Honoring World Alzheimer’s Month: Keeping The Brain Healthy

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI read The New York Times blog called The New Old Age written by Paula Span. This week, Paula introduced herself in The Story Behind The Story column. She says that “With more than 20 percent of the American population projected to be over 65 by the year 2030, per the Census Bureau, I’m unlikely to run out of material.” In fact, she adds “the list of subjects I hope to tackle keeps lengthening.”

Let’s see, how old will I be in 2030? Hmm, hmm, hmm, I’ll be 72. Ouch!

As I approach 60 next year, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. However, every aging body has something. Right? My one friend has knee issues, my other friend has rotator cuff issues, another friend has back problems. My vice is my teeth – I’ve got one implant already in my mouth and lately with the pain I’ve been having, more to come. Plus, I have flat feet, which is minor only when they hurt after a long walk and add to my difficulty finding comfortable shoes.

Alzheimer’s and The Aging Mind
Then there’s the aging mind and memory. I try to keep my mind active by teaching and doing yoga, reading the daily newspaper, and researching and writing this blog. However, with the growing statistics on Alzheimer’s and dementia, it’s all so scary.

According to the National Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to rise as high as 16 million by 2050.

Let’s see, I’ll be 92 in 2050. Ouch! How should I keep my brain healthy as I age?

Since September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and many more women develop the disease than men, I thought I would take time to share my interview with Dr. Michelle Braun, a neuropsychologist, who knows a great deal about Alzheimer’s and keeping the brain healthy. Dr. Braun developed the Brain Health Quiz, which she shares more about in the interview below.

Note: This is a very long blog post, but there is so much good information that I wanted to share it all. So just read the Qs and As that you are interested in, or read it all if you are really interested! I’m sure many of you may also be caregivers to parents or other relatives who have Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Michelle Braun; Healthy Brain Quiz; Alzheimer's; healthy brain; aging

Dr. Michelle Braun is a neuropsychologist.

Here are excerpts: Continue reading

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These New Books Will Help You Reinvent Yourself

aboomerslifeafter50.com; boomer women; life after 50It’s been many years since I’ve had kids at home who are starting a new school year, yet come September I always think about new beginnings.

The past month, my mailbox has been filled with new books that can help you reinvent yourself and make positive change. Since it’s September (can you believe it), I thought I’d share a few of the titles that resonated with me, in the hope that they may resonate with you too.

(Note: I’m giving away a copy of Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy, so read on and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!)

The Power of Positive Energy by Tanaaz Chubb
This paperback includes “everything you need to awaken your soul, raise your vibration, and manifest an inspired life.”

Being a yogi, I really like this book. It’s an easy read with techniques to invite positive energy and gratitude into your life. Tanaaz is the founder of ForeverConscious,com, a site that promotes spiritual well-being.

The Power of Positive Energy; Tanaaz Chubb; #positiveenergy; positive energy; reinvent yourself

According to Tanaaz, “Positive energy is anything that makes you feel good, and feeling good happens when a vibration resonates with your soul.” She says that your energetic vibration dictates how you see the world: “People who are vibrating on a higher frequency tend to be able to see the positive side to any situation, whereas people operating on a lower frequency tend to only be able to focus on negatives.”

How are your vibrations today? Most days I’m more positive.

By following her exercises Tanaaz says “readers can adjust their auras to emit calm, peaceful, and positive energy instead of unhappiness or stress.” Know wonder I like Tanaaz’s book! BTW, this topic is SO TRENDY, with nearly 1 million #positiveenergy hashtags on Instagram.

Writing For Bliss by Diana Raab, PhD
If you like to use writing as a creative outlet or have thought about writing a memoir during your life after 50, Diana’s book is for you. Diana is an award-winning memoirist, poet, speaker, educator and survivor.

The subhead for her book is “A Seven-Step Plan For Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.” To master this plan, she provides prompts in each chapter for both the seasoned writer and novice writer and she does it in a mindful way. As you follow the prompts you may feel like you are going through a therapy session with the written word. Continue reading

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My First Visit To Greece: Sea-Worthy Adventures in Santorini

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

 

My first trip to Greece with my sister N and daughter A would soon be coming to an end. Thankfully, we saved our sea-worthy adventures in Santorini for the later part of the week, including a trip to the Perissa black beach and a sunset catamaran cruise around the island.

Santorini, Oia, Greece

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

Breakfast and a Visit to the Black Beach
On Thursday, we headed out for breakfast at Passaggio, a cute spot on the edge of Oia’s town center. Passaggio is a small bistro where you can takeout or eat in. We each ordered coffee and yogurt and fruit bowls. They also make homemade smoothies which looked yummy. We decided to sit on the terrace where there is a beautiful island view. Passaggio’s breakfast bowl was the creamiest  Greek yogurt I’ve ever eaten and the honey on the bottom thin and light with just the right sweetness. It was so good, so good, so good.

Passaggio bites and drinks

Passaggio is a cute place for breakfast with a view.

Passaggio bistro in Oia; Oia restaurants; Santorini restaurants

A lovely view from the Passaggio terrace.

Knowing it would be a long trip to the beach, we were glad our tummies were satisfied. We boarded the local bus to Fira (the capital of Santorini) and from there took another packed bus to the beach all the way on the other side of the island. It took about 90 minutes one-way for the trip. (Note: Originally we had planned to rent a car. However, after seeing the rugged roads we decided against driving in Santorini – which was a wise decision. That’s why I’m still here to tell you all about my travels.)

Santorini black beach, Perissa black beach; Santorini, Greece

The black beach in Santorini has pebbles for sand.

While it was a hot and long journey, once we arrived at the black beach, it was very relaxing. The “sun beds” and thatched umbrellas are free as long as you buy drinks or food from the beach’s restaurant. There are also bathrooms in the restaurant should you need to change into or out of your bathing suit. Continue reading

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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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