Meet Some Tomatoes
Here is a sampling of some women I consider choice Juicy Tomatoes. If you know a Juicy Tomato– tell me about her and I’ll be in touch. Of course, you can also nominate yourself. Tomatoes are proud women.
I first met MARYBETH BOND when I was doing a newspaper story on the phenom of women travel. The travel industry and outdoor adventure people had started to notice what Marybeth and other women had figured out. We travel differently when we’re not with our husbands and family.
Marybeth, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with husband and daughters, not only has the enviable job of traveling the globe and getting paid to write and speak about it, but is the model for curious, energetic gutsy women who occasionally need to hit the road. She’s traveled to more than 75 countries and all the states, usually on a relatively guilt-free budget. One of her next ventures is to bicycle across the USA with her college grad daughter on behalf of bone health and osteoporosis.
She’s written 11 books on women travel and three with National Geographic, including “Best Girlfriend Getaways Worldwide.”
In describing the female bonding experience of girlfriend travel she says:
“We talk, we laugh, confess, we confide, maybe we imbibe too much, and we talk about things that the guys aren’t interested in.” As for leaving the family at home, you can always rationalize, “Gee, I need a few days to chill out,’”
Chill with MB at www.gutsytraveler.com
MEREDITH BLEVINS lives in the wide-open southwest in a tiny town in the Canyon Lands of Utah where she writes books, climbs big rocks and takes off in an RV with her writer- husband when the muse needs a kick-start.
“The Red Hot Empress” is the third in her mystery series which star Annie Szabo, a widowed journalist, and her stubborn mother-in-law and gypsy matriarch Madama Mina. Meredith always wanted to write books full of women like her and her friends – women who were aging and doing it with pizzazz. “I wanted them to have earned the right to their love affairs, their whims and to know their own boundaries.”
Meredith, who has red hair with silver streaks and a laugh that snaps heads, tells a story about having her first book read by an agent who was really enthused but wanted to get a woman’s take on it. He handed it to his young female assistant who was in her late 20s. Meredith’s main character was in her 50s. The young assistant’s notes on the manuscript, passed along by the agent to Meredith said something like, “Quite frankly, the idea that someone would blow on her inner thighs really grossed me out. And therefore it wouldn’t be marketable.” The agent dumped the book, having relied on the wrong woman’s point of view. And Meredith got a more confident agent.
Surely you remember the Mommies? The original desperate housewives? Those funny neighbors and friends from Petaluma in Northern California who took their stand-up comedy act to LA and turned it into a TV sitcom?
The Mommies were MARILYN KENTZ, the one with the brown hair, and Caryl Kristensen, the blonde, yakking about kids and husbands and suburban paralysis. After their TV show ended Caryl went back to school and became a college adviser. Marilyn has continued to play her life. On stage and in books. No TV. “I’m too afraid of facelifts to stay in television.”
Speaker and one woman show performer, Marilyn champions those women who become fearless as they get older. “Women who exude a passion for life from deep within can be the most alluring women in the room no matter where their breasts land.”
JOAN PRICE, author of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty” is another mighty challenger of stereotypes. Her mission is to promote ageless sexuality, not only to make it possible and enjoyable but to banish what she calls “the ick factor,” the prejudice that anyone over 50 is and should only be having sex in their dreams.
Unabashed, articulate and funny, Joan is one of the leading go-to experts when the subject has to do with sex and romance for those beyond the young and hard-bodied. I first me her when she was teaching an exercise class at my gym and now she’s all over the place, as an author, speaker and dance instructor.
Her blog, Betterthanieverexpected, talks about all those things you thought you and your girlfriends only discussed after multiple glasses of wine – like sex toys and the little bottle of slippery stuff you keep in the bedside drawer. Joan, who has a lovely personal story to share about finding love, romance and passion in her 50s, knows of what she writes. Visit her at joanprice.com
MARYLU DOWNING is an artist in Northern California whose vibrant lush paintings are collected worldwide. I particularly like Marylu’s saucy women, who all come with a hint of past adventures and an attitude that there’s plenty more to come.
Marylu is one of those indefatigable types always bursting with ideas and new ventures. Her life is as colorful as her studio in the countryside, a sweet place to see her work, take a class and have tea. FYI: She’s very gentle with beginning artists.
She also writes imaginative stories, practices Tai Chi and until recently worked as a junior college counselor. When Marylu was approaching 50 she vowed this would finally be the time to devote herself to her art. She said it made her look at 50 differently. She was able to look forward to 50, “knowing that there would be something at that age I would finally get to do.”
She plans to paint the rest of her life. “Maybe when I turn 80, I’ll feel I’m truly old. Then I’ll have people wait on me, bring me tea and sherry while I watch pornographic movies.”
ELLEN BONEPARTH has a Vanessa Redgrave style beauty and talks like a woman who knows her way around the world, which she does through her career as a U.S. diplomat and now as the organizer of an international women’s conference.
She’s been a university administrator and women’s studies professor and for years worked in Washington D.C. with the National Council of Women’s Organizations. Now she’s gone on to become a writer of memoir, mystery and novels. One of my favorites is her novel “Days of Atonement” in which Ellen considers what happened to Greek Jews during the Holocaust. It’s loaded with historic research and mixes adventure, intrigue and romance.
Ellen and her husband, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and another diplomat turned writer, live in Santa Rosa, Ca. and are restoring a house on the Greek island of Lesbos. She has a Greek goddaughter whom she wrote about in her book “Nona” and two Greek cats.
BRENDA KINSEL writes and lectures on style, something she promises is ageless. We get to have it as long as we live… once we figure it out, which is what she helps women do as an image consultant and the author of books like her latest “Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style.”
As you’d expect, she always looks terrific, but never fussy or over produced. The last time we met for coffee she had on tall, thin jeans, silver sandals (from a consignment shop in San Francisco) and a terrific white summer jacket that I lusted for as soon as she walked in the door. When I groaned aloud that I would never be able to afford something like that, she smiled and said “Marshall’s.”
She’s not only a shrewd shopper for herself and others. She’s also a lot of fun and has a sharp wit. Her Tips and Teasers column at www.brendakinsel.com is always worth a look, not only for finding out how to incorporate some new trend into your own tired wardrobe, but also to follow the eye of a trained professional as she gleefully reports on fashion in the street, where she picks out examples of great style and walking disasters.
Listen to Brenda talk about STYLE on the Juicy Tomatoes Radio Show. Click here to download the podcast.