Christine On: Leaving Forty

Editor’s Note: I first “cyber-met” Christine last year when she wrote so eloquently about turning 40 here. A year later, like many of us, she’s not where she imagined she would be. Today she shares the ups and downs and the lessons learned along the  road to 41…

Tomorrow I am leaving my fortieth year. It seemed like just yesterday I was writing about turning forty in a blog entry (Turning Forty) and how significant that event was to me. It was a great birthday accompanied by a super fantastic surprise party with my family and friends. My impending birthday tomorrow has left me reflecting on the past year. One of the things I wrote about in the Turning Forty essay was about how birthdays are a way to celebrate our lives and how they are also a chance to say “Yes, I have gotten here.”

In many ways, I have not quite ended up where I thought I would be by the time I turned forty-one. I had anticipated that the past year would lead to a significant improvement in my health as well as a return to the work force as a registered nurse. I had plans for having one of my essays published in print. I wanted to lose a ton of weight. Like I stated in the previous essay: Ahh, the best laid plans. Maybe that is why we shouldn’t make so many of them, right?

My autoimmune illness got worse rather than better. I was diagnosed with two life threatening illnesses within a span of ten days earlier this year, both of which I have recovered fully from. At least physically. The threat of what “could have happened” still lingers in my memory. I know, I really need to get over that. Although both illnesses were not lifestyle related, I hit rock bottom with the exhaustion of dealing with illness and being sick all the time. I found a way to cope with that. I took more control over my body and health by changing several aspects of my lifestyle including changing my diet, getting exercise, and reducing stress. I made a big commitment to being a healthier person.

I lost a lot of connections with some friends over this past year for a variety of reasons. I made a few new ones. In the process of both, I learned the value of quality over quantity and the importance of selecting my friends with care. As I continue to get older, I become more astutely aware of the significance that these relationships have for me and that sometimes these relationships are ever changing, just like the rest of the world is so much of the time.

In my fortieth year, I took a few risks. One of those was committing to marry the love of my life, A bold move for me because it has meant placing my complete trust in a partner. And finding out that when you are with the right partner, that trust will not be broken. I have learned over my past year with him about what it takes for a relationship to survive the darkest of hours in order to be able to travel the same path together for a lifetime.

Although when I turned forty, I felt like I had already learned the importance of living each day like it was a privilege, this past year has taught me the importance of prioritizing each of those days:

That cleaning the bathroom is not as important as spending time on the phone with a loved one.

That washing the dishes in the sink is not as important as hanging out with my fiance.

That returning emails is not as important as getting my work out done.

Although my birthday tomorrow will be much more low key than when I turned the big 4-0, I am looking forward to it. I have much to celebrate and be thankful for. The most important thing I have to celebrate and be thankful for is the fact that I get to keep going on this crazy journey which is otherwise known as my life. I am still alive. I get to experience more joy, more hugs, more tears, and more laughs. Tomorrow I get to sit back and say once again, “Yes, I have gotten here.” And like last year, I once again have the opportunity to realize even more of my hopes and dreams in the next year of my life.

I really could not ask for more.

Christine Molloy is a writer and registered nurse who lives in Western Massachusetts. She is the author of the blog Thoughts and ramblings on life, love, and health.You can find the original blog post here.

9 Basics for a Budget Friendly Birthday Bash

Editor’s Note: Whether your celebrating your 40th, 50th or something in between, if budgetary considerations have you scaling back, today’s post from consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch will help you find ways to celebrate your special day on even the tightest budget.

Thanks to Facebook’s weekly reminder of your friends’ birthdays, more attention is being paid to natal anniversaries than ever. Adults particularly tend to celebrate landmark birthdays that end in a round figure. The cost for such parties, however, can easily get out of hand. In the spirit of creating a back-to-basics bash, I offer the following nine tips.

1. Discount Decorations
Dollar stores are your go-to place for party decorations. You’ll save up to 70-percent off party store prices and the selection is equally nice. Dollar stores also are a great place to finding inexpensive wrapping paper and reusable gift bags.

2. E-invitations
Facebook is one of the best ways to create a simple invitation using the “Event” function, but not everyone uses the social network. Several websites, including and, offer free electronic invitations that do the trick while providing RSVP feedback.

3. Serve Finger Food
A four-course meal takes a lot of time, skill and money. Instead, keep guests happy with simple hors’ doeuvres created in your kitchen. You’ll want to avoid the pre-packaged appetizers from your grocery or specialty store as they’ll cost you 40 percent to 60 percent more than homemade.

4. Borrow Your Finery
Stepping out in a new outfit or dress shirt will surely impress your guests, but it’ll do little for your budget. Borrow something to wear from a friend for that special birthday-outfit feeling. If that’s not possible, check out second-hand stores for a bit of frugal frippery. Continue reading 9 Basics for a Budget Friendly Birthday Bash

WAF’s Summer Reading Series: Lysterium

Editor’s Note: This week’s book selection, Lysterium, is written by Bethany Shelhorn and tells the story of a successful newspaper editor, a mysterious stranger and a long-held family secret. It’s reviewed by WAF community member and creator of, Jeanette Harrietha. In her review Jeanette shares how she, as a woman on her own journey towards 40, connected with the novel’s protagonist, Liv Worthington…

Lysterium – Reviewed by Jeanette Harrietha

If you’re looking to escape real life for a few hours this summer, Bethany Shehorn’s fast-paced debut novel Lysterium offers just the place. While the plot moves almost too quickly at times, Shehorn weaves an interesting and intricately detailed story with the potential for a series of books with well developed characters and storytelling.

After a brief encounter with a handsome and mysterious stranger, Liv Worthington unwittingly sets out on an adventure that challenges reality as she knows it. Liv quickly discovers that the fairytales told to her by her grandmother were in fact true accounts of a magical land called Lysterium, a land Liv must defend against evil. Full of fantasy, intrigue, romance and action, Shehorn takes her reader along for the ride as we follow Liv through the complexities of Lysterium and her own journey of self-discovery.

What I found most interesting about Liv’s character was the fact that she had to first know her truth and face her fears before she could evolve into the woman she was destined to become. This created a point of connection for me, as a woman on my own journey – a journey towards 40.

Now I’m not suggesting that turning 40 provokes the same sort of fear as fighting off evil creatures in a bid to save a magical world (in fact, I’m quite looking forward to turning 40); rather, knowing that I’m turning 40 has motivated me to get better acquainted with myself and more importantly, to not let my fears stand in the way of embracing new opportunities and challenges. Liv’s character provided me with a gentle reminder that as women we don’t have to necessarily be fearless, but rather, by facing our fears we open ourselves up to the possibility of revealing our own inner heroine at any age.

Jeanette Harrietha is an educator and the founder of, an online social network that connects women for friendship. She loves to read, travel, create, and make life happen by embracing new experiences! You can pick up a copy of Lysterium on Amazon.


Hide your face, make a bucket list and know what you really want: Lessons for the next generation of Women at Forty

Earlier this month Reese Witherspoon, while accepting an MTV Movie Award, shared a few words of wisdom with young women who seem to think that nude cell phone pics and “leaked” home porno movies are now the quickest and best way to make it in Hollywood.

Witherspoon said, “I get it, girls, that it’s cool to be a bad girl. But it is possible to make it in Hollywood without doing a reality show. When I came up in this business, if you made a sex tape, you were embarrassed and you hid it under your bed. And if you took naked pictures of yourself on your cell phone, you hide your face, people! Hide your face!”

Although Witherspoon is a little shy of being 40, I wondered what advice other WAF had for young women in their 20’s. I put the call out on Facebook and of course, the WAF community responded loud and clear. We’ve been there, done that and bought the T-shirt and while you’re out there celebrating your 20’s and 30’s (which you definitely should), take heed to some of what we’ve learned over the years…

“Remember to be respectful to yourself and other women, you to will be our age in 20 very short years.” – Kimberly

“Know what you want before making huge, expensive mistakes: do you REALLY want to go to grad school for that? Consider what that degree might or might not give you. And if someone (a tiger mother-ish person, perhaps) is pressuring you to go to grad school right after college, don’t do it unless it’s something crucial to your career (law school, medical school, CPA, etc).” – Clare

“1)Looks may attract a man, but character and confidence leaves him wanting more. 2)Be honest with yourself… fooling yourself into thinking you can handle certain situations will only leave you with regret. 3)Learn the difference between friends and buddies no one really has LOTS of friends. 4)Sex is meant to be special. It’s one of the most special gifts that you can give. If you were a millionaire, would you give a million dollars to someone just because they asked for it?”  – Tamika

“Make a bucket list in your 20s of all the things you want, places to go, people to see & check it off as the opportunity presents itself. When you get older there are obstacles that will hinder your list (job, small children, finances, etc) until you are older. You might feel like you are getting too old or cram everything in to the point where you don’t enjoy the journey.” – Tanya

“If you are ever on the fence about having or not having kids, babysit or better yet, foster first. Try it out before it’s too late. Also, Google “I hate being a Mom.” Don’t ever let anyone talk you into having kids unless YOU REALLY want to have them. I fostered thinking I wanted kids, and believe me, I’m so glad I was able to get out of taking care of a baby for 18 years. Even with a husband who was willing to share, it still fell on me as the primary caretaker, and I wasn’t the type. If you really want to have kids, that’s great – more power to you. But if you’re on the fence – BE CAREFUL!” – Liza
I got more great responses than I could possibly fit in one post, so there’ll probably be a part two. If you’ve got words of wisdom to share, leave a comment, email us (contribute (@) women at, or post it on our Facebook fan page.



Kalin’s Chronicles: Weddingmoons

MP900422990When all the hoopla over the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton first started, I thought I was over it before it even began. However, when I saw the replays of the wedding later that day, something happened that I didn’t expect – I cried. Yes, I have to admit that though my own marriage didn’t last, I still get mushy at weddings. I always have so much hope for the newlyweds.

In the United States, the most popular months for weddings are June through September. A couple of generations ago, Niagara Falls was the most popular honeymoon destination. But that’s changed, and today’s brides are choosing to have their wedding in the same location as their honeymoon – it’s what the tourism industry calls a destination wedding, or “weddingmoon.”

Weddingmoons are popular for various reasons, including saving money. According to the average wedding can cost more than $15,000, while the average weddingmoon can cost as little as $3,000. They’ve become so popular that most resort destinations now have an on-sight wedding planner.

Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Weddingmoons