Regular readers of The Midlife Second Wife know that I’m a huge fan of Murad skin care products. I’m writing this quick post to update you on an important development. A number of you have written to me to say, basically, that “I’ll have what she’s having.” Here’s a note a follower wrote me on Facebook:
About a month ago, Marci Rich recommended Murad’s Age Reform Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture for Eyes. I bought it. Several times since, I’ve gotten that strange, puzzled squint from someone…’What’s different about you? You look really nice” which I choose to take as a compliment. So, Face Queen Marci [I love that!], thank you. What do you do for the rest of your face?
I wrote back, referring the Facebook correspondent to my first Murad post featuring the company’s Vitalic skin care line. These products have been my go-to regimen for keeping my Mediterranean skin clear and smooth for nearly a year. I love them. For my money, they are the second-best thing—after my husband’s kiss—to ever touch my face.
I can’t send you to Sephora, however, in search of something you might not find, which is what has happened to me the last couple of times I’ve tried to buy the T-Zone Pore Refining Gel. So here’s the new development: The product line is still around—thank God!—but it has a new name. What once was Vitalic is now the Pore Reform line. Makes perfect sense, because my own pores have been completely rehabilitated.
The new Pore Reform Line features two products in the second-step phase (the first is my beloved Daily Cleansing Foam):
T-Zone Pore Refining Serum (the new name for my old T-Zone Pore Refining Gel)
This targeted serum lifts away dull, dry skin cells to even skin texture and tone and dissolves surface skin-clogging impurities to refine pores. T-Zone Pore Refining Serum is a Step 2 treatment product that normalizes oil production and keeps pores clear to maintain healthy, glowing skin.
(2.0 FL. OZ., $42.00)
Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo
This fast-acting, two-step treatment, consisting of Blackhead Remover and Pore Refining Sealer, helps reduce blackheads and provides pores with lasting protection against impurities. Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo extracts stubborn debris from deep within the pores and is clinically proven to reduce the formation of blackheads by an average of 58%*.
(2.0 FL. OZ., $49.50)
For the third, moisturizing step, I turn to the phenomenal eye cream that my Facebook friend raved about.
I cannot wait to try the blackhead and pore clearing product in the new Pore Reform line. I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve had a chance to let it work its magic.
As always, I couldn’t do it and I wouldn’t be here it if weren’t for you.
If you have a moment, I’d love it if you could visit the HP site and like the article on Facebook, or tweet it, or leave a comment. In the wonderful world of digital publishing, that sort of activity makes a tremendous difference. Thank you in advance for your extra support!
So happy to see that my friend Judy Krell Freedman, pictured above, made the list with me!
There was no phone call. There was no email notification. There was only me, taking a brain vacation to scroll through the Top 100 Tweets about Liz & Dick on my iPhone while cooking dinner. Then, at the top of the phone, a Facebook alert appeared: one of my blogging colleagues had mentioned me in a post. A moment later, a second alert, from another colleague, arrived. And then several more, in rapid succession. I noticed the word “congrats” was being bandied about.
What was going on?
I interrupted my mindless stroll through the snark about Lindsay Lohan to check Facebook, where I found this news:
I don’t know how this happens, especially with so many excellent writers—many of whom I admire—blogging for the post-50 set. I count quite a lot of them among my friends. You can find some of them on my blogroll, and I encourage you to visit any of them the next time you’re here.
What I do know is that I’m humbled by this honor—and recognition by the Huffington Post is an honor. HuffPost, after all, is the first commercially-run digital media outlet to win a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Pulitzers aside, I imagine this recognition must be what it feels like to win a MacArthur fellowship—you know, those “genius” grants where you’ve no idea you’ve even been nominated, but one day you receive a phone call that changes your life.
Yes. This feels that big to me. And once again, dear readers, I must share this with you. Thank you for joining me on this adventure!
My thanks also go out to those at the Huffington Post who are responsible for giving the Midlife Second Wife the surprise of her life. I’ll work very hard to ensure that I’ve earned your recognition.
What a week this has been! You might recall that on Monday, I posted an essay called “To Marci, On Your 20th Birthday,” which I wrote as part of a “blog hop” sponsored by Generation Fabulous, an amazing Facebook group to which I’m honored to belong. (We lovingly call it GenFab.) If you haven’t had a chance to read that post yet, please do, and please check out the posts by my GenFab compatriots. There’s a lot of collected wisdom there, and it seems that the Huffington Post agrees. Three Huffington Post sections—HuffPost Women, HuffPost50, and HuffPost Healthy Living—as well as HuffPostLiving’s Facebook page, featured 14 of us in an article about our blog hop. (You can find my quote on the second panel of the Huffington Post slideshow.)
The question—”What Advice Would You Give Your 20-Year-old Self?”—is really striking a chord with readers: people all over are sharing and commenting. I’d love to give readers of “The Midlife Second Wife” a chance to weigh in on the topic. So tell me:
The founder of the social media consultancy Digital Royalty has a new book out tomorrow, Oct. 2. On Sunday she was a guest of Melissa Harris-Perry’s on MSNBC, talking with other panelists about the influence of social media on politics, and the change-agent behind the sports and social media phenomenon covered in a Forbes article. And today (winking here) she’s making her second appearance on my blog. What a whirl!
As you know, I met Amy Jo at the BlogHer 12 conference in New York City. And here I must digress to tell you that I felt an immediate bond with her when she shared her experience of finding a lump in her breast the size of a golf ball. As a survivor of thyroid cancer, I’ve become hard-wired to relate on a deeper human level with those who have either had cancer or a cancer scare. As someone I admire once said, we become members of a club no one ever wanted to join. And it’s something of a paradox, because once admitted to the club, you want to remain a member in good standing, if you know what I mean. Amy Jo’s honesty—her fearlessness—in sharing her experience speaks to the very essence of what is so intrinsically valuable about social media: honesty. Being real. Or as Amy says in her book, “showing some skin.”
So I’m sitting in the Pathfinder session, listening to Amy discuss innovation, intention, ideas, influence, and inspiration—and writing as quickly as I can to take down what she is saying: “Coloring outside the lines without crossing the lines.” Sharing the corporate mission statement of Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh: “Be real and use your best judgment.” Explaining the value of “Random Acts of Shaqness.” (You must read this book. And yes, she’s referring to Shaquille O’Neal.)
In the midst of my flurried note-taking I had an epiphany: As a blogger, I’m ipso facto on social media. But I wasn’t really on social media. It was quickly becoming apparent that I had much to learn and I’d better get cracking. And that’s why I’m reading her excellent book, and why I want to tell you about it. I think that it’s a game changer for any public persona, corporation, brand, organization, or entity not yet on board with the new rules of the game. For those already using social media to enhance their relevancy, it will provide an entertaining and enlightening overview of where they have been. I suspect even they will learn things they didn’t already know.
On paper (in pixels?) it doesn’t seem as though I’d be such a social media newbie. I began writing content for Web 1.0 back in 1998 on behalf of Oberlin College. I was wired in for the advent of email, and only just slightly behind the curve on Facebook and LinkedIn, although I caught up fairly quickly. I did a bit of blogging and video interviews, and even composed tweets during our 2.0 phase. And yet I hovered there. It wasn’t until starting my own blog in August 2011 that I truly recognized the importance of communicating regularly and with intention across diverse social media platforms. I’m sure one reason is because I’m now working for myself, and so I feel a sense of urgency. But I am also a writer who blogs. And like every other writer who blogs, I want people to read me. How does a blogger find readers? On social media. Duh.
And so I advanced on the board from Facebook and LinkedIn until I reached Twitter. I opened my own account (kind of feeling the way I did when I first opened a checking account); passed “Go,” and in a year attracted more than 400 followers. (This is more than double what I had before the BlogHer conference, which shows you how much I learned in a very short time). These past weeks I’ve slowly begun to build my presence on Pinterest and Google+. This weekend I wrote my bio for Huffington Post and figured out how to upload a video to YouTube and connect it to what you’re reading now. Just today I sent out my first Instagram. (It’s fitting, on many levels, that it was a photo of Amy Jo’s appearance on the Melissa Harris-Perry show.)
When you start a blog, and hope for it to be meaningful and authentic and actually read by people, it soon becomes apparent that it’s not enough just to hit “publish.” Bloggers control their own distribution. Those who take what they do seriously are not just members of the media, they are also the means of the media—the studios and the control rooms and the printing presses and the distribution houses. It’s exhausting, quite frankly—especially if you’re a team of one. Even a renegade team of one. Even a renegade team of one with an awesome husband to help with things like shooting the video you’re about to see.
This is why Amy Jo’s book is important to me. As a team of one, I have to think about economies of scale. If I spend three hours writing a blog post and only 30 people see it, I’ve just poured four minutes of my life for each of those 30 people. If 300 people see it, I’m starting to get some traction and make some impact for the time I’ve invested. If 3,000 people see it, well, you can do the math. The greatest impression one of my post’s has had was last November, when WordPress featured an essay of mine on ‘Freshly Pressed’ and more than 5,000 people read it over a two-day period. That truly felt relevant. That’s what a writer hopes for.
Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying here. Every one of my readers is valuable to me. Whether 30 people visit a post or 3,000—each reader means something to me. Each has invested his or her own time in reading what I had to write. Economies of scale work both ways, after all. That’s why I hope I’m providing interesting, informative, and entertaining content for you.
Time is money, as they say. And I’m as busy as the next person—I also run a business and freelance. So these things inevitably begin to matter, especially if your blog is part of the foundation of your livelihood.
Amy Jo learned something early on about the time factor, and she has shared the anecdote widely—in a TEDx talk, at conferences, and in her book. Her former boss, who wasn’t wild about all of this social media business, challenged her by sliding a sheet of paper across her desk. On it were written three words:
Work. Family. Self.
“Choose,” her boss told her. “You can’t have all three.”
Since Amy ultimately left that employer and formed her own business, I naturally wondered if she ever did have to end up choosing. I asked her about it, and she replied via email:
“Since founding Digital Royalty a few years ago, I have been able to design my own day, whether that means working late at night while on the elliptical machine, or taking a conference call from a mountaintop. Through creating Digital Royalty, and especially Digital Royalty University, I have been able to find my Royal Bliss. That’s what balance is to me. It’s not a perfect equilibrium. It’s finding that sweet spot, where your purpose, passion, and skill collide.”
I love that, don’t you? The “sweet spot where purpose, passion, and skill collide.” That’s what balance is. And now, before this post gets too unbalanced by growing too long, I think it’s time to let everyone know who won a signed galley copy of Amy Jo’s book. Watch this video to find out!
A note about the contest: The winner was drawn from the Facebook fans of The Midlife Second Wife. A drawing held Friday evening, Sept. 28, did not yield a winner because I was unable to reach the person whose name was drawn despite two attempts via Facebook. A subsequent drawing, represented in the above video, was held Sunday afternoon, Sept. 30. Out of fairness to my fans, members of my family were excluded from this drawing. I should also note that I received a signed galley copy of Renegades Write the Rules for the giveaway, as well as a free download for my Kindle. Other than that, I received no compensation to write about the book.
If you would like to like the Midlife Second Wife on Facebook, click the embedded link at the start of this note. You can also follow me on Twitter: @midlife2wife. Thank you for your support!
“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” So went the famous New Yorker cartoon, now nearly 20 years old. (Or in dog years, 140). But in the age of Facebook, everybody can know not only whether you’re a dog, but what breed you are, what kind of kibble you like, and whether or not you’re in a relationship. And it’s not my intention to be species-exclusive here. You can find cats, ferrets, birds, and more on Facebook. Pets are on social media, and it is indeed a dog’s life.
The image you’re looking at is a screenshot of our Cavalier King Charles‘ new Facebook page. No, I don’t have too much time on my hands—I l just love Sandy to distraction. She’s the daughter I never had. (And she’s not the first dog in our family to have a Facebook page; her cousin Gunner beat her to it.)
If you look at the image that’s cropped at the bottom of the shot, you’ll see Sandy with John. This is the first picture I ever saw of my future husband; it illustrated his profile on Match.com. (You can read about how we met in my article for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.)
I first met Sandy when I visited John at his apartment. He had never had (nor heard of) tabouley, and I was about to set things straight. I parked my car near the grassy lot of his apartment complex, grabbed the container of salad, looked up, and saw a blur of brown and white fur barreling towards me. If you’ve never seen a dog smile, you haven’t truly lived. Sandy’s entire body was wagging, and her grin upon meeting me utterly did me in. I was putty in her paws.
(John has a very nice smile, too.)
It was only a matter of time before we became a family—and a blended one at that. John’s two sons, my son, his dog, my cat…
That reminds me: I have to create a Facebook page for Nellie.
Penelope “Nellie” Janas Rich
You can follow Sandy’s adventures by “friending” her on Facebook. Just search for Sandy Rich and look for the picture of Sandy with her love interest, Zorro Burman-Wadsworth. Sorry guys. She’s definitely in a relationship.
Sandy, on the right, with her love interest Zorro. Sandy is nearly five; Zorro is one. Sandy is a cougar.
(Want to help me celebrate? Read through to the end of this post to find out how!)
Five months ago today, I hit “publish” on the very first post for The Midlife Second Wife. What a long way we’ve come in such a short time! I thought you might like to hear about some of these developments, and a few new offerings planned for the coming months.
Last night, the blog welcomed its 12,001st visitor to the site. I have to say that this number has me a bit flabbergasted—I had hoped to reach 10,000 visitors after my first year of blogging. If the trend continues, 20,000 readers will have passed through these pages by our one-year anniversary.
Your fellow subscribers now number 273: 133 are following by email or readers, 25 are following the comments, and 115 join us by way of Twitter.
I’m going to add another opportunity today for readers to climb aboard: a site based in Sweden, Bloglovin.com, acts as a sort of storage locker for people who follow a lot of different blogs, organizing them all in one place. I’ll be adding a widget to my site so that Bloglovin’ lovers can share the TMSW love.
TMSW has won two awards from bloggers: the Liebster and the Versatile Blogger Award. In November, TMSW was featured on WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed,” an event that brought more than 5,000 visitors to the site in less than two days. Also in November, the highly respected publishing network BlogHer syndicated one of my posts. Fifty-five of you like me, you really like me, on Facebook, too.
So what’s next? Well, I’ll continue posting two to three times each week. (I also hope to pick a quiet month when my freelance work subsides and do another NaBloPoMo with BlogHer). You’ll see the recipe files getting thicker, and you’ll have more interviews with experts to enjoy. I’ll even begin sprucing the place up a bit. I’ll be asking for your opinion in a few readers’ polls, too.
We now have our 110 charter members of the Midlife Second Wives’ club, and they can expect to hear from me in the weeks ahead. I need to think of an idea for the second-tier membership group, too; if you have any ideas for that, please let me know! I’ll also get to work on our Midlife Second Wives’ Hall of Fame.
And by all means, please send me your ideas for articles, post your comments, and share the articles you like on Facebook.
While we’re on the subject….I have a favor to ask you. It’ll help us all celebrate this five-month milestone!
Close your eyes, think back, and pick out your favorite post from the last five months. Got one? Good. Now, email a link to that post to three of your friends, letting them know about the blog, and invite them to sign up. (This is important: send me a blind copy of your email so that I’ll know where the new subscribers are coming from.) I’ll enter your email in a drawing for a special prize for each new subscriber that comes my way through your efforts.
(I promise it will be useful and tasteful, not like the Leg Lamp “Major Award” that the Old Man received in A Christmas Story.)
As much as I’ve always loved clothes, no one could ever mistake me for a fashion trendsetter. I mean, come on. Until last year, I lived in Ohio. For my entire life. (No offense, Buckeye State. I love you and always will.) But three days after posting an essay on the blog about wearing black for my second wedding, a friend on Facebook sent me a link to an October 19 ABC News story about acclaimed wedding gown designer Vera Wang’s newest collection. I found additional coverage from Buzz60 via YouTube. Take a look:
I’m sensing that announcer Maureen Aladin isn’t a fan of the look. What about you? If you were getting married again, would you wear black? Would you consider it if you were planning a first wedding? Share your comments below. And have a great weekend!
Dear Friends and Followers of The Midlife Second Wife,
The site has just welcomed its 1,500th visitor. I can hardly believe how many of you have peeked in the windows at my home-away-from-home on the Web. To date, here’s a by-the-numbers look at TMSW since its August 24, 2011 launch:
38 Blog Subscribers (35 by E-mail, 3 by WordPress)
30 Daily Visitors, Overall Average
All of this has got me quite gobsmacked, you know. Thank you from the bottom of my midlife-but-hopefully-healthy heart for reading and supporting The Midlife Second Wife.
Since we’re online, I can’t really propose a toast (well, I suppose I could, but it wouldn’t be as much fun as it would with us gathered in a room, holding flutes of Champagne). What I can do, however, is this:
I herewith announce the formation of The Midlife Second Wives’ Club. All of you who are now following the blog with your subscription, either by e-mail or as a WordPress blogger, are Charter Members of the club. That’s 38 Charter Members.
The Midlife Second Wives’ Club will be limited to 110 Charter Members. Here’s how I arrived at the number: John was 56 when we got married; I was 54. Add 56 and 54 and you get 110. This means that there is still room for 72 more subscribers to become Charter Members.
As you know, membership has its privileges. I cannot predict where The Midlife Second Wife will take us, but should the day come when TMSW merchandise becomes available, Charter Members will receive discounts. A book deal? Charter Members will receive autographed copies. A film? (Yes, I know. I dream big.) If there’s ever a premiere, Charter Members will receive the full red-carpet treatment.
Why? Because you have been with me from the very beginning. You’re my supporters, my posse, my peeps and tweeps. You deserve some perks!
What, you might ask, must I do to become a Charter Member of The Midlife Second Wives’ Club?
So consider this scenario: You’re a Charter Member, but your partner/spouse/best friend is not. You don’t want to attend a movie premiere without him or her, do you? Ask them to join you in subscribing to the blog. (And by subscribing, I mean following. There’s no cost to you.) There’s room for 72 more in the VIP suite, so let them know!
What, you might ask, happens when the 73rd person subscribes to the blog? Are they, and those that follow after, relegated to some dank, subterranean room? You know me. I couldn’t do that. I will devise some secondary level of membership, and a tertiary level, and then whatever level comes after tertiary, to ensure that all followers of The Midlife Second Wife will feel the love. But I cannot in good conscience ignore the first 110. You are, and always will be, my inner circle.
Now go out and encourage your friends and family to follow the blog. And if you’re already liking it on Facebook or following it on Twitter but haven’t signed up here, please do so. I want you at that film premiere!
You’ve subscribed. You’ve liked “The Midlife Second Wife” on Facebook. You’ve shared the blog with your friends and family. Some of you have even commented on these early posts. For this support, I thank you. You are awesome! You are the reason I’m here.
Since August 24, 2011, when TMSW became the new kid on the blogosphere, the site has received 770 views. And no, this doesn’t include my own visits.
Those of you here from the beginning will notice a difference in the layout. I’m now using a beautiful WordPress template called “Chateau.” Rather appropriate, don’t you think? This is, after all, the home of the Midlife Second Wife.
You will also notice a snazzy new logo, courtesy of my immensely talented brother-in-law, Brian Rich. But wait. It gets better. In his off hours, Brian designs and makes jewelry. See this picture of me? Notice the necklace I’m wearing? That’s a Brian Rich creation. The Midlife Second Wife didn’t just gain a husband; she gained a jewelry designer and graphic artist.
Here are a few other new features: on the left you’ll see that some new categories have popped up. “An Open Book” is a place where you can go to learn more about the books mentioned in my posts, or simply see books that have been important to me. Think of this as the library in the Midlife Second Wife’s chateau. “The Blogs of Others” lists sites of other bloggers that I like and want to support. Feel free to check them out sometime. There’s even a place where you can read some of my published articles.
Another new feature allows you to print a post or share it via email or on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or WordPress’ own “Press This.” You can also indicate if you like a particular entry. You’ll find these options at the end of each individual post. Just click on the post’s headline to get there.
You know that I’m sharing recipes, and you can look for them every Wednesday. But what you don’t know is that I’ve been busy working to further enhance the site. I plan to interview experts on a variety of subjects, and in the coming weeks there will be a new category for you to enjoy—“Monday Morning Q & A.” I’ll be adding sections on health and wellness, money management, relationships, and arts and culture. If there are other topics that you’d like me to explore here, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While we’re on the subject of great expectations, I want you to know that my goal is to post new content for you three times each week. I hope you’ll find what I write fun, inspiring, and worth sharing with others. WordPress’ terrific feature—a community for bloggers called “The Daily Post”—will help me meet this goal. It’s a place where I can ask for help when I need it and encourage other bloggers when I can.
If you’re already reading my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.