On Finding the Sparkle.

On Finding the Sparkle

{TW for aging talk, body image stuff}

This past week is one where I have just really felt my age. Cat stuff, lack of sleep, just overall (as a Facebook group member proclaimed), a “lack of sparkle.” I’m going to complain a little, because it makes me feel less alone, but also because I see threads in the group at least every week from readers who are feeling this same exact way. Solidarity?

On Finding the Sparkle

The good.

We can start with the good. As I write this, I just finished my boot camp class. On my way out of class, a woman stopped me and said, “Girl! You are getting better and better every week!” This made my entire morning. Because I am improving, and I have worked really hard to do so.

(It also made me remember the importance of kind words.)

I started taking this class 2-3x a week on April 20th. So, about 8 weeks (and a break for Italy). I feel so much stronger. It makes me excited to think how I’ll feel in 16 weeks, 24 weeks, etc. That, combined with training 2-3x a week + doing a run/walk on the Peloton treadmill here and there. I have been lifting heavier with my trainer and the boot camp class gives me a run for my money. No breaks, tricky choreography, etc! I read this post from a year and a half ago and it made me feel better. Stamina, I have. Sparkle, less so.

I have improved but I’m still always the one falling behind, or doing the move in the wrong direction. But when I tell you I love this class, I LOVE this class. I always leave drenched in sweat, I’ve made new friends, and I genuinely thrive on the energy and camaraderie in the room. This is definitely the hardest I have worked out in years. Definitely since lockdown, but even before lockdown I was practicing yoga 5-6 days a week which is a different kind of fitness.

The bad.

Getting older is just plain annoying. It started with the chin hairs in my late thirties. There was a day, maybe when I was 37, when I realized that an errant hair check was mandatory before going out. I will go weeks without one sprouting out, and then suddenly there it is: a long hair, just hanging out on my chin… seemingly having materialized overnight. It does not help that the light in my new bathroom is a bit moody. The old owners were men. I love the vibe but need to invest in one of those lighted mirrors. The other day, I was at drinks with my best guy friend and he was like, “oh, you have an eyelash on your face.” It was not an eyelash. You just have to laugh (and carry tweezers?).

There is also a harsh reality in that my face (and everyone’s face, really) gets just little bit droopier every year.

This piece from Gloria really hammers it home. This part: “In your early to mid-40s…something shifts and you wake up and you do not recognize yourself. I know it sounds tragic, but that is truly what I have noticed in my practice.” It’s completely true. I look different, but cannot put my finger on what has changed. It’s not even necessarily bad different, just different. Creams and potions help of course (and of course SPF) but they can only do so much. Gravity comes for us all. I haven’t gotten Botox since last September and I feel so torn about it. Also, I felt like it looked good in person but weird on camera. I didn’t like not being able to move parts of my face.

The bigger thing really, is that I felt like I couldn’t tell if skincare products were working so I wasn’t able to review anything new, which impacted my ability to do my job and take on new skincare partnerships. But also: I looked at my mom, who has never done anything to her face and is a radiant beautiful angel. I want to be like her. So I stopped. But I question it. Through a variety of external pressures (people say the worst things) and internal pressures (just a gander but seeing yourself talking to a front faced camera every day probably isn’t the best thing for self confidence?). It is hard not to scrutinize yourself and feel badly about things.

A non-appearance related disappointment of this age:

It seems that I can’t drink red wine anymore. Some red wines are okay but it feels like such a gamble that I don’t want to test it. Pinot Noir is usually fine, while Cabernet is a big no. I think. But the headaches are so bad that I don’t even want to risk it? I will have one glass and get a migraine the next day. A single glass. Red wine is the only alcoholic beverage that I really just love. I grew up in a household where there was always a glass of red on the table with dinner. Just a glass. That glass was enjoyed just as much as the food. I like a fun night out and a martini every now and then but that sort of drinking is separate from red wine for me. I find that I barely drink without it because I don’t really want anything else. A cocktail or glass of bubbly is fun when you are entertaining or out, but I miss that glass of red.

What to do about it.

A mental shift. I’ve mentioned how much I’m enjoying Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s podcast, Wiser Than Me. In the episode with Fran Leibowitz, they discuss aging and Leibowitz says something to the effect of, “Well, you need to remember that it just keeps getting worse.” This, while depressing, is a good reminder to appreciate what we have now. I am extremely hard on myself which is good in some ways, bad in others. And I am trying to shift my mindset to focus on the good.

I am also just very focused on taking better care of my body, inside and out. The mental stuff, the shift in perspective is the most important. But I really do want to be in my best possible shape by my 42nd birthday at the end of September. Here is my little list.

Consistent workouts.

My aim is to work out hard 5-6 days a week. I like the variety I get between training, running, and boot camp.

Sweat.

I find that when I get a really good sweat (I don’t tend to sweat much when I lift heavy or go to yoga), my skin glows, I look and feel better. The sauna blanket is a great way to sweat if I do a lower impact exercise.

More protein!!!!

I find I do better with adding things to my diet (adding veggies and protein) as opposed to limiting what I eat. With the exception of processed foods/junk, I don’t really tell myself I can’t have food. If I say I can’t have it, I want it even more! But if I do have a craving I will eat a Chomps stick (savory craving) or a Built bar (sweet) and see how I feel. Protein shakes are another help.

More indulgent, but I have been getting facials every six weeks.

It’s not the same as Botox but it makes a difference. I have also been doing a longer, meditative skincare routine before bed (really taking the time to massage my serums in, pat the eye cream all the way around my orbital bone, etc.).

More water.

Always, more water. Isn’t it crazy how much better we feel when we are properly hydrated!

Cutting back on the booze.

This hasn’t been much of a problem since the whole red wine issue has come up, but just being more mindful.

I’d love to hear what you do when you feel this way // a lack of sparkle, if you will. Sound off in the comments. Little rituals, bigger changes, have at it! What do you do to find the sparkle/feel better about yourself?

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

71 Comments

  1. Beth:

    First, I am a fairly new follower, and I honestly thought that I am far too old to be relevant to anyone so young…..I seriously thought you were max 30 yrs old, as I am almost 58, I think you look fantastic!!!! I love your socials!! I am hoping to somehow get my sparkle back that seems to have faded away as of late. I do all the things I can to fight aging, except no Botox, and yet I feel like the old age fairy came in the night and hit me in the face with her not so magic wand!! I still feel very young, and hope that by being inspired by those younger than I, like yourself, one day I will get my sparkle back. In the last year, we went from having two sweet cats, and the cutest little Shih Tzu dog ever. Sadly, they were all young together, and all lived long lives, but the heartbreak of losing one after the other has taken its toll. Little Jamie, and Puff updates just bring joy to my day, until the time comes when we are ready to welcome another little one into our home. Thank you for inspiring me, and being genuine about your feelings. I hope today you have moments that make you smile, and help to get your sparkle back!

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Nancy:

      Loved your post as I assumed I had to be 20 years over ever other follower Grace has….so welcome! Granted for so many reasons I cannot wear clothing she does (size/age/budget)but love fashion so enjoy seeing her items and sometimes it inspires me to look for something I might be able to wear. Also love all of your home and book recommendations. Miss hearing you on a podcast but understand why that had to change Grace. Thank you for all the work you do.

      6.13.23 Reply
      • Sarah:

        Ladies, I am right there with you. I turn 60 (!) in September. My birthday is the day after yours, Grace!

        Aging is hard. I look pretty good (and much younger) and that is all thanks to good genes but there are just some things that I will never get back and that makes me sad. The thing that nobody tells you about aging (or maybe they do and we just don’t hear it) is that mentally you never stop feeling like you’re 25. In my head I am still young and invincible. I’m cool, I keep up with what’s happening in pop culture and I have a GREAT life filled with travel and friends and entertaining and adventure. But when I get out of bed in the morning, everything hurts and the person staring back at me in the mirror is a complete stranger. Also, a moment for neck and chest wrinkles which are the absolute worst and boy was that a surprise!

        Anyway. Thank you for writing this, Grace. Sparkle is a mindset, not a skincare routine. As we age we have to think about how we adjust to this new era in our lives, how we can be the best version of ourselves NOW not how can we try to be more like our younger selves. We are always evolving and the sparkle may change but it’s still there if you look.

        6.13.23 Reply
        • Tara:

          Dear Ladies;

          60 here! You know what? From this perspective, I am just grateful. You’ll see as you age there are many twists and turns of friends and their health state: one just diagnosed with anal caner, two lost to breast cancer. You know what? Who cares how I look! All the plumbing works, I have sunsets, wines and good books, a man I still love after 37 years of marriage. I see you, Grace, as an old soul who is reaching that old soul potential, catching up with herself. Your life has had so many blessings in the last few years with your new location and the addition of other family members which is so wonderful. Your Mom looks fantastic, rested, centered. At her age (we are contemporaries!) it is all we strive for. And yes, aging is hard. I have arthritis and can’t do what I could, but journal daily to record the “glimmers” and read them back each week so I know they took place: sharing at my book club group, seeing our rhododendrum bloom this June after I thought it was lost, making fra diavolo with shrimp, leaving the window open all night and listening to the woods behind me as it comes forth to life in the dark…I’m learning it is all in the perspective. If you record it, it lives. Long walks, exercise, and perspective. That is a nice way to examine older age.

          6.13.23 Reply
          • My people! I’m 50 and always considered myself the age outlier here!

            I’m typing this 2 hours before my first colonoscopy so I’m feeling extra old and tired. What hits me the hardest is that my body is slowing down while my heart feels like time is flying so quickly I need to do more before I miss out. Some mornings I wake up sore. But in slowing down I can alleviate the small things I didn’t notice when I was younger. I’m such a trope.

            You’re not alone, Grace. It’s difficult but not bad. While you grieve your wine I’ll grieve my Mountain Dew.

            6.14.23
          • Rita:

            I agree 100% with Tara. Having lost a best friend when we were 19 and a cousin who was 36 both to cancer, I’m grateful every day I get to have. I’m 54 and ageing is hard but I look at my almost 90 year old mum who when i ask how she is always answers with “ I’ m great, who is better than me”. and know that it’s all how we choose to look at it.

            6.16.23
        • Victoria:

          “Sparkle is a mindset, not a skin care routine” I love this!

          6.20.23 Reply
  2. Grace Morisseau:

    Wow this is literally me this week – life has kicked my butt, I’m PMSing, I’m having to sleep on the couch due to an AC thing so I’m not getting good sleep – but I woke up this morning and was just like, I feel like absolute crap. And it’s such a self-fulfilling prophecy! I feel like nothing will go right so the obvious move is to just take a nap, lol.

    SO, I told myself I’m going to do a workout – it can be shitty and I can yell through it and modify and take breaks, but I have to finish it. I have to eat a vegetable at every meal today. I need to finish at least three water bottles. I may not emotionally feel any better, but at least I’ll be doing good things for my body in the meantime.

    My mom passed away in February, and she would’ve been 72 this month. It’s got me thinking a lot about longevity, and doing things for myself that go SO much further than how I look, which is refreshing! I’m starting to feel the differences that come with getting older, but trying to remember how much of a privilege it is at the same time. Which is hard! So cheers to all of us for continuing to try.

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Riane:

      Nail on the head. I turn 43 on Friday, and I woke up Saturday and realized I was starting to get my mother’s jawls. They’re still small, but I see them! No wonder I thought I looked different! I’ve recently started adding more protein to my diet, exercising a bit more regularly (mostly for my mental health, tbh), and just trying to watch what I eat. Drinking has, also, become less fun. The headaches, the poor sleep. Not worth it, mostly. This aging thing is for the birds. I don’t wanna grow up!

      6.13.23 Reply
  3. Kimber:

    This resonates! I feel this lack of sparkle as wanting to crawl out of my own skin. I’m annoyed with myself, the world, everyone around me
    I’m glad you mentioned the value of kind words! My New Year’s resolution was to give more compliments and I never realized how uplifting it can be to see someone smile and feel good when they receive one! I think they are contagious too.
    Second the excercise routine as well. The sense of accomplishment (and quieting of the anxious brain) that comes with a daily sweet session is unmatched. I love my body best when it’s tired!

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Riane:

      I feel the annoyance, as well. It frustrates me, which only adds to the annoyance! I say hello or smile at everyone I pass. I’m usually met with blank stares. Annoying. Drivers don’t wait for you to cross the street. Annoying. I find that I have to remind myself to shake it off, take a breath, and move on. Otherwise, I’ll be my ornery grandma before I know what hit me.

      6.13.23 Reply
    • SC:

      Lord the annoyance is so real! It’s like I turned 40 and went full get off my lawn. I hate feeling this way but it never gets any better! It’s a great compliment to my also sagging face and new grey hairs, haha.

      6.13.23 Reply
    • Mary Catherine:

      Your red wine headache issue… I had that happen to me too a few years ago out of nowhere and I felt so lost. You see, my husband and I own a wine and spirits store and our FAVORITE thing for a while was picking out a new bottle of red a few times a week and we’d feature the true gems on the shelves as we found them. It was such a fun hobby until the headaches started. BUT there is hope! My research led me to this product and I can honestly say no more headaches. I hope it works for you as much as it did for me.

      Ullo Wine Purifier with 4 Selective Sulfite Filters. Remove Sulfites and Histamines, Restore Taste, Aerate, and Experience the Magic of Ullo purified wine. https://a.co/d/ePGfmQ2

      Good luck!

      6.23.23 Reply
  4. M:

    I love this! Something that helps me feel better when I don’t feel like myself is doing lots of my favorite things: buying peonies, rewatching my favorite tv show, wear outfits I really like, light my favorite candle every night etc. These are small changes, but I’ve found that they really do help.

    Also, re: red wine–I’m not sure if this will work for you (or if it even works at all) but I remember seeing a TikTok about a similar product and hearing it helps alleviate headaches from wine. This isn’t the same exact product, but maybe this/something similar could help you? I’m not sure if anyone else has tried this, but I know it must be tough to lose your favorite drink (and migraines are terrible)–I gave up coffee once and it was miserable!

    https://www.amazon.com/PureWine-Headaches-Removes-Sulfites-Histamines/dp/B06XGP85LR#aw-udpv3-customer-reviews_feature_div

    6.13.23 Reply
  5. Kara:

    I’m just slightly younger than you and feeling the same way. My shift has been to always favoring the healthy choice because it just isn’t worth having a bad day because I was up too late or made terrible food choices or feel stressed out because I didn’t get outside or move. My body doesn’t bounce back like it used to and I am more conscious of protecting it.
    Like you, my drink of choice is red wine and I cannot indulge like I used to, but have you tried “drop it”? I still don’t push it, but it got me back to my beloved cab!

    6.13.23 Reply
  6. Jess:

    This definitely resonates! S*it gets real in the 40s! So much of what used to bring joy doesn’t, trying to get my face and body to cooperate feels fruitless at times. But I always remind myself that aging is a gift. Figuring out what diet and exercise is going to work for me in this life stage is a challenge I try to welcome, and I don’t miss hangovers since I have have had to really cut down on alcohol to feel better! I try to have faith I will find new things that help me sparkle, but this time is a transitional one, no question .

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Katie:

      Grace, you’re genuinely a social media presence whom I regard as having a ton of sparkle and you definitely keep me inspired (the concept of the murder robe, please!). I think sparkle is hard to quantify but you do come across as youthful with good humor and love your love for your cats and you’re not afraid of wearing amazing colour. It can’t be written down exactly but what ever you’re doing, you’re a source of inspiration for me. Katie x

      6.13.23 Reply
  7. Chase:

    There is a reason why I, a black lady in my fifties, insist on reading your blog every day. I hear ya! Aging is awful, but with lots of humor and “grace”, it can also be beautiful and humbling. Keep it up. You are wonderful, and I look forward to continue reading your words as I continue to mature like fine wine!!
    I just heard that French reds won’t give you a headache. I plan on experimenting to see if this is true or not!

    6.13.23 Reply
  8. Catherine M:

    I’m so grateful to be able to follow a blogger my age who can offer insight – or transparency? – into what it’s like to be aging in a more public way, and who can also show me that I’m not too old to wear this-or-that. Side note: Is anyone else out there unsure of what to be wearing these days?
    The content you put out often seems so effortless (such is the nature of the beast), so I appreciate your candor in posts like these.

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Laura:

      you probably just want to complain and let it out, but i have a few thoughts to share in case you’re interested (of course my apologies for anything coming off as patronizing).

      water, yes, always more, but also, WITH MINERALS! without minerals we’re just flushing ourselves and not actually getting any more hydrated. adding mineral salt drops to every refill of my bottle has been extremely helpful. my skin is plump, my eyes are bright, and i don’t pee nearly as much even though im drinking tons more.

      botox is tricky. it’s definitely a shortcut and there are long game ways of achieving similar results by tweaking what you’re already doing. the ticktock babies are training us to massage our faces in excitingly effective ways. so much more than gua sha. also, massager scrubber type devices like the foreo work miracles. it’s all just years of tension and habits we need to break and reset. it is possible! what your face does every time you think a thought or respond to anyone is setting your wrinkles. work on that poker face

      monthly dermaplane facial! no more rando hairs and no dealing with a mustache. make sure they’re certified in dermaplane, it’s special. plus it helps so so much with product absorption.

      dairy and sugar are making your migraines, not wine. though organic wine without sulfates is best, the wine isn’t to blame for the headaches even though that’s what it seems like. it’s just a cherry on top of a big cake. also, dairy and sugar are responsible for most of the “signs of aging” in general and menopause symptoms. the sooner we stop consuming them at all the better for everything. same with soy, which is in everything. eat more nuts, seeds, and celery and you in your 50s will thank you.

      sleeeeeeep. omg im sure you know, but everything we eat and drink comes back to how it impacts our sleep. it’s so important to stop consumption at least 2 hours before bed.

      and a whole overarching thing to consider is glucose spikes and the roller-coaster of putting anything in us really. every time our bodies have a glucose spike, we are literally cooking our insides with the heat from that chemical reaction in our bodies. the more we cushion our meals with greens, the less of a spike we have, the lower the impact of the meal on our system overall. have a piece of cake, after you’ve had a heap of greens, broccoli, spinach, whatever you want so long as it’s green. the best thing is to start with savory breakfast featuring greens. it sets your whole day of digestion up right and is so easy.

      there’s more, but these are the main. points for now. poke around online and see what you think ive been so impressed by the changes ive experienced after i thought i was doing so much already. finding what actually helps was another layer of the journey i wasn’t expecting. i feel like and everyone around me is noticing that im aging in reverse. i feel and look better than i did 10 years ago, 100% without a doubt. it only took a few months, not years. i was like you, trying to figure it out and doing a bunch of good things already but not quite right. if only we came out of the womb with an owners manual for these space suits, ha! xox

      6.13.23 Reply
  9. Stacy Rogers:

    Feel this with every once of my soul, as someone soon to be 44. I think I look decent for 44, but still I look in the mirror and sometimes wonder when I got this old. Working out, eating well, enjoying life, but also baffled how my outside doesn’t match how I feel on the inside.

    6.13.23 Reply
  10. AMY:

    Thank you for your vulnerability. These are my favorite posts because it gives us a BTS deeper look at you as a human, and personally that’s what I’m here for.

    I just spent the week mourning the unexpected loss of my 96 year old grandmother and I am reminded that our outer appearance is often a reflection of a life well lived. She was radiant as is my 94 year old great aunt. I go back and forth on how to continue to look youthful too and this week I was beautifully reminded that the reframe should be on enjoying life.

    But then last night I was on a first date and the guy told me to stop looking so serious. That is just my face and it gets under my skin when people say this. I can only imagine what gravity will do but if people get to know me they’ll understand.

    Your mother, like my grandmother and great aunt, radiates. Let us all be so lucky.

    6.13.23 Reply
  11. Sarah M:

    Ugh, I have been having these exact thoughts! Turning 40 next year and I feel like all of a sudden no matter what I do the weight is just piling on, my face is rounder and the rouge hair sprouting out of my mole on my cheek is there when it never was before. We need a support group for this crap!! Thanks for putting yourself out there because you’re not alone!

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Leah C:

      This is exactly how I feel! I’m 38, and it seems like in the past few years I can’t stop gaining a small but consistent amount of weight annually. As a person that’s always been slim, I am taken aback by my own reflection these days. Almost none of my clothes fit properly anymore. I’ve gone up two sizes. And I know this shouldn’t be a big deal, but it makes me want to burst into tears any time I see myself in the mirror. It’s hard. I feel like an inflated version of myself and despite my best efforts to eat well and exercise, nothing helps. I may just have to get used to this new body and love her, but it is a process. Would very much love a support group 🙂

      6.13.23 Reply
      • Sasha:

        I’m 38 and feel like I could have written this! I feel like this is not the body I know and it’s just made me feel so generally out of sorts. So much about this post overall resonates with me but reading your comment I just had to respond- you’re not alone and it’s such a hard feeling to grapple with and know what to do with! Xo

        6.13.23 Reply
      • Lindsay K:

        This!! I‘m in my mid thirties and keep wondering what is wrong with me. My clothes dont fit and I weigh the most I ever have. Yet, I eat the healthiest I ever have and am active. I think it’s just part of aging and I’m not going to weigh what I did in my 20s. Trying to be kind to myself and find clothes that make me feel confident and comfortable. It’s a process but getting towards acceptance.

        6.17.23 Reply
  12. m:

    I keep a Pinterest file of older women whom I admire–and not just the J. Lo freak-of-nature eternal hotties but those who have realistic aging faces. I save their advice and quotes too.

    “Life gets harder, but WE get better.” – Joan Rivers
    “My best feature used to be my legs, but now it’s my personality.” – Carole Radziwill

    I’ll add the Fran Lebowitz quote. LOL.

    6.13.23 Reply
  13. Jaclyn:

    Grace, I resonate with this email so much. As a 43 year-old woman, I could not agree more with so many of your statements. Also red wine is my favorite drink ever and I, too, cannot handle it anymore. I wake up with an awful headache and hangover. Some days I love my body and face and some days all I see are awful laugh lines and dark circles and get so depressed. Thank you for sharing this blog post – it makes me feel less alone.

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Nancy:

      Just solidarity. I think I’m relieved that so many are in the same boat – which maybe I wouldn’t have realized if you hadn’t been vulnerable, so thank you.

      6.13.23 Reply
  14. Katie:

    Hi Grace,
    This is so relatable, and I’m in my early 30s. Like the podcast says, it only gets worse! And it’s noticeable for different people in different ways. I love what you said about your mom’s face, that’s a really banner point for me. I see older women who look gorgeous and they clearly have wrinkles, sun spots, etc., and it’s really a sign of a well lived life. I find that I don’t love the look of women in their 60s/70s with lots of work done or Botox, but it seems like a slippery slope to just “stop” and lean into a traditionally older look. Lots of rambling here, but I appreciate the space you’re opening for this. You’re a real one, Grace!

    One more thing, I noticed a sentence cut out here: “More indulgent, but I have been getting facials every six weeks. It’s not the same as Botox but it makes a difference. I have also been doing a longer, meditative skincare routine before bed (really taking the time to”

    6.13.23 Reply
    • Whoops, great catch — thank you, just fixed! Thank you for the note, Katie — agree so much of this part: “I see older women who look gorgeous and they clearly have wrinkles, sun spots, etc., and it’s really a sign of a well lived life.”

      6.13.23 Reply
  15. Grace I just created 149 paints all about finding my sparkle.
    I know this feeling… but trust me you are the stars.
    xo

    6.13.23 Reply
  16. Jessica:

    Thank you for sharing, Grace! I love posts like this. I definitely relate to you.

    6.13.23 Reply
  17. April:

    This hits home in so many ways! So well said and thank you for writing and sharing this, Grace! One small tip for drinking red wine – try taking a non-drowsy antihistamine (like Allegra) before drinking. Not foolproof but I think it helps!

    6.13.23 Reply
  18. Amanda:

    This was such a great read. A little note on red wine: my MIL developed the same aversion with debilitating migraines from red wine. Turned out if she found a red with low / no sulfites, she was fine. I’m sure it’s not a one size fits all, but maybe worth trying a class to see!

    6.13.23 Reply
  19. Liz Adams:

    I relate to this on all levels. Always love your humanness and ability to make people feel seen. I am lucky to be in your sparkle orbit, even if you don’t always feel it. ❤️

    Also, my chin hairs are the SAME. I named mine Louie.

    6.13.23 Reply
  20. Judy Holmes:

    Great column & good comments! I am 69, retired this past fall. Aging with sparkle is the goal! Letting go of the face of youth & embracing the aging face is a process of acceptance & fortitude. In some ways, it’s like being a teenager-a bit turbulent, unsure of self & yet, exciting. I am no longer in pursuit of looking younger per se. Rather, I am in pursuit of who I want to be as an aging woman.

    6.13.23 Reply
  21. This is such a great post that I really resonate with, I will be 45 this week and WHAT?! I do not feel 45 inside but my face and gravity are starting to tell a different story. I also cannot drink red wine anymore bc of headaches the day after, and even worse, I feel so down the next day or two. Now if I want to have a fun, relaxing night with friends or my husband, a half of a low dose fun gummy does the trick for me, and I feel great the next day.

    Regarding getting older in general, sometimes I start to spiral that I’ll never have enough time to read all the books I want to read, or travel to all the places I want to travel too. I have worked hard to make my home a place I enjoy spending a lot of time in, so when I start getting anxiety about missing out on travelling to new places, I can look around and remind myself that I have my home to enjoy in the meantime.

    Another thing that has helped me appreciate getting older, and I recognize how very privileged I am to be able to say this, but I’m able to buy the jewelry or the item for my home without worrying like I did in my 20s when I had to borrow money from my friends to get drinks out. The financial stability that comes with getting older is something I really appreciate. I try to remember that when I’ll looking at my sagging face or the sagging knees

    6.13.23 Reply
  22. Caroline:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m curious what type of facials you get every 6 weeks. I already have a nuface and am thinking about buying a red light mask, so wondering beyond extractions what type of things I should look for in facials that would help make me glow or help with aging.

    6.13.23 Reply
    • I go to Spa Azure or Ella Ora here in Charleston and just ask the facialist what they think we should do. Generally, they know better than I ever could. Sometimes it’s microcurrent, sometimes red light, sometimes extractions, sometimes a mask, sometimes massage, sometimes micro-blading… it kinda varies. 🙂

      6.13.23 Reply
  23. Catherine:

    Thanks for the wonderful post Grace! Phew… I don’t feel so alone now. Thought it was just me being paranoid.

    6.13.23 Reply
  24. Martha:

    Thank you for this. I am slightly younger than you but already share many of these feelings. Society has really wrecked us into thinking that women “expire” or just become ugly and worthless as they age. We KNOW this is untrue but we still have to fight it every day! Cue the importance of female friendships and solidarity. We gotta stick together.

    I try to remind myself that it is a privilege to experience life at different ages. Our bodies change, but so do our hearts and minds! We become smarter, wiser, and hopefully more understanding and kind as we see more of life. I respect everyone’s choices to Botox or not Botox. But age is coming for us all no matter what so it is good to practice acceptance for that fact either way.

    Thank you for continuing to run your blog. It is always fun to follow along.

    6.13.23 Reply
  25. Angie:

    I feel all of this! I’m 42, and I couldn’t figure out why I look completely different in pictures than I did a few years ago! I’m learning to angle my face and smile differently in pictures…the face has definitely fallen lol. I also have trouble drinking red wine and even martinis. Just trying to embrace that change is constant and continue to adapt. Following along with you certainly helps!

    6.13.23 Reply
  26. Emily:

    I just love this post so much. Thank you for writing it! I am saving it to read on days when I need it

    6.13.23 Reply
  27. Marin:

    Hi Grace,

    Your post resonated so much! I’m a little bit older than you, but have the same issues. Red wine and the hideous migranes the day after and the chin hairs…
    The thing is, even if I will be 50 in two years, I feel way younger.But Mother Nature reminds you that you’re getting older, for me it was developing this year a belly that I’ve never had in my whole life. No big life changes, just getting older.
    I’ve had to come to terms that I’m aging and that these are the first visible signs. And that what I was doing to be fit (namely eating clean and yoga lessons 3 times a week) wasn’t working for me anymore. So I started strenght training twice a week and I’m already feeling better.

    6.13.23 Reply
  28. Jenifer:

    Hair and facial barnicles (those little white heads and other things that seem to come to life on your face) just some of the joys of getting older along with less bouncy hair! I always have tweezers in my car with me, the best lighting for finding those pesky hairs and removing them. The sparkle as you get older comes more in the small things than the big things and you worry less about what everyone else thinks of you and just learn to live in your own skin.

    6.13.23 Reply
  29. Johanna M:

    I’ve a bit MIA lately on your posts as I’ve been going through some major life changes lately. But I am so glad I read this piece. Your honesty is a huge help! I just turned 37 and it’s useful to be reminded to appreciate what I have and acknowledge that my face/body will just keep moving no matter how much work and money I put into it. Sigh. Trying to enjoy myself when I feel good about myself – which thankfully has been happening a lot more lately!

    6.13.23 Reply
  30. Dana:

    Grace, I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts on aging. I’m older than you (mid-fifties) and lead a very different life, but your blog is one of my favorite spaces on the internet. Aging is hard in so many ways and I find it so helpful to hear about other’s women’s journeys, feelings, thoughts, etc. I also loved reading the comments from your incredibly thoughtful readers. I can relate to your fitness journey and you have inspired me to look into returning to in-person classes (I stopped during the pandemic and my fitness level has worsened significantly). I’m going to print out your list to remind me of the habits that I would like to implement too. On a different note, I have loved all the posts about Tyrion and Jaime! Those fluffy cuties are Sparkle in feline form!

    6.13.23 Reply
  31. Samantha Boyd:

    Love this post. Thank you for being so vulnerable, we don’t see that often enough. I can totally relate, I’ll be 40 next month and wanted to be in my best shape but my body had other ideas. It feels like the last year has been one thing after the other. But, at the same time, there is a lot to celebrate about being older and knowing who I am a little bit more. So, thank you again for your post!!

    6.13.23 Reply
  32. Mg:

    Wow, this could not be more timely for the way I am feeling also. At 55, my face (and body!) have definitely changed and I don’t always love it. But learning to embrace all of it, it’s a process for sure. Your mom is beautiful and definitely footsteps to follow in. Thank you for the honesty and sharing!

    6.13.23 Reply
  33. Bea:

    Consider looking into the wine you are drinking. I recently felt similarly about red wine and I love red wine. I heard about Avaline (Organic and lists ingredients) and I’ve never looked back! Check out “wine face” podcast for lots of info. The short of it is wine makers can add over 70 additives including colors and flavors (and never list the ingredients) red wines are the biggest offenders! Gross.

    6.13.23 Reply
  34. Meg:

    I’m always shocked when you share your age- I think you look wonderful and always assume I’m at least 10 years older

    It really excites me to see you share internal/self care ways to improve your mood as so much of our happiness comes from within

    6.14.23 Reply
  35. Ailsa Emmel:

    This resonates hard. You have such a beautiful way of capturing how so many women are feeling and what I hear from patients daily. I’m a WHNP/CNM and help women as they start to navigate their new bodies and hormones. It’s so hard when things were so much easier when you are younger. Thank you for opening the conversation and validating women. I really enjoyed this blogpost so much!!!!

    6.14.23 Reply
  36. Mia:

    For me, I am only 33 but I had twins two years ago. It looks ‘normal’ with my clothes on, but between a c-section scar and loose skin, my belly is pretty visibly marked by the pregnancy. Mostly that’s okay – one-pieces for me from now on – but sometimes it hits me that I am never ever going to look the way I did again and it’s hard not to feel a little bit of loss. I’m imagining that the aging process is pretty similar – even if it’s a blessing to be able to grow old and you wouldn’t trade anything for it, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t mess with your mind. Our society puts SO much on our physical appearance and our ability to look young as women, we shouldn’t judge ourselves for feeling bad, or at least conflicted, when we aren’t performing that role in the same way.

    6.14.23 Reply
  37. Rebecca:

    As an almost 45 year-old woman (16 days and counting), I relate so much with everything you said.

    I discovered my first chin hair in my mid-thirties. I was in a meeting (in the office) when I felt it protruding from the bottom right corner of my chin. I obsessed over removing it all day but it was lodged in there. I could not wait until it was time to leave so I could really get at it. Once I got into my car, I pulled and pulled at that thing for nearly my entire 40-minute drive home. Oh the satisfaction I felt when I finally yanked it out. I proceeded to stare at it and then roll it between my fingertips, fascinated by how dark and hard it was, like a needle. Little did I know it was the first of many more to come. Now I keep tweezers in my car.

    I stopped getting Botox in my forehead. I think I look crazy when I see myself in the mirror when I have it, so I accept looking like a Shar Pei every time I raise my eyebrows. However, I am a big fan of the tiniest little bit of filler in my cheeks. It adds just enough volume and helps with the dark shadows. I’ve also had amazing success with radio frequency microneedling. I see a big improvement with dark spots, sagging and tightening especially around my cheeks and jawline.

    The changes in my body shape and weight are what really depress me. I just keep getting wider and outgrowing all of my clothes. I have pieces in my closet that I absolutely love but I can no longer wear and it makes me so sad and frustrated. The amount of money I have spent on jeans that are too tight… !!! I have resorted to cutting slits into the sides of all of my sports bras and bralettes to give me an extra inch or so, because even the size L are tight and so uncomfortable.

    But I am turning a corner. Just this week, I recommitted to consistently exercising, being very intentional about what I eat, and drinking more water. I vowed to always have leafy greens in the refrigerator and eat a salad at least once a day. I know what it takes for me to feel good and look good but sometimes I just lose my way. I am back on track now and your post has helped me realize I am not alone. Thank you for writing about this topic.

    6.14.23 Reply
    • m:

      I feel you on the body changes. I turned 45 during the beginning of lockdown and gained 20 pounds overnight. I thought I would lose it as soon as the world got back to normal, but no such luck. I feel like I eat healthy and have basically quit drinking but I simply don’t want to do the hardcore cardio of my youth anymore. I walk regularly but it’s not doing anything. Don’t get me started on the cellulite. I’ve upsized my entire wardrobe and am trying to reframe my feelings about my body, but I know there are people in my life who are disappointed that I am no longer thin. The only upside is that the extra weight on my face has a youthful benefit.

      6.14.23 Reply
  38. Grace, this might be my favorite blog post of yours ever! I am going to be 43 in October and I work out 5 days a week, I take care of my skin, and I eat healthy foods. Yet sometimes I get depressed about my body. If you are having trouble with red wine, I rarely drink red anymore, but when I do, I only drink Pinots or lighter-bodied reds. Other than that I just stick with white wine. Anyway! Thank you so much for being honest and vulnerable. You are truly one of my favorite influences and I think that you look beautiful and that you are a sparkly person! XO

    6.14.23 Reply
  39. Christina:

    I am 40 and have seemingly developed an allergy to red wine as well: headaches, poor sleep, red faced etc etc etc. Giving up Malbec was hard! I feel ya.

    6.14.23 Reply
  40. Frieda:

    Thank you for sharing! I am only in my late 20s, but elder women talk way too little about what aging is like to them and really appreciate hearing about it now. That way younger women will be more prepared and maybe already have a more humorous attitude towards sign of aging right from the beginning. When I discover my first chin hair in ca. 10 years, I hope I will laugh it off and think of your post.
    Oh, and my sympathy on the red wine problem. I developed a grape allergy just when I started actually liking wine. I feel you!

    6.16.23 Reply
  41. Marisa:

    I couldn’t possibly relate more. My 40s have been filled with micro-heartbreaks around losing parts of my physical health and the appearance I’ve always known to be “me”. The wondrous part for me is that I like myself much, much better as a person, I have evolved and grown so profoundly – mentally and emotionally. So hooray for that!

    I did want to share one note about red wine, as I too have had to give it up almost entirely in my 40s. Apparently red wine specifically (more than other types of alcohol) wreaks havoc on women’s hormones in their 40s, during perimenopause and menopause – causing a lot of unfortunate symptoms.

    My incredible naturopath shared this information with me. The good news being that once we are past the change most of us should be able to add it back in. Anyway, I just wanted to share as it made me feel a little better knowing my beloved red wine may have a place in my life again down the road!

    6.16.23 Reply
  42. G.:

    Wow! This was well timed and refreshing to read so many similar thoughts and feelings. I am 48 but feel 24. Love Fashion and love your blog & IG! I am active and was relatively healthy until back surgery last year and an unexpected medical hysterectomy earlier this year (no kids). It hit me emotionally and was not expecting my belly to change so much. I always battled the bulge but kept it in control, this is a whole new body change that has affected me mentally that I was not expecting. This year I feel l like I aged 10 years, drooping face and all. I just keep powering through and trying to keep my head up and a positive outlook. I love reading your blog and this article. It does help to know similar feelings out there. TY

    6.16.23 Reply
  43. Annette:

    Have you heard of Dry Farm wines? They are natural wines without all of the junk in them. Perhaps they would be easier on your system.

    6.16.23 Reply
  44. Katherine:

    Your blog and Facebook group are my favorites. I look forward to them daily…and I’m 65! I think turning 65 dulled my sparkle. It has really hit me. Chin hairs, I discovered I had them at 37 when a neighbor asked if I had stitches in my chin. I check in a magnifying mirror daily and never go anywhere without tweezers.

    6.17.23 Reply
  45. Emily:

    Wow! This post is so relatable! But also reading the comments makes me realize I’m not alone. Just turned 43, workout regularly, eat healthy, still weigh ten lbs more than I did five years ago. I sometimes feel so lost looking in the mirror but grateful to hear all these amazing women feeling the same.
    We need to talk about these mid life changes because we’re all in this together!

    6.18.23 Reply
  46. Jessica:

    Thank you Grace for being vulnerable and keeping it real! I’m so grateful for your posts and presence as a thriving 40something. I’m turning 44 this week and agree staring at Zoom the last 3+ years has had a negative impact on how I view my face. It’s good to remember how lucky we are to age at all but it’s also comforting to know we’re in good company.

    6.18.23 Reply
  47. Joanna:

    I just wanted to mention that I had to give up red wine also but when I was in my 20’s! I would feel sick almost immediately upon drinking it – I would get stuffed up and get a horrible headache the next day and feel awful. It doesn’t take much for me to feel alcohol the next day, but this was NEXT LEVEL. It’s the only alcohol that I’ve completely sworn off.

    6.21.23 Reply
  48. Julia:

    Grace, thank you for the post and I hope you get that sparkle back real soon. I wanted to address the red wine topic. I’m a wine journalist and wine consultant and here’s the fact about a lot of wine. All wine has sulfites. Even if the bottle says low or no sulfites. There are sulfites in all wine. On average an apple has more sulfites than red wine. It could be the histamine, but I will give you a tip. A lot of wine have more additives than sulfites, the soil in which the grapes grow are not farmed sustainably, and a lot of them have dyes. Yes. dyes to create additional coloring.

    A lot of large production wines have been manipulated. And yes, they don’t have to say anything in the U.S. about it but the consumer doesn’t know this. Also, due to climate a lot of red wines have more alcohol due to the concentration of sun, resulting in a stronger wine that can lead to a lot of issues. Yes, as we age it is a problem because our bodies are not processing things the same way.

    6.21.23 Reply
  49. Julia:

    Re wine. I forgot to add, stick with smaller production wines, even from California. I would say look into small Italian and Spanish producers. They are more attentative to their farming practices and what is actually going into the bottle. Talk to Femi at Graft, and he won’t steer you wrong. I’m 50 and there are some wines I just can’t drink like I used, but when I find those small boutique wines I snatch them up because I don’t feel like crap the next day.

    6.21.23 Reply
  50. Jacy:

    I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus! I just finished the first episode with Jane Fonda, so glad you shared it. I’m nearing the end of my ‘first act’ and it was so thoughtful and insightful (and they have the best humor).

    11.6.23 Reply