Recently a friend and I were talking about all of the activity deals we’ve seen on Groupon. Escape rooms, belly dancing, milking a goat, there’s no end to what you can do with $50 and a couple of hours to kill. But then, when I mentioned that I saw ...


Wendi Aarons

Age Is Just a Number and My Number is Who Cares

Recently a friend and I were talking about all of the activity deals we’ve seen on Groupon. Escape rooms, belly dancing, milking a goat, there’s no end to what you can do with $50 and a couple of hours to kill. But then, when I mentioned that I saw a deal for skydiving and said there’s no way I’d ever try it, she asked, “Why? Because you think you’re too old?”

“Too old? That didn’t even cross my mind,” I answered before quietly deleting her contact information from my phone. “No, I don’t want to skydive because crashing face first into a longhorn bull doesn’t sound very fun. Same reason I didn’t want to skydive when I was 20, 30 and 40 years old. Plus, how awful would it be to die in a jumpsuit?”

I know she didn’t mean to be rude with her comment, but it’s stuck with me ever since because it made me realize that I really don’t care if what I do is age appropriate. Rather, I care if what I do is something I enjoy and if I don’t have to drive too far to do it. I wouldn’t even meet George Clooney if it meant heading downtown during rush hour. I’d Facetime him from the couch. I just haven’t ever seen a dividing line between “things for young people” and “things for old people.” To me, real age limits don’t exist. Only perceived ones.

That said, of course there are plenty of activities I have no interest in doing, but that’s because I’m pretty in touch with what I like and don’t like, not because I reached a certain birthday milestone. Pole dancing? No. Pampered Chef parties? No. The Puppetry of the Penis show in Las Vegas? Well, I’m kind of on the fence about that one. I could probably be tempted with free tickets if you have a connection to the X-rated theater world. Hit me up.

Of course, maybe you’re not as evolved/don’t give a f-ck/free spirited as me. Maybe you think you’ve aged out of certain things. Maybe you’re worried about looking stupid, or hurting yourself, or resorting to paddle violence when you try to play ping pong with a millennial and they won’t stop Instagramming with the caption “#Ballerz.” And if so, I urge you to do this: get over it. Do what you want to do. Live how you want to live. And if it’s tough, tell yourself one of the following to help you:

  • There’s no age limit on joy
  • If I survived the 80’s, I can survive anything
  • I have Motrin in my purse
  • Worse comes to worse, I’ll finally make the nightly news

And if what you decide to do is go skydiving, give me a call. There’s no way in hell I’ll join you in your plummet, but I’ll definitely make sure you don’t land on a longhorn.


This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.






Questionable Facts My Yoga Teacher Said In Today’s Class

The human foot has 2,000 bones in it.


If you break one of those 2,000 bones, you will never get your Chi back.


The best way to keep your foot bones safe is to put happy thoughts out into the universe.


Happy thoughts aren’t always about cute puppies, FYI.


But looking at cute puppies can lower your blood pressure by like, 120 points. On average.


Too much red meat can damage you reproductively.


But eating raw vegetables will turn you into a “Fertile Myrtle.”


That means if you’re dating an unemployed mandolin musician and don’t want to have a baby with him because he’s somewhat of a flake and smokes too much pot on weekends, don’t eat salads.


The best advice can be found cross-stitched on a pillow by a Grandma.


Bob Dylan invented that yoga pose where you stick your head between your legs and hum.


Or maybe it was ex-Beatle George Harrison who invented that pose.


George Harrison died before Ringo and that is a travesty of The Universe. YOU ARE MISSED, GEORGE.


At any rate, don’t do the hum/leg pose if you’re feeling faint.


Torso twists make your liver work more efficiently.


Inverted poses increase your creativity. But don’t try to paint upside down!


Many in the know say that the human ribcage is one of the seven wonders of the world.


The human ribcage was harder to construct than the Taj Mahal.


Some people call their ribcages their “Taj Mahal”, but it’s really a personal choice.


Passing gas is our body’s way of saying, “Hey, brain, I’m relaxed. It’s all good in da hood.”


On average, you pass gas 10 times in an hour-long yoga class.


A few of you pass even more gas than that! I think we all know who! Gerald!


We all have a third eye that we need to KEEP OPEN AT ALL TIMES.


Some people have four eyes, but none of those people are in this class because you people aren’t that advanced yet.


If everyone discovered the right way to breathe, there’d be no more wars. Give peace a chance! Inhale!


FYI, the right way to breathe is with your whole entire glorious body.


Innnnn, oooouttttt. That’s breathing.


Ouuuutttt, innnnnn. That’s breathing, too.


It’s never good to not breathe, even if it’s allergy season and you’re full of phlegm.  A doctor would agree with that advice, I’m pretty sure.


Yoga mats are 20% off in the lobby!



J’aime Paris

When my husband Chris and I were deciding where to go to celebrate his 50th birthday, we considered locations like Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, and Italy. All amazing places we’d for sure enjoy, but we kept coming back to, “”What about Paris?” We’d both been a few times before, but we just couldn’t resist a return trip. If there’s such a thing as “too much Paris,” I haven’t yet felt it.

My question on Facebook about what to do in Paris yielded scads of helpful comments, so it seems we’re not alone in our love of the city. We took some of the advice, used a guide book a bit, and figured out a few things on our own. Here is my not-at-all-professional guide to the city and my suggestions for what to do when you make a visit of your own. Chime in with your own thoughts and opinions in the comments (which I’m sure many of you have) and let’s make this review le meilleur de tout les temps! (“The best ever” for those of you who didn’t suffer through four years of high school French like moi.)


While I did indeed study high school French, that was a very long time ago and I really don’t remember much besides a few curse words. To refresh my skills before we left, I used the free Duolingo app for 30 minutes a day. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, so it wasn’t super helpful unless I saw a man with an elephant during my trip or ate an insect (“Je mange l’insecte.”) The line “Where is the bathroom?” was nowhere to be found.

Fortunately, unlike in past visits, more of the locals addressed us in English this time. I don’t know how they immediately knew we were from America because both of us were dressed generically in Uniglo and Nike, but maybe it was the unsophisticated gleam in our eyes whenever we saw a macaron. At any rate, that definitely made it easy to communicate. If you’d like to be more prepared than that, there are also plenty of great translation apps available if you need to figure out a few words or phrases. Or just scream, “Merde!” (one of the curse words I remember) and no doubt someone will rush to your side to shut you up.


Paris has 20 different neighborhoods, which are called arrondissements, and the districts spiral out from the center in numerical order. The 7th arrondissement is where the Eiffel tower is located, the Champs-Élysées is in the 8th, etc. We decided to stay in the 5th arrondissement on the left bank of the River Seine, near the Sorbonne and the Pantheon, mostly because I found this lovely place on Homeaway. There are many similar rentals available for reasonable prices, and there also seems to be no shortage of both boutique hotels and big brands like Starwood and Hilton if that’s more to your liking. (Note: The hotels all seemed to be $50 per night more expensive than what I saw on Homeaway.)

We really enjoyed having our own flat because it was easy to come and go, and we had a lot more space than a hotel room. It was on the sixth floor of a 17th century building, with a loft bedroom and a well-stocked kitchen that we didn’t use because hell if I was going to cook when I had PARIS just outside the front door. Cute, huh?

Every night, we could see the Eiffel Tower’s light show on the hour out our window, so that was fun. Here’s the daytime view:

If we visit again, as much as we loved this property, I think we’d instead choose to stay in the Saint-Germain neighborhood because it was more central to everything we did, and it had more stores and restaurants. But the real key to your location is to make sure you’re within a few blocks of a metro stop because you’ll probably be using that quite a bit. Which brings me to:


There are trains and taxis available to take you into the city from Charles de Gaulle airport, however, we decided to hire a car service to make it easy. The driver met us at baggage claim, and the hour long drive into the city and to our front door was only $60. We made sure to book him to take us back to the airport when we left.

As far as getting around the city, we did a lot of walking. Like, a lot. Sixty miles over six days. But because the city is so fascinating and there’s something interesting around every corner, it was a wonderful way to get around. Plus it helped burn off the 10,000 cheese calories I consumed all day every day. When we weren’t walking, we made good use of the Paris Metro after buying six-day passes at the Paris Visitors Center. The center also has bus, railway, and transportation to Disneyland passes available, as well as $10 round-trip tickets for the RER interurban train to Versailles.

One night we took an Uber to dinner and back because we were dressed up and didn’t want to walk or take the metro. Fun fact: in Paris, it’s pronounced “Ooo-bearh”, at least by me, and the driver, at least the one we had, shows up in a spotless Mercedes E-Class wearing a fancy suit. So much better than a Hyundai driven by a guy in cargo shorts.


Before we left, I ordered the Paris Museum Pass that we then picked up at the visitors center. You can get the pass for two, four or six days, and it gives you unlimited access to 50+ museums and attractions without waiting in line. (I mean the ticket buying line. You will go through security lines and bag checks everywhere.) We paid $90 each for the six-day passes, and they covered all of the big places like Le Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and L’Orangerie. We easily breezed inside every one we visited. The pass is also great because you can visit attractions more than once, which we did when we returned to the Louvre because the Egyptian wing was closed the first time we visited. (The Egyptian wing is my favorite.)

A couple of notes: Many of the museums are closed at least one day a week, so I suggest planning out your schedule in advance. Also, we visited Paris in January, which isn’t peak tourism time because it’s cold and not as pretty with all of the bare trees. But on the plus side, we often had the museums all to ourselves, including the Louvre where we walked around for an hour without seeing another person besides docents. I wish I’d had some roller skates.

Notice the lack of crowds that allowed me to get such good photos.

Monet at L’Orangerie

The Louvre

No throngs of tourists this time!

If you’re short on time, the one museum that we found to be disappointing (and it wasn’t on the museum pass, either) was the Petit Palais. I definitely didn’t go all the way to Paris to see a huge Andres Serrano portrait of Donald Trump hanging on the wall (which is a temporary exhibit). I would also skip the Paris Pantheon that houses Marie Curie, Voltaire, Victor Hugo and other notable French citizens because you’re basically just looking at their crypts. It is quite beautiful at night, though.

Pantheon Paris

We loved seeing Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur, and the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle chapel where the story of the bible is illustrated on stunning stained glass windows. As my friend Liz said, “These places will make a believer out of you yet!” Also, please note that I took a photo inside Notre Dame only because it was mostly empty at the time, unlike another woman who was taking sexy selfies inside Sacre-Couer while a priest was leading Mass. I’m sure that’ll look great on her profile.

Notre Dame

Inside Notre Dame — good job Catholics!

Saint Chapelle on a cloudy day. Would love to see with the sunlight.

To get to Sacre-Couer, located in the neighborhood of Montmartre, you have to do quite a bit of climbing. But once you get up there, it’s more than worth the effort because everything both inside and outside is gorgeous. There’s also a funicular you can take up and down, if you’d prefer to not climb the steps.

Climb up to Sacre-Coeur

View from Sacre-Coeur

The neighborhood of Montmartre is well known because of the notable artists that lived there, like Renoir, Modigliani and Picasso. Now the artists are mostly guys walking around asking tourists if they’d like to have a sketch of themselves (similar to theme parks, but somehow a bit more classy). There are also tons of cafes and souvenir shops here, but it’s still very charming, even in the winter.



One day we walked along the famous Champs-Elysees boulevard that’s dotted with as many high-end stores as it is tourists. We crossed the street to the Arc de Triomphe and thought it’d be fun to climb inside it to the little museum area up top. And it was fun until we realized there were 284 steps to the top. But at least this is the view we had when we got there:

The next day we went in the opposite direction, and walked underground to the Catacombs of Paris. This is a very popular attraction, which is a weird thing to call a place where the bones of millions of Parisians rest. Still, it’s unlike anything you’ll ever see anywhere else and quite fascinating. I highly recommend that you plan to arrive when it first opens, and that you also buy your tickets in advance because you may find yourself waiting in line for hours during peak times.

Dem bones


There are restaurants everywhere you look in Paris. People have been sitting at the small round tables of Parisian cafés and smoking and drinking wine since the 17th century. Now some of them are vaping and drinking Diet Coke, but plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

We don’t consider ourselves to be gourmets in any sense of the word, so instead of consulting the Michelin guide, we usually ate at whatever cafe looked decent. Most of the restaurants have their menu listings in English and French, so it’s pretty easy to find something you like. In no particular order, here are some of our favorite meals.

Eggs, ham and cheese at a neighborhood cafe. I think the bill was only $30 for both of us, with wine, and this is typical of other cafes we visited.

There are crepe stands throughout the city, and they’re both cheap and delicious. Here’s one in Montmartre:

My friend Jane Maynard, who has an excellent food blog, suggested we have dinner at Le Relais de l’Entrecote, a restaurant that only serves salad, fries and steak with a green sauce. It’s only $25 a person for as much food as you like, and we loved it. There are three outlets in Paris, plus two in NYC. Highly recommend.

We also enjoyed the famous La Coupole, recommended by my friend Kathy. It’s a beautiful art deco restaurant in the Montparnasse neighborhood where famous people like Josephine Baker had regular tables. She probably didn’t eat this, but I did.

On Chris’ birthday, I wanted to do something special so I booked a dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant. Touristy, I know, but it was actually very lovely. The setting is really pretty and we had a window table with a view of the Trocadero. Champagne, wine, an entree and dessert are all included in the price, and I think it was about $100 a person. I’m sure there are better options out there if you want a truly gourmet meal, but we were really happy with our choice. They also offer daytime picnic meals with a view, so take a look at their website.


The wine and cheese tasting at O’Chateau. We had an English-speaking wine expert lead us through a tasting lunch. Super fun. They also offer wine cruises.

The Rodin museum, the Pompidou Center for modern art and the gorgeous Paris Opera house.

The historic Shakespeare and Co. bookstore

The fun and quirky shop Merci

And, of course, we stopped by as many pastry shops and bakeries we could during our stay, and we were never once disappointed. Everything is so fresh and flavorful, as you’d expect in a city that doesn’t have TGI Friday’s on every corner. (Although the Paris KFC restaurant was packed.) Our favorite dessert was Maison Laduree, famous for their incredible macarons.

We saw and did as much as we could during our week in Paris, and still came home refreshed and reinvigorated. It truly was a wonderful way to celebrate Chris and his big birthday. Au revoir for now, Paris. Until we meet again.


Memories of a Fanilow Redux

Next week I’m going to see Barry Manilow in concert, so today I’m reposting this piece about the first time I saw him in 2010.

Seven years ago, I fulfilled a life-long dream and ventured to the Paris Casino in Las Vegas for my very first Barry Manilow concert. With me was my friend Karen who I’ve known since high school, and who quickly reminded me why she always used to get me in trouble with my parents. Also with us that weekend was my younger sister Amy, who chose to forgo the Manilow magic and instead went to see her pretend husband Bon Jovi perform.

Here’s the story of what happened at the Manilow concert the evening of March 6th, 2010. Trust me when I say it was a long night, it was an expensive night, and at times, it was a blurry and oddly humiliating night. But even so, it was one I’ll never forget.

5:00 p.m. Dressed in skirts and uncomfortable shoes, Karen and I primp for a fancy French dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant in the Paris casino before our Manilow concert. Across the hall, my sister Amy and her friends put on jeans and t-shirts and prepare for their dinner of chicken wings and 60 oz. buckets of beer at Dick’s Last Resort before their Bon Jovi concert. We stop by their room to say good-bye and I smugly think how much more sophisticated our evening will be than theirs. I don’t yet know how wrong I am.

5:30 p.m. Sipping champagne pêche at our cozy table for two overlooking the Bellagio fountains, Karen and I chat with our good-looking waiter Armando. He rests his hands on the back of our red velvet chairs and very smoothly says, “If there’s anything I can do for you ladies tonight, you just let me know.” This is the fifth or sixth time someone in Vegas has said that to us since we arrived, so Karen and I are beginning to wonder what “anything” actually means. Hookers? Blow? A hot tub party with Reba McIntyre impersonators? My God, we can only imagine.

6:00 p.m. Our salad course finished, we relax, take in the view, and guzzle the wine Armando has recommended. (Later we find out the wine was $25 a glass, prompting me gasp, “Twenty-five dollars a glass? I could buy seven bottles for that!”) Armando then brings Karen the house specialty, foie gras, which leads to the following conversation:

Karen: Try it!

Me: No.

Karen: Try it!

Me: No.

Karen: Try it!

Me: No.

Karen: Fine. But tu es une wussy, mon ami.

6:30 p.m. Our bellies full and our credit cards smoking, we take a thrilling 60-second ride in the Eiffel Tower elevator to the main floor of the Paris casino and walk over to the Manilow Showroom. At least 100 concert-goers have already lined up for the 7:30 p.m. show, all anxiously clutching onto their big, red tickets. For some reason, I think our passes give us entré into a private, champagne reception, so I ask the concierge where we should go. He’s not sure if our tickets actually do include the reception, which prompts Karen to then scream loud enough to drown out 1,500 slot machines: “PRESENT YOUR FANILOW CREDENTIALS, WENDI AARONS! PRESENT THEM! TELL THEM YOU’RE AN OFFICIAL FANILOW, WENDI AARONS! TELL THEM! TELL THEM YOU’RE A FAAAAA-NNNNNILOWW!”

As a look of distaste crosses the concierge’s face, I hiss “Shut up!” and yank her away. Because while I definitely do have my Barry Manilow International Fan Club (BMIFC) membership card in my bag, I’ve decided it’s for emergencies only. I do not take my Fanilow status lightly.

6:45 p.m. While I patiently wait in line to talk to someone at Will Call, Karen heads over to the Manilow Showroom bar to buy us two glasses of Manilow Merlot. “Tastes like soft rock from the 70’s,” I decide after I take a sip. Karen quickly downs hers, then busies herself by surreptitiously watching an obnoxious woman who looks like she’s smuggling live animals in the rear of her sparkly purple stretch pants. The woman then starts hacking up a lung while unfortunately standing next to a sign that says, “Everything’s Sexier in Paris Las Vegas!” Karen turns to me, snorts, “Well, obviously not EVERYTHING!” and a little spray of Barry’s vino shoots out her nose.

I predict we will soon be beat up.

7:00 p.m. Finally at the front of the line, I sweetly ask the ticket agent about the champagne reception. She is also not sure what to do, which makes Karen once again yell, “PRESENT YOUR FANILOW CREDENTIALS, WENDI AARONS! PRESENT THEM! TELL THEM YOU’RE AN OFFICIAL FANILOW, WENDI AARONS! TELL THEM! YOU’RE A FAAAA-NNNN-ILOWWW!” I quickly shove $20 into Karen’s hand and tell her to go buy us some Manilow Pinot Grigio and a soft pretzel, but now I’m really starting to worry. I reach into my bag and caress my BMIFC membership card and wonder if this is actually a Manilow Emergency.

7:20 p.m. We’re now anxiously standing next to the special reception elevator waiting to hear if we can get on and ride up to the champagne party and a better life. I try to charm the senior citizen ushers by telling them that I’ve always dreamed of opening a pasta restaurant with Barry called, “Looks Like Tomatoes!” but they don’t seem to get my joke. I feel the white-hot shame of being the uncoolest person at a Manilow concert.

They’re laughing AT me. Not with me.

7:25 p.m. Bad news. Even though I’ve very reluctantly “presented my Fanilow credentials” to a security guard, we’re told we actually don’t get to go to the reception. Instead, we must sadly enter the red-walled theater and find our seats with the rest of the Manilow scrubs. Karen tries to cheer me up by pointing out at least four older women who look like “Her Name Was Lola,” including one frisky septuagenarian who appears to have “yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there.” It helps a little.

7:45 p.m. The theater’s completely packed with women over 40 (and a few frowning husbands), all very anxiously waiting for Barry to appear. The blotto Wisconsinite behind us keeps whacking my seat and shouting, “Win’s Maniloo gonna get steerted already? Geez Lou-Weez! STEERT, damn you! STEERT!” Then the lights dim, the curtains part, and suddenly all hell breaks loose. “MANILOW!!” Karen screams. “IT’S MANILOW! IT’S MANILOW! That’s him, right? In the shoulder pads? The one on stage? Should I stop yelling until I know for sure? I’m just going on instinct here.”

“Yes, it’s HIM!” I scream back. My heart is suddenly beating way too fast. I quickly look around and note that I’m not the only one losing my shit as most of the audience appears to be having some kind of “Barry Is The Messiah” religious experience. The Wisconsinite behind me is actually weeping giant tears of joy into her $14 mixed drink. “IT’S BARRY! IT’S BAAAARRYYYY!” I scream. “OH, MY GOD! HE’S HERE!”

8:00-9:30 p.m. Proudly standing in front of 3-foot high glowing lights that spell his last name, Barry takes the stage and bursts into “Could It Be Magic.” He sounds amazing, and the frantic crowd is happily jumping up and down and cheering. (I rather enviously note that front row and center are about 50 people who must be high up in the Barry Manilow International Fan Club. The Illuminati of soft rock.) Karen and I dance around with absolutely no rhythm and we look like complete idiots, but I don’t care. We’re having a blast. A blast. Barry then pauses to graciously address the screaming masses, makes a rather ill-advised joke about using a douche (?) and then he continues with his string of hits. I loudly and off-keyedly sing along to “Weekend in New England,” “Even Now,” and “Bandstand Boogie.” I haven’t heard these songs in 20 years, but I still know every single word like it’s my name. Every single word.

As the show continues, Barry sings with his large band. Barry plays the grand piano. Barry croons “Love Me Tender.” Suddenly, I’m not so upset about missing the special elevator ride after all. Because Barry is fantastic. (Which I happily tell my Bon Jovi watching sister Amy in a text that she shows me the next morning: “bArRRy es SO GOOOOO!! bONjobi suxx!!”)

Finally, after we’ve all completely exhausted ourselves, it’s time for Barry’s big finish. Rising from beneath the stage like a Phoenix from the ashes—if the Phoenix were a 59-year-old spray tanned guy from Brooklyn wearing a top hat and tails—he launches into a fabulous rendition of “Copacabana.” The middle-aged women next to us heave their reclined bodies out of their plush seats and start shaking their Chico’s-clad tailfeathers like they’re trying to put out a grass fire. The Lolas in the front row squeal and start to fist pump which I doesn’t really make sense to “Copacabana” but whatever. The wasted Wisconsinite behind me wipes her upper lip with her purse and appears to be having a major hot flash. And Karen and I do a really, really bad white girl samba while weepily embracing each other and grinning like smitten fools. Yes, we may be tired, a little (a lot) drunk on Manilow Merlot and stuffed full of Vegas-style French food, but still—we’re having a moment. “This is the one I’ve been waiting for all night long!” she shouts. “I think I’m officially a Fanilow now!”

“You ARE, Karen! YOU ARE!” I shout back. “We’re both Fanilows now! EVERYONE IS A FANILOW! WOOOOO!”

A mere two minutes later, Barry takes his bow, the lights come on, and we have the heartbreaking realization that the show is finally over. The magic show has ended. Blinking in the sudden brightness, we straggle out of the theater, our feet sore, our spirits light, and our chins covered in all of the wine that we didn’t quite manage to get into our mouths. Alas, the evening’s Manilow adventure has ended for us.

But the Vegas humiliation is just beginning.

Click here for Part Two.


My Rejected Parenting Magazine Pitches

I Didn’t Breastfeed and Now My Son Eats Tide Pods


Navigating the Women’s March with a Poster Board Allergy


Does Your Child’s Emoji Choice Predict a Future as a Serial Killer?


Help! My Husband Is Addicted to Radio Disney!


Two Nipples and a Spare: My Lactation Journey


DIY: Make This Adorable Crib Out of Empty Wine Boxes and an Instapot


Moron: The New Gifted

The Hot New Mom Workout: Baby Throwing


How 50 Shades of Grey Changed My Abs and My Marriage


10 Veggie Sneaks for Kids Who are Idiots


The Best Apps to Keep Your Baby Busy While You Instagram Your Pedicure


Mom Confession: I Don’t Know How to Spell Umbylicahl Cord


Feel Like You’re Doing Everything Wrong? It’s Because You Are, Freakshow


The Thin Mints Cartel: How My Daughter Went from Selling Cookies to Selling Crack


Fun Fashion for Moms Stupid Enough to Buy an Infant Cashmere


Fertility After Fifty: Who Are You F*cking Kidding