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Welcome to This is Your Best Year!!!

Welcome to your best year.  You and I are on this journey together.  Together and collectively, we will give suggestions on living life to the fullest.  This is a blog for women who thought that when they reached this age, life was over.  This is for all of those women who thought their mothers were old at this age–well they may have been, but that’s not the case anymore. maricia 21

We will discuss everything from health, beauty, faith, life, children, grandchildren, exercise, careers, retirement, starting all over again in love and/or career. We will talk about learning the word no, taking time to be who we are.  With this blog we will have fun, we will talk fashion, food,travel and all kinds of products–in other words, we’re going to talk about us.

You can always email me at: thisisyourbestyear@gmail.com and “like” us on Facebook (thisisyourbestyear).

Let’s get excited ladies, and stay tuned.  Remember–“THIS IS YOUR BEST YEAR”!

Let’s Get Ready To Cook–Top Chef Fort Worth

It gets hot in Texas, and it was hotter during the finals of Fort Worth, Texas Magazine’s annual Top Chef competition. An excited sold out crowd was on hand to cheer on their favorite chef, well some were on hand to eat the wonderful food.  I can say this with all honesty Chef Tom Colicchio better watch out, Chef Jon Bonnell and the cast of Fort Worth’s Top Chef are coming for you.

The cocktail hour before the main event had the excitement of a professional prize-fight with patrons discussing why their favorite chef was going to win.  There was talk of the restaurants where each of the participating chefs worked, and talk of trying all of them in the future.

Hal Brown, who is the founder and publisher of the Fort Worth, Texas Magazine and veteran sportscaster Scott Murray started the main event off with excitement.  All that was missing was “let’s get ready to rumble”. There was an introduction of each of the chefs that would have made any professional athlete envious.

Head judge, Chef Jon Bonnell led the chefs in a quick fire challenge, a blind taste test and then on to the main event.  The main event had 2 secret ingredients–beef and langostinos.  For an added challenge Chef Bonnell had each contestant to cut their own steak to showcase their butchering skills.

While the chefs cooked with their sous chef, there was conversation, food, drink and an auction to be able to eat each of the chefs final plates.  The big auction allowed attendees a chance to have each of the celebrity chefs to personally come to the winning bidders home to prepare dinner for a private party of 8.  The chef would furnish the food.  As an extra incentive, Hal Brown announced that a bartender and spirits had been added to each dinner.  The bidding was so fast and furious that each chef agreed to do the dinner twice, so there were two winners for each chef. The money raised from the auctions went to charities selected by each chef.

As the judges came back to the stage, Chef Bonnell announced the winner–Chef Stefon Rishel of Max’s Wine Dive.  Chef Rishel had been the favorite of the student chefs from O. D. Wyatt High School who were sitting on the table with me (he is their mentor).  They were as excited as he was.

The contestants in the Top Chef final were: Jerrett Joslin of The Wild Mushroom, Charles Youts of The Classic Café, Kalen Morgenstern of Tillman’s Roadhouse (she survived Gordon Ramsey in Hell’s Kitchen which makes her a shero of mine), and of course the winner Stefon Rishel of Max’s Wine Dive.  I know all 4 of the restaurants will see a jump in their reservations.

It is said everything is bigger and better in Texas, and on this hot night in Fort Worth, Texas it was.  Fort Worth, Texas Magazine’s Top Chef is ready for its closeup.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. 

Long-Term Care/Living-Care Insurance Discussion

Long term care insurance 2As women of a certain age, we must have or should have things in place as we mature.  We may have learned from the example that our parents and or grandparents shared with us.  Were they prepared for the time that illness over took them?  Maybe they recovered, but maybe it took a while.  You wanted your love one to be some place where they were comfortable.  Maybe they wanted to stay in their own home–they just needed someone to check on them daily.  Where was the money coming from for these services?  Do you even know how much it cost for these services

We all want our love ones and even ourselves to be able to go into our golden years with the best care possible.  We’ve takenLong term care insurance 1 out health insurance, but it is not long-term care insurance.  Long-term care insurance pays for items that health care insurance does not.  It can pay for the cost of an assisted living facility, assistance for caring for you and more.

Long term care insurance 3Medicare and Medicaid more often than not do not pay for these basically non-medical expenses.  Let’s just be honest here, the more insurance you have, the better the facility (yep, I said it). I know personally how much it cost when a love one is in an assisted living facility and needs 24 hour a day care. I’ve seen first hand the hardships of taking care of a love one who needs care–not just financially but emotionally. Long term care insurance can help financially and even emotionally.

Premiere of Lionsgate's One of my favorite people, Angela Bassett tells of her experience with caring for love ones.  She is continuing the talk on aging and long-term care insurance. She uses the term living-care, and that’s exactly what it is. Angela is on the second leg of an initiative called the LetsTalkTour (she is a spokesperson for an insurance company*). She talks candidly about living-care in the article below that was written by Brennan Williams for the Huffington Post. Please read the article and start the conversation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/08/angela-bassett-genworth-lets-talk-now_n_7747416.html

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Let’s talk about living-care.

*thisisyourbestyear does not endorse any insurance company, please check with you insurance carrier, and make comparisons to find the best plan for you or a love one.

Save The Date

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To find out more about this amazing event, go to:  http://www.txconferenceforwomen.org/.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Have fun and learn with some amazing women.

Darla Davenport-Powell, doll maker ~ An Interview

thisisyourbestyear:

I met Ms. Davenport-Powell at an event at the Potter’s House in Dallas. She is a force of nature that gives others encouragement. She gave me that little push that has enabled me to “go for it”. Read more about her, and be inspired.

Originally posted on The Dreher Report:


In 1991, Darla Davenport-Powell created a doll and named her Niya in the full awareness of the influence that dolls have on African American children who play with them. Such is the toy’s significance that in the 1940s, African American sociologists Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark chose the doll when they conducted a test to determine the psychological effects of segregation on African American and white children.

Davenport-Powell joins a chorus of enterprising African American doll makers whose models of toy culture renew the spirit of childhood playtime and, more important, child advocacy. In this spirit, Davenport-Powell is a keeper of the doll making tradition as practiced by men and women throughout history: from the crude designs crafted by slave mothers to the papier-mâché dolls with the signature teardrop handmade by 19th century black doll maker Leo Moss.

When Davenport-Powell designed Niya, a dynamic multi-lingual doll, her creation made a…

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Old Ladies and Crazies

I love the story in the video below.  Each Sunday morning I tape Sunday Morning on CBS to watch after church.  I started watching when Charles Kuralt was the host.  Each time he went “On the Road” in his van, it seemed that I was traveling with him.  Over the years I’ve taken road trips with family and friends–they have been some of the best adventures.  When I saw this segment on a woman of a certain age, Inda Lou Lambert Schell who was also a fan of Charles Kuralt and his favorite places from “On the Road”, I knew it would be fun to watch.

Miss Lou and her husband of over 50 years had thought about going to some of Charles Kuralt’s favorite places that he had written about in his book “Charles Kuralt’s America” which featured 12 of his favorite places in America.  As would happen Miss Lou’s husband passed away, but she was not to be deterred.  She enlisted the assistance of her sister, informed her children that she was about to spend their inheritance, and with their blessings she and her sister set out to spend a month in each of the 12 places featured in the book.  Even with her sister getting ill and having to go home, Miss Lou completed her journey, even writing a book “Revisiting America”.

As Miss Lou says “God takes care of old ladies and crazies”.  What’s your excuse for not doing something out of the norm that you have always wanted to do.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–God takes care of us all.

Celebrating The 4th Of July With A Few Of My Sheroes

Happy 4th of July celebrating with 3 strong women from Texas–Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan and Wendy Davis.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!

To Behave Or Not

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A Generational Problem–Childhood Obesity In America

As a woman of a certain age I remember being very active, no I didn’t say athletic. I was never very good at sports, but again I was active. In fact all the children of my generation were. As the first lady of the United States of America has noticed, our children are over weight. The one thing that she misses is that if we look at the parents of the children we will probably see  they are over weight also.

Back in the day children played outside with the kids in the neighborhood. They walked to the neighbor’s house, played pickup softball, stickball and such. There was no cell phone to call their friend, no Skype. You walked to the corner store and to school.

Our eating habits have changed because of convenience. My mother always cooked breakfast, and very seldom if ever did she ask my siblings and I what we wanted. My mother was a consumer science major so she was into nutrition, but all of the other mother’s on my street cooked breakfast also. There were no snack bars, very little sugary cereals, no sugary drink for breakfast, oatmeal was cooked on the stove not in the microwave. Now today our breakfast is eaten in the car on the go. It can be held in one hand and is never made fresh. Sugar is added to almost every product including the bottle water that most children drink. So when our children and/or grandchildren want breakfast we give them what they are familiar with—we ask them what they would like to eat. We watch as they eat bowl after bowl of sugary cereal often adding more sugar to the mixture. In fact most of them are eating on the average of 2 to 3 servings at one sitting.

The media tells us we as a nation are drinking less soda than in the past, BUT it fails to tell us that we are drinking more energy drinks, coffee beverages and other concoctions that are full of sugar or high fructose syrup.

We all say that we microwave and/or buy fash food because we don’t have the time to cook, but is that the reason or are we just dare I say “lazy”. Remember when you learned to read, you practiced while your mother cooked dinner. There was no such thing as a “snack”, candy was a treat, and soda was never with a meal.

There was basically no such thing as a personal trainer to get you in shape. There was no need. You walked to your friends home, you walked to school—even if you rode the bus, you still had a distance to walk, and if it were raining, you ran. As a child you walked to the corner store or rode your bike. Sometimes you even put your younger sibling on the back and rode with them. You ran up and down hills.  But playing has changed, we’ve gone from pickup games, to play dates to  Skyping your play date. We’ve gone from never going in the house, to never leaving the house. Remember when a can of soda was considered two servings, and now it’s one serving.

Things have changed, but we as parents and grandparents can assist in eliminating this problem of obesity.  There can be wholesome meals prepared in less than 30 minutes, and you can purchase wholesome meals for the price of 5 hamburgers, fries and soft drinks.  There can be after dinner family walks, Saturday morning walks around the track at the local school.  There are free workout videos on cable television. As the adult in the house we can monitor what foods come into the house.

The are consequences of childhood obesity are many.  There is heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and much more.  The emotional toll is sometimes harder for children than the health issues.

To find out more about how to fight childhood obesity talk with your family physician or your local branch of the American Heart Association.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Make it as healthy as possible.

Free Mammograms

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Check your local hospitals and cancer associations to see if they offer free or reduced mammograms in your area. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Honoring Dad–Happy Father’s Day

Their presence was never in doubt; it was as it should be. They were always there in the neighborhood in every single house. You could see them every day. Most of them left early in the morning while others would just be coming home. Dinnertime was always held around their schedule, and everyone’s presence was expected.

Their jobs were as varied as their personalities. The factories employed some; stores were the employers of others. There were those who worked in the carpentry business and others who could repair any and everything. One even worked for the school system.

These individuals took their faith very seriously even though some did not attend church regularly. They were all Protestants with most being Baptist, one Church of Christ and even one Christian Methodist Episcopal member.

The strong sense of education was instilled in all of them even though some had not received a high school diploma. There were those that had gone to trade schools or learned a trade in the military. Inside this small group was one that had graduated college. Yet they were basically the same. In each of their households college graduates would be produced.

There was the love of sports that could be heard and seen on numerous days. I don’t remember any teams they routed for except the Dallas Cowboys, the Womack High School Leopards and later on the Longview Lobos. If any of them ever played organized sports, I don’t remember– except for the one.

Since it was before the age of central air, the outside was important to all of them. They believed in growing things even though none of them were what you would call a gardener. Some were into flowers, others trees and even others vegetables. In essence our neighborhood was abundant with life that was shared with everyone.

In each house the nightly news was seen. Most were Walter Cronkite followers. In one house though, the Huntley Brinkley Report ruled the news hour. All were very knowledgeable of the world. Voting was not something taken lightly; they took it as an earned honor and did so with gusto and pride. There was not a Republican among them.

Their love of family was always there, but their upbringing did not consist of showing affection in public. They had been taught to be strong, to be the protector, and most of all to be the best provider possible.

Strong Black fathers who headed their households with strength and dignity were abundant on Della Lane in Longview, Texas in the 60’s and 70’s. These gentlemen were good husbands and loving fathers. The last one left us this year. To all of them I thank you for teaching the children of Della Lane what “fatherhood” means. I thank you for leading by example, especially the teacher, sports playing, Huntley Brinkley watching, Methodist one–my dad, Quintell Cooper. Happy Father’s Day and God Bless to all strong fathers.

I lived on Della Lane in Longview, Texas for all of my childhood.  For most of that childhood the neighborhood held the same families, so in essence I grew up with the same people around me.  There were fathers in every home on Della Lane, and as far as I can remember on all of Fox Hill–which is what we called our part of town.  The fathers on Della Lane were: Mr. Robert Adams, Mr. R. T. Scott, Mr. Boyd Bradford, Sr., Mr. Emory McLemore, Mr. Tom Garlon, Mr. Roscoe Adams, Sr., and my daddy, Mr. Quintell Cooper.  All of them are gone now, but they live on in their children and grandchildren because they led by example.

If your father or father figure is still with you, don’t forget to give them a call.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

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