Our USA Today Best Years Magazine Interview

We were interviewed by the award winning journalist Jennifer E. Mabry for the USA Today Best Years (Fabulous Living at 50+) 2019 Fall/Winter edition. The topic of the discussion was “50–Embracing Midlife”. It is a topic that “thisisyourbestyear” is very familiar with.

Adding to the conversation were three other women of a certain age. They were Amy Yontef-McCrath who is a volunteer extraordinaire who sat a goal of volunteering to at least 50 projects between birthday 49 and 50. She completed it with time to spare, and is now deciding upon the next goal for this part of her life.

Also included in the conversation was relationship expert and therapist Dr. Audrey Chapman. She gave insight into being mentally and physically healthy as we mature. Brigid Schulte who is an author and journalist discussed work-life balance as we enter different phases of our life.

It was our honor to be included in this conversation. The link to the article is below. You can purchase the magazine at your local news stands or on line on the USA Today Magazines site.

Embracing Midlife

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. You are never too old to live your best life and do the “happy dance”–we are proof. Just go for it.

Rest–It Does A Body Good

You get that phone call and the voice on the phone ask what you will be doing later on. They seem confused when you say nothing. They are even more confused when they ask if you would like to go with them to their favorite restaurant, the movies, a concert–you get the picture, and you say no.

They want to know what you will be doing, and you tell them nothing. Nothing at all. You want to stay around your house in your pajamas and do nothing. You want to rest. You want to be left alone for a while.

Rest is something that most women of a certain age have to learn how to do. Women of a certain age can find something to do, something to fix, somewhere to go when others are struggling to do anything.

Now I’m not talking about that awful thing called a power nap. Which never gave me any power–it just made me want to sleep more. Meaningful rest is different for different people.

It could be:

  • Reading a book
  • Listening to music (that no one else in your house likes)
  • Wrapping up in a blanket and laying on the couch
  • Enjoying a glass or two of wine
  • Enjoying a cup or two of coffee
  • Just sitting and meditating
  • Just sitting
  • Sleeping

Meaningful rest is when we can rejuvenate our minds and bodies. Meaningful rest goes by many names such as self-care, self-love, self-compassion and more.

As our bodies and brains mature it takes longer to reenergize, heal and rejuvenate. We have to learn to turn the outside and inside world off.

Some of us have to go away to truly get meaningful rest, but with the state of travel now the rest will be lost because of transportation issues.

Meaningful rest is like a battery, you must leave it plugged up so that it can recharge fully. It can be used with only a little power, but it will soon cut off again. The same holds true for all of us.

Every so often “do nothing” just for you. You will feel better, look better and be better. Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the flowers. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

*Yep, I’m a cat person.

First Stop Rome

Going to Italy has always been on my “to do” list, and this year I was able to visit and had an amazing time with my cousin, sister and new friends. We did five stops with the first one being Rome.

We won’t talk about my lost baggage–that’s a post in itself. But I will tell you that nothing was going to stop me from enjoying this trip–even the weather cooperated.

The cab ride through the streets of Rome actually took my breath away. It was not as pretty as a picture, it was better. Sure there was graffiti, but even that had an artistic look to it. The cab driver in his comfortable BMW taxi, nice suit and wonderful accent was a tour guide all by himself. He pointed out historical sites as we traveled to our hotel. It’s one of the times the cab ride could have been longer.

Our hotel was situated on top of a hill. The Hotel Barberini did offer a spa, but I don’t know of anyone in our group that took advantages of these services. The hotel itself was very nice. Every morning we gathered there to talk and have breakfast. The dining room was covered with windows that allowed you to have amazing views of the city below. There was a great balcony that we sat for cocktails in the evening while music flowed from below. The one thing that got me was that beds in Italy are very low to floor, and hotel rooms are small. But who goes to Italy to stay in a hotel room?

Rome reminded me of San Francisco with its hills, and shops everywhere. Our hotel was in walking distance to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, high end shopping–even discount shopping, and great restaurants. We were in the perfect location. Since I went with a tour group, when we went to places like the Colosseum we had transportation. All of our tours were scheduled. We had the best tour guide in Eladia. She was informative, funny and oh so helpful.

Our tours included the Roman Forum which included many structures that were still standing. Through the words of our tour guide, we could picture how it looked during the time of Julius Caesar.

As we continued to learn the history of Rome, we were on our way to the Colosseum which was not to far from the Forum. We were able to skip the long lines and go directly in to start our tour. At this time, they are still excavating at the Colosseum. As Eladia pointed out that there had been a covering at the Colosseum we all thought of old Texas Stadium with the hole in the middle–at least I did. Even though it is only a shell of it’s once grandiose self it is still something to see.

Vatican City is something to behold. Once again we were able to skip the long lines and go directly in. You need days to see everything that is in Vatican City. Again we were lucky to have Eladia as our guide. She showed us what she considered the “must see” items. You are not to touch the sculptures, but Eladia had permission to allow a member of our group that was visually impaired to touch them as she discussed them. Be prepared for a lot of people, but it is well worth it.

When you enter the masterpiece–the Sistine Chapel there are no words. The artwork before in other parts of Vatican City was amazing, but Michelangelo’s work is something to behold. Eladia had informed us on how to look at it chronologically.The only thing that could have made it better was if there were no crowds, and we could have sat and enjoyed the sheer splendor of the chapel. Even though you could take pictures without flash throughout Vatican City, you could not take pictures/videos of the Sistine Chapel.

Upon leaving the Sistine Chapel our guide Eladia left us, and our overall tour guide Marco took over. He took us to St. Peter’s Basilica. Be aware there is an enforced dress code. Women must cover their shoulders and everyone including men must wear clothing that covers the knees. When entering and going through men must remove their hats/caps.

This place is enormous and so ornate–again you need a while to go through it. One of my favorite places at Vatican City was St. Peter’s Square. I could just imagine the Pope coming out on the balcony.

After catching a little rest most of my group went off on their own to explore more of the city. Many walked since the hotel was centrally located, but others took taxis to places of interest. We decided to go to the balcony, sip a glass of wine and listen to the music.

Rome at least to me lived up to my expectations.The food was great, the history was amazing, the wine was good, and we even got our steps in each day. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Sometimes things live up to your expectations.

**A special thanks to Ms. Fallon Alford for sharing her photos with us. Fallon is a full time educator in Atlanta and a freelance photographer. You will see more of her work as we travel through Italy.

Fashion, Food, New And Old Friends

What do you do when you are on your way to one of the most amazing runway shows this side of New York or maybe Paris? You make a stop that has been on your to do list.  First of all you take back the rental car and exchange it for a pickup.  We like to sit up high (thanks Enterprise Rental), and then we hit the road to Austin, Texas to cover Austin Fashion Week–Fashion X Austin and their Celebrating Texas runway show.

On the way we decide to stop at Magnolia Farms and see what Chip and Joanna have done to the place.  After window shopping for a while we were a little thirsty so we decided to go get some original Dr. Pepper at the soda shop next to the Dr. Pepper Museum.  Yes, it does taste different than the regular ones.  Then we were off to Austin, Texas.

This was our second time covering a show at Fashion X Austin, and this was being presented at the Austin American Statesman building.  At first glance you think that it can’t be a lot of difference between Austin and Dallas, but there is.  There were vendors in the gallery, free food and drinks and even photos to be taken.

All of the vendors, food and drinks were staged along the walls of the room which made it seem easier to walk.  The runway was set in the middle of the room with raised seating on each side which made it easier to see and even to take pictures and record the show.

Now most shows don’t want you to talk, but not Austin, they want you to be loud, show your love for the designers and all of their hard work.  The people who came to celebrate the designers of Texas did just that.  It kind of reminded you of the excitement of Friday Night Lights–no band, but still great music.

From the beginning it was not your typical runway show.  The first models to come down the runway were not professional models, and Texas designers did not dress them. They were modeling for the ARC of Texas and Nordstrom’s Department Store provided the outfits.  Austin was electrified.  Showering the models with love and respect.  It was great.  Even those who were so shy as they started their walk down the runway gained so much confidence as they continued their way.  We love Austin for this part of the show.

The excitement continued as each designer sent their models down the runway.  There was no polite applause, there was stadium sized enthusiasm which made it a great experience.  Austin does fashion different than most, but it is a good difference. 

After the show there was a party given at a local hotel with the models, and designers among the many guest.  They did it Texas style.

Since we were in Austin, we wanted to eat like the locals, but semi healthy.  Friends told us to go to Jack Allen’s a farm to table place.  It was funny, but we knew we couldn’t go wrong when our server informed us he was from Fort Worth. Great food and great service. While eating we were still discussing our favorite designers from the night before.

After lunch we decided to see the sights of Austin, but not the usual sights, we decided to walk the trails of Mount Bonnell which overlooks the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River.  They say it is a popular tourist attraction, but neither of us had ever been. 

We met up with old friends.  Some we were able to see and sit and talk with for a while.

On Sunday we were going to sleep late, and then catch breakfast and head back home, but we were invited to attend church at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and we accepted. It was a spirit filled service lead by Rev. Gaylon Clark. A big church with a small church feel.  Meeting the minster and the members was a blessing that we enjoyed.  Then off to lunch with a friend for more great conversation.  Finally off we went–home. 

We saw great fashion at Austin Fashion Week, ate great food at Jack Allen, fun exercise at Mount Bonnell, wonderful church at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist, and did we forget to say wonderful bed pillows at the JW Marriott. I could go on and on about the pillows since I have not slept on one for over 10 years until Friday.  The best pillows ever.

Remember “thisisyourbesyear”.  You can put a lot of enjoyment into one weekend. Work can be fun!

You’re Aging Yourself–Watch Your Posture

Marsha, the trainer that I work out with told me something that put me into action quick fast and in a hurry.  As she was putting us through hell, yes hell, she told me that my posture was getting bad.  She informed me that for all of the hard work, posture would show age just as fast as a body that was not in shape.

My mother was the first one that told me about my posture, and it had gotten better over the years.  While trying to figure out why it was now starting again I did some research.  Here  are some of the reasons why we begin to have bad posture:

posture

  • We sit at work all day looking down at our keyboards and monitors.  If we have the adjustable table for our computer, we still find ourselves looking down because we find it more comfortable.

smartphone posture 5

  • Our smartphones have become part of us.  We look down at them all of the time.  Even if we are really doing something productive, we are looking down.
  • Being overweight or obese affects posture.
  • Habit is another reason.

I am proud to say that last week at workout I was told my posture was looking good. Talking with several people about what could be done to halt this has helped.  Here are some the things they said.

  • The trainer–line your ears up with your shoulders–look at yourself in the mirror when exercising
  • The masseuse–start a yoga class or find one online.  Even our resident yogi at work said this was a good idea.  She even informed me that she had to get back in the habit of good posture.  Reminding herself especially while driving that she needed to sit up straight.
  • Me–stand the computer desk high and then sit while at work–this will cause me to sit up straight since I will then have to look up at the screen.
  • Yogi–be conscious of your posture.  Believe it or not you will catch yourself slumping and immediately straighten up.

I found an extremely good video *(SarahBethYoga) that I do after my devotional and stretching.  It takes only 10 minutes.  I can honestly say that it works.  Take a look.

Remember that posture affects your entire body.  Bad posture causes pain and your entire body has to compensate for it.  So stand/sit straight and remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Your body will thank you.
*Take a look at other videos by SarahBethYoga on her YouTube channel.

 

 

 

Bringing Healthcare to Thousands

Each year women of a certain age dread the slightly uncomfortable mammogram.  For that small amount of discomfort, we all breathe a sign of relief when the results come back negative, and if they come back questionable, we are grateful that we know that something needs to be done.

In all parts of Tarrant County (the United States) there are thousands of women who do not have insurance that will assist them with payment for this and other annual exams.  Many of these women do not have any symptoms, but when they are seen by a doctor it is often for something that could have been eradicated with early detection.

The Kupferie Health Board of the Texas Health Resources Foundation is sponsoring their annual Puttin’ on the Pink Fashion Show and Luncheon (March 27, 2018).  Proceeds from this fabulous event will benefit mobile health outreach to underserved women in Fort Worth and surrounding communities. Some of the screenings and procedures are:

  • Breast diagnostic procedures
  • Digital diagnostic procedures
  • Cardiovascular risk assessments
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Well-woman exams and cervical cancer screenings

The fashion show is like no other, the beautiful clothes are modeled by professional models and survivors with their stories being told.  Some of the survivors were diagnosed through the screenings and procedures they received from the mobile health outreach.

Tickets and sponsorships are still available.  Just click Puttin’ on the Pink. Through very generous donations, they will raffle off 11 fabulous prices.  To see the items that can be yours click raffle.  You do not need to be present to win, and you are helping a great cause.

This is our third year covering this event.  Last year it was our honor to interview Irene, the beautiful survivor featured in the video below, and to learn more about the mobile health outreach from someone who has used it.  To learn more about the mobile health and the event, take a look at the video.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. It’s about more than breast cancer, it’s about life–Puttin’ on the Pink.

Puttin’ on the Pink

March 27, 2018

10 am Reception/ 11 am Fashion Luncheon

Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom

 

 

 

At The Texas Conference For Women–Women Rock

It is always great to be in the presence of women, especially smart women.  The Texas Conference for Women has so much to see, hear and do that it is hard to decide which way to go. That is why you see me rushing almost running in the halls of the Austin Convention Center with my two bags, comfortable shoes, and phone. I was off to races.

Texas Conference 2 Photo by Getty

I was able to snag two great interviews with two amazing women.  My first interview came as a surprise.  We just struck up a conversation, and I knew women would love to know about her company “iFundWomen”.  Below is the interview that I did with the CEO and founder of “iFundWomen”, Ms. Karen Cahn. For women who are looking for ways to fund their startup, she is the person to know.

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My second interview was with the Emmy award winner, Ms. Gaby Natale.  She is the host of the Emmy award-winning show Super Latina, and now the author of the book El Circulo Virtuoso.  Her story is one that a lot of people can identify with. She is inspirational.  My interview with Gaby is below.

Both women are successful entrepreneurs who have found their passions and turned them into their careers.  As each would tell you it has been a journey that has taken some unexpected turns.  They epitomize the women that attended and participated in the Texas Conference for Women.  This year there were 7,500 women in attendance from all over the United States.

Each of the women had their own schedule to adhere to and knew which sessions they wanted to attend and why.  All of us were able to hear the three keynote speakers, Ms. Anita Hill, Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, and Ms. Viola Davis.  Their presentations were informative and more.  You can see some of Ms. Anita Hill’s talInstagramFacebook Page–thisisyourbestyear, Instagram–thisisyourbestyear and Twitter–@mariciajohns.

If you have never attended this conference, you should think about it for next year.  There is something for everyone from, pitching your product to QVC, working on your Linkedin Page, coping with grief, fitness and much more.

This is one of the highlights of my year, seeing and hearing the speakers and meeting up with other bloggers, photographers, and other media again.  Hope you will take advantage of this great gathering of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

To find out more about how to fund your business go to the “iFundWomen” website.

www.ifundwomen.com

If you would like to know about Gaby Natale, and how to contact her for speaking engagements, book signings and more please visit her website.

www.gabynatale.com

Join me on Instagram!

We’re on Instagram as @thisisyourbestyear. Install the app to follow my photos and videos. https://instagram.com/download/?r=380485317

You can also follow us on Facebook–thisisyourbestyear, Twitter–@mariciajohns and of course our website–www.thisisyourbestyear.com.

          Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Information On Well Woman Exams

Thank you Ms. Ruth Ann Hornbeck-Hatch for sharing this valuable information on free well woman exams.  If you are in need of or know a woman in need of a well woman exam, and insurance coverage is a problem, please have them call or google 211.  It will give outlets to places that do the well woman exams for free.

211

Let’s spread the word to our family, friends, church members and others.  There is a way to help save the lives of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, let’s help others help themselves.

211 1

 

Looking For A Great Girls Outing–Try the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament

First of all let me give you this disclaimer before you read any further.  This will be the last year that the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament will be held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.  It will now move to Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

That being said “the last round” was an amazing girls getaway for those that love golf, like golf, kind of like golf and those that don’t know anything about golf.  There is so much  more to a golf tournament than golf.

At the beautiful Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, maybe it was because it was the “last round” everything was done to perfection.  Even the parking was convenient.

For those that love golf, there were the top players on the PGA participating with some surprises along the way.  There was so much to do, see, eat, drink and enjoy.

Let’s get started first with the resort.  If you were fortunate enough you may have been able to snag a villa with a view of the course from the balcony.  We saw quite a few ladies and gentlemen doing just that. Some had their cocktails and food to enjoy while watching the tournament.

Just walking around was peaceful and beautiful.  The weather for the most part was very nice.  The sponsors tents were great places to stop and enjoy food, drink and great conversation while watching the action on the course. The Grey Goose tent had signature cocktails for enjoyment with cute giveaway glasses. While you sipped your cocktail there was always someone to discuss golf on every level–learning can be fun!

Of course there was the fashion to take in as there is every year at the Byron Nelson; though this year the fashions seemed to be more individualized (no set pattern).  The city of Irving had great events from pictures, to prizes.  You could go inside the AT&T booth and drive a simulator and much more. Cadillac, the official car had their newest models on display for your viewing pleasure.

There were activities in the hotel for those that wanted to relax a bit more.  There was the Well and Being Spa in the hotel. If you felt that you didn’t get enough exercise walking the course they have 4 indoor tennis courts, a massive workout facility, squash courts and more.

The Byron Nelson Golf Tournament at The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Las Colinas has something for everyone.  It made a great girls getaway. For those that don’t know a lot about golf, it is a great way to learn–it’s as easy as talking to the person next to you.  You might even enjoy it.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.