Love Blooms At “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer women“Richard Gere joins the cast of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” said the nice PR representative when she asked me if I wanted to preview and promote the new movie.* “Say no more,” I quickly responded. “Count me in. I’ve had a crush on Richard Gere since I saw him in Pretty Woman several decades ago.”

I so enjoyed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel when it premiered in 2012 and was excited to learn that there would be a sequel. If you haven’t seen the first movie, it was about a group of British retirees who go to India after reading about a restored Marigold Hotel. When they arrive the hotel is not as advertised and it’s proprietor Sonny, not as polished. Despite the lack of amenities and poor conditions, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discoveries, and love affairs during their stay.

Richard Gere, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, life after 50, over 50,

Richard Gere joins the cast as “Guy Chambers.”

So what is the gang up to this time?
With so many of my favorites returning for the second adventure, including Judi (my namesake) Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel to name a few, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

The story continues with more twists and turns — an impending marriage for Sonny (Dev Patel) to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai); a potential expansion of the thriving hotel; a rooming dilemma for guests Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig); jobs in Jaipur for Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy); love upsets for Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle); dueling admirers for Madge (Celia Imrie); and a hotel managerial role for Muriel (Maggie Smith), the wise and mature one of the bunch. Plus, there’s a big Indian wedding being planned with lively dancing which adds to the fun.

Love and inner adventure bloom the second time around
Watching these mature characters step out of their comfort zone made me ponder the ways my own life and love have evolved over the past few years.

Maggie Smith, THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, boomer movies, aging, life after 50, retirement, over 50,

Maggie Smith as Muriel is as stellar as always.

As a young retiree, I found pleasure watching these elders explore new adventures and relationships. “If not now, then when or why not” is often my current way of thinking, or as Muriel (Maggie Smith) says, “Let it go. There’s no present like the time.” With an empty nest and my children all grown, I too feel a renewed sense of freedom, almost like when I was 25 and anything was possible. I so appreciate learning and growing my mind, body, and spirit these days and that’s exactly what I am doing with my yoga practice and yoga training.

Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, boomer movies, life after 50, over 50

Judi Dench as “Evelyn” and Bill Nighy as “Douglas” make a lovely pair.

And love continues to bloom with my boyfriend L. Hear that Richard? Yep, you lost your chance! I will likely see all your future movies, but the one man I adore during my life after 50, the gray-haired guy that tops my list, is my soon to be going-on-seven years companion — my boyfriend L. (Mind you, if I ever write my memoir and it ever becomes a movie, you Richard , yes, you Richard, are the only actor I want to play my suitor.)

Richard Gere, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

My boyfriend L is my “gray-haired” companion. Doesn’t he look like Richard Gere?

When can you see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel?
Have I enticed you with the themes? Have I engaged you with the fabulous cast? Do you find Richard Gere as sexy as I do even though he just turned 65? For more highlights:

♥ Watch the trailer
♥ Visit the Official Website
♥ Like The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on Facebook
♥ Follow on Pinterest here and here

This heartwarming movie opens at theaters this Friday, March 6. I will likely go see it again with my boyfriend L and maybe we will go to Coriander for dinner, our favorite Indian restaurant.

For now, go, go, go cherish every moment. It’s never too late to take a giant step forward. Evelyn’s (Judi Dench) advice says it all: “How many lives can we have? As many as we can.”

Before you leave, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to win a blu-ray of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, so you can catch up with the gang before you see the sequel. To enter, leave a comment and let me know how “love blooms” in your life.

Namaste!

Judi

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Fox Searchlight Pictures who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Pursuing Your Passion In Your Next Act

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week, I’m pleased to feature an interview with Hélène Tragos Stelian, creator of the blog Next Act For Women. In her blog, Hélène shares real-life stories about women who are reinventing themselves in midlife. You’ll read about women like Madalyn, who became a model at 50; Tina, who left corporate life to become a college admissions consultant; and one of my favorites Susie, who left her editorial job to harvest her own food on Martha’s Vineyard.

I asked Hélène about her work/life experiences and about what she’s learned from talking with post40 and post50 females:

Tell me a little about your background.

Next Act For Women, boomer women, baby boomer women, life after 50, over 50

Hélène Tragos Stelian is creator of the Next Act For Women blog.

H: “I’m 51 and live in Chicago with my husband of 20 years, my 17-year old twin daughters, and our cockapoo Rocky. I have gone through some big transitions in my life: Moving from France to the U.S. at the age of 13; changing careers from fashion retail to marketing after getting my MBA; deciding to stay at home when my girls were born; becoming an author with the publication of my book Getting Ready for Baby (now in its second edition); volunteering in nonprofit positions after our move to the suburbs; moving back to Chicago after 13 years; and now starting a blog!” Continue reading

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Finding Spectacular Specs At Online Eyewear Shops

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenLupita Nyongo put on bold black specs at the Golden Globe Awards (@LupitaGlasses), Carrie Fisher wore 3-D red frames and Oscar nominee Patricia Arquette donned purple readers to see the teleprompter at the SAG Awards. These days eyewear is a trending fashion topic.

Eyewear is one of my most important accessories — I have to wear my eyeglasses every day. I’ve been known to shop the streets of Paris for my frames, swoon and spend a lot on Italian shades at my local South Jersey boutique, and shell out extra dollars for stylish computer specs which greatly improve my worklife.

Felix + Iris = Smart Style + Sharp Vision 

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Felix + Iris is a new online eyewear shop.

As a boomer blogger, I’m often approached to try out online eyewear shops. I was always a little leery of purchasing progressives from a website. It wasn’t until I went to a press event for Felix+Iris that I warmed to the idea. “See the beauty that is around you,” said the invitation. I brought my son D along. We were both treated to a new pair of specs. D chose a black frame. I copied his look with a black pair too. The glasses came with a magnetic sunglass attachment. The only negative is the tiny magnetic dot on the edge of the glass.

The most important part of ordering online is to make sure that you have your correct prescription and measurements. The online shops provide tools to help you take your measurements — however I highly recommend that you ask your optician to provide your proper sizing. (I had the Felix+Iris optician measure my face and wrote down the measurements for future orders.) Continue reading

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How To Plan Romantic Vacations During Your Life After 50

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50According to Dr. Pepper Schwartz,  co-author of Frommer’s Places for Passion, and AARP’s ambassador for Love & Relationships: “Long-term relationships are strongest when romantic trips are part of their history, present, and future.” (Hear that L, that’s my boyfriend L I’m referring to. We need to plan more romantic vacations. When are you retiring?)

I spoke to Dr. Schwartz to learn more about her new book.

Frommer's Places For Passion, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, life after 50, over 50, boomer travel, romantic vacations

Dr. Pepper Schwartz is co-author of “Frommer’s Places For Passion.”

“I’ve been a relationship expert for a long time and travel is a passion. I wanted to pair the two together with my writing so couples could have a book to depend on to plan accessible and reliable escapes — it can get sparks flying and create lasting memories,” said Dr. Schwartz.

Romantic Destinations
While 75-destinations are featured in Frommer’s Places For Passion, I asked Dr. Schwartz to name a few of her favorites. She categorized the destinations into four groupings: Continue reading

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Are You Taking Care Of Your Heart Health?

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessThanks to Valentine’s Day, February is a month filled with red hearts. I just bought my cards and heart-shaped candy for my sweetheart L. I always tell him how lucky he is to be my boyfriend.

February is also a month to honor your own heart and make sure it stays healthy year-round. I learned more about heart health from the American Heart Association (AHA) Go Red For Women Campaign and wanted to share it with all of you. Boomer girls are especially prone to heart disease after menopause as our estrogen levels decrease causing a whole lot of ruckus in our body. While heart disease and stroke kill one in three women, the good news is that 80 percent is preventable.

So what are you doing to take care of your heart?

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum

I talked with Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, attending cardiologist and Director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, to learn more about menopause and what boomer girls can do to stay in tip-top shape. Here are excerpts:

Q: How does menopause impact heart health?
“Menopause is so fascinating,” said Dr. Steinbaum. “It is about the closing out of our time to reproduce. Estrogen levels decrease and the benefits of estrogen decline. Blood pressure rises. LDL – the bad cholesterol rises. Research has shown that 10 years after menopause has occurred that heart disease increases because you no longer have any estrogen left in your body.” (Ugh! This is depressing. I feel like I may need to eat all those heart-shaped chocolates I just bought for L. Isn’t dark chocolate good for the heart?) Continue reading

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Boomers Travel: Where Are You Headed In 2015?

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Last week, I attended The New York Times Travel Show at the Javits Center in NYC. I perused the exhibits and participated in seminars for travel writers and bloggers. Since I aspire to be a travel blogger (perhaps you could say I already am since The Huffington Post Travel section featured my Miami post on its front page this week. Go Judi! Go Judi!), I listened closely to all the speakers and am now following some key travel influencers:  Monica Drake, travel editor, The New York Times, Johnny Jet, travel expert and editor in chief, JohnnyJet.com, and Paula Froelich, editor in chief, Yahoo Travel.

Boomers Are Travelers 
It’s clear from the presentations that baby boomers are big travelers. According to Yana Gutierrez, vice president at American Express (AE), “Boomers will spend close to $120 billion on travel this year and will take four to five trips in 2015. Plus, 85% of baby boomers use travel websites to find information about their trips.”  In fact, with the new sharing economy, AE has made a deal whereby members can by gift certificates for airbnb.com. I booked accommodations on airbnb.com when I traveled to France and Spain and each apartment was wonderful. Continue reading

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Self-Care For The Soul: An Interview with Life Coach Pamela Mulhearn

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI always like to talk to boomer women who are doing interesting things during their life after 50. Recently, I had a chance to chat with Pamela Mulhearn, Certified Professional Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. Pamela works with empty nesters and helps women get ready for their next chapter.

“For 11 years, I was a multi-venture entrepreneur and small business advisor. This gave me flexibility to be available for my children. The day came as my children started leaving the nest when I decided to sell the businesses,” said Pamela. “I took some time and volunteered for women’s organizations assisting women in reinventing themselves and making changes in their careers. I then decided to get certified as a life coach and have been working with women in transition ever since.”

Advice From The “Queen of Reinvention”
While I’m a few years post the empty nest, my life continues to evolve. I was curious  to hear what Pamela had to say about her work with post 50 women. Here are excerpts from our discussion:

What trends are you seeing in women post 50 and post empty nest?

Transition Life Coach Pamela Mulhearn helps women in transition at emptynestinstitute.com.

Transition Life Coach Pamela Mulhearn helps women in transition at emptynestinstitute.com.

“The biggest trend right now is women shifting toward ‘self-care of the soul.’ Women over 50 are taking stock of their lives and making the changes necessary to achieve happiness and fulfillment. There is a ripple benefit of this peace and contentment to all those around her.” (Yes Pamela. That’s me – I’m re-evaluating many areas of my life and working on setting more mindful intentions around my mind, body and spirit.)

Is there a common thread?
“I generally work with women in two categories. First, women who put their careers on hold for 20+ years to raise their families. With now grown children, these women find themselves trying to find a new purpose. Many of these women have devoted and flexed their lives around their children’s hectic schedules and are feeling lost. We work together to help them find their “ME” again.

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Take Me Back To Warm Miami

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It’s freezing outside. There are icicles on my patio. While very beautiful to look at, my mind, body and spirit keep saying “take me back to warm Miami.” Since I don’t have any plans to visit soon, all I can do is drink hot cocoa and reminisce about the wonderful vacation that my boyfriend L and I took to South Beach this past November. For those who are visiting Miami this winter, here are my favorite spots and things to do:

The Sunny Savoy Hotel
This is the second time L and I stayed at The Savoy Hotel in South Beach. (Read about the first time in my February 2014 post.) It is a small hotel on Ocean Drive near 5th Street. We like the location because it is far enough away from the main drag, yet close enough to walk everywhere. You don’t need a car. We stayed in a suite with a partial ocean view. You can easily access the beach and they have a lovely pool. Prices go up after around November 15, that’s why we always go earlier in the month.

Biking and Walking

Lincoln Road South Beach Miami, Deco Bikes, life after 50, Miami, South Beach Miami

Stroll along Lincoln Road or rent a bicycle and take a ride.

Miami is a great place to ride a bike. There are Deco Bike stations around the city. I rented a bicycle each morning, adjusted the seat and off I went. Rentals are inexpensive, you’ll need your credit card, and bring a bottle of water that you can pop into the bike’s basket. I recommend paying for an hour minimum so you don’t have to rush. You can return the bicycle at any stand.

While L and I are very compatible, he is not a biker. He does like to walk and we walked several miles each day to Lincoln Road. There are many nice shops and good restaurants for alfresco dining. We like PAUL French bistro for breakfast – the best iced coffee, croissants and baguettes – and Books & Books cafe for tasty luncheon salads. Continue reading

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Setting Intentions For 2015

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersWelcome back and happy new year. I’ve been on hiatus the past few weeks. It’s been nice to take a step back and reflect on 2014 and prepare for 2015. During that time, I caught up on my magazines and lowered the pile a tad (or thought I did until the February issues arrived in my mailbox yesterday). I did lots of yoga. I spent time with my daughter A, my son D and my boyfriend L.

I experienced some setbacks when my BFF L had a stroke over the holidays. It was a scary time but she is an amazing woman and is already back up on her feet. My role as a caregiver jumped in — ready to help a friend in need. It’s episodes like this one that remind me to live in the present and enjoy each moment. (My own severe neck pain also alerted me to slow down and take care of my body. Thankfully the neurologist gave me a shot of cortisone yesterday in hopes of calming the muscles and nerves in my head. I remember when my mom had cortisone shots in her back and now it is happening to me. Welcome to aging.)

The Four Intentions
“Did you make up those four intentions?” I asked my yoga teacher P at our class on the last day of December. “Aren’t the words wonderful? They are from Deepak Chopra,” said P.

I went home and quickly googled the words. I didn’t have to go far — the intentions were in my inbox in a yet to be opened email newsletter from The Chopra Center. I read each motivating mantra aloud several times:

The Four Intentions by Deepak Chopra

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7 Ways I’ve Changed For The Better In 7 Years Post 50

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThis week marks seven years since the passing of my husband M. He left me two weeks shy of my 50th birthday. I often think about the words my bereavement coach S said during our class: “The heart never mends after losing a spouse, the hole just gets smaller.”

“Are you really a different person since turning 50?” asked  R at a boomer girls’ gathering last weekend. “What’s different, how are you different?” R wanted to know.

My answer was quick. I did not hesitate. “Yes, I am a different person,” I said. I proceeded to list several ways I have positively changed during the past seven years.

life after 50, post 50, changes, boomer women

My two plants are 7 years old. Their growth is a symbol of my own.

Questions like this remind me to review my accomplishments – big and small. In fact, this December marks a symbolic moment in my life after 50. My relationship with myself is quite the opposite of the seven-year-itch.

Unlike a potential wandering spouse, I don’t want to be unfaithful to myself. The person I was before 50 and the person I am becoming after 50 are evolving into one authentic relationship that I plan to keep improving, growing, and moving forward. Yes, there is a constant push and pull between the two – but lately the Judi after 50 seems to win out and make the right choices.

How Am I Different?
I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for my book (if I ever motivate myself to get past the first few chapters and finish it). In honor of my seven-year-itch, I’ve listed seven ways I’ve changed for the better: Continue reading

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