What I Gave Up For Lent

Yep, I’m fasting–not eating meat from Monday through Friday, and only a small amount on Saturday and Sunday. You know for Lent you are asked to give up something, and most people give up some form of food. Does it bother me, not really, but kind. You know what I mean when you give up something then you tend to want it even more. I even went to the world famous Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with their huge sandwiches, and ate a green salad. Who knew they put French fries on their salad and name it a Pittsburgh salad–there is justice in the world.

Our visit to the world famous Primanti Bros
in the Strip District.

I not only gave up some form of food I decided to give up something else. Something that I have been talking about for years. I decided to give up self-doubt and second guessing myself. Even as a woman of a certain age I still have self-doubt and continue to second guess myself.

Not eating meat has led to some changes in my diet and in my overall health. Has the cutting back on the consumption of meat (in this case it does include fish and poultry) caused me to have weight loss–no, but I haven’t gained any either. I’m still maintaining.

But the elimination of self-doubt and second guessing has made a major difference in my life and attitude. It’s a freeing feeling, one that is hard to explain. It’s a good feeling.

Some people have given up shopping, eating sweets, eating fried foods, eating carbs–food, food, food. This guy told me he was going to give up exercising. The problem being he doesn’t exercise. Years ago a minister said maybe we should give up something other than food–something like maybe gossip so I tried giving up self-doubt.

Will I ever have self-doubt again? I’m sure I will, but it will quickly disappear because I’ve learned to control it. Will I ever eat meat again on Monday through Friday–you betcha. But I really don’t miss it.

As women of a certain age, we need to be in control of our lives to make them better. What are you giving up to make your life better? By the way in addition to giving something up, you are to pray/meditate more. Maybe that’s the reason I can conquer self-doubt and second guessing myself.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Instead of saying what’s the worst that could happen, ask yourself what’s the best that could happen–then make it happen.

Women Over 50 Are Starting Businesses Left and Right. Should You?

*Guest post by Lucy Reed

You’ve spent years in a career that doesn’t fulfill you, and frankly, you’re tired of it! Now that you’re getting older, you’re serious about spending your time in ways that count.

Does that sound like you? You’re not alone: Lots of women over 50 are chasing their entrepreneurial dreams now that they have the time, confidence, and financial capital to do so.

Why Women Over 50 Start Businesses

Some women start businesses out of necessity. Older women who have recently lost a job or who are reentering the workforce find themselves disappointed by job prospects and decide to create their own opportunity. Other women discover they finally have the time and energy for a passion project now that they’re older. And with fewer people depending on them, older women have more freedom to take risks and fully commit to a business.

The Traits of Successful Female Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. You have to be willing to take on financial risk, put yourself out there, and juggle a ton of responsibilities. For some people, it’s a role that comes naturally, while others have perfected the art of faking it until they make it. But if entrepreneurial traits like tenacity, dedication, and risk-taking aren’t in your playbook, business ownership might not be for you.

That doesn’t mean you have to be a cutthroat business woman or a natural salesperson to be a successful entrepreneur. Plenty of over-50 women start businesses in the nonprofit sector or become consultants and solopreneurs. However, whether you’re running a multinational corporation or a one-woman bookkeeping service, you need to be comfortable with marketing yourself and maintaining a public image.

Financial Considerations for Older Entrepreneurs

Starting a business can be a way to grow your income add to your nest egg after 50, but it’s no guarantee. Launching any business is a financial risk, and it’s even more so for women, who are likely to tap personal savings for startup capital. That’s because women entrepreneurs have a harder time than men raising startup capital for business ventures.

While it’s possible to tap retirement savings to start a business, the process is convoluted, and a mistake could lead to hefty IRS penalties. There’s also the risk that your business doesn’t succeed and the loss sets your retirement back years. Before going this route, explore other funding options like Small Business Administration microloans, alternative lenders, or even crowdfunding.  

Steps to Starting a Small Business

There’s a lot of work that has to be done before getting to the fun parts of business ownership, like building a brand and pitching your product or service. If you’re interested in starting a small business, take these steps to get started.

  • Assess the feasibility of your business idea. You have a great idea, but is it a profitable one? It doesn’t matter how much creativity or passion you have if you’re selling something no one wants to buy. Conduct research and surveys to evaluate who your target market is, what their needs are, and how much they’re willing to pay to have those needs met.
  • Obtain licenses and permits. The licenses and permits you need depend on the nature of your business. At minimum, you’ll need to register your business and file for an EIN.
  • Identify key partnerships. Strong networks make strong businesses. Establish relationships with suppliers, retailers, local businesses, and other partners who can help your business grow.
  • Create a marketing plan. Websites, social media, local marketing–today’s entrepreneurs have a lot of opportunities to get their ideas in front of an audience. Before launching campaigns, determine which marketing channels are best for your target audience.

There’s no expiration date on entrepreneurship. Whether you’re 26 or 55, if you have a good idea, you can turn it into a profitable business venture. While starting a business after 40 can feel like a leap of faith, sometimes that leap is just what you need to bring purpose and passion to your life.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–look before you leap.

*Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s drivway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created GigMine.co because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.

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!

New Isn’t Always Better

I am a sentimental person I will admit, but I can let go of certain things.  There are some things that make my heart smile , and I will always keep them. My husband does not understand this sentiment.  He believes new is better.

Take for instance this quilt that goes at the foot of our bed each day, and when the weather gets a little chilly it warms better than anything electric.

This quilt has been with me since moving to Fort Worth some 44 years ago, and was probably not new when I received it.  As I packed my car to come to Fort Worth, my neighbor Miss Callie came across the street with this beautiful quilt to keep me warm when I needed it.  It was not only meant to keep me warm during cold nights, it was meant to keep me warm from cold people, cold circumstances–it was meant to ward off the coldness of the world.  This quilt was meant to wrap the love of Della Lane around me. It has done all of this and more.

Over the years it has warmed my daughters and now my grandson.  This quilt has warded off all evil spirits. Everyone reaches for this one quilt.  It seems to warm you from the inside to the outside.  Miss Callie’s quilt warms your heart.

Maybe it’s the love that it was made from. Someone made it with love for Miss Callie, and she lovingly gave it to me. 

As the years have come and gone, we’ve had to mend “our” quilt.  My husband once, and only once told me that we should buy a new one.  But now even he knows that the coldness of life can only be warmed by a quilt made with love.  Each time I spread it, or wash it I think of my street on Della Lane, and it warms my heart.

Do you have a keepsake that warms your heart–if so share with us? Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. When you warm your heart it shows.

Cause She’s Not In The History Books

We at “thisisyourbestyear” take this time to honor those that should be in the history books, but are not. Their accomplishments, sacrifices and more all have to be researched and only given one month of the year recognition.

*Since we are a blog for and about women of a certain age, we chose this year to highlight women in American History who are Black. There were so many that it was difficult to narrow it down to one person, but we did. Her story is inspiring.

We are featuring someone that none of us really knew about, we are featuring Mabel Fairbanks who was a figure skater. Mabel was fascinated by skating when she saw a movie featuring then skating sensation Sonja Henie. As luck would have it she found a pair of skates in a pawn shop, and talked the owner down on the price. After purchasing the skates which were two sizes too big, she stuffed cotton in the toes and taught herself to skate. She would go to Central Park to skate in competitions making 6.0’s, but could not join a club because of her race. Therefore, she could not participate in any other competitions or practice at any rink.

She was persistent and eventually one skating rink allowed her to come in after the rink closed to practice. This story is about more than her finally finding her way outside the United States to skate, it’s about Mabel’s legacy.

She may not have gone to any competions because no club would take her, but she was finally able to skate in the Follies in the states, then barred from seeing her shero Sonja Henie by Sonja herself. Her legacy has come to the surface and lives on. Mabel became a coach. Not just a coach, but a coach of champions.

She is credited with helping the careers of US and world champions such as Scott Hamilton, Atoy Wilson, Tiffany Chin, and 1970s champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, whom she put together as a skating pair. She also coached Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist, in her early days, and also first paired her with champion Rudy Galindo.

She’s not in the history books, but she should be. Her strength gives us strength. Because of her, and people like her we can.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Black History is American History.

*Go to our Facebook page–thisisyourbestyear to see more Black women we honor during the month of February because they should be in the history books.

Mom. Sister. Friend. Go Red.

Go Red for Women turns 15 this year. It was started to bring awareness among women about the number one killer of women–heart disease* and stroke. The Go Red Movement is about more than wearing the beautiful color of red on the first Friday of February.

It is about women taking control of their own health. Women making the committment to their health. Learning that they can work together with others while helping them with their health concerns.

Fort Worth’s/Tarrant County’s Go Red Luncheon will be held on Friday, February 15, 2019 at 10 am at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. While there you can gather information on heart disease, learn how to prepare heart healthy meals, have your blood pressure checked, hear from an outstanding speaker and more.

The funds raised will help to build awareness and support research and education initiatives.

There is still have time to purchase tickets to this years Fort Worth Go Red Luncheon.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

This year’s theme for Fort Worth’s Go Red Luncheon is:

Mother. Sister. Friend.

Together we can save the lives of women we love.

*Just reported today that over half of all Americans have some form of heart disease.

Check with your local branch of the American Heart Associaton to find tickets to their Go Red Luncheon or to donate.

What Happens To The Spouse Of The Alzheimer’s Patient?

What happens to the spouse of an Alzheimer’s patient as they see the person they married slowly taken away from them? I remember first hearing about Barry Petersen and his wife *Jan, and now Dan Gasby and his wife B. Smith.

I’ve even written about the effects that it can have on the spouse, the toll it takes on them both mentally and physically in our April 28, 2018 post Alzheimer’s Caregivers “Til Death Do Us Part”.

These two spouses clearly have made difficult decisions. Are they wrong or right? Is this something that we talk about with our spouses before hand?

What are your thoughts? What are the spouses to do? Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and sometimes life is hard. We really can’t say what we would do in a difficult situation until we are faced with it.

*Jan Petersen passed away in 2013 after being cared for by her husband.

Ladies Afternoon At The Rodeo Winner

WE HAVE A WINNER FOR OUR “LADIES AFTERNOON AT THE FORT WORTH STOCK SHOW AND RODEO!!
CONGRATULATIONS
Byrolyn G. Hill

We look forward to meeting you at the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo on Friday, February 1 at 2 pm.

Please email us your mailing address at: thisisyourbestyear@gmail.com or send a message to our Facebook Page so that we can get the tickets to you.

Sit tall in the saddle, and remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Ladies Afternoon At The Rodeo 2019 Giveaway

Hey everyone we are back with a great giveaway. This will be our first time giving away a set of tickets to the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. No boots and/or cowboy hat, no worry just put on your jeans and get ready to have some fun.

This year we are giving away a pair of tickets so that the lucky winner can join us on our ladies afternoon at the rodeo. We want you and a friend to come out for great fun and entertainment. After the rodeo we plan to visit the wonderful shops that offer any and everything from, toys, jewelry, hats, purses, furniture, tractors, saddles, clothing and more–make sure you stop by our friends at Danette’s Urban Oasis. We might even stroll into one of the restaurants including Reata’s three locations at the stock show, or we might wait until we hit the midway and grab one of the non-diet friendly foods while we explore the rides.

Entering the giveaway is simple! To win two tickets for admission to the rodeo on Friday, February 1 at 2 pm and gain admission to the stock show on the same day please complete the following steps:

  • Share this post (on Facebook or Twitter)
  • Make a comment below about why you want to hang out with a group of all around great ladies at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

We will select the winner at random on Sunday, January 27, 2019. We look forward to spending the afternoon with you at the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Remember “thisisyourbestyear” and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is old school cool just like women of a certain age.

Remember there is construction around the area so you might want to use Uber/Lyft or get there early.

Reset and Reinvigorate by Rethinking Your Career in 2019

*Guess post by Eva Benoit

If you’re stuck in a rut, there’s no better time to pull yourself out than now. It’s never too late to make changes that will improve your quality of life. Starting a new career is one of these changes, and it’s a big one that comes with both enthusiastic anticipation and fear for the future. However, you can’t let fear of the unknown get in your way. Keep reading for a few tips on how to cross this fragile ground no matter where life has taken you to this point.

If you are stuck in a rut, there’s no better time to pull yourself out than now. It’s never too late to make changes that will improve your quality of life. Starting a new career is one of these changes, and it’s a big one that comes with both enthusiastic anticipation and fear for the future. However, you can’t let fear of the unknown get in your way. Keep reading for a few tips on how to cross this fragile ground no matter where life has taken you to this point.

Do You Have What It Takes?

What do Oprah Winfrey, Sofia Vergara, and Arianna Huffington have in common? They are all successful female entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to take risks, they’re all tenacious and a little stubborn, and they give of themselves 100 percent of the time. They are adept problem solvers who aren’t happy unless they’re on the move. If this sounds like you in more ways than one, you were undeniably born to be the boss.

You Are Not Alone

Our mothers and grandmothers were expected to stay home, raise babies, and make life better for their men. These social standards weren’t necessarily bad, but considering that women-owned businesses are growing at a rate of more than twice that as standard businesses, it’s safe to say that we got restless. Coupled with an ever-growing need for dual incomes, women-owned businesses, according to American Express, are more prominent than ever, with approximately 39 percent of all US businesses being led by women.

Despite the rise in female entrepreneurship, it’s not always easy. Today, experienced women are offering their guidance to new business owners. Reaching out to a mentor is one of the best ways to access information and receive help navigating the seas of success. Experian touches on mentorship, funding obstacles, and other statistics regarding women in business here.

Like a Boss

Starting your own business isn’t something you do on a whim. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have to take stock of your skills and define your niche. Have a heart-to-heart with yourself by drafting a business plan and recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. Test the waters by seeking clients via word-of-mouth and working on small projects first. FindLaw.com underscores this point by stating, “By starting small, you ensure that you can survive the inevitable hiccups associated with running a small business.”

Once you get into a groove, you can take steps to nurture and grow your business. This is achieved by being consistent and having the right tools at your disposal to get the job done. If you work from home, for example, you’ll need to set up a well-equipped office space with a comfortable working area and a computer that can keep up with your demands. Further, don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything; listen to your customers. They will tell you what you’re doing right and what you need to change. As the face of your business, it is your responsibility to hear these voices and to provide services that will add value to your relationship. It can help to take a customer service training course to help you learn how to communicate and respond to both praise and criticism.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been in your current profession. Even if you’re retired, it’s still possible to earn an income doing something you love. It may be a rocky road in the beginning, but with determination and a willingness to adapt to an always-changing market, you can both love and live your passions this and each new year.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. It’s a new year, and time to reset and
reinvigorate your purpose by rethinking and your career.

*Eva Benoit is a professional life, career and wellness coach. She specializes in helping people with anxiety and welcomes working with people from all walks of life.