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Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

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Lessons Learned From the FabOverFifty Beauty Bash

I'm back from this past weekend's FabOverFifty Beauty Bash, and so excited to tell you all about it not only because it was a great excuse to get out of my sweats and into my "big girl clothes", but for these other reasons:

  1. I got to meet two virtual friends/business associates—in person. Even though we'd never really truly "met," we all agreed—after hugging like old friends—that although we felt as if we knew one another from our online communications, meeting in person added a whole new dimension to the relationship. And now more than ever, I'm convinced that while social media has done a lot to expand our lives and our social circles, nothing takes the place of good old-fashioned face-to-face contact. I flinch at using the words "old-fashioned" when it comes to something like this, which convinces me that we all need a lot more face time these days.

    Here's the photo of the three of us. Joan Pagano, on my right, is a dynamic and knowledgeable fitness professional, consultant, lecturer and author of six books. She's appeared on my blog before, discussing the importance of stretching and finding the time to sneak fitness into a busy lifestyle.

    And on my left is Staness Jonekos, author of an awesome book, The Menopause Makeover. Staness, a woman's health advocate, guest-blogged on Midlife Matters on a subject that you can never write—or read—too much about: how to cope with stress, especially during the menopause years.

    (Confession: Before we met I was a bit intimidated by these two powerful, brilliant and beautiful women. But meeting in person, I got to experience their warmth, humility and absolute charm. That's another thing a face-to-face meeting can do; prove to you that people are real and genuine, rather than untouchable icons.)
  2. I met with a fabulously knowledgeable color artist from Los Angeles, Jill Kirsh, who demonstrated, simply by placing different color swatches next to my face, the influence of the right color in changing your look. Wear the wrong color and your features can melt away; your face can appear drab, lifeless and drawn. And like magic (really, I mean it!) the right colors can bring out your best features and transform your look into awake, fresh and striking. It all comes down to your hair color and knowing which colors work best with your tones. Take a look at Jill's site—it explains this all way better than I ever could—and you'll never look at color quite the same way again!
  3. I got to see how to play up my eyes with a lesson from the fantastically talented and gorgeous makeup artist Sandy Litner. (As Sandy says in her book, The Makeup Wakeup, "Think of your face as your homepage...your eyes as your daily blog"). I'm always in a hurry, so if and when I do put on makeup, it's a quick swipe of mascara, a rushed brush of blush and maybe some lipstick. But Sandy proved that by spending just a teensy more time, my eyes could look really glam. She patiently demonstrated how to put on liner (I always shy away from it. For me, it's like drawing outside the lines in a coloring book). Sandy even placed some clusters of fake lashes on the outside corners of my eyes. I loved having those long, wispy eyelashes (I guess I am a girly-girl at heart…) and wished I was going out instead of driving home to an empty house. I was so impressed that I bought a copy of Sandy's book, which is kind of like my own personal beauty bible. One lucky reader will get a chance to win one (read on and I'll tell you how!). Here's a cool tip I found in the book that I never knew: "Women with full faces should avoid shimmery or dewy 'radiance boosting' foundation. They make faces look wider and plumper. Matte foundation is preferable."
  4. You might be thinking about now that I should just get over myself and stop looking in the mirror. Well, I indulged in staring into a mirror to some pretty horrifying feedback when I put my head inside a special booth at Skinceuticals and saw a reflection of the real me against a blue light which mercilessly brought out all the years of accumulated sun damage. Simply horrifying! Blotchy and mottled, like an Appaloosa horse (Don't know what the skin of an Appaloosa horse looks like? Why would you? Look here.)
    Skinceuticals'line of products are formulated to maintain and improve the health of your skin by preventing future damage, protecting healthy skin and correcting previous damage. Wish I didn't have that sun damage to begin with. If I could redo anything in my past, it would be not sitting outside for hours on end worshipping the sun. Remember: Always wear a sunscreen on your face, even in the winter, even on a cloudy day. The damaging rays, although you may not feel them, are there.

And you know the best thing about being at this FabOverFifty Beauty Bash? It was inspiring. I got to hang out with other women who, rather than fight or fib or obsess about growing older, came out in force to embrace and celebrate where their journey has thus far taken them: to a place of empowerment, real vision and a growing urgency to make each day matter just a bit more than the day before, but not as much as the day after.

And now about that book. To win it, all you have to do is be the 10th person to comment (you don't know you're number 10 until the comments are posted, which are as they come in). I'll send you an e-mail (so, make sure to include your e-mail address!) confirming you are the winner. Get back to me in 24 hours with your mailing address, and the book will be on its way! If I don't hear from you in time, another name will be randomly selected. Contest is open to U.S. citizens only. (Sorry!)

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