Every woman should own a crisp white shirt. She should also have a few interesting tees and a basic silk or two. Here are eight budget friendly options.

White Shirts: Not All White Shirts are Created Equal

What are you wearing today?

Jeans and white top.

 

This is a look that could go a lot of different directions. You could look like Elvis. You could look like Courtney Love, or you might be channeling Sarah Michelle Gellar. Maybe you’re gardening, maybe you’re wearing silk, maybe you’re wearing off the shoulder bell sleeves from Zara that will be in style for exactly 54 seconds.

Jeans and a blouse, a skirt and a blouse, jeans and a tee… however it is that you get the job done – the trick is to get an interesting top. With that in mind, we’ve found these eight essential white tops that will keep your closet interesting.

Are you Courtney Love or a Sarah Michelle Gellar? A white shirt does nott have to be boring, here are eight great options.
Savvy Travelers was founded by two women in Orange County California. It solves the TSA travel and beauty problem.

Friday Find: Savvy Travelers Teeth Wipes

When the folks at Savvy Travelers sent us their Jetset Kit and Getaway Kits we both thought it was really practical but only if the products inside them were good.

Savvy Travelers Jetset kit for your gym bag or for travel. TSA compliant for travel.

The Jetset Kit comes with four each of:

No Sweat antiperspirant & deodorant wipes
In The Klear lens, camera & screen cleaning wipes
Take Offz facial cleanser, toner, and moisturizer wipes
Speak Easy teeth and mouth cleansing wipes

This is the essential kit you’ll want to buy and throw in your camera bag or computer bag. I am in love with the screen cleaning wipes, they’re also good for eyeglasses. I know this because even after cleaning my computer screen I was able to use them to wipe down my glasses.

Savvy Travelers products are perfect for your gym bag or suitcase. I'm addicted to the tooth wipes. http://wearemidlife.com

I have a favorite. I thought that the notion of a teeth and mouth-cleansing wipe was absurd but I loathe gum, mints make me sneeze, and sometimes you can’t get to a sink to brush your teeth midday. I found that the Speak Easy wipes were delicious and effective. They’re minty and my teeth felt like they’d been brushed midday.

When you see the Speak Easy wipes at the Ulta checkout grab a few and toss them in your purse. They’re the size of a tea bag.

If you’re a traveler or a gymgoer the Getaway Kit is probably for you. In a durable plastic travel bag you get two each of:

Klean Upz antibacterial hand and body wipes
Lift Offz nail polish remover wipes – they really work!
Take Offz facial cleanser, toner, and moisturizer wipes
Speak Easy teeth and mouth-cleansing wipes
No Sweat antiperspirant & deodorant wipes – I love these!
Bottomz Up booty bidet wipes

All of the wipes are great. I tried them and waited for one to be a dud but that didn’t happen. Savvy Travelers is a woman-owned company right here in California and in spite of being “single serving” beauty products they have tons of green credentials. Tina Aldatz and Margarita Floris joined forces (and they are strong, accomplished women) to solve the travel problem we all have. It’s called the TSA. You can check them out on their site.

We did a podcast with Lisa Orkin but we had questions for her too.

You Need to Meet Lisa Orkin

Lisa Orkin is the kind of woman that other women rightly embrace. She’s funny, she’s bright, she’s got a boat load of wacky experiences from comedy clubs to parenting to wanderlust. And she’s got a podcast that makes you feel like you’re her girlfriend hanging out with a cup of coffee.

Recently we were guests on Lisa’s podcast, you can listen to it here or on iTunes.

She’s a lovely host and we left there wondering if we’d been good guests. After listening we decided that you don’t need to be a good guest. Lisa will guide you and the episode will be great fun because she makes it that way.

We had some questions for Lisa and thought you’d enjoy hearing directly from her. When we asked her about her day job she said:

My day job is writing and performing comedy, I have done it on stage, made independent films and now I do it on computer screens. I have a company called The Radio Ranch. We write, produce, and voice comic radio commercials. I also teach business owners and entrepreneurs how to get comfortable on camera.

We asked Lisa what would surprise us about her work and boy were we surprised. She said that the men in her life never think she’s funny. Who are these men? She went on to tell us about some unorthodox broadcast methods including recording from inside her boyfriend’s closet, “I have a pretty studio, but a lot of times if I have an audition or I am podcasting with guest, not in LA I do it from my computer. My home is a lot of hard surfaces and closets are great for soaking up the sound. My boyfriend has a large walk in closet that soaks up the sound, lot’s of flannel, denim, and Patagonia and it has room for a desk… and so began ‘My Boyfriends Closet Sessions’. I am not sure it will continue because the closet is hot and with my hot flashes I end up recording in my bra a lot and it feels too weird.”

We asked Lisa Orkin how old she was when she started her podcast about growing up after 50.
We asked Lisa what has changed from her first to her current podcast. And she told us that she started off interviewing men about their feeling but after about 25 episodes she learned men have the same hopes and dream about love as women do and she wanted to talk to women. She describes feeling adrift and wanted to use the interviews for guidance. She talked to us about having a very clear structure for the first episodes and then ditching that and instead making it more like a kitchen or bathroom conversation at a party.

Lisa’s most surprising episode was with Martha Joe Atkins who works with the dying. It was funny and sweet and she is a hoot. They get deep and talk about loss and the wild weirdness of death. She is a rough and tumble Texan.

Can you imagine asking your family if your life freaked them out?

Lisa did it. Listen to this interview she did with her brothers. It’s very revealing and uplifting too.

Lisa describes her episode with Ted Kruse as one of her favorites. According to Lisa, “Ted was a minister in the midwest who had a cheating problem. He lost his congregation, job, and he almost lost his wife and family. Ted worked really hard to face himself and his view on religion. His life had shifted so much and when I talked to him for the podcast he was back with his amazing wife and painting houses. Similarly, I was married to a man who was always wandering and we did not work it out. I was curious to how they did it. We such an emotional conversation. I would say it was the most meaningful for me on letting go.”

Money can buy you happiness. You just need to know where to spend it. We found 10 great places.

10 Ways that Money Can Buy You Happiness

There’s a special edition magazine from Time which details what we all have known for ages: money CAN buy you happiness. Of course it can. Paying someone else to do the things you loathe so that you can do the things you love is exactly the sort of transaction that buys a person happiness.

Stefanie’s spent years telling me that women (moms in particular) should outsource their most terrible chores so that they can have a more enjoyable life. I suppose modern appliances like the dishwasher and laundry machines best illustrate that. But since indoor plumbing is no longer a luxury for the wealthy let’s talk about the ways that our friends are buying happiness and how much it costs.

We were inundated with emails and texts from every major region in America. We have friends in the rural bible belt and New York City. We’ve covered suburbs in Michigan, Illinois, Texas, Washington and two dozen other states. Our friends work from home, from offices, don’t work and are on disability. The only thing they have in common is that they know us.

1. Housekeeping services are the number one way that our friends buy happiness.

Our friends are spending anywhere from $60 a day to $170 a day on housekeeping nationwide and using these services as much as five days a week and as few as once a month. The average in our neighborhood seemed to be close to $700 a month so we’re feeling like $8,400 a year buys you a nice chunk of happiness in Los Angeles. 

If you live in part of Michigan, West Virginia or Connecticut you can expect to spend half as much and laundry and windows will likely be included.

2. Caring for pets is where the slogan Staff Over Stuff must have originated.

Anyone with a small dog (read: inbred) who needs his anal glands expressed knows that a good dog groomer is worth their weight in gold. I happily spend $125 a month for Junior to be bathed weekly and trimmed monthly. A friend with a larger dog is spending $200 every month for two cleanings and still another happily spends $500 for someone to clean the yard from dog waste. Dog walking varies widely in it’s expense but we found that folks used that service so they could go to work rather than to avoid the chore.

In Los Angeles $6,000 a year means you live a poop free existence and another $3,000 means you don’t have to put a finger up their butt. If your dog is costing you $9,000 a year you’re probably pretty happy.

So far we’ve allocated $17,400 of your annual income to make you happy.

3. If you can buy a tutor you can buy a day that’s free of fights with your teen.

Regular tutoring for a typical learner has a wide range of fees. Folks we talked to were spending anywhere from $30 to $225 an hour depending on the region, subject and the child’s particular needs. Our neighborhood average was $75 for someone with great credentials that comes to your home. You’re spending $75 an hour once a week and you’re just using that one hour. Throw in four extra sessions a year for big tests, complicated subjects and final projects. Assume you need tutoring for just two subjects and the school year is 36 weeks long. A neurotypical child will run you $3,000 a year in tutoring. Our friends have kids with ADHD. Tutoring averages $20,000 a year per child for the ADHD kids. Your money just bought their happiness too.

We have two kids so we’re going to assume you do too. Now we’re spending somewhere between $23,400 and $57,400. We’re still happy. Are you happy yet????

4. Professional Organizers keep the tears away.

I can attest to the powers of a great organizer. I use one every year or so and our readers are using them as regularly as every month or quarter. Organizers seem to start at $30 an hour if you’re using them regularly for everything from closets to home offices. The folks I use come from Get Organized Already and they’re a little more but I’ve personally loved the results. Let’s add another $100 a month for organizing and say that $1,200 a year will make you happy. It will. I promise. Giddy even.

Tab so far: $24,600 to $58,600 – sheer. effing. joy. Why do these numbers freak me out?


5. Pool guys and gardeners free up a lot of time for friends and family.

Fees run the gamut  from $40 a month to $300 for our friends all over the country. Of course different regions will have different fees but gardens and pools, like houses, vary wildly in size. Let’s earmark another $1,200 a year to our gardens and pools, shall we? 

Annual happiness fee: $25,800 to $59,800 (fine! I have hayfever)

6. Buying prepared or partially prepped food saves a lot of time before and after meals.

There’s so much less cleaning to do and then of course there’s the shopping, planning and chopping. Our friends are spending money on things like cut watermelon ($20 a month) and services like Amazon Fresh or Instacart for shopping. They’re also using things like Blue Apron. On average we’re spending another $200 a month on this. Help with the food preparation is bringing us $2,400 of happiness a year. 

If you’re still keeping track our annual expenses are now ranging from $28,200 to $62,200 but we’ve long ago passed the point where our imaginary happiness requires us to do a single thing around a home or office. So basically we are absurdly happy money spenders for a living.

7. Personal grooming can be outsourced and for many just that hour or so of someone else tending to you is the joy.

Our friends are spending as little as $25 plus tip every two weeks for a pedicure and as much as $300 a week for blow outs, eyebrow waxing and mani-pedis. The range per year of outsourced personal grooming among our friends is $650 to $15,600 a year for the kind of grooming adult women really ought to be able to do for themselves. Hint: neither Stefanie nor I spend $650 a year on these services. We also don’t spend 5 figures but we’re still slow to judge on this one (or any of these things really).

Our running happiness cost now ranges from $28,850 (a well equipped midsize sedan) to $77,800 (an entry level Porsche).

8. Car washes seem to provide universal happiness for under $30 in all US regions.

I understand this. I love getting into a pristine car and I’m guilty of getting my car very dirty very quickly. There are $10 car washes all over Los Angeles but not one person mentioned using them and deriving any pleasure from it. This is probably the purest money can buy you happiness item of them all. Cost? $30 on average three times a month or $1080. 

Running total: $29,930 to $78,880 for the year

9. Uber, Lyft, Taxis and other ways to sit in the backseat.

Our friends love getting time in the backseat of car for hire where they can relax instead of in the driver’s seat where shoulders are tense and you’re on the lookout for terrible drivers. At the low end our friends are spending $50 a month, at the high end $500. We only collected numbers from friends who do own cars. Total happiness cost of hiring drivers for our friends averages $2,500 per annum. 

We are approaching nirvana for somewhere between $32,430 and $81,380 each year.

10. Childcare for stay at home moms

Stay at home moms aren’t supposed to have a nanny because that’s their job. Right? Wrong. Our friends who stay at home with their kids are hiring nannies at $15 an hour for 20 hours a week on average. The working moms are hiring sittters so that they can enjoy a little time with their feet up too, about 20 hours a month. The range of “non-essential childcare” our friends are using is $3,600 to $15,600 and it buys women hours of freedom to pursue their bliss. 

Our very scientific study concludes that you can spend away almost all the drudgery in your life for somewhere between $36,030 and $96,980.

Most interestingly, we found that the $30 items, pedicures and car washes, brought the most relief to most people.

What did we miss? We’re pretty sure $1080 over the course of a year can buy everyone some free time to wander in the woods, hold hands with their spouse on the sofa, or free up a couple of hours to take someone you love to the movies and get lost in a good story.

Money can buy you happiness and our friends have some great ideas about how to spend it.

Levears Specialized Earring Backs: THE Solution for Heavy Earrings

I was having coffee (of course I was) the other day with a girlfriend and we were talking about accessories. I mentioned that we’d been sent some earring backs from Levears. They’re meant to secure larger earrings so that your earlobes aren’t drooping. She looked confused so I explained that they had some size to them without the heft so your oversized studs no longer look like they are falling out of your ear. I suspect that over time they’d even keep your piercing from stretching out in the first place.

We wondered if Levears would keep earrings from drooping. The answer was yes. Click through for a coupon code.

 

I told her that I was headed out to get some really big earrings to see if they work. The next thing I knew she’d dropped in my mail box a large pair of cubic zirconia earrings to test the earring backs.

My friend is a house manager and she knows all the tricks. Including earring storage. Use a piece of ribbon to keep pairs together.

I should mention that this is my most organized friend. She’s an accomplished homemaker and a personal shopper extraordinaire. All of this makes her uniquely qualified to be the home manager for an extremely busy and famous television producer. She provides the details of organization and beauty that most of us will not only never experience, but not even know can exist. She stores earrings on colorful ribbon scraps to keep them organized for goodness sake!

In any event, I was excited to test out the Levears earring backs to see if they worked.  Have you ever worn a pair of earrings that end up drooping forward, so they end up facing the ground?  I have had some big earrings (gosh, remember the 80’s?) and no matter what kind of back I used, they looked like they were going to fall off. The unique backing of Levears held the earrings so they don’t droop forward. No longer are the earrings facing the floor!

It was funny because I decided to test them for a couple of days in a row. It’s important to us that we only recommend products that we really believe in. I ended up touching my ears every 30 minutes or so. Even though they were perfectly secure it’s been a lifetime of quick checks whenever I wear earrings that are over a certain weight and the habit was hard to undo.

Now I have this perfectly useless habit and I’m wondering how long it will take before it’s broken.

After nearly a week of use with several different pair of oversized studs as well as one pair of tassel earrings both Jessica and I are impressed with how well these work. We think you will be too.

These earrings never droop because Levears earring backs hold it all together.

One of the many things we love about Levears.com is that shipping is always free. One of the things you’ll love about Levears is entering WAM10 when you check out and getting 10% off your order.

Our favorite hoop earrings are in mixed metals

Hoop Earrings: The Essential Accessory

This post was sponsored by JTV.com. I was paid for this post and received JTV.com jewelry pieces as compensation.

I was in middle school when my mother “got her colors done”. She went to a woman who held small swatches of fabric next to her cheeks and then her eyes. This somehow determined which colors were her best. A fan, my Mom then signed all four of her daughters up to have our colors done. I was told I should wear gold jewelry and pretty shades of green and yellow. This would bring out the color of my eyes. At the time I thought it was all a little hokey but when my mom was on to something, there was no stopping her.

From that moment forward all the jewelry I owned was mostly yellow gold. My engagement ring and wedding band were yellow gold. In the early 2000’s I discovered that I really enjoyed white gold and platinum. I enjoyed the creativity of mixing metals and sometimes I didn’t want to wear gold at all.

Even if silver wasn’t “my color” I wanted to wear it.

Today, I wear what I like, and what makes me feel good. I especially love wearing white gold with black. When JTV approached us, I was all too excited to look for a pair of white gold earrings to wear with a little black dress I have. These hoop earrings are perfect and they really do dress up an outfit, which is exactly what I needed. They aren’t so big that they can’t be worn during the day, but they also make a strong statement with a nighttime outfit.

We spend time together at least once a week planning our photos and our blog posts. We talk about who we are interacting with and try to find new ways to feature people, places, and things. These are creative meetings.

 

Wearing hoop earrings

If you follow us on Instagram you already know that Jessica is mid-remodel. We’re working in sub-optimal conditions. For instance this is the “wall” that we use for the kitchen.

 

We don't have walls in the house. Yikes!

 

Stefanie taking photos of her new earrings

Sometimes though, we work from the hot tub. Which is very very professional and we think that all offices everywhere should have this sort of work environment.

Business meetings in the jacuzzi

And sometimes your friend comes over to take your photos and almost falls in the pool

Gasping when your friend almost falls in the pool.

Jessica chose champagne diamonds set in yellow gold. Hers is a more delicate look and it’s just a few shades darker than her hair. We did notice that her wedding set is white gold, the opposite of the colors recommended to her in the mid 80’s when she was deemed an “Autumn” by the color lady.

 

Here's the selfie you were looking for

Gold hoops with champagne diamonds

Hoops are an essential accessory for both of us. With or without gemstones a good pair of hoop earrings will frame your face and set the tone for your outfit. A ponytail and a large pair of gold earrings is perfect with a boho-chic outfit. Slick back that ponytail and put on a modern black dress and all of a sudden your hoops are dramatic.

One of the nice things about hoops are their practicality. Dangly earrings can get wound up in my hair when I’m running around (hiking anyone?). Studs disappear if I’m having a big hair day. Hoops are workhorses. They don’t slide out, fall off, disappear they look great with everything from casual to dressy, and they will never go out of style.

 

Close up of silver hoops

If you are interested in purchasing the earrings that Jessica or I are wearing JTV has a
full line of hoops
for every budget and every color rule you decide to break.

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy
policies of those other websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.
Affiliate links are not associated with JTV.com.

What if you had a Navy Blue capsule wardrobe and stopped wearing black all the time?

Navy Blue and You

Everyone needs a LBD but how many of them do you have? Instead of loading up on more black dresses how about something navy? Much like black a navy palette allows you to add nearly any other color you’d like as an accent. It’s not bright but it’s not dreary. Too much black is… well it’s just too much.

Zara makes a basic navy blue tank top with a twist that inspired us to share more options with you.

 

We were looking at Zara’s website and came across this blouse, which is perfect for going out to dinner. Just toss your tee shirt in the corner, wear it with denim and add some heels.

There are other great options to build out your wardrobe in navy.  Zara has some really cute little satin shoes that will probably fall apart by the end of the season, but who even cares? They’re cute and cheap.

Stefanie created an inspiration board with a few basics. Note: no denim is included. Denim is always recommended. You cannot go wrong with denim. Well… unless you do this.

So do this instead:

Navy Separates for your capsule wardrobe

We apologize to women everywhere for being quiet when we should have taken a stand

We Apologize

We catered to the lowest common denominator here. We were silent when Trump was loud. We whispered when Planned Parenthood came under attack. We shook our heads silently and didn’t want to offend the people who agreed with a misanthrope, a xenophobe, and a racist.

And for that we apologize.

When we launched We Are Midlife we made a conscious decision to stay completely apolitical. We declined to publish photos that featured women wearing feminist slogans. We didn’t want to offend anyone.

What is it they say? If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything. 

We still don’t want to dive into American (or International) politics. We have treated our Instagram account as a light and fluffy place to be during dark times. We believe that America is currently in very complicated times. We also believe in democracy and freedom. We believe the ship can be righted. We enjoy mornings where we leave comments telling strangers they are pretty. We don’t want to give that up. It’s joyful. We sought joy.

We still aren’t a political site, we don’t aspire to be. But we are women with strong beliefs. We are women that believe in other women.

We are not the kind of women who sit and say nothing when misogyny is unchecked. We are not against the GOP but when the President goes on twitter to annihilate the character of another woman and we say nothing we become complicit.

When Jessica’s friend Elizabeth took another stunning photo in a BAD ASS WOMAN tee we had permission to repost it and then decided not to.

Photo of a beautiful woman in a BAD ASS WOMAN tee shirt holding a Cosmo

That was our mistake.

We decided that we were going to offend no one. We decided that we didn’t want to ruffle feathers with the women we know and love. Women who are staunch supporters of Trump and who decry feminism. These are women who use birth control. These are women who would never willingly work for less money than a man. These are women who rejoiced when California’s Tampon Tax was repealed.

These are women we like. These are women we respect as human beings and as other women. These are women with whom we respectfully disagree. These are women we will fight for. We will fight for their rights to free speech and to have opinions that oppose our own.

With the exception of Trump these are women who may have voted the same way we have. We’re not saying how we vote. Well, Jessica often does, but not here.

We apologize. We pretended like none of this was happening. We pretended like we didn’t hear Trump talk about grabbing women by the p*ssy. We pretended like we didn’t cringe when he talked about America’s past Secretary of State as a Nasty Woman. We pretended like things were normal.

Things are not normal. We Are Midlife won’t jump into the political fray anytime soon but we also won’t balk at posting photos of beautiful women wearing really fun tees.

Summertime outfit ideas that take you from day to night in style and keep you cool and comfortable.

Summer Outfit Idea: Wide Leg Pants

It’s summer and I have been ogling all the cute things in the stores, mostly wide leg pants because they are so comfortable when the weather gets hot. Here inn Los Angeles come July, we are all looking for the most comfortable things to wear. I love an outfit that can be worn for both day and night with a simple change of shirts, to brunch, the girls night out, wherever your heart desires.

Outfit Idea

 

 

 

Fathers Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day Gifts for Every Dad & Role Model

We’re pretty sure we found a gift for everyone here. For you Dad, your Grandfather, your Uncle, for your husband, for the guy who is like a father to you, all the guys who make all the kids feel like they have a hero to worship.

When we were sent an iPad cover from Urban Armor Gear Jessica snagged it right away. It was supposed to be a Father’s Day gift for Mr. G but she’s terrible at delayed gratification, good at dropping iPads, and waiting seemed like a terrible idea. It’s sturdy, it’s attractive, it’s decidedly masculine, and it meets military specs for drop testing. Impressive

 

Stefanie’s husband is getting something from this board. Maybe more than one something…

Fathers Day Gift Guide for every man in your life

Click any of the images below to shop them

On a budget? Most of the Dads we surveyed on social media didn’t really care too much about the gift. They wanted time with their families. If you’re like us you get great joy from giving gifts. So with that in mind here are some great Father’s Day Gifts for $50 or less.
Fathers Day Gifts for 50 Dollars or Less
  1. It’s called the Space Pen in part because you can write with it upside down. Thiscan be engraved with the first line free. Because it’s raw brass this will develop a patina unique to Dad’s hand and grip. $17
  2. Alaskan Salmon Caviar from Khavyar is a great gift for Dad. Mostly though we want to share this with him. We love ikura and the presentation is gift worthy. $13 to OMG
  3. Jessica got her hands on The Alter Ego water bottle at C2 in Montreal. It’s a water bottle with a built in filter. It’s $65, goes over budget (sorry!) and is worth every penny.
  4. Dune Jewelry has the greatest gift for the golfing dad. This divot repair tool features sand from his least favorite part (the sand trap) of his favorite course.  $20
  5. We love the socks from French designer Emile Lafaurie for Sean and encourage you to poke around their site for some really interesting takes on classic looks. $20 each
  6. New Dads need their own baby bags. Seasoned Dads need a really great gym bag. This small cammo duffle from Quilted Koala is reduced to $50 just in time for Father’s Day. Normally $138.

Some Dads just can’t stay away from the grill.

When we asked our Facebook Friends what they wanted for Father’s Day the first answer was a vague, “time with my family.” And everyone who got specific talked about grilling in the afternoon or the evening. We heard you! Here are our favorite finds for the dad who just wants to grill the day away.
Fathers Day Gift Guide for the Dad who loves to grill end up being gifts for the whole family.
  1. The Broken Cleaver Butcher Apron has us swooning $75
  2. The DynaTrap Mosquito Murderer (Okay it’s actually called a trap but we are vengeful women and the mosquitos have it coming). Starting at $139 for outdoor traps, these are safe for hummingbirds and honey bees. Dad will enjoy his garden again.
  3. Music and grilling go together. These outdoor speakers have great ratings and are just $40.
  4. Everyone needs at Pit Mitt. You can pick coals up with one on. A glorious experience. $16
  5. This All Clad Grill Set will last a lifetime and perhaps most importantly it stores neatly. $120
  6. A Kamado cooker is a luxury that every griller dreams of. You can cook, sear, and smoke on these unique and precise grills. $759