Fabulous Fall Fashions Roundup

boomer beauty, life after 50, makeup for 50+ women, over 50Last week, while fashionistas were viewing spring 2015 styles at New York City Fashion Week, I was reading my September magazines (6 pubs equaling 2000+ pages) to get a lowdown on what’s on trend for fall 2014. It’s time for my fabulous fall fashions roundup. I’m here to share the colors, fabrics, styles, accessories, and shoes you will want to be wearing as the weather cools.

Can you feel my excitement? While I don’t need as many clothes as when I was working full-time, I always leave room in my closet for a few new items. Plus, it’s been fun to help my daughter A and son D build their working wardrobes as they each establish their own executive presence.

Prep Your Wardrobe
Are you sitting down? Do you have a pen? Do you know what colors look good on you? Do you know what styles are flattering to your mature figure? Most of all, have you gone through your closet and discarded any old clothes that don’t fit anymore or are just plain worn to the threads? If you need help, contact my stylist Elizabeth at Styling By Elizabeth and she can provide great guidance.

Pick A Palette of Pretty Colors and Fabrics
I do like the fall colors. Designers know how to tint shades just enough to make you want to buy more. Some call it sangria others call it maroon, wine, eggplant – all berry tones are popular. Indigo, navy, bright cobalt, and denim are the blues in demand. Apple red, chocolate brown, cognac and mustard gold, and grape purple will make you think of food and drink as you shop. Bring the outdoors in with greens in moss, kelly, forest, and earthy green. Winter white and pastels are always available. Gray is the new black per Oprah magazine while orange is the new black according to Vogue. Which is it? You decide what looks best on your body.

fall fashions, life after 50, over 50, boomer fashions, Ann Taylor Loft

Gray is the new black. Berry and navy are popular colors too. Two dresses from Ann Taylor Loft.

So much to select from when it comes to fabrics. Glitter and metallic, sheer, quilted, faux fur, houndstooth, bold graphics, plaid, animal and southwestern prints and more. Can’t forget the florals on dark backgrounds which almost look gothic.

Shop Tops, Bottoms, and Wraps
Pop on a turtleneck or crew sweater, an oversized menswear blazer or bomber, a cozy knit or bejeweled sweatshirt. Cover it with a jacket that suits your shape – bomber, puffy, anorax, aviator, shearling – any will do. Want to look like Olivia Pope from Scandal? Wrap yourself in a wrap coat. Bring out your capes and ponchos too – seems like they never go out of style. (So glad I can wear my Burberry cape again this season. The saleswoman was right, it’s always a classic.)

What will you wear on your bottom? Skirts in midi (too long for my petite figure) and mini (not for mature woman but I had to include so you are totally up on the trends), side slit and a-line (nice, nice). Pants are cropped and long, wide leg and baggy. Best of all – drawstring pants and activewear are now everyday chic for outings beyond the gym. (Ooh, ooh, ooh – my favorite trend. See below how I plan to rock it with colorful Zella leggings.) Remember that denim is always trending. Best for boomer girl figures is DL1961 Women’s Florence Instasculpt Skinny Jean which provides a perfect high-waisted fit.*

Zella activewear, life after 50, over 50, boomer fashions, fall fashions, boomer women

I'm going to rock my activewear with trendy yoga pants and a cobalt jacket.

Accessorize With Handbags, Belts, Jewelry and Shoes
Monograms are back in vogue as are narrow belts, long scarves, oversized clutches, gold tone watches, bold color necklaces.  Need a bigger handbag – try a backpack, top handle, bucket or tote to carry your endless stash of stuff. (I prefer the tote variety since I have so many pairs of eyewear to carry including my huge sunglass case which takes up half of my purse.)

Kate Spade, fall fashions, scarves, life after 50

Treated myself to this stylish Kate Spade gray wool scarf. It's a map of NYC - a great conversation accessory.

Are you tired of shopping yet? Wait, wait wait – don’t forget to cover your feet in something fantastic. Shoes are important to finish off your outfit. This season aim for menswear flats with lace-ups or penny loafers, wedges, and t-straps. If you want more coverage try ankle or over-the-knee boots. (Note: I’m heading over to Lord & Taylor later this week for their big fall shoe sale.)

Enter My Giveaway For Houndstooth Socks
Whew! That’s my quick and fabulous fall fashions roundup in under 700 words. What will you be wearing this season? Share your favorite trends in a comment here or @judiboomergirl and enter below for my latest giveaway featuring a pair of houndstooth socks from ozonesocks.com. I met the team from Ozone at the NY NOW Show last month. They have fun socks on their site.

Diane von Furstenberg, The Woman I Wanted to be
I leave you with a wonderful quote about aging from designer Diane von Furstenberg’s memoir, The Woman I Wanted To Be. Although I never owned one of her wrap dresses, I admired them from afar as I admire Diane. She has continually reinvented herself. Diane says, “In a sense I feel more beautiful than I have ever felt because my life is full, my children and grandchildren are my pride, and so is the body of my work. I cannot pretend that I am younger than I am, and truly I feel that I have lived so fully that I should be twice my age.”

Judi

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Boomers Play Role In Changing Family Trends

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week, I had a chance to talk with Will Palley, Trend Strategist at JWT, about the ad agency’s “Meet The New Family” research study. It was clear from the report that boomers are playing a major role in the evolving family structure both in the USA and abroad.

“The family is such an important concept around the world,” said Will. “What it means to be a family is changing. Boomers are an untapped opportunity.”

The Changing Nuclear Family
According to the report, the classic nuclear family is not only declining, but there is new gender dynamics between husbands and wives. Dads are taking on more domestic duties, while more women are becoming the primary breadwinner. (Once again I was ahead of the curve. When my kids were young, I became the breadwinner and my late hubby was a stay-at-home dad. It was rare in the 1990s. Glad to see that co-parenting is becoming more popular.)

The report highlights the growth in same-sex couples and childless couples. In addition, it says that “urbanites are increasingly weaving together families out of friends, as millennials are constantly connected to social networks but often physically distant from families.”

Silver, Solo, and Multigenerational Families

life after 50, over 50, Will Palley

Will Palley is Trends Strategist at JWT agency.

Boomers are impacting the growth in silver families, as lifespans increase with longer, healthier, more active lives. The report says that “boomers are less likely to see middle and old age as a time when life slows down and more likely to re-evaluate the status quo and seize new opportunities.” (Will and I discussed how boomers are reinventing and transforming during the second half of their lives. Mind you, I think Will is a millennial who could easily be my son D’s age. I was glad to hear that he recognized his elders who are positively paving the path for his generation.)

“Multigenerational families and solo living among the boomer generation are also on the rise,” said Will. The report says that “homebuilders have capitalized on this trend, adding second master suites and new privacy features to homes.” (Not me. No multigenerational household for me during my life after 50. I love my kids but don’t want to live with them. I’m going solo at this stage of my life. I’m happy that my boyfriend L and I are a LAT couple – living together and apart. We’re committed to each other yet choose to live separately. As the report says “some find it is the best of both worlds.”)

life after 50, JWT, over 50, baby boomers, boomer women, boomers

U.S. Census, 2011 - Office for National Statistics, 2011

Eye-Opening Stats
Listen to these JWT report stats. Boomers are going to continue to rock and roll the world:

life after 50, JWT, over 50, boomers, baby boomers, boomer women

Credit: JWT

 By 2020, a quarter of the U.S. workforce will be 55 or older, up from 13% in 2000.
 In the U.S., the divorce rate for people over 50 doubled between 1990 and 2012 even as the overall divorce rate dropped.
 Online dating is on an upswing with boomers. Match.com parent IAC launched OurTime.com for singles 50 and older. The over-50 set is one of eHarmony’s fastest-growing segments. AARP launched a dating site in partnership with How About We. And Stitch is a new service positioned as a way for ‘adults’ to find companionship – from romantic partners to activity partners and travel buddies.
 Women ages 55+ accounted for 5.2% of U.S. marriages in 2011, up from 2.6% in 2001.
 The World Health Organization estimates that the percentage of people 60 and older will double by 2050, to 22%.
♦ The 50+ cohort is forecast to control 70% of America’s disposable income by 2017. (Source: Nielsen, 2012) (Wow-o-wow! I’m energized to be a boomer woman.)

Pets As Family
What’s that you say Will? I forgot one important family dynamic. How could I do that? Which one is it? Oh yes, listen to this news: pets are officially a family member and rank high enough in this study to have their own family segment. According to the report, “pets have become full-blown members of the family, with owners treating animals much like humans. As a result, luxury goods, health care, gourmet food and specialized services for pets are booming.”

Will I eventually give up my solo lifestyle and add a cavapoo or shihpoo puppy to my household during my life after 50? Will my boyfriend L and I eventually change our minds about being a LAT and merge our households when we both retire so he can help me walk the dog? (Disclaimer: I have not discussed either of these decisions with my boyfriend L yet, so mums the word!)

Hmm, hmm, hmm! Whatever I decide I know I’ll always be trendy!

Judi

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Dress Up Your Empty Nest – Tips From Design Pros

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersAs I mentioned in last week’s post, I recently attended NY NOW – The Market for Home + Lifestyle Show in NYC. Walking around the show put me in a mood to redecorate my home. The best part about redecorating as an empty nester is that I’m finally at the age and the stage in my life where I can select furnishings and accessories to complement my very own personal style.

Robert Verdi, empty nest, life after 50, over 50, NY NOW Show

Stylist Robert Verdi's clients include Eva Longoria and Christine Wiig.

In my previous post, I told you all about trends in home decor. In this post, I’m going to highlight tips from another NY NOW seminar I attended called “Designing Lifestyle.” Panelists included internationally acclaimed interior designer Jamie Drake, American TV personality and fashion and interior design stylist Robert Verdi (Kristin Wiig and Eva Longoria are two of his clients as are other stars), and Andrew Mandell, from luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman.

The panelists answered a variety of questions and had some helpful answers for the audience.

 

Q: How do you decorate a space to flatter you?
A: Jamie said that “color should express who you are and the colors in your home should make you comfortable.” He looks at his client’s clothing the minute they walk in the door to determine their style.

Robert gives clients an assortment of magazines and asks them to mark up the pages they like. Then he creates a mood board. “It’s like going to India,” said Robert, “you need a tour guide.”

Q: How do you keep home design fresh?
A: Robert advised keeping your backdrop consistent and using accessories to make your style more dramatic. “Accessories can change the look,” said Robert. When redecorating he said to think about “investments” versus “expenses.” “Invest in a good sofa because it will last longer,” said Robert. “Don’t spend as much on accessories because you will change them more often.” (Works for fashion too.)

NY Now Show, empty nester, life after 50, home decor trends

Use accessories to add color and texture to home decor.

“The 30 year lifespan is out when it comes to redecorating,” said Jamie. “Today 10 years is the lifespan and out it goes.”  To clear out the clutter, Jamie suggested that clients put everything on the kitchen counter and throw out a percentage of their accessories. (I just decluttered my living room. Yesterday I threw out a few baskets of old magazines. Why was I keeping these mags when I already read them? Out they went in the recycle bin. Some of my old blankets need to go next.)

Q: Any advice for decorating on a budget? (Loved this Q! Me, me, moi!)
A: Jamie advised purchasing a neutral sofa and using accessories to make changes with vibrant pillows and a colorful throw.

pillows, empty nester, home decor

Use colorful pillows as accents on neutral sofas.

“Buy art that you love,” said Robert. “Art is intimidating, it’s about passion and instinct.” He provided a list of some popular websites where you can buy art:

 Exhibition A
 Curious
 youshouldbuyart.com

(I always buy a poster or piece of art when I travel and then I frame it when I return. It’s a great way to remember my trips throughout the years. I have artwork from Australia, France, Italy, and Spain. Sometimes I also frame postcards in groupings and greeting cards too.)

 

Q: What do you think of accent walls?
A: Robert doesn’t like accent walls. “The lighting impacts the colors,” he said. Jamie doesn’t like accent walls. “I’d rather paint a square of color on the walls,” he said. (Uh oh! Oh no! ”I love accent walls,” I wanted to shout out from the back of the room. “I have a blue accent wall in my bedroom and I really adore it. I do. I do. I do.” Sorry guys, you are really smart designers, but I’m keeping my accent wall. Next time I go bold I promise to paint the entire room a bright color.)

I’m going to enjoy the journey as I delve into decorating my living room this year. Can’t wait to dress up my empty nest to reflect my new lifestyle – casual, comfortable, contemporary with a touch of boldness and risk-taking.

What about you? How are you dressing up your home to reflect changes during your life after 50?

Judi

AlexandAni.com

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Time To Redecorate With New Trends In Home Decor

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersWhen I first downsized and moved into my town home in 2010, I hired a wonderful decorator and color consultant to help me decide what furnishings to take from my home. She helped me select paint colors, carpet styles, drapery fabrics and window treatments, and a few new pieces of furniture. She even did layouts to show me how to place the furniture in each room. It was one of the best investments during my life after 50.

The NY NOW Show
Last week, I attended the NY NOW Show at the Javits Center in NYC. It is a huge show of gifts and home accessories. After walking the floors for two days, I decided I either wanted to open a gift shop filled with jewelry, socks, trinkets and home goods (which is not going to happen) or perhaps finally redecorate my combined living/family room (yes, no, maybe so).

NY NOW Show, life after 50, over 50, home decor

Renee Hytry Derrington from Formica Group and Laminex (left) and DJ Carey from Cottages and Gardens magazine, presented color forecasts for 2014 and beyond at the NY NOW Show.

Absolutely yes, that is exactly what I am going to do this coming fall and winter. The room where I spend the most time each day deserves to be updated for my second act.

I’m going to keep trends in mind as I select my decor.  That’s why I listened intently to the panelists at the NY NOW “Color Forecast 2014 and Beyond” seminar to learn what is trending. Then I walked the show just like the editors and designers to see what’s out there.

NY NOW Show, home decor, life after 50, over 50

Moss green with accents of the garden are trending at home.

Adding Color
“Use color to punch up your surroundings,” said DJ Carey, Cottages & Gardens editorial director. DJ shared the hot home colors including true blue, a cleaner and clearer blue, nice in a bedroom; green, which brings the tonalities of the garden inside like a mossy soothing green; pops of clean yellow with dark charcoal or grey walls; subtle touches of pale pink; and grey, especially in kitchens. (Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’d love to redo my kitchen counter. I’m not a big fan of dark granite. Maybe I should update my kitchen too. That’s what happens when you start redecorating, it always makes the old stuff look really old.)

Core, Impulse, Real
“The world around us is impacting our desire in the home,” said Renee Hytry Derrington, group vice president for Formica Group and Laminex. “Less is more, simple is luxury. Happiness counts. Perfection and authenticity are important as is environmental consideration.” The three trends Formica is following include “core,” “impulse,” and “real.”

NY NOW Show, home decor, life after 50, over 50

Denim and indigo are popular colors for interior furnishings.

Core” denotes neutrals with grey being the most essential; dark blue, almost indigo or black; animal tones or natural skin tones; marble & stone, wool, cotton, and felt. Texture is especially important when using neutrals. Denim is as popular in the home as it is for jeans. (There’s the grey again. So glad I bought my grey velvet sofa for my office – my astrologer remarked how well I stay ahead of the trends.)

Impulse” stands for lots of color, playful shapes and materials, nostalgia, bright and fun items. Oranges, corals and tomato red are all popular for interiors. Blue tops the list here too in shades of aquamarine. Floral influences are popping up along with bold prints. Color pop in kitchens brings yellows and purples to the place where you cook. (I adore aqua and painted my bathroom walls this soothing color. Would love to have a new Kohler self-cleaning bathtub – nope not going to happen unless I win the lottery. No, no, no.)

NY NOW Show, home decor, life after 50, over 50

Natural wood and handmade furniture honor the environment.

Real” pays homage to the ecosystem with recycled materials, mindfulness and well-being, homemade and handmade, mellow tones, terra cotta, warm butterscotch, washed tangerine, colored metals, plus natural wood. Renee spoke about upcycling, where materials like jeans are reused to make pillows or quilts and glass bottles are turned into lamps and lampshades. (I’m all about mindfulness and spa treatments. Show me the way. I want my living room to be a place of zen. Maybe I will keep a sunny spot for morning meditations.)

Wow-o-wow, I can’t wait to get started but am feeling overwhelmed just thinking about this home decorating job. There are too many trends to consider, I need some professional advice. Where is that decorator’s card?

How have you updated your home since you became an empty nester? Leave a comment and let me know if you have any good ideas. Next week, I’ll share more tips from NY NOW on “Fashion Design & Home Decor.”

Judi

AlexandAni.com

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Refocusing on My Memoir Writing Goal

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersAs I continue to evolve my life after 50, I’ve enjoyed reading Life Reimagined, Discovering Your New Possibilities. Authors Richard J. Leider and Alan M.Webber use  a concrete approach to help people “rethink life’s meaning and discover (or rediscover) their purpose” when faced with the challenge to change.

I’ve been using the Life Reimagined online tools to help me set my goals. Last month, after returning from the BlogHer conference in San Jose, CA, and listening to the panel on publishing a book, I thought it was a good time to revisit my goal to write my memoir.

AARP Life Reimagined, memoir writing, change, widowhood, life after 50

My Life Checkup
I logged into the Life Reimagined website and reviewed the results from my “Life Checkup” activities that I completed last April. My checkup told me that I was “optimistic and passionate about my goal to write a memoir. My gut was telling me to go for it. However, my actions were not in-sync. Instead of focusing forward, I was moving in a hundred different directions. Instead of acting, I was waiting for the right moment.

“If your idea hits a roadblock, get creative about pushing past it,” my Life Checkup results declared. (Okay, I hear you! I’m ready. I’m willing. I want to start putting prose on the page.)

Writing My Memoir
The BlogHer publishing panelists offered guidance to new authors. Ali Eteraz, author of Children of Dust: A Portrait of A Muslim As A Young Man, inspired us. “Never forget you’re a writer. Produce the most amazing writing possible. Refine yourself and grow,” he said.  Rita Arens, author of the young adult novel The Obvious Game, had good advice too. “There aren’t any new stories. It’s how you tell it,” she reminded those in the audience.

According to the panelists: There are 80,000 words in an average book. There are 60,000 words in a book with art. And if you only have 50,000 words – it’s better to produce a booklet, unless you’re trying to create a different style book.

My outline is complete. The drafts for my first four chapters are written. It’s going to be a long process. Could take months, even years. “That’s what I know for sure,” as Oprah would say. Her new book by that title will be out soon. (How does she write so much so fast?)

Meantime, as I make headway with my writing, I’ve been rereading some of my favorite memoirs and stories that I read after losing my spouse. These authors helped me through those dreary days in 2007 and 2008.  I hope my story, when eventually published, will help other widows navigate their own journey back to strength. It’s a long road from loneliness to loveliness. (OMG ! OMG! Is that a potential title for my memoir? What do you think?)

Favorite Reads
If you are going through a change, hard times or faced with a recent loss in your life, here are three great reads:


♥ The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Didion is an amazing writer. The jacket describes this book best : “Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage – and a life, in good times and bad – that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.” (Note: This book will make you cry, but it will be a cathartic cry. A cry that will help you let go of your grief.)

 


♥ Letter To My Daughter by Maya Angelou
I was so sad when Angelou died earlier this year. She was a remarkable storyteller. So glad we can still read and learn from her volumes in print. This book is a compilation of essays. You’ll find that what the jacket says is true: “It’s part guidebook, part memoir, part poetry – and pure delight.”

 

 


♥ Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
A friend gave me this book after my husband passed away. I took it to my “condo on the corner” at the New Jersey shore the summer of 2008. I read it as I sat on the beach and watched the waves. As the back cover says, “Lindbergh records her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands and helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity in their own lives.”

I hope you add these books to your reading list. I’m taking Gift From the Sea with me next week when I spend a few days in quiet reflection and meditate on my memoir, hopefully under the sun and surf at the shore. It’s a great place to stop, breathe, and be.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and I’ll see you in September!

Judi

Disclaimer: This post is supported by Life Reimagined (www.lifereimagined.org): your guide to rethinking what’s possible and seizing your “what’s next” in work, relationships, health, personal finance and more. All opinions are my own.

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“The 100 Foot Journey” – An Endearing Movie For Turbulent Times

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenWhile I was out on the west coast last month, I had a chance to attend a screening for the new movie, The 100 Foot Journey, which is especially endearing for these turbulent times. It tells the story of a clash between two cultures – French and Indian. Fortunately, the story has a peaceful ending, unlike cultural clashes in many parts of the world these days.

Food Unites Us All

The 100 Foot Journey movie, boomer movies, life after 50

Chef Hassan and sous chef Marguerite fall in love. Courtesy of Dreamworks Pictures and Participant Media.

As noted in the press materials along with some commentary from moi, “the movie is about Hassan Kadam, a culinary ingénue (played by the adorable Manish Dayal), and his family who are displaced from their native India. The Kadam family, led by Papa (starring Om Puri, a truly lovable character), settles in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France, and opens an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (the superb dame Helen Mirren – who was producers Steven Spielberg’s and Oprah Winfrey’s top pick for the role) gets wind of it.”

The 100 Foot Journey movie, boomer movies, life after 50, Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren plays Madam Mallory. Courtesy of Dreamworks Pictures and Participant Media.

“Madam Mallory’s protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate into a battle between the two establishments until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine — and for Madame Mallory’s sous chef, Marguerite (played by the cute actress Charlotte Le Bon, who looks like a young, slightly prettier Winona Ryder, and who makes a perfect mate for Hassan) — combine with his mysteriously-delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Madame Mallory cannot ignore. At first Madame Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s talents and takes him under her wings.”

Two Thumbs Up
I won’t tell you the rest of the story or it would spoil the fun. You’ll just have to go see The 100 Foot Journey when it opens in theaters on Friday, August 8th.

Having spent some time in the south of France a year ago, I thought the movie nicely captures the spirit and culinary pleasures of the area. Francophiles and foodies will be pleased with the production.  ”Pardon, pardon, s’il vous plaît me ramener à la Provence,” I wanted to cry out as I left the theatre in a very upbeat mood from the magnificent scenery, stimulating gastronomy, and heart-warming characters.

I also had a hankering for Indian and French food and was glad to see that the press materials included recipes inspired from both restaurants. Think I will prepare the Chicken Tikka and Haricots Verts with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Cranberry Vinaigrette this weekend. Want to join me?  The recipes are below and you can find more on the movie’s Pinterest page.

The 100 Foot Journey, Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka created by Chef Floyd Cardoz.

Chicken Tikka, The 100 Foot Journey movie, boomer movies

 

The 100 Foot Journey, boomer movies. life after 50

Haricots Verts with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Cranberry Vinaigrette. Courtesy of Le Creuset.

The 100 Foot Journey, boomer movies, life after 50Bon appétit and Rasawath aharak!

Judi

Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of the original novel, The 100 Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. Enter below. 

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Back From The Blogosphere – BlogHer’14 Recap

I’m back from the blogosphere where I met, mingled and immersed myself among the large community of female (and a few male) bloggers at the BlogHer’14 Conference in San Jose, CA. It’s a bit like going into the clouds and not coming out for two days.

Celebrating 10 Years
This year was BlogHer’s 10th anniversary and the big news was “how times have changed in the past decade.” The blogosphere is much more crowded than it was in 2004. Some feel that blogging is here to stay, while others believe that social media, or micro-blogging  (Facebook and Twitter), visual (Pinterest and Instagram) and vlogging (Vine and Snapchat) are becoming more popular. If you’re a blogger or thinking about becoming a blogger, know that your social media profile is equally, if not more important, than your blog.

BlogHer'14, blogosphere, life after 50, boomer blogger

Traveling to the blogosphere is like going into the clouds.

My Flight Into the Blogosphere
My trip to San Jose was a fun one. On my connector flight from Phoenix, I sat next to a newbie mom and her adorable baby. We chatted awhile and then she said, “By the way, my name is Jacqueline Kennedy.” “No kidding,” I said. “I am a big Jackie fan. “And my daughter’s name is Eleanor, after Eleanor Roosevelt,” she added. Wow-o-wow! Lucky me sitting next to my two favorite First Ladies.

Lunch and Namaste
I met Sharon Hodor Greenthal, from Empty House, Full Mind, for lunch to chat about boomer blogging. Sharon is also editor-in-chief of Midlife Boulevard, a collaborative blog for women 50+.

Next it was off to the The Sangria Sundown Soiree sponsored by Soybu yoga clothes and Eppa Sangria. I was disappointed that there was no yoga class to partake in – but it was 90 degrees and way too hot to do any asanas under the sun. The hosts  gave us swag, including a Soybu yoga top. “I’ll take an XS for my petite frame,” I told the woman who was handling out gift bags.

Later that evening, I went back to my room to try on the top. I stretched it over my head and tugged it down my body. The top includes a built-in bra. It was very, very tight. When I tried to get it off, I had lots of trouble pulling it over my head. Thought I might have to call the front desk for a scissor to cut it apart. I took a deep breathe and bent over. Pull, push, lift, whew, finally got it off my chest with my head still intact. Guess I should have asked for a larger size. The tops are rather nice if you order the correct measure.

Day One – Opening Session
The conference began with a rousing video titled “Why I Blog.” (Watch this video, it is wonderful.) Participants shared their reasons, many I could relate to:

“…because I have words inside that need to get out.”
“…it pushes me to be creative.”
“…I want people to know what it is like to be me.”

Elisa Camahort Page, a founder of BlogHer, told us to “celebrate yourself.” She encouraged the crowd of 2500 bloggers to take selfies.

selfie, life after 50, BlogHer'14, Soybu party

My selfie at The Sangria Soiree Party

“How could you post that terrible picture?” said my daughter A after seeing my selfie on Instagram. I don’t have a lot of followers on the network so I didn’t think anyone would be watching. I was determined to improve my selfiebration and learn how to take a good selfie. Here are some tips:

Hold camera up high at 45 degree angle
Look up but keep chin down, but not too low to avoid a double chin
Keep the light in front of you
Make sure to flip the camera so it is focused on you

10×10 Project
I enjoyed listening to the 10×10 speakers during the general sessions. Ten bloggers were selected to “look back at what the blogosphere built and look ahead to where we’re going.” Each speaker covered 10 years in 10 minutes.


The first two were Danah Boyd, author of It’s Complicated, about the social lives of networked teens, and Shannon Des Roches Rosa, an advocate for helping parents with autistic children. Danah spoke about “how being public forced her to think differently and be held accountable.” She said “there is beauty and pain in being public.” Shannon started blogging “to process her life dealing with her son’s autism.” She no longer has self-pity and has built a community of 87,000 people who are living with the challenges of raising a child with autism.

Applause, applause for these two awesome women!

Have you caught the fever yet? Can you see why this community is amazing?


The morning session closed with Jenny Lawson, from The Bloggess, and best-selling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Jenny deals with depression and mental illness every day. She said that when she turned 30 she hadn’t accomplished anything she had planned. She told the Houston Chronicle she would write for free and described her first BlogHer conference. “I was a nobody looking at somebody doing a keynote. Maybe I’ll be doing a keynote one day. And now I am. You might be that person, ” she told the audience.

I was so pleased to learn that Jenny took 11 years to write her first book. Will I write a memoir/self-help book one day and be a BlogHer keynote? Will I? Will I? Maybe I will!

BlogHer'14, Jenny Lawson, life after 50

Jenny Lawson writes The Bloggess.

Jenny closed by telling us that comments make a difference. “I keep a folder of 24 emails from women who were planning their suicide due to mental illness,” said Jenny. “They each said that it was not only my blog that helped them but the comments on my posts that reminded them that they are not alone. Your words mean so much more than you could ever know.”

Jenny’s words say it all.

Judi

Stay tuned for more updates from BlogHer’14 including:
Highlights from other 10×10 speakers’ remarks
Notes from The Future of The Social Media Web keynote, including Arianna Huffington’s interview with Guy Kawasaki (Note: I’ll be hosting a giveaway for her new book Thrive.)
A review of the new movie, 100 Foot Journey, with Helen Mirren. Boomer girls won’t want to miss this flick in theaters starting August 8. Previewing this movie was one of the best activities at BlogHer’14.

AlexandAni.com

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Free To Be Me At BlogHer’14 Conference

Next week, I will be heading to the BlogHer’14 Conference in San Jose, California. This year BlogHer is celebrating its 10th anniversary. My first conference was in 2007, the year I started blogging my countdown to 50. I remember it well.

The two-day event was in Chicago. I was a newbie. I was blown away by the community spirit among the 400+ bloggers in the room. There were only a few midlife bloggers back then, most were mommy bloggers, as was the trend in the early days of blogging.

No longer a fresh face, I am still ever excited and enthused about networking and mingling with my virtual friends. It’s such fun to meet face-to-face with fellow bloggers.

More Midlife Bloggers In The Blogosphere
Almost 2500 are registered for BlogHer’14. Today, blogging is big business and top bloggers are like celebrities. Many more midlife bloggers attend the conference because there are many more of us in the blogosphere. We’re a proud and properous group and marketers are starting to take notice.

You can sample the writing of a variety of midlife bloggers at several collaborative sites, including:

♥ Midlife Boulevard developed by Sharon Hodor Greenthal from Empty Nest, Full Mind, and Anne Parris from Not A Super Mom. This boulevard is blossoming and growing its niche. Sharon and Anne also run a midlife group on Facebook which includes 800+ bloggers.

 The Huffington Post Huff/Post50, a site that promotes the theme ‘life begins at 50.’

VibrantNation.com, for women who want to stay vibrant during their second act.

HealthyWomen.org, hosts a Midlife Matters blog with helpful information.

This year at BlogHer there is going to be a midlife mini-con led by Patricia Patton from Boomerwizdom and Darryle Pollack from I Never Signed Up For This and a co-founder of the WHOA! Network. Can’t wait to hear the dialogue. I’ll share feedback when I return.

Free To Be Me
I looked back at a post I wrote when I returned from Chicago in July 2007. Here’s an excerpt:

Who would have thought that at 49 years old I would be meeting so many new friends as a result of a virtual community I created? Who would have thought that I would have the opportunity to meet hundreds of “blogging sisters” and form a bond with so many fellow female bloggers during an exhilarating Blogher conference?

For two glorious days in Chicago, two fabulous days in Chicago, I was free to be me: Judi with an i. Or should I say JudI with a capital I. I was strong. I was authentic. I was a blogger. I was 49 approaching 50 and I was free. Not a wife who has a sick husband. Not a mother who is trying to be strong for her kids. Not a full-time corporate executive. I was free. No housework. No homework. No shopping. No cooking. I was free to be whoever I wanted to be and free to say whatever I wanted to say.”

It was amazing. When I arrived I only knew one person but by the time I left on Sunday morning, I had met so many extraordinary women, each unique in their own way. Each making a difference, whether they are blogging about: post-partum depression, cars, mommyisms, politics, fashion, beauty, food, divorce, and a whole lot more.

Do You Know The Way To San Jose?
So you can see how I got the BlogHer bug back in 2007. My feelings about this conference haven’t changed. There is real authenticity, individualism, and diversity in the air at BlogHer. The sharing and acceptance among the women (and a few men) who participate are contagious.

I’m off to the blogosphere in San Jose for a few days. Look forward to catching up with all the new news when I return. Meantime, if you want live updates, follow me on Twitter @judiboomergirl for up-to-date #BlogHer14 happenings.

Judi

AARP Life Reimagined, life after 50, over 50, retirement

If you are looking to “discover your new life possibilities,” come join the Life Reimagined book club chat on Facebook next Monday, July 21, at noon. You don’t have to read the book to join the conversation I’ll be there. It’s free and it’s fun. You can jump in on last Monday’s discussion from July 14 – when you get to the page scroll down to the date.

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Beautiful Flowers Brighten My Day

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer women“We would like to offer you free flowers and have you join our ambassador program,” said A, the nice representative from The Bouqs Company, an online flower shop. I quickly went on the website to check out the bouquets. One was prettier than the next. Beautiful flowers always brighten my day, so I said absolutely “yes, yes, yes” to the offer.

Simple to order, I chose the Dawn collection which retails for $40. According to thebouqs.com, these “orange premium roses are a magical sight when fully bloomed. Grown on a Volcano and cut-to-order, this flower bunch will blow you away like a breathtaking sunrise.” The flowers were shipped straight from their eco-friendly, sustainable farms on the Volcano to my door, with free delivery! What could be easier?

The Bouqs Company, thebouqs.com, flower bouquet websites, life after 50

I was so excited when the FedEx lady rang my doorbell this morning. “Flowers for you,” she said as she handed me a long black box. “So glad you’re home.” I couldn’t wait to open it. Inside were 14 perfect orange roses. (They gave me two extra – how lucky is that?)

The Bouqs Company, thebouqs.com, flower bouquet website, life after 50

I read the pictorial instructions and did exactly as was shown. I carefully opened the packaging as not to damage any of the flowers. I cut the stems on a diagonal so the water will penetrate better. Then I added the flower food to the water and put the flowers in my Waterford vase. I had two extras for my small bud vase.

The Bouqs Company, thebouqs.com, flower bouquets, life after 50

Ooh, ooh, ooh, such pretty roses on my dining room table. Ooh, ooh, ooh, and there are two roses sitting right next to my computer on my desk in my office. I can look at these flowers all day long. How cool is that?

The Bouqs Company, thebouqs.com, life after 50, flower bouquets

A Bouqs Bouquet For You
With more than 75 colorful bouquets to choose from, thebouqs.com offers a wide array of choices for all flower-giving occasions. I better let my boyfriend L know about this website. Or perhaps, I’ll just treat myself to a bouquet when I think I deserve one. Guess it is better than buying dark chocolate – no calories! (Okay, I deserve dark chocolate and flowers too during my life after 50.)

So, boomergirls, if you’re feeling low and want a perk, send some flowers to yourself. Or if you want to give a nice gift to a favorite friend, send some flowers. (Or tell your hubby or boyfriend about this site.)  If you click on thebouqs.com links in this post (or on my sidebar on my blog) and order flowers, I do receive a small compensation. These funds support my blogging. Please know that I only affiliate with high-quality products I love and that I hope you’ll love too.


Keeping Your Flowers Fresh
Did I ever tell you that one of my dreams is to work in a flower shop? Maybe I will become a florist during my life after 50. (Note to self: Explore flower arranging school in the future.) Meantime, thebouqs.com provided these helpful tips for keeping your flowers fresh:

♥ Heat/Cool the water – If you’d like to open flowers faster use hot (not boiling) water. The heat allows for faster absorption of the H2O through the stems, causing the bloom to open faster. It’s kind of like taking a warm bath, your muscles relax. Once open, use cool water (or simply add some ice cubes to the vase) in order to keep the blooms lasting longer. Though water still absorbs into the stem, colder water slows any decay, bacteria or mold from breaking down the organic matter. (Interesting information.)

♥ Change water regularly – Clean, fresh water not only guarantees bacteria and mold do not build in the water, but also allows you the opportunity to feed the flowers regularly. For the longest lasting blooms change the water everyday, but every few days is also fine.  (I promise to nourish my flowers with water. I will. I will.)

♥ Add Pennies or Soda – It seems strange, but adding a few pennies and a teaspoon of sugar to the water in the vase increases the pH of the water slightly. This will prevent any small bacteria or microbes from growing in the water and deteriorating the flowers. Similarly, soda can do the same thing. The sugar in clear sodas such as Sprite or 7Up nourishes the plants and keeps blooms bright and lasting longer. Add no more than a quarter cup to the water in the vase. (Good thing I’m saving my pennies now that I’m retired from my full-time corporate job.)

♥ Trim the stems ¼ inch per day – Simple and regular trimming allows for absorption and hydration. Always cut stems at an angle, and trimming a quarter inch off each stem per day will keep the blooms strong, nourished and beautiful. (I want to keep my roses looking good for a long time.)

A little bunny nibbled on the pink flowers on my outdoor patio last week. He was so cute that I forgave him and told him not to do it again. Yesterday, when I went to water my plants I noticed that half of the plant and many of the pink flowers were missing. I think my little bunny must have brought his entire family for a July 4th bbq flower bash. Good thing I’m keeping my rose bouquet inside. No rose petals for you little bunny, these flowers are all mine.

Judi

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Retiring the Art of Perfection

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersNow that I’m embarking on year two of reimagining my life after a 30+ year corporate career I realize that it’s time to retire the art of perfection. (Am I ready? Is this the most challenging task I have ever tried to achieve? Yes, yes, and yes.)

Being Perfect
This week, I reread Anna Quindlen’s book, Being Perfect. I had read Anna’s essay almost 10 years ago when I was in my mid-forties. At the time, I was at my peak of perfection. I was the perfect mom to my two teenage children. My career was on a perfect executive track. I was a perfect wife to my husband and a perfect breadwinner for my family.

Anna says that “Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and its good opinion…What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Being Perfect, Anna Quindlen, life reimagined, AARP, retirement, life after 50
Anna says that during her college days at Barnard, a place she describes “populated largely by terrifyingly well-read women who all seemed to be elevating intellectual perfection to a high art”  that “eventually being perfect became like carrying a backpack filled with bricks every single day.” (Anna, that’s exactly how I felt during my college days at Cornell when I was climbing the hills in Ithaca, N.Y. Being a perfectionist, I always felt inferior to the brainiacs throughout my four years at this great Ivy League institution.)

Anna says that “today is the day to put down that backpack before you develop permanent curvature of the spirit.” She says perfection is “hard” but it’s also “too cheap and easy. Because all it really requires of you, mainly, is to read the zeitgeist of wherever and whatever you happen to be and to assume the masks necessary to be the best at whatever the zeitgeist dictates or requires.” (Have I let my entire life be driven by the zeitgeist? How can I change? For me it was always easier to adapt to please others’ expectations and demands than to please myself.)

Okay, okay, okay. Today, I’m officially declaring that my top goal for my life after 50 is to retire the art of perfection.  (But, but, but how am I going to achieve this goal?)

A “Clean Slate”
Anna says “Begin with that most frightening of all things, a clean slate. And then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am.”

I was looking for a challenge during my second act and now I’ve found a big one. This goal may take me several years to achieve, but I’m going to accomplish it.

Today, I’m feeling more confident and relaxed as the load on my back lessens and the fears begin to subside.

 I want to wear just sunscreen on my face today and no makeup. (Ah that feels good.)
 I want to write a memoir, but not sure I want to write it right now. (That’s okay.  There is a book inside of me. It is my own story and in time it will come out.)
 Can I live on a budget that I’ve set for myself using my savings? (This is the scary part of retiring the art of perfection. I haven’t lived without a paycheck for the past 30+ years. I’m talented. I can do this. If it doesn’t work I’ll just have to find a way to supplement my savings.)
 I’m going to yoga today, tomorrow and whenever I want to go to yoga. I enjoy yoga because it is an hour in the day where I can settle my mind and body. There is no one judging my moves including myself. (I never had the freedom to practice yoga during the day before. It’s a wonderful feeling.)

Anna says that “Much of what we were at five or six is what we wind up wishing we could be at fifty or sixty.” (I’m as curious as I was when I was a child. Ready to conquer all the possibilities that lie ahead. Can’t wait to see ‘what’s next?’)

AARP Life Reimagined, life after 50, over 50, retirement

If you want to join me in the journey of reimagining your life, there is no time like the here and now. Another book I’ve been reading on the subject is  Life Reimagined – Discovering Your New Life Possibilities by Richard Leider and Alan Webber. In fact, there’s going to be a book club starting on July 14th on the Life Reimagined Facebook page and some of my midlife blogger friends and I will be hosting dialogues. I hope you will join us.

So how are you when it comes to retiring the art of perfection..or are you not a perfectionist? Let me know what you find helpful on your self journey.

Judi

Disclaimer: This post is supported by Life Reimagined (www.lifereimagined.org): your guide to rethinking what’s possible and seizing your “what’s next” in work, relationships, health, personal finance and more. All opinions are my own.

AlexandAni.com

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