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.

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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

A Pleasant Winter Retreat In Pass-a-Grille, St. Pete

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“I really like your blog, and wondered if you would care to come and visit us at Inn on the Beach for a two-night stay. To tell you a little about ourselves, we’re a complex of recently refurbished self-catering cottages and rooms situated on St Pete Beach, many of them offering beautiful views out over the gulf,” said the invitation from D.*

Having never explored the west coast of Florida, I was excited to visit. My boyfriend L was also glad to get away. So when the cold winds roared last week, we packed our bags and headed for a long weekend in sunny St. Pete. We added a few extra nights to lengthen our stay giving us time for a pleasant winter retreat at the Inn on the Beach in Pass-a-Grille.

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.

The Inn on the Beach Is A Little Bit Of Paradise
We arrived after a short flight from Philadelphia to Tampa International Airport, rented a car, and were at the Inn on the Beach in about 30 minutes. The Inn is located on 14th Street and Gulf Way in the historic Pass-a-Grille area,

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

My boyfriend L and I were excited to arrive at the Inn on the Beach.

We rented the Blue Heron room on the second floor with a terrace overlooking the beach. The room had a king size bed, open closet to hang our clothes, renovated bathroom and little efficiency kitchen. There is onsite parking, daily maid service, daily coffee, and continental breakfast is served in the courtyard on the weekend.

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Our room had a kitchenette and king size bed.

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A beach view from our balcony.

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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.

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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

Still Need Holiday Gifts? Here Are Some of My Favorites.

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenEach summer I attend the NY NOW Show – The Market for Lifestyle, Home + Gift – at the Javits Center in New York City. It’s fun to walk the aisles filled with jewelry, housewares, artisan crafts, paper goods, and a whole lot more. Since it’s the gift giving season, I thought I would share some of my favorite things from the show. I’ve included items only where I know you can purchase them online.

Also included in this year’s gift guide, are a few products from my basket of blogger swag — I receive so many different and unusual items throughout the year.

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, perhaps you’ll find an idea for the perfect gift for a loved one or maybe a treat for yourself. Plus read down all the way, as I’m giving away some holiday gifts during JudiBoomergirl’s December giveaways! Be sure to enter this week’s Rafflecopter for Camille Beckman English Lavender Glycerine Hand Therapy!

For Those Who Love Jewelry
 These necklaces from bennyandezra.com will inspire you with their wearable mantras that evoke determination, self-worth and grace.

Benny and Ezra jewelry; holiday gifts; NYNOW

Benny & Ezra jewelry.

 Maya Angelou: The Legacy Collection caught my interest at the show. You can order the jewelry at dogeared.com. There are bracelets, necklaces, and totes with Angelou quotes such as “One must nurture the joy in one’s life so that it reaches full bloom.”

dogeared jewelry; holiday gifts; NYNOW

Maya Angelou inspired jewelry and gifts.

Founded by actress and singer/songwriter, Caitlin Crosby, thegivingkeys.com tells you to “embrace your word, then pass it on to a person who needs it more than you.” Words like brave, courage, faith, are engraved on keys. There are gender neutral necklaces, keychains, bracelets and more. Each sale helps the homeless.
 The love code charms in the lulu dk love letters collection contain a cryptic message that is visible only when spun. 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).

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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.

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My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – A Delight for the Senses

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“We would like to see if you would be interested in beginning a conversation about a potential press trip in 2016,” said the Viking River Cruises PR team last December. “OMG, OMG, OMG!,” I said to my boyfriend L. “Last year’s “Portugal’s River of Gold” was amazing. How will we top that trip? And now Viking is inviting me on another river cruise.” My heart was pounding with excitement.*

Did I say I love being a blogger during my life after 50? I do. I do. Did I tell my boyfriend L how lucky he is to be my boyfriend during my life after 50? You bet! You bet!

Viking River Cruises; Rhineland Discovery; boomer travel; travel; river cruises

The “Rhineland Discovery” EIR Longship.

Which River Cruise Should We Choose?
“There are many wonderful river cruises where should we go?” I said to L. We narrowed our choices to “Cities of Light” with romantic Paris and medieval Prague on either end; “Romantic Danube” with stops in Budapest and Vienna; and “Rhineland Discovery,” with highlights of the legendary Rhine.

Can you guess which trip we chose?  Continue reading

“70Candles!” Shares Advice on Positive Aging

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersLast month, The New York Times journalist Jane Brody wrote an article about “Thriving at Age 70 and Beyond.” I enjoy reading Jane’s weekly columns on Personal Health, but this one was especially appealing. Jane mentioned a blog called 70Candles!, with stories from women in their 70s, and a book by the same title written by bloggers (and now authors) Jane Giddan and Ellen Cole.

While I am fast approaching my 60s, I was intrigued by the advice that these two long-term friends had to share about how women are “thriving in their 8th decade.” I contacted Jane and Ellen to ask if they would participate in an interview for my blog. Their wisdom about positive aging is very inspiring for baby boomer women who are following in their footsteps. It’s great to know that there is much to look forward to into our 70s, 80s, 90s, and maybe 100s! (Note: if you cannot view the video below please click here.)

A Practical and Positive Guide
The book, 70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade, is a compilation from the conversations that Jane and Ellen had during gatherings with women of this era and from many of the women who contributed to their blog. The authors do a great job pulling all the pieces together into as they say, “a practical and positive guide to have at your side as you traverse your seventies.” Included are lessons learned from their gatherings, a review of pertinent literature on this topic, and a look at the future. In the back section is a handy reference with relevant web sites and additional readings.

The Taos Institute, the publishers of the book, kindly provided a copy of 70Candles! for a giveaway. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below and leave a comment on how you intend to stay vibrant during your second act.

Now let’s hear more from Jane and Ellen: Continue reading

My Post 50 Yoga Journey: A New Perspective on the Body and Mind

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessIt’s been a while since I shared progress on my post 50 journey to become a yoga instructor. Through my education at Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies, I’m gaining a new perspective on the union between the body and the mind.

Our Amazing Bodies
In prior posts, I told you about my deepening knowledge of anatomy and physiology. This spring, I decided to re-audit A+P. Our bodies are very complex with so many muscles, bones, limbs, joints, and organs – it’s truly amazing how everything works together, or sometimes doesn’t work together when you don’t take care of yourself. It’s been said that a consistent yoga practice can help resolve “the issues in the tissues.”

yoga, transformation, boomer wellness, anatomy + physiology

I learned a lot from yoga instructor N and her companion Raja.

The Power of Prana
I introduced you to prana, the Sanskrit word for “life force” and demonstrated different breathing techniques – Dirgha and Nadi Shodhana – to move prana through the body. Over the past several months, I’ve learned additional ways to use breath to calm and focus the mind, build lung capacity, and activate energy in the body.  From Ujjayi, great sound breath, to  Kapalabhati, skull shining breath, Sama Vritti to Vishama Vritti, both with a counting rhythm (Sama is equal counts with inhale and exhale and Vishama has a longer exhale) – I’ve witnessed how marrying breath with movement can bring greater benefits to the body and mind.

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I practice meditation with Nadi Shodhana breathing, alternate nostril breath, to help lower my blood pressure and relax.

The Artistry of A Yoga Sequence
My artistry of asanas has multiplied with a broad portfolio of poses to choose from as I enhance my own practice and craft sequences to teach others. There are joint-freeing series, reclining poses, seated poses, standing poses, backbends, forward bends, twists, and inversions. There are the three-dimensional aspects of poses, their Sanskrit names, and proper alignments. There are key benefits, precautions, and contraindications for poses, plus modifications and assists for those who may need help.

yoga, asanas, Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies, reinvention post 50

Our instructors L and M show us the correct alignment and assists for poses.

We begin each sequence with centering. “Let your thoughts go. Bring your mind to the mat as well as your body,” said my instructor L. We end with savasana, known as corpse pose, the most important asana of them all. It’s when the body and the mind totally relax lying flat on the mat and the goodness of all the other poses melts into every cell. Continue reading

A Special Video Summit for Post 50 Women

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersReserve your front row seat! On February 19th, I’ll be a featured guest for an online video summit from author Andrea Pflaumer entitled “Vital, Vivacious, and Visible after 50.”  Taping occurred via Skype a few weeks ago and I haven’t seen the episode yet. (Hope I kept my neck up during the interview so my wrinkles didn’t overwhelm the screen.)

Shopping for the Real You

Andrea Pflaummer; boomer women, boomers, life after 50

Andrea Pflaumer is author of “Shopping For The Real You.”

Andrea Pflaumer is the author of Shopping for the Real You – 10 Steps to a Better Wardrobe for Every Women: Fashionistas, Fashion Phobes and the over 50. Her articles on art, fashion, and shopping have appeared in local and national publications, including the San Francisco Examiner, Oakland Magazine, East Bay Express, San Francisco Weekly, and the East Bay Monthly. As an educator, she has trained thousands on the principles of image and personal branding. Andrea is also a leader in the human potential movement through her work as a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique.

In in the past few years Andrea has had conversations with her readers about fashion and style. But as much as they’ve discussed these topics, they’ve also explored what our lives are going to look like moving beyond our 50’s.

“Women want to know how to keep looking good, but we also want to know how to stay relevant, hip, and lively into our 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and beyond,” said Andrea. “That means how to stay healthy, how to maintain a sense of humor, how to engage in activity that is meaningful for us, how to expand our horizons and our circle of friends and acquaintances so that we keep growing instead of shrinking – literally and figuratively.”

“Vital, Vivacious, and Visible after 50” Online Video Summit
For her online video summit, Andrea interviewed a group of experts in fields ranging from personal style to health and wellness, from joyful aging to entrepeneurship – all geared toward those post 50 – as well as other midlife women, as she says, “who will be in this category before long!” Continue reading