Last week I had what felt like a quintessential LA experience—I attended an evening Kundalini yoga class in West Hollywood (where everyone but me knew to wear white) featuring a live music performance by none other than the fabulous Belinda Carlisle, lead singer of the Go-Gos, who I absolutely worshipped when I was in high school (didn’t we all?). She looks fantastic and sang beautifully. Then, when the serious yoga part of the evening was over, Carlisle spoke, sharing bits of her mid-life journey, which has involved, among other things, discovering a love of chanting, which she strongly believes is an essential key to prosperity, gratitude, miracles, and healing. Worth a try, right? It definitely feels good and helps me feel calmer and more centered.

Carlisle started her talk with “when I was forty, I was dropped by my record label…”  and that of course resonated with me, and I’m sure it will with all of you. How many of us have hit huge stumbling blocks in our forties and fifties (and sixties, and seventies), sometimes near-debilitating moments where we’ve had to reorient, and choose a new path? You are not alone.

Wilder Shores is Carlisle’s latest album, a wonderful mix of eastern and western influences, fusing pop with elevating Kundalini mantras, and it even includes a track of “Heaven is a Place on Earth”!

Love, Nina

What We’re Talking About

We greeted the unveiling of the Obama portraits (his by Kehinde Wiley, hers by Amy Sherald) with various levels of enthusiasm from LOVE to lukewarm (the New Yorker offers an interesting take on Michelle’s portrait, which you can read here). But the conversation unexpectedly revealed a deep and shared passion for portraiture. Below are just a few of the stunning gallery of painted faces that emerged…

Woolfer Wisdom

HAIR: Over the past few months we’ve had no fewer than five threads on hair loss in our Facebook group, so we thought we better address it: those of us who birthed babies probably remember losing fistfuls of hair in the shower those days and weeks after delivery. Why? Hormonal upheaval. Now, decades later, our hormones are going crazy again, and for many of us, hair loss (and lack of lustre) is back again with a vengeance. What to do? Venting about it surely helps; especially reflecting on/fessing up about how much our hair plays with our sense of identity (long & lush = sexy?).

Good advice about solutions were voluminous. Nina and others swear by the Viviscal/Biotin combo, but be patient for the results to grow in; it can take months. Rogaine works for many, and some women have had better success with Rogaine for Men. Collagen has an army of devotees, with these as the top contenders: CollagenResVitale Collagen Enhance, and the collagen/HLA supplement Ceramides. Kris is also experimenting with ReneFurterer’s Complex 5 Regenerating Plant Extract. Those looking for even more oomph upon styling swear by the thickening mousse by Bumble & Bumble.

Woolfer Reads

What we’ve been reading: The sexual politics of “lady friendly” chips. “Please do keep checking your phone” face, and other alternatives to RBF. Stacy London’s brutally honest look at her year of going broke after spinal surgery. Ali Smith on Muriel Spark’s “formidable blitheness” at 100. Finding the best Plan B ever in a bungalow in Los Angeles. An illustrated guide to why adult friendships can be so hard to make and keep. Grieving a father’s death at a wolf sanctuary. A personal story of living with a husband’s secret depression. Lamenting the dearth of books for horny teenagers (how many of us owned a dogeared copy of Judy Blume’s Forever?). The benefits of Maya abdominal massage. Why you shouldn’t feel bad about that pile of unread books on your nightstand. A profile of designer Daryl Kerrigan and her perfect stretch leather leggings. And the dominatrix who makes her clients read black feminist theory (starting with Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought).

We’re so excited to read Amy Bloom‘s just published new novel, White Houses, that we’ve chosen it as the WWVWD Book Club pick for April (stay tuned for a Google Hangout date). A poignant tale of secret love, the story explores the intimate relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and the most prominent female reporter of her time, Lorena Hickok, “Hick” to her friends. (Stunning author photo by Elena Siebert.)

Woolfer of the Week

Monica Dweck

63 years old, BROOKLYN, New York

Tell us what you’d like us to know about yourself:
“The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only a page” —Saint Augustine.

This is my motto for life, literally and figuratively. Growing up in NYC in the 60s, in an interracial family dedicated to social justice, expanded my horizons—only enhanced by my progressive all-girls high school. My family and these experiences created my world view: a life dedicated to helping others while living life to the fullest. I’m a doctor and my specialty is Oculoplastic, Reconstructive and Orbital Surgery, a part of Ophthalmology. For most of my career, I’ve helped the unfortunate victims of violence in our society. In the past few years, I’ve cut back from the most acute trauma; no longer spending nights and weekends in the ER/OR.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My daughter, currently 27 years old. I became a single mother when she was 5. Raising her and working on my career as a surgeon was a challenge.  Smart, hardworking, socially conscious—I’m very proud of her!

What’s on your nightstand? 
Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande. Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Flying; dreamt of it as a young girl. It felt so real.

Xanax or weed? 
Neither. Cat Therapy!

Pic of the Week

Woolfer Megan Kelley rocking WWVWD merch, which you can find here

Woolfer Wins

No 6 makes the best clogs on the planet, and we’re craving these swank pony skin numbers up top for Spring … Also gorg and fun, and much more affordable, are these dusky slides from DSW on the lower left (thank you, Tulani Bridgewater-Kowalski!)—both can go high/low and will make you feel glam but also comfy. Lastly we just love these Danish sneakers from Backyard Footwear imported by Woolfer Eliana Brown Rueffe—who is offering 50% off for Woolfers with code WWVWD50—and they come in a bunch of colors.

Upcoming Events

Nina’s book is coming out April 11, 2018 and she’s really hoping that lovers of the group and newsletter will pre-order, which makes all the difference in a book’s success. Her book tour will include events in New York, DC, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle; we’ll share a full schedule in weeks to come. At every event we’ll be raffling our mascot, the fabulous (and useful) Crave Vesper vibrator necklace, which has been generously donated by Crave.

Also, check here for new events added all the time, like ones coming up in NYC at Red Hook Lobster Pound and Babeland!

As we were closing this issue of the newsletter, we learned of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. We send our love and support to all those affected by this senseless violence. No words suffice, but we can take action. Woolf PAC, the giving circle created by our Facebook community, is pledging this quarter’s grants to organizations dedicated to gun control.

If you’re interested in joining or wish to learn more about Woolf PAC, please click here.


Nina, Stephanie & Kris

The Woolfer Newsletter Team
Stephanie Staal and Nina Collins have worked together and adored each other since 1994 when they were both babies in the world of book publishing. Stephanie is a lawyer, journalist, & author of READING WOMEN, and Nina is the founder of "What Would Virginia Woolf Do?" Hillary Richard is also a lawyer and co-host of the Raging Gracefully podcast. Sidney Morss is a recent NYU grad and the youngest member of our team.

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