Saturday, November 26, 2011

Silver Spotlight ~ Dawn Gumbel-Venturi

Have you ever been told you were an inspiration?

Just recently I was told that I was. Funny, I never thought of myself as an inspiration, so imagine my surprise when I was asked to tell my story.

At age forty six, I was dealing with many things. Mid-life crisis, peri-menopause, over weight, depression and never-ending headaches. It was also the year of my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and my husband believed he had the perfect cure to cheer me up ~ a trip to Italy. It would be our first vacation, EVER! We never even had a honeymoon. I have to admit, it was something I anxiously looked forward to.

That was in February of 2007. Little did I know that the next few months would change my life forever. By April, I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread that my headaches were getting worse and it affected my overall health. I went to several doctors including a pulmonary specialist. He insisted I get an upper respiratory cat scan from chest to head. The next day I received a phone call from him, asking if I had a neurologist and that an MRI of my head is recommended. Lucky for us, I have a fantastic neurologist who helped my mother-in-law months before. A day later I was in his office for my first MRI. Another day or so later, he sat down with me and my husband and gently explained that I had a brain tumor the size of a hazelnut just below my right frontal lobe, pushing into the back of my sinuses. He referred to it as a meningioma.

Relieved to know that my pain wasn’t imaginary, yet scared out of my mind because ten years earlier my father died of brain cancer, I asked, “What now?” The doctor was warm and very empathetic. He gave me the name of two neurosurgeons that he highly recommended. I left his office ~ numb. Two days later we sat in the office of Dr. Mark Mittler, A renown neurosurgeon famous for working with children. Perfect for someone like me, an adult with a child-like attitude. With a plastic, 3 dimensional model of a human brain, he set out to explain where the tumor was located and we watched as he took apart the plastic pieces to show us. I remember saying, “I need to know every detail involved with the surgery.” He explained about the incision, the craniotomy, the removal of the right frontal lobe, the removal of said tumor and how he would put me back together again then put a plate in my head for easy access ~ in case he needed to go back in. I turned to my husband and said, “I guess our vacation plans have to change.” My husband looked at me as if he couldn’t believe what I said. He must’ve thought, how could she be thinking of a vacation at a time like this. The doctor then asked, “When were you planning this vacation?” I explained about our plans for the summer and he smiled, “I think it’s a wonderful idea. You should go and have fun. When you return we can take care of you.”

I spent the next few months pretending like nothing was wrong. Pushing my headaches aside, I continued my work at school. My vacation was my focal point. We rarely talked about the surgery scheduled in September, and I secretly put my affairs in order ~ just in case. Once we were on vacation, things seemed surreal. I remember walking into all these marvelous ancient citadels and soaking up history. The climax was my entrance into the Vatican. I’m not a very religious person, but somehow one cannot help but feel
the calm and spirituality within the walls of this marvelous sanctuary. I felt as if my life was about to change in a good way. I left Rome feeling renewed. Once we were home I spent the following 10 days reflecting on my life. I remember looking at photos of our vacation and I could hardly recognize the scowling old woman with pain written on her face. How on Earth was my family dealing with all this? That’s when I cried.
Just before entering the OR. Dr. Mittler assured me, “I’ll be with you every step of the way. My face will be the last one you’ll see when you go to sleep and when you awaken it’ll be the first you’ll see.” I don’t know why, but I responded with, “...that’s good. It’s a pleasant face.” He smiled. I tried not to cry and jokingly asked, “When you’re stitching me back up, could you pull my skin taut on my forehead? I won’t mind losing some of my frown lines.” I remember him laughing gently as he squeezed my hand and stepped aside to allow the anesthesiologist to do his job.

I had gone into the OR with shoulder length, dark brown hair, a wrinkled forehead and a bundle of mixed emotions. I emerged several hours later with no hair, looking like Frankenstein who’d gone several rounds with a prized boxer and feeling ~ oddly serene. I remember waking up to the sound of my name. I didn’t feel pain at all. Dr. Mittler smiled at me and said, “You have some very special visitors.” My family was suddenly by my bedside and that’s when Dr. Mittler said those wonderful words I’ll never forget, “She’s doing wonderfully and the tumor was benign.” At that moment I felt exhilarated. It might have been the pain meds, but I think it was something deeper.

Within three days I was home recuperating. I experienced a temporary short term memory loss and weakness of my left side, which allotted me valuable gym time. The only permanent loss is my sense of smell in my right nostril, those unsightly frown lines (Thank you Dr. M.) and my overly color-processed hair. Not bad, huh?

Four weeks later, I attended my baby brother’s wedding wearing a short, dark wig, a layer of foundation to cover my bruising and I had to use a cane to keep me upright. But I was happy. The healing process took quite a bit of time afterwards, and during that time I gained a bright new outlook on life, which I embrace every day. I wake in the morning with gratitude and go to bed every night grateful. It’s been four years with a clean bill of health. With my renewed zest for life, I’m doing things right. I try to exercise regularly and eat healthy. My weight has gone down considerably and even though I’m still going through my changes, I’m able to smile and shake off any blue feelings I get. As for my hair ~ it’s grown in beautifully and completely hides my scar. It’s a lovely, multi-shade of gray, and I love it. I’m quite content with the way I am now, healthy, confident and ready to tackle whatever comes my way. I like to believe I was given a marvelous gift ~ a gift of a second chance, and I’m not going to blow it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Meet The Experts ~ Susan Hersh


The documentary film “Miss Representation” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, and explores how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in influential positions and often portrays women and girls in a negative light leading to a cross generational movement. Men rule the majority of media. Media gets revenues from advertising and some of these companies want the ad campaigns to reveal sexual messages and the exploitation of women’s bodies in exchange for dollars. There are plenty of campaigns that require young models (both male & female) to expose themselves in a very explicit body gesture that would have been considered shocking in the 80’s but this has become the norm. This movie was written, directed and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsome. It premiered on OWN, Oprah’s network last month and re-aired on November 12th.

I bring this up because many Boomers are still raising teenagers who are completely influenced by what the media is teaching or portraying both good and demoralizing. Between TV, Internet, movies, magazines, and music it equals 10 hours and 45 minutes of media consumption a day. Girls are taught that what is most important is how they look, and their value and worth depends upon this regardless of their achievements. This is the same message boys receive about girls. Women make up 51% of the US population but only comprise of 17% in Congress.

Geena Davis was cast in “A League of Their Own” directed by Penny Marshall in 1992. Many teenage girls told Davis this movie changed their lives by participating in sports. This was a positive message for our children, although in twenty years since this movie debut there are not enough examples. Today there are still not a lot of female directors in the movie industry. Only 16% of all writers, directors, producers, cinematographers and editors are women. As Katie Couric said “The media can awaken and change minds. It depends upon who is piloting the plane.”

On a side note, Penny Marshall has Stage 4 lung cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments in LA. This is very sad news and I wish her the best.

Here is an 8-minute trailer that you can watch for Miss Representation and you will be able to see very powerful women being interviewed and their perspectives on how media is shaping our nation. Want to get involved, email the Networks calling for the immediate cancellation of shows that are offensive and sexist. As you shop for gifts this season, shun companies who advertise negative messages for both genders. To reach

As Boomers we live in such an open society from when we were growing up. This exposure allows us to have a social voice and determine how brands are responsible to society. We have a lot more control as a consumer and because of the information that we receive through Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and the Internet we can simply stop buying a product that does not correctly support our morals and values. If mobile technology helped organize the overthrow of leaders in Egypt and Libya, than as Americans and representing 75 million Boomers in our country we can certainly be a force in consumerism and media.

I just returned from London and I was told that silver hair is a current trend. In NYC I use the subway and walking as my main transportation and being on the streets this trend has been happening for the past year. Lady Gaga continues to wear silver wigs and wore this color for her interview yesterday on GMA. For any Boomer considering the transition to silver this may be a great time to jump in and forgo the color. Silver continues to be a trend on the runways, but these models have to alter their color or wear wigs to be white blond when we can get the original silver color for free. Carmen who turned 80 this year still continues to model with her signature chic silver nest. American Salon magazine added a purple hairpiece to my hair to show how you can have fun but not change the color permanently. If more women transition to silver, this color will become as common as being a brunette. Hmmm……something to think about?

Wishing you a warm and bountiful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

To view my videos please click on the link below.

To visit my web site please click on the link below.

Best always,


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Silver Spotlight ~ Tom Arnold

Reckon I'm a Rustic, a living embodiment of country ways and speech, preferring rural simplicity to citified whizbang, heir to generations of folks, who in some form or other, have made a living off the land. I love being this way.

An 8th generation Tennessean, 3rd generation in the highway construction business, conservative, God fearing, opinionated, introspective, creative, fun loving, hardworking, front porch philosopher, poet, I've owned and operated an organic farm, milked cows and goats,(I am a goat whisperer) worked in political campaigns and edited a country newspaper. In my youth I was a traveler, seeing quite a bit of the world, but now my favorite spot is on the quiet banks of my beloved Caney Fork River.

I'm also over-educated in literature, history and philosophy, but my thirst for knowledge has enabled me to increase my intellectual abilities without losing my common sense. I have a great love for all of the arts but my tastes in music run towards the classics Bach, Beethoven, Hank, Merle and Patsy.

Tried marriage a couple of times~sigh~ but was never blessed with any children of my own. I do love them though and spoil considerably my nieces and nephew.

For me, the greatest thing in my life is to just still be here. About 7 ½ years ago I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, stage 3, liver spleen and lungs. After many rounds of chemo and a failed stem-cell transplant I now have a hot spot about the size of a dime on my liver. It is kept in check with a couple of doses of chemo a year and has remained unchanged for three years. It is to me a miracle and while I have watched many others pass on... it has caused me to wonder why I am yet here,for a higher purpose I hope. But until the revelation unfolds... I just continue to live , love, laugh and be amazed at my life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saundra Messinger ~ Jewelry Designer

Saundra Messinger is from my hometown of Memphis TN. She's also a fabulous Silver Fox! Her jewelry designs are elegant, confident, cool and a bit quirky. Women are drawn to the qualities that define Saundra’s work – organic, uneven surfaces, a shimmering matte finish, tiny sparkling diamonds and expert workmanship. While she works primarily with silver, her designs are also available in white gold...which looks amazing with silver hair!

Saundra, a former singer and clothing design executive, says, without a doubt, the most important and exciting event since becoming a jewelry designer occurs when she sees women wearing her jewelry. When asked to describe herself as a designer, Saundra’s reply is simple – ‘taught and inspired by life!’

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Maye Musk ~ A True Silver Fox

Recently I was at Barnes & Noble, browsing through the magazine section, when an issue of New York Magazine caught my eye. On the cover, was a photo of a naked woman standing with one arm across her breasts, and the other cradling her very pregnant belly, a la Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1991. The caption read, “Is She Just Too Old For This?” The woman was very attractive, clearly over fifty, and had gorgeous, silvery white hair.

The article inside was about a woman in her fifties, having a baby by the process of securing a donor egg, having the egg fertilized with her husband’s sperm, and then having it implanted into her own womb.

And as it turns out, the woman on the magazine cover was neither pregnant nor completely naked. The belly was the result of some Photoshop magic, and she was wearing a flesh-colored thong. And, she was sixty three years old! But what blew me away about the photo was, not that someone her age might be pregnant, but how extremely cool and confident she must be to pose almost nude for the cover of a prominent magazine.

After a little research, I discovered that she’s a model named Maye Musk. I contacted her and asked if I could feature her in Silver Foxes, and she responded to my request with a resounding “Yes” and “Silver Rules!”

Some of you already know Maye, but for those of you who do not, she is also an anti-aging expert, nutrition spokesperson, speaker, counselor and registered dietitian in New York City. She has helped people all over the world fight obesity, lose weight and feel fantastic every day.

Maye’s dynamic career has spanned forty years and 7 cities in 3 countries. She has worked as a trusted nutrition expert with numerous corporations, associations and universities all over the world.

Her book, Feel Fantastic, is a complete encyclopedia of good health habits, empowering readers to live their best life every day. It was featured on one million Special K cereal boxes throughout Canada. In 2006, Maye’s colleagues in dietetics awarded her the Outstanding Nutrition Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Through her counseling practice in New York City, Maye helps her clients lose weight, become healthier and increase their energy level.

To compliment her career in dietetics, Maye has been a professional model for over 46 years. She currently is represented by agencies in NYC, LA, London, Paris, Hamburg, and Toronto. She has 3 children and 7 grandsons.

Here are Maye’s suggestions for maintaining health and energy, and Feeling Fantastic!

Health ~

· Lose weight. If you carry extra weight, make an effort to lose it and keep it off. If you are a:
. Night Eater: Limit eating after dinner to a fruit or yogurt
. Binge Eater: Plan something fun to do at binge times
. Overeater: Increase vegetables and fruits to keep you full
. Sweet eater: Eat a fruit before each sweet food
. Big drinker: Drink sparkling water before and between every drink
. Use willpower, it’s not easy
. Avoid fad diets. They give “diets” a bad name as they let you down long-term
. Save money. Don’t take a supplement until you’ve seen a dietitian. FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has posted "Tips for the Savvy Supplement User," a guide to making informed decisions about the use of dietary supplements. Visit this site:

Fitness ~

· Keep active every day.
· If you find your routine boring, vary it.
· Do stretches while watching television.
· Read a book while on the stationary bike.
· Listen to music or watch television while on the treadmill.
· Take a class at your gym to push you further.
· You need to keep moving.

Image ~

· When you feel good about yourself, it’s easier to eat well and be active
· Improve the way you look by
. walking tall
. taking an extra five minutes a day to care about how you look
. smiling
· Be positive, don’t complain
· Say nice things every day
· Be good to people

Stay Young ~

· All of the above and
· Keep your mind active
· Start a hobby that keeps you busy
· Take courses in languages
· Read bestsellers
· Do crossword puzzles or Soduko
· Get a pet

Print these ideas out. List them in order of priority and start right away with your first change. Three weeks later, when this change is established, move on to the next change. The only way to Feel Fantastic for Life is to make an improvement in your lifestyle, and persist with the changes. It’s not easy. Good luck!

Thank you Maye! You are an inspiration, and a true Silver Fox!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Silver Spotlight ~ Lori Marshall Olson

I was one of those women who told myself and others that I'd dye my hair until I was 80...ha ha! Well...things change don't they?! I began a weight loss journey in April of 2010. As I lost weight and saw the changes in my body, I noticed that my hair still looked the same...shoulder length and dyed black. I had been dying it at home every four weeks. I got so tired of the smell, the mess and the fact that the dye was no longer covering all the gray. I got online and did a search for gray hair. I found the "Going Gray Looking Great" site and loved reading all the bios and looking at the pictures. I found several of the women on Facebook and became friends with them. I decided in Feb. of 2011 that I would no longer dye my hair. I was a little nervous, but also excited to see what I would look like. My kids were not supportive at first, my youngest even saying, "For the sake of me and my friends, please don't do that!". I think we all have this image in our heads of a grandmotherly type with gray hair that isn't in the most appealing style! In April of 2011 I had my hair cut into a pixie style. I liked seeing the different shades of silver come through and after only four months, the last of the dye was gone and I was left with a salt and pepper spiky doo! My husband and kids love the new look and I get compliments all the time on the cut and color. My son says I'm a "hip Mom!" I've left the hair dye and the extra weight behind and it feels great!! I have lost 123 lbs. with about 27 left to go. I've loving the new "me"!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Silver Spotlight ~ Michele Burge

My story is very similar to so many others but so different because it is mine! How we decide to begin this journey to become our authentic self varies from person to person and I for one had no idea how this decision would forever change my life! It was last December as I was laying in bed thinking about the past year and all the health problems I was having I thought to myself...maybe I will Google letting my hair go gray! It seems that most of my life changing ideas come to me when I lay in bed and can't when I got up I went straight to the computer and typed in letting your hair go gray....there was so much information but the best place I found was the Going Gray Looking Great as I read about everything ....every story had a happy ending....I started reading and I still, one year later, have never stopped reading about it! Then I found one friend on FB...Yasmina Rossi and from her my list of silver sisters has grown and I hope will continue to grow!

My hair is completely silver except for a few blondish tips that will come off at my next trim....I love it...when I look in the mirror I see a whole different person than I used to be....I loved the old me but the new me is my authentic self! This is a journey that I have been on for... well for my lifetime.....not just the color of my hair has changed...I have connected with so many amazing women who have inspired me to do what I love with this one life that I have! It has connected me with women...who have not all started this silver journey....but strong amazing women who are doing what they love!

For me my journey has led me to being the best most healthy positive person I can has got me writing which is something I have always wanted to has got me drawing has opened up a whole new world for me...I sometimes wonder how by simply choosing to stop putting hair dye on my hair could I change so much but I know the Universe gives us thoughts and ideas and we have the choice to act on them or just continue down the path that everyone thinks we should be on....I choose to take a different route on my journey and it has not always been an easy one....going gray seems to be against the grain of society.....but I stuck with it and now that I am thru the transition I get so many compliments and people love it...not that it really matters either way!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jamie Lee Curtis ~ A True Silver Fox!

Jamie Lee Curtis grew up with famously divorced parents, legendary actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, under the scrutiny of the Hollywood spotlight. But she’s managed to keep her feet firmly on the ground, balancing her own acting career with a successful twenty eight year marriage to fellow actor, Christopher Guest. The couple have two adopted children, Annie and Thomas.

She has also written several best selling children’s books, and takes time to support various philanthropic groups, including Women in Recovery, Inc., and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, serving as the annual host for the organization’s “Dream Halloween” event in Los Angeles, launched every year in October.

I admire Jamie Lee Curtis for her accomplishments, but I adore her for her style! Read her assessment of her personal style, from an interview in AARP Magazine

“My style is a distillation. I’ve etched out who I am through myriad haircut attempts, outfit attempts, beauty attempts, diet attempts. It’s been an evolution. I’ve let my hair go gray. I wear only black and white. Every year I buy three or four black dresses that I just keep in rotation. I own one pair of blue jeans. I’ve given away all my jewelry, because I don’t wear it.”

And I love this excerpt from an interview in Lifescript, in which she interviews the interviewer about going gray, and then explains why she ditched the dye…

JLC: “What does it say that you walk into a room and not one person’s hair is her natural color. You go, What?”

INTERVIEWER: Why do you feel so strongly about keeping hair natural?

JLC: I can look at you and say you’re gorgeous. And you with that haircut with gray would be beautiful.

INTERVIEWER: Maybe after I retire.

JLC: I’m not sure what the message is then – that you have to look different than you really are to make it? But I understand there are women [working] in a corporate environment… I’m not going to say to those women, “Hey, tell your boss to stuff it.” I know we’re in tough economic times.

INTERVIEWER: You’re in an industry that celebrates youth. When did you feel strong enough to buck the system?

JLC: The epiphany came when I was sitting in a hair salon thinking, What the eff am I doing putting a chemical on my head that burns? My short hair keeps growing in, and I was having to cut it and touch it up all the time.

INTERVIEWER: You didn’t enjoy the pampering?

JLC: I found beauty salons humiliating. I’d be sitting there in a smock that didn’t look good on me. I’d have crap in my hair with tin foil, which looks ridiculous. It didn’t ever feel right.

Right on! Jamie Lee Curtis is a lady who really knows herself. She listens to her inner voice and acts accordingly. She has the confidence to be “real” in a business that’s grounded in fantasy, and she’s a lovely role model for aging gracefully. And even though she's a celebrity, you just get the feeling that she's one of us. A true Silver Fox!