New From Hello50 This Week?

Tips to Get Your Mojo Back When You Lost Your Groove

Have you ever found yourself in a rut and you don’t know how to bounce back? Perhaps you were following a healthy diet or workout plan and fell out of your routine. You were on a pace to reorganize every room in the house and suddenly your process came to a screeching halt. Life gets busy and you want to stay connected with friends but your Friday wine night or Sunday zoom call have come to an end. When April and I launched Hello50 last March, I enjoyed every minute of managing the website and collaborating with women over 50 for our blog. As difficult as 2020 was, taking on the challenge of writing, selling our Never Better bags and establishing a community for women over 50 was truly a bright spot in an otherwise bleak year. However, life happened! I had some personal and professional competing responsibilities and unfortunately, my time commitment to Hello50 diminished. Now, I have never been a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl but I turned to the Hello50 community to find out how to reignite that spark and resume your passion when your routine fell by the wayside. Here are some tips to get get your mojo when you lost your groove: Don’t beat yourself up about falling off course: Before you think about ways to change course, know that taking a break can be your body and mind telling you it was necessary. Embrace the break, re-group and set your path forward. Set both long term AND short term goals: If your goal is to resume a diet, choose smaller goals rather than focusing on the total amount of weight you want to lose. It is much easier to stick to a plan if you can celebrate successes often. Getting into a pair of jeans is a great short term success rather than focusing only on the scale. If you started writing a book and you are looking to dig back into chapter 5, give yourself a timeframe for smaller chunks of the book so you can revel in completing a few pages or a chapter. Know what you what you are looking to achieve but celebrate small wins along the away. It is much easier to stay on a path when you find small successes often. Was your routine realistic? How many of us are guilty of getting into a commitment with unrealistic goals? If you are wondering why you fell out of your workout routine, was your 5 days a week of 5:00 am boot camp ever going to be sustainable in the long run? Take inventory of whatever it is you sought out to do and assess if the regiment is sustainable over the long run. It might be a matter of readjusting your time, emotional and physical commitment so you are more successful maintaining your routine in the long run. Connectivity: Whether we are in a learning environment or focused on a task, adults want to be connected to the relevance of what they want to achieve. When we launched Hello50, the goal was to establish an inclusive community for women over 50 by talking about topics of interest. Revisiting that goal was a good way for me to re-energize and get back to writing and collaborating with women over 50. Think about why your process was so important to you. You might need to remind yourself as to what it is you are trying to accomplish. Success metrics: You may have fallen out of your routine because you didn’t have metrics to identify your successes. If you had established a routine to cook healthy meals from scratch, your success metric might be a decrease in your blood pressure. Not only do you want to recall why you pursued a particular goal but how do you know if you are meeting your goal or coming up short. Create your own barometer throughout your journey to keep yourself motivated. Accountability calls: Find a person who is also focused on a goal or task and set up accountability calls. When we communicate our goals to someone or project them to the universe, we are more compelled to follow through. You and your accountability partner might help each other see blind spots or barriers to success. The good thing is your partner or accountability team could all be pursuing different passions but each of you help one another to stay on track. I had an accountability partner for several months - she was writing a book and I was writing for the blog and we helped each other stay motivated. Jenny just published her book! Block your calendar: Time blocking is a great way to stay organized so you are committed to a particular hour, day or time period for your selected activity. Set your phone alarm and block outlook so your time is allotted. Make sure you have a plan so a realistic amount of time is allotted throughout your week or you can time block a month at a time. Once it is on your calendar, it is harder to ignore. Meditate: If we are talking about rejuvenation, meditating, hiking or finding your inner peace is a great way to prepare yourself to take on new challenges. Shake off negative energy, forgive yourself for falling out of your routine and take one day at a time. The goal is for your new routine to become a habit and integrated into your life. Research shows that if you stick to a routine for 21-30 days, it can actually become part of your everyday routine. The question is how do you ensure your habit is not a temporary pursuit but rather a long term life change. Identify realistic goals, remind yourself what you want to accomplish and develop availability techniques. Before you know it, you will be back to your NEW self.

6 Tips for Setting An Inviting Table for the Holidays

Whether your "bubble" is a table for two or a bit more expansive, nothing brightens up a meal like a perfectly set dinner table. We all have grandma's china or the place settings that we picked out for our wedding registry years ago and definitely would not choose it again today. Be a little daring this year and combine individual pieces from both of those sets to accent your dinner table and create a more interesting appeal. Let's take a look at some unique yet elegant ways to put some cheer in a holiday dinner by setting a fabulous table. 1) Linen Selection It is best to use a neutral color and plain pattern rather than a holiday themed or colored linen. Allow the accents to broadcast your holiday exuberance while your linen selection portrays a feeling of elegance. 2) Place settings It’s fun to mix and match the plates to give the table an eclectic look. Select a color palette of 2 to 3 colors but add a pop of another color using an individual item throughout your table. Enjoy using graphics, patterns and even match a casual larger plate with a more formal salad plate. Use a whole different textured plate as your bread basket or an animal print butter bowl. If you have a holiday patterned place setting your are dying to use, include one of the plates as an accent. Allow your place settings to create a visual presentation. 3) Stemware and glasses When it comes to your glassware, use a variety of heights between beverage and wine glasses to establish contrasting dimensions. Like your place settings, add unique glass to add interest to your table setting. Is there a local artisan who creates glassware? Support her local small business while spicing up your dinner table. 4) Add personalized name cards Add a beautiful name card tent for each place setting. Use beautiful holiday design and make them beautiful. Do you want to avoid dinner table topics like COVID-19 and politics? Include in each name card a question so you can go around the table throughout the dinner and enjoy some great conversation starters for you and your guests. As an alternative, add a different inspirational quote inside each name tent and ask each guest to share the quote. 5) The Centerpiece Allow the centerpiece to be the star of the show. Include elements from the outside such as berries, pomegranate, and pine shavings. As a rule of thumb, long and lean works best for your dinner party. You don't want your guests competing with the centerpiece while trying to engage with other guests nor do you want it to take up too much space for your guests to gather comfortably. 6) Candles If you have room on your table, a few candles add a nice glow and elegance to any dinner table. Be mindful of the scent. You don't want to overpower the room, frown out the aroma from the food or even worse, some of your guests might not enjoy the scent of candles. When thinking about your dinner table this holiday season, remember the 3 c's: creative, comfortable and cozy. Don't be afraid to mix different elements in the overall dining experience. Make sure your guests can enjoy the ambiance of the environment but not compete with it. Include fun elements to set the tone for an enjoyable dinner together. If you are not able to celebrate in a group this holiday season, keep your spirits high by looking forward to using these tips for a future gathering with friends and family.

The Best Sweater Picks for the Winter

With the arrival of winter and the cold weather upon us, let's celebrate cozy, winter sweaters. From perfect cream-colored cable knits to bold orange hues, there are great sweater picks for the season. Yes, it is possible to stay warm and stylish at the same time. Here are some of our expert selections for the best sweater to wear this winter: Vintage Inspired Sweater These sweaters are wonderfully warm, giving you a little retro vibe, and everybody loves a bit of vintage in their closet. We recommend you go for something multi-colored, a cheerful knit sweater for this year’s winter. We guarantee this will give you the right amount of coolness to overcome this winter. Fringe Style Sweater Warm in its texture, quirky in its embellishment, a fringe knit sweater delivers both coziness and style in just the right amount. Pair it with your standard bell- bottom jeans or a catchy vinyl trouser. Whatever style you pick, you will definitely turn some heads on your way. Turtleneck Sweaters Turtlenecks are amazing; they give you the extra bit of comfort you want in the neck area. This frame turtleneck has a super warm and cozy feel, featuring a relaxed silhouette that goes well with just about any trouser or waisted skirt. Prairie Sweater If medieval inspired dresses fascinate you, then you’re going to love the prairie sweater. This will be your favorite item in your wardrobe this winter! When the temperatures plummet, not only is it stylish, but it screams cozy or what the Danish like to call it, Hygge. Pointelle The Pointelle sweaters are setting trends this year and will continue to ride the fashion waves for a while. One of the best sweater picks for this year, Pointelle sweaters are what you call the perfect blend of casual and comfort, especially if you like wearing shirts underneath sweaters. Crochet Patterned Sweaters If you’re going for a more adorable and cuter look, this sweater checks all the boxes. The patterned crochet sleeves make sure the sleeves don’t fall off. The overall look of this sweater is oversized, perfect for both home wear and hangouts. Cropped Sweater Cropped lines, puffed up shoulders with an elegant and flattering look, this is one of the best outfits you’re going to have this winter. This sweater has got all the ingredients of a laid-back look that doesn’t overpower the rest of your attire. Don't limit yourself this winter. Try all of these looks and see what works best for you!

8 Ways to Protect Your Privacy and Safeguard Information

By:Stasia Decker-Ahmed In my book, Back in the Day, I talk about how we had a lot more privacy when growing up in the previous century than we do today. We didn’t have cell phones, Twitter, or surveillance cameras on every street corner. We could get away for hours, sometimes days at a time, and no one could reach us. It was also pretty easy to keep most of our information private. Times sure have changed. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens online, at your bank, and your favorite retail store goes everywhere. Now that we live in the age of information, things such as your mother’s maiden name and what color shirt you ordered last week on Amazon are all worth their weight in gold. Everything from filling out forms at the dentist to subscribing to an online newspaper requires divulging reams of information. Unless you decide to go off the grid and start communicating with a string and a tin can, how are you to participate in our modern society while still protecting your privacy and personal data? It’s not always easy, but there are some steps you can take. The following are a few easy ways you can safeguard your private information both online and off. 1. Use Encrypted Email – Sending and checking email on a daily basis is now part of a normal routine. Everything from viruses on our devices to losing personal information can happen through sloppy email practice. One of the best things you can do is to encrypt your email. A site that is encrypted will start with https://, not http://. It’s also important to safeguard your email offline. Many retailers now automatically ask for your email address when making a purchase. I always politely say no. I haven’t yet had a salesperson refuse to take my money or sell me an item because I didn’t give out my email. 2. Monitor Your Credit – It’s important to regularly check your credit from each credit bureau. These bureaus include Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Since you can get a free report from each of these once a year, it’s recommended to ask for one report approximately every three or four months. By spreading each of them out, you don’t have to wait an entire year to check your credit. 3. Limit Your Use of Public Wi-Fi – Yes, it’s both enjoyable and convenient to go to your local coffee shop or library and use the public Wi-Fi. It may be okay if you just want to generally surf the web while enjoying coffee and a donut. Try not to do anything that requires giving out sensitive data, like banking or making purchases, while using public Wi-Fi. 4. Strengthen Passwords – This is a basic tip, but one that can’t be emphasized enough. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of using the same password, or variations of the same password, for all your accounts. Make sure to use completely different passwords and change them every three or four months. 5. Pay with Cash – Unfortunately, some credit card companies have started selling purchasing information to marketers. Companies now have the ability to track what you’re buying and how much of it you’re buying. If you want to limit the amount of personal information that’s out there about you, pay with cash when you can. 6. Opt Out When Possible – Many of the forms we fill out have “opt out” boxes to check for receiving emails or allowing the information we’ve just given to be used for marketing purposes. These boxes and the text beside them are often microscopic, so many people often overlook them. It’s smart to get into the habit of looking for them and always checking them if possible. 7. Skip the Competitions and Surveys – When I was a kid, I loved filling out the little pieces of paper and sticking them in the box for whatever prize the store was giving away. I always figured, what have I got to lose? Back then it was nothing more than a few minutes. Today it’s your privacy and personal information. Most giveaways, competitions, and surveys are little more than mining expeditions for information to use or sell. 8. Stick to the Billboard Rule – Don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard on the interstate. More people will potentially see what’s online than what’s on a billboard on any given interstate. Even if you’re using privacy settings, this can’t stop someone from resharing posts. Privacy and the ability to protect our information may never again be as easy as it was in the old days. Following these few simple steps, however, will go a long way toward providing as much protection as possible. Stasia Decker-Ahmed is a former waitress, social worker, activity director, newspaper researcher, and educator. After spending 14 years working as a teacher in public education, I started a freelance writing career. I’m a traditional and self-published author. I’m also the author of the blog, Back in the Day, which can be found at storiesbystaz.com.

2020 Has Been A Real Doozie! What Have You Learned About Yourself this Year?

2020: I think we might have run out of adjectives and memes to describe the year. We have ALL been impacted in one way or another either physically, emotionally, financially or the way in which we live our daily lives. Have you taken a moment to reflect on what you have learned about yourself during 2020? We were curious to learn what women over 50 have discovered about themselves or life after this tumultuous year. We asked women to share their thoughts and here is what they told us about their reflections about 2020. Resilience: “I am stronger than I thought.” We heard this from several women. They shared that they were surprised how they have bounced back despite what has come their way. Flexibility: One woman shared that she has always been pretty set in her ways but she has become more flexible given life changes. Women shared that while change can be scary, they have successfully adapted what has come their way.. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: We heard from a lot of women who feel that they were too focused on things that were not important and they have learned to focus on what really matters in life. “Prior to 2020, I wouldn’t leave the house even to go to the grocery store without make-up and although looking nice is still important, my values have shifted.” Who knew masks would be the new lipstick shade in 2020? Fortunate: “I have taken a moment to appreciate that I have a job, a home, security, health and friends and family.” This is a message we heard quite often. Women expressed that they no longer take for granted gifts they have in life. Give Back: “There is real pain out there. I want to find ways to help.” Many women told us that they are already giving to charities or volunteering but their future goal is to volunteer and give more. They shared that 2020 has inspired them to re-evaluate their priorities. Creativity: “I didn’t think I had it in me.” We have all seen the videos of home projects in process. Women told us that they have renovated bathrooms, renewed their passion of painting, learned new crafts, begun work out programs, expanded their baking and cooking skills as well as started writing. Women have embarked on new adventures from the comfort of their home and seemingly surprised themselves about their under utilized talents. There is a Silver Lining: Despite the challenges of 2020, women told us they have learned to appreciate the “silver lining” in all of the chaos of the year. “We pulled out and dusted off board games we had not played in years.” Women shared that 2020 has taught them that they had become removed from some of the more important aspects of life. This year has been a time to enjoy cooking dinner and eating as a family, taking long walks, slowing down and spending time talking and laughing on the phone with friends and family. They said they would make life adjustments even after we return to “normal.” Eat Cake and Drink Wine: One of the women in the Hello50 community broke down 2020 this way: “Eat the piece of cake and drink the glass of wine.” She said she has learned this year how precious life is and take a moment to enjoy simple pleasures! She is not advocating “over indulging” but if you want the cake, eat it. The impact of 2020 transcends socio-economic standing, race, gender, political views and geographic differences. Many people have taken the opportunity to recognize that while we can’t ignore the tragic impact on so many people, there is also an opportunity to take inventory of how we live our lives and perhaps make some long term changes. 2021: We are ready for you!

Is Your Hair Thinning? Here Are Tips for Combatting Hair Loss

Why is your hair thinning? Your hair becomes thinner as you age, but you can take action to stop the thinning process. Let's start with the facts. Whether you like it or not, hair loss is a reality experienced by both men and women as we age. You might not have the hairline you had back when you were in your twenties, but you certainly have some tricks up your sleeves to halt the hair loss. You may have heard that shedding between 50 to 100 hairs a day is considered normal. However, if the quantity exceeds the average range, the medical term for this is telogen effluvium. It occurs in men and women due to factors such as poor nutrition, illness, and genetics. According to the American Hair Loss Association, women make up 40% of all hair loss sufferers. As reported by the American Academy of Dermatology, 30 million American women experience hereditary hair loss compared to 50 million American men. Here are other reasons for hair loss with age: Stress Yo Yo dieting Poor nutrition Medications Illnesses like the autoimmune disorder (alopecia areata) Chemical treatments, hair dyes, styling tools Menopause Hormonal fluctuations Genetic disposition - As reported by the American Academy of Dermatology, 30 million American women experience hereditary hair loss compared to 50 million American men. The terms hair loss and hair thinning may be used interchangeably. However, it is essential to note that you may not be losing your hair but maybe experiencing accelerated thinning. It means that your hair is still there, but it has become shorter, thinner, and or to the point that the naked eye cannot see it. Ultimately, some of these hairs just stop growing. How to Deal with Hair Thinning? You can salvage your thinning hair by getting rid of your bad (hair) habits and adopting new (good) ones. According to dermatologists, the three areas you need to work on include your hair cut, styling choices, and maintenance routine. Here's what you can do to deal with your thinning hair: DO's Eat healthily: Foods like eggs, fatty fish, spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, seeds, and nuts contain nutrients that are great for maintaining hair health. Make sure you incorporate them into your diet. Supplements: You can also take FDA-approved supplements for better hair quality. Hair Care: Shampoo your hair regularly but not every day. Shampooing keeps your scalp and hair clean, and therefore, healthy. It helps your hair grow at its best rate and prevents thinning. How often you should shampoo your hair varies from person to person, depending on your scalp's oiliness. Generally, most people should shampoo at least every other day to prevent the buildup of oils and pollutants on their scalp. This buildup can cause inflammation, which hinders hair growth and dandruff, that leads to itching, scratching, and consequently, hair breakage. Trim frequently: If you think avoiding trimming your hair will help it grow longer, think again. It can damage your hair and lead to breakage so make sure to trim every 6 - 8 weeks. This practice – called dusting by stylists helps to keep your hair thick and healthy. Consider Treatments: Did you know that there are two types of hair loss? They are called scarring and non-scarring hair loss. Scarring occurs due to long-term wearing of hair extensions, tight braids, or hair disorders, and the damage is irreversible. Non-scarring hair loss is treatable and occurs due to thyroid problems or low iron intake. The treatment options available for non-scarring hair loss include Minoxidil, prescription drugs, laser therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma Treatment and hair transplants. Start with a healthy breakfast: It may surprise you to hear that a healthy breakfast is essential for maintaining healthy hair. What you eat at breakfast is used to fuel your body's vital systems. If you skip your breakfast or don't eat enough nutrients, your hair system does not get the nutrition it needs. As a result, your hair loses its quality and becomes weak and damaged Dont's Aggressive shampooing: If you have brittle or dry hair, shampooing too often can cause hair breakage, especially if your shampoo has a drying effect. If your hair is weak, dry, or brittle, you should use a moisturizing shampoo with a good conditioner to avoid hair breakage that can cause thinning hair. Brushing vigorously: The secret to having healthy hair is to be gentle with it. It starts with brushing it gently. So, the next time you comb your hair, try to detangle it with a wide-tooth comb and be extra gentle when it is wet because it is more vulnerable to breakage. Don't brush your hair excessively; always start at the bottom and slowly make your way upward when brushing and try to pull on your hair as less as possible. Selecting the right hairbrush is essential because you use it daily, which means thata wrong choice can cause severe damage. Contrary to popular belief, the famous boar-bristle brushes are not the most hair-friendly option. The metal brushes are also not recommended because they can get too heated up during styling. The best option is a brush with rounded plastic prongs with preferably a plastic base with a vent. Excessive heat: Too much heat can be harsh for your hair and lead to hair breakage and weakening your scalp. It can cause damage to the cuticle on the hair's outermost layer. So, don't overuse styling tools like curling irons, flat irons, hot rollers, and hair dryers, and avoid keeping them at the hottest setting. Pulling hair tightly: Tying your hair in braids, buns and ponytails may damage hair. The tight pull can harm your hair follicle and lead to traction alopecia. In this condition, you get scarring and thinning at the hairline. You should use hair-friendly clips or ties such as soft scrunchies and keep alternating between different styles so that you avoid pulling the same sections of your hair. It would help if you also got haircuts covering up the areas where your hair is thinning the most. Over-bleaching: Using a high-lift hair color can make your hair fiber plumper and fuller, but bleaching damages the cuticle of your hair. It makes your hair susceptible to breakage and thinning. Avoid bleaching your hair or try to do it less often. Styling Products: Some hair styling products can be very harsh for your hair. Hair gels or sprays contain alcohol, which leaves your hair dry and brittle. Several straightening products may scar your hair follicles and lead to hair loss. If these products are not removed properly from your hair, their residue can make your hair fall out or break while brushing your hair. Playing with your hair: Some people have a habit of scratching their head, twirling their hair around their fingers, or pulling at their hair when they are angry or nervous. These habits can lead to hair loss in the long run. Smoking: Research suggests a link between smoking and poor hair health. Smoking causes low blood circulation to your extremities, including your scalp, which affects hair follicle's growth. Sun protection: Even a lack of sun protection or too much sunlight can harm your hair cuticle and fiber, making it more vulnerable to breakage. . If your hair is getting thinner, your body might be trying to tell you something about your health. Managing stress, balancing hormones, maintaining a healthy diet, taking appropriate supplements and implementing healthy hair care might make a difference in your hair. As you age, think about what your hair is telling you about your overall health. .

Dinner Time: Is Good Food on Your Healthy List?

By: Denise Stegall What is the one thing that you think of every day? Several times a day, perhaps. You wake up thinking about it, daydream about it. You even plan shopping trips and take vacations to find it. You spend hours planning and preparing for it. What is this one thing that has our minds so preoccupied? Good Food! GOOD FOOD is on one thing that we think of constantly. Maybe not minute by minute but certainly more often than you even realize. How many times just after breakfast have you asked your spouse, “What do you want for dinner?”. Nothing brings us together the way good food does. We gather around tables at home, with friends, in restaurants surrounded by the people we love. It fills our bellies and warms our soul. The good food you eat nurtures your body and gives it what it needs to optimally function. It sharpens your mind, increases energy, keeps you feeling great! It’ll even help you maintain a healthy weight or if need be, lose weight, too! Bookstores and bookshelves are filled with cookbooks on good food, the internet is loaded with recipes for good food yet the term “Good Food” means something different to everyone. I even polled my family, who as you can imagine I know pretty well, and some of their answers surprised me. Overwhelmingly though their good food included pasta, pizza, taco’s burritos and ribs which, I’ll admit, agreed with most people I have worked with in the past at Living Healthy List. As a health and life coach, the first thing I want to know is what my clients are eating on a regular basis. It seems that comfort foods are mainly thought of as good food. Foods that are heavy, smothered with butter, cream, cheese and tons of calories. Not much nutrition, either. How often have you though about good food and an image of a green salad with pomegranates tomatoes and chick peas popped into your mind? Why do so many of us think that foods that are good for us: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legume, nuts seed, fatty fish and lean meats don’t taste good? The answer to that is multifactorial. What you ate growing up can dictate your likes and dislikes. Your location, family background, and income level play a role. If, as a child you weren’t encouraged to try new foods like fish, Brussel sprouts, or even a grapefruit your palate never had the opportunity to acquire a taste for them. When my nephew was little, he would not eat a vegetable, any vegetable. His dad didn’t eat vegetables either which made the case for “veggies being good for you” a true challenge for my sister. As an adult in his 20’s, he still isn’t keen on vegetables but he can be coaxed to eat them if they are smothered with cheese or Ranch dressing. Which, by the way, defeats the point of the wholesomeness of the veggies. But, at least it’s a start. Interestingly, the same nephew loves sushi rolls so maybe there is still hope for his taste buds. Another factor that plays a role in us believing that foods that are good for us but don’t taste good is in the way they are prepared. Most of us home cooks have basic cooking techniques like frying, baking or boiling. We have never learned more advanced techniques (advanced not difficult) to transform a boring leek into a creamy, delicious and satisfying soup or a basket of mushrooms into a sweet and sassy topping for steak. Instead we boil or fry them into oblivion with tons of butter and oil. Not that butter and oil are bad, they absolutely have their place in cooking just not so much or so often. Finally, most of us never learned the finesse of using herbs and spices. Go into any household and I can bet you’ll find a salt and pepper shaker in the kitchen. Maybe a few random spice jars hidden in the back of a cabinet, probably past their prime. They are an afterthought instead of part of the planning and cooking process. With herbs and spices you can take a head of lettuce and turn it into a scrumptious meal. That olive oil I mentioned earlier will come in handy, here! Condiments and sauces in the United States are pretty benign. Mayo, mustard and ketchup are the most popular and let’s be honest the most boring! I am encouraged by the influx of international condiments that can now be found in the local supermarkets. Sriracha anyone? Growing up in New York I thought sauce was red, thick and took hours to cook on the stove. It was not until I was un college that I expanded my culinary skills and began experimenting with beurre blanc, chimichurri and pesto. They may sound complicated and exotic but I assure you if an 18-year-old college kid could master them in 10 minutes, you can too! As I’ve gotten older and approach 50, my celebration is in April, I’ve noticed that most of us at this stage in life have gotten a little thick in the middle. We can blame it on menopause, it certainly a contributor but more likely our food choices are the culprit. When you were little you were probably allowed one cookie at a time. As an adult do you still limit yourself to just one? Probably not. If you do, congratulations, may I have some of your willpower? Cookies are my Kryptonite. Our food choices have always dictated how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally and at this incredible stage in our lives its never been more important! This is the best time of our lives. We are wiser, more confident, have more time for ourselves and have cultivated meaningful relationships with friends and family. The sad truth is that many of us are not living a heathy, happy fulfilling life. Heart disease, cardio vascular disease, obesity, and diabetes are wreaking havoc on so many of us, (about 13.7%) and that number grows as we age. It’s time to focus on good food- real food! The foods that lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, help us lose and maintain a healthy weight and feel vibrant? Real foods are whole foods which are mostly unprocessed, free of chemical additives, and rich in nutrients. These are the foods our grandparents ate prior to the 20th century, when processed, packaged and ready to eat meals became the bulk of the western diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, lean meat, poultry and fish are the staples of a healthy diet of real food. The basic premise of Eat Real Food is consuming foods the way nature intended them (or as close as possible). It’s a lifestyle philosophy, not a diet. I know, I know. You’re thinking that these are the foods that don’t taste good. I assure you that they do. Your taste buds just don’t realize it. After almost 50 years of eating processed foods with added artificial flavors, sugars, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), canola/vegetable oil and chemical additives that you can barely pronounce your taste buds are numb! Anything you eat that isn’t super sugary and salty seem to lack flavor. The wonderful, natural flavor is there but you can’t taste it. As soon as you stop eating processed foods, and pretty much everything we eat is somewhat processed, you notice the sweetness of carrots, strawberries no longer need to be sprinkled with sugar or drowned in whipped cream. You’ll find that a little bit of good quality olive oil has an amazing flavor and that a little goes a long way. Focus on Eating Real Foods 80% of the time and your life will change. You will feel better, you think more clearly, your joints are less stiff and you have more energy to do the things you enjoy. I truly feel that at 50 you can feel as good if not better than you did when you were 30! With the holidays fast approaching the topic of good food has once again dominated the conversation in my circles. Specifically, because many of the traditional foods we eat during the holidays are not particularly heathy. They tend to be heavy, calorie laden, full of butter, cream, gloppy canned soup and of course we eat too much of it. During this holiday season I encourage you to “lighten up” your traditional dinner menu. I’ve even made it easy for you to do so by giving you my some of my favorite Thanksgiving Recipes. Be assured that it’s not as daunting a task as you may think. Planning and prepping are essential. Simply by adding a green salad with an olive oil and vinegar dressing using herbs and spices as well as a dish using a whole grain like quinoa you can completely change the focus of the meal to good food that’s good for you. Turning 50 is momentous which makes it the perfect time to evaluate what is important and what is not, and to decide on any changes you need to make. Eating real food, and creating healthy habits now helps you view your life with optimism, hope and enjoy this incredible time in life. Fifty is a threshold that opens to new horizons and those healthy habits you make today can determine your quality of life for reaching your next milestones. Meet Denise Stegall Denise Stegall is a speaker, teacher, transformational life coach and CEO and curator of Living Healthy List, an online healthy lifestyle magazine. She has innate wisdom as a connector and a leader who radiates emotional intelligence, strength, positivity, and a zest for life! Denise holds a BA in Hotel, Restaurant and Business Management with a focus on nutrition, experience in the food industry and has certifications in Health Coaching, Life Coaching, Nutrition, ETP and Plant Based Cooking. Denise has condensed 20 years of experience/study in nutrition, cooking, exercise and coaching to educate women on how to live, healthy happy and fulfilling lives by focusing on 4 pillars health, wellness, personal development and fun! As the CEO and Curator of Living Healthy List she is determined to connect Living Healthy List to experts that can trust and provide honest, reliable, research-backed content that can be implemented in real life!

How Journaling Can Save Your Life

By: Diana Raab, PHD In 1964 when I was ten years old, my grandmother died by suicide in my childhood home. In those days, psychotherapy wasn’t spoken about, so instead, my mother handed me a Kahlil Gibran journal and told me to write down my feelings as a way to help me cope with the loss. That seemingly benign gesture changed my life forever, as it laid the groundwork for my life as a writer. The journal had quotations at the top of each page that inspired my own words. When I was lonely, I’d cuddle up beneath the hanging clothes in my walk-in closet, pull the string attached to the single bulb above, and write into the wee hours of the morning. Following this continuum, and after the loss of many loved ones and having dealt with two cancer diagnoses, I’d often turn to writing to help me navigate my journey. For more than five decades, my journal has been used as a storehouse for my own relentless musings, thoughts, and feelings. I also write down phrases and words that I hear during the course of a day. They end up as seeds for greater works down the road. Prior to the pandemic, one of my passions was sitting in public places such as coffeehouses and parks to write. The white noise was inspiring; plus, it’s interesting to hear and observe others. When writing fiction, it’s also enjoyable to record conversations and watch natural communication patterns. Sometimes my entries remain inside the safe container of my journal; and other times I decide to transform the entries into poems, essays, blogs, or books. As the author of nine books, I confess that all my books began on the pages of my journals. I’ve filled volumes of journals, which are all now stored in my closet. Who knows, maybe my children and grandchildren will one day have an urge to peruse the pages to know what life was like for me. Just after the 9/11 tragedy, I was blessed to find my grandmother’s journal, where she wrote about being orphaned during World War I as the cholera pandemic raged. It was fascinating to read her story. In fact, my first memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal, emerged out of her writings. My second memoir, Healing with Words, emerged from my first cancer diagnosis just before 9/11. It chronicled my breast-cancer journey and eventually evolved into a self-help book for others navigating similar experiences. A journal is a powerful tool for healing. It’s a place to intimately express feelings, explore secrets, and transcribe musings. The journal makes no judgments; it is free of editors, critics, and teachers. It is the music and voice of our true emotions. In my book Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, I discuss various types of writing and have devoted an entire chapter to journaling because I believe it’s important for finding one’s bliss, healing, and telling our stories. The art of journal writing dates back to when our ancestors wrote on cave walls. Later, the tenth-century Japanese court lady Sei Shonagōn kept a famous writer’s notebook in which she recorded a miscellaneous catch-all of things that were both charming and annoying. Now considered a classic, Shonagōn’s The Pillow Book could also be thought of as an early blog. Writer Anaïs Nin began journaling as a way of healing when her father left her family when she was eleven years old. The journal became her confidant and in many ways saved her life as she mourned this loss. Many years later, her journals were published for public consumption. In addition to saving your life, journal writing has many additional benefits: 1) It improves communication skills. 2) It builds self-confidence. 3) It helps foster mindfulness, manifest intentions, and track our life patterns. 4) It is empowering. 5) It provides an emotional release and inspires profound insights. 6) It clarifies our feelings and thoughts. 7) It helps us cope during stressful and challenging times. By the time we reach fifty, many of us have journaled at one point or another; however, sometimes it’s wise to take a small refresher course. Here’s how to reignite your journaling habit: 1) Find a quiet, uninterrupted time and place to write. 2) Choose an inspiring notebook and pen. 3) Create a centering ritual (light a candle, meditate, play music, stretch). 4) Take some deep breaths in through your nose and out from your mouth. 5) Put aside your inner critic. 6) Date your entries. 7) Begin by writing, “Right now I feel . . . ,” and see where it leads you. 8) Write nonstop for at least 15 to 20 minutes. 9) Try journaling at the same time every day. For more information about Diana Raab and the writing tools she recommends, please visit: Diana Raab Writing Tools Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a poet, memoirist, blogger, speaker, and the award-winning author of nine books and more than 1,000 articles and poems. She frequently speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Raab blogs for Psychology Today, The Wisdom Daily, and Thrive Global, among other publications. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Her newest creative endeavor is the Deck Conversation Cards for Meaningful Storytelling, which is a terrific holiday gift and stocking stuffer. Website: dianaraab.com

The Pros and Cons of Carb Cycling: Is It Worth a Try or Not?

Are you thinking about a diet that includes a reduction in carbohydrates but keto too restrictive for you? Carb cycling might be a great alternative for you! Carb cycling is exactly how it sounds: It is an approach where you alternate between low carbohydrate days combined with some high carbohydrate intake days. Why does carb cycling work? The thought process is that when you limit carbs, your body relies on fat as the primary fuel source, which can be helpful for weight management. If you are strategic about when you eat carbs (more intense workout days) your body is more efficiently powered and you will realize better results. So, what are the pros and cons of this diet? What Is Carb Cycling? Carb cycling is a dietary approach in which you change your carb intake depending on your monthly, weekly, or daily goals. This keto diet alternative allows for carb load days so for some people, it is easier to follow while still gaining many of the benefits that a keto diet offers. When following a carb cycling diet, you consume more carbs on high intense work out days and fewer carbs on rest days. According to nutritionists, This diet should only be used in short duration phases. In order to be successful, carb cycling requires strict adherence. The goal of carb cycling is that it forces your body to utilize fat as fuel instead of the carbohydrate glycogen (stored form of glucose). The Pros and Cons of Carb Cycling What are the health benefits of carb cycling? Weight loss - given carb deprivation, if adhered to properly, rapid weight loss is possible. Low carb phases may help suppress your appetite, making it easier to lose weight. High carb phases supply essential nutrients to your body, helping to refuel muscle. During low carb phases, your body uses body fat as fuel during exercise, leading to fat burning. (makes a big difference on the menopause middle) High carb days boost energy for workouts. Promotes psychological well-being because it feels less restrictive and is easier to sustain. This allows for success and continued adherence. Hormone regulation: Carb cycling helps regulate hormones in your body. Low carb days help mitigate blood sugar lows and highs, while high carb days help regulate insulin levels. This adds to muscle preservation and boosts testosterone, thyroid hormones, and leptin levels. The Cons associated with Carb Cycling: Carb cycling may not be the best diet choice for individuals with eating disorders. This approach requires high adherence and strict planning, which may be difficult to achieve. You might experience potential headaches, lightheadedness or even flu-like symptoms  during the low carb. Frequent urination: When you reduce your carb intake, your body will burn the extra glycogen in your muscles and liver. This breaking down of glycogen releases a lot of water inside your body. The kidneys will excrete this water because your carb intake and glycogen stores become low, leading to excess urination – which in turn causes excess elimination of sodium from your body. Carb Cycling Can Be A Good Option for You! Carbs are extremely important for building and preserving your muscle and maintaining your metabolism, particularly with more intense exercise.  If you are carb cycling, think about keeping your carb count as low as 50 carbs on your low impact exercise days and as high as 200 carbs on high impact workout days. According to research, this approach can help you make the most of your exercise sessions because post-workout carbs are used along with protein to build muscle and help your body recover. Carb choices DO matter: High-fiber carbs are a rich source of nutrients. You also want to consider healthier options such as quinoa, farro and whole grains rather than deep fried choices or sugary options. As always, speak with your doctor to ensure any diet options are appropriate for you.  If you are looking to reduce carbs but keto is too restrictive for you, consider carb cycling.

How to Acknowledge the Elephant (and Donkey) in the Room

When we planned and launched Hello50, we decided not to broach the topic of politics.  After all, there is no shortage of outlets weighing in on political discourse, morning noon and night.  This is not to say there is a lack of interest or opinion personally - in fact quite the opposite. I have always read about and stayed current when it comes to politics both domestically and internationally starting in my late teens through today. Hello50, however, was launched with the goal of creating an inclusive, supportive platform bringing all women together and based on our pre-launch survey, women shared with us they would prefer that we not engage in political discourse. But here we are on the eve of an election marred by what I would consider to be the most divisive time in our country so how do we not find a way to acknowledge the elephant (and donkey) in the room while remaining inclusive? There has been so much written about how to maintain civility during Thanksgiving dinner despite political differences.  We wanted to know what women in the Hello50 community thought is the best way forward with their friends and family after the election results.  Here is what we we were told: Gloating: There are strong feelings on both sides. Women told us they don’t want to get a call from a friend and hear her gloat about the results. Political analyst extraordinaire: One woman said “my sister is a CPA and she thinks she is an expert political analyst and she isn’t.”  After the results, don’t get labeled   “know it all.” Let the results stand for themselves and resist the urge to pontificate on why their candidate won. Election results won’t change my view: Just because your friend’s candidate loses, it doesn’t mean she will suddenly adopt your viewpoint. The country is pretty well split so “see I told you so” is not helpful. There are plenty of people with your friend's ideology, regardless who wins. I come in peace: We asked if their candidate won, would they call their friend who supported the other candidate in support of them. Women on both sides said they would reach out to their friend in support of them. Avoid the topic: Chances are that the relationship with your sister, mother or friend was built on something other than politics. The loss of a favored candidate could be raw so when asked if they would prefer not to discuss the topic, most women said they would prefer to avoid the topic in the short term to allow some healing. Overall, women shared with us that this election will come and go and their relationships would remain intact.  However, we did have women “on both sides” tell us that this election has shown them that their value system is so different from their friend. They tell us they are already struggling to listen to one another so election results might put their relationship in jeopardy. Hopefully with open and honest communication as well as mutual respect, your lifelong relationships will prove to outlive the 2020 battle for the White House.

Is Genetic Testing Right for You?

I remember when my mother shared with me the emotion she felt as she sat with the genetic specialist unpacking details about our family’s too cozy relationship with cancer.  My mom explained how she cried as she disclosed one family member after another who had been stricken by cancer, many of whom succumbed to the disease. It was only as I sat in the same “hot seat” revealing names of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmother and yes, my mother who fought many battles with numerous types of cancer, mostly breast cancer, that I could relate to her anguish describing in such detail how it rumbled through generations of kin like a wave crushing a shoreline. I have spent much of my adulthood with a sense of inevitability when it comes to breast cancer. So many of the women in my family have had breast cancer so I always assumed it was not "if" but "when" I would receive the same devastating news. I have been getting mammograms since I was 30 years old due to my increased risk. One of the biggest fears with every negative test result has always been that somehow the cancer had gone on undetected. Due to the high rate of cancer in my family, my doctor asked me to participate in genetic testing that evaluates the likeliness of getting certain forms of cancer based on lifestyle data and carrying the gene for specific cancers. I sat stunned as the doctor revealed that I in fact do not carry a gene mutation that would put me in a higher risk category for a multitude of cancers, unlike some of my relatives.  Of course, there are environmental sources but it seems that genetics would not cause cancer and that information, admittedly, is still challenging for me to process as I have always assumed it was quite literally, part of my DNA. Although a family history of breast cancer means a higher risk, most women with a family history of breast cancer do not have an inherited gene change that highly impacts their risk. Still, an inherited gene change is more likely in women with a strong family history of breast cancer, especially if the family history also includes other cancers, such as ovarian, pancreatic, or prostate cancer. The risk of having an inherited syndrome is also affected by: How close the affected family member is to you (Cancer in close relatives such as a mother or sister is more concerning than cancer in more distant relatives. Other family members are also indicators but not as much as close family relatives) How many family members are affected How old are your relatives were diagnosed (Younger age is more of a concern.) I am obviously thrilled with the results of my testing and mostly relieved that the gene mutation that has haunted my family will not pass on to my daughters from me. My only sadness upon hearing the results was not being able to share the good news with my mom who eventually lost her hard fought battles with cancer in March of 2019.  Although I have not inherited the gene mutation does not mean my brothers have not so they would have to pursue their own testing if they wish to do so. If you are looking for additional information about genetic testing, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Genetic Testing for Heredity Breast and Ovarian Cancer. .

Happy Blending! Applying Make-Up Has Never Been So Easy!

Lori Machiorlette, CEO of blendSMART, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Her super power in business is product development and implementing a business plan to launch a product to market.  Many years prior to blendSMART, which by the way is a  fabulous rotating makeup brush, Lori owned a dating service even before the internet. Imagine that! Her franchise “Together Dating” was successful in creating dozens of marriages by using telemarketers to establish a database of over 7,000 members. After selling her business, Lori and her husband along with his business partner, launched a home products company with two patented lines: TheInstant Pendant and Luxury HVAC grilles. She pushed tooth and nail to keep her productson the floors of major stores What has really inspired Lori over the past several years is ensuring women everywhere know about blendSMART and how it could benefit them, especially as they age. She found that women don’t always have time, interest or knowledge to work with beauty products and interestingly enough, she puts herself in the category. However, Lori believes in blendSMART and mostly because of the backstory that inspired this product to launch. The product was originally designed by a former model who struggled with applying make-up after an injury. She developed the concept of a rotating brush which mimicks the rapid circular wrist motion that occurs when applying beauty products. blendSMARTwas born after consulting with engineers, designers and makeup artists. This product has had so much appeal to women that it quickly grew especially after “buzz” about it was created by Doris Dalton, who is well known on QVC, and founder of Doll 10 Beauty. The product has its loyal followers and has even got a huge boost after it was selected as an "Oprah's Favorite Thing" last year. Lifestyle and beauty guru Jenn Falik promoted it on the Rachael Ray show. Let’s look at what exactly this product is and why it is great for women as they age. If you are looking for a great moisturizer, foundation or blush applicator, blendSMART uses patented spinning brushes to mimic the wrist motion of a professional. It is so simple and after using it, it’s one of those products where you say, “why didn’t I think of that.” (We all have had that experience with a product, right?)  Here is why you will love it: Because of the 190 degree rotation, it is fast, effortless and helps to evenly distribute the product so it doesn’t stick in our fine lines that develop with age. The tool ensures we use less make-up that gives a thin layer of coverage without that caked on look. You will decrease the chance of clogging your pores. If you find that your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, blendSMART helps to blend the make-up better so you don’t have that patchy application that can happen when we don’t see as well as we used to. If you have mobility issues due to age, tremors, Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis or other medical challenges, Rather than touching your face in the era of COVID-19, blendSMART helps  minimize face touching. Lori is extremely customer-centric in her approach to managing her business.  She shared that even though the vast majority of women love the product, she is sad whenever a woman is not pleased.  She is committed to ensuring her customers are satisfied and takes a great deal of pride in her product. Do you have an entrepreneurial story to share? Tell us about your business venture or a woman you know who has a story to tell about her journey as a business owner.

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