The Brilliance of Women Inspiring Women At BlogHer 15

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersEach summer for the past nine years, I either hop on a plane or train and travel into the blogosphere to attend the BlogHer Conference. It’s an enlightening experience being around so many brilliant and inspiring women.

BlogHer 15, held at Hilton Midtown in New York City, was equally empowering and educational.  When I began my first blog in 2007, only about 400 bloggers attended. A few years later, the blogosphere exploded – more than 5000+ bloggers filled the ballroom. This year, while still large (likely a few thousand) – the crowd seemed more manageable. Blogging continues to be a profession where women excel.

BlogHer15, blogging, blogosphere, #BlogHer15

Change Is Constant In The Blogosphere
In 2014, BlogHer founders sold their company (in a deal worth between $30 – $40 million) to She Knows Media, forming the #1 women’s lifestyle brand in the digital space. Their content, including videos, now reaches 80 million monthly viewers and even more social media influencers. New programs such as the Femvertising Awards, honoring excellence in pro-female advertising (check out these great ads), and Hatch, a track to engage the next generation of content creators (don’t you love the name – so cute – and so were the young girls who spoke!), were introduced this year.

Gen Stem, Hatch from She Knows Media, BlogHer15

“Hatch” was introduced by She Knows Media as a way to engage the younger generation of social media influencers.

Women Inspiring Women 
There were many uplifting speakers at BlogHer 15. The rousing keynotes made the blogosphere blossom:

Soledad O’Brien, CEO of Starfish Media Group and Co-Founder of Starfish Foundation, invests in young women and changes their lives through education. She was joined by remarkable women who she had mentored: Cameron, who graduated from Princeton University, Sheba, who graduated from the University of New Orleans and Ariana, who attends Smith College. “Our best mentors are people who give their time. It’s not about having a lot of money,” said Soledad. (I’ve been a mentor to quite a few women and to my daughter A and son D. After hearing Soledad speak, I want to do more.)

Soledad O'Brien, The Starfish Foundation,  BlogHer15, blogging

“Our best mentors are people who give their time,” said Soledad O’Brien.

Anna Maria Chavez, first Latino and Woman of Color CEO of Girl Scouts: Being a former Girl Scout and a former local Girl Scout Board member, I was so pleased to hear about exciting things that are happening at Girl Scouts. “By 2020, Girl Scouts will help 3 million youth in underprivileged areas,” said Anna, “We’re all sisters in the movement. There are 59 million Girl Scout alums in the USA. More people give dollars to dog causes than girl causes. Dogs won’t run the world one day.” (Wow-o-wow! I make donations each year to our local Girl Scouts. After hearing Anna speak, I want to donate more.)

Anna Maria Chavez, Girl Scouts, BlogHer15, blogging,

Anna Maria Chavez is the first Latino and Woman of Color CEO of the Girl Scouts.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Academy Award-winning actress and Founder of a lifestyle website, goop, Inc., spoke about divorce, life, and her business. Her most touching words were her story about her late dad. “He took me to Paris when I was 10,” said Gwyneth. “He told me he wanted me to see Paris for the first time with ‘a man who will always love you.’ I miss him.” (I realized that I too had taken my daughter A to Paris for the first time and I took my son D, although he had been there before. I left wanting to travel more places with my children. I want to create more great memories with them. I will always love my children.)

Gwyneth Paltrow, goop.com, BlogHer15, blogging

In addition to being an award-winning actress, Gwyneth Paltrow runs goop.com.

Making “The Pitch”
During Saturday morning’s keynote She Knows Media launched “The Pitch.” It was just like Shark Tank. Six inspiring female entrepreneurs had a chance to pitch their businesses to six inspiring judges. I encourage you to watch the 60 second video pitches from these amazing women:

The Pitch at BlogHer15, #BlogHer15, blogging

Luvvie Ajayi, Founder and Executive Director, The Red Pump Project
Majora Carter, CEO, StartUp Box
Courtney Macavinta, CEO, The Respect Institute
Meghan Martinez, Founder, Keasy Lock
Christine Souffrant, CEO and Founder, Vendedy
Tanya Van Court, CEO and Chief Sower, Sow

The Pitch at BlogHer15, Majorca Carter, BlogHer15, blogging

Six women pitched their companies and non-profits at “The Pitch” – all did an amazing job . So did the judges.

The audience had a chance to vote via Twitter and the winner was announced at the end of the conference. Who won? Majora Carter, from he Bronx. “I’m a female entrepreneur and I’m not afraid to cry during my pitch,” said Majora as she passionately pitched the story about  StartUp Box #SouthBronx, a social enterprise to seed diverse participation through entry level jobs. The prize was thousands of dollars worth of marketing services to help expand her company.

Majora Carter, The Pitch at BlogHer, BlogHer15

Congrats to Majora Carter, winner of “The Pitch.”

What’s Your Word?
“What word would you like on your bracelet? Choose a word that represents your current intent,” said the woman at The MyIntent Project in the exhibit hall. The company sells necklaces and bracelets hand-crafted with a word of your choice on a round silver-or-gold-toned charm.

According to the MyIntent.org website, “The MyIntent Project is a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive energy. We believe there is purpose inside each of us and we want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.”

MyIntent.org, gratitude, BlogHer15,

I chose the word GRATITUDE for MyIntent bracelet.

I chose the word GRATITUDE for my intent. I have great GRATITUDE for all that I have gained from my blogging. I have GRATITUDE for you — my readers and members of my blogging community — who sustained me when times were tough and who celebrated with me during joyous occasions — and continue to do so during my life after 50. I have  GRATITUDE for new members of the community who join every day. I have GRATITUDE for the BlogHer Conferences I have been able to attend and the talented bloggers I have met over the years, several who are now good friends in midlife.

I wrap my bracelet around my wrist each morning as a reminder to be grateful for all that I have in my life at this moment.

What’s your word? What do you think the world needs more of? Share it with a comment and enter the Rafflecopter below to win a MyIntent bracelet.

Judi

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A Remarkable Story About “Woman In Gold”

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenI pass the Holocaust exhibit at Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, NJ, each day when I go to my yoga class. It’s a constant reminder of the atrocities that Jewish people endured during World War II. I shudder every time I look at the pictures on display.

Feelings about these times were stirred deep down as I watched Woman in Gold this weekend. The film is based on the true story of a Jewish woman’s journey to reclaim her family’s artworks that were seized by the Nazi’s. She aims to seek justice for what happened to her family more than 60 years ago after being forced to flee her home in Vienna.

Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold

Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Anchor Bay Entertainment provided me with a copy of the Blu-ray and a $100 gift card to help me mark my own moments in history. In addition, they are providing the same sample and prize package to one of my readers – so after you read my review, I hope you will enter the giveaway below. It’s a movie worth watching.

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My Foodie Feast At The Fabulous Fancy Food Show

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer women“I’ve never eaten so much at a food show,” said my friend J as we exited the Summer Fancy Food Show held at the Javits Center in New York City last week. “Me either,” I replied after  five hours of walking through what seemed like hundreds of booths filled with all kinds of foods.

I often attended this show when I was working in the food industry. I still consider myself a ‘foodie’ and am ever curious about what’s trending in the culinary world.

So dear readers, do you want to know what pleased my palate, tantalized my tastebuds, and made me go “wow-o-wow, can I have some more?” Here’s what’s cooking and what you might want to try. Note that some products may not be on the market yet, but are coming soon. Others can be ordered online or via Amazon.

Gluten Free: I was pleased to see many products now being made without gluten, especially since I’ve been trying to be gluten-free as part of my FODMAP diet for IBS. I sampled many of these products, some better than others. I liked new Pretzel Crisps Dark Chocolate Covered Mini Pretzels, Toufayan Gluten Free Scoop-able Pita Chips, Conte’s Gluten Free Pizza, and Birch Bender’s Pancake & Waffle Mix (miss my pancakes).

gluten free, Summer Fancy Food Show

♥ Jerky: My late husband used to snack on jerky. One time I came home from work and he was drying beef in the oven to make homemade jerky. Now it’s become very trendy. It’s full of protein so I guess that’s why it’s popular. I had my picture taken with Perky Jerky.

beef jerky, Perky Jerky

♥ Popcorn and Nuts: As an avid consumer of almonds I was glad to see so many nuts in all kinds of packaging. Almonds are a sacred food in the Ayurveda diet, along with ghee (which I will introduce you to later), milk and honey (more on honey later too). The cutest was Drive Me Nuts with pictures of babies on their packaging. Half popped popcorn kernels were trending too – I would not recommend for the post 50 crowd – I almost broke a tooth trying to eat these kernels. Continue reading

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My Reinvention After 50: Featured on Interprize Blog

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week, I was pleased to be interviewed by Bill Magill, founder of the Interprize Group. Bill contacted me several years ago as he was evolving his organization to talk about how I was evolving my life after 50. He had read about my background and asked if I would share more about my reinvention on the Interprize blog. We finally had a chance to catch up and chat virtually.

Bill is a reformed Silicon Valley venture investor now living simply in the south of France. (Lucky, lucky Bill to live in such a beautiful part of the world.) He also directs start-up activity at the INSEAD business school as Director of Science Entrepreneurship. As Bill says, “I am fascinated with the notions of self-realization, positive psychology and how we flourish; of personal worth as opposed to acquired wealth.”

Reinvention After 50: A Boomer Blooms

Bill Magill, Enterprise Group, life after 50, reinvention, transformation

Bill Magill is founder of Interprize Group, helping post career individuals achieve their grand, legacy ambitions and live mindful lives.

It was a gratifying experience to look back over the past seven years as I answered Bill’s questions. He wanted to know about my core career, what precipitated my new direction, and where I’m headed in the next five years. He asked me about what processes and resources I used to create a plan for change.

Bill inquired if I had adopted any new life practices as I pursue my different interests and what advice I would give to others considering a new and grand ambition, or a dramatic shift toward a new direction.

All good questions for this point in my life. (Maybe there is a memoir or self-help book within these words of wisdom.)

 

I hope you will take time to visit the Interprize blog and read my interview at:

Judy Freedman on Reinvention After 50: A Boomer Blooms

new year, seasons, life after 50, over 50,

Like the changing seasons, I’m continuing to reinvent my life after 50.

Let me know what you think. Leave a comment or share your thoughts about how you are changing post 50.

Helpful Resources For Post-Career Individuals
There are lots of helpful resources and insights on the Interprize Group website, including recommended reading, positive psychology resources and events, and holistic health and wellness tips for post-career individuals pursuing a more meaningful life.

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Buzzing About New Books At 2015 Book Expo America

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersWhen I was a young girl growing up in the Bronx, NY, I loved to go to the public library. My mom would drop me off at the library and then go shopping at the supermarket.

The library was my babysitter. I’d head over to the “NEW BOOKS” display and scan the binders and jackets of each book. I liked the fresh smell and feel of new books — there weren’t any dirty fingerprints all over the shiny covers.

My mom would return after an hour or so. I’d check out my books and then we would stop at the bakery for a big sprinkle cookie (a large round shortbread with chocolate sprinkles on top) to eat on the walk home. Ah, the simple pleasures of life.

When I grew up and had kids of my own, I often took my daughter A and son D to the library near our home in Cherry Hill, NJ. Once again, I’d wander over to the shelf that said “NEW BOOKS” and pick out the pretty picture books. There’s nothing as wonderful or as relaxing as the joy of reading a book to a young child.

Going To The 2015 Book Expo America
These days I never go to the library. I purchase most novels on Amazon and download them onto my Kindle. I do still adore books, especially new ones. That’s why I was delighted to attend the 2015 Book Expo America (BEA) at the Jacob Javits Center in NYC last month. The BEA is where publishers showcase their upcoming releases for the year.

BEA 2015, Book Expo America, Dyan Nyad, Tom Foreman, books, life after 50

Fun at BEA 2015: I met Tom Foreman, author of “My Year Of Running, A Dad, A Daughter and A Ridiculous Plan,” and Diana Nyad, swimmer and author of “Find A Way.”

The BEA Book Bloggers Conference
On day one, I attended the BEA Book Blogger’s Conference with fellow midlife blogger and friend Helene Bludman Cohen of Books is Wonderful (a great place to go for book recommendations). It was interesting to hear the cognoscenti of the book blogosphere share their passion for books. We also heard self-published authors talk about the triumphs and challenges of being a writer. (Okay folks, I’ve now added ‘writing a memoir’ to my bucket list. I just have other things I want to accomplish first!) Continue reading

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Conquering My Fears At SUP YOGA

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“What time is yoga class?” I asked the nice instructor at the Adventure Center at the The Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas, USVI, while I was visiting for my niece’s wedding. “It’s at 7:00 a.m.,” said Katie. “Ooh, that’s very early. A little too early for vacation,” I replied.

“You should try SUP YOGA VI,” said Katie. “It’s so much fun. I teach it at 9:00 a.m. at the Cove beach.”

“What is SUP YOGA?” I asked. “SUP YOGA Stands for Stand Up Paddle board yoga,” said Katie. “We paddle out on the water to nine feet and then we do yoga on our boards. You just need to know how to swim.”

Nine feet deep. Uh-oh. Oh-no. Asanas on a paddle board on the water. I’m not the greatest swimmer. Uh-oh. Oh-no. Should I? Would I? Could I do SUP YOGA?

My body tensed up as Katie put the sign-up sheet in front of me. “I’ll go with you for moral support,” said my son D. (What a nice son. He doesn’t even practice yoga.) “All right then,” I said, “I’m going to conquer my fears. Let’s do it.” (Go Judi! Go Judi!)

“You’re going to love it,” said Katie. “SUP YOGA on the water is so relaxing.”

A New Level of Mind, Body, and Spirit
The next morning I awoke early, put on my swimsuit (and lots of sunscreen) and headed down to the beach. Katie provided each of us a board with a paddle and guided us out onto the water. She showed us how to paddle forwards, backwards, and turn our boards around. Then we were on our way.

SUP YOGA VI, yoga, St. Thomas USVI

My son D and I got ready for SUP YOGA with our boards and paddles. Poses were done on the ocean water.

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NYC + Food = A Perfect Combination For A Wonderful Day

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50If you’re a foodie headed to New York City any time soon, then you’ll want to click on my guest post “Exploring NYC’s Fabulous Food Halls and the High Line” featured on My Itchy Travel Feet.

Earlier this spring, I visited the new Le District market in the financial district filled with foods from France and the Ganesvoort and Chelsea markets in the Chelsea part of town. I also walked the High Line, a public park built on former railroad tracks looking out over the Hudson river — to get lots of exercise after eating so much good food!

My Itchy Travel Feet, NYC food halls, High Line,  Le District, Gansevoort Market, Chelsea Market

I walked the High Line and visited NYC food halls and markets.

My Itchy Travel Feet
After you read about these NYC hot spots, you’ll want to spend some extra time perusing the rest of this boomer travel blog. My Itchy Travel Feet, The Boomer’s Guide To Travel is written by a husband and wife team from Montana, Donna and Alan Hull. Donna is the writer and Alan takes all the photographs. They highlight a range of domestic and international active adventures for the second half of your life. As Donna says, “Boomers bring energy to their travels. We’re willing to try new activities and embrace new experiences with an open mind. Boomers have a zest for life, both at home and on the road.”

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Simple Ways To Stay “Skin Smart” In The Sun

boomer beauty, life after 50, makeup for 50+ women, over 50I’m gearing up for summer. Bright sunshine is a welcome relief after the cold and snowy winter. My boots are packed away and now it’s time for swimsuits and shorts.

I love being outdoors, especially at the beach. I have fond memories of going to Long Beach, N.Y. My family rented a flat there each July and August. Who knew from SPF during the 60s? My mom used to slather greasy orange Ban d’Soleil over her body and my dad’s too. Sometimes my sister N would sit with a metallic reflector near her face to catch more rays.

Long Beach, skin cancer prevention, life after 50

I have great memories of my summers at Long Beach, N.Y.

Sadly, later in life my mom ended up with melanoma and had to have surgery on her leg. That’s why I try to cover up when in the sun and wear sunscreen with SPF 50+, especially on my face. I also get regular checkups at the dermatologist. Continue reading

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Talking About Menopause: “Enabling The Change”

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersLast week, I participated in my first-ever Google Hangout with a group of fabulous female boomer bloggers. None of us knew each other beforehand, but we chatted up a storm. We were talking about menopause with Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Minkin is also a partner in private practice in the New Haven, CT, area and has written several books on the subject. She had much to share with us (and we with her) about the challenges that women face as they age. The Hangout was sponsored by Replens vaginal moisturizer.

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, menopause, perimenopause, Replens

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin is Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine.

A Large Demographic Of Women
According to Time magazine, “One of the largest demographics in America is women in their 40s to 60s, and by 2020 there will be nearly 60 million peri- and post-menopausal women living in the U.S. Because women’s average life expectancy is currently 81 years, we’re easily spending a third of our lives post-menopausal.” So listen up boomer girls, because you need to know about your body during these times of change.

A Chat About “Enabling The Change”
My fellow bloggers featured Parri from Her Royal Thighness, Shannon from The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful, Laura from I’m So Vintage, and Claudia from Mockingbird Hill Cottage.

I don’t want to reveal too much about our chat since you can watch us in action in the taped segment. We all agreed that our years of declining estrogen have made an impact with newfound emotions, middle-aged middles, night and day hot-flashes, bouts of insomnia, plus dry eyes, dry skin, dry vaginas, and a whole lot more.

Dr. Minkin talked about things we could and should do to deal with matters surrounding menopause. For example, she encouraged us to consume foods with vitamin D and to do weight bearing exercises to build bone strength during our life after 50. I especially took note of these tips since Dr. Minkin said that “slim women tend to have more bone issues.”

Don’t worry, it’s not all bad. We had quite a few positives to add about our post-menopausal years, with more gratitude for all that we have and greater authenticity, wisdom, and openness to accept ourselves for all that we are.

post-menopause, menopause, life after 50

I plan to stay strong during my post-menopausal years so I can continue to climb new mountains.

Resources On Menopause For Midlife Women Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., menopause, perimenopause

Regardless of whatever stage of menopause you are going through, Dr. Minkin reminded us to “talk with your gynecologist about your changes and ask questions.” She offered resources at menopause.org, where you can find menopause practitioners and mentioned Red Hot Mamas®, a menopause education program, where she is on the Advisory Board.

I recommend either of Dr. Minkin’s books: A Woman’s Guide to Menopause & Perimenopause and A Woman’s Guide To Sexual Health. Both are comprehensive guides.    

One more thing about dryness down under, here’s the scoop and a product that can help: Replens is the clinically tested, doctor recommended brand of long-lasting vaginal moisturizer. As with dry skin that you experience on your face and hands, regular moisturizing treatment with Replens Long-Lasting vaginal moisturizer may be necessary to prevent dryness from recurring. Replens Long-Lasting vaginal moisturizer is different from most other lotions or lubricants because it contains a patented bio-adhesive ingredient that allows it to attach to dry vaginal cells and deliver continuous moisture for up to three days. Click here to learn more. Click on the video below to view our full conversation:

The opinions expressed in this video are those of the participants and are not those of Church & Dwight Co., Inc.

How are you coping with peri- meno- or post-menopause? Leave a comment and let me know any helpful hints. By leaving a comment below you’ll also be entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Judi

Entry Instructions: 

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: #SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 5/18/15 – 7/31/15.

Be sure to visit the Replens brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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“IRIS” – A Delightful Documentary About A 93 Year Old Style-Maven

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenI’ve always adored the style-maven Iris Apfel. I’ve followed her flamboyant fashions and over-sized iconic eyewear since I was in college in the 70s. As a student of textile and clothing design, it was a treat to see what avant-garde outfit and costume jewelry Iris was wearing on the fashion pages or around the streets of New York City.

Now at 93 (the same age my mom would have been if she was alive), she is the subject of a new documentary called IRIS. If you are a fashionista or creative spirit like me, you won’t want to miss this fabulous film directed by the legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (who sadly passed away in March).

Iris Apfel, IRIS, aging, fashionista

Iris Apfel in IRIS, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo credit: (c) Bruce Weber.

Who Is Iris Apfel?
For those of you who don’t know Iris, let me tell you about her. “While Iris Apfel has been an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades, her life is more than just about glamour,” as the press release states. “She continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. Her enthusiasm for fashion, art and people, reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment.” Her fun-loving attitude, abundant creativity, and tireless energy are what make Iris so inspiring and the film IRIS so endearing.

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