Flashes of Hot

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I love my local photographers. I especially love the one with whom I share my life. Even though I’m surrounded by them, I have never done a REAL photo shoot. My senior pics were the same as everyone else’s. We didn’t have engagement, wedding, maternity, birth, or beyond photo experiences when I was going through those times. Sooooo…..Yesterday I took the plunge and did a photo shoot with Bobby Cochran to celebrate the end of my year of menopause. It took some guts to get out there and DO it, but Bobby made the whole experience fun and relaxing!

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The response on my Facebook page has been overwhelmingly positive. I want women to have the courage to OWN their sexy sides!! One friend said, “I will when I … drop some of my dang belly and triple chins!!!!” But here’s the thing…

If you wait til the time is perfect…you’ll never do it. Do it SOON and then you can do it again when you get the way you think is perfect!

So what are you waiting for??? Call a photographer near you and tell them you are ready to take the plunge! Tell me about your experiences so I can be excited with you!!

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I’m a Butterfly!

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Last night before I fell asleep, I cried a little bit. Not a lot. Just a little. But enough. The right amount for me. Steven asked me what was wrong and I told him that it was weird knowing that when I woke up this morning, I would be done and there would be no more babies.

17892742_sI know what you’re thinking. “Kim, you’ve been saying for years that you don’t want more babies!” (And if you were, then you’d be correct!) I got over the baby fever thing right about the time I turned 40 and realized that there was too much life to live, for me to be starting over with another little in my life.

It’s not that I want another baby. It’s that I’m a woman, a mom, a doula, a female, a human with XX chromosomes, and a uterus and some estrogen, and that’s how I DO.

So this morning when I woke up,the first thing I heard was, “Good morning! Happy ‘Becoming a Butterfly Day’!”

He says that the thought occurred to him in the middle of the night that today was the day that I shed my cocoon and become a butterfly. It made me smile. A lot. I love the metaphor because it isn’t one of loss, but one of becoming something new and amazing.

So for all my beautiful butterflies out there… Do something wonderful today. Me? I’ve got a really COOL experience lined up for today, and I can’t wait to show you! If you don’t follow me on Instagram, today would be a good day to start!!

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Changing the Face of Menopause

Google “menopause photos” and this is what you get:

Menopause Google

With the exception of that beautiful woman from Bastyr.edu, those are some pretty miserable looking faces. The internet is full of tales of woe and how to medicate it. Most women dread “the change” and run straight to the doctor at the first sign of a hot flash for hormones.

I’m not here to tell you that you don’t need to go to the doctor. That’s between you and your care provider. Your decision to medicate or not…is an intensely personal one, that you will come to on your very own. All I’m asking, is that we ditch the dread and start embracing the transition to a new stage of life.

Deborah King has a great article about the Benefits of Menopause that I URGE you to read! One of my favorite parts is where she quotes the NIH report that says:

“Most physicians should not treat this as a medical condition. It is not something that has to be treated automatically.”

I know that by now you’re thinking, “Okay but what does that have to do with the title of this blog post?” Here’s what I want you to do… take a selfie of your beautiful paste and post on your favorite social media outlet with the hashtags: #gracefullygrey and #flashesofhot (instead of “hotflashes” Get it?) Or better yet… hire a photographer and schedule a photo shoot to celebrate the occasion! Nothing will make you feel more beautiful than treating yourself to a day of pampering and being adored by a professional who knows how to make you look fabulous! Face it, our generation missed out on all these cute maternity photos, so it’s time to stake our claim to the next phase of life and celebrate Pinterest-style!!

After you’ve uploaded your pics, leave me a comment so that I can go see and bask in the glow of your awesomeness! And don’t worry…my pics are coming soon! (I’d never ask you to do something that I won’t do myself!!)

 

 

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Singing for Seniors

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Bobby Cochran, Wes Griffin, and I went to Summer’s Landing retirement community and sang some songs today. Nothing will make you feel YOUNG like being around people who have more life experience than you do! We had SO MUCH FUN!! It was our first time performing as a trio and we did a lot of winging it, but the residents really enjoyed themselves and asked us to come back. :) Here are some photos from the afternoon!IMG_7798_lznIMG_7783_lznIMG_7785_lznIMG_7789_lznIMG_7791_lznIMG_7792_lzn
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Why is a “Man Crush” okay but a “Girl Crush” not?

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If you google “man crush” you get a ton of references to articles about how it’s perfectly fine for a straight man to have an admiration for another man. This post even gives you a Top 10 Guys You’re Allowed to Have a Man Crush On.

So WHY the uproar over the new song by Little Big Town? Haven’t heard it? Take a listen:

One of my favorite lines from the Washington Post article was this one:

“Maybe the real controversy is that a 6/8 ballad is on country radio.”

Because for what it is worth…it’s a great song. And one that I might be able to play on my guitar…if I’ll just get off my behind and learn how to play it. LOL

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The Liberation of Loss

If you’re lucky, you still have both of your parents. If you’re really lucky, you’ll have them both for a very long time. (Stop reading and go call them. Now. I’ll be here when you get back.)

225437_10150186042314075_7798380_nIf you’re like me though, they’re gone. Bad genes. Bad habits. Bad luck. A little bit of all of those… that sums up my losses. I miss my mom and dad. A. Lot. I miss my dad more because he hasn’t been gone as long. You can read about that here. Grab a tissue before you go. It’s a tearjerker.

Loss isn’t just about death though. Loss can be separation from a spouse…or a friend. Loss can be the time when your kids are finally out of the house and you are alone for the first time in your LIFE. Loss is a universal emotion that we all experience at some point.

Here’s the secret that no one tells you…

There is LIBERATION in loss!

It’s okay to mourn. It’s fine to grieve. You just have to make sure that you’re not getting stuck in that spot. My daddy would flip his lid if he thought that I was sitting around crying about him all the time. My ex husband is better off in my past than in my present or future. My kids are living full and exciting lives and I’m proud that they’ve been raised in such a way that they are independent and productive human beings!

There are reasons to celebrate loss. As much as I’d love to have my parents back, I’m sure glad that they’re not in pain anymore. Now that I’m not married to the person who was right for me at one very brief point in my life, I’ve found the man that I feel God meant for me to find. And OMG a house without kids around, is a house meant for loud, vigorous, night time activities!!!

A significant loss for me right now, is the loss of my fertility. Menopause. It’s a BIG freaking deal…and such a taboo subject that no one really talks about it unless they’re filling a prescription. I think it’s hitting me so hard because of my work as a doula. Constantly being surrounded by so much estrogen has made me conspicuously aware of that very special thing that makes me a woman. Even though I haven’t had that “twinge” to want a baby for several years, I have to mourn the fact that it’s no longer a possibility… for a minute.

I know it’s hard. I empathize more than you can ever imagine. I sometimes wish that I didn’t understand so much how you feel. But I’m waiting on the other side of the bridge for you. I’ll be here to give you a hug and wipe your tears. I want you to know that there is a bright side, and you’ll be okay.

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Smoky Eyes and a Face Full of Makeup

I finally did it! I uploaded my very first YouTube video about makeup! Here it is! Leave me some comments to let me know what you think!!

I split the video up into six smaller videos if you don’t have 30 minutes to kill (or you just want to see a specific part) and that playlist is available here.

Oh! And the place in New York that I mentioned was Rouge NY. If you get a chance to go by there and let them play with your face…it’s TOTALLY worth it! And the price is very reasonable!!

Here is the pic of the makeup they did for Kirin and I!

934759_10152314599499075_3869078558637033030_nThis was taken in the cab on the way to Dream Dry so forgive my hair after a day of sightseeing! Stefana took great care of me and made me beautiful as seen in this blog post. :)

Kirin looked beautiful (as usual) in this photo with our friend Jacob Demlow who went to dinner with us for his birthday!Kirin and Jacob

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Dye-ing to Go Grey

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One of the biggest challenges of deciding to Gracefully Grey is our HAIR!! If you’re like me…the stray hairs started popping up early. By the time I was done having kids (in 2000), I had a head full of them. So at 35 I did what any self respecting woman would do… I went blonde!

216992_10150153669299075_5299282_n10 years of bleach is a LOT of processing. The damage that it was doing to my hair was crazy. I cut it off a few times but…I have a lot of hair. When I cut my hair short, it sticks straight out…making it a non-option. (That’s my daughter and I before her junior prom. See how my hair is totally unmanageable??)

10446700_10152313819619075_3044535503261468969_nAs a result, I wear my hair long. I mean… really long…and usually curly. (Same daughter here, but 3 years later in NYC at Dream Dry on our way to 54 Below.) Before this trip though, was my last time getting bleach and highlights. After this trip, the lovely Cheryl Bishop Todd at Elements Salon in Opelika, changed my life forever!

We decided that if I wanted to save my hair, we were going to have to make some changes. So… we decided to dye it grey. Or more specifically…we decided to dye it silver. :)

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It took a few trips and a lot of matching, but she is a coloring genius! We my whole head the color of my roots! (Same daughter…after one of HER shows at Columbus State University.)

 April 1st 2015 will be 6 months since we have put any color on my hair at all. The toner is gone so I’m not all silvery anymore, but I also don’t have that crazy line of roots. And boy does my hair feel HEALTHY!!!

 

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I love it and I’m excited about having hair that looks beautiful and feels wonderful. And I’m also THRILLED to not have to spend all that money (and time!!) at the salon every month. Just think…with all the money that I’m saving on color, I can get blowouts done more often!!

How do you feel about your hair? Are you ready to take the plunge and embrace the grey? Let me know in the comments and show me on Instagram with #gracefullygrey!!

 

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Mostly Menopause

11048263_928161930538144_1383879103705671691_nOn March 31, 2015 it will be a whole 365 days since I have had a cycle. According to all the literature, that means that I am no longer fertile. (And I’m okay with you not telling me the stories about the people that you know who had a kid after they thought they were done thankyouverymuch!)

As a person who helps people have babies for a living…it’s a lot to take in. I have four kids who are mostly adults at this point. The baby will be 15 this year and he’s 6’4″ now, so even he “seems” like a grown up. I enjoyed being pregnant. I enjoyed labor. I enjoyed breastfeeding. I enjoyed them as babies, toddlers, children, teens, etc… Mostly though, I love them being adults. So I’m a little sad but there is NO WAY I’d want to start over. I love my time with mamas and babies, and I’m glad that I have my doula career as a way to get that fix from time to time.

Mostly though, I want you to know that this past year has not sucked…at…all. I’ve had a hot flash now and then. I’ve become more of a hermit than I was before (which let’s face it…was a challenge because I’ve always been one to stay in the house if possible). My hair and skin are a bit drier. My metabolism is a bit slower. But you know what? I haven’t had to buy tampons in a YEAR!!!! And that freaking rocks!!

So if you’re approaching that time in your life that no one wants to talk about, here’s the secret that no one wants you to know:

MENOPAUSE IS NOT A DISEASE.

There. I said it. Now you know it, too.

Sadly, most of us lack role models for menopause because our mothers had hysterectomies and never experienced natural menopause. When you search for menopause symptoms on the internet, you are bombarded with information about how to “fix” them…but no one really tells you that the majority of women who experience menopause naturally (as opposed to surgically) don’t require treatment for symptoms.

So find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest…and I’ll do my best to be a role model for this journey. Comment and let me know about your experiences, too!

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