative to being older is, well, pushing up flowers, if you get my meaning, and I am not so keen on that particular idea.

So, instead of my usual outfit of the day sort of thing, I've decided to share my thoughts on getting older, turning 40, and basically the realization that I have firmly moved out of young adulthood and entered middle age.  Here goes:

Confidence:  At 40, I am not eligible (nor was it ever really in my personality) to play the ingenue. I am free to be the confident, sexy person I am without coming across as trying too hard.  I know my own body and can dress it appropriately.  I can walk with my shoulders back, my chin held high, and a swing in my hips and not care what people think-good, bad or otherwise. I love the power that confidence and sexuality gives me.

Body Image:  Yes, my body has changed over the years.  I am lucky (or active enough) that my body shape and type has not changed in ways that I find troubling.  While miniskirts may not look so great on my legs as they used to, a tight pencil skirt looks fabulous. Showing a little cleavage, I used to think, was reserved for bustier women, but now I find that my smaller chest is less, shall we say, southward bound than my chesty counterparts and I find myself being a bit more daring than I used to be (see Confidence above). That does not mean that I am looking down my nose at my fellow women who have felt the effects of gravity-heck no! I guess what I am trying to say is, "Roll with it." Things change.  So what? Love your body.  It is beautiful just like it is.  Don't bemoan the fact that you don't look like you did at 20.  Seriously, did you wish you could look 12 again when you were 25? I think not.  So stop hating yourself for getting older.  We all get older.  Embrace it.

Wrinkles: Oh, yeah, I've got 'em.  Do I love each and every one of them? Not always.  I love that I have crinkles around my eyes from smiling so much.  I love that my dimple on one side has become a permanent crinkle on that cheek for the same reason. The lines on my forehead, they just mean I am an animated and expressive person.  Just the kind of woman I like to hang out with, so those are cool too. The furrow of my brow-you know the one-the one you get from being cross or worried or angry.  Well, that one I don't love that one a lot, but I keep it.  Why? First of all, I've earned it.  From caring about those I love.  From standing up and arguing when I know I'm right.  From being human.  Second of all, botox and juvederm and all that crap makes you look like a freak.  There.  I've said it. I can't stand watching Hollywood films with all those women with paralyzed faces.  What's more, I don't want to be one of them.

Relationships: At 40, a woman may be happily married, in a loveless marriage and sticking out for the kids, divorced, happily single or in a long term relationship with a significant partner.  I think that's one of the interesting aspects of women my age, they each bring a different perspective to the table.  I am one of those that falls squarely into the happily married category.  Yes, marriage can be tough, but everything worthwhile is.  I have the love of a wonderful man who thinks I am just as smart and beautiful as the day we met.  Is that my good luck? Maybe.  But, it doesn't hurt that we both still care how we look for the other.  Never underestimate the power of killer lingerie and great outfit! Plus, our chemistry in the kitchen-ooh la la! I look forward to what the next 40 years will bring for us.

Okay, so I'll get off my soap box and talk about food.  And, I promise more frequent posts and the normal outfit ideas next time!

On the menu tonight-Roast Chicken Salad with Peaches, Chevre and Pecans with The World's Best Fudgy Brownies for dessert. Yum!

Image courtesy of Becky Luigart-Stayner

With peaches still in season, I couldn't pass up this easy, peasy salad! The tang of chevre 

pairs so well with the greens and the crunch of the pecans.


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 2 cups sliced peeled peaches
  • 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • (5-ounce) package gourmet salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese


  • 1. Combine first 8 ingredients; stir with a whisk.
  • 2. Combine chicken and remaining ingredients except cheese in a large bowl. Add vinegar mixture; toss gently. Sprinkle with cheese.
See? Told you it was a breeze!

This recipe is found on the bag of King Arthur All Purpose Flour.  Hands down the best brownies ever!


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan
  • In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
    While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
    Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
    Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
    Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.
    Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.
    Enjoy, my lovelies-cheers!


  1. hello there! i'm so pleased to have stumbled acroos ur lovely blog today... Wish you a very very happy 40th! I wish everyone had the optimism and joie de vivre that you exude... life would be so much easier! I almost always get depressed on my birthdays and am filled with a sense of under-achievement :( but reading your post has lifted my spirits :D
    keep blogging, keep cooking and don't ever hang up the stilettos! :)

  2. Hi, Swati! Glad you enjoyed my post, and thanks so much for the birthday wishes. Just knowing I lifted your spirits a bit has made my day even better. Keep coming back to the blog and let me know what you think! Oh, and today's stilettos? Black patent leather 5" with a royal blue wiggle dress. Cheers!