I’ve Still Got It

Nancy Cartwright, Voice of Bart Simpson

Some know her as “Mom,” a few lucky ones have known her as “Sweetie,” most know her as “the voice of Bart Simpson,” but I know her as “Nancykins” — my friend!   We went to UCLA in the late 70s.  Although back then you could hear us chatting about boys and dating in Sproul Hall dormitory, we mostly spent the last three decades supporting each other’s dreams and passions.

Nancy Cartwright is an Emmy Award-winning actress portraying the spike-headed underachiever Bart Simpson.  But Nancy is no underachiever!  She also does “The Simpson” voices of Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Todd Flanders and various others in the Simpson’s hometown of Springfield.  You may have also heard her voices in the “Rugrats,” “Kim Possible,” and “Richie Rich.”

Nancy is also a star in front of the camera.  After we graduated UCLA, she appeared in the TV movie “Marian Rose White.” She was brilliant, then Nancy appeared  in “Fame,” “Empty Nest,” “Cheers,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Twilight Zone – The Movie,” and “Godzilla.”

Nancy’s career soared during her 20s and 30s, but it was in her 40s that I noticed her fulfilling more personal goals.  Nancy supports many non-profit organizations that help children, and was named “Honorary Mayor” of her community for her contributions.  Nancy co-founded Happy House, a non-profit that strives to build better families and is changing lives everyday.

Nancy was doing all of this while maintaining her day job voicing “The Simpsons” — the longest running scripted series in television history.

This voice over artist, actress, and philanthropist is also an author of a hilarious book, “My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy.”  She even thanks me for my “zest and eternal optimism.”  Cowabunga!

People always ask me, “Is Nancy’s voice like Bart Simpson?”  NO!  She sounds just like you and me, but there are all these crazy voices that she has developed that live inside her and she pulls them out like I pull out my lip gloss.

I like to describe Nancy as a complete solar system – she has numerous planets successfully circling her shining spirit.  Her incredible ability to simultaneously manage a variety of activities is impressive. She eats healthy, exercises, manages a busy career including her non-profits, and finds time for love and friendships. Nancy is truly an example of living a life in balance!  She is committed to living with integrity while breathing FUN FUN FUN into everything she does!

Nancy is now 50-something, and moving at warp speed – she is unstoppable! She may be the voice of a rebellious young boy, but good-girl Nancy STILL HAS IT and is going strong!

Interview with Nancy Cartwright

Staness: What was your childhood dream? Why?

Nancy: I remember as early as age seven people telling me what an unusual voice I had.  I used to tell jokes and do sound effects and really loved making people laugh.  I found that when I created characters and did sounds, that added to the humor.  By the time I was 16 I had done some community theater and then discovered the speech team at my high school.  Although I wasn’t a debater, I was interested in the individual events, like humorous interpretation and after-dinner speaking—again, I loved making people laugh.  I would tell stories, mostly children’s stories and did very well in the competitions.  Lots of first place trophies.  The judges would tell me that I had a very special voice and that I should do cartoons!  This hadn’t occurred to me.  After all, Kettering, Ohio is not exactly the animation capitol of the world!  It did, however establish a dream: to do voice-overs for animation.

Staness: Who has influenced your life?

Nancy: One of the great pioneers in the industry, Daws Butler, who is most recognized as the voice of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quik-Draw McGraw and dozens of other voices.  I got his phone number and called him.  This was when I was 18 years old.  He was to Hanna-Barbera what Mel Blanc was to Warner Brothers.  Daws was not a household name.  He had created so many characters but at that time (50s/60s) voice actors were not getting any screen credit.  His start was with old-time radio.  He worked with some of the greats like Stan Freberg, June Foray, Jay Ward and Bill Scott.  He helped to pave the way for the “up-and-comings” and a whole new generation of voice talent.

Staness: What event changed your life?

Nancy: By the time I was 20, I packed my bags and transferred from Ohio University (where I was on a scholarship to be on their speech team) to UCLA.  I majored in Theater Arts, but lived for the Sundays where I would catch the #86 bus and ride into Beverly Hills to study with Daws.  He would drive me back to my dorm (Sproul Hall) where I lived with YOU!!!  (Yes, good readers—Staness is a dear friend who I’ve known since our college years—way before either of us ever considered we would be going through menopause) Anyway, having Daws as my mentor catapulted me in the door of the animation industry – a door that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise.  He eventually took me out to Hanna-Barbera and I shook hands with the principal directors and in no time started auditioning there.  (Thank you, Daws!)

Staness: In one word, describe you.

Nancy: Spark plug

Staness: If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Nancy: Actually, I feel like I am constantly changing—evolving.  I think that is very important – a very “move forward” viewpoint.  Nothing ever stays the same.  We are either getting a little worse or getting a little better.  I think it is important to know that change is good and the more you seek to take responsibility and also improve yourself and thus your relationship with those around you, the happier you will be.

Staness: What does your life look like in 25 years?

Nancy: Oh heavens to Betsy!  Let’s see…I will definitely be a grandmother!  That’s cool!  I will also be celebrating my 24th anniversary to my own “Mr. Right.”   We will have known each other for 50 years by then!  Ken and I might also be celebrating the 24th anniversary of a camp that we are thinking of creating in Ojai.  There will be four cabins, housing 16 kids, a mess hall, horseback riding, archery, fishing in the stream on the location, campfire rallies, talent shows, awards night, star-gazing, picnicking…all the fun stuff you remember about being a kid.  I will also be very busy creating more personal projects for animation and probably working on-camera or stage again.  Whoo hoo!  (Don’t forget “spark plug.”)

Staness: What has been your favorite job?

Nancy: Without a doubt, “The Simpsons!”  Incredible experience, all 22 years so far!  The people I have met, the challenges I have had to overcome—who knew that we would be doing the voices for all those characters!?  It has been tremendously rewarding in that it doesn’t take a lot of time to for my participation.  And because of the time factor, I have lots of extra time to devote to creating other projects and doing other things I love.

Staness: What do you do for fun?

Nancy: Jet skiing.  Fun, fast and furious.  I also recently found that I am a sculptor.  I always knew that I had an urge to do that, but recently I took a class and ended up not needing any lessons because I already knew what I was doing!  Wild!

Staness: What contributed to your success?

Nancy: Surrounding myself with friends who are ethical; keeping my own integrity; knowing what my purpose is in life and keeping my goals in mind when I choose projects to do.

Staness: What is your “I’ve Still Got It!” moment?

Nancy: When my sweetie looks at me and says, “I can’t believe you are 53 AND YOU ARE SO HOT!!!”  And then he kisses and squeezes me!  Whoo hooo!

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Cory Everson: Ms. Olympia, Actress, and Author

By Staness Jonekos, Author The Menopause Makeover

Have you ever wondered how female body builders age? How menopause affects them? How do they keep fit after 40 or 50 and beyond?

Cory Everson won the Ms. Olympia contest six years in a row from 1984 to 1989. Cory showed the world you could be sexy and strong – even at 53! Check out her Ironman Magazine cover to the left — she was 50 – woweee!

Cory was the original host and producer of the fitness show “Body Shaping,” which was the number one rated fitness show on television. She is one of the top names in fitness today, and has authored numerous fitness books.

This busy lady has also appeared in the movies “Natural Born Killers,” “Double Impact,” and “Ballistic.” Her television work includes “Charmed,” “Home Improvement,” “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and many more.

Today Cory has a line of workout equipment and accessories, and shares her fitness secrets with us in her “I’ve Still Got It!” interview.

Question: What was your inspiration to start bodybuilding?

Cory: I had a 4-year scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Although I was not required to participate in sports I just didn’t feel complete without it. At the U of W, I lettered in gymnastics (yes I was the worlds largest gymnast) indoor track, badminton and outdoor track.

It wasn’t until I completed competing on college teams that I took a try at Bodybuilding. I had just won my 4th Big Ten Pentathlon Championships and I had this urge to try something new. Since gymnastics had given me a very early head start in the muscularity and stage presence department I felt I had an advantage in bodybuilding because these basics were already formed.

The strength coach at the time, Jeff Everson, was the person who actually noticed my potential and filled me in on the background of bodybuilding. I had never heard of it, so he showed me books and magazines and urged me to compete. I still to this day remember photos of a bodybuilder who came from gymnastics named Lynn Conkwright. I was impressed with the graceful blend of power and athleticism she portrayed.

Question: How long did it take to prepare for your first Ms. Olympia?

Cory: It took me a number of years of training to get to the top due to a major, scary setback during my first year out of college. In the middle of the night I woke up in massive pain, unlike anything I can even describe, but so great I thought I was dying. I was experiencing thrombophlebitus a major blood clot in my three major veins in my left leg which was blocking circulation from my hip down to my toes. I remember overhearing the doctors talking about a possible leg amputation if they couldn’t get blood circulation to the tissues.

I was hospitalized for six weeks in intensive care in Chicago with the doctors stumped as to why this had happened to a young healthy 20-year old athlete. As it turns out, I have a blood clotting disorder called Protein C Deficiency and Factor Five Leiden which put me at high risk to clot, but we didn’t know about this until some 20 years later when tests were finally invented to diagnose this rare and deadly problem. My doctor put me on a dangerous bout of an experimental drug called streptokinase to dissolve the clot that is what ultimately what saved my life and my leg.

I lost a tremendous amount of muscle weight and strength while I was bed ridden in the hospital. I was laying on my back unable to walk or even turn over for weeks on end. After I was released from intensive care I was moved down to critical care for another four weeks where they started to teach me how to walk again. I can’t tell you how afraid I was to just stand up and take one little baby step …but each day I took one more step until I was off my crutches and mobile again.

The doctor’s prognosis was that I would never be able to compete again, and most likely not walk normally either because of all the vascular damage.

It took me a few years of gaining strength, weight and mostly confidence to finally compete again. I lived in daily fear of this clot reoccurring. I had to be so cautious to even exercise, so I took it slowly and set little mini goals. This was 1980, and I won the Ms. Olympia in 1984.

To win my first Ms. O was truly a surprise. Honestly I was not expecting to even place in the top ten as it was my first Professional competition. I was coming off a victory at the National Championships, and was invited to compete in the pros in just a couple weeks.

Question: When you hit 40, did you find it more difficult to stay fit?

Cory: Not really at 40, I didn’t notice much change in my body. For me it was more like 45 when first my eyesight started to go, and then slight body changes followed, but it is not like it happened overnight.

I wasn’t exercising as much and many times not all, so I still wonder if it is not aging per say that makes the body change but instead not exercising with the same intensity as before. Sometimes I believe that we fall out of shape mostly because we get busier with less time to train, we have more responsibilities, maybe don’t eat as correctly and less of the fact that we are getting older.

After we finished with our ESPN-TV fitness series “Gotta Sweat” my husband and I adopted 2 kids from Russian orphanages, so my focus changed almost overnight. It suddenly went from its all about me/us to it is all about them. At age of 40 I became a parent and that alone was a new experience.

I actually don’t think it would be that hard to stay relatively fit if you have the time to exercise a little and can stick to a clean diet. Time management is the biggest challenge I find for most of us. When we lose our motivation the end result is our butts get bigger and cellulite takes hold of where nice toned shape used to exist. Lack of time is a huge culprit.

Question: What body area was the most difficult to keep tone after 40?

Cory: I think across the board it is the lower abdominals, hips and butt. Those are the places as a female fat wants to accumulate. But after saying that I think we don’t give ourselves half the credit we deserve to be able to redirect our own destiny.

I am serious when I say we can have better control over these areas by balancing the right amount of exercise with the right amount of caloric intake. Some people don’t want to hear this, but we have more power to control our physicality than we think.

Menopause definitely has its challenges, but we can’t use it as a crutch nor an excuse. We can do things about it. Of course changes take place but we can slow them down and determine just how far we will let it go.

I know many women in their late 40’s to early 50’s that are in the best shape of their lives. I see it more and more and often times these women are in far better shape than their 16 year old daughters.

The bad news is that as we age our hormone production in our ovaries slows. The good news is our fat cells actually have the capability to produce estrogen. So I welcome a certain amount of body fat to maintain some estrogen production. Exercise also stimulates testosterone production in both men and women which is important to in building our lean body mass (which is responsible for our metabolic rate.) More reason to exercise.

Question: Did menopausal hormone fluctuations affect your body after 40?

Cory: Not until about 48. When I turned 50 I really noticed it mostly in the texture of my skin and neck, legs. I remember last year my daughter playing with the skin on my neck enjoying herself so much commenting how it was like working with Play-doh …funny to her at least not so much to me. I am 53 now and wonder who is staring back at me in the mirror sometimes…when did I get those little lines around my eyes? Seems like they all of a sudden appeared.

I think my body has held up better than my skin, and I honestly believe that would be the same for most women. We can control what we eat, how we exercise, but we can’t really control our skin. I think the hormones really challenge our skin’s texture and color, our hair health, facial lines, and yes moods and patience.

I did a photo shoot when I turned a half century old and believe it or not wore a bikini on the cover. I didn’t even question that since all I had ever worn in photo shoots was bathing suits and leotards. I didn’t really think about being 50, it just didn’t cross my mind …. what was I thinking?

I doubt I would be so quick to jump into a photo shoot nowadays. I would need to prepare a bit more than before.

Question: What tips do you have for women over 40 on staying fit?

Cory: I think to be realistic is key, don’t expect to look like you did when you were 16 or 25. Life has an effect on all of us, so take the good with the bad. Don’t sit back and just give up either. Put up a fight and do a little something for yourself each and everyday. Not only do you need it for physical health, but equally important for your psychological and emotional health as well.

Join a gym. Say hi to new friends, take some classes that push you a little harder than you would push yourself at home. Don’t be afraid to fail or get intimidated, if you even show up you are already more successful than you were yesterday…just go to the back of the class and be the best you can.

No one expects you to be a superstar, so you shouldn’t either. As long as you sweat a little, who the heck cares if you followed the routine correctly. Just live and laugh, and enjoy each day but at the end of the night think back and make sure you did a little something for yourself. Hey it is okay if it was just a 20-minute walk… that was the best 20 minutes you could have ever taken for yourself.

Don’t compare yourself to others… you are your own person and inherited your own set of DNA so don’t compare. You are unique both with the challenges, as well as the gifts you were given so don’t compare. Don’t give up don’t get frustrated. Try to reset your focus onto all the wonderful gifts you have and remove any negative thoughts that are floating around your little head. Be grateful everyday for your health and respect your body.

1.Take a little walk for at least 20 minutes 3-5 days a week. If you are already doing that then add a few minutes to your existing time or try to walk that same walk a little faster to make it more intense.

Or make time for a few cardio days…try spinning or taking a dance class to get your heart rate up to where you feel like you are late for a meeting and you are a little short of breath but not gasping for air. This insures you are in your fat burning zone. Remember the first 15 minutes your body is burning stored sugars, so any amount of time after that you are most likely burning fat stores.

2. Try to do three days a week of 20-30 minutes of weights, either machines or take a sculpting class. You need this to maintain your lean body mass and maintain your muscle and bone strength (will help prevent osteoporosis) your metabolism stoked throughout the day. Muscle burns calories throughout the day it is metabolically active fat on the other hand does not. Lean muscle not only looks great, but allows us to eat a little more.

3. Always eat clean basic foods, reducing the amount of dressings, fats, sugars and white flour items. Don’t fry your food, instead grill bake or broil it. Just eat the way you think our forefathers ate. Eat raw fruits and veggies and lean meats…it is not that hard to do at all and is so uncomplicated. If you eat this way, you can actually eat more, because the choices are so low in fat and processed sugar. Give it a try it is so, so, so easy. It is all about making good choices, just like we teach our kids.

Question: What is your “I’ve Still Got It!” moment? (Cory has a few)

Cory: When a truckload of teenage boys kids drove by saw me walking my dogs and whistled. If they only knew that under my baseball hat and glasses was a 53 year old mom.

When I was on the cover of Ironman Magazine at age 50 in a tiny bikini.

When my sister and I were ‘hit on’ by a college volleyball team …until my nephew yelled at his teammates to stop talking about the hot cougars because they were commenting about his Mom and Aunt.

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Nancy Cartwright, Voice of Bart Simpson

Some know her as “Mom,” a few lucky ones have known her as “Sweetie,” most know her as “the voice of Bart Simpson,” but I know her as “Nancykins” — my friend!   We went to UCLA in the late 70s.  Although back then you could hear us chatting about boys and dating in Sproul Hall dormitory, we mostly spent the last three decades supporting each other’s dreams and passions.

Nancy Cartwright is an Emmy Award-winning actress portraying the spike-headed underachiever Bart Simpson.  But Nancy is no underachiever!  She also does “The Simpson” voices of Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Todd Flanders and various others in the Simpson’s hometown of Springfield.  You may have also heard her voices in the “Rugrats,” “Kim Possible,” and “Richie Rich.”

Nancy is also a star in front of the camera.  After we graduated UCLA, she appeared in the TV movie “Marian Rose White.” She was brilliant, then Nancy appeared  in “Fame,” “Empty Nest,” “Cheers,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Twilight Zone – The Movie,” and “Godzilla.”

Nancy’s career soared during her 20s and 30s, but it was in her 40s that I noticed her fulfilling more personal goals.  Nancy supports many non-profit organizations that help children, and was named “Honorary Mayor” of her community for her contributions.  Nancy co-founded Happy House, a non-profit that strives to build better families and is changing lives everyday.

Nancy was doing all of this while maintaining her day job voicing “The Simpsons” — the longest running scripted series in television history.

This voice over artist, actress, and philanthropist is also an author of a hilarious book, “My Life as a Ten-Year-Old Boy.”  She even thanks me for my “zest and eternal optimism.”  Cowabunga!

People always ask me, “Is Nancy’s voice like Bart Simpson?”  NO!  She sounds just like you and me, but there are all these crazy voices that she has developed that live inside her and she pulls them out like I pull out my lip gloss.

I like to describe Nancy as a complete solar system – she has numerous planets successfully circling her shining spirit.  Her incredible ability to simultaneously manage a variety of activities is impressive. She eats healthy, exercises, manages a busy career including her non-profits, and finds time for love and friendships. Nancy is truly an example of living a life in balance!  She is committed to living with integrity while breathing FUN FUN FUN into everything she does!

Nancy is now 50-something, and moving at warp speed – she is unstoppable! She may be the voice of a rebellious young boy, but good-girl Nancy STILL HAS IT and is going strong!

Interview with Nancy Cartwright

Staness: What was your childhood dream? Why?

Nancy: I remember as early as age seven people telling me what an unusual voice I had.  I used to tell jokes and do sound effects and really loved making people laugh.  I found that when I created characters and did sounds, that added to the humor.  By the time I was 16 I had done some community theater and then discovered the speech team at my high school.  Although I wasn’t a debater, I was interested in the individual events, like humorous interpretation and after-dinner speaking—again, I loved making people laugh.  I would tell stories, mostly children’s stories and did very well in the competitions.  Lots of first place trophies.  The judges would tell me that I had a very special voice and that I should do cartoons!  This hadn’t occurred to me.  After all, Kettering, Ohio is not exactly the animation capitol of the world!  It did, however establish a dream: to do voice-overs for animation.

Staness: Who has influenced your life?

Nancy: One of the great pioneers in the industry, Daws Butler, who is most recognized as the voice of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quik-Draw McGraw and dozens of other voices.  I got his phone number and called him.  This was when I was 18 years old.  He was to Hanna-Barbera what Mel Blanc was to Warner Brothers.  Daws was not a household name.  He had created so many characters but at that time (50s/60s) voice actors were not getting any screen credit.  His start was with old-time radio.  He worked with some of the greats like Stan Freberg, June Foray, Jay Ward and Bill Scott.  He helped to pave the way for the “up-and-comings” and a whole new generation of voice talent.

Staness: What event changed your life?

Nancy: By the time I was 20, I packed my bags and transferred from Ohio University (where I was on a scholarship to be on their speech team) to UCLA.  I majored in Theater Arts, but lived for the Sundays where I would catch the #86 bus and ride into Beverly Hills to study with Daws.  He would drive me back to my dorm (Sproul Hall) where I lived with YOU!!!  (Yes, good readers—Staness is a dear friend who I’ve known since our college years—way before either of us ever considered we would be going through menopause) Anyway, having Daws as my mentor catapulted me in the door of the animation industry – a door that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise.  He eventually took me out to Hanna-Barbera and I shook hands with the principal directors and in no time started auditioning there.  (Thank you, Daws!)

Staness: In one word, describe you.

Nancy: Spark plug

Staness: If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?

Nancy: Actually, I feel like I am constantly changing—evolving.  I think that is very important – a very “move forward” viewpoint.  Nothing ever stays the same.  We are either getting a little worse or getting a little better.  I think it is important to know that change is good and the more you seek to take responsibility and also improve yourself and thus your relationship with those around you, the happier you will be.

Staness: What does your life look like in 25 years?

Nancy: Oh heavens to Betsy!  Let’s see…I will definitely be a grandmother!  That’s cool!  I will also be celebrating my 24th anniversary to my own “Mr. Right.”   We will have known each other for 50 years by then!  Ken and I might also be celebrating the 24th anniversary of a camp that we are thinking of creating in Ojai.  There will be four cabins, housing 16 kids, a mess hall, horseback riding, archery, fishing in the stream on the location, campfire rallies, talent shows, awards night, star-gazing, picnicking…all the fun stuff you remember about being a kid.  I will also be very busy creating more personal projects for animation and probably working on-camera or stage again.  Whoo hoo!  (Don’t forget “spark plug.”)

Staness: What has been your favorite job?

Nancy: Without a doubt, “The Simpsons!”  Incredible experience, all 22 years so far!  The people I have met, the challenges I have had to overcome—who knew that we would be doing the voices for all those characters!?  It has been tremendously rewarding in that it doesn’t take a lot of time to for my participation.  And because of the time factor, I have lots of extra time to devote to creating other projects and doing other things I love.

Staness: What do you do for fun?

Nancy: Jet skiing.  Fun, fast and furious.  I also recently found that I am a sculptor.  I always knew that I had an urge to do that, but recently I took a class and ended up not needing any lessons because I already knew what I was doing!  Wild!

Staness: What contributed to your success?

Nancy: Surrounding myself with friends who are ethical; keeping my own integrity; knowing what my purpose is in life and keeping my goals in mind when I choose projects to do.

Staness: What is your “I’ve Still Got It!” moment?

Nancy: When my sweetie looks at me and says, “I can’t believe you are 53 AND YOU ARE SO HOT!!!”  And then he kisses and squeezes me!  Whoo hooo!

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Jeanie Linders, creator of “Menopause the Musical”

Jeanie Linders is best known as the writer and producer of Menopause The Musical® and is a passionate voice for a generation of women facing more than just hot flashes. Her work in entertainment spans three decades, but finding ways to help women connect and support one another is what she focuses on now.

After seeing Menopause The Musical® I could not wait to ask Jeanie about her “I’ve Still Got It!” moment.  You are going to LOVE Jeanie’s response!

Interview with Jeanie Linders

Question: What inspired Menopause The Musical®?

Linders: My standard line is “a bottle of wine and a hot flash” but, truth be told, I have always written parody words to songs.  My brain synapses connect differently than others, I guess!  MTM came out of my standing in front of the freezer singing the words “Hot Flash” to Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs.”  I was dressed for a formal evening … the local NAACP was honoring Jesse Stone, and I was ready to walk out the door and the dripping started.  I have a picture of it … the flapping freezer door, a ball gown and me.  Then in the summer of 1998 I went to San Francisco and saw Beach Blanket Babylon, another parody show in its 30+ year by now.  Everyone was screaming with laughter around me and I was kind of angry.  I had this voice in my head that kept saying, “Well you could do this…” So I went back home … and did it.

Question: The show is currently playing in several cities – why do you think it continues to be popular?

Linders: The show is about WOMEN … not about theatre.  And there are more than 38 million baby boomer women in America alone who understand the embarrassment of “Gotta go, Gotta go,” and laugh at ourselves; we understand the feeling of wanting to shake the doctor by his/her lapels and scream, “YOU HAVE TO HELP ME.  I CAN’T SLEEP ANYMORE!”; we understand the feeling of thinking we are alone with the memory loss and wrinkles and everything else that comes with aging and love being able to share the felling with hundreds of women in the audience.  The musical started out as an experience.  Our audiences throughout the country … and now the world … are making it a women’s movement.

Question: Which song from the musical is your personal favorite?

Linders: My favorite to write is probably “I’m No Babe, Ma!”  When we opened off-Broadway, I had to expand the show and wanted to add songs that incorporated other experiences of women our/my age as well as other music genres.  Nothing is more complex than the mother/daughter experience … especially when you are 55 and she is 85!  I wanted to write a song that more of less said ‘let me grow up, Ma; I can do this … you raised a good woman.’ But no matter how I tried, the song always ended up at the same place:  “I’m still your babe.”  As the writer/producer of this show, nothing gives me more joy than to join the cast and audience on stage at the finale with a raised fist to the beat, beat, of “This Is Our Day!”

Question: Is there one particular character that you most identify with?

Linders: It is said that a writer writes what he/she knows.  And I realized … when asked this question early on … that I am my characters … all of them.  The Professional Woman who bought into Gloria Steinem’s “you can be it all” routine in the early ‘80s and ran businesses since 1979; the aging Soap Star, the diva personality who cringes at the sight of the wrinkles in the mirror, but still walks into the room with a “look at me” attitude; the lost in the ‘60s Earth Mother, who has ALWAYS worn long skirts … and Birkenstocks and feels very much at home at a Left Coast poetry reading; and, of course, the nurturing Iowa housewife.  I was raised to get married and have four kids.  I just forgot along the way and there is a part of me that knows something is missing … that I transfer to my spoiled Cotons — Maddie and Moxie Linders (pictured with Jeanie).

And the irony is that the women in the audience identify in the same way.  They too have the personality traits of all of the characters … and can relate to what each is experiencing.

Question: What’s your “I’ve Still Got It!” moment?

Linders: When I had sex after 14 years of celibacy and it was terrific!

Whaaaa – you gotta LOVE Jeanie Linders!  I do!

Due to the huge success of Menopause The Musical®, Jeanie’s empire has grown beyond her dreams. She founded the Jeanie C. Linders Fund® (JCLF) to empower women all over the world. JCLF has produced and presented the Menopause The Musical Out Loud™ Tour twice – each tour visiting over 50 cities. A portion of the proceeds from each Menopause The Musical Out Loud™ tour was designated for local and regional ovarian cancer chapters.

The Jeanie C. Linders Fund® supports women worldwide in areas of business development, arts and culture, personal growth, health issues and education. The Foundation has encouraged and assisted women to start small businesses using the skills they know best to raise their families out of poverty. Through the JCLF program, There’s No Place Like Home National™, Jeanie is working diligently to build homes for women and their families who have lost their homes due to natural disasters.

Jeanie Linders still has it and is going strong!  What’s YOUR “I’ve Still Got It!” story?  Leave a reply and inspire others.

Check out our latest contest! Enter to win 2 FREE tickets to see Menopause The Musical®.  To embrace the menopause celebration, one audience member wins a copy of The Menopause Makeover.  Enter to win today!

Jeanie has just launched her latest play, “The Mommies!”  Hilarious, click here for more information.

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Elizabeth Sommer, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness

Elizabeth Somer, M.A., is a registered dietitian who has carved a unique professional niche as one of the few, if not only, dietitians who is well-versed in nutrition research. For 25 years, she has kept abreast of the current research, packaging that information into easy-to-read books, magazine articles, lectures, continuing education seminars, and practical news for the media.

Elizabeth Somer has written nine books.  Her latest is Eat Your Way to Happiness. We both share the same fantastic editors at Harlequin. For the past year they have been raving about Elizabeth both personally and professionally, and I wanted to meet her myself.

You will love Elizabeth’s  ”I’ve Still Got It!” moment!  It is a reminder to embrace the surprises in life!

Question: What inspired you to dedicate your life to nutrition?

Elizabeth: I had always been interested in health and after stepping down from my last
career, I investigated the option of nutrition. It must have been the right
choice because everything I needed, from sequence classes at the university
to part-time jobs in the nutrition field to pay for my tuition all fell into
place from the very start. I graduated in record time as a result and
immediately got a job in nutrition education.

Question: How would you describe your nutrition philosophy?

Elizabeth: I am passionate about taking care of our bodies. Put high quality fuel into
them and they will repay us a million-fold well into our 80s and beyond with
unlimited energy, happiness, joy, and disease/medication-free health.

Question: What separates your books from other “diet” books?

Elizabeth: My books are based in sound and thoroughly reviewed research, so you can
trust that the information is accurate and, most importantly, I promise if
you follow the advice you will feel, think, look great today and down the
road.

Question: When you hit your 40s (assuming you are in your 40s, you barely look
30) did you have to eat differently? Why? Why not?

Elizabeth: I am 60-years-old. No, I’ve eaten well since my early 20s. My cholesterol
did take a jump after menopause at 55, but by cutting back on cheese and
desserts, I got it to drop back down to below 200mg/dl. I am on no
medications and feel as good, if not better, than I did in my 20s and 30s.

Question: Do you believe eating healthy can help women going through menopause?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. Other than a few hot flashes, I sailed through menopause. No
mood swings, no fatigue, no weird food aversions. I even lost 10 pounds and
have kept off the weight. It’s not just diet that I attribute the ease of
menopause. I also exercise daily.

Question: What is your secret to being healthy, happy and fit?

Elizabeth: I am enormously grateful. Every day I am so thankful for all I have that it
typically brings me to a moment of tears. I work at that joy with positive
thoughts, eating well, lots of exercise, surrounding myself with wonderful
family and friends, taking chances and jumping at most adventures that come
along, working at a job I love, living in the country with red-tail hawks
and deer in my yard.

Question: What do people do to sabotage good eating? How can they overcome it?

Elizabeth: I wrote the book on this one! (10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet) In a
nutshell, we eat mindlessly, lie about what we eat to ourselves and others,
give lipservice to exercise and vegetables then gorge on junk, value the
care of our cars more than ourselves, have no plan for how to succeed at
permanent weight loss, jump on every stupid fad diet bandwagon that comes
along, have an excuse for why we don’t get around to exercise or why we don’t
deserve to eat better, have an all-or-nothing attitude toward dieting, and
drink away our waistlines with bottled sugary drinks and alcohol.

Question: What are your passions outside of good nutrition?

Elizabeth: Life! Family, friends, exercise, my kids, biking, hiking, traveling the
world, doing television, having dinner in a nice restaurant, drinking wine,
taking walks, movies, good music, dancing, gardening, …..the list is
endless.

Question: What advice do you have for female baby boomers who want to lose
weight?

Elizabeth: Eat real food, not processed, exercise every day, and your weight will take care of itself.

Question: What is YOUR “I’ve Still Got It!” moment?

Elizabeth: I have always been happy and full of energy. But, by a year or two after my
divorce, it was clear to me that I was much happier, felt sexier, was more
confident and comfortable in my own skin than I had ever been. That regained
joie de vivre and passion must have sent out waves to the universe because
almost two years ago a very dear friend came back into my life, almost as if
it was destined, and we are madly in love. And, there is nothing like great
sex to put the spring back in any girl’s stride, no matter what her age!

Elizabeth Sommer still has it and is going strong! What’s YOUR “I’ve Still Got It!” story?
Leave a reply and inspire others.

More on Elizabeth

www.elizabethsomer.com
www.twitter.com/elizabethsome

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Geri Brin, founder of FabOverFifty.com, “I’ve Still Got It!”

Geri Brin is a new cyber friend who has touched my life by encouraging me to think big and live my dreams.  We have never met in person, but she feels like family.

Geri was Vice President of Publishing at Fairchild Publications for 23 years.  She also wrote two books and freelanced for publications including New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Parents Magazine and the New York Daily News Magazine.

How did I met this incredible woman?   Geri invited me to join her amazing world at FabOverFifty.com and share information about menopause with her community!  Women over 50 are connecting!

I am so excited for you to meet  Geri.  She is an inspiration.  She is committed to empowering women over 50 – yay!  Geri STILL HAS IT and she shares “it” with you in our interview.

Question: What inspired you to create FabOverFifty.com?

Geri: It was time that “baby boomer” women were celebrated for their accomplishments, passions and successes. We are the most exceptional generation of women ever and will be inspirational to women for generations to come.

Question: How did your previous career as a fashion publishing executive prepare
you to launch FOF?

Geri: Through my career, I’ve had the great opportunity to meet many women of style and substance all over the country, and by style, I mean more than fashion sense. I mean strong values, intelligence and a desire to share what they’ve learned with other women.

My experience also taught me to understand what women want to know about other women and what they want to share.

Question: What is your message to women over fifty?

Geri: The best really is yet to come, but it’s up to you to make sure where and how to find it.

Question: You are a woman of substance, ­ what is YOUR FOF style?

Geri: From a fashion standpoint, I’m somewhat funky and not afraid to try new looks all the time. I mix gold and silver jewelry, checked and striped clothes and dressy with casual. I like comfortable. From a business standpoint, I love to work with challenging, passionate, hard-working people. From a personal standpoint, my style is outgoing, direct and embracing.

Question: Why did you create Date My Single Kid?

Geri: To help my single 31-year-old son, and all single “kids” find the mates of their dreams. Who better than moms know what their kids need. FOF like to share everything, including their offspring.

Question: How does your son describe you?

Geri: Hmm I guess he’d say I’m his best friend, but also a pain in the neck when I ask too many questions or want to fix him up with every single girl I meet.

Question: What is your secret to managing a busy career with your personal world?

Geri: I am blessed with a great storehouse of energy, which has always let me multi task with a vengeance. But, honesty. I don’t think it’s possible to keep it all in balance all the time. Sometimes, my work consumes me. Other times, I’d rather knit all day or go shopping with my daughter.

Question: What things are left on your bucket list?

Geri: To take history and literature classes; to go to Paris dozens more times: to make FOF a big brand: to do nice things for as many people as possible, one by one by one, especially my sisters; to see my children and 4 nephews live happy healthy lives.

Question: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in your life, what
would it be?

Geri: Bring back my father, who died at 69.

Question:  What’s YOUR “I’ve Still Got It!” moment?

Geri: Launching a cool website at 62.

Geri’s website has the best giveaways and a strong community of women. Whether you want inspiration, to set up your single kid, go shopping, network or get informed FabOverFifty.com has it.  But for me, Geri is a reminder that you can live your dreams at any age.

Geri Brin still has it and is going strong!  What’s YOUR “I’ve Still Got It!” story?  Leave a reply and inspire others.

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How To Re-Build Your Self-Confidence During Menopause

Share your “I’ve Still Got It!” moment, and be automatically entered to win our latest giveaway!

Years ago, I learned a life-changing lesson from Anthony Robbins’ book Awaken the Giant Within– that transformation begins when you can no longer dwell in a place of pain. I was going through menopause and everything that came with that — hourly hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, aging skin, a declining libido and unpredictable irritability.  Feeling miserable both physically and emotionally, I was on the verge of an emotional meltdown.

Anthony Robins was right, it took being in a “place of pain” before I realized that going through menopause was the first time something that I took for granted, my youth, was fading.  My self-esteem and confidence disappeared leaving me in a pathetic puddle of self-pity.

Tired of blaming this natural transition for my misery, I took action.  I realized that if I treated this mid-life madness like I managed other challenges in my life, I could regain control of my health and happiness.  I had to identify the areas in my life that needed attention: menopause symptoms, nutrition, fitness, beauty, and emotions.   I decided to make changes!

I set goals and took action to create the life I wanted while embracing the changes that were happening in my life.  Once I had a plan, I took control of my health and beauty during menopause allowing me to celebrate my uniqueness, and that fueled my confidence.

Here’s what I did:

First, I had to manage my menopause symptoms.  I realized that there was no magic pill to fix my collection of complaints, and I began to work with my healthcare provider to find a solution. We reviewed my personal and family history, and discussed my personal preferences so we could create a plan that worked for me.  A big menopause message for all:  we are all different, and no one recipe fits all.

Next, I needed to stop comparing myself to my younger self and other younger women.  This bad habit of fantasizing about my youthful past while simultaneously worrying about my future was sabotaging my efforts to live in the present.

I had to make quiet time, in order to tap into my spirit.  I asked big questions: Who am I?  What is my purpose?  I started embracing the unknown.  As Joseph Campbell says, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

Staring at an older version of myself, I had to redefine what beauty was to me, not what the media dictated. The lack of support from society left me feeling insecure and struggling with the natural aging process. It is no surprise women lie about their age and run to the nearest dermatologist for age-defying Botox injections. Knowing I could never win this battle against age, I decided to see the beauty in my smile lines, and made peace with the personal history etched in my face. This helped opened the door to acceptance.

I could no longer ignore my unhealthy eating habits. In less than a year I put on 30 pounds. Weight gain is almost inevitable with menopause, and I was no exception. Nourishing my body with healthy food choices and exercising most days of the week was the path to my ideal weight. I saw the benefits of exercise in my complexion, muscle tone and waistline. Being healthy led to feeling good, and feeling good was the ticket to looking good. I started to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Living outside my comfort zone creating changes required a support system to keep me on track. I began to surround myself with compassionate friends and new friends who were also going through menopause. Having a nurturing group of friends to call when I was having a tough day kept me sane when things were insane.

Perhaps the most important thing I did was in many ways the easiest. Practicing a positive attitude was my mid-life secret weapon. I had to see the positive in daily challenges so I could make changes. Once I was able to acknowledge that my weight gain was a wake-up call to start eating better and exercising, I could make the necessary changes. Once I discovered my uniqueness was not defined by youth, my confidence started to grow again.

When I felt better physically and emotionally I was able to start doing the things I’d always dreamed of — sailing, flying, and traveling. Although these incredible adventures were exciting, it was being able to celebrate who I was that brought me peace.

Menopause was a rough road, but it ended up being the bridge to accepting myself. I did not want to be defined by appearances, but by substance. And once I got control of my health and beauty during menopause I realized, “I’ve Still Got It!”

September is National Menopause Awareness Month. As many of us struggle with troublesome menopause symptoms and fight the unattainable victory against aging, take a moment today and celebrate your uniqueness – it will nurture your confidence. And when it does, I want to hear your “I’ve Still Got It!” story.

Share your “I’ve Still Got It!” story, and be automatically entered to win our latest giveaway. Enter your story under “Leave a reply” below. OR email Staness@MenopauseMakeover.com with your story and photos.

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The ultimate guide to taking control of your health and beauty during menopause