At 44, both Cate Blanchett and Matthew McConaughey have the Oscar glow!

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The Academy Awards has long been one of my favorite nights on television. The glitz and glamor, the moving acceptance speeches, the surprise wins and the must see musical performances makes this the stand out in award shows. This year delivered all we wanted from Oscar night and then some.

Tears scrolled down my face as the beautiful and elegant Lupita Nyong’o received her best supporting actress win with grace and wisdom beyond her years.

Cate Blanchett has been one of my favorite actresses since turning in her first Oscar nominated performance in Elizabeth. Her acceptance speech included this little nugget of wisdom to the powers that be in Hollywood; “those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences wanna see them, and, in fact, they make money.” Bravo Cate!

Matthew McConaughey, looking like the best of all Hollywood leading men, made hearts melt when he thanked his family acknowledging that they are the ones he looks forward to being with and they are who he aspires to make proud.

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Jared Leto, 42, took home the first major award of the night and set the bar high with a speech that was a touching tribute to his mother, the 36 million people who have died from AIDS, and the people of Ukraine and Venezuela. 

In fact many of last night’s winners were made up of people in their 40’s and older. It’s nice to see that even in a youth obsessed culture, it’s good to be a 40 something year old on Hollywood’s biggest night.

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The Naomi Campbell Strut; How We Can All Learn To Walk With Confidence

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Ms. Campbell is still strutting her stuff at 43. The infamous model sashayed, strolled, stumped and glided down the runway at Philipp Plein’s show in Milan on Sunday. Regardless of her sometimes mean girl antics, nobody can hold a candle to her mean walk. She has inspired Beyonce so much that you’d be hard pressed to find a Beyonce video where the singer isn’t doing the Naomi Campbell walk.

Part of what makes her stride so wonderful to behold is the attitude in which she presents it. Sometimes, playful, sometimes with laser sharp focus but always with confidence. Watching Ms. Campbell walk is a lesson in owning your power as a woman.  I’m a tall drink of water myself, and in my youth I use to feel awkward walking into a room. I never seemed to be able to avoid the all eyes on me feeling. As a result, most times I’d do my best to dash across a room and find a chair so as to quickly go unnoticed. That strategy never really worked. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I’ve decided to embrace my inner Naomi Campbell.

I’m getting married in May and this is definitely a day where I can’t, and don’t want to, avoid that all eyes on me feeling. When I glide down the aisle to my husband to be, I want to do it confidently as I walk towards my future. I’ll be practicing my Naomi Campbell walk from now until my wedding. And I plan to keep that stride in my arsenal of confidence weapons for those moments when owning my feminine power is my only choice.  Besides, a great walk adds style regardless of what you’re wearing!

Who didn’t see this coming….The Paula Patton & Robin Thicke Split

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Patton and Thicke during happier times.

“We will always love each other and be best friends, however, we have mutually decided to separate at this time,” announced by the couple in a joint statement on Monday. The couple has a three year old son.

Patton 38, and Thicke, 36, had been dodging rumors for some time that there was trouble in paradise for the former high school sweethearts. Ranchy behavior on and off stage have led some in the media to speculate that the R and B crooner was cheating. Photos like the one below only added fuel to the fire.

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Check out Robin’s hand, on this woman who is not his wife’s behind, caught in the mirrored reflection.

No one knows for sure if Thicke’s alleged infidelity was the cause of the breakup, or if after almost 20 years together, the two had just simply grown apart. We wish them the best of luck through this difficult time.

So their split has us wondering, if you found out your significant other was cheating, would it be a deal breaker or could you work it out?

 

Michelle Obama stuns in Carolina Herrera

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Now this is how you make an entrance! The first lady made fashionable tails wag when she strolled into Tuesday night’s State Dinner at the White House. Mrs. Obama wore a black and liberty blue gown by a favorite designer for many first ladies, Carolina Herrera.

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Mrs. Obama, who recently celebrated her 50th birthday, is proving that age is nothing but a number!

 

The Melyssa Ford Problem, And Why We Can’t Have It Both Ways

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Over the weekend I had a chance to catch up on a few reality shows. One of which was an all black cast of a Sex And The City wannabe show on Bravo, entitled Blood, Sweat and Heels. This is a show where six supposedly fabulous, single and successful ladies, who barely know each other are thrown together in prearranged social engagements to toss shade at each other. It’s debut had the highest rating of any new Bravo show in the network’s history.

While I’m never thrilled to see women of any color in what amounts to tabloid TV, I do enjoy looking for the rare gems of wisdom that come from such shows. Thus, the Melyssa Ford problem.

Ms. Ford is a 37 year old newbie real estate agent who is trying to launch a successful new career while not quite leaving behind her pass life. That former life includes being “a video vixen” or model, or actress, for hip hop stars such as Usher, Jay Z and Jadakiss. If you Google her name and look at images you’ll find countless photos of Ford in scantily clad outfits on the cover and in the pages of the likes of King, Maxim, Smooth and XXL magazines.

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The problem isn’t that Ms. Ford used her body to earn a living in her twenties, it’s that she wants to revamp her image as she approaches her forties but doesn’t want to take it seriously. Ford has had several careers since leaving her video days behind. She was a radio personality on Sirius Satellite Radio, and a television host on BET. She has never downplayed the fact that she has played up the video vixen image in order to sell DVDs, calendars, and for personal appearances.

So with the opportunity to turn all that attention once focused exclusively on her body to her brain, why has she done nothing but remind us that she is a forever video vixen on the show? Five episodes in and we have yet to see her take her job as a real estate agent at MNS as seriously as she takes partying and playing up her sex appeal.

The most recent episode entitled, Detox Dear, Detox, which refers to cast mate Mica’s excessive drinking during that episode, also shows a repentant Ford crying to Dr. Michael Eric Dyson about how she hates being objectified. What she doesn’t seem to understand is no one objectifies Melyssa Ford more than Melyssa Ford.

Take a look at her current profile picture on the MNS website. Yes she’s the one who stands out in the hot pink tautly fitting top that draws attention to her, hummmm, assets while most of her female colleagues sport professional blazers with their smiles. When you look up her Wikipedia page it lists her “modeling” measurements as 34D-20-38 along with a long list of her music video appearances with one sentence devoted to her current appearance on Bravo.

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Many women get to a point in their lives when they want a do over, a chance to start again and reset their lives on a better path. For most of us, we haven’t lived out some rapper’s fantasy in a video and had sexy pictures of ourselves plastered all over the internet to move past. Usually we just have a past littered with ill advised choices and earnest life mistakes.

The adage, when you know better you do better, applies to all of us who have reveled in some type of folly in our youth that had us set adrift for far too long and now want to chart a different course at an older age. I certainly consider myself one of those people. So on some level I get it when Ms. Ford beats herself up for her choices in the past that have continued to haunt her present day.

What I don’t get is how she can squander the opportunity to turn things around by appearing so irresponsible with her image given this new platform of being on a reality show. Of all the cast members, Ms. Ford is the most well known. How refreshing it would have been to have seen her really embracing this new world of real estate and projecting a more confident positive professional image. Instead of hosting parties where men pay to take pictures with a video vixen, how about we see her hosting a real estate open house or see her on the phone talking numbers with clients.

Perhaps it’s too early in the season to call her out for not promoting her new career. Hopefully we will see more of Ms. Ford in her role as budding real estate mogul. But thus far she has only shown us that despite what you say, it’s what you do that counts, and for Ms. Ford, she nor we can have it both ways!

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Pam Oliver doesn’t have time for social media critics

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The 52 year old sideline sports reporter teaches us how to not be bothered by other people’s negative comments.

Oprah makes turning 60 seem like a blast. Hello Birthday Girl!

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Here at 40winksaday, we love birthdays and as far as we’re concerned you’re never too old to be gitty about your birthday. That’s why we love these instagram pics Oprah posted yesterday as she ushered in her 60th year on the planet.

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ImageLeave it to the big O to set the example on how to celebrate a milestone birthday. She looks like she’s loving it, which reminds us to remember; no matter how old you will be this year, never forget to revel in the miracle of your life!

Small Condo DYI: Creating Storage Without Taking Up Space

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We’ve come a long way since moving into our small condo just over a year ago. The apartment has transformed into a lovely and cozy little starter home for my fiance and I. The only negative about the space is the lack of storage. It seems builders have traded indoor amenities (only in NYC would a linen closet be considered an amenity) such as closets and cabinets for the outdoor amenities of rooftop lounges and private gyms. So when a gal has to figure out where to put stuff, it means it’s time to combine creative brainstorming with a little DYI.

My need for a space to place all those little extras that I never have room for after a good run at Costco, led me to wanting to re-purpose an old small bookcase from our last rental apartment. Luckily it was the same height and width as our kitchen counter/island and with it being just over 8 inches deep it hardly took up any additional space in our walk way. Here’s what I did:

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I started my project by painting the bookcase white so it would match the counter/island as much as possible.

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My intention was to make the bookcase look like an extension of the island.

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Using the cardboard box from furniture we had just purchased, I cut it up to fit the exact length and width of the shelves and used spare fabric from an older DYI project to cover the boards and made stylish shelve liners. I used regular clear packing tape to adhere the fabric to the downside of the cardboard.

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Once I lined all the shelves, I was able to give my spare kitchen items a home and finally had a place to store my cookbooks.

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The space the bookcase takes up isn’t even noticeable but the storage it provides is huge!

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I love finding ways to spruce up and use old things and I’m glad this 20 year old bookcase made the cut when we moved to our new place. At the time I had no idea how I would end up using it, but now I couldn’t be more thrilled with the desperately needed kitchen storage it provides. It just goes to show you, even in a new space, something old can become new and useful again.

5 Ways To Build A Better Relationship With Your Partner!

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1. Make the other person your priority when you speak to each other. This means no texting, watching TV or doing any sort of multitasking. It’s one thing to say a quick sentence or two as one of you is walking out the door and the other is getting the kids ready or you are putting on makeup or fixing dinner. But for those times when you need to have a real conversation about something that is important to either of you or both of you, listening attentively is the best way to make the other person feel heard and respected.

2. Honor your commitment to the relationship as much as you honor your commitments to your career. It’s easy to put other things ahead of your relationship, especially if you have been together for a while. After some time, in the pursuit of furthering our careers, we tend to make choices that force our relationships to take a back seat. This is a mistake. You never want to treat your partner as if you are taking them for granted.

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Show your love and commitment by making the time you spend with them as sacred as the time you spend at work. Checking in with your partner at least once during the day to see how each of your days are going is sweet and practical. Call when you are going to be late. If you make plans with your partner, even if it’s just to stay home on a Friday night, watching movies and ordering in, be home when you say you will and let your colleagues know you have plans and can’t go out for that after work drink.

3. Romance in the form of thoughtfulness is everything. Candy and flowers on Valentines day are sweet, but what really sustains romance is the little mindful things you do for each other throughout the year. Picking up flowers and takeout when your partner has had a hard day is guaranteed to make your bed a little more toasty that night. Get up a little earlier on the weekend to do laundry or unload the dishwasher and start breakfast. When you take the time to extent small courtesies towards each other it makes you feel closer to your partner and fortifies a sense of love and appreciation.

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4. Have bedtime rituals. My soon to be spouse and I have very different schedules, and as a result we don’t always have the same bedtime. However, I know it’s important to him that when he goes to bed I am lying beside him. Now having a night time ritual where we go to bed together has become a priority to me. I may not always stay in bed, I often do get up in the night to write, or finish a chore around the house, but spending that time together at night allows us to revel in the comfort of being together physically. Having that quiet time to just be close strengthens our bond even when there is no hanky panky going on.

5. Arguing is not an option. There’s no point in getting into screaming matches with your partner when you disagree. I know of some couples who argue publicly and it’s cringe worthy. In the heat of an argument you’re in defense mode and what you say or do in anger will only increase the divide between you. If you find yourself getting short tempered with your significant other, stop before you lash out in anger and think about what’s really upsetting you. When you are clear about the deeper underlying problem, set up a time to talk to about it. If there are reoccurring themes that you can’t get past, consider seeing a marriage counselor so the two of you can have an impartial person mediate what’s going wrong.

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How we choose to speak to our loved ones is a direct result of how much consideration we have for each others feelings. There is no one whose feelings I care more about, besides my own, then my Boo, so I make it a point to never raise my voice at him in frustration. That’s not to say you can’t be angry. You are entitled to all your emotions, but it’s how we express ourselves to each other that makes the difference.

The Pursuit of Happiness

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My entire life has been dedicated to figuring out the formula to my personal happiness. Having survived a difficult and often times traumatic upbringing, I have been in a never ending quest to make up for all those sad and lonely childhood days by achieving something I often feel incapable of sustaining.

Whenever I think I’ve got it figured out, eventually disappointment rears it’s head to let me know I haven’t come close to obtaining or maintaining any true level of happiness. Why is it so elusive? Why do I feel this constant struggle to be truly satisfied with where I am and what I have? It’s not for a lack of gratitude. Where I am now in my life is infinitely better than where I’ve been in my life at any prior point in time. I’m healthy, highly educated, well traveled, and in a loving long term relationship. I thank god everyday for all of that and I never allow myself to take any of it for granted.  So what the heck is the problem?

Well the best thing about being an introspective person is, most of the time I already know the answer to my own self questioning. The answer is fear. I’ve been on a large level fearful of most things my entire life. The only time I’ve every experienced any real success or felt a sense of accomplishment is when I ignored my fears and did what I truly wanted to do anyway. It’s my fear that keeps me from allowing myself the opportunity to be sustainably happy.

I know intrinsically that happiness is a choice. By and large my day to day happiness is never going to come as a by product of anything I’ve purchased or any relationship I’m engaged in or any one of a dozen activities I enjoy. If I want to be happy I have to define it and redefine what that means to me on a daily basis and than act accordingly. The things that made me happy in my 20’s don’t even make the radar now. I find being cuddled up on a Saturday night on my king size pillowtop with my Boo makes me happy most days, but not always. Sometimes I need more, some times less. And so when I ask myself why aren’t you happy what I really need to be asking is why aren’t you taking more time to listen to what you need right now in this moment? It doesn’t mean always being impulsive and living on a whim. It means slowing down enough to recognize when I am living on autopilot, making decisions that don’t feel right, going along to get along, and acting out of desperation and fear instead of following my heart.

We all know with the passage of time that our lives grow shorter and shorter everyday. If we are not living true to ourselves we are pretty much ensuring we will live in a constant state of mental flux, with our emotions ruled by other people’s actions and dependent on the permission of others. I for one don’t want to continue to live this way. Today, I am slowing down, listening to my heart and choosing to be happy.