Seeing Clearly Is The Key To A Happy Retirement

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life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersWhen I was asked to write this sponsored post for the brand VSP Individual Vision Plans,* I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. Then it hit me, seeing clearly is the key to a happy retirement. Yes, yes, yes, in every area of my life, I want to have sparkling vision for what and how I want my post 50, or as of last month, post 60 years to play out.

First, I’ll tell you what sparkling vision has meant, and continues to mean, to my retirement. Maybe some of these tips and suggestions will be helpful as you plan for your future. Then I’ll explain why you should check out the vision plans that VSP offers for retirees or those who no longer have coverage through an employer plan. Whether you need vision correction or not, everyone needs quality vision care.

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Do you have a clear path for health and happiness in retirement?

Calculating A Fabulous Fiscal Life 
How you manage your finances can make or break your retirement. Everyone says to save, save, save for retirement. So that’s exactly what I did, did, did.

A few years before I took the plunge to leave my full-time job, I started making a list of my monthly totals so I could clearly see my spending habits, how to set my monthly budget for retirement, and if I could afford to retire early. It’s a good fiscal exercise whether you intend to retire or not. I added up my necessities, like my mortgage, car insurance, food, taxes, medical and dental expenses, gas & electric & cable bills. I also examined my non-essential spending for things like clothing, dining out, and other entertainment and travel. Continue reading

My Viking Journey: A Visit To The Beautiful Island of Mykonos

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It’s so cold outside that I’m going to click my slippers three times and see if they will take me back to the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos. Join me as I reminisce about the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner and my Viking journey to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. My boyfriend L and I traveled courtesy of Viking Cruises.*

A Tour and Taste of Mykonos
Are you ready? We just docked in sun-drenched Mykonos, the smallest of the Greek islands. Can you feel the warmth on your face? The island boasts white-washed houses, centuries-old windmills, and stunning landscapes over the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

Mykonos; Viking Ocean Cruise; Greece; luxury travel

Mykonos is one of the most famous islands in the world.

We’re going on a tour called The Tastes of Mykonos, which includes a walking tour through a labyrinth of narrow streets, a stop at the old bakery of Gioras, and a tasting at a private organic farm and vineyard.

Vioma Organic Farm; Mykonos; Greece; Viking Ocean Cruise; luxury travel

The owner of Vioma Organic Farm plays classical music in the vineyards and has a pet sheep.

A Famous Island For Famous People
Our tour guide Amaryllis likes to share the history of the island: Continue reading

The Best Is Yet To Come: Celebrating My 60th Birthday!

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersThere’s no more countdown. It’s here, it’s now. This week I’m celebrating my 60th birthday!

Looking Back On My 50s
As I get ready to tackle my next decade, I can’t help but think of all I’ve accomplished during the past 10 years. When I started blogging my year to 50, I was a newbie. I never dreamed that my 49th year would be one of the most extraordinary years of my life.  Losing my spouse at the end of 2007 turned my world upside down. The grief and loneliness I felt during that period was overwhelming. But thanks to the support and love from family and friends, I came through that period and I’m here to say it’s now lovely on the other side.

Many of you, my dear readers, have shared my life after 50 transformation journey with me. From losing my spouse, to selling my house, to emptying out my nest, it’s been a wild ride. From buying my condo on the corner at the Jersey shore, to mastering online dating and meeting my boyfriend L, to leaving my full-time job and saying good-bye to my mom, I’ve weathered ups and downs along the way.

Oh yes, yes, yes, how could I forget creating an award-winning blog and becoming a yoga instructor too. It’s been nice to be able to pursue my passions instead of a paycheck since retiring from my full-time corporate career.

60th birthday; turning 60; life after 60

It’s time to celebrate my 60th birthday!

Looking Ahead To My 60s
Pondering my 60s, I wonder what life has in store for me during the next 10 years. Sometimes I wish I could look into a crystal ball and ask. Other times I want to be surprised.

60th birthday; the best is yet to come; turning 60

My new journal says it all!

When Oprah turned 60 a few years ago, she said, “We go through life discovering the truth about who we are and determining who has earned the right to share the personal space within our heart.”

These words ring especially true for me. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to celebrate my 60th birthday with several of my close girlfriends. Many of them were at my 50th celebration. I feel blessed to have such incredible long-term friendships with such talented, caring women. These women “share a personal space within my heart.” So do my long-distance girlfriends who could not be there, my daughter A and son D, my boyfriend L, my sister N, and other family members. My late husband M is always tucked inside my heart as well.

60th birthday; turning 60; life after 60; 60th birthday celebrations

My close girlfriends helped me celebrate my 60th birthday.

From Grief To Gratitude
“One thing I know for sure,” stealing another phrase from Queen Oprah, is that I am so grateful for all that I have and all that I am able do at this point in my life. Continue reading

My Viking Journey: A World of Ancient Treasures in Athens

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

It was day two on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner on my Viking journey to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.Our first port of call was Piraeus, one of the biggest ports in Europe and the third largest in the world.

After a delicious buffet breakfast at World Cafe, one of the Viking Star restaurants, we boarded the coach destined for Greece’s Capital. We would have a panoramic tour of Athens and then visit the National Archaeological Museum, which travel writer Rick Steves says, “is far and away the top ancient Greek art collection anywhere…and is a great way to begin or finish off your sightseeing through Greece.”

Port Piraeus; Greece; Viking Ocean Cruise; luxury travel; boomer travel

Port Piraeus in Greece is one of the largest in the world.

A Lesson in Greek Philosophy and Mythology
Our leader Vessia was a professionally trained guide of the country and told us about the special school she went to in Greece to become a tour guide. She had an incredible knowledge of Greek history, language, culture and philosophy and was eager to share.

Viking Ocean Cruise; Athens; luxury travel; boomer travel

Our guide Vessia had special training in all facets of ancient and present day Greece.

She explained how different words stem from the Greek language. “You are speaking Greek but you don’t realize it,” Vessia said. “For example, Acropolis means the highest point or extremity. Acrophobia means an extreme phobia. That’s why you say ‘it’s all Greek to me!'” Continue reading

My First-Ever Ocean Cruise On The Luxurious “Viking Star”

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Are you ready? It’s time to embark, as I share highlights from my journey aboard my first-ever ocean cruise on the luxurious Viking Star. It was a “star-studded” 15-days traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* My lucky, lucky boyfriend L was my companion for the trip.

Our voyage on the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land took us to Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Italy. During the two weeks, we spent time exploring the cities of Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes, Limassol, Naples, Rome and visiting the holy land in Jerusalem. (Note: We missed visiting Crete due to weather conditions.)

Viking Ocean Cruise; ocean cruises; Greece; Israel; Viking Star; boomer travel; post 50 travel

Our Viking Ocean Cruise took us to Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy.

An Elegant Vessel For Ocean Cruising
Having been on two previous Viking River Cruises — on the Douro in Portugal and on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland — I was familiar with Viking Longships. With its Ocean Cruises, as they say, Viking has taken “that same small ship, destination-focus experience to the seas with an elegant fleet of vessels setting sail in Scandinavia and Baltic, the Mediterranean, North America and the Caribbean.” The ocean itineraries have been carefully designed to access the best destinations up close, with more time in the port than other cruise lines.

Viking Ocean Cruise; ocean cruises; Viking Star; boomer travel; post 50 travell

Viking Star is an elegant ocean liner designed for small ship destination cruising.

Accolades Galore For Viking Star
With Viking, I knew our ship, the Viking Star, was going to be special. Viking was named a #1 Ocean Cruise Line by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2017 and 2016. Plus, Cruise Critic editors honored Viking Ocean Cruises with two awards in 2016: “Best Luxury Cruise Line for Value” and “Best Luxury Cruise Line Spa,” (Ooh, ooh, ooh, wait until I tell you about my treatments at the spa. I had to try a massage and facial. It was part of my duties as a blogger. Did I say I love my life? I do. I do.)

Viking Ocean Cruise; ocean cruises; Viking Star; boomer travel; post 50 travel

The spa has a relaxing warm water pool with jets.

Cruise Critic editors also selected Viking Star as the “Best New Ocean Ship” of 2015, noting “the ship is so beautifully designed—with terrific al fresco restaurants, a beautiful pool area, a superb spa and the two-level Explorers’ observation lounge—that you’ll be hard-pressed to go ashore.”  (We spent three days at sea and it was so relaxing to walk around the deck and sit on lounges looking out over the Aegean Sea.) Continue reading

Stay Healthy and Happy This Holiday Season

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“It’s December and the holiday season is in full swing. As your jolly CVS Pharmacy Ambassador*, I’m here to remind you about ways to stay healthy and happy so you can enjoy this month’s festivities and celebrations.

Did You Get Your Flu Shot?
My boyfriend L and I got our flu shots back in October at our local CVS MinuteClinic. According to the experts at CVS, “Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from catching the flu.”

If you didn’t get your vaccine, you can still get one at CVS’ 9,600 retail pharmacy locations and more than 1,100 walk-in MinuteClinics. The MinuteClinics are open every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment needed.

CVS Pharmacy; MinuteClinic; boomer wellness; flu shot

You can get your flu shot at CVS MinuteClinics across the country.

If you do happen to catch the flu, CVS can be a helpful resource. For example, with the CVS Pharmacy mobile app, you can shop via the app, place an order and have it delivered right to your car door with CVS Curbside pickup! This is especially nice when you’re not feeling well.

What About Other Immunizations?
In addition to the flu vaccine, it is important to make sure all your common immunizations are up to date before heading off to a crowded gathering. The CDC says to get the pneumonia vaccine if you are 65+ and the shingles vaccine for those 60+.

Ooh, ooh, ooh, that will include me, me, me next month! I’m going to check out the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix®, that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) says it prefers for healthy adults aged 50 years and older to prevent shingles and related complications.

Take Care When You Travel
Are you traveling overseas during the holidays? I went to the MinuteClinic before I left for my Viking Ocean Cruise last month. The Nurse Practitioner Karen prescribed medicine for motion sickness, which luckily neither L nor I needed on our voyage. (Stay tuned for my posts about my travels coming soon.) 

Viking Star; motion sickness prevention; MinuteClinic; boomer wellness

Before going on an ocean cruise, I went to the MinuteClinic to get medicine for motion sickness.

Are you traveling out of town during the holidays? With the CVS Pharmacy App you’re able to quickly and easily transfer prescriptions to a CVS location nearest you if you forgot your medication.

Health Tips For The Holiday Season
The experts at CVS provided some additional suggestions for staying healthy when your world gets fast-paced: Continue reading

My 2017 Gift Guide Filled With Goodies For All

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenEach year, I save a list of favorites from my visit to the NY NOW Show – The Market for Lifestyle, Home + Gift – held at the Javits Center in New York City in August — to share with you during the holiday season. I’ve included items only where I know you can purchase them online.

Is my 2017 gift guide as good as Oprah’s? You decide!

IIf 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 to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway. I’m giving away a handmade Makeup Junkie Bag filled with Send These – a set of 20 postcards with positive attitude from Compendium, and a Spongelle Rose Body Buffer.

2017 holiday gift guide; giveaway

Enter my holiday gift giveaway via the Rafflecopter below.

For Those Who Like Inspiring Jewelry
The b.u. collection of simple, handmade necklaces, bracelets, and earrings feature charms so you can, as they say “wear your hopes and dreams, a symbol of empowerment or good luck around you. This jewelry inspires that you b.u.

b.u. jewelry; 2017 holiday gift guide

b.u. jewelry encourages you to b.u.

When you wear Dogeared jewelry perhaps it will spur good things to happen. Dogeared jewels “embrace the stories, happy moments, milestones and experiences that celebrate, connect and inspire. Each piece tells a story of individuality, self-expression, love, and friendship.” Yogis may especially like the mandalas and mystical selections.

Dogeared jewelry; 2017 holiday gift guide

Dogeared jewelry has introduced a variety of new collections for the holiday season.

Jewelry by Viki is handmade in Portland, Oregon (if you read my blog posts about my visit to Portland you know how much I adore this city). Viki uses recycled precious metals and natural stones to create artisan jewelry. Each piece is carefully designed to express a love of nature with abstract leaf shapes and earth toned colors.

Jewelry by Viki; 2017 holiday gift guide

Viki’s jewelry features natural stones.

According to the creators of Moonglow jewelry, “every moment has a moon and gives us an opportunity to share our lives and dreams with those we love.” With the Moonphase calculator, you can create a piece of personalized jewelry that showcases a moon phase that aligns with your birthday or another special day.

Continue reading

More Fun Things To See and Do In Portland

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Hopefully by now you read my post about my first day visiting popular places in Portland, Oregon. Could my Day Two top it? Yep, yep, yep. Long time friends S and her sister B, who were tour guides for my stay in the Rose City (S has lived in Portland for 35+ years and B is from Brooklyn), put together another agenda of fun things to see and do in Portland.

I left the Inn at Northrup Station, where I was staying (arranged by Travel Portland Tourism*), and hopped on the Portland Streetcar for a ride downtown. Having already traveled by Streetcar the day before, I was starting to feel like a local. I knew how to navigate departure and arrival times on the PDX Total Transit app.

The Best-Ever Farmers Market
Our guide Damon from the previous day’s Walking Tours of Portland had mentioned that there are 42 farmers markets in Portland. One of the largest markets is the Portland State University (PSU) Farmers Market at South Park Blocks between SW College & Montgomery Streets. The market is open year round on Saturday from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.

PSU Farmers Market; Portland Farmers Markets; Portland; pdx; Travel Portland; #YouCanInPortland; Oregon; boomer travel

PSU Farmers Market is held year round on Saturdays in downtown Portland.

How great was this market? It was SO GREAT! One of the best farmers markets I’ve ever experienced.

PSU Farmers Market; Portland Farmers Markets; Portland; pdx; Travel Portland; #YouCanInPortland; Oregon

Flower bouquets were a spectrum of many colors.

Portland’s soil is fertile from all the rainy weather, making it a wonderful place to grow fruits and vegetables and flowers. I was in awe of the abundance of unique produce — cranberry beans, red gold nectarines, long beans, bitter melon, artichoke flowers. Oregon is also known for its luscious berries, local honeys, and hazelnuts.

PSU Farmers Market; Portland Farmers Markets; Portland; pdx; Travel Portland; #YouCanInPortland; Oregon

Unique varieties of vegetables like Cranberry Beans are sold at the PSU Farmers Market.

I bought packages of Sun Gold Farm’s “Ruby Red” and “Shaman’s Blue” Heirloom Popping Corn to bring home to my kids. According to Sun Gold Farm, their popcorn requires no extra flavoring to bring out the subtle nuttiness and sweetness of the real popcorn. Continue reading

A Glorious Day Exploring Popular Places In Portland

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50I promised I would tell you more about my trip to Portland, Oregon and I’m staying true to my word. If you read my previous post about the 10 reasons you need to visit hip and cool Portland, you know how much I loved my recent visit. As I share my first day exploring below, I think you’ll see why this city is so great.

I met up with two longtime friends, S, who has lived in Portland for 35+ years, and her sister B, from Brooklyn, who was visiting while I was there. They are both big foodies, so our plans for Day 1 included sampling several Portland specialities — coffee, chocolate, donuts, and eating street food from a food cart.

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Longtime friends B (pictured left) and S (pictured right) were my fellow adventurers in Portland.

Navigating My Way To Downtown Portland
Since I knew we would be doing a lot of eating, I skipped breakfast at the Inn at Northrup Station Hotel where I was staying, grabbed a city map and free pass for the Portland Streetcar from the front desk, and made my way to the North South line to take the Streetcar into downtown. It was a 20 minute ride from the Northwest part of town. (If you are visiting download the PDX Total Transit app for all your transportation needs.)

Portland Streetcars; Portland, Oregon; alternative transportation

Portland Streetcars are a convenient form of transportation in the city.

The team from Travel Portland Tourism* had arranged for me to have a Walking Tour Of Portland, which is an educational way to learn about the historic sites and culture of the city. S and B joined me for the two hour tour and enjoyed it as well.

Downtown Portland; Portland; pdx; Portland art; Oregon

There is so much artwork all over the downtown.

Time To Eat The Donuts
Having walked for two hours around the city, the three of us were ready to go scouting on our own. “Where would you like to go now?” S asked. “I think it’s time to eat the donuts,” I replied. Portland is known for its gourmet donuts. Blue Star Donuts didn’t disappoint.

Here’s the scoop on these donuts: “Our donuts are made from a classic brioche recipe that originated in the south of France. The dough takes 18 hours to make and is made by hand every day; we start with a high quality bread flour, add cage-free eggs, whole hormone-free milk, and then fold in a European-style butter.”

Blue Star Donuts; Gourmet Donuts; Artisan Donuts; Portland foodie; Oregon; boomer travel

Portland people love to eat donuts.

How good are these donuts? We tried Blueberry Bourbon and Orange Olive Oil. They were so good, so good, so good.
Continue reading

10 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Hip and Cool Portland

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Having arrived in Portland following three wonderful days in The Tualatin Valley (Oregon’s wine country), I knew I was going to love this city from the minute I stepped into the artsy Inn at Northrup Station Hotel in the Northwest part of town. The team from Travel Portland Tourism* had secured my complimentary accommodations and provided a list of activities to see and do in Portland during my two day stay.

Portland, Oregon; Portland Symphony; Travel Portland

The Portland Symphony sign is a landmark.

My research on Portland indicated that it is a hip and cool city, but after a Best of Portland Walking Tour, I was more convinced than ever why The New York Times Travel included Portland as one of its “52 Places to Go In 2017.”

Inn at Northrup Station Hotel; Portland, Oregon

The Inn at Northrup Station Hotel is a great place to stay in Northwest Portland.

If you’ve never been, or haven’t been back in a while, I’m going to give you 10 reasons why I recommend you visit this authentic city. The reasons are based on all that I learned from our tour guide Damon, who spent two hours walking and talking with us about what makes Portland so great. In upcoming posts, I’ll share more specifics. For now, hear me out: Continue reading