Reflecting On A Year Of Great Change

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersIt’s been a year since I said goodbye to my full-time job. I am reminded of that major moment in my life after seeing recent coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that changed the lives of so many people. I was in Boston twice during April 2013 (including the day of the tragic bombing) to execute my final meetings for the company that had literally encompassed my every waking and sometimes sleeping hours for 30 years.

It took courage to close the book on my longest professional relationship, when only a month earlier I also said goodbye to my mom, a woman with whom I had the closest personal relationship. My mom died in March 2013 at the age of 91.

The past 12 months have been a year of great change. I cherish my friends and family who supported me and continue to support me through my transition. I am grateful for the  success I attained during my long corporate career. Now, It’s time to reap the benefits of my stamina and many years of hard work. It’s time to pursue smaller dreams and goals during my life after 50.

A big company name no longer defines me. Today, I’m on my own – living joyfully in the present and ready to fully expand and explore the future. Most of all, I like the new me who is emerging.

I can see and feel a difference.

Instead of rising at 6:00 a.m., most mornings my alarm goes off 90 minutes later. Some days I jump out of bed. Other days I linger and think about all the activities I have planned for the day. I head to my recumbent bicycle for my 30 minute ride and read my magazines and emails (on my iPhone) as I pedal away.

I can see and feel a difference.

After showering or bathing, on goes my yoga attire. No more dresses or suits. I’ve left the dry cleaners behind too. Those dollars go elsewhere or into the piggy bank for savings. No makeup required for exercise – just moisturizer and sunscreen.

I can see and feel a difference.

While I do spend many an afternoon and evening researching and writing in my home office, no one else is controlling my schedule except me. Multiple meetings are gone from my calendar.  Most mornings or middays are set aside for practicing yoga. It’s amazing what I learn about myself (and others) when I take time to stop, breathe, and be.

I can see and feel a difference.

A few evenings each week I cook dinner from scratch, following recipes I find online, in The New York Times magazine, or from the Jerusalem cookbook. I take pride in hunting down rare ingredients such as cardamom pods or sumac spice – which I now know are available at Whole Foods. I love to cook and enjoy good food.

I can see and feel a difference.

I’m making more time on my calendar to see old friends and I’m eagerly meeting new ones with whom I share common interests like yoga, writing and blogging. Sometimes I spend nights “binge” watching popular television shows with my boyfriend L. When one series ends another begins - House of Cards, The Americans, Call the MidWife, Shameless, Downton Abbey and GIRLS are our current favorites.

I can see and feel a difference.

While I’ve made some big changes this year, I’m still finding my way. Ask my friends and they’ll tell you that “some days the Coyote in me is trying to catch my inner Road Runner.” Whenever that happens, I remind myself of the sign that stands at the entrance to to the small New Jersey island where my condo on the corner sits. It says, “Slow down, what’s your hurry, you’re already here.”

AARP, life after 50, over 50, baby boomer women, aging, retirement

 

It’s amazing how the universe opens up when I slow down and what wonderful opportunities come my way. For example, just when I thought I was needing some assistance to help me sort out “what’s next,” I received an email from my friends at AARP.

“We’d like you to help us promote Life Reimagined, something completely new and different for AARP – a shift in direction that goes beyond a temporary campaign. It puts the focus on younger Americans who see new possibilities, rather than traditional retirement, in the next phase of life.”

“Who, what, where, when? Tell me all the details. Sounds like the direction I’m headed,” I said. “Sign me up.”

Life Reimagined - AARP, retirement, aging, life after 50
So here I am. Starting year two of my next chapter. As I read through the book, Life Reimagined, by Richard J. Leider, author of Repacking Your Bags, and Alan M. Webber, cofounder of Fast Company, I’m psyched about using the guide to help me discover new possibilities for the coming years.

I’ve also registered on www.lifereimagined.org to learn more about the six step approach for the next part of my journey. According to Life Reimagined there are “no old rules, no outdated societal norms, no boundaries of convention or expectations on this path.” (Sounds fab!)

I hope you’ll join me as I reflect, connect, explore, choose, repack, and act with Life Reimagined. Oh, come on and join me. Ooh,ooh,ooh, please do! It will be much more fun (and less scary) if you’re there too.

Judi

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

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A 50+ Fashionista Gets Stylish for Spring

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersOoh, ooh, ooh! The weather is warming up on the east coast and that means that spring has finally sprung. Time for this 50+ fashionista to go shopping for some new clothes.

I’ve read my March and April mags - Vogue, InStyle, “T” New York Times Style Magazine, “O” Oprah Magazine. I’ve made my way through Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic and Denim Habit. I may no longer have a full time job or need new business attire for work, but my passion for fashion has not waned. It’s just taken on a more casual style.

life after 50, over 50, baby boomer fashions, spring clothesI’ve emptied my closet of any corporate remnants. Out with formal suits, skirts, and dresses. Next, out with any old jackets and coats that I haven’t worn in a year or two. My body is shrinking and my 10 year old tan leather jacket (once the love of my life) must go, go, go — off to consignment. There’s no room for an ill-fitting jacket that reflects the past when I’m 100% ready to live in the present.

My shoulders have narrowed, my height is 5’2″, and my legs and arms are quite muscular since I’ve been spending much more time at the gym working out now that I don’t work at a desk all day.  The new me is trimmer and slimmer.

Thanks to my stylist, Elizabeth, who helped update my look last fall, my spring shopping trip with my daughter A was quite fabulous and fun. Elizabeth showed me how to shop for color, shape and outfits. She showed me how to mix and match and spend wisely.

Pantone 2014 Color of the Year, fashions for boomer women, baby boomer fashions, life after 50, over 50

Photo Credit: Pantone

During my day, or rather weekend, of shopping, I found myself radiating for orchid, PANTONE color of the year, in all its shades with bright and bold pinks.  I added navy and white, plus some blush pastels to round out my wardrobe.

Stephanie Solomon, VP and Fashion Director at Lord & Taylor, says that “spring 2014 is shaping up to be the season of strength and femininity.” Her “It List” includes “sporty aviator shades, clutch purses in new neutrals, painterly print scarves, full skirts, punchy pastel sweaters, pointy toe flats, modern pearls, and a pop of pink.” (Stephanie, I’ll skip the full skirts. Full skirts do not look good on my petite pear-shaped body. However, I’ll definitely be popping pink during my life after 50.)

Per the Nordstrom catalog, soft pants, graphic tops, caged sandals and statement necklaces” are also popular items for spring. Denim chambray, lace, eyelet, and peek-a-boo knits seem to be trending in many stores as well. Plus, denim jeans are all the rage – short, cropped, narrow, and boyfriend baggy.

Mom gets a new pair of jeans

“Mom, it’s time you bought a proper pair of jeans,” said my daughter A as we arrived at Denim Habit on Saturday. I had been complaining that the spandex in my jeans was so stretched out that my pants were literally falling down when I walked.

DLX makes the best jeans,” said A. “They are the only jeans I wear. They will never stretch out.”  ”These jeans are flying off the shelf,” said the nice saleswomen. “I’ve sold so many pairs and I just got them in a few days ago.”

Pull, tug, zip, tight. Whew, I got the DLX jeans over my hips and thought I would never get them off. They did make my butt look lifted as the saleswoman said they would. The tag did say that “they are made with DLX denim, a revolutionary 4-way stretch technology that adapts to unique body shapes to give custom fit and comfort.” Since these jeans were guaranteed to never “sag, bag or lose shape,” I handed the nice saleswoman my credit card and I am pleased to say that I am now the proud owner of a proper pair of jeans!

Can’t wait to show off my new jeans and the rest of my runway fashions and how I am accessorizing this spring. Here’s a sneak peek:

Fashions for baby boomer women, boomer fashions, life after 50, over 50, casual retirement clothes, aging

From Nordstrom: Hinge cotton sweaters and some colorful scarves. From Ann Taylor Loft: Denim leggings with a longer striped denim top can be worn in multiple ways with different accessories.

 

boomer fashions, baby boomer women, life after 50, over 50, spring 2014 fashions

From Banana Republic: Pink jacket. From Denim Habit: DLX jeans. From Ann Taylor Loft: Blush lace accented top, coral ruffle blouse.

 

life after 50, over 50, baby boomer fashions, spring exercise clothes

From Nordstrom: Zella exercise clothes for my weekly yoga wear go perfectly with my pink Nike sneakers. Don't you love my pink sneakers!

 

spring 2014 fashions, life after 50, over 50, baby boomer fashions

From Nordstrom: Navy striped khaki pants and Hinge white sweater. From Ann Taylor Loft: Print scarf and pink tank. From Denim Habit: DLX jeans. From Judi's closet: Isn't it great that I already have shoes and sandals from last year's spring shopping that I can wear with my new outfits?

Have I inspired you to do some spring shopping? What is on your “to buy list” for this season? Be sure to leave a comment and enter the giveaway below to win a gorgeous pink cash scarf from designer Camilla Olson. Camilla says there are a few key trends which you can follow and appear to be au courant. She recommends:

 wearing black and white together as a graphic statement;

 the sheer trend, wearing a lighter color shirt over a bandeau;

 and the athletic look which you can easily accomplish by wearing a slim pant, square neck top and/or a pea jacket.

Most of all, as Camilla says, “Enjoy this wonderful time of year.”

Judi

Life Reimagined, AARP, life after 50, over 50, boomer women

P.S. – Stay tuned this spring and summer for my upcoming blog posts where I’ll share the ways I’ve been reinventing my life this past year since retiring from my 30 year corporate career. I’m going to tell you all about “Life Reimagined” and how I’m planning on “discovering new life possibilities” during my life after 50 and how you can too.

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I’m Addicted To My Friend FUEL

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessMy wonderful boyfriend L gave a Nike+ Fuelband (green SE version) to me for Hanukah last December and I’ve been addicted to my electronic device ever since.

According to Nike, “movement is life and the more we move the more we live.” My Nike+ Fuelband has become a good friend. I didn’t see the movie Her, about a man (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who develops a relationship with an intelligent computer operating system with a female voice, but I have similar feelings about my electronic wristband. I’ve taken to calling my new friend FUEL, since it lights up with the four letters that spell out the word FUEL whenever I push its button.

Nike+ Fuelband SE, exercise, boomer wellness, life after 50, over 50

I'm addicted to my Nike+ Fuelband SE.

FUEL knows me better than I know myself. It makes me want to move. Some days I only take FUEL off when I have to charge it or when I take a bath or shower. (It’s waterproof but Nike doesn’t recommend that you submerge the bands in water.)

FUEL tracks my activities during the day. I log my bicycling, yoga and treadmill workouts. It blinks when I’m sitting at my computer for too long and reminds me to “Go Judy! Go Judy! Go Judy!.” So I get up and go, go, go.

Some nights I’ve worn FUEL to sleep. Am I sleeping? How many hours am I sleeping? Am I moving a lot during my sleep? FUEL is such a cool friend. It magically records my sleep patterns while I’m sleeping.

FUEL Gets Sick
In March, FUEL decided to play games. I awoke and went to put FUEL on my right wrist as I do every morning. I pushed down on its button but FUEL did not wake up. I felt like one of my good friend’s was ill. I didn’t want to get out of bed. How could I move without FUEL? What was wrong with my electronic friend?

I quickly called the Nike Helpline and the nice rep D walked me through the reset process. Smiles came back to my face. FUEL lit up again. I was happy.

A few days later FUEL died again. I was angry with my electronic friend. We had had a good relationship for several months. Was this friendship going to last? Was it annoyed that I had not met my movement goals last week?

I quickly called the Nike Helpline and the nice rep D told me that “since I was having several problems with my Fuelband it was time to exchange it for a new one.” “A new one,” I responded. “Well, if I am going to get a new one, do you think I could get a pink one instead of a green one?” “We’ll try,” said the nice rep D, “but I can’t guarantee as all replacements are supposed to be an exact duplicate of the original.”

A New FUEL To The Rescue
Being a 50+ fashionista, I thought if I had a pink Nike+ Fuelband SE that its personality might be more like mine, perhaps it might be a better exercise companion during my life after 50. Maybe it would be more understanding when I didn’t meet my goals. According to  empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com, if pink is your favorite color, you are:

- loving, kind, generous and sensitive to the needs of others.
– friendly and approachable with warmth and softness others are drawn to.
– nurturers of the world – giving nurturing and receiving nurturing in return.

Oh, please, please, please – make my new electronic friend pink!

The box arrived. I tore open the flaps. I unwrapped the package. I looked at the little box inside the big box. The picture on the front of the box was pink! My cheeks perked up. I hugged the wristband close. Then I programmed it for movement and put it on my right wrist.

life after 50, over 50, Nike+ Fuelband SE, boomer wellness, tech savvy boomer

My pink Nike+ Fuelband SE is much more stylish with my spring orchids and fuchsias.

She’s become a great friend and she’s going to be so stylish with all my new orchid and fuchsia spring clothes. Best of all, I know she is going to keep me on my toes and moving!

Judi

life after 50, over 50, boomer women, retirement, senior living awardsDear Readers: I’m excited to let you know that my blog has been nominated to the SeniorHomes.com Best Senior Living Awards 2014 for Best Boomer Resources. These awards highlight top resources, people, providers and organizations in a wide variety of caregiving and senior living categories. Finalists are determined by popular vote (total Facebook likes). Voting ends on April 28th, 2014. I hope you will take time to click on the logo on the left to vote. Thanks in advance for your support.

AlexandAni.com

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A Bucket List Full of Travel

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend The New York Times Travel Show at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC. I walked the floor and entered all the sweepstakes but didn’t leave with any trips. The exhibits were not too exciting, unless you wanted to plan a cruise, which many people waited in line to do since rates were cheaper if you booked on-site.

I did enjoy the seminars, particularly the one about “Global Travel Tips For Women.” The session was moderated by April Merenda, co-founder and owner of Gutsy Women Travel with panelists: Lea Lane, author, Travel Tales I Couldn’t Put in the Guidebooks, Iris Krasnow, author, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married, Cheryl Benton, women’s market expert, Three Tomatoes, and Phyllis Stoller, Women’s Travel Group, Sita Tours. (Special thanks to Phyllis for providing me with a complimentary ticket to the show.)

boomer travel, life after 50, over 50, boomer women, retirement

Panelists Lea Lane and Cheryl Benton.

My bucket list is full of places I want to visit in the U.S. and internationally. Listening to all the talk about travel made me want to pack my suitcase and go, go, go. I would love to go around the world during my life after 50. (What’s stopping me you ask? Oh, well, hmm – would anyone like to bequeath me a bundle of bills for an open passport?)

According to Cheryl, “women over 55 is one of the largest and growing audiences for travel.” Cheryl says that “women in this demographic group are intellectually curious and many of us have more time to travel now that our kids are grown. Plus, many boomers backpacked their way around Europe at a young age and now they want to go back to their roots and travel some more.” (I never backpacked through Europe in my 20s. The summer after I graduated from college, I did chaperone a teen tour and camped my way across the U.S. and Western Canada. It was a fantastic trip. Was that 30+ years ago? OMG!)

Lea encouraged each woman in the audience to take a solo trip during the second half of her life. “Discover a place and discover yourself,” she said. “Plan ahead and have a framework for your travel, pamper yourself and make things easy when you’re on your own. Be safe and keep your cell phone charged at all times. Consume your main meal at lunch time and carry sunglasses so you look glamorous when you eat alone.” (I went to the Miraval Spa in Arizona on my own after my husband passed away. I had never traveled by myself. It was a good place to meet and mingle.)

boomer travel, boomer women, life after 50, over 50, retirement and travel, travel and leisure

Panelists Phyllis Stoller and Iris Krasnow.

Phyllis talked about the different ‘women only’ trips she plans. “I started Women’s Travel Group in 1992 after living overseas for 10 years,” Phyllis said. “American women may have better careers and more dollars to spend than European women, but I’ve found that European women are more well-traveled.” (I noticed during my own international travel that Europeans are more likely to speak multiple languages so perhaps it is easier for European women to get around from country to country. What do you think?)

Iris shared her tales from the 200+ women she interviewed for her book, Secret Lives of Wives. “Yes, women can have it both ways: a committed, happy marriage and adventures in uncharted territory,” Iris said. Part of those adventures include travel. “I  spent seven weeks apart from my husband during a separate summer. When I travel, I get myself,” Iris said.

Another seminar I attended was led by photographer Ralph Velasco. Ralph reminded us to  have a plan for photography when we travel. I am definitely going to download Ralph’s My Shot List For Travel app before I go on my next trip. It includes all types of pictures to take to capture good photos.

Speaking of my next trip, this year I’m taking a female-only trip with my sister N and my daughter A. We’re going to Madrid and Barcelona in the spring. I’m so excited. I’ve never been to Spain. We’re using airbnb.com for our lodging – very reasonably priced.

boomer women, life after 50, over 50, boomer travel, retirement

Author Patricia Schultz (left) inspired me to travel during my life after 50.

Before I left the show, I listened to a presentation by Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places To See In The U.S. and Canada Before You Die. Patricia was a tantalizing travel guide with a wealth of information. “Travel is an education. As you go places and listen as an adult, it gives you more understanding and makes you who you are,” Patricia said.

Bird watching on Block Island in Rhode Island, autumn leaves in Vermont, cherry blossoms blooming in the spring in Washington D.C., plantation tours in Charleston, S.C. (where The Notebook was filmed — ooh, ooh, ooh must go there, I love that movie), the Kentucky bluegrass country, New Orleans French Quarter, Idaho whitewater rafting, Grand Tetons — there are so many places that Patricia highlighted, my bucket list is now completely overflowing and that’s just in the U.S. and Canada.

Patricia’s other book, 1,000 Places To See Before You Die – A Traveler’s Life List, features many more international landmarks. Both books make perfect birthday gifts for anyone who is turning 50 or 50+.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away,” Patricia remarked as she inspired the audience to see the world. I agree Patricia. Yes, I agree.

So have you packed your suitcase yet? Where do you want to travel to – near or far? Your backyard or Kansas City for the best barbecue? Leave a comment and enter the giveaway below for a copy of Patricia’s book, 1,000 Places To See In The U.S. and Canada Before You Die. Deadline is Friday, April 11, 11:59 ET.

Happy travels.

Judi

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A Year Later – Remembering Mom

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersLast week marked a year since my mom passed away. It’s been an entire year since she left me and my sister N to fend for ourselves. She lived a long and good life into her 90s, but I still miss her so very, very much. I think of her almost every day. Sometimes I forget that she is no longer in Flo-ree-da and I find myself dialing her number. Then I remember she is not there.

“Mom, what should I do?” I asked when I was in a jam or one of the kids was sick. She always had comforting words to say. “Don’t worry, it will be okay,” she would calmly reply.

“Mom, I’m frustrated with my job,” I complained when I was unhappy with how my career was progressing or how my boss was treating me. “Do your best,” she would reassure me. “Just do your best.”

My mom was at the top of my list when I had happy news to share. “Mom, I’m getting married. Mom, I’m having a baby. Mom, I bought a condo at the shore. Mom, I’m retiring from my full-time job.” I could feel her hugs and kisses through the phone lines.

When my sister N and I emptied her condo a few years ago (before we moved mom to an assisted living residence) we donated most of her furnishings. The only prized possessions I wanted were the family photographs that she kept in her nightstand drawer.

life after 50, over 50, baby boomer women, aging

My mom was in her 20s during the 1940s.

I took the box of old photos out of my closet the other night and flipped through hundreds of pictures. It was like a history lesson – the fashions of the 1940s when my mom was in her 20s, the baby carriages of the 1950s when my sister N and I were born, the beehives and bouffant hairdos of the 1960s – the pictures made me smile and a few made me laugh. There is a lifetime of memories in those photos.

In honor of my mom, I thought I would share one of her poems. My mom wrote poems when she was a young working girl in her 20s. I hope my mom’s words bring you back to the 1940s as they did for me the other night. I hope you feel the excitement of a pretty young women named Pearl who had a gentleman caller “on the night before the night before Christmas.”

“T’was the night before the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse
I had just washed my hair
And curled it in place
Got into my bathrobe
And then washed my face
When out of the silence
The telephone rings
Oh, it’s just a wrong number
Or one of those things
Aunt Martha, whose next to the darned instrument
Picks up the receiver
Then tired and spent
Says, ‘hello, what is it? Oh, you want Pearl’
Then she yells through the hall
‘It’s for you, glamour girl’
 I jump from the couch and let out with a wale
‘Is it one of the gals or is it a male?’
No chance for an answer
So I get on the phone
While that sister of mine
Just won’t leave me alone
‘Is it Sid, is it John, is it Mike, is it Joe’
 While I keep repeating, ‘Hello, hello, hello’
I finally find out to my surprise
It’s that corporal from Boston
With the baby blue eyes
He’s just dying to see me
Before he leaves town
Shall he come up or will I come down
Come up if you want and we’ll chew the fat
Do you know how to get here and just where I’m at
 I hang up the phone after giving directions
And glance in a mirror at my imperfections
No powder, no lipstick, my hair is all wet
No stockings, or shoes and I start into fret
The house is a mess, papers scattered about
Oh, why did I have to stick my neck out
Well, t’was the night before the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse
The house was all cleaned and I was all dressed
When out of the silence the door bell was pressed.”

Oh mom, I wish you were still around so I could ask you what happened next. Guess I’ll have to create my own happy ending. What do you think happened next?

Judi

Dear Readers: I’m very excited to report that I am now an affiliate for Alex and Ani jewelry. I wear their bracelets and really love them. Alex and Ani believes in the power of positive energy, a core company principle. They have made it their mission to share the benefits of positive energy through their unique beauty and symbolism of their products. You can find all their jewelry by clicking the link below. If you purchase any of their jewelry, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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Two Thumbs Up for LE WEEK-END

life after 50, Newton Fruit Thins, baby boomer women, boomer womenI was invited to attend a screening of the new movie LE WEEK-END. I said yes to the publicist right away when I heard it was a romantic comedy that takes place in Paris. My BFF L joined me as we ventured into Philadelphia early Saturday morning. I was glad that I didn’t invite my boyfriend L, not sure he would have enjoyed the movie as much as  L and I did – think it’s more of a chick-flick, especially for boomer girls.

LE WEEK-END movie, life after 50, movies in Paris, boomer movies, over 50, boomer chick flicksAs described in the press materials: “The movie is about a long-married British couple revisiting Paris for the first time since their honeymoon in an attempt to rekindle their relationship.

During a two-day escapade, diffident, wistful Nick (Jim Broadbent) and demanding, take-charge Meg (Lindsay Duncan) careen from harmony to disharmony to resignation and back again as they take stock of half a lifetime of deep tenderness — and even deeper regret. A surprise invitation from Nick’s old friend Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), an amusingly boorish American academic with a fancy Parisian address, soon leads them to an unexpectedly hopeful vision of what their love and marriage might still become.”

LE WEEK-END movie, life after 50, Paris movies, over 50, boomer movies, boomer women

Nick Burrows (Jim Broadbent) and Meg Burrows (Lindsay Duncan) in LE WEEK-END. Courtesy of Music Box Films

The range of emotions run deep as you watch Nick and Meg deal with the state of their marriage and their individual wants and needs as they come to terms with who they are at this point in their lives.

There are some tender and tough moments between Nick and Meg that reminded me of the ups and downs during my own 24 years of marriage. Now a widow, I often wonder what type of couple my late husband M and I would have become had we grown old together. As for my relationship with my boyfriend L – so far, so good. We’ve only been together for five years and we’re not married.

There are some precious gems from the mouths of Nick and Meg that made me ponder the essence of love and tugged at my heartstrings:

♥ “You cannot love and hate the same person,” says Nick. “usually within the space of five minutes.”

♥ “People don’t change,” says Nick. “They do,” responds Meg. “They get worse.”

♥ “Beckett says ‘do we mean love when we say love?’” says Nick. “What else do we mean, that’s stupid,” says Meg.

Le Week-end, Paris movies, life after 50, over 50, boomer women, midlife women, boomer movies, aging

Courtesy of Music Box Films.

Do I give this movie two thumbs up? Absolument! If you are a Type-A boomer girl like me you will enjoy and identify with Meg, who at sixty-something, is fun, free-spirited and quite impulsive. She also looks amazing in her Parisian black lace dress.

There was a lively talk after the film ended. Reviews were mixed. Most of the women seemed to like the movie, while one man had negative comments. “I think Nick and Meg should have divorced years ago,” he said like a typical male who has no time for dialogue. A few in the audience wondered if Nick and Meg will end up staying married. We’ll have to wait for the sequel (if there is one) to find out, or if not write our own happy ending.

The movie opens on Friday, March 14 in New York and Los Angeles, then expands to cities across the country through the end of April. Should you go see it? Take a peek at the trailer and see for yourself.

As for me, I agree with Meg, “Ah Paris, who’d want to live anywhere else? 

Judi 

Dear Readers: I’m very excited to report that I am now an affiliate for Alex and Ani jewelry. I wear their bracelets and really love them. Alex and Ani believes in the power of positive energy, a core company principle. They have made it their mission to share the benefits of positive energy through their unique beauty and symbolism of their products. You can find all their jewelry by clicking the link below. If you purchase any of their jewelry, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

AlexandAni.com

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Triple Crown: My Velvet Sofa, An Anna Quindlen Novel and A Latte

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI can’t think of a more enjoyable winter afternoon than cuddling up on my new gray velvet sofa, reading Anna Quindlen’s latest novel, Still Life With Bread Crumbs, and sipping a Starbucks VIA Latte.

First the sofa: In a recent The New York Times Style magazine there was a feature about writers and the places where they write. I noticed that quite a few of the writing rooms had one thing in common – each had a sofa. The sofa was the place where the writer sits, reads and has quiet time for creative thinking.

What a brilliant idea! I am a writer. I  need a sofa for my office too.

West Elm, life after 50, over 50, baby boomer woman

My new West Elm gray velvet sofa.

My friend J joined me for my sofa searching trip. We set off to West Elm, a contemporary furniture store to purchase a contemporary sofa. “I like the grey velvet couch with the blue pillows and blue throw as accents,” said J as we walked around the store. I loved the idea of a velvet sofa to sit upon for times when I want to let my mind wander. All items were in stock and delivered within the week. Simply marvelous!


Next the book: Anna Quindlen is one of my favorite writers. Anna’s new novel, Still Life With Bread Crumbs, is about Rebecca, a once famous photographer, who leaves her Manhattan apartment for the countryside and in so doing rediscovers her passion at the age of 60. With great stamina and strength, Rebecca meets new people, including a younger suitor, manages with much less funds than earlier in her life, deals with aging parents and a grown son, and comes to terms with a different, yet satisfying lifestyle.

Perhaps I enjoyed the story so much because I could identify with many aspects of Rebecca’s life, especially as I reinvent my own life after 50. I bookmarked several  passages that stirred deep feelings. Here are a few treasured clips:

When Rebecca leaves Manhattan: “She felt some strange yearning, but she couldn’t decide what it was for. Not for the city: it seemed like another country to her now, remembered, not felt.” (I too have yearnings, but am not sure yet exactly where they will lead me.)

As a mature single woman: “The dining room table in the home of a person living alone becomes the entire world, divided into countries: the area for the mail, for work if there is any, a small duchy set aside for the placement of one dish, one bowl, one fork. Rebecca looked at her table in the wan yellow light of the lantern and saw her life in all of its loneliness.” (I have those pangs of loneliness sometimes, even after six years of being on my own.)

When she has relations with a younger man: “She was a sixty-year-old woman: she knew that she was supposed to be remembering what went here and there, who did what to whom, except that the truth is, what goes here and there and who does what to whom changes very little from event to event, even under the best of circumstances. And while she was indeed thinking of some of that, she mainly remembered how Jim Bates had looked in that unpleasant overhead glare for just a minute, the look a small boy has on his face at the head of the table when his mother walks in with the birthday cake, candles lit. She liked the feeling that she was the cake.” (I agree with Rebecca, relationships are different the second time around, but they can be equally nice or get even better as we age.)

Rebecca’s insomnia: “In recent years what she missed most about her youth was sleep, that ability to fall into a hole of unconsciousness and land, softly and without sensation, at the bottom, to awake ten hours later rested and with skin remarkably uncreased.” (I miss my youthful sleep patterns too. I do. I do.)

Rebecca’s realizations: “Then when she really thought about it she realized she’d been becoming different people for as long as she could remember but had never really noticed, or had put it down to moods, or marriage, or motherhood. The problem was that she’d thought that at a certain point she would be a finished product. Now she wasn’t sure what that might be, especially when she considered how sure she had been about it at various times in the past, and how wrong she’d been. (Yes, yes, yes! Rebecca, I know what you mean. Do you ever feel this way during your life after 50?)

Rebecca’s reflections: “…she had begun to feel like her old life was a snow globe, something she’d once loved the look of and then outgrew. Or maybe it outgrew her.” (As I approach my first year anniversary since leaving my full time job my perceptions of my old life and my new life are similar to Rebecca’s.)

And finally the latte: “I saw an ad for your new Starbucks VIA lattes,” I told the Starbucks press office via email. “I’m excited that I can now make a latte at home with hot water and your instant blend. Please send some samples and I’ll gladly review.”

The Starbucks PR team was so nice. They sent samples of both varieties:

life after 50, over 50, Starbucks Via Lattes

The nice PR team sent samples of new Starbucks Via Lattes.

- Caffe Mocha, made with dutched and natural cocoa, Starbucks espresso and natural dairy. It is really rich and quite tasty.

- Vanilla Latte, made with Starbucks espresso, natural dairy and vanilla flavor. This one is velvety sweet like my new velvet sofa.

While I prefer the Skinny versions I usually get at my Starbucks shop, these VIA versions are a good at-home substitute for snowy days.

Meantime, as for my afternoon – a soft sofa, a great book and an indulgent latte – I rate this threesome a triple crown affair.

Judi

 

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Skip Meditation, Just Take Me Back To Miami!

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50This weather on the east coast is a drag – first snow, sleet, and ice, now thunderstorms and heavy rain. While I did many heart opening asanas in yoga class yesterday in honor of February American Heart Month, I closed my eyes during mindfulness meditation and let my mind wander.

I pretended my yoga mat was a magic carpet and let it whisk me away to South Beach Miami. My boyfriend L and I had such a lovely vacation in South Beach last November before the stormy winter arrived.

South Beach Miami, Savoy Hotel, life after 50, over 50, travel and leisure, boomer travel

We stayed at The Savoy Hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach Miami.

 

My mind wandered back to The Savoy Hotel on Ocean Drive. It was a quaint little hotel. Not too fancy, not too expensive. We had a small one bedroom suite with a kitchen and living room and a romantic balcony that overlooked the ocean. No need for a car as everything was within a convenient walking distance.

 

“Breathe in and breathe out,” said my yoga teacher. “When your mind wanders, come back to the breath.”

My mind wandered, but I didn’t bring it back. Instead I relished in the 80 degree temperatures and sunny days of South Beach. L and I walked each morning along the beach path, passed the art deco hotels and the skyscrapers. One day we peeked inside the luxurious Loews South Beach resort to view the fish in the massive aquarium and asked a fellow visitor to take our picture outdoors among the tall palm trees.

South Beach Miami, life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

PAUL patisserie was a favorite breakfast spot on the outdoor mall on Lincoln Road.

I loved our walks to Lincoln Road with its outdoor mall – so many hip shops and hot restaurants. PAUL was our favorite breakfast spot where we sipped Lavazza iced coffee and shared French pastries and egg sandwich baguettes.

“Breathe in and breathe out,” said my yoga teacher. “When your mind wanders, come back to the breath.”

I let my mind continue to wander. I thought about my bike rides on the path along Miami’s blue water beaches. On a few afternoons I rented a bicycle from one of the many DecoBike stations and rode around town and along the bike path. What joy!

“Breathe in and breathe out,” said my yoga teacher. “When your mind wanders, come back to the breath.”

South Beach Miami, Dolce, life after 50, over 50

The Italian restaurant Dolce is located in the Gale Hotel on Collins Avenue.

I thought about all the delicious meals we enjoyed in South Beach – brunch at Front Porch Cafe, lunch  at News Cafe, dinners at the new Italian restaurant Dolce at the Gale Hotel and tapas at Tapas y Tintos on Espanola Way.

Breathe in and breathe out,” said my yoga teacher. “Time to open your eyes.

Meditation was over. I opened my eyes. My yoga mat was back in New Jersey. Just a quick little mindful trip to Miami and I was so relaxed and happy.

As I walked to my car I jumped over the puddles in the parking lot – no blue ocean or sand crystals – just puddles.

The first day of spring is only a month away. The cherry blossoms will be in bloom soon too. Hallelujah!

Judi

P.S. Still time to enter my February giveaway for a Yoga DVD. Deadline for entry is Friday, February 28th, 11:59 p.m. ET.

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A Simple Secret To Stress Relief

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessEveryone seems stressed out these days. Stress can contribute to an increase in cortisol levels (stress hormone) impacting heart disease, blood pressure, blood sugar and stress can be detrimental to your health.

In this month’s issue of The Oprah Magazine, Dr. Mehmet Oz reports a new study shows the impact stress can have on your brain. He says “Researchers tracked women for nearly 40 years and found that those who experienced a greater number of stressors (work problems, divorce, family illness) in middle age were more likely to develop dementia later in life. Chronic stress may trigger the production of inflammatory compounds and damage areas of the brain.”

Ooh, ooh, ooh, stress is not fun.

stress relief, life after 50, over 50, Nancy WIff Davis, boomer wellness

Nancy Davis, E-RYT

In honor of February American Heart Month, I interviewed my yoga teacher Nancy Davis, E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance) to find out about her secret to stress relief. When I started practicing yoga, Nancy’s classes were the first yoga classes I attended. I found and continue to find my yoga practice to be helpful in relaxing my mind and my body.

Here’s what Nancy had to say:

J: How does stress manifest?
N: How often have you found yourself losing your temper at the most inane things? Or do you ever get so frustrated that you just want to cry or instead reach for a bag of pretzels or chips or cookies?  Yep, admit it.

Many issues cause stress in our daily lives. It can be intense traffic during a normally simple drive to work that multiplies into intense stress. Because of the traffic jam you are late for work or late for an appointment, skip lunch or stay late at work or both. Now you are tired, disappointed since you originally planned to go to the gym or maybe a yoga class and now you end up missing it.

On the weekend or evening there are so many household chores to attend to — grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and other activities. Or, maybe you are dealing with aging parents and their health issues. Whatever your situation, the stress begins to build up.

J: Is stress more emotional or physical?
N: Stress is an emotional situation that can manifest into a physical state. Think about the last time you were angry. Did your body react too — hands clench, eyes narrow, stomach churn, or head hurt? Anger is an emotion but the reactions are physical. The body tightens, the blood doesn’t flow as freely as when you are calm, and the physical body systems (nervous, circulatory, etc) take over.

J: There are many retirees in your yoga classes. Do you find that retirees are less stressed?
N:
I often hear people say, “When I retire, I will be stress free.” After spending time with retirees, I can tell you that people who are retired from their full time jobs face their own stresses, including those impacted by physical and mental aging, financial pressures, and sometimes loneliness.

J: As a yogi, what do you recommend people do to better deal with stress?
N: The answer is generations old: breathe….just breathe.

If you can take time to stop, breathe and just be present in each moment, these small actions will help you remain calm. Breathing deeply and slowly is the key to tranquility and relaxation. It doesn’t mean you need to sit in lotus pose with your legs crossed and our eyes closed for hours. It means finding time to let go of the issues in your life that you tend to obsess over and over in your mind. Most of the time these are issues you cannot control. Which is just about everything!

J: Any final words of wisdom?
N: Let go of the need to always manage everything perfectly. Just breathe into the blessings of your life. Stress relief is within us all — just breathe.

You can find more wellness tips from Nancy along with copies of her yoga book and DVD for purchase on her website at neverstopmovingyoga.com.

Share a comment about how you relieve stress and enter via the Rafflecopter link below to win a copy of Nancy’s DVD called “You Don’t Have to be a Yogi to do Yoga,” featuring practices for yoga on the chair and gentle yoga on the mat. You may recognize a familiar face among the participants – moi was one of Nancy’s students during the filming. Deadline for entry is Friday, February 28.

Meantime, for all those who are trying to manage through the ice and snowstorms this winter, stay safe and warm and remember — just breathe. That’s what I intend to do since my flight was canceled on Thursday evening, preventing me from attending the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco this weekend.

Namaste.

Judi

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Taking Care Of My Heart

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessIt looks like you may have had a heart attack,” said doctor S as she read the EKG during my annual checkup in December.

“OMG! Are you kidding me?” I gasped. I grew faint. I thought about all the stomach and chest pains I had experienced throughout the year. I wondered if indeed one might have been a heart attack instead of indigestion or muscle spasm.

“I don’t see any report on your previous EKG from your cardiologist,” said doctor S. “This EKG looks different than the one from a few years ago. I’m going to fax it to your cardiologist’s office and see what they say. Stay calm.”

Stay calm. Stay calm. WTF! I put my head down on the table and practiced  mindfulness meditation. Breathe in. Breathe out. This potential news hit hard. For the past six years since losing my husband I’d been trying to mend my broken heart, but what if what the doctor said was true? What if my heart was forever damaged? Breathe in. Breathe out.

After what seemed like the longest 30 minutes ever, doctor S returned. “I’m pleased to report that your cardiologist’s office reviewed the EKG and the findings are NEGATIVE,” said doctor S.

Ohm, ohm, ohm! Ahh, ahh, ahh!

In January, I saw my cardiologist doctor P to confirm the findings. She said that sometimes doctors who are not used to reading EKGs can misread them. Dr. P suggested I have a stress test to double check my heart since I had been having a few flutters and also have an eco and carotid doppler to review my arteries for any clogs. The results were all NEGATIVE.

Ohm, ohm, ohm! Ahh, ahh, ahh!

February Go Red For Women

Go Red For Women, Red Dress, AHA, life after 50, menopause, over 50, baby boomer women, boomer women, boomer health

The red dress is the symbol for the American Heart Association Go Red For Women campaign to prevent heart disease in women.

This month, the American Heart Association celebrates Go Red For Women to raise awareness of the fight against heart disease — the number one killer of women, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

Menopause doesn’t help matters either. According to the Penn Medicine blog, “the decrease in estrogen caused by menopause has multiple negative effects on the female cardiovascular system including: changes in the walls of arteries and blood vessels which makes plaque and blood clots more likely to form; increased fibrinogen levels which make blood clots more likely to form and narrow the arteries; a decrease in HDL – or “good cholesterol” – and an increase in LDL or “bad cholesterol.”

Are boomer girls doomed? No, no, no. However, heed the warning and make sure you have your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure under control. I try to get annual checkups and I’m glad I do.

Penn Medicine Heart & Vascular Center reminds women to take action to improve heart health with “Life’s Simple 7,” including:

1. Get active. (I do yoga, bike and walk. What exercise do you do?)
2. Lose weight. (I try to watch my weight. The scale is part of my daily routine and I have a digital scale so I can see the numbers without my specs!)
3. Reduce blood sugar. (My glucose number was 95 this year. It’s inching up there. Better watch it.)
4. Stop smoking. (Never smoked and never will.)
5. Manage blood pressure. (All good – stress levels under control.)
6. Control cholesterol. (My total cholesterol is on the high side at 245. Bad cholesterol is high too with an LDL of 148. Good cholesterol or HDL is 80. I’m allergic to statins, so I have to manage my cholesterol with diet and exercise for now. Maybe one day there will be a new medication that I can take instead of statins.)
7. Eat better. (I watch my fat consumption, use olive oil when I cook, eat lots of fish with Omega-3s and take fish oil supplements. The Mediterranean diet is supposed to be good for you.)

The American Heart Association recommends knowing your risk and getting regular checkups. As women, we tend to be caregivers to others and oftentimes do not take care of ourselves. AHA offers a Go Red Heart CheckUp* to assess your main cardiovascular health risk factors. It only takes a few minutes and along with your results, you’ll receive a Personal Action Plan.  I took the assessment and found it very helpful. My risk for heart disease was low.

February 7th is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness of heart disease in women. So glad I didn’t have a heart attack. I’m going to drape my red pashima across my chest. It’s time to continue strengthening my spiritual heart and celebrate every moment of every day. As Helen Keller said, “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

Judi

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