... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag!

Move over James Brown… Mama’s got a brand new bag!

If this clutch could sing, I’m sure this would be it’s signature tune.

I was recently introduced to The Susan Tancer hand-painted artisan bags by my East Coast bestie, Lolita Cruz.  Lolita has been spotlighted by the Menopausebarbees in the past (  and as I described in that post, Lolita’s efforts led to me pulling the NASDAQ Bell, meeting President Obama, and a feature on our Time Pieces, Tutu Time, which my mom and I launched getting into InStyle Magazine.  So, when Lolita says for me to slow down and check something out, I know it’s something good!

When Lolita introduced me to Susan and we connected, I checked out her site, and I was immediately attracted to the originality of each design.  The fact that 10% of proceeds from all sales benefit MD Anderson Cancer Center was music to my ears!  So when Susan told me to select a style, speaking of music, I had to go with the guitar! With The EMP Founder’s tribute coming up to honor Joe Walsh, I can’t wait to rock my bag!  Yes indeed, Mama’s got a brand new bag, and you can too!  Read our spotlight today on  and follow her at susan_tancer


Today’s Monday Spotlight Designer Susan Tancer


Susan Tancer Studios creates a line of hand-painted and crafted clutches, totes and weekenders that are one-of-a kind and versatile – the foolproof accessory to create a conversation buzz. The designs are unique, individual pieces of art, hand-signed by the artist. From fun and funky to sophisticated and chic, customers select those that suit their personality or mood of the day; but don’t be surprised if carrying one of these beauties boosts your state of mind.

Eco-friendly and crafted in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, our bags are sustainable and kind to the earth. Each is hand-cut from natural canvas, hand-painted in original bold and colorful designs, meticulously sewn (with a hidden magnetic closure), then sealed in various coats of varnish and stain to mimic the look, feel and textures of leather. We repurpose vintage brooches and embellishments from our travels, continuing to collect the most interesting pieces.

Susan can be found painting day or night, the canvas and paint are never left behind on her travels.   She believes that art should inspire; many of her customers say that wearing her pieces makes them feel creative, radiant, and confident.

Susan Tancer Studios handbags are available at the following locations: Acorn’s [Highlands,NC], Boutique Bellissima at Cosmo & Co. Salon + Spa [West Palm Beach, FL[, Marilyn Greenberg Jewelry [Bethesda, MD], Negril Treehouse Resort [Jamaica], Pure Soul [San Juan, PR], Salamander Resort & Spa [Middleburg, VA], Sharla’s [McKinney, TX], Tara Moore [Palm Beach Gardens, FL], The World Residence at Sea, and Trump National Golf Club [Jupiter, FL].

Heal Me, Feel Me

Budapest isn’t called the ‘City of Baths’ for nothing.

Hungary is a land of thermal springs, and Budapest remains the only capital city in the world that is rich in thermal waters with healing qualities. I’d heard so much about these baths that I couldn’t wait to try one out on my recent visit.

I’d never been to a thermal bath before and really had no idea what to expect, I did know, however, that I didn’t want to be surrounded by a lot of people. I was looking for peace on what I anticipated to be a peaceful experience.

I found it at the Rudas Baths which sprang to life in the 16th century. (!) The location just happened to be perfect. To get there, I just walked from my hotel situated on the Pest side of Budapest, a block or so until I got to the Elizabeth bridge (one of several bridges that join this city), to the Buda side. The imposing bath house is located just at the foot of a small hill beneath the bridge.

The day I went was men’s day which meant that I wasn’t allowed into the thermal bath area, so I went instead to the wellness area. In this area there are four pools: 16 C. (60.8 F), 32 C. (89.6 F), 36 C (96.8 F) and 42 C. (107.6 F).

The hot spring feeding the Rudas Baths is rich in calcium, fluoride ions, magnesium, hydrogen-carbonate, sulphate and sodium. The water is used for therapeutic purposes for illnesses like joint degeneration, chronic arthritis and calcium deficiency to name a few.

I walked past the pool that only allowed for breast stroke swimming and stepped carefully inside the hottest pool first. I eventually tested all of them, except for the cold plunge pool where crushed ice occasionally toppled inside from a shaft in a wall. The best I could do here was to dip my hands inside and rub my arms. The two pools with the moderate temperatures were the most relaxing. I stayed for a couple hours, slowly meandering from one pool to the next. I was so relaxed that my arms just floated in the water and it took effort to keep my mouth closed and not just buoy about slack jawed in the water.

Oh, it was wonderful just to take the time for myself and not think about the myriad of things in my head and heart and not feel guilty about it–because after all–other people were relaxing and buoying too. In this case, follow the leader was a good thing.

And then, with my spa day at an end, I leisurely headed back across the bridge to my hotel marvelling at the cityscape and breathing in the smells of that great watercourse the Danube river. And then I saw it. And because it was there, I just had to try it: a fish pedicure. Truly the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done.

Sitting there watching fish nibbling away at my feet, well, let’s just say the experience brought me fully, but fully back to my senses.

And that’s a good thing.

Ahh. . .

Peaceful weekend everybody!

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I Was Once 22… Reflections from a Menopausebarbee to my Son

Today’s Throwback Thursday literally takes me back 3 decades.


As I headed to Budapest a couple days ago, I had not a clue what awaited me. I did know this from Wikipedia:

Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest’s extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second-oldest metro line in the world. It has around 80 geothermal springs, the world’s largest thermal water cave system second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 4.4 million tourists a year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world, and the 6th in Europe, according to Euromonitor.

Turns out that it is indeed absolutely beautiful and I love it! Just love it! The friendliest people! You know, after living in Europe for so many years , I have become accustomed to foreign languages; when I am in Italy, though, not a fluent speaker, I can pretty much make sense of things. Spanish is much easier and Swiss German as well. But Hungarian made me say, “whoa Nelly!” I couldn’t figure out a thing–despite the alphabet being a westernised one. So grateful for a native speaking English to me, I profoundly thanked them whereupon they would look me in my eyes and thank me for the compliment, a lovely people!

My first day there, I was greeted by friends of menopausebarbee uncle Quincy Jones, the ever lovely brilliant and best dirty joke teller in the world Yue-Sai Kan (menopauebarbee post:The One and Only Yue-Sai Kan today in the Menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight published 2014/03/10; a Chinese American television host and producer, entrepreneur, bestselling author and humanitarian whom People magazine has named “the most famous woman in China” and Time magazine proclaimed her “the Queen of the Middle Kingdom.”I love you Yue-Sai). Yue-Sai’s friend –A LOVELY WOMAN!! Dan and her husband Johnny took me to breakfast at Gerbeaud, one of the greatest and most traditional coffeehouses in Europe. You can of course go on line to see more. Wonderful? Yes.

The rest of the afternoon I rode a hop-on hop-off tour bus to get a real overview of the city. This is something I recommend all travellers do. The insight is invaluable. How Buda joins Pest is truly spectacular! That evening I met with Giulia and Roland the bride and groom whom would marry tomorrow. We had a lovely dinner and I must say the Hungarian kitchen brings it! Excellent food!! I thank them deeply for the invitation. The following day it was a fabulous wedding at the Halászbástya, the Fisherman’s Bastion, located in the Buda Castle District, Fisherman’s Bastion is one of Budapest’s best-known landmarks, and is a favourite tourist destination. Built in the Romanesque Revival style, the Bastion’s terraces offer a stunning view of Budapest. The Danube and the Parliament building can perhaps be seen at their finest from the vantage point of the Fisherman’s Bastion. Seriously wow.
The wedding was beautiful, the weather fantastic, Giulia and Roland and their guests over the moon happy. Day after tomorrow I will share with you my very own decadent day in Budapest and then… a fish pedicure.
We only live once!

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Men Wear Art Thou Going Not Without Our Spotlight Kari Sims Baughn

As a Menopausebarbee, I am daily witnessing friends in transition. As our parents are aging, our children are growing up, some of are divorced or on second marriages, and career makeovers are a common occurrence.

I have talked to far too many of my forty and fifty something peers trying to ascertain the next act. I recall meeting with my dear friend, Annette Dresser at Tully’s Coffee house a few years back as she made the transition to a company called J. Hilburn. Little did I know, Annette would go on to consistently be named tops of this phenomenal men’s clothing line.

Let’s admit it, who doesn’t love a well dressed man? I’m not talking Bierkenstocks with socks, or dad jeans, I’m talking the tailored classic rich fabrics and colors that calm not class.

Today’s Menopausebarbee Spotlight shines on another of my dear friends and Annette’s protege, Kari Sims Vaughn. In Kari’s own words, we are thrilled to share her story and hope that not only will she inspire other women looking for a career change, which offers excellent benefits of being your own boss, but also spread the word to keep the passion for men’s fashion strong! – Nashville Can You hear me?

So the back story for me is that I have over 20 years of experience dressing men. I graduated from design school with a textile degree in Los Angeles. My first job I started working for Donna Karan back in the 90s as her rep for California, AZ and Nevada. I often went to New York to work Bryant Park shows, view the new collections for both men and women and work market. When I moved to Nashville in 1996 I immediately worked as a independent menswear stylist and worked with several new and upcoming artist for several record labels. Through a friend I took a position with Brooks Brothers and really dug in to my classic training for menswear and its trappings. I have always loved dressing men and working with them. Menswear is very special, there are so many ways to mix prints, textures, and find a balance between classic and new current styles. As an independent menswear stylist once again I am enjoying my calling and love the creative aspect of helping my clients find their own personal style. I have decided to offer the J. Hilburn Line of made to measure menswear. This has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best fabrics out of Northern Italy and really dig deep into offering an amazing collection of men’s clothing for all types of body styles. I am now able to give a man the perfect fitted ensemble for his body and still keep cost at a minimum. Aside from styling I am also offering closet consultations, men’s lifestyle coaching which includes online dating profiles, grooming consultation, and home design for the guy who is just getting out there again.

As a men’s lifestyle consultant I have the ability to really help men find their confidence and style with convenience and practicality. I work really hard to make it easy for my clients to have the best experience without spending a fortune.

J.Hilburn is a custom clothier for men that offers custom shirts, cashmere sweaters, performance outerwear jackets, and trousers (pants). We offer the finest Italian fabrics for custom shirts and trousers.

Instagram nashville_stylist_menswear
Facebook page- Independent menswear stylist

If you need anything else from me let me know.
Thank you so much for doing this it means so much to me!!!

Remember This Name… Joey Alexander – Improvise & Mesmerize

Remember this name… Joey Alexander,  you will hear it again and again and again.  And better yet, you will hear his music, again and again, and again.

This child prodigy, born in Indoneisa is just past his 13th birthday.  As I listened to him jam on the piano and improvise, I couldn’t conceive that these talented fingers weren’t even two handfuls old.

Joey has performed for Herbie Hancock, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 2014, Wynton Marsalis invited Alexander to play at the Jazz at Lincoln Center‘s 2014 gala, which made him an “overnight sensation”

About a month ago, I received a call from Rourke O’Brien Founder and President of the Children’s Music Foundation.  Rourke and I collaborated to bring Joey to the EMP where I proudly sit on the board.  Joey  was in Seattle performing at The Jazz Alley for two sold out shows, but he took time out for a private performance with 5  local schools with musically inclined students.  The children and adults in attendance were mesmerized as Joey improvised.  After the performance, there was a Q & A where Joey explained that he started playing piano at the tender age of 6.  Why the piano?  He likes how it sounds.

Take a listen for yourself and I’m sure you too will like how it sounds too!



These days, it is often said, ‘if it’s NOT on Facebook, it didn’t happen.’

In Daddy’s day, if it wasn’t in PRINT  it didn’t happen.

For those of you who follow our blog, just print Daddy in the search section on our site and you will see numerous stories, anecdotes, and life lessons that Gerald Frank taught his daughters.  It occurred to me, I was 32 years old when I last saw my father, but his legacy and lessons continue to teach me and inspire me daily.

As a self made real estate entrepreneur, investing in the Central District in the turbulent times of the 1950’s forward,  Daddy was called a lot of things… smart, savvy, risk taker, ruthless, insightful, mover and shaker, relentless, unmerciful, pioneer, or as the front page of the Seattle Times said, A man of property and parody.

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Yesterday, our recently renovated project calls Daddy’s name.  Yes, it happened, Daddy, and it’s in PRINT!





Chicken Sh*t and Chicken Soup

How many of you at one time or another have dreamed of living in a Utopia?

Yum . . . Just the mention of the word relaxes like a back massage doesn’t it?

Really, just imagine living in a place of social and political perfection: no worries about our kids being bullied, no injustices, no killing of innocent lives, no mobbing, no wanton property destruction and certainly no rapists, lunatics, liars and cheats. No suffering the disappointment of the unjustifiable or the unreliable.

As your day begins, think about Utopia and in the same breath think about what motivates you to do what you do. All of it. Don’t tell anyone unless you want to and do not pat yourself on the back here. Be honest. Think about the bad, the ugly, the judgmental, the backstabbing and the downright disgraceful things that come into your consciousness that occasionally motivate you to do what you do.

Basically, check your hater status folks.

We’re all only human and perfect we will never be, but keeping Utopia in mind, accompanied by a bit of earnest self criticism and coarse grained honesty, we can come to face what we really are and see what we possibly could be.

It’s the difference between chicken sh*t and chicken soup.


Good Game! Turning His Blues into My Greens:)

Ahhh!  It’s that season again.  Time to deck out in the blue and green SEAHAWK style!

When I awoke last Sunday morning, there was an extra pep in my step as I adorned my body with the #12, blue and green bangles, Seahawk leggins, t-shirt and hat!  GAME DAY had arrived, the first of the season!  I could write a novel on my experiences with the Seahawks over the years.  Better yet, a comedy.  Check out Coming to America Tutu Style seahawks practice




or Meeting Macklemore Social, Resourceful, Shameless .



There have been countless hysterical memories of Game Day.




After playing the Dolphins last Sunday, my girlfriends, Lisa, Caroline, Megan and I bravely navigated the uninsured (operative word UNINSURED) open bike taxi ride to the Met to celebrate the  nail biting victory, we passed the magnitude of blue and green fans immersed with Seattle’s downtown homeless and substance abuse dependent population.


I have spent a ton of time on these streets on non-game nights going out with Union Gospel Mission’s Search and Rescue , so I feel the compassion of the last, the least and the lost as we ride by.


As I looked at the crafted signs, I appreciate the honest ones attracting the mega crowd “Why Lie?  I need a Beer.” As my sister, Tracie and co-blogger will agree, Daddy always taught us, ‘you gotta have good game.’  This made me reflect on another funny memory from last year’s season opener.

My son, Brett and I cuddled arm in arm walking through these same streets down 1st Avenue after the Seahawk Victory.  Fall had set in early and I snuggled closer into the coat of my 6’1 handsome 22 year old “man child.”  I smiled at the homeless man with a sign that read, “I NEED A SUGAR MAMA.”  I pointed it out to Brett and as we walked by and laughed.  My laughing ceased when  the homeless man shouted to Brett-

‘HEY HOW DID YOU GET ONE?”  Now that my friends, this Menopausebarbee calls Good Game and Daddy would agree!  I had to contribute some of my green to his hat even though I was seeing blue!




Love, Art and Contentment in the menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight

As my baby sister and co-blogger Dana, said in her post last week, as bloggers we’re always looking for a wide range of moving topics–in one way or another–to write about and share with our readers.

That’s why I’m really happy I looked up from the pavement as I hustled to the post office the other day and saw a couple sitting on a bench peacefully, comfortably leaning into each other. I stopped to snap their picture–it was such beautiful moment of contentment that I didn’t want to let it slip by.

And then, week before last I had just sat down after kneeling and praying in the Cathedral of Barcelona. I know God hears my prayers everywhere and that’s a good thing because I don’t go to church that often, but I do pray all the time, all the time, and it seems that when I pray in an ancient cathedral–this one dating back to the 13th century–well, it feels as though my talks with my Maker have a halo around them and that makes me feel good and that’s a beautiful thing.

There was a couple sitting a few rows before me. His arm around her, their heads leaning on each other in this sacred place. I smiled at the thought of their contentment and looked around at the magnificent structure. Before me: the high altar where the body of the patron saint of Barcelona, Santa Eulàlia the martyr, lies buried; the splendid Gothic art, amazing baroque altarpieces, high gothic arches. Occasionally I could hear the gaggle of the geese that roamed in a cloister outside. I sat there for about ten minutes or so, very aware that the couple before me hadn’t moved an inch. I pulled out my cellphone. It was such a beautiful moment of contentment that I didn’t want to let it slip by.

Back home in Cologne a few days ago I was hurrying down the street to an appointment when suddenly I looked up and saw a newly wedded couple kissing, smiling and whispering to each other for all the world to see as they posed in front of a tourist trolley car. I pulled out my cell and snapped their picture. It was such a beautiful moment of contentment that I didn’t want to let it slip by.

Beautiful moments of contentment that shouldn’t slip by are shining today in the Menopausebarbee Monday Spotlight.

It’s the start of a new week. And the bottom line is that we’re blessed to all be here. So as we’re rushing and hustling and bustling to get there and get it done and figure it all out, let’s remember to find some moments of contentment. Let’s keep our eyes open because sometimes, life and art intersect in unexpected, moving ways and that’s a beautiful thing.

Here’s to a good start in the week everybody.

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