top ten things every woman over 30 should have

April 7, 2008

1.  a really good moisturizer (with SPF)

 One of the unpleasant rites of passage for any 30+ year old is looking closely at your skin one sunny morning and having the epiphany that you need to invest some serious moisturizer.  It’s not the fine lines and wrinkles that you keep hearing about in advertisements that you need to look for first.  It’s the insidious change in texture of your skin (which then leads to said fine lines and wrinkles).  I’ve tried many different kinds of moisturizers, from drug store brands like Neutrogena and Olay, to department store brands like Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar and Clarins, and sadly, I have not found the one perfect moisturizer (although I have found many very good ones).  I have not, however, tried La Prarie’s $550 a jar face cream, which I did contemplate buying for about three minutes.  And frankly, if it’s going to take me $550 to stop the aging process, I’d rather be carrying a new Speedy bag while looking every one of my 37 years (see #6 on the list). 

2.  life insurance

 One of the first things my husband and I did after I got pregnant with my daughter was to get term life insurance.  If you don’t have it – here, get a quote. (and don’t let anyone talk you into buying whole life insurance either).

3.  red nail polish

I am not a nail person – I only get a manicure if I have a function to attend, which inevitably gets chipped as I take out my keys to go from the nail place to my car.  I do, however, love to have pretty painted toenails all summer long.  So even if you don’t have the time, money or inclination to get a pedicure, you can buy a $5 bottle of nail polish and do your own toes.  Even if your hand is about as steady as Seurat’s, the good news is that no one is ever at toe level.  I’ve had OPI’s “I’m Not Really a Waitress” in my medicine cabinet for the past 12 years (not the same bottle, silly).  It’s a classic.


4.  real stationery

Nothing makes you feel like Kate Spade faster than writing a note on engraved personalized stationery.  And in the era of Evites and pre-printed thank you cards, taking the time to write a note of thanks, sympathy or anything in between has become so uncommon that receiving one is downright exciting.  I don’t break out my fountain pen and Crane stationery for any occasion, but I always have a box waiting at the ready.  If you don’t want to spend several hundred dollars on engraved stationery, I love these initial notecards from Crane for $17.


5.  annual Pap smears

I know, not nearly as glamorous as Crane stationery, designer handbags and beauty products, but a necessity nonetheless.   And you get to wear those fashionable paper gowns – fun!

6.  a good purse

 Not everyone is a purse person (although I don’t happen to know anyone personally … wondering if these people are actually an urban myth), but every woman should have one really nice purse.  It doesn’t have to be a “designer purse,” just well-made.  I love the experience of purse shopping – touching the supple leather, smelling the interior of well-crafted leather goods, the gleam of the hardware. 

Be queen for more than a day – Gucci’s “Queen” handbag

7.  regular exercise

 I went most of my life without sweating.  I didn’t really participate in sports in school, and never voluntarily exercised until I reached my mid-twenties.  I dreaded going to the gym and could go months without stepping foot on a treadmill.  It was only after I had my children in my thirties that I got serious about getting healthy and working out regularly.  Now, I love the time I spend in the gym – it’s “me” time that I guard jealously.  But it doesn’t have to be spinning in a darkened room – you can easily get the health benefits from regular walks around your neighborhood. 

8.  Shu Uemura eyelash curler

I know this curler shows up on every beauty must have list since 1979, but I somehow managed to get through most of my adulthood without it.  I just trudged through life with my generic drugstore eyelash curler, ripping out my already sad-looking lashes with resigned regularity.  It was only after I got over my fear of shopping on the internet in 2000 that I took the plunge and ordered one from Sephora.  Yeah, it’s worth it.

9.  retirement fund

 I’ve read that a shocking half of all women do not have retirement savings (in a 401K, IRA or pension).  The fact that women statistically live longer then men, work less years (many taking time off for child-rearing), and make less money than their male counterparts are all compelling reasons why women need to save early and regularly.  There’s a zillion websites about retirement planning – it’s time to take a serious look.

10.  one amazing recipe that you’re known for

Even if you’re more Campbell soup cook than Bon Appétit, everyone should have at least one great recipe that people love and request often.  For me, it’s a couple of things – my biscotti and my Korean dumplings (man doo).  Recipes will be coming in the next few weeks.

One Response to “top ten things every woman over 30 should have”

  1. motherofagirl Says:

    Great advice. I’m 31 and I’m feeling everything you said. Dread the pap smears but becomes less painful after childbirth. A good balanced list- no frills but not boring. I’m off to get started.

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