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5 Women Influencers Over 50 Who You Will Want to Follow

Social media has absolutely exploded over the past 10 years with 3.96 billion users which is an astounding 51% of the world’s population, according to Hootsuite. If you had the assumption that social media influencers were exclusively millennials, think again! Women over 50 have captured a huge following on social media sites as they leverage their expertise, expand their platforms and monetize their successes all while impacting multiple industries.  Marketing executives would have to be fools to ignore the purchasing power of women over 50 as they make up a whopping 27% of consumer spending says Why Marketers Should Be Scared of Ignoring 50 Plus Women in AARP solutions. Don’t take any of their successes for granted - unless you are accustomed to walking the red carpet because of your “day job,” building a following organically into the tens of thousands of loyalists is no easy feat. Scroll through Instagram and you will find women in the over 50 age group presenting the latest makeup palette, juicing with the newest mix, showing us how to wear fashion forward styles at any age, and providing tips and tricks of how to stay fit (menopause and all). I connected with 5 of these amazing women and you might just want to follow them! There is a common thread that runs through each of these fabulous ladies.  Don’t expect to find them on the sidelines. They each bring their knowledge to their respective platforms but more than that, they are passionate about what they do, committed to helping other women, and they are determined to never give up on living their lives to the fullest no matter their age. Let's meet 5 amazing women over 50 who have turned their passion and expertise into influence: Lauren Dimet Waters Fountain of 30 Co-Host of the podcast Beauty is a Bitch! Instagram: 84,000 followers (@fountainof30) When you talk with Lauren, you get the sense that she is an expert in marketing, blogging and social media platforms. Her depth and breath is expansive, not surprisingly, given her education and experience honing her skills. Lauren has a fabulous “1-2 “ punch” with both marketing and fashion industry experience as well as a  Masters of Business Administration (MBA). She started her career in a more traditional corporate America path and after she “burned out,” Lauren moved from New York to Chicago and started to blog,15 years ago. She was a bit ahead of her times since blogging was not really even “a thing” when she first started. She and her partner spoke more to a local Chicago audience at the time with her original blog Second City Style then after returning to New York years later, her audience grew nationally and she transitioned to her current blog, Fountain of 30. Her blog and instagram offer great content about fashion, beauty, health, travel and more. She and her partner, Carol, have a great motto we can all live by: Growing younger in mind, spirit and beauty.  Her platforms are all really visually appealing and offer a great dose of humor.  Enjoy a glass of wine while listening to her podcast Beauty is a Bitch - she and her co-host have an inviting vibe and you will feel like you are in the room chatting with the ladies. Lauren’s advice to the Hello50 community: Don’t let anyone tell you what ageing looks like. If you want to wear it, wear it. (Rules are made to be broken). No need to act your age - have fun and it's ok to act younger than you are. Lee Holmes Supercharged Food Clinical Nutritionist, Chef, Author Instagram: 59,000 followers (@leesupercharged) Lee Holmes is Australian based but has gained international recognition with her successful branding of life-style blog and as the author of 9 books. She also sells an expansive line including a variety of health, home and well-being products. Her influence has caught the eye of many magazines. She appeared in Vogue, Nature Health and lots of other platforms. Lee is an expert in nutrition which, as she explains, “I fell into it, actually. My website was created 10 years ago.” Although Lee has studied nutrition and even gone to cooking school, her real catalyst into Supercharged was fueled by her personal health challenges. “I started it because I had a health issue and wanted to document ways to recover from the inside out with nutrition and recipes.” After an autoimmune disease diagnosis and fibromyalgia several years ago, Lee was continually lethargic and prescribed a whole myriad of drugs and antibiotics. She decided to find her own solutions to gut health and nutritional well-being by living it, not just reading about it. Lee began documenting on Supercharged her successes, her progress and sharing new discoveries.“I’m trying to change the way that people see health, and help people take it into their own hands, one gut-boosting smoothie at a time and I started a new website called which is all about gut health.” Lee's site makes you feel comfortable and relaxed when looking around at recipes and information in a laid back way. She shares "My motto more or less in life is “less is more” and I love the minimalist approach. This theme wanders throughout my life from my kitchen benches, to the food I eat and even having a minimal wardrobe.” Lee attributes her success in developing her business and her influence in the nutrition arena on hard work, passion and the ability to be empathetic, most likely because of her own health struggles, Lee explains. Lee’s nutritional advice to the Hello50 community Eat the rainbow. Try and have a multitude of different colors and textures on your plate. It really helps to get your antioxidants, and macro and micronutrients. Secondly, eat mindfully and take time out for yourself! Angelique Miles Living My Best Life at 50+ Instagram: 51,000 followers (@angeliquemiles) Angelique’s path to top flying instagram influencer started a bit by chance. She previously spent years as an executive in the music industry. Not long after 911, a contract ended and she was enjoying time off before what she assumed would be her next industry job, which was common for her profession. That call never came as the industry at the time was experiencing change. Angelique wanted to maintain structure in her schedule so she started focusing more on fitness. Her body was changing and people noticed the difference. Angelique began CrossFit and feeling good about her progress. Angelique said “someone should know I am doing this.”  She started with Twitter then moved to Instagram to promote her workouts. Angelique’s following was growing organically but she wasn’t sure how to monetize her platform. She finally started working with partners, slowly, in 2015. As her platform followers continued to grow, so did the number of companies seeking her influence. Angelique partnerships expanded and last year, her platform has grown to a full time business. Angelique says the harder you work, the more you get out of building the platform.  She now has partnerships with brands marketing athletic wear, menopause products, fashion and other niche brands. Angelique used to reach out to companies but now, they come to her. Angelique explains that she would be practicing self-care, working out and using the products in her everyday life so it only makes sense to also have these partnerships. When you check out Angelique’s instagram page, she conveys a body positive image and infectious smile. She shares all sorts of great work out tips, hair and skin care advice as well as some great pearls of wisdom along the way. You will also love her fabulous work-out attire! Angelique’s advice to the Hello50 community There are assumptions of what “over 50” looks like and you can defy assumptions. Self-care is important at any age including wellness, fitness.  You should be happy when you look in the mirror. If you are 35 or 40 and thinking about 50, don’t be scared! Laura Heikkila - Ageless Women Society Helping Women Over 40 Transform Their Bodies Instagram: 34,000 followers (@so_this_is_50) Laura Heikkila is a 52 year old wife, mother, caretaker and entrepreneur living in Southern California. Laura’s fitness journey started after giving birth to her daughter at 35. She lived a high stress lifestyle as the owner of the largest insurance agency in Idaho. She said that it was not uncommon for her to sit and eat a half pound bag of peanut M & M's. She began working out during lunch as a stress reliever and started looking forward to it. That is how her fitness journey began. Laura moved back to her hometown in California at 45 to care for her father so she sold her insurance business and went home. Laura wanted to work in a field she felt passionate about and opened a fitness studio to help others. At 49, she started an instagram account to document her turning 50 and called it @so_this_is_50. Her page grew quickly with over 10,000 by the time she turned 50. As her platform grew, women started messaging Laura asking her to help them manage perimenopause and weight gain. In response to those requests, Laura started the Ageless Women Society Program. Laura shares “ Now I'm helping thousands of women around the world take back control of their bodies!” Laura attributes her success to women relating to her own journey to fitness and because women can see what is possible after 50.  She has been able to monetize her success through her 8 Week Hormone Balancing and weight Loss Program and her Stay On Track Program. She also is an influencer for products she likes. However, she explains that life work balance is important to Laura so she strives to keep both in check. Her instagram photos do show that it is possible to become and stay fit after 50.  She also shares great menu ideas to stay healthy and enjoy savory options. Laura’s advice to the Hello50 Community Patience and Consistency.  She explains that we live in a time where instant gratification is right at our fingertips all the time.  She adds "Your body isn't Amazon Prime. You are not going to get the body you want in 2 days.” It took time to get out of shape and most of that happened, according to Laura,  is because as women we tend to take care of everyone else but ourselves.  I want women to know it is not selfish to put your health first and this is the time to do it! Caroline Ida fiftyyearsofawoman Silver Influencer Paris Instagram: 30,000 followers (@fiftyyearsofawoman) Caroline is a 60 year old French woman living in a French suburb. She speaks French, English, Portuguese and Italian. Caroline launched her platform 3 years with a focus on fashion, make-up and art. Her goal at the time was to gain 10,000 followers her first year on Instagram and she was successful! Caroline has a fashion background which includes 7 years designing bags. She decided to “re-invent” herself with her blog and social media platform.  Caroline has an international following and considers herself to be a “woman not just of France but of the world.” She thinks her large, international following is perhaps because of her authenticity. She also wants to break what she calls the “invisibility of women over 50 in society.”  She also wants to encourage women to reconnect with themselves and practice self love! Caroline is so clearly enjoying life to the fullest.  You will find her dancing away on Instagram reels and have your dancing shoes ready because watching her is contagious. Caroline’s advice to the Hello50 Community If you don’t want to wear make-up, throw on a little lipstick make sure to practice self-facials. These women are following their passion, sharing their expertise and impacting their industries. They all successfully utilize social media platforms to create their own business opportunities. Take a look at their social media sites

Downhill Mountain Biking: Not Only for "Gen Z"

By: Samantha Reynolds Standing on the precipice of Whistler’s Bike Park in the beautiful province of British Columbia, I honestly thought I had lost my marbles. I couldn't help to think, "Who did I think am? An aging female Evil Knievel? A twenty-something with bones like rubber? A cat with nine lives?" With my heart fluttering faster than a hummingbird’s wings, I threw all caution to the wind. I have always enjoyed biking. Growing up, sports were my outlet, my love. I was the tomboy with a skateboard under her arm, surrounded by male friends many years my junior. After high school, I entered the University of British Columbia where I explored the numerous mountain biking trails the "endowment lands" had to offer. Yes, I was athletic and yes, I enjoyed some extreme kind of sports but I was not ready for the sheer speeds I would reach with little to no effort careening downhill on a mountain bike. Travelling faster than I had ever before and handling small jumps, rocks, roots and berms (the steep wall around mountain bike turns), this experience was not for the faint of heart. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Costumed with pads on knees and elbows, a full-face biking helmet and gloves with padded knuckles, I was looking more like a sci-fi movie character than a 51-year- old mom when I met Joe, a twenty-something Brit, and my guide for the afternoon. As soon as we exited the gondola halfway up the mountain and before hitting the trails, Joe tested my turning skills by setting pylons on a small incline. He demonstrated angulation, leaning your bike into a corner and counterbalancing with your body. Next, the brakes. I was coached not to suddenly pull on the front wheel brakes out of panic as it can send you flying over the handlebars and into the emergency room. Enough said. After a few more turns and tips, Joe, satisfied with my progress, and I, ready to wet my feet and most likely my pants in the process, headed down to the mouth of the first beginner trail appropriately called “EZ Does It.” To say pushing myself off down this first trail was a no-brainer would be a lie. This was new and uncharted territory and I was terrified. I took a deep breath, swallowed hard and took a leap of myself. The bike felt solid under my body giving me a sense of security. I pushed my weight down onto the bike and loved the bounciness of the dual suspension and large tires, like a pogo stick with wheels. I felt like a kid again. Though a kid I was not. I was surely one of the more senior people on the mountain. The majority were teens and twenty-somethings, thrill-seeking young men and women. The trail began simply enough, wide, packed dirt; however, the pitch of the hill was deceiving because of the number of turns and I was surprised how quickly I was moving without even pedaling. As I rounded my first two turns, and plunged deeper into the forest, my senses came alive. The spicy smell of the pine trees combined with the wet dirt and my own sweat invigorated me like a shot of caffeine making me believe I was invincible. What sounded like a massive swarm of bees hissing around me were other riders, partially hidden within the brush. Many of the trails ran parallel so I could catch glimpses of other riders whizzing by; all of us free spirits experiencing an altered reality. I eyed Joe’s black and white helmet just ahead of me and pushed my bike forward entering a short section of small bumps like a BMX pump track. Down and up, down and up. My bike was flying as I gained momentum. My eyes watered blurring my vision; I was on the verge of feeling out of control. Up the last and steepest of the bumps, I gently tugged at the brakes but I was traveling much quicker than I realized. Suddenly, the bike and I took off. Blackcomb Mountain’s glorious glacier stared right back at me as my stomach dropped. My heart stopped. I froze. I was in the air - albeit only a few inches but it may as well have been ten feet. Time stood still for what felt like eternity but was more like...2 seconds...until my tires hit the dirt, safe and steady. My rear end bounced in the seat and I let go of the breath I didn’t know I was holding. My brakes squeaked as I slid to a stop. “Nice shredding sister!” Joe enthused. I was still hyperventilating. And we were only halfway down! Joe and I completed three full runs down the mountain that afternoon. We explored some more challenging technical terrain involving narrower bits of trail, roots and minor drops as well as an intermediate trail with even more hairpin turns. Re-entering life at the bottom of the mountain was like waking from an all too real dream. I wanted to go back and do it again and again though my legs, lower back and wrists were throbbing. I was spent, exhilarated and most definitely hooked. Experiencing the Whistler Bike Park, I left my reality as I know it. No grocery lists, no laundry, no dog to walk and no work headaches, and I stepped into another dimension. A world of beauty, nature, speed, thrills, and fun. One I will never forget and one I have promised myself to visit again soon. Why don’t you join me? Samantha Reynolds lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son. If you would like to know more about Samantha, visit: or you may contact her at

Identifying ADHD in Women and Managing Symptoms

Have you ever wondered as an adult if you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that has gone undiagnosed your whole life? Have you struggled with keeping yourself organized or perhaps you are easily distracted and can’t complete a task? Maybe you chronically run late or don’t have effective systems in place to stay on track. When we think about ADHD, a 6 year old boy wiggling in his classroom seat is what comes to mind. While that is a PART of the story when it comes to ADHD, it certainly isn’t the WHOLE story. We were interested in learning more about how WOMEN are impacted by ADHD either as a lifelong journey or as a disorder that developed later in life. Cena Block, MS and Certified Productivity Coach and Consultant We spoke with Cena Block who is a Certified Productivity Coach and Consultant specializing in treating clients with ADHD. Cena is an expert in her field with hundreds of hours of training and multiple certifications. She also had a career spanning 25 years as a certified trainer and organizer before transitioning to her current consulting business in coaching. She always gravitated towards clients with depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Traumatic brain Injury (TBI) and ADHD. She explained, “ADHD had been much more a part of my life, narrative and family than I had originally thought.” When Cena went on to gain her additional certifications in coaching, it only made sense that she work with a similar clientele. Let’s talk about what is happening in a brain with ADHD. To keep it simple and put it into layman's terms, ADHD,as Cena explains, is a condition that interrupts the brain's executive functioning abilities.  Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is, by the way, the current term for this specific development disorder seen in both children and adults. A brain scan would show that the "hyperactivity" has more to do with your brain activity than body movement. There is a lack of neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for them to fire efficiently. What to look for in ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: Easily distracted, forgets details or daily routines Difficulty organizing finishing a task. Challenged when it comes to paying attention to details. Can’t follow instructions or conversations. · Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person fidgets and talks a lot. Hard to sit still for long (e.g.,for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. Restlessness and difficulty with impulsivity. Tends to interrupt others, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. May have more accidents and injuries than others. Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person. Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well. Keep in mind, over scheduling can make you feel out of control and question if you have ADHD OR or if you are busy and overs scheduled. Begin by thinking in terms of your lifelong, self-management challenges, your work and educational performance, relationships and behavioral history to initially consider some of those self-evaluation considerations. (more to come on that below). ADHD In Women Cena shared with us that although originally diagnosed in the late 1800’s, the evolution of ADHD, especially since the 1970’s, was thought of as a disorder affecting school aged boys. That little boy in class who couldn’t sit still was quickly identified as having ADHD yet INATTENTIVE BEHAVIOR, or daydreaming, which is more common in little girls AND is also less disruptive to the classroom, goes under the radar. Interestingly enough, over the past 10 years with advanced genetic testing and more clinical studies, women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s seeking help for their children exhibiting symptoms, end up getting diagnosed themselves with ADHD. MANY high-performing women, according to Cena, who have ADHD have traditionally figured out how to “get by” with ADHD.  Girls and women have been more often diagnosed with anxiety and depression than ADHD. While such comorbid conditions can happen with any mental health condition, we know that untreated ADHD can lead to anxiety and depression. Consequently, as Cena explains, when women are adequately diagnosed and treated for ADHD, the secondary symptoms and conditions seem to disappear. There is a trickle down effect: Medications help their brains work better, they stop feeling bad about themselves, and get more done. Cena shared “Did you know that ADHD is the most treatable condition in the field of mental health today. It is! Nearly 80% of diagnosed people who take ADHD medication report a significant positive affect.” Professionals find that most successful ADHD'ers first become aware of their symptoms on their own and learn how to manage them. Unfortunately, if ADHD is not addressed, relationships, parenting and even careers can be impacted. Cena explains that even if diagnosed as an adult, ADHD can be treated with medication, lifestyle changes, psychotherapy or a combination. Diagnosing ADHD How do I know if I have ADHD? If you think you have ADHD, you should get an evaluation but start with a self-evaluation: Self-talk: Do you find yourself in endless internal dialogs about what you do and what you want to do, or can’t do? Do you find yourself shaming yourself internally? Do you compare yourself unfairly to others? Do you feel like a fraud, a mess, or that something is wrong with you that you can’t measure up in some way? What would an ADHD evaluation look like? Comprehensive medical history review Analysis of past behaviors Review of current symptoms A medical exam Use of adult rating scales or checklists Here are some behavior management strategies you can start today: Minimize distractions Increase structure and organization Rely on immediate family members for support Make healthy lifestyle choices Plenty of sleep and rest (this is important. It takes a lot of effort for an ADHD brain to behave Neurotypically so recharging with sleep and rest is key!) Work with a coach - this is an effective way to pinpoint individual ADHD challenges and develop a customized approach Are there aspects of ADHD that I should embrace? The short answer is YES! People with ADHD exhibit some traits that prove to contribute to their success, propel their individuality and drive them to explore a life of adventure. In fact, research was conducted using the VIA Character Strengths Assessment, (Sedgwick, J. A., Merwood, A., & Asherson, P. (2018)) to determine if people with ADHD had any patterns of character strengths at a greater rate when compared to the control group of people in general. Here are a few of the many fabulous traits identified with ADHD. Do you recognize any in yourself? cognitive dynamism and energy divergent thinking hyper-focus nonconformist, adventurousness self-acceptance resilience creativity persistence social intelligence humor If you have always wondered if you have ADHD, start with an ADHD self-screening assessment. Based on the results, talk with your primary physician or contact an ADD specialist. Many women over 50 with ADHD have figured out how to navigate their whole lives through school, careers and managing busy households.  As Cena stated, it is never too late to get the treatment needed to overcome some of the disruptive symptoms that often prove to be burdensome so you can maximize your potential. Cena Block, MS, CPC Founder & CEO of Sane Spaces, LLC Creator of the Time & Space Style Inventory (TSSI) Certified Productivity Coach & Consultant.

Fashion Tip #5 for the Road: Accessories are a MUST!

By: Cindy Lovas, Fashion Consultant Have you ever thought of yourself as a cupcake? What?! Of course you are sweet, yet what is a cupcake without the frosting and sprinkles? Unexciting and certainly not fulfilling! It is full of potential, right, but not quite there. Well it is the same with our wardrobe. Our clothing is simply just the backdrop for the fun “frosting” that adds panache, sparkle and makes a statement. As we continue with fashion tips, our 5th tip takes us on a journey to the Land of Accessories. Ladies, accessories are a MUST! Scarves, belts, hats, shoes, handbags, glasses and jewelry fall under the category of accessories. Eyes are attracted to colorful and “sparkly” objects first so placement of your “frosting” is key to looking younger and pounds thinner. Let's focus on a few favorites: 1. Scarves: As we move into cooler weather, scarves are a chic way to add layers and bring attention to your face. Whether a silk designer scarf is tied in your hair or around your neck or even on your handbag, silks add color without weight. You might adore a plaid wool and polyester scarf to wear over a crisp white blouse, sweaters or coats to “amp” up your style. My fall favorite is a white or black tee-shirt paired with a denim jacket and a patterned scarf doubled around my neck to bring interest and warmth for those chilly mornings and evenings. Pashminas, a heavier weighted silk scarf, is ideal for travel or as an evening wrap for your fancier occasion, even that special date night. Staples won’t seem bland when you add accessories to reinvent them every time you put a new grouping together. Check out consignment stores for great bargains on scarves. 2. Jewelry: Whether you are a bling girl or a girl who likes it simple, jewelry is a go-to statement maker. Beware…nothing ages us like “over-bling," outdated jewelry or huge chandelier earrings. It is wise to edit our accessories every few years as I find women hold onto the same jewelry way too long! Is it time to purge that jewelry box and repurpose the one remaining eagling from a pair (the other one probably isn't going to show up at this point). It's probably time to let go of the silver tarnished rings and shoulder duster earrings from high school! You will feel so joyful wearing the pieces that you really LOVE ( and now you can find! Lol). As you reestablish your collection of jewelry, think classy…less is more as we age. Hoops, wrap bracelets, layered finer chains with charms, statement rings and chokers add a youthful touch to any outfit. If you are blessed with many fine jewelry pieces, then wear them. It’s young and chic to wear diamonds with jeans, enjoy these special pieces. To check yourself before you leave home, count up the items that sparkle, including any wardrobe items (metallic boots, shiny jacket buttons, glitter nail polish, crystal bobby pins, belts), and be sure to stay under 8. 3. Belts: Hooray that some of you can still style belts after menopause! For some, those days are past or at least need to be modified because of the menopause middle. Belts can be a fun accessory to use. Think simple tee-shirt tucked into the waistline on one hip, paired with denim jeans and a structured jacket. Then add a designer-looking, wide solid colored belt with a shiny buckle. That is a young and hip look ladies, then add strappy heeled sandals….YES! For us that don’t have that skinny waist yet need to define our waistline (remember you rectangle body shapes), try a slender belt instead. If belts are not your thing anymore, no worries, use other accessory options to add panache, there are unlimited ones to choose from! Accessories are the FUN factor for your outfits that allow you to show off your confidence, your style and your personality. Be bold, be elegant, be understated….but most of all….be your BEAUTIFUL self! Cindy Lovas Fashion Consultant Virtual Appointments Available

3 Top Self-Defense Tips to Help Keep You Safe

Many of us at some point in our lives have sweated through an aerobics class, “downward dogged” during an hour session of yoga or pumped weights in the gym. If you are looking for another option to increase your fitness but more importantly, improve your sense of confidence, you may want to push your limits with self-defense training. Tiffany Armstrong is the owner of the number one personal safety self-defense course designed by women for women.  She shared her insight about self-defense by saying “The reality is that every single one of us women have experienced some sort of situation where we have felt unsafe.”  Tiffany pointed out some common scenarios such as a man not taking no as an answer, feeling uncomfortable at the park with your grandchild or the anxiety of dropping your children off at college. “Self-defense does not depend on strength and speed. I know we as women tend to feel more vulnerable because we're not as quick as we used to be, and we simply don't have the same size biceps as the bad guys.  I've taken that into account,” says Tiffany. Her classes teach an online, empowerment-based class that relies in part on “street-smarts” which is perfect for women at any age. Her training focuses on techniques that focus on leverage and knowing how to be one step ahead of an assailant. Tiffany offers tips and a 3 step process if you are feeling threatened in any way: 1. Always set a verbal boundary first: Many of us have felt intimidated because a man has walked too close to us or has “stared” us down. We actually don't know that an attacker is an attacker until he puts his hands on us.  Set a verbal boundary first!  If he then keeps coming toward you, then you know he has bad intentions, and you can respond rather than react. 2. Once you set a verbal boundary and he's still coming toward you: You have every right to then use a distance tool. Pepper spray is an effective way to force an attacker’s eyes closed for up to 15 minutes giving you time to make your getaway.  Note: mace and pepper spray are not the same thing.  Pepper spray causes an immediate inflammatory response which is what forces the eyes closed involuntarily. Mace, on the other hand, can be less effective on a person with a high pain tolerance or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 3. If, by chance, your distance tool doesn't work as planned: It's pertinent to know what to do with your hands and legs to take him down. Tiffany explains “Believe it or not, it's not as hard as it may seem.  Self-defense does not need to be fancy. It's just a matter of knowing exactly where to strike and how, or how to use leverage to your advantage...even on a larger man.” Check out Tiffany's free online training to get an idea what she has to offer. If you want to join her defense training, she is also offering a 30% discount to her Online Self-Defense Training for Women when you apply the promo code HELLO50. She wants women to know if you are confronted with a dangerous situation, rather than panic, you can feel more in control of the situation if you have the proper training.

CEO Anita Mahaffey On Keeping Customers Cool

We had the opportunity to interview Anita Mahaffey, CEO and founder of Cool-jams. Cool-jams offers a SUPER COOL product line and has a goal of helping their customers have a deep, restful and restorative sleep. Since September is Menopause Awareness month, it is a great time to hear from Anita Mahaffey about her personal and professional experiences that have contributed to successes as well as some pitfalls along the way. How Cool-jams came to be: Anita told us that in her 40’s and early 50’s, she endured major sleep issues including night sweats and hot flashes. Her doctor told Anita that her sleep disruptors were because of hormonal fluctuations caused by perimenopause and a thyroid issue. At the time, Anita was working at an apparel company and she came across a T-shirt using moisture wicking technology. Moisture wicking is the process of transferring moisture to the fabric from the skin and then the material quickly dries so it doesn't soak through the apparel. Anita explained “This is when I had my aha moment. I thought …what if I could use this fabric for pajamas to help me and others sleep better?”  Anita then launched extensive testing with 100% positive test reviews.  She realized she was onto something and Cool-jams was born. Anita Mahaffey’s entrepreneurial spirit Anita has an impressive educational and professional resume which helped spark her entrepreneurial vision.  She holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of San Diego and she has experience as a product manager with large corporations and was even a partner in a private label apparel manufacturing company. She shared with us: “My education as well as my corporate and business experience provided me with a blueprint for success. I think entrepreneurs are a special breed of person. Entrepreneurs are known as risk takers, but successful entrepreneurs always take calculated risks. Before you jump, get some experience and thoroughly test and research your idea to ensure your success.” Anita also told us about her time spent in Turkey as a high school exchange student and the valuable lesson learned from her experience. Years later, she reconnected with her Turkish friends and became a partner in Funika, a private label textile manufacturer. “My lesson here was never burn bridges and everyone you meet in life is potentially important to your future. Looking back, I find it amazing how life connects you with the people you need if you are open, honest and willing to engage with others. Never underestimate any relationship that you have. You never know what life has in store for you.” Anita also shared that she is a “serial entrepreneur” and not all of her endeavors are successful. She also explains “not to be in love with your original idea.” Anita’s advice to entrepreneurs is to be willing to pivot, don’t let ego get in your way and be prepared to go into a different direction.  “Look at change as positive.” Getting product to market It is one thing to have a great product idea and another to successfully get it to market.  I asked Anita about her Cool-jams product outreach. She shared “This is a continual dance between finding manufacturing partners, funding and customer growth.” Anita could leverage her experience to connect with great manufacturing partners but her first challenge was getting the Cool-jams name known and finding customers.  After trial and error to try out different marketing approaches, they have grown 500% over the past year, and now their challenge is keeping up with demand.  Another goal is to keep things “fresh” with new style and product line development. Cool-jams has expanded into bedding and shared “Today we’re in good shape with our product development team, as well as our bedding manufacturers. It sometimes takes a bit of trial and error, but we think we have hit a home run with our current team.” What’s on the horizon for Cool-jams Cool-jams will continue to expand their styles and product lines.  Anita shared that the sleep industry is a 40 billion dollar industry so there is a huge growth opportunity. “At this time, we are the largest wicking sleepwear company in the US and we plan to keep it that way with continued product development. We currently ship to 150 countries around the world.” Cool-jams’ team of over 200 employees was already mostly remote so there has not been much of a disruption to their work-force with COVID-19. Cool-jams commitment to social responsibility Anita shared that “Giving back to the world is a huge part of our Cool-jams corporate fiber. In fact, one of the primary reasons for starting Cool-jams was to create a vehicle to be able to give back to the world and our community in a big way. My motto is that I want to leave this earth better than when I arrived. I strive for that in everything that I do.” Cool-jams donates up to 20% to a variety of charities.  Anita also donates her time by serving on several non-profit boards and encouraging team members to volunteer in areas of passion. They also donate overstock products.  “This year so far, we’ve donated to charities related to cancer research and prevention, diversity and funding of minority owned businesses, education, food banks, domestic violence prevention and child abuse prevention.” Anita’s advice to women in the Hello50 community thinking about entrepreneurialism Anita recommends: test everything you do whether it is a marketing campaign or a website change. "You will save money and time in the long run." Listen to your customers whether they have negative or positive comments. Some of our best ideas have come directly from customer comments. “Learn from your mistakes and eventually you will strike gold.” Anita loves that entrepreneurship has allowed her to express her creativity.  She also says that her children have adopted her and her husband’s entrepreneurial drive. Cool-jams product line might be just what you are looking for if you need to get a good night sleep.  If you have thought about starting your own business, consider some of the relationships you have developed over the years, be sure to test your product and always be open to change.

Women Bloggers Over 50 are Making their Mark: Let's See What they Have to Say

Blogging has become such a great way over the past decade to communicate areas of passion and expertise to an audience. We launched Hello50 with the goal of SHARING CONTENT that is of interest to women over 50 as well as HIGHLIGHTING women over 50 living their best lives.  Dr. Cecilia Dintino and psychotherapist Hannah Starobin, bloggers and co-hosts of the podcast Twisting the Plot say it best! Rather than thinking in terms of our years behind us, reimagine what your future story could be.  Well it looks like women in the over 50 club have been busy reimagining their life journey and many have chosen to write about it! Perhaps we have more time on our hands with age or maybe fewer distractions but one thing is certain - women over 50 are blogging. The good thing is they shine a light on topics that impact women, they ensure their voices are heard and women over 50 bloggers represent the interests of women in the over 50 community! The blogs cover a whole myriad of topics including travel, relationships, fashion, beauty tips, humor, health, fitness, spirituality, social justice and a whole lot more! We reached out to five, fantastic women bloggers over 50 who keep readers (and podcast listeners) entertained, informed and inspired.  Here is what they have to say: 1) Linda Peavy Cultured Curves @culturedcurves1, Instagram Linda strikes the perfect blend with beautiful imagery and inspirational content. Her blog features fashion forward styles for curvy women as well as great writing! Linda shared with Hello50 “The goal of Cultured Curves: Sophisticated Style, Fashion, & Beauty is to empower curvy women over 50 through motivational messaging, fashion, and style advice. I want plus size women over 50 to live their best…in the present and not 10, 20, or 30 pounds from now. I am a strong advocate of body positivity that begins with BELIEVING THAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE, starting with self.” Linda went on to explain “As it pertains to retail, in this current “plus size boom,” women over 50 have not been equally embraced as part of the market. We are vibrant, intelligent, sexy, and have more substantial disposable income than our younger counterparts. We need to be recognized.” 2) Lorraine Miano The Magic of Menopause @themagicofmenopause, Instagram If you are looking for a blog chock-full of information about menopause, hormonal balance, nutrition and more, visit The Magic of Menopause. Lorraine shares resources and provides support through her blog and social media sites. She has written extensively about menopause and you might even find Lorraine at a speaking engagement. Lorraine told us “As we approach our magical menopause years, now more than ever, midlife bloggers have the power to hold each other up as we provide each other with positive support and resources.  We are all in this together.”  Hello50 couldn’t agree more! 3) Kathy Marris 50 Shades of Age @50shadesofage When you read Kathy’s travel blog, you will think you are on vacation with the fam!  She provides valuable destination information, where to stay and what to expect. Not only will you read informative travel information, but there are blogs good for the soul - check out her mind and body content as well.  Kathy shared some insight as to why she started blogging: “You might call it a mid-life crisis. I was in my fifties, an empty nester, menopausal and bored with my part time bookkeeping job. I came up with the idea to start up a blog for the over fifty woman as a way to inspire them and encourage them to make the best of their lives. So 50 Shades of Age was born and I wrote about all types of issues that face women of a certain age. However, after I travelled around Australia in a caravan in 2014 the blog evolved into a travel and lifestyle blog. These days it is still a travel blog that has allowed me to show off my brilliant photos of my travels both in Australia and all around the world.” Kathy shared with us that one of the great things about blogging are the people she has met.  Challenges she encounters are challenges in the ever changing world of technology.  Finally, Kathy has added that there has been a huge increase of women over 50 blogging since she started in 2012. 4) Dr. Cecilia Dintino and psychotherapist Hannah Starobin Twisting the Plot @Twistingplot on Instagram Dr. Cecilia Dintino and psychotherapist Hannah Starobin shared with us that they know that midlife can be a bumpy ride without clear roadmaps.  It can also be an opportunity for growth and change. Twisting the Plot provides creative inspiration, tools for change, and a chance to tell your story.  They went on to say that together we imagine new futures and learn how to get there. "At you can enjoy our podcast, read our blogs and tell us your story." If you listen to Twisting the Plot, you will be captivated by the resilience of some of the women they interview, amazed by the journey of others and most certainly humored given the quick wit and charm of the co-hosts. 5) Kathy Lien 50 Is the New 50 Blog @50isthenew50blog on instagram Kathy has an inviting approach to sharing fashion forward styles.  She uses a series of photos to demonstrate how to dress up or down an outfit or a variety of ways to wear a shirt.  WIth over 12,000 followers Kathy is making a huge impact on Instagram by providing vibrant make-up tutorials and fashion reveals. Because of her informative delivery and upbeat personality, Kathy has successfully developed a strong following. Check out their platforms and enjoy these fantastic bloggers' content! You won't be disappointed. If you have a passion or topic to talk about, now might be the time for you to start your blog.

Tips for Healthy, Shiny and Nourished Hair Over 50

The right hair care turn the clock back As you reach your 50s, it is important to take good care of your skin and hair. We naturally think about how important skin care is but we often forget how we can impact our the health of our hair too!I If you are one of those ladies, here are some great tips when it comes to hair care! Nourishment is key to healthy hair Once again, you are what you eat! When you consume nutritious food, it shows in the health of your hair. Make sure that you eat healthy, and your diet contains the right portions of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Iron. Diet actually contributes to the overall health of your hair! You can also get several over-the-counter hair and nail supplements that are also effective. Make sure you indulge in salon hair treatments every now and again to enhance the health of your hair. They really make a difference! A treatment helps to moisturize your hair and it is important because our hair loses moisture when we color, treat or straighten it, use heat tools and chemical products on it and expose it to sunlight. Keep it clean and fresh Most of the products we use on our hair are packed with chemicals that are bad for it. If you have used such products, don't leave them on your hair for long durations because that can make your hair look dull and lifeless. If you have super oily scalps, you should lightly shampoo every day while those with normal scalp should wash it every 2 nd or 3 rd day. Avoid shampoo if your ends are dry. In this case, you can just rinse properly and apply conditioner to your hair to refresh it. A good practice is to use sulfate-free shampoos because they don't strip the natural oils in your hair. Never skip using conditioners after a hair wash because they keep your hair moisturized, shiny and easy to manage. Use a clarifying shampoo as a deep cleaner which removes residue and buildup. Get a healthy shine Shiny hair makes you look younger. Avoid products that take away the shine of your hair. These include aerosol sprays and mousse and contain higher quantities of alcohol which leaves your hair dry. To keep your hair shining, make sure that you oil it regularly with natural oils like mustard, coconut, olive, argan and others. The products that you can use to make it appear shiny include serums, light wax, or volumizing sprays. Choose the right hairstyle As you grow older, your hair is likely to become thinner and wispier on the ends. A good haircut can mask some of these hair loss issues. Speaking of a good haircut, do you know the shape of your face and the best cut to suit your shape? Here are 10 great face shape apps that will be sure to help you find the best cut for you. Many women look better with shorter hair as we age but a short cut is not for everyone! Avoiding the middle part is a good idea because it pronounces the vertical lines of your face. These include the marionette lines around your nose and mouth, and your forehead. Shorter layers around your hairline and face will cover areas that have lesser hair as you age. So, go for a texturizing or razor haircut that adds natural-looking, soft volume to your hair and makes it look healthy. Style your hair in a way that keeps its volume intact, and the direction should be more toward the face instead of away from it. Styling away from your face or severe styling both highlight your fine lines and make you look older. In general, if you have the right haircut that is appropriate for your texture and hair type, you will require minimal effort to style it daily. Use the right tools and products Go for more natural products as much as possible. Choose the right tools for cutting, trimming, or brushing your hair. There are products, tools, and accessories available for each hair type. If you can't find the right tools for your hair type, make sure that you consult a hair expert, professional barber, or hairstylist. When it comes to brushing your hair, use a wide-toothed comb for wet hair because it prevents breakage, is gentle on your scalp, decreases the number of split ends, and detangles your hair easily. Use a soft brush for brushing dry hair, and if your hair is long, always start from the bottom and slowly work your way up towards your scalp to avoid breakage. Caring for your hair is not as difficult as it might seem. With these simple tips, you can maintain hair that looks and feels healthy.

Boxer Beki Light: Following her “Warrior Path” to Combat Barriers

Picture credit: Ty Sbano Hello50 had the privilege of interviewing Beki Light, who last year became the oldest woman ever to win a professional boxing match at the age of 53. Beki defies the norms of what a woman her age “should” be as she pummelled obstacles along the way to achieve her success. Beki’s accomplishments in the ring grabs your attention but what pulls you into her story is her life experiences. She has not only pushed her physical limits but her emotional limits have also been tested. Now at 54 years old, Beki discusses with us how she overcame her childhood abuse, endured both sexism and ageism, and emerged as a fighter for other women in addition to being a champion for social justice. How did you get into boxing? I started boxing at age 49. I had been training and teaching, mixed martial arts before that. It was when I suffered a knee injury while grappling that I knew I had to change what I was doing. I had wanted to box for years, but never got my act together to make it happen. That injury made me realize I would no longer be able to focus on kicking or grappling, so I knew it was time for me to start boxing.  If I didn’t do it then, I never would.  I knew people would think I was crazy starting so late in life, but I just wanted to become a good boxer. When I began boxing, I didn’t think about competing because I didn’t think there would be the chance to compete. I just focused on learning to box and on sparring. A year into it, I got the chance to have an amateur fight, and I loved it! I wanted to keep fighting. It took another year, but I got a second amateur fight. There are strict rules in amateur boxing for older fighters that severely limit your chances for getting fights. After my second fight, the only way possible for me to keep fighting was to become a professional. I was not ready to give it up yet. I felt like I was only getting started in the sport .That’s why I turned pro in 2017, and had my first pro fight that same year, Did you grow up playing sports or did you get involved in athletics later in life? I was never into sports growing up, although I did train in dance, so I was very athletic. I had been interested in sports when I was young, but didn’t have the opportunity to play.  It was a very different time in the 70’s, and there were not really sports programs for girls. I did join a summer basketball program once, but they didn’t teach us anything. There was no coaching whatsoever. We didn’t even know basic techniques or rules. They would just pick us up for games and tell us if we won we would get ice cream. Of course we always lost because we had no skills or training! It was incredibly embarrassing and demoralizing. So I became uninterested in sports because really I was angry about the lack of respect I saw for girls. Tell us about confronting barriers, not only in terms of ageism but also as far as succeeding in a male dominated sport? I have been confronting barriers my whole life, so it really is nothing new for me. I grew up with a mentally ill parent and not much contact with other family. I dealt with poverty, emotional, and sexual abuse, and constant relocation. I was forced to leave school at age 14 and support myself and my mother on minimum wage jobs, sometimes working 80 hours a week. I didn’t even get the option to go to high school. I felt hopeless, suffered from depression, incredibly low self-esteem, and saw absolutely no way to a better future. Somehow, I persevered in life until I was able to mold myself into the person I wanted to become.  So I have always fought against obstacles, and have had to think outside the box. I guess that’s why I didn’t hesitate to jump into boxing the way I did, and keep going no matter what. I have definitely faced a lot of crazy ageism related barriers in boxing. From the uphill battle to get my pro license, to having contracts switched on me last minute, being unable to find fights, being unable to get officially sanctioned to fight even when all sides have agreed on the contract, being forced to go through an amazing amount of medical tests every year at enormous expense to me, the list goes on. I think what it comes down to at this point is that they don’t want me to win against one of their younger prospects, and they know I can win because I am a good fighter. So they just won’t let me fight any legit fights. The ironic thing is if I wasn’t a very good boxer it would be easy to get fights, because they would bring me in to lose! To be honest, if I was a young fighter, with my skills I would be a prospect, and be able to get signed to a promoter and sponsored. However, because of age discrimination in boxing, I will never be given a fair fight, and I understand that, and deal with it. I have been robbed of victories for fights that I have clearly won, and that is not a good feeling. However, every time I fight, I gain new fans, and that means alot to me. People come up to me and say they are inspired by what I do. To me, that makes everything worth it! I didn’t have the chance to develop as an amateur fighter, I have had to develop as I go. This is another form of age discrimination, because younger fighters get to fight in tournaments and gain great experience that way. I have had to work harder, grow faster, and prove myself more than most. But that gives me pride in my accomplishments, because it is all very hard won. In terms of sexism, my first boxing coach refused to train me at first because he didn’t believe in training women.  It took about six months, but he finally saw I was serious and talented, and then started coaching me. I was the first female he ever trained to be a fighter. Now he has changed his opinion, and coaches women! There was also an incredible amount of sexual harassment I dealt with from his other fighters. But eventually, they had to respect me because I trained harder and I am more focused than anybody, and they watched me become a good fighter. Getting my pro license was a year and a half uphill battle that took an amazing amount of faith in myself. I was struggling against age and gender discrimination from all sides — the athletic commission, doctors, the politics in the boxing world, people laughing at me, and also the internal self doubt that I would really be able to do this. But fighting in the amateur ring woke up a dream in me. There’s something in me that just knows I’m a champion no matter what the world says. I just kept pushing and pushing until they gave me that license! Who has inspired you or mentored you? I had no positive role models growing up, but as an adult, I learned to study people I admired, and grew from seeing how they did things. I found inspiration from ordinary people who did extraordinary things. Anybody who I noticed was doing something positive with their life was an inspiration to me. I lived in Hawaii for a long time, and I was very influenced by people I was close to in the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement. I also had a mentor for a while named Joy Aulani Ahn, who was active in Sovereignty struggles, from a revolutionary perspective. She influenced me alot. She is no longer living, but I still strive to make her proud by what I do! I got my foundation in teaching from my martial arts teacher Professor James Hundon. He is an amazing martial artist and self defense teacher who has not been given his due recognition because of racism against African Americans in the martial arts world. There are actually a great many African American martial arts masters who should be legends that nobody hears about. It is infuriating, but what makes it even deeper is that the roots of ancient Asian martial arts can actually be traced back to ancient Africa. My teacher and I did a lot of research on this history that has been covered up. I am very inspired right now by the younger generations who are leading the struggles for Black liberation, against police brutality, and also struggles for indigenous lands and culture. They have cut through the cynicism and demoralization in society and are fighting for a healthier future. Young folks are so much more conscious than we were back in the day. I am so proud of them! How supportive are friends and family of you and your boxing? Everybody is really supportive of my boxing, although some people had trouble adjusting to the fact that I sacrificed my social life for the sport. Boxers really don’t have time to do normal social activities. People took that personally at first, but now they understand I’m just always training! Tell us about training others in self defense or boxing, especially women over 40, 50 or even older? I train people of all ages, but I have had a number of older women come to me for self defense, boxing, fitness, or a combination of those things. I find that older women really love physical training, and find it empowering. I have trained females from their 50’s-70’s, and every one has different goals. Some just love the feeling of boxing, of punching. Some want specific fitness or rehab goals while also learning self defense techniques. So far I have not had any women older than their 40’s ask me to train them competitively. I have also worked with and collaborated with other older female athletes, and science is starting to catch up to what we already know: many of us are in our athletic prime at this stage of our lives, and we have the ability to be competitively athletic way longer than previously thought. Boxing and self defense training are two different things, and I am always very clear on that when teaching. Boxing is a sport, and it does not directly translate to having appropriate self defense skills. Self defense is based on understanding natural weaknesses of the body and it does not require strenuous physical training, although I do think it’s important to regularly do drills for reflexes, good body mechanics, breathing, and being able to handle the adrenaline response of a live situation. To protect yourself on the street, you have to be prepared to do what you need to stay safe. It doesn’t always make sense to punch, especially if your assailant is huge compared to you. You might have to gouge somebody in the eye, poke them in the throat, stomp on their foot, or kick their knee out. One thing I see missing from most self defense training marketed to women is that it does not address the fact that a majority of violence that women face comes from somebody the woman knows or has an intimate relationship with the offender. There are complex emotions in these situations that are not addressed in the typical training scenario. For example, if your intimate partner tries to physically harm you, have you trained your mind to be able to switch into survival mode in that instant, or are you stuck on the fact that they are supposed to love you, and emotionally hurt by that in a way that immobilizes you? I believe that self defense training should incorporate mental/emotional drills to be able to respond to threats from people close to you, and as well as strangers. What does a typical Beki Light day look like when you are training for a fight and when you are not training for a fight? I train to stay ready to fight year round, although when I’m in fight camp the training will be more intense. Other than that, there’s not much difference between the two. Typically, I wake up and work on boxing business things I have to catch up on for about half an hour. Then I go to work, which is in a packaging factory near where I live. After work, I will take a small break, maybe eat something and relax. Then it’s off to the boxing gym where I first do my training, then any coaching I might have scheduled on that day. Then I rush home, eat dinner, maybe spend some time with my life partner. Then sleep and do it all over again. On weekends I get more time to train, spar, coach, and develop my projects. Tell us what “Warrior Path” means to you. The “Warrior Path” is  what I call my approach to coaching, and I apply it to myself as much as I do my students. It is based on the duality of fighting and healing, which is deeply meaningful. I believe it is important to focus on both sides of this duality in order to be balanced. Traditional martial arts from around the world have always included healing as part of their curriculum. At the most basic level, warriors have always had to know how to heal themselves and others from battle injuries. From another angle, warriors fight for what they (or their society) perceive as right, and this can also be seen as an act of making healing change in society. Another way to understand this is the fact that In order to become the best warrior you can be, you must face your shadow self, you must find healing for the things you have been scared to face within yourself. That healing aligns your body, mind and spirit, which makes you a more effective warrior. So in order to fight in the world you must heal, and in order to heal the world you must fight. The Warrior Path is about transforming adversity into success, becoming more deeply who you are in a way that is meaningful and liberating. It is using the warrior/healer paradigm to find clarity and transformation through a combination of boxing and mindfulness. Boxing is all about self expression in the ring. The Warrior Path is about self expression in the world, being the change you want to see. The sheer physicality of boxing, combined with the emotional dynamics of survival and self esteem that fighting evokes, makes it a powerful tool for personal healing and growth work. People turn to boxing to change their lives. Many credit boxing with saving their lives. Of course this also depends on having an ethical and conscious training environment, because the opposite can be true—trauma can be triggered and compounded in an unhealthy situation. You talk about advocacy and social justice in your posts. Tell us about the work you are doing. I have been active in many grassroots struggles since the 90s. I was living in Hawaii during the first Persian Gulf war, and became active in the anti-war movement there. Then I got involved in revolutionary politics, and also became an active ally in the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement. I have also worked on the campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and against police brutality and murder of Black people, immigrants rights projects, and indigenous land rights. I did grassroots organizing for many, many years, and was blessed to work with some amazing people. At a certain point, I realized I needed to pull back for a while, to do some personal growth work. That is when I began my martial arts journey, and eventually, my boxing journey. At first I felt guilty for focusing on my own growth at the expense of my activism. But later I realized that the best activist work I can do in the world is by helping others find their own path to change the world. For whatever reason, that is my gift. Because I have found a way to turn obstacles in my life into positive growth, I know that anybody who wants to can do the same thing. That is why I teach. While I focus on boxing and coaching, I actively support many issues, and show up for what I can. Things close to my heart are Black liberation, and Indigenous liberation and land reclamation. I believe in this part of the world those are key issues that will begin to bring liberation for all of us. I am planning on developing a project that links Warrior Path training with parts of the Ohlone indigenous land reclamation movement here in Oakland. I started a Go Fund Me page with a student of mine for people in Kampala, Uganda, and I really hope readers of this will consider donating to it!  The link is also on my Instagram bio. I have friends there in the boxing community who are distributing food to families who are facing starvation right now, due to the government curfew (covid shutdown), that does not allow people to work and make money. There are no unemployment benefits in Uganda, so people have absolutely no way to get food. Government forces are also shooting people just for being outside. It is a very horrific situation that people are dealing with there. In America people just have no idea the kinds of things that are going on. What else would you like our Hello50 community to know about you or about boxing, and self defense? I just really want people to know that they can do anything they see their minds to. Obstacles are there to be turned into opportunities. If you want to do something, go do it! It doesn’t matter how old you are or what difficulties are in your way. If it’s something that speaks to your soul then make it happen! Beki Light Is Not Slowing Down Beki has demonstrated such resilience in her life to overcome challenges and create her own path forward. She explained that while training in Tai Chi, her instructor told her that in Tai Chi years, middle age is actually like your teen years. He told Beki that it is a time to become better, stronger, and more powerful. She agrees and believes that, and as long as you live a healthy life with the right mindset, there is nothing that can’t be accomplished as we age over 50.  Sounds like a great message for all of us to consider as we age. Next Up, self-defense training and techniques We can all appreciate Beki’s commitment to boxing and marvel at her talent despite a later start in life. However, lacing up gloves and getting into the ring for a boxing match is something completely different and certainly not for everyone. Stay tuned for our next article about self-defense and how women over 50 can re-imagine their physical power.

Internet Sensation Tammy Ortery is Enjoying the Ride

We have all fallen in love with the latest internet sensation,Tammy Ortery, who has gone viral with her vibrant dance videos and sparkling personality. You can not help but smile when watching her move to the groove of hip hop, Motown and pop favorites. Tammy, a Newport News, Virginia resident and High School Guidance Secretary, now has a huge presence on Tik Tok with over 200,000 FOLLOWERS and more than 25 MILLION VIEWS in just over three months. She also has thousands of followers on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We had the opportunity to speak with Tammy and ask her about her journey to global sensation. She explained, “my daughter and I danced in a video, and my daughter’s friend said your mom should go on Tik Tok.  A month later, it took off.”  Since those initial days, Tammy has received messages as far away as Canada, Germany, and Bangladesh. Tammy has appeared on “Good Morning America” and “Breakfast Television” out of Canada. Tammy told us that her husband and children are really proud of her and see this moment as just mom being mom. Tammy’s friends, family, and colleagues know that she loves to dance. “I have always been the first person on the dance floor, the social butterfly, and class clown.” When Tammy worked at her previous school, she was known around the building for bringing the energy to pep rallies, showing the young people how it’s done at school dances, and putting a smile on everyone’s face while busting moves during third period. She also shared that she has a passion for entertainment and that she is surprised that this all happened at this age in her life. “I am enjoying this time in my life. When it is your time, it’s your time. Enjoy the ride.” Tammy strives to maintain the genuineness of her dancing, and wants people to understand that when she posts her contagiously fun dance videos, it’s because she wants to dance. Tammy said “I haven’t changed as a person. I am still just Tammy being Tammy.” She doesn’t want it to be “put on” or contrived for followers. She explained that it is important for her to stay true to herself because dancing brings her joy and she loves being able to share that with others. “This experience has been so overwhelming but also really fun and exciting.” Tammy has captured the attention of Hollywood stars too. Janet Jackson shared one of Tammy’s videos on her instagram and singer, Miley Cyrus and her boyfriend, Cody Simpson recreated one of her dances. She has even signed two autographs! “I am a praying woman, and what is meant to be will happen.” Tammy told us that there are some more big things in the works so stay tuned to see where else this adventure takes her. Tammy, you look like you are having a blast and you are an inspiration to other women over 50 who are thinking about taking risks and stepping out of their comfort zone. If you keep on dancing, we will keep on smiling...enjoy the ride!

Is it a Good Time In Your Life for a New Pet?

There’s no harm in adding some cuteness to your life! There are many exciting things that you can do after turning 50 and adopting a pet definitely tops the list. Adding a furry new member to your home offers benefits like increasing your happiness and decreasing your stress level.  A National Poll of Healthy Aging by the University of Michigan of about 2,000 participants between the ages of 50 to 80 years of age, found that at least 55% of them owned a pet. Regardless of the type of animal, these adults said that their pets were the primary reason behind their excellent physical and mental health. Let’s look at how pets improve the lives of those polled: Based on polling, participants over 50 say that owning a pet makes them feel loved, helps  them enjoy life and adds to a reduction in stress.  They also give owners a sense of purpose while contributing to a more physically active lifestyle.  Animals also provide emotional support to their owners. There are many research-backed reasons why adopting a pet in your later years is a great idea. Pets will make you feel less lonely. They can be great companions. Their unconditional, uncomplicated love makes them your best friends. Also, one amazing thing about them is that they can understand your feelings because of their emotional intelligence. Not having the best day of your life? Your canine buddy will figure that out and provide support to you. Animals contribute to overall health Just petting or playing with them can alter the production of the hormones in your body. For instance, it can reduce the production of the stress hormone called cortisol, while the stress-reducing oxytocin can be increased. Animals have the capability of reducing your anxiety by relaxing your mind and body. This could also impact stress-induced blood pressure. In fact, experts even utilize this benefit in wellness programs in which people spend some time with animals to reduce their anxiety. Which dog breed are the best pets to bring home as we get older? Whenever possible, it is best to give a loving forever home to a rescue pet looking for a fur parent.  If you are looking for breed recommendations, here are some dog breeds for your to consider: Poodle: If you are looking for an easy to train dog, poodles are really smart and easy to care for.  They need regular grooming but are otherwise great dogs for you to consider. Cavalier King Charles: If you want a cute, loyal, lap dog, take a look at the Cavalier King Charles.  You are going to need to bathe and brush him or her regularly but they are happy to be at home with minimal exercise. Bernese Mountain Dog: If you enjoy a larger breed, the Bernese Mountain Dog is a sweet, gentle giant who will love to accompany you on a long walk. Be prepared to be stopped along the way - he loves making friends and people won’t be able to resist meeting him. Boston Terrier: Your Boston Terrier is loyal and content sitting by your side.  You will find her to be mild tempered and easy to train. Labrador Retriever: If you want a medium to large sized dog, a Labrador Retriever might be a good fit.  They are fun loving and smart so you will be entertained by this breed as a new companion. So, if you haven’t thought of adopting a pet yet, now is the time to do it. An animal is warm, and fuzzy while offering lots of cuddles and unconditional love. There are lots of benefits to your overall health and well-being. If you have room in your home and time to spend with a pet, visit a local shelter to offer a forever home to a pet in need.

Road Trip Out West: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Our Family Vacation

My husband, one of my 24 year old twin daughters and my 22 year old nephew decided to take a road trip from the east coast to the mountain states. Who amongst us has not felt a bit stir crazy since the start of COVID-19? We travelled responsibly across 10 states by wearing masks when in spaces with other people and opting out of overcrowded, non-mask wearing crowds. Our trip was complete with some amazing adventures along the way as well as a few mishaps that can’t go unmentioned. Here are 9 takeaways from our travels: We live in a big country: Thank you captain obvious! As I traveled westward from the east, I got the sense of just how vast the USA expands. I am used to flying so as we drove from state to state, I gained a whole different perspective in terms of the size of the country. Natural beauty: Traveling through Wyoming, South Dakota and Montana definitely gave me a new view about natural beauty. As a tourist, you would normally find me amazed by a cityscape or enjoying a stunning beach. I was in awe the entire vacation over the majestic views. The scenery was breathtaking! Busting out of my comfort zone: Physically speaking, I was the weak link during the vacation. We hiked, biked, climbed and even plowed through massive boulders on a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV). We were more physical than I have been in the past 6 months so I questioned more than once during the 2 weeks if I was out of my league on this trip. Having said that, I felt good about pushing myself physically and now that I am back home, I have embraced a more rigorous exercise routine. (However, I now need a vacation after my vacation). Masks are the new socks: You would think we brought our dryer with us. As puzzling as the lone, elusive sock, we collectively lost no less than 12 masks along the way. I have no clue which crevices in our truck absorbed them but I am sure over time, some will resurface. Luckily, there was no shortage of vendors selling them along the way. 5. Family fun and great conversations: Neither of my daughters rode out COVID-19 with my husband and me so it was a treat to spend this time with our one daughter and our nephew. In addition to the experiences, we laughed a lot, had many great conversations together, set up a camp site for 2 of the days, competed in a corn hole tournament and even cooked a delicious kettle of matzah ball soup while camping. (Doesn’t everyone eat matzah ball soup when camping!). Although we missed our other daughter, we cherished the time spent together. 6. There IS such a thing as too much family time: Despite #5, behind the glimmering smiles on FaceBook, there were a few family battles. Call it close quarters, big personalities or unforeseen detours, my husband, daughter and I got into it in a couple of states. (nephew stayed clear). It is a good reminder that social media doesn’t capture the entire story! All disputes were resolved and the good times certainly outweighed the bad, but we had our moments! (Sorry to the staff and customers at the Billings, MT Hilton Garden Inn) 7. Panic attacks are real: To be fair, I always knew they were real, although I never personally had one as severe as the one I had on this trip. During our drive home, Route 70 in Colorado was closed in some areas because of fires. (One of the unforeseen travel disrupters along the way). As a result, we were detoured to the CO-92 West Elk Loop. I have travelled on winding, snake, cliff roads in the past and even on this trip but for whatever reason, I had a breakdown as we drove on this road. Perhaps because taking this road was so unexpected but as we drove down the road, I grew increasingly terrified. My family was enjoying the views but I could not find peace along the 20 mile drive. I cried the entire time, yelled at my husband to slow down even though he was driving below the speed limit and I insisted on not stopping at the scenic overview. Luckily, they were supportive of me and we got through the drive. My nephew captured the ride on video and honestly, I had a hard time watching it even after returning home. That 45 minute drive felt like 5 hours! 8. Flexibility is key: Despite our extensive planning, you have to be open for schedule adjustments, especially during a pandemic. We started out August 5th, and by August 6th, we needed to redirect our trek. (the original route didn’t make as much sense) We added Moeb at the last minute at the request of my daughter and it ended up to be an incredible addition. Also, plan on adjusting the number of days in a particular location changing too when reserving campgrounds, hotels and ABNB’s prior to your travel. 9. It’s “U” turn: When we rented the UTV in Moeb, Utah for the day, we each took turns in the driver seat. I opted to take the wheel on the flatter terrain rather than up onto the boulders which was exciting but intimidating. During my turn driving, I had to make a K-turn in a snug spot with limited road space and I wasn’t sure if I could navigate the turn. My husband offered to jump in the driver’s seat which seemed like an appealing idea. Instead, my daughter said “Mom’s got this” and I successfully navigated the turn and continued driving. It seems like such a small occurrence and one that certainly went unnoticed by my family, but hearing my very empowered 24 year old daughter assure me that I was in control of the situation gave me a warm feeling. Ironically, Hello50 is in part about supporting women empowerment as we age and in that small moment, I needed that gentle reminder of my own abilities by none other than the strong woman we raised. If you have time in your schedule, consider an adventure with your family. It could be a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, reconnect with the family and learn not only about another part of the might even discover a bit more about yourself.

Is Gray the New Blonde? Women in Record Numbers are Choosing to Live Dye-Free

Have you ever noticed when men turn gray they are considered "distinguished" yet women are seen as "matronly." Well times are changing. Women everywhere are choosing to live dye-free and let their hair go gray. Some women have been embracing their graceful transition to gray for years, while others started experimenting since COVID-19 required salons to close. Don’t be fooled into thinking gray is synonymous with old. It is not the color of your hair, but rather how you live your life that makes you look youthful (or not so much). Choosing to go gray can project to others confidence, and even independence, especially when you own your look. Whether you decide to color your hair or go natural, we hope you will be inspired by these 7 Silver Sisters who made the decision to go natural with grace and confidence. Here is what these fabulous women have to say about going gray. You can also check out their instagram accounts for more inspiration. JoAnna: (@ichoosegray): JoAnna shared her thoughts about transitioning to gray hair: “'Bloom beautifully, dangerously, loudly, bloom softly, however you need just bloom.' Rupi Kaur.  I’m JoAnna and turning 59 in a few months. I decided to embrace my natural self 29 months ago. My goal was to be dye free and living my best life by 60. It’s been a journey to embrace.” Katrina: (@glamorousaging): “My hope for anyone starting their silver journey is that the talk of 'premature gray' doesn’t make you feel like you are succumbing to some horrible condition. Instead, let’s name it 'overdue fabulousness' because it’s a wonderful ride of self discovery and you don’t have to be 'mature' to do it!" Natasja: (@ladytransitioning): Natasja started transitioning to gray in March of 2019. She says “It’s not always easy to listen to your soul, body and mind (and also your curls🤪) It is necessary to grow, for yourself and others! Consider your thoughts and actions every now and then. It is worth becoming a better version of yourself. Be kind to yourself and others, feel with your heart.” Erika Marie: (@erikamarie72): “When I started this journey, I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea what kind of silver was underneath all that dark brown hair. See, the thing was that I had been coloring my hair since I was 16. As a matter of fact, if you asked me what my 'natural' hair color was, I couldn’t have told you. So, I made the decision not knowing what I was going to get. I told myself that If i didn’t like it, I could always color it again. Well, I’m here to tell you that I have never looked back! There has never been a single day that I wished I had my dark hair again. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.” Luisa: (@thesilverlining_1970): Here is what Luisa has to say about her choice to go gray: “I’ll be honest and say I’ve never had a moment of doubt since I began this transition to embrace my natural silvers and that it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made just 'for me' in a long time. I guess you could say I was truly ready for a change.” Luisa continues by saying:”Giving up complete control over one aspect of my appearance that has been a big part of my identity for years was/is challenging but also empowering.” Kat: (@1katgarza): Kat says that she is often stopped on the street because someone wants to talk about her hair.  They tell her that “they would do that if they knew it would be her color.”  She also explains: "Even after 10 years of gray, her hair is constantly changing.  There are many shades and you will never know unless you try it!" Therese: (@theresegoesgrey): Therese shared: “Going gray is like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re going to get.” She also added: “Growing out my gray hair has been the best thing I’ve done for myself in years.” We can see why Therese feels that way! Thank you to all of these amazing women who have decided to not only take a walk on the gray side, BUT ALSO share their inspirational thoughts with us. Whether you choose to join the Silver Sister club or not, own your look with confidence and be yourself!

Fashion Tips for the Road - Tip#4: Update Make-up and Hair!

Hello Fashion Travellers! We are back on our journey finding Fashion Tips for the Road for mature women. In this article, we will tackle how to update our makeup and hairstyles. Remember those fun days of deep red lipstick, fully lined eyes, tight ponytails and layers of false lashes? Me too, yet now in our 50’s and 60's, these trends date us!  In this stage of life, we wrestle with drooping eyelids, fine lines & thinning hair. But do not fear! There are many tricks you can use to retain your youthful appearance. What do the beauty experts suggest? Re-evaluate your foundation: Is it light and barely there? Or might it look like your face is painted? Applying foundation sparingly over a primer for a sheer and smooth finish is the ideal. Primers are the “go-to” product to allow foundation to skim over wrinkles and pores creating a lovely canvas to build upon. Next, take a look at your eye shadow: The old way is to use 3 distinct colors blocks on the lid and pearly white at the brow bone, the newer way is to use two neutral colors and blend them. The experts agree that some shade of brown will look good on everyone! If your eyes are green, think brown with khaki undertones, if your eyes are blue, pick sand or taupe and if your eyes are brown, dark almost charcoal brown will work. Again, applying a primer on your lids is a modern solution to keeping  shadows and liner put and evening out skin tones. Yes, that favorite eyeliner! The old way is to fully line both upper and lower lids with thick black liner and maybe even create “cat eyes” at the edges. Best to leave that look to the younger generation. Mature women need to lighten up the eyes  moving the attention away from fine lines in this delicate area. Rather, line the upper lid only, focusing the liner above the lash line (not to the corner). This will open up the eye and create brightness. It works!  Just found this tip myself and it does make a difference. Since we are talking eyes… Those lashes! The old way is to apply strips of false lashes to embellish, the new way is to add small clusters of false lashes instead.  Ooolala! Lips! Have you noticed when you pull out an old lipstick in a dark or super bright color, it doesn’t look as good as it once did? As we age, experts suggest  finding  a perfect shade of pink for your pout. There is a buffet of pinks out there so look for one that is one or two shades lighter than your natural lip color. Mature lips benefit from exfoliating and moisturizing. (I use Carmex every night and morning to help with dryness). Next, dot on some concealer around your lips, wherever you have lines, to prevent the lipstick from feathering into them.  Apply a lip liner in a shade close to your natural lip color. As we age, we can lose our lip definition, so this tip is helpful in making our lips look fuller and shapelier. Are you a gloss girl? Good, the shine adds fullness. Now that we have our new lighter makeup set, let’s venture into how to update a hairstyle. Our hair texture might be changing, the volume of hair might be diminishing (this happens to 40% of menopausal women)  or maybe your current style doesn’t cover  forehead  wrinkles..what to do? Here are simple updates that will make you “feel” years younger. As we age, our faces change so our hairstyle should change too. Try cutting angles and layers around your face: These angles add softness and draw attention to your eyes. Have you had longer hair for years? Maybe cut a few inches off or if you have shorter hair, grow it an inch or two. Change can be fun! Even making small tweaks for a season can be uplifting. Something as simple as switching your part can be a whole new look. Bangs, bangs, bangs! Nothing says chic like bangs. They accentuate your eyes and camouflage foreheads and receding hairlines. Whether straight bangs or side-sweeping bangs, both brighten the eyes and deflect from your jawline (that might be a little saggy). What about hair color? Whether you are going natural or coloring, experts suggest adding highlights to surround your face and the color should be shiny and healthy looking. You are amazing women, why not look that way as you age? What one update will you make today to embrace BEAUTIFUL you? Small changes can bring BIG benefits. Next time, we will be journeying on into the land of Accessories. By: Cindy Lovas Fashion Consultant Virtual Appointments Available

Albertini International - Meeting the Beauty Needs of Women as we Age

Valorie Albertini has been involved with many aspects of the beauty business for the past 30 years. Hello50 is excited to partner with Albertini International. Coming soon: We will talk with Valorie to hear about her journey to launching Albertini International AND what we can do to nourish our skin at any age! I was recruited by Jerri Reddding and spent years testing new products as Jhirmack’s Manager of Skin Care and Cosmetics. During my 9 years with Sebastian International, I served as Director of New Product Development as well as their corporate emcee and speaker worldwide. Companies such as Mastey de Paris, Tressa and Murad have utilized my skills and knowledge lecturing for them around the world, from Tokyo to Rome and extensively throughout the United States. My years of experience have given me the ability to navigate through the haze of beauty fiction and fact with clarity and common sense. I am a licensed esthetician, cosmetologist, and entrepreneur. There is most likely something in your bathroom I worked on. It all began with a desire to solve a problem that plagued me as well as my friends and clientele. The problem that affects millions of women as they enter menopause - dry skin. One of them came to me one day and said, “you have done this for others you whole life, can’t you make something for us that lasts more than a few hours and doesn’t smell." Years of experience as a developer of beauty products had given me the knowledge to pinpoint the solution: restore skin's Natural Moisture Factor (NMF)! My longtime Philly friends were honest and outspoken, giving me invaluable feedback about everything, telling me what worked and what did not. After years of testing and refining, Divine Skin Hydrator was perfected, and this fabulous solution to restoring NMF was introduced to the marketplace. With the help of fellow “Wild Woman” and business partner, Janice Petit de Mange, Albertini International continues to grow and introduce other products designed especially for women aged 40 and over. And yes, this group of friends continue to laugh together, supporting each other’s dreams, and lifting Albertini International as it continues to meet the beauty needs of women old enough to know and young enough to care.

Brewery Craze! Take a Tour or Enjoy a Local Brew

Are you making a list of activities for you to do when COVID-19 is behind us? If you love drinking beer or are interested in the brewing process, a trip to a local brew house to make your own batch should be on your “must do” list. Whether it is the Flying Barrel in Frederick, Md or Saugatuck Brewing Company in Kalamazoo, MI, you will be sure to have a great day fine tuning just the right flavors for your enjoyment. A gift card to a brew house is a great idea for your husband or a newly minted 21 year old. Go with your girlfriends and give your beer a SASSY name that represents the vibe of your group. If you prefer the brewery tour experience, visit the Baltimore, MD Guinness Brewery which is the first Guinness brewery outside of Ireland. You will learn all about the brewing history from the initial development in Ireland through its worldwide expansion. The tour will surely interest any beer aficionado or anyone with a curiosity about the history of beer. You won’t want to leave without visiting the bar or one of the restaurants and finding out which Guinness is your favorite. If you always wanted to differentiate the different kinds or styles of beer, we are here to demystify it for you. Let's flow into the different types of beer that you should know about. BUT FIRST, LET'S SORT OUT THE BASICS: 'Beer' is a generic word that refers to all the styles of fermented malt beverages. The list includes lagers, ales, and many individual and hybrid styles. When it comes to main beer categories, you can come across many special brews, including wood-aged and barrel-aged beer, real ale, organic beers, extreme beer, kosher beer, and gluten-free beer. These beers don't necessarily stand for new beer styles, but more so, they are about different ways of brewing and serving beer. BREAKING DOWN THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF BEER The Two Major Categories Ales and lagers are the two main categories of beers. Here's a quick comparison of the two: ALE Ancient varieties of beer that date back to antiquity Fermented at warmer temperatures for shorter durations Fermented with top-fermenting yeasts Major beer categories include Brown Ales and Pales Ales LAGER Only a few hundred years old, so relatively new Cold fermented for longer durations Fermented with bottom-fermented yeasts Major beer style categories: Dark Lagers and Pilsners The Ten Most Popular Beers There are more varieties of beers in the world than you can think of. Here are some of the best ones that you won't regret being familiar with. 1. Ale This is perhaps the most popular type of beer out there. Originally, it was used to describe beers that were brewed without hops (the flowers of Humulus Lupulus, the hop plant.) However, today, most ales do use hops as an essential ingredient. The bittering agent in ales is gruits, a mixture of herbs and spices. Ales can range from pale ales to dark brown ones. 2. Porter This beer was the classic English pub drink at one point and intensely poplar until it was overshadowed by the Stouts. However, it is slowly reviving in the craft beer circle. Porter is thought to have been developed in London, where it was loved by street and river porters. 3. Stout Generally dark, Stouts are crafted with roasted barley or roasted malt, yeast, water, and hops. They started off as a variety of Porter beers but soon gained more popularity than the strongest porters. 4. Pilsner Named after Plzeň, a Bohemian town, this light golden-colored beer has a crisp body and is a summer favorite for many. 5. India Pale Ale This beer is one of the most popular beers in the craft beer circuit. It originated in England in about 1840. Extra hops were added to the beer so when it was shipped to India, so it could be preserved to survive through the long journey by ship. 6. Lager Lager beers get their name from the German term for 'storeroom'. They typically refer to beers that are conditioned or stored at low temperatures. Lagers are more effervescent and have lighter flavors and colors. They are also characterized by the use of specific yeasts. 7. American Lager This is the most famous commercial beer in the United States. Legend says that pale lager was taken from Germany to the United States in the 19th century by immigrants. Grains like maize or rice were used in pale lager to give it a nice, light texture without adding complex flavors. 8. Weissbier This one is the most famous German beer that is brewed in the traditional Bavarian style and is also known as Hefeweizen or Weizenbier. Instead of barley, it has a strong presence of malted wheat, and it can be both strong and sweet. 9. Bock This beer was historically used in religious festivals. During times of fasting, Bavarian monks consumed bock beer to get nutrition. The beer is thought to have originated in Einbeck, a German town, but it gained popularity in Munich. Originally, this beer was much more dark and malty, but the modern versions are lighter. 10. Lambic Lambic is different from other beers because its fermentation involves exposure to wild bacteria and yeasts that are native to the Zenne valley, instead of exposure to meticulously cultivated strains of brewer's yeast. This unique process gives Lambic its characteristic flavor which is vinous, dry, and cidery, often accompanied by a tart aftertaste. If you are anything like me, I am not a huge beer lover but I love taking beer tours. There really is so much history behind the origins of it so it is so interesting to think about people thousands of years ago enjoying a beer like people do today. When I have cold brew, it will most likely be flavored. Cucumber is a great, refreshing summer time treat and the more potent cucumber flavor, the better. In the fall, I will dive deep into a pumpkin beer - and most memorable was a pumpkin flavor in Denver that was made with 10 pounds of pumpkin included in the brewing process so be sure to ask how much pumpkin is added! Think about your beer destination now and plan on having a good ol' glass of beer with your favorite people - what a great way to relax and refresh. Which beer do you like the most? How have your preferences changed over the decades?

Confessions From a Disorganized Woman

I have a confession to make. I am not a perfectionist. I am not at all organized. Not even close. As a woman, that is really difficult to admit. After all, women of all ages pride themselves on how they maintain their homes, their level of perfectionism and how all their “stuff” is in just the right place. Women master the fine art of organization, establishing order and ensuring their households run like a well-orchestrated symphony. Not me! Open my extra bedroom closet at your own peril! I have always struggled with maintaining systems and keeping things orderly. Oh I try! I have a girlfriend who keeps her life enviably organized at all times who once told me that she probably spends less time in a week keeping her well put together life in order than I spend failing at keeping mine together. (The failure part are my words, not hers). She has a process for everything and maintains those systems with a 100% rate of execution which allows her to spend minimal time enforcing her systems week by week. I on the other hand, don’t really have systems and the ones I do put in place, break down quickly. As a result, I spend more time just to tread water. Don’t confuse this with being lazy, (I’m not) not working hard (I do) or having a dirty house (it isn’t). My “inadequacies” are all about my lack or precision, systems and organization. My husband and I were recently installing contact paper in our kitchen cabinets and drawers. As I was cutting the material, I found myself saying “close enough” when my edges didn’t quite meet up. I am pretty sure it would have driven lots of women I know nuts to see those uneven cuts and edges not meeting up with the corners. My husband jokingly said “I know what a perfectionist you are” as I was measuring and cutting. We both laughed at that notion knowing there was ZERO truth to his statement. Despite the joke, my lack of precision, organization and even order HAD been a source of shame for me, especially as a wife and mother. I think in part, I had always seen it as a character flaw, especially because of my perception of women as the driving force in keeping households well put together. Women often talk about how every item has a place and their families always look to them to tell them where to find a needed item. That just isn’t who I am and it is not how my household has ever run. I would have been embarrassed to admit this in polite company years ago but as I have gotten older, I have come to EMBRACE this “flaw” in me. My lack of organizational abilities is nothing new. In retrospect, thinking back to my childhood, I always was ineffective when it came to organizing my school binders or bedroom. I was a pretty easy kid for my parents and did very well in school so no one in 1976 was digging into the root cause of their 10 year old’s disorganization. Today, I suspect that same 10 year old would be diagnoses with Attention Deficit Disorder. (I was diagnosed with ADD as an adult) and a plan would have been put in place. However, those patterns were never addressed and as I grew into a young adult, I never learned the skills to re-train this deficiency. It is at times difficult to discern between what is an inability to organize versus truly not being bothered by the chaos. When I was in college, my friends had keys to my room while I was away for the weekend. As a prank, they re-arranged my room while I was gone in the most disruptive way – bed in the middle of the room, night table turned on its side. I returned from the weekend, laughed at the prank and continued to live in the room left for me in disarray for the next month before I put it back together. It just didn’t bother me that much, strange as that may sound. When my girls were younger, I was the type of mom who found it difficult to hold it all together. Managing a household, a job and all of the other demands of a family is never easy but I always felt like it was measurably more difficult for me than other women. I remember an acquaintance of mine (my good friends knew me better) once told me I looked like that type that had it all held together. I felt like a fraud because there was nothing about me that felt that way, mostly because I always struggled with keeping the household organized. I have memories of my girls in the morning, before school, climbing a pretty large, albeit clean, laundry pile searching for closely matched (no need to be exact) socks or shirt to wear…regularly. I hated that they would have thought that was in any way “normal.” I was always an engaged mom, I volunteered and supported their activities and school work but I was also that mom who was late getting the signed forms returned or I would have to run their lunch up to school because I “ran out of time” in the morning to make their lunch. Now that I am older, I have come to terms with my “flaws” and like I said, I even embrace this in me. Sure, I am constantly asking my husband to call my phone, I don’t have one exact place for my keys and as I was just explaining to my girlfriends, (they thought it was bizarre) I just leave the vacuum out and plugged in – I am going to use it each day, why wrap it up and put it away. I don’t really sweat the small stuff in the house. Friends and family tell me they feel welcomed and comfortable in my home. This personality trait has always allowed me to step out of my comfort zone because I don’t have this expectation of perfection. My daughters remember the laundry piled high but they also remember how much fun they had at their birthday party with 10 other girls painting the walls all different colors and designs since “we were going to paint it anyway.” It was a mess but they had a blast! I am still working at systems but if they fall short, (and they will) I have learned to accept not to feel shame for who I am. Everyone’s version of organization comes in different shapes and sizes. Learn to feel comfort in your own version. Now, if only I could remember where I left my keys. What do you do to maintain organization in your life and home or do you struggle with maintaining order? Stay tuned: In the coming weeks, we will have expert organizational tips and tricks to organize your home and life as well as ADD at any age.

Keto Diet - A Fad or Fabulous Lifestyle?

In recent years, the keto diet has grown in popularity. Is it worth the hype or is it just another one of those trendy diets that go out of fashion as quickly as they came in? Let’s find out! This week, we will look at the Keto diet to see if it is right for you! Keto is short for the ketogenic diet. It alters the way food energy is utilized in our body through a high-fat, low-carbohydrate eating pattern. It was introduced back in the 1920s, as a treatment for seizures disorders and epilepsy. However, today, it has become a popular lifestyle choice for improving metabolic health and reducing weight. How does the keto diet work? Typically, our primary source of energy are the carbohydrates included in our diet. This comes from sugar, grains and fruits and vegetables. After digestion, carbohydrates are then converted into glucose that fuels our muscles, brains and overall metabolism. When you are on a keto diet, your carbohydrate intake is limited. When enough carbohydrates in your body are not available, our body starts using fat as the number one metabolic fuel. It breaks down our stored fat and converts it into ketones. Now, our body enters a metabolic state called ketosis, in which it utilizes fat as the primary source of energy. The Keto Diet Breakdown An typical standard, balanced diet based on1500 calories includes: Percentage of Carbohydrates: 40% (600 calories) Percentage of Protein: 30%. (450 calories) Percentage of Fat: 30% (450 calories) In contrast, here’s how the classic keto diet is structured based on 2000 calories: Percentage of Carbohydrates: 5-10% (100 - 200 calories) Percentage of Protein: 15-20% (300 - 400 calories) Percentage of Fat: 70-75% (1400 - 1500 calories Your keto diet is going to be abundant in eggs, fatty fish, meat, cream, butter, cheese, nuts and seeds, oils, greens, avocados, spices and herbs. Keto diets tend to be higher in calories however one myth is that you can have as many calories as you want. Even though you can have more than on other diets, you still have to manage your caloric intake. Keto dieters also limit grains, alcohol, sweets and sweet beverages, bread, fruits, potatoes, legumes or beans. What are the benefits of a Keto diet? There are several benefits of the keto diet. For one, if your goal is rapid weight loss, it works. Donna from NJ told us she quickly lost a lot of weight when she started the diet at 53 years old. She was strict for 8 months and felt great while she was on it. Donna has for the most part been able to maintain the weight loss over time. We also heard from Shelly from Maryland who told us she too felt better than ever when following a strict keto diet. With the immediate weight loss, the pressure on her knees was minimized and she was more active than she had been in years. The other benefit is that once you dump sugar and flour from your diet, you lose weight in your mid-section. As we age, it is so difficult to lose the “menopause middle” so with the elimination of the carbs and sugar, a flatter stomach is possible. Appetite reduction is another benefit. Carbs turn to sugar and sugar stimulates your appetite so once you remove both carbs and sugar from your diet, you will see a noticeable reduction in food cravings. Shelly also told us something a lot of people say when they are on a keto diet – they feel satisfied, which makes it easier to stick to, because of the amount of protein and fat in the diet. A Keto diet has been shown to be beneficial for your overall metabolic health. It seems to enhance insulin resistance, blood sugar control, and triglyceride levels. Even with the increase of meat in the diet, even cholesterol levels and blood pressure are often better managed. Something else to keep in mind is because of the keto boom, there are a ton of products on the market that are great substitutes for the sugary snacks and carb filled meals we are accustomed to eating. Keto diets have their pitfalls too! Adopting and maintaining ketosis can be a challenge because there are limited food choices available for any low-carbohydrate diet. Some dieters have side effects when living a keto lifestyle. Donna shared that she had the “keto flu” when she started out. Our bodies detox from the sugar and carbs so in response and they experience a whole host of flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include headaches, irritability, vomiting, nausea, constipation, mental and physical fatigue, difficulty with sleep, fruity-smelling urine and bad breath. Be prepared – it can last up to a couple weeks! You do have to be careful with keto when it comes to weight loss. Sure, you can lose weight quickly but start cheating on the diet, you might find that the weight quickly returns. If you want to transition off the keto diet, you need to slowly increase your carb and sugar intake or you might find yourself back to your original weight in no time. Keto Recipes and Products If you are someone who has perpetually been on a diet, it might feel weird at first to be “dieting” and eating heavy cream, butter, meat and full fat cheese! One of the great pluses of a keto diet is that you eat foods that are often highly restricted on other diets. If you are looking for some great keto recipes to get started, there are lots of options from delish to get you started. If you think you can’t live without snacks you have grown accustomed to eating, KETO and Co has amazing options to satisfy any sweet or salty craving. Be prepared – it’s a little pricey but the options can help keep you on track! So, is keto diet fad or fab? If you are relatively healthy and can tolerate its side effects, you may try the keto diet for managing your health or losing weight. Just remember that many benefits and risks of this diet still remain unknown, so be careful about adopting it as a long-term lifestyle choice. Make sure as with any diet, don’t forget other lifestyle changes that will benefit your health and well-being such as at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, hydrate, manage stress and look after your mental well-being. A keto diet is definitely not for everyone! Talk with your doctor before starting this or any other diet to ensure it is a healthy option for you. Next week, we will explore an alternative diet option. Is Keto right for you?

Tips and Considerations for Planning Your 2nd Wedding

Tying the knot for the second time? There are probably several questions running through your head. What needs to be done? What should be avoided? Planning an event can be stressful and with a second marriage, there are additional things to keep in mind. Whether it is a huge and grand wedding or a small and intimate one, a wedding is all about celebrating the love between two people. When it comes to planning a wedding, think about your vision for that special day as well as the impact of your nuptials on your loved ones. How to involve children in your wedding If you or your partner have children, it is recommended to tell them about your wedding plans before anyone else. Experts even say depending on the relationship, it might be best to inform them in the absence of your fiancé and do this no matter the age of your children. Invite your children to participate in the planning and preparations, and let them decide whether they want to be part of the ceremony or not. Forcing them to participate when they are not ready can create animosity about your upcoming nuptials. Make sure they have the option to contribute planning ideas so they feel part of the wedding before and during the ceremony. Your children may have a hard time accepting the changes that the blended future family may bring. Let them accept this at their own pace. Second marriages are often centered on the union of two families, rather than just the two of you. You can include in the wedding ceremony a family unity sign or painting, an exchange of jewelry not only between you two but including the children and even your grandchildren. A candle unity ritual might be a beautiful way during the ceremony to incorporate both families. Anna from Maryland contributed another tip based on her experience when planning her wedding to her current husband. She said she and her then fiancé talked about the wedding plans constantly and that overwhelmed the children they each had from previous marriages.  The children, who were high school and college aged at the time, wanted to discuss topics other than just wedding plans. They were inadvertently alienating their children with the constant conversation about the upcoming wedding. Once they were aware of what they were doing, they made adjustments and by not talking about the wedding plans all the time, their children actually became more interested in participating. Picking a wedding date When choosing a wedding date, consider where it falls on the calendar. Does it interfere with your kids or grandkids' holiday or summer vacations? More importantly, you will want to avoid a date that coincides with dates that are significant to each of your previous marriages, especially if those marriages ended in divorce. We heard from Kelly and she and her fiancé selected a wedding date that represents a significant day of the week and time of the year that is meaningful to when they met. She said establishing new traditions throughout the year is important for them to move forward as a couple. What to do about the dress? Who doesn't love dress shopping! Those going for an encore wedding are typically more mature compared to when they were married the first time. Consequently, second-timers tend to go for a more sophisticated look, which can reflect on everything from their wedding dress to their menu, music and floral arrangements. In the past, second-time brides were discouraged from going for flashy dresses like first-time brides. Sometimes, they were even told to avoid wearing white. However, the recent trend is that brides choose whatever they prefer. If they want to go for a heavy, white dress, then they should go for it. At the end of the day, the dress should represent your personal flare and reflect the theme of your wedding. Wedding Venue We heard from several women with opinions about the size and scale of a second wedding. Some women said they felt that after a divorce from a 25 year marriage, it was not in good taste to have a huge 2nd wedding in size and scale. However, other women shared that it is your day and celebrate as you wish. This might be your 2nd wedding but your spouse’s first wedding. Additionally, when considering the adage of doing what makes you happy as you age, your wedding venue should represent your vision for the big day. Just as we would with any event, be mindful when it comes to access to the venue, travel expenses and lodging. Maybe you are thinking about going to the Justice of the Peace and not inviting friends and family members. This sometimes causes tension with your loved ones who want to celebrate with you. Make sure you and your spouse are open and honest with loved ones so they know your thoughts and why you opted for the Justice of the Peace. Relationship experts tell us that your 2nd marriage will be starting off in a better place if you are respectful of other opinions but ultimately, make decisions as a couple. Let those in your life know it is not personal but rather a couple decision. Clear communication with not only one another but those close to both of you will ensure you are staying true to yourselves and getting the support of your loved ones. Creating your wedding list One of the most challenging aspects of planning any wedding is narrowing in on the wedding list. When it is your 2nd wedding, there are additional challenges. As a rule of the thumb, you should invite only the people who will be happy for you and skip anyone who may cause awkwardness, a distraction or other negative emotions that you don’t need on your wedding day. If your former in-laws are on good terms with you or still act as devoted grandparents to your children, you may consider inviting them or even each of your ex-spouses. This can demonstrate a level of maturity to your children and make this transition easier for them as well if your previous spouse or in-laws attend the wedding. Make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page though when it comes to invites. Don’t be surprised though if some attendees you thought were your friends choose not to come because of loyalty to your ex-spouse. Anna shared she was disappointed that friends she shared with her ex-spouse choose not to come to her wedding because they did not want to appear disloyal to her ex. Wedding shower and wedding gifts When it comes to a bridal shower and a second wedding, consider a “sprinkle” rather than an elaborate shower. One recommendation is a small gathering of close family and friends and smaller, token gifts. Take the opportunity to share your excitement with a nice brunch or dinner out together. If someone rally wants to express their happiness with a gift, accept it graciously but keep the emphasis on celebrating the upcoming marriage rather than gifts. In terms of wedding gifts, your friends and family may have already spent money on presents for your first marriage so consider communicating through word of mouth that you are not expecting gifts. Avoid putting on the invitation “no gifts” because it might take away from the overall invite. Some couples marrying for the second time suggest a donation to their favorite charity or a gift card to a favorite restaurant. When it comes to a second marriage, focus on celebrating the relationship rather than the gifts. Ultimately, your wedding ceremony and reception should be everything you envision. Include traditional wedding rituals or create your own, new experiences to ensure your 2 nd wedding is unique from your first wedding. Make sure your family is involved in the planning and wedding day as much as they want to be included. This is your 2nd chance for love and happiness and your wedding represents the start of your new life together.

Reconnecting with a Friend or Family Member After a Falling Out: Is it Worth Pursuing?

When we were children, making friends was a piece of cake. All we had to do was smile at each other, play together for a while, and we were BFF’s for life!  However, some people find that making friends as an adult could be a far more challenging experience. (Making new friends is a topic in itself we are exploring for a future blog) You become very specific about your likes and dislikes, and the types of people you want to be around. You might even be looking for more meaningful connections, especially when you are over 50. Given how challenging it could be to create strong connections as we age, it is so important to hold on to the friendships or family relationships we have already cultivated.  Friends you have known for a long time may have a special place in your heart, but what if you have a major falling out and lose touch? You might have been close to a parent, sibling or grandparent but what if that relationship dissolves with no point of return? Here are some tips when it comes to re-establishing (or not) relationships after a falling out: Have the guts to make the first move This might sound a little like “just do it” and in some ways, it is! Pull off that band-aid and make the call.  It is normal to feel lost, awkward or even confused when attempting to mend old disagreements. Making that first move is difficult but know that if you are thinking of them, they are probably thinking of you. If you have made the decision that you want to reach out, put a date on the calendar and mentally commit to contacting them by that date. Put aside your feelings or even your ego to patch things with someone who has been so important to you at one point in your life. You may be scared of the reaction of the other person, but think about it this way: How would you feel if they contacted you on their own? Reaching out will not only make you happy, but it may also make your friend’s day. If you are scared of the reaction of the other person, finding solace in knowing you played your part may be enough. If your gut is telling you to reach out, it is probably time to contact them! Choose in-person meetings over online ones It is best to meet in person when possible. We communicate with our words and body language so we lose much of that warmth and connection when we don’t talk in person.  If distance does not allow you to meet in person, at very least, talk on the phone or better yet, ZOOM or Facetime. Test the waters if need be with a text or email but avoid having your discussion over text. Family and marriage therapist Kaley Brown told Hello50, “Many people may end up misinterpreting messages or calls or take them out of context. This creates misunderstandings and confusion. To avoid this, it is better to meet in person so that you can communicate properly and apologize wherever needed.” Talk about the problems When you do meet up, it is important to get straight to the point right away. Wellness expert Reema Chaudry states that instead of beating about the bush, address the issue immediately after the greetings. Reema also explains that your long history means that they will see right through any awkward small talk,so it is better to not to get lost in small talk. You know what to talk about, so getting it out of your system as soon as possible is the best way to go about it. If you owe an apology, give it right away After a major fallout, you would likely want to direct all the blame on the other person. However, the fact of the matter is there probably is some shared fault in any situation. While the other person may have made some mistakes, you must also reevaluate your own behavior and accept yours. This is crucial if you are serious about rekindling your friendship. Making excuses or being defensive will not make things better. In fact, such behavior can even result in a bigger distance between the two of you. Be willing to take ownership and even to see a side that you previously had not seen with tensions were at elevated levels. Find common grounds Norman Reedus, a certified counselor, explains that coming up with a new way to establish a fresh bond with an old friend can ease the reconnection process. For instance, you can meet up in a restaurant that you both have always liked. You could discuss similar professional or personal goals. He goes further to say finding common grounds can help you reconnect and increase the likelihood that your friend will accept your offer. Practice empathy, patience and don’t have unrealistic expectations. You have to give yourself and your friend time to heal and ease back into the relationship. Be patient, empathetic, and be open to working things out together. If you are going to regain your trust and friendship, at some point, you would have to let go of what happened in the past or there is no path forward. We have all heard the old adage, never forget but forgive.  If you continue to return to the pain points, it will be impossible to move forward. You should also be ready to accept that people change This can mean different things depending on the situation.  Your friend or family member could have matured and what caused the dispute years ago is no longer part of who they are today.  That can be a really good thing when it comes to re-establishing your relationship.  Conversely, you could be two very different people who have grown in different directions.  This might be an opportunity to simply “bury the hatchet” from the past and continue to live independent of one another.  You might feel at peace that you have found closure to your previous relationship issues and feel good about not moving forward with your connection. Mutually decide how to move things forward That leaves you to the next consideration. Your friendship is worth saving only if both of you are ready to accept your role in the problem and are prepared to work on solving it together. You can’t move forward if you both aren’t willing to take part in making things better between you. Let things go Towards the end of your meeting, you will be able to figure out whether it is worth it to continue with the friendship or to let it go. If you and your friend or relative want to work on healing together and proceeding with your relationship, you can end up even stronger than before.  It takes mutual respect and understanding but you might find you still really care about one another. Other Considerations Some relationships are too toxic and unhealthy for your mental well being and you need to decide it is not worth pursuing: There could have been an abusive or codependent dynamic that is just not healthy for you to pursue. The relationship might have potential to be healthy but being with the person reminds you too much of a past you worked hard to leave behind. Ellen from New York shared with us that her best friend from her 20’s wants to reconnect but the friendship is a reminder to Ellen of her own past out of control behavior. As painful as it is, she decided to stay away from the friend not because she doesn’t care about her but Ellen does not want to revisit painful memories and perhaps relapse into those old behaviors. Another consideration is can you forgive yourself if the relationship is not repaired?  This is particularly important if the person in question is your elder.  Ask yourself how you would feel if that person passed away before you had a chance to reach out to them.  It is difficult to think about but a realistic consideration. If you feel like you have such pain from the relationship and are at peace not reconnecting, then accept your decision, no regrets. Do you have an old friend or family member who you would love to reconnect with but you don’t know where to begin? Set a plan to reach out to them, establish a time frame for that to happen, try and meet in person and decide on realistic expectations regarding your new relationship terms. You might find peace of mind that you attempted to settle a misunderstanding from the past. If it doesn’t work out, you at least can have comfort in knowing that you you made the effort!


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