So Much To Explore and Do In St. Pete’s Vibrant Downtown

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50As a former New Yorker, I love exploring new cities whenever I travel. That’s why I so enjoyed my first visit to St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Pete has the best of both worlds – the beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast and St. Pete’s vibrant downtown that’s filled with great restaurants, shops and cultural destinations. If I ever decide to spend my life after 50 winters in a warmer climate, I could definitely see myself residing in St. Pete, or a Florida city nearby.

downtown St. Pete, Florida; Bodega Cuban Sandwiches; Local Market; Dali Museum; Florida

A sampling of downtown St. Pete.

The downtown area is very close to Pass-a-Grille, where my boyfriend L and I stayed at the Inn on the Beach. (Did you read my first post about all the things to do in Pass-a-Grille? If not click here.) By car, it’s only about a 20 minute ride. We found parking to be inexpensive —  it cost only $5 to park in the garage on Saturday. You can also grab a trolley from Pass-a-Grille to downtown which takes about 45 minutes.

Inn on the Beach Pass-A-Grille; Pass-A-Grille; St. Pete Beaches; life after 50; Florida; St Pete, Florida; Pass-A-Grille, St. Pete

The Inn on the Beach in Pass-A-Grille, St Pete, Florida.

A Best-ever Cuban Sandwich
One of our first stops for dinner was Bodega on Central Avenue, suggested by a member of the @VSPC Tourism team. The corridor is filled with a diverse selection of hip and cool small businesses run by entrepreneurs. Bodega was voted “Best of the Bay” for their Cuban sandwich, which is exactly what I ordered.

 

Bodega SignsIt was OMG, OMG, OMG, the best Cuban sandwich I’ve ever eaten. L ordered a roasted pork platter with plaintains, which was so, so good too. Bodega is known for their freshly made juices, a trend that I found all over Venice Beach, California last November as well. We sampled two different varieties with ingredients like ginger, turmeric, carrots and apples. I would recommend sharing a sandwich and juice if you go – it was way too much food for L and me to consume for dinner.

Bodega Cuban Sandwich; St. Pete's Vibrant Downtown; Florida

Best-ever Cuban Sandwich.

 

Bodega Pork and Plaintain platter; Bodega; St. Pete's vibrant downtown

Delicious pork and plantains.

 

To Market, To Market
On Saturday we headed back downtown to experience St. Pete’s Saturday Morning Market, held every Saturday, October – May from 9 am – 2 pm. It is the largest fresh market in the Southeast US. There’s food, crafts, and music. It’s so much fun. Continue reading

Let The Countdown To 60 Begin!

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersHappy New Year!

January 2017 marks the 10th year since I started blogging. A decade has passed since I typed my first blog post capturing my countdown to my 50th birthday. Times have changed but one thing remains constant — boomer women continue to do amazing things.

Some may say that as women age we become more invisible. I say that we’ve only just begun to shine. While we may not be celebrating a female boomer in the White House in 2017, we are a very large community of strong women, estimated at 38.44 million in the USA. As Girlpower Marketing CEO Linda Landers says, “Today’s 50-plus females are the healthiest, wealthiest, most active and influential generation of women in history.”

Arianna Huffington; The Huffington Post

Meeting Arianna Huffington and becoming a contributor to The Huffington Post was a blogging highlight in 2013.

My Countdown To 50
I began blogging in 2007 as an easy way to capture my thoughts and feelings as a boomer woman approaching her momentous 50th year. Little did I know that my countdown to 50 would turn out to be one of the most extraordinary years of my life. Halfway through the year, my husband M took ill. During almost seven months while he was in the hospital, my blog posts became my outlet to share the overwhelming fears that engulfed me as my husband began to drift away. My community of readers became my salvation. I couldn’t wait to get home from the hospital each night to read your emails and comments. Your support made all the difference in helping me survive during that tumultuous time.

ayearto50.blogspot.com; boomer women; post 50

From “Loneliness to Loveliness”
My husband M passed away shortly before our 24th anniversary and two weeks shy of my 50th birthday. I was a widow at 49, The loneliness was deeply felt and I wasn’t sure how I was going to lift myself up.  Continue reading

A Gift Book To Inspire and Celebrate Retirement

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenAs a blogger, many books pass my desk for review. One that caught my eye this season is Hello Someday by Kobi Yamada and John Christianson. It’s a gift book to inspire and celebrate retirement. It’s from Compendium, one of my favorite publishers of motivational gifts and journals. (Note: Read to end for Rafflecopter giveaway.)

I retired from my full-time career in my mid-fifties and wish I had this book to guide me. According to the publishers at Compendium, “In the next 15 years, more than 20% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65.” That means a lot of baby boomers may be retiring. However, just because you are retiring doesn’t mean you can’t pursue other passions.

That’s where Hello Someday comes in. It offers an optimistic attitude about retirement with questions and activities to get you thinking about and designing the next chapter of your life.

Hello Someday; Compendium; NYNOW; retirement; holiday gifts

“Hello Someday” makes a great gift for a future retiree.

I enjoyed this book so much that I asked if I could interview one of the authors. I wanted to know more from those who created Hello Someday. Co-author John Christianson shared his thoughts: Continue reading

Janes Wellness Gowns Cover With Comfort For The Medical Journey

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“My note is to tell you about Janes Wellness Gowns, something wonderful, that offers women over 50 comfort, style, and dignity when they need it most,” wrote Sharon Linder, the founder of GetJanes.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I would take Sharon up on her offer to showcase her social entrepreneurial efforts that help women during their medical journey. (And offer a giveaway for a Janes, see below!)

It’s also an approrpriate time to remind you, dear reader, to make your appointment (if you haven’t had one) for your yearly mammogram. Boomer women are often caregivers to others, yet when it comes to nurturing themselves – they tend to let it fall to the bottom of the list. Am I right? Admit it! Last week, I wrote about getting a bone density scan to help take care of your bone health. That’s important too.

GetJanes; Janes Wellness Gowns; Sharon Linder; life after 50; boomer women

Female entrepreneur Sharon Linder created Janes Wellness Gowns.

I like to feature female entrepreneurs like Sharon who are doing interesting things during their life after 50. I interviewed Sharon to find out more about why she created GetJanes. Here’s what she said: Continue reading

My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” — Adventures in Amsterdam

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50After two glorious days in Bruges, Belgium, it was time to leave for the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. The sun was shining as we boarded our bus during our pre-trip on “Rhineland Discovery” (courtesy of Viking River Cruises).*

“First, we’ll stop in Ghent, the second largest city in Belgium,” said our tour director Fred. “We’ll have a walking tour of the city, you’ll have a few hours to enjoy lunch, and then we’ll continue on a 3½ hour drive to Wyndham Apollo Amsterdam Hotel, your lodging for two nights before you embark on the Rhine.”

Ghent; Viking River Cruises; boomer travel; travel

We stopped in the university town of Ghent, Belgium, on our way to Amsterdam.

A Guided Tour of Ghent
“Ghent has 65,000 students. It’s a big university town,” said our guide Charline. She shared stories dating back to the 14th century as we walked the cobblestone streets and visited an old meat house, now a restaurant and bar, where hams were hanging to dry. She showed us special wood frames designed for Quack beer glasses. “After a few beers you see pink elephants,” said Charline.

Ghent; VIking River Cruises; boomer travel; travel and leisure

Our tour guide Charline showed us an old meat market, now a popular bar with Belgian beers.

Charline took us to the Cathedral where the Mystic Lamb is on display. We saw the replica and the original 12 panel altarpiece, which is currently being restored. If you ever saw Monuments Men with George Clooney, the artwork was one of the masterpieces captured by American soldiers after the Germans hid it during World War II (WWII).

Ghent; Ghent Cathedral; Mystic Lamb; boomer travel; Viking River Cruises; Rhineland Discovery; travel

The Ghent Cathedral and copy of the Mystic Lamb masterpiece.

Ghent; Rhineland Discovery; VIking River Cruises; boomer travel

My boyfriend L and I enjoyed our brief visit in Ghent.

Arriving in Amsterdam
My boyfriend L and I had never been to Amsterdam and were excited to explore what the guidebook said was a “city of charming canals, elegant gabled houses, splendid museums, and abundant bicycles.” I couldn’t wait to see and experience it all.

Amsterdam; Wyndham Apollo Amsterdam Hotel; Viking River Cruises; boomer travel

A view of the Amstel canal from our hotel room.

Continue reading

Why I’m Voting For Replens™ in the 2016 Election

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

Sit down. We have to talk. There’s a crisis that’s about to happen in the coming years that none of the presidential candidates are talking about. It’s bigger than global warming. It’s “so huge” that it may cause emotional upheaval in this country due to the enormity of the population that is currently — and is going to be — impacted by this unfortunate feminine physical condition.

What am I talking about? Can you guess?

The Trends Tell The Story
I’ll give you some hints. It has to do with post 50 women. Just listen to these stats. These facts are from The National Association of Baby Boomer Women:

By 2030, 54% of the 78 million American Boomers will be women.
By 2030, there will be 71.5 million Americans age 65 or older, more than double the number currently within that demographic. And more than half of them will be women. We’re a mammoth population that is growing. And you know what physical changes happen during our post 50 years?

Can you guess what I’m talking about now?

Okay, let me give you some additional clues:
It happens during menopause, or sometimes when you are peri-or-post.
It’s part of the changes that occur during our midlife years, especially with the decrease in estrogen in our body.
You may even be experiencing it now and don’t know what to do.

Still trying to figure it out?

Okay, I’m going to tell you. It’s vaginal dryness. No wonder none of the candidates are taking on this issue. There is nothing to debate. (Although you would think Hillary would be aware of the importance of solving this problem and have a Town Hall on the subject. It might make her more relatable.) 

vaginal dryness; Replens; post 50 women; baby boomer women

Boomer women have been a force for change since the 60s, so we can talk openly about this subject and others. There’s no need to live in what feels like a desert of dryness. My friends at the Replens™ brand know the repercussions and have figured out solutions. They clearly see what’s ahead with the increasing population of post 50 women. They want us to be happy and well moisturized for our second act. They asked me to share their news with you so I thought I’d tackle the topic head on.

Continue reading

How To Be “Younger Next Year” With Exercise

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessHappy New Year!

I’m back from the gym and finished my aerobic exercise with 20 minutes on the elliptical. My heart rate was at 70 – 85 percent of my target – a high endurance workout. (Go Judi! Go Judi! Go Judi!) I also completed some strength training and stretching with an hour yoga class. (Go Judi! Go Judi! Go Judi!)

Dr. Henry Lodge (also know as Harry) and Chris Crowley, authors of the Younger Next Year series would be proud. Harry’s first rule to help limit decay in an aging body is to “exercise six days a week for the rest of your life, especially during your life after 50.”  I had heard about this series, but never read any of the books until Younger Next Year for Women and their latest Younger Next Year The Exercise Program review copies arrived.

Younger Next Year, Chris Crowley, Henry S. Lodge, M.D.. aging, exercise

Henry S. Lodge, M.D. (Harry) (left) and Chris Crowley are authors of the “Younger Next Year” series.

Younger Next Year for Women
“Harry’s Rules will change your life,” says Dr. Oz. “It’s got all the tools that women need to achieve longer, sexier, and more passionate lives,” says Dr. Hutcherson, Codirector of New York Center for Women’s Sexual Health. Wow-o-wow. With more than 1.5 million copies of the series in print and a 10 year history of helping change lives for the better, I was curious to find out what passionate followers had discovered. Continue reading

How To Practice More Gratitude During Your Life After 50

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersTomorrow will mark eight years since my husband M died. As my grief instructor S said shortly after M’s passing: “The hole in your heart will get smaller, but it will never fully close.” S was right.

My life has evolved a great deal since those dark days of December 2007. One of the biggest behaviors that has created positive change in my life after 50 is having an attitude of gratitude. Like yoga and mindfulness, having an attitude of gratitude is an awareness practice. With gratitude I’m learning to have more contentment for all the things I have and all the things I can do, versus being disappointed with the things I don’t have or can’t do.

For example, when I see my friends celebrating their 25th or 30th wedding anniversaries sometimes I am sad that M and I will never have an opportunity to achieve such a milestone. Then the gratitude meter checks in and I become grateful for the 24 years we did have together. It’s more than many couples get, especially with the rate of divorce in this country.

Wearing Gratitude On My Wrist
I wear a MyIntent bracelet on my wrist with the word “GRATITUDE.” It acts as a constant prompt to be thankful for all the things I can do. “Breathe because you can,” said my yoga teacher N in today’s class. N is right, I am grateful that I can breathe.

MyIntent.org, gratitude, BlogHer15,

I chose the word GRATITUDE for MyIntent bracelet.

A Bucket Full of Gratitude
If I could hold all my gratitude in a container, it would fill up a huge bucket. In that bucket would be my daughter A and my son D, my boyfriend L, my BFF L and BFF R, my sister N, my late mom and dad, and many more friends and family members. I’d add the gratitude for my beautiful home and my condo on the corner at the shore, top that with my yoga and meditation practice, and for the retirement I earned from my full-time job that is enabling me to live life to the fullest during my second act. There’s more, more, more gratitude for you, my blog readers who bring me great joy each week when we connect through my posts. Continue reading

Now Is The Time To Get Your Flu Shot

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“Will you join me for my flu shot?” I asked my boyfriend L. “We can go together this year to get our shots. You’ll hold my hand, since I am really not a fan of the needle.” Plus, CVS asked me to participate in their #StayHealthyWithCVS campaign*, so I asked L to help me with photographic duties.

It’s Time To Get My Flu Shot
I usually go to the CVS MinuteClinic each October to get my flu shot. It’s quick, easy, the nurse practitioner is friendly, and my insurance covers the vaccine. According to the team at CVS: “Getting the flu shot is the most effective defense against the flu. It’s important to get the flu shot each year because the immunity provided by the vaccine declines over time. It takes up to two weeks for your immunity to build up after getting a flu shot so the CDC recommends to get vaccinated as soon as flu vaccine become available.”

CVS MinuteClinic; flu shot; flu vaccine; boomer wellness; life after 50

I went to CVS MinuteClinic for my flu vaccine.

The CVS nurse practitioner J filled out the paperwork and then it was time for the shot. “Which arm do you want to use?” asked J. We both said “our left arm.”  (Note that a flu shot seemed minor compared to the 10 shots of lidocaine my pain doctor injected into my back, neck, and head yesterday for my ongoing occipital neuralgia. My post 50 body is feeling severely prodded this week.) Continue reading

Is John Stamos Really “Grandfathered” This Fall?

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenWould you like to attend a preview of the new television show, Grandfathered, with John Stamos?” asked C from the BlogHer team. The preview was a special event during the BlogHer ’15 Conference held at the Hilton in New York City.*

“OMG, is John Stamos really playing a grandfather?” I exclaimed. “How is that possible? Wasn’t it yesterday that he was Uncle Jesse on Full House?” I watched that TGIF show with my daughter A and son D. It was one of their favorites, even on syndication.

John Stamos, Grandfathered, life after 50, FOX

John Stamos plays Jimmy in “Grandfathered.” Image courtesy of FOX.

Flash forward 20+ years and Stamos is now fifty-something with a “likely dyed” full head of jet black hair. Grandfathered follows a longtime bachelor, Jimmy, played by Stamos, whose life is turned upside down when he learns he’s not only a father, but also a grandfather. Josh Peck, another child star (from the Nickelodeon duo Drake and Josh), stars as his son Gerald. The series airs on Tuesday evenings on FOX beginning September 29th.  

The sitcom is cute. Being a foodie, I liked that Jimmy is a restauranteur. It’s sweet to see how this ultimate bachelor sheds his independence and eventually warms up to his new family.

I had a chance to meet Josh Peck at the preview. He has grown into a handsome young man – almost felt like I was talking to my son D, as they are close in age. I told Peck that D was a big fan of Drake and Josh during his pre-teen years. Peck said that the show still airs on Nick-At-Night. No longer a chubby kid, Peck was dressed in a tailored suit for the occasion.

Josh Peck, Grandfathered, FOX TV, #BlogHer15, lifeafter50, boomer tv

I met actor Josh Peck at the “Grandfathered” preview.

When Will I Be “Grandmothered?”
As I watched Grandfathered, I thought of my own adult children and how much they both have matured in recent years. I wondered if and when I will be blessed with grandchildren during my life after 50 — likely not until I’m in my 60s. But then again, perhaps I may be “grandmothered” in different way.

Cockapoo, Biscuits and Bath, lifeafter50, Grandfathered, grandmother

I could fall in love with this cockapoo grand pup.

“I really want to get a puppy,” said my daughter A last weekend. “I saw this adorable cockapoo. You will love her.” “You’re way too busy to have a dog,” I said to A. “That’s not true,” said A. “I can walk it early in the morning and when I come home from work. If necessary, I’ll get a dog walker during the day. Plus, I can purchase pet insurance if she gets sick.”

I was hesitant to approve. Then there was more chatter. “You’ll come and babysit or I’ll bring her home sometimes. A puppy is a great conversation piece and maybe I’ll meet a guy while I’m walking the dog.”**

“Hmm, hmm, hmm,” I started to waiver. “Maybe this is not such a bad idea,” I thought as I passed by Biscuits & Bath dog retreat near A’s apartment. I could take my “grand pup” to the local spa when I’m babysitting. Might be nice to introduce her to Grandma Judi’s favorite spa delights early on in life. Just no mani-pedis for my baby cockapoo!

Meantime, I look forward to seeing how John Stamos manages through the trials and tribulations on Grandfathered in September. Maybe I’ll learn some good tips.

Judi

*Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” FOX and SheKnows Media 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.

** Disclosure about my potential “grand pup”: While I think that this baby cockapoo is absolutely cuddle-proof, I do not recommend that my daughter A get a dog at this time in her life. If she can rent one on weekends, then maybe I’d say “yes.” And her mother (aka moi) is not going to adopt the “grand pup” after A realizes that she is too busy.