A Little Prick and You’re Good to Go!...

I have a herniated disk towards the end of my spine, what the medical experts call L5. It hurts every day. I’ve been to a surgeon. After much discussion,  I asked him if he were me, would he do surgery?  He answered with a resounding no. That answered my question about surgery as an option. And, I do not want to be injected with cortisone. My grandmother used the stuff, and it literally killed her. I checked out other less invasive options. I’ve been to a chiropractor. It helped a little. I get regular massages. They help, as long as I do it every other week. I lift weights twice a week. This has helped enormously, strengthening the muscles around my back, alleviating a lot of the pain. But sometimes, my back just freezes up. And the only thing that seems to work is acupuncture. It’s an amazing practice. Especially for those over 50. When I did my initial research, some of the many ailments it helps to alleviate include lower back pain (check), weight control (check), stress (check), PMS (check) and many others, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, hip pain, Arthritis pain, irritable bowel syndrome, infertility, and a whole host of other age-related stuff. I’m grateful not to have checked them all! I was referred by a friend to Dr. Miles Reid. Dr. Reid offers something rare in the field; he is an MD and a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (D.A.O.M.). Ok. This is good, I thought. If he sticks me with a needle and it starts to bleed profusely, he’ll know what to do to stop the bleeding. I am such a wimp. My fears immediately went away when he walked through the door. First of all, he was HOT! ...

Sage Suggestions for a Sexy Summer!...

It’s summer, so to look and feel sexy at any age during warmer weather, especially for women over 50, I conducted  a survey of a combination of experts and women over 50 to learn their sexy summer secrets. And for most of us women over 50, they all ring true – gone are the days when we ran barefoot in bikinis 24/7 with no make-up, flawless, sun-kissed bodies and undone hair flowing in the wind. Gag me. The last time I experienced that  I was 18. Maybe 15. But we still can look summer-fresh, by following some sage advice I uncovered this week: Stylist to the stars Colin Megaro – West Hollywood: “Ladies, just because it’s warm out doesn’t mean you can go bra-less. Keep those puppies propped!” No sht. Not a good look. And make sure you get a bra that fits; there should be no back fat, straps hanging or flesh pouring out. Designer Nancy Gale – Marina del Rey: “Don’t skip the Spanx, just because you’re in shape. Spanx make everyone look a little smoother, especially in light, summer clothes.” Great suggestion , Nancy – I went out and bought the bra, the panties and the body suit and looked so much better in my summer outfits. I can’t breathe, but I look good! Sue Elsner, 54 – Boca Raton Florida: “Before you hit the beach, ask yourself, should I really be wearing this bikini?” There’s a lot of sexy one-pieces that are even sexier than a bikini. In fact, there’s a place in Santa Monica on Montana will make a custom-made suit to fit your body perfectly. Cowabunga! I’m so there! Cyndi Cunningham, 53 – Chandler, Arizona: “Keep up with weekly pedicures, especially in the summer. No one wants to...

A Neighborhood Jewel

One of my clients moved their offices near Santa Monica Airport, so I found myself there for update meetings on a regular basis. On most days when I come there, clients Tom and Alex and Dienna and I frequent the plethora of food trucks parked all in a row on 31st and Ocean Park, and eat lunch while we’re meeting. Last, week, we decided to get out of the office, past the food trucks, past the salad bar, and across the street to a cute little restaurant called OP Cafe. We walked up to the place, and it felt like a beach house, complete with a wooden screen door and whitewashed wooden facade. Inside, it looked like a quaint 1940s roadhouse, with a mix of today’s music, reminding us what year it really was. We were lead to a table by a friendly, cute hostess, making us feel right at home. She handed out the menus, and with a big smile, asked us what we’d like to drink, saying she would be right back with our libations and that someone would be by soon to take our order. The menu was simple and straightforward, serving breakfast and lunch to the Ocean Park area work force. Breakfast choices included house-made granola, with strawberries, blueberries and yogurt ($6.95), buttermilk, strawberry, banana nut or chocolate chip pancakes, ($6.95 – $7.95) and a variety of egg dishes, most with a decidedly south-of-the-border flair. The frittatas included your choice of 3 out of 19 items from a lineup of simple to gourmet such as Sausage, Bacon, Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, Onions, Spinach, and Sundried Tomatoes ($9.95.)  In addition, there were Breakfast Tacos, (scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, Pico de Gallo, chipotle cream sauce, topped with avocado for $8.95), a low carb...

There’s More Than One “Happy Ending!”...

7:00a on Sunday. I woke up, went downstairs, made some coffee. Took a shower, put on my white bathrobe, read the paper, drank my coffee.  My husband woke up 1/2 hour later, got into his cycling clothes and left for several hours. ‘Bye, honey!’ 8:00a – a handsome man pulls into my driveway, a man I know well. Fernando. I let him in. We go upstairs to the bedroom. He sets up the bed. Time for my 2-hour massage! Since I got injured training for the LA Marathon 2 years ago, Fernando has been a big part of my life, twice a month for 1-1/2 – 2 hours. I over-trained, and was diagnosed with 3 herniated disks, two small ones and one rather large one. !  I now ask myself, “What the hell were you thinking, 52 years old, never running before and running 26 miles?” My running career was over for good. I can’t take steroids, and when I asked the surgeon if he were me, would he opt for surgery? He said no. When a surgeon says no to surgery, you listen. So I devised my own healing regime, with the help of some very knowledgeable folk. I first needed to strengthen my body. I enlisted the help of popular Santa Monica trainer, Fit by Fabian. Next, I began walking 20 minutes a day and doing morning stretches. At the same time, a friend of mine recommended Fernando. He has an office in Culver City, but his specialty is going to people’s homes. I used to consider a massage something frivolous I did when I was on vacation, but now it’s a critical part of my fitness plan. I learned that massage can help with the following, especially for those over 50:...

This Place Stinks

I love cheese. I crave cheese. Any type of cheese. For several months, I have been driving by this cute little place on Montana with a sign outside that says “This Place Stinks!” I take a closer look, and it’s Andrew’s Cheese store. Cool. So my friend and I go in, in search of the stinkiest cheeses. The minute we walk into the quaint European-style fromagerie, I get a strong whiff of what’s to come. Then I see, stacked tightly side by side behind a glass encasement resembling a meat counter, every kind of cheese one could imagine. Wow. Across from the counter are wines, oils, and other gourmet items that I am sure I couldn’t live without. We introduce ourselves to Andrew and settle in to taste some of his smelliest cheeses. Check this out — Andrew tells us that some of the first smelly cheeses were created by Trappist Monks who would press the cheese with their feet while making it. The smelly bacteria on their feet, called b-linens, gave the cheese the pungent odor. Hmmm, doesn’t sound too appetizing, but Andrew assures us that the b-linen (brevibacterium) bacteria is safe and is no longer made with the help of someone’s smelly feet. Andrew also informs us that stinky cheeses come in orange washed rinds (washed usually with a saltwater brine that helps to create the b-linen) and are best at room temperature to savor the flavor and complexity of the cheese. Soon, we are tasting five of the stinkiest cheeses in the place, while Andrew gives us colorful descriptions of each: 1. Epoisses de Bourgogne — “If you’ve never tasted Epoisses, you need to. It’s the sexiest food you will ever eat. It’s creamy and has a rich, luscious taste. If...

Experiencing New Love, Orgasm and Deep Throat in the Span of an Hour!...

Once every six months, (summer and fall) my friend Sarah and I venture to Barney’s in Beverly Hills to work with the top New York runway makeup artists from Nars Cosmetics. Dalbert, the sweet counter manager in Barney’s calls us and sets it up. It’s always the debut of their Fall or Spring line, and they go all out to promote it. When we walk out of Barney’s we usually have a huge bag of what we bought and almost the same amount of promotional items. Dalbert always takes care of us. We start off in the morning with breakfast or brunch at Barney’s Greengrass, with Sarah having a split of Chandon and me, a Grey Goose Citron Martini – up, very chilled with two olives and a twist of lemon. Last time we were there, it was celebrity heaven (or hell, depending upon how you see it). Joan and Melissa Rivers and her baby;  Raquel Welch,  still looking amazing (I wonder who helps her maintain her youthful beauty?) and other vaguely familiar Hollywood types. I once ran into Billy Crystal and thought I went to high school with him, so I asked him. A little embarrassing, but still pretty fun. Once satiated, we head on down to the first floor and land at the Nars counter, where Dalbert gives us a great big hug and introduced us to his make-up artist associates. We dig in, first starting with a cleanser, followed by a toner, followed by a brightener, followed by a light moisturizer, followed by eye cream, followed by a tinted moisturizer, followed by a Foundation, followed by blush, followed by powder. Whew!  With all that stuff on my face, I started to get a hot flash. But I looked good!  I was...

Detour to Italy

Last night, on the way home from work, I decided to take a detour from my usual dinner pick up spot (think crazy charbroiled chicken) and head over to Bay Cities Italian Bakery and Deli. I have lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years, and had never been there! Do you know why? Because it is always so crowded I could never get a parking space! I zoomed down Lincoln Blvd., prayed to the parking gods, and voila – someone was just pulling out of a great space in the lot! The minute I walked in, I now knew why I never got a parking spot without the help of the gods. The quaint gourmet grocery store, established in 1925, was packed with amazing, one of a kind food items in its well stocked narrow isles. To my right was a deli counter, taking up the whole wall, from front to back. The front part served hot homemade Italian dishes for takeout, like lasagna, chicken Parmesan, eggplant Parmesan, spaghetti with sausage or meatballs, and other Mediterranean dishes. In the middle of the counter was a deli, serving a plethora of pasta and cold salads, such as antipasto, caprese, fusilli/pesto, seafood and many others. At the end of the counter there was a meat market, serving freshly sliced meats and sandwiches. Momma Ma! What a selection of italian meats – Breasola, Capi Cola, Copa Seca, Serrano ham, Mortadella, Pancetta, Prociutto, Salami, Sopressa, and many others. The sandwiches looked amazing as well. There was one called the Godmother, with Genoa salami, mortadella coppacola, ham, prosciutto and provolone all wrapped in a freshly baked Italian roll. I chose a dry salami to go with a cheese I would choose later. This whole area was packed, three-deep...

Face Off!

I’ve discovered it’s more than a hockey term. It’s what I experienced at my last facial, and I lived to tell the tale. I have been getting monthly facials for more than 35 years. The ritual started when I had teenage acne problems. Long after the acne disappeared, the facials continued. One piece of personally proven advice I can give to you (men and women) is to take good care of your skin. I consider my best asset to be my face. People tell me I look closer to 40 than over 50. When I was younger, like 22, I was constantly getting asked for my ID when I went bar-hopping with my friends. I hated it then. Love it now! I am deeply grateful for my teenage acne – it started me on a lifelong path of keeping my skin healthy. Back to my most recent facial. I have been going to my technician, Cathy for more than 10 years. She works magic. And she’s quite inexpensive for the extensive ritual she puts me through. First, she shapes my eyebrows. This time, she had to dye them because she found some WHITE eyebrow hairs. If that wasn’t enough of a sign of getting older, she started plucking away at my chin – I had a long hair (well, long for a chin-hair) growing out of it! “Holy Sht! I am old!” I yelled, in the quiet meditative space. But Cathy smiled and remained calm. I simmered down after she had me do some deep breathing exercises to relieve the angst. She’s so Zen, that Cathy! She then began my facial with a soothing cleansing of my skin. Then she used a steam-machine to open my pores to make the extraction process easier. Easier...

Real Estate You Can Eat...

For years, I have been driving down Broadway past this hippie-looking store called Co-Opportunity and always wondered what it was like. I decided that today was the day I would go in and find out more about it. The first thing I noticed was the impressive amount of bicycle racks installed on the outside walls of the store – cool! I’ll ride my bike down here next time. I enter the store and quickly learn that Co-Opportunity has been providing natural, organic and local foods to the Santa Monica area for more than 35 years, long before those other “yuppie” natural food stores opened in Santa Monica. This is the real deal! I’m instantly hooked. They have one of the largest selections of certified organic produce, including bulk produce, such as lettuce mix, green beans and carrots, a large variety of healthy hot and cold to go items, such as tamales, sandwiches, wraps, and freshly made pizza. There is also a large selection of gluten free products that thoroughly pleased my shopping companion. In addition to a wide variety of natural foods and groceries, they have of the largest selections of organic health and body care products I have ever seen. I make my way to these aisles. There’s a medicine for every ailment, including one for stress (check), one for varicose veins (check), another for back aches (check), and another for PMS (check!) Overwhelmed, I told the extremely knowledgeable manager of this department I would have to come back for a personal consultation – soon. After choosing a tea for energy and balance(I’ll start slowly), I moved on to the other store aisles.  It was lunch time, so I went on the hunt for some healthy items. I came across a coconut oil...

Bush-Whacked, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!...

Welcome to our world! Hot Flash Universe is the go-to source for women over 40 looking for insight into the hottest, most current trends, products and issues. Topics are approached with candor, intellect and a healthy dose of humor. We search for the best Los Angeles has to offer for women of any age to be sexy, smart and savvy. Check out this week’s Hot Flash! THE GOOD It’s summertime, and with the warm sun comes sexier clothes.  One BIG mistake you can make is not shaving your legs, armpits or waxing your bikini line -a  total turn-off for men and women.  It might be OK to let it go in the winter, but absolutely not in the summer! My “go to” gay stylist/friend Colin says, “Women and men should be waxed all year ’round.  It’s very fashionable to be well-groomed.”   And, I personally think it makes you feel sexier and younger! THE BAD But buyer beware.  I have a friend that told me that within 24 hours of getting a bikini wax at a reputable salon, an infection crept in.  Eww! Not sexy. Her doctor diagnosed her with cellulitis, a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection of the skin and the underlying tissue. It took her months to recover physically from the infection, a big price to pay for a supposedly harmless procedure. Scary! THE UGLY Waxing can also pull off tiny pieces of the skin’s outermost layer, creating a portal through which bacteria can enter the body. What’s more, the process creates inflammation, which can trap bacteria beneath the skin. All of this make that area primed for skin infections and ingrown hairs.  Yuk. For those who are willing to take the risk, here’s what you need to look for: Choose a Facility Carefully...

Taste From A By Gone Era...

Two well-respected establishments that have been in Santa Monica for more than 50 years are Callahan’s and Vienna Pastry, standing proudly, side-by-side on Wilshire Blvd. On Monday morning, I ventured out earlier than usual to check them both out. First breakfast, then dessert! When I walked into Callahan’s, I felt like I went back in time about 40 years. It was a great feeling. I imagined my grandmother holding my hand, with my white dress-up gloves on, going to dine on a juicy hamburger with French fries. And, I no longer needed a booster seat, so we sat at the counter! I felt so grown up. Back to 2012 — My companion and I slid into seats at the counter. Even though I didn’t need a booster seat, my feet still didn’t touch the ground – some things never change!  We ordered eggs, sausage, bacon and coffee, and started to talk to the gal at the counter about the restaurant’s history. We learned that the founder was Mel Callahan, who opened Callahan’s in 1948. He created a welcoming family atmosphere and took pride in keeping his prices reasonable. He specialized in homemade comfort food with fresh baked cakes and pies. Mel retired in 1988, selling Callahan’s to the Vazquez family. They continue to operate Callahan’s with the same key ingredients — great food, good service and reasonable prices. We introduced ourselves to the current owner Abe Vazquez. He had a huge white smile and so much pride about his establishment. We finished our meals and got the check. A “whopping” $10 for a good, basic, hot breakfast! Grandma would have been thrilled. Next, on to Vienna Bakery, right next door. We introduced ourselves to the owner, Fred Khadavi. Fred and his partner, brother-in-law Ron...

Bring Out the Best in Your Boobs!...

Welcome to our world! Hot Flash Universe is the go-to source for women over 40 looking for insight into the hottest, most current trends, products and issues. Topics are approached with candor, intellect and a healthy dose of humor. We search for the best Los Angeles has to offer for women of any age to be sexy, smart and savvy. Check out this week’s Hot Flash! In our 20s they were perky.  In our 30s they still looked pretty darned good.  In our 40s, they started to sag – a little.  Now in our 50s, we could use some help.  Not to worry, ladies.  If you don’t have the money, time and pain threshold to endure a breast lift, breast reduction, or breast augmentation, one simple way to feel immediately sexier, shapelier and thinner is to wear a properly fitted bra. Far too many women are walking around with cups that are too small or too big, and some even reveal  BACK FAT! EEEWWW. This week, I did a little research on the topic and found several sources in LA that are masters at making your boobs look their best.  First, here’s how to tell if your bra doesn’t fit.  I found out mine does not. The damn thing rides up in the back. You have deep red marks in your shoulders from the straps. (check.) Your underwire digs into your boobs at the side. (check.) Your boobs “spill out” at the top. (check.) Your cup needs to be stuffed. You want to rip it off at the end of the day, or sooner. (check.) For busty gals exclusively, there’s a place called Jenette Bras.  Their motto is “The Alphabet Starts with a ‘D.'” As the web site says:  “Let’s face it – we...