My First Visit To Greece: Enjoying A Wine and Food Tour In Santorini

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Are you ready to hear about my culinary explorations and libations in Santorini? While a few months have passed since returning from my first-ever trip to Greece with my daughter A and sister N, I so love reminiscing about our travels.

A Fabulous Wine and Food Tour in Santorini
It was mid-week in Santorini and A and I were looking forward to learning more about the food and wine culture of the region with Santorini Wine Trails. We had registered in advance for the “Foodie Tour,” which includes visiting a family-owned farm, walking in an 80-year-old vineyard, and sampling local wines and beer. (Note: N didn’t join us for the tour. She wanted to rest after our previous day’s strenuous hike from Fira to Oia.)

Prickly Pears; Santorini; Greece; Santorini Wine Trails Foodie Tour; travel; boomer travel

Prickly Pears grow on the family-owned farm in Santorini.

Iliana, our guide, picked us up at the Oia Post Office around mid-morning. Three other women who were vacationing from Chicago joined our group at the next pickup.

Iliana was filled with history about the island. We told her we were enjoying the beauty of Oia and our lodging at Nicoletta’s Loukia Cave House. She shared details about how Santorini and Oia have changed over the years.

“Everything that has happened here – roads, businesses – has happened in the last 20-25 years,” said Iliana. “After the 1956 earthquake, people were scared and left the island. In the 1980s, more investment happened and people started to return.”

Santorini; Greece; travel; boomer travel

The Santorini countryside has changed a lot since roads have been built.

We shared our story about our hike through the mountains from Fira, the capital of Santorini, to Oia. “Oia was always isolated from the rest of the island. The hike was the only way originally to get there. Not until the mid-90s when they started to build the roads could you get there by car,” said Iliana. Continue reading

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My First Visit To Greece: Soaking In The Splendors of Santorini

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Now that the weekend was behind us and we had experienced city life in Athens, it was time to spend a week soaking in the splendors of Santorini. My first trip to Greece with my sister N and daughter A was about to get even better.

We packed our bags and headed for the Athens airport for a short flight aboard Aegean Air to Santorini. (Note 1: You can also take a ferry ride to Santorini but a friend recommended flying as a quicker and calmer option. Note 2: It is cheaper to book your luggage fee online before you get to the airport.) Upon landing, our transport was waiting to drive us to Nicoletta’s Loukia Cave House, our Airbnb booking, high up on the hill in Oia. OIa is at the northern tip and one of the most popular and picturesque villages on Santorini’s 15-mile-long main island.

Santorini; Oia; Greece

The Loukia Cave House was perfect for the three of us and could have fit up to six. The house had everything we needed for seven glorious days in Oia – comfortable beds, hot water for showers (as long as you remembered to turn the hot water on before you showered), a kitchen for cooking, a patio for sunbathing, and daily maid service.

Santorini; Oia; Loukia Cave House; Greece

Loukia Cave House; Santorini; Oia; GreeceOne BIG thing to remember in Santorini is that toilet paper must not be thrown in the toilet – it must go in the trash. The sewer system throughout the island is not very advanced. That’s why you need the daily maid service. Got it?

Exploring Oia
Not wanting to stay inside while the sun was shining, we lathered on sunscreen, put on our hats and visors, and ventured out to explore all that Oia has to offer. Despite the crowds of tourists from multiple cruise ships, we managed to find our way to the town center to scope out the shops and restaurants and bask in our spectacular surroundings. Continue reading

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A Fun Fashionista Day At The MET Costume Exhibition

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI know I promised my next post about my travels to Santorini. Don’t worry it’s coming soon. This week, I wanted to take a break from Greece to bring you highlights from my fun day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) Costume Exhibition.

Being a fashionista at heart (although I now wear yoga leggings most days), I so look forward to my yearly visit to the MET Costume Exhibition with my BFF J and BFF N. It is a high point of the summer. This year was no exception. The exhibition was a feast for the eyes and I can’t wait to share my photos.

Are you ready for a visual extravaganza?

The 2017 “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” exhibition features the Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo, who designs under the label Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo is in her mid-70s today and is a true artist. The exhibition is mesmerizing with clothes artfully arranged atop and inside geometrically-arranged white display cases and cylinders.

Are you ready to be transformed by fashion as art?

“Her fashions not only stand apart from the genealogy of clothing but also resist definition and confound interpretation. They can be read as Zen koans or riddles devised to baffle, bemuse, and bewilder,” notes the printed guide. “At the center of her work are the koan mu (emptiness) and the related notion of ma (space), which coexist in the concept of the ‘in-between.'”

Are you ready to channel your inner fashionista?

We followed the map around the exhibition which led us on a path through nine expressions of Kawakubo’s ‘in-betweenness’:  Absence/Presence; Design/Not Design; Fashion/Antifashion; Model/Multiple; High/Low; Then/Now; Self/Other; Object/Subject; and Clothes/Not Clothes.

The duality of the designs reminded me of my yoga studies and the duality and equanimity we try to create with yoga poses. In fact, it was so Zen in the exhibition hall at times I wished I could have put down a mat and done yoga among the clothes. (Wonder if the MET would like to have me host a Kawakubo yoga session? Maybe I should ask them?)

Are you ready for my Insta-worthy Kawakubo photos?

Ooh, ahh, ooh, ahh! 

Drumroll please!

2017 MET Costume Exhibition; Rei Kawakubo; Metropolitan Museum of Art 2017 Costume Exhibition

1. Absence/Presence: “My clothes and the species they inhabit are inseparable – they are one and the same. They convey the same vision, the same message and the same sense of values.” says Kawakubo (2017)

Rei Kawakubo; Comme des Garcons; MET 2017 Costume Exhibition; 2017 Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Exhibition

5.2 High/Low “There’s value in bad taste.” Rei Kawakubo (2008)

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My First Visit To Greece: Climbing To The Top Of The Acropolis

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

It was day two of my first visit to Greece with my sister N and daughter A. As I mentioned in my previous post, “The Amazing Old World of Athens,” we were spending a weekend in Athens and then going for a week’s vacation on the island of Santorini.

It was a hot and sunny Saturday. We woke early and enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet, which was included in our stay at the Athens’ Electra Palace Hotel. There were eggs, fresh Greek yogurt, cereals, homemade waffles, fruit, croissants and more. With our tummies full, we were ready to climb to the top of the Acropolis, the most popular Greek landmark.

Athens; Greece; Acropolis

Touring The Acropolis
The Acropolis sits high up on a hill. We followed the signs and bought our tickets on site. It costs $20 euro for a ticket to the Acropolis and $30 euro if you want to see all of the monuments around the city. You can get your tickets in advance online or at the entrance. There was hardly any wait time on site. (Note: Wear sneakers and be careful under foot as it is not an easy climb. Plus pack plenty of water bottles to stay hydrated in the summer time.)

Athena, a local guide was offering tours for an additional $20 euro. We decided to join her and were very glad we did. There is so much to learn about ancient Greek culture and without a guide it would not be as interesting.

Athens; Greece; Acropolis

We ascended the rocky path to the Theater of Dionysos. “The first theater of the world was born in Greece. The Odeon was the auditorium. Theater means viewing things in Greek,” explained Athena. “The orchestra is in the middle. Actors are called hypocrites. Group therapy was the theater of psychotherapy. Soma means soul. The soul is the psyche. They improved the soul through the theater. ”

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My First Trip To Greece: The Amazing Old World of Athens

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

“Let’s plan a trip to Greece,” said my daughter A the day after we arrived home from our summer 2016 family vacation to Italy. “I want to go to Greece,” followed my sister N. They didn’t have to twist my arm for me to say “yes” or “ne” as they say in Greek. I love feta cheese, spanakopita, and baklava. I knew it would be a great vacation as we had traveled together to Spain a few years ago and all gotten along.

Baklava; Greek pastries; Greece; Santorini

By January 2017 our flights were booked for a June journey.  We would spend three days exploring the amazing old world of Athens and a week in Oia on the magnificent island of Santorini.

Greece; Athens; travel; Santoriini; Oia

I went to Greece with my daughter A (left) and my sister N (right).

It was a wonderful trip and now that I’m back I can’t wait to share the details. For sure, you’ll want to book a trip to Greece when you’re done reading about our travels.

A Smooth Flight to Athens
We left from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Taking the train to the plane from Manhattan was quite easy to navigate, even with luggage. I packed light, using my favorite Eagle Creek compression bags (highly recommend these bags for organizing clothes in your suitcase) and a 21-inch Samsonite. Delta was our airline of choice with a non-stop flight – on time, clean plane, lots of movies, good food. Eight hours later, we touched down in Athens. Continue reading

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My Fabulous Foodie Day At The 2017 Fancy Food Show

aboomerslifeafter50.com; boomer women; life after 50Are you hungry?

Are you thirsty?

If not, you likely will be after you read about my fabulous foodie day at the 2017 Fancy Food Show. Last week, I spent four hours walking 362,000 square feet of the Javits Center in New York while sampling goodies offered by 2,600+ exhibiting companies. As a long-term foodie (in my previous career I worked for two major food companies for 30+ years), attending the show and scoping out new products is always fun.

The Fancy Food Show has helped launch such brands as Popchips, Ben & Jerry’s, Walker’s Shortbread (my late husband M loved these biscuits), ZICO Coconut Water and Vermont Creamery.

#2017SFFS; foodie; Florence Fabricant, 2017 Fancy Food Show

I was excited to meet “The New York Times” food writer Florence Fabricant at the Fancy Food Show.

Move Over Millennials, Boomers Are Big Foodies
According to Today’s Specialty Food Consumer 2016 Report, “baby boomers are an experiential and experimental group. They use specialty foods the most of all groups, more than millennials, for cooking at home. They do a lot of scratch cooking and enjoy trying new things.” In addition to getting excited about their food, health and social consciousness play a role in purchases. They are also the most likely consumer group to purchase products that claim to be fair trade, ethical, or sustainable.

My Foodie Favorite
So now that you know that boomers are big foodies, I’m going to share the foods that pleased Judi Foodie’s post 50 palate during my gourmet walkabout. Some of these products can be purchased in local supermarkets, while others can be found in Whole Foods or smaller gourmet shops. If you cannot locate a particular product in stores I suggest checking Amazon or going on the company’s website.

Drum roll please! My absolute FAVORITE #1 product of the show was Kourellas Organic Greek Yogurt. It brought me back to my vacation in Greece (will share all the details of my trip soon) and the delicious creamy yogurt we ate during our stay in Athens and Santorini. Greek yogurt and honey is a breakfast classic in Greece. Kourellas yogurt was smooth and lighter than most Greek yogurts. Unfortunately this yogurt is not available yet on the east coast. I hope Kourellas gets a distributor soon.

#SFFS; Kourellas Greek Organic Yogurt; Kourellas; foodie

Second drum roll! Third and fourth drum roll! My absolute FAVORITE #2 and #3 and #4 products of the show were Bonchou Eclairerie mini eclairs, Petitpot Pot De Creme (French for delicious pudding), and SweetBite Baklava one bite wonders to satisfy the sweet tooth. All were phenomenal desserts with portion control. Yum, yum, yum!  Continue reading

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It’s Summer! Time To Power Up The Sunscreen

This post is produced in collaboration with CVS Phamacy.

boomer beauty, life after 50, makeup for 50+ women, over 50Give me a cheer! Give me a yeah! Give me a high-five!

It’s finally warm and sunny. I’m back from my holiday in Greece (will be sharing all the highlights soon) and getting ready for summer weekends at my condo-on-the-corner at the Jersey shore.

Power Up Your Sunscreen
As a CVS ambassador*, it’s my job to remind you to power up your sunscreen so you don’t get a bad summer sunburn. I did exactly that while in Athens and Santorini. The sun was shining bright when my sister N and daughter A and I climbed to the top of the Acropolis and walked and hiked around Santorini. Only A got a bad sunburn on her legs, N and I re-applied and were more cautious with hats and caps. We all came back with good tans.

Greece; Santorini; Oia

My friends at CVS were so nice to supply my sunscreen including CVS Health SPF30 Breakout Free Face Lotion to protect my face (and put on my ears) and CVS Health SPF50 Clear Zinc Sun Lotion for my body. It went right in my suitcase for my trip and now sits on my bathroom counter. Every morning I slather my body with sunscreen before I go out in the sun. The lotions go on clear and are non-greasy.

CVSHealth 50 Clear Zinc Sun Lotion; CVS Pharmacy

The CVS team also sent other products that I packed for my trip, such as packets of cortisone and bacitracin. These creams are handy to have in case you get a summer itch or need a first aid ointment. Plus they don’t take up much room in your toiletry bag. Continue reading

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Mindfulness, Happiness, and More Trends From the 2017 Book Expo

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenWhen I was growing up in the Bronx, NY, I loved going to the public library. My mom and I would walk across Mosholu Parkway from our home. Mom would go food shopping – which took a long time since she had to go to the butcher, the bakery and the supermarket. I went to the library, where I headed straight for the new book section, opening the crisp covers, reading the flaps, flipping the printed pages. I’d stack the books – six was the limit – check them out one at a time – and carry the pile in my arms to meet up with mom.

To this day, new books still excite me. That’s why I so enjoyed attending the 2017 Book Expo at the New York Javits Center earlier this month. The Expo is an annual event where publishers showcase new books. From Simon & Schuster to Hachette, Workman, Penguin and more, I walked every aisle to see each publisher’s offerings.

What’s Hot In The World of Books?
Now that I’ve finally finished combing through my notes and all the catalogs I collected, it’s time to share the themes and trends that caught my attention. Are you ready for what’s hot in the world of books? Note that some of these books may not be available until later in the year.

Here’s the scoop:

Mindfulness and Yoga With A Dosage of Happiness 
If you’re not being mindful or you’re not happy, not to worry because there are hundreds of books (or maybe more) to bring you into the present and make you joyful. As a yogi, I was pleased to see that these topics are trending, yet not sure how I would find time to practice if I spent all my time reading. Here are some titles to choose from:

Mindfulness On the Go – “a set of 52 cards and a 64-page illustrated book, all in a flip-top box with an easel to display your mindfulness cards.”

The Yoga Healer by Christine Burke – with “remedies for the body, mind, and spirit, from easing back pain and headaches to managing anxiety and finding joy and peace within.”
Beyond Mindfulness by Stephen Bodian – says it’s “the direct approach to lasting peace, happiness, and love.
Relax into Yoga for Seniors by Kimberly Carson, MPH, E-RYT and Carol Krucoff, E-RYT –  including a six-week program for strength, balance, flexibility and pain relief. Continue reading

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Celebs Share Why Over 50 Is “The Perfect Age”

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersGood Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and L’Oreal Paris hosted a “50 Over 50” luncheon at Hearst Tower in New York City this week and I was pleased to attend. The event celebrated 50 accomplished women over 50 and also featured a panel discussion with celebs including actresses Kyra Sedgwick and Whoopi Goldberg, designer Cynthia Rowley, and journalist moderator Soledad O’Brien.

Cynthia Rowley; Soledad O'Brien; Kyra Sedgwick; Whoopi  Goldberg; #theperfectage

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Simon/startraksphoto.com

Whoopi Shares Her Advice
Before lunch I was so excited to chat with one of my favorite stars on the red carpet. “What advice would you give to women over 50?” I asked Whoopi. Being her comedic self she said, “Get over it! Why should it be any different? Oh, and always have lube!” Yes, yes, yes, I can definitely relate – menopause has dried me out from head to toe.

Whoopi Goldberg; #theperfectage; over 50

After I ate the entire Tiramisu on my dessert plate, I settled in for the panel discussion about love, life and beauty for those of “the perfect age.” (I cannot resist a delicious Tiramisu. Nor should I ever again during my life after 50. As the panelists attested — life is too short to miss out on the positives at this point.)

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My Yoga Journey: Celebrating One Year As A Teacher

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness

Last month, marked one year since I completed my Yoga Teacher Training 200 Hour Program at Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies.

Since graduation, I’ve taught 70+ hours of yoga to mature adults and seniors as old (or should I say as young) as 100. I’ve taught newbies and experienced yogis. I’ve taught Chair Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Aqua Yoga in the water and even Power Yoga (if there is such a thing). I’ve led Meditation and Mindfulness sessions too. Wow-o-wow! 

yoga, reinvention after 50

I remember my first few classes. I was very nervous. Would my voice project? Could I memorize a sequence of poses? What would happen if my sequence ran past the hour? What about the music, the mantras, the mudras, the Sanskrit names and directions for each pose? It was all so overwhelming. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to teach.

yoga training, yoga mat

Learning From My Students
Transitioning from a teacher in training to an instructor in the studio has been an incredible learning experience. Now my students are my best educators.

When I speak softly, my students tell me to talk louder or turn down the music.

When I mention “inhale your left arm up” instead of “inhale your right arm up,” my students remind me and I quickly correct.

“We don’t say pain,” said my Chair Yoga student. “We say discomfort.”  “Discomfort it is,” I replied. The word “pain” has left my vocabulary.

“Can we look in the mirror?” asked my Yoga 101 student. “Yoga is a practice, there’s no perfect pose, no judgement,” I said. “The mirror won’t tell you anything and may even bring you off balance.” The student found his focal point (or drishti as we say in Sanskrit) away from the mirror and attempted to balance in Tree Pose, first on his left foot and then his right. Continue reading

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